Dr. Agrawal Meets Minister Pradhan to Strengthen Houston-India Relations

Dr. Durga Agrawal (right) with India’s Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan.

Dr. Durga Agrawal (right) with India’s Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan.

NEW DELHI: During his world tour in May 2017, Dr. Durga Agrawal, a prominent Houstonian, met India’s Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan.

Dr. Agrawal thanked Mr. Pradhan for his support to Oil India’s commercial agreement with the University of Houston. He requested Mr. Pradhan to expedite a similar agreement between the University of Houston and ONGC. Dr. Agrawal also apprised Mr. Pradhan of his recent meeting with Prime Minister Modi.

During his meetings with the ministers, Dr. Agrawal suggested that Government of India implement a program similar to the Texas DNP (Doctorate of nursing) program in India. Such a program is being actively considered by the Indian government. Mr. Pradhan is keen to implement this program in his state of Orissa.

Dr. Agrawal mentioned his trip around the world to Kyoto, Myanmar, Jerusalem, Ethiopia etc., where ancient religious site (1,200-1,500 years old) are huge tourist attractions. He suggested that Mr. Pradhan should speak to Prime Minister Modi about developing Kedarnath (Shiva temple which was built by Pandavas over 5,000 years ago), Badrinath, Gangotri, Kashi temple, etc. to showcase to the tourists India’s ancient culture and civilization. Minister Pradhan assured Dr. Agrawal that he would follow up on the suggestions.

Dr. Agrawal also told Mr. Pradhan about a proposal for the India Studies Program that aims to bring scholars from US and India to educate and prepare Americans for India’s growing strength as a world economic power.

Mr. Pradhan had visited Houston recently and discussed Ujjwala Plus Yojna, the extension of Ujjwala Yojna (PMUY – Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna), a flagship scheme of Prime Minister Modi with Mr. Jiten Agarwal and Dr. Durga Agrawal. Under this scheme, Modi government’s endeavor is to ensure that free gas connection is provided to about 50 million poor families over the next three years.

According to surveys, cooking in firewood leads to inhalation of smoke, which is equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes. Over a million people die of indoor air pollution India and it is second biggest killer after high blood pressure in India, as per a recent report by Hindustan Times.

On behalf of Indian American community in Houston, Mr. Jiten Agarwal has floated a nonprofit organization to support the Modi’s government’s Ujjwala Plus scheme to provide liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections to those certified below-poverty line families that have not received benefit under the government’s existing Ujjwala Yojna.

Individuals and businesses in the US will be able to make voluntary donations for the Ujjwala Plus scheme. Fully 100% of the funds donated will reach beneficiaries without any administrative fees or overheads.

Minister Pradhan appreciated the efforts of Indian American community in Houston and emphasized its important role in bilateral investments and strengthening the US-India relationship.

Dr. Durga Agrawal is a founder trustee of India House, regent at University of Houston, and a well-established businessman in Houston.