BHOPAL: Union minister for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan has said that the hike in oil prices was due to the corona pandemic. He was talking to the media after returning from Betul where he dedicated a village fulfilling its cooking needs completely from solar energy.
“About 80% of crude oil of India’s need is imported from other countries. During the corona pandemic, oil-producing countries slashed production due to which a hike in the rates in the international market was observed,” said Pradhan. "The world is facing a slowdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. We import crude worth Rs 7-8 lakh crore. When prices increase, it pinches us, but when they come down, we pass it on to customers," he added.
India is now moving towards Atmanirbhar Bharat in the energy sector, as well, and, therefore, more focus is being laid on alternative energy means, said the minister, adding that this could be reflected in the upcoming Budget, as well. Lauding the Modi government's efforts in the oil sector, Pradhan said that, in the history of Madhya Pradesh, no oil exploration was done till date. It was only after Modi came to power that oil is being explored in the Vindhya region of the state.
Earlier, Union petroleum minister Pradhan and state agriculture minister Kamal Patel visited Bancha village in Betul district, dedicating it to the nation where all houses are using solar energy for cooking purposes. Now, the street lights and water pumps in agriculture fields will also run on solar energy. “The project was on for the past two years and now, the village is completely LPG-free. Now, other villages, too, will be transformed in a similar manner,’ he added.