A full-fledged independent Petroleum Ministry was created in the year 1963. Various 40 Ministers were in charge of the Ministry for 25 years upto 2008. The only Petroleum Minister who served full Lok Sabha term is none else than Ram Naik.

When he resumed office in 1999, nearly 1.10 crore consumers were on waiting list for new LPG connections. Wiping out the waiting list, he issued new connections to nearly 4 crore consumers. The magnitude of this performance can be understood as nearly 3.50 crore connections were issued in the four decades before he became the Petroleum Minister. New connections were made available on demand and the refills on the next day. Five kg. cylinders were also made available in hilly and rural areas.

Nearly 38 percent of the country's population started using LPG for domestic cooking, thereby helping the kitchens to become smoke - free. However, it is saddening that the moment the Congress took the reigns of the country in 2004, there is anarchy in the petroleum sector. Once again a long waiting list for new connections has been built up.

Even refill cylinders take three weeks for delivery. Scarcity and blackmarketing has become rampant. Ram Naik would be remembered in the nation's oil history as he took important steps in making country self-sufficient on the front of oil and natural gas. During his regime India made major oil-sharing production projects for the first time with foreign countries like Russia with investments of Rs. 8,500 crore with 20% production share and with Sudan with Rs. 3,500 crore with 25% production share. Crude oil is being received from 2003 from Sudan and from 2008 from Russia.

Naik also vigorously implemented New Explore Licensing Policy (NELP). Under this policy many blocks were identified for oil exploration and production. The tenders were invited and blocks were given to many national and international companies. In the beginning of 2004, oil exploration and production was on in various 90 blocks across the country. A decade earlier this work was on in only 22 blocks. Out of one such block given to the Reliance Industries in Krishna - Godavari Bassin, they have announced on 21st September 2008 that they have started commercial oil production. It would add 40% to the existing domestic production and would save approximately Rs. 90,000 crore a year in import at US $100 per barrel.

Piped Natural Gas (PNG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is another mile stone in Ram Naik's achievements. He gave priority to PNG & CNG supply under the leadership of the Mahanagar Gas Ltd. in Mumbai. As a result, Mumbai is now having, as on 1st August 2008, a big number of PNG/CNG consumers, viz. 3.59 lakh domestic consumers, 1.87 lakh vehicles, 953 hotels and small commercial establishments and major 36 industrial consumers. In addition to being safe and environment - friendly, it is very economical also e.g. for auto-rickshaw, CNG is 75% cheaper as compared to petrol and for taxi, CNG is 74% and 51% cheaper to petrol and diesel respectively.

Victory of Kargil War made all Indians proud. But in the joyous moments of victory the country did not forget sacrifices made by our valiant armed forces. The Vajpayee Government as a gesture of tributes to the martyrs decided to provide petrol pumps or LPG gas agencies to the widows or dependents of the 439 martyrs. They were given duly completed petrol pumps each costing approximately Rs. 40 lakh and LPG gas agencies each costing Rs. 20 lakh. Ram Naik personally paid attention to the speedy implementation of this scheme. On similar lines spouses of martyrs who gave their lives while successfully countering the attack on the Parliament were given petrol pumps or LPG agencies.

The launching of pilot project for bio-diesel by Ram Naik was yet another milestone in the oil as well as agricultural history of India. Bio-diesel is cheaper, environment - friendly as well as farmer - friendly as waste lands could be used for cultivation of jatropa, karanja, mahua, neem, etc. which are excellent raw materials for bio-diesel. India is having more-than 100 million hectares of waste land. With the positive reports of the pilot project, it was proposed to finalise the national policy for bio-diesel. However Dr. Manmohan Singh government took more than four years to approve the draft of the national policy.

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