Dibrugarh: Bowing down to massive public pressure, the Centre has agreed to set up the fourth plant of the ailing Brahmaputra Valley Fertiliser Corporation Limited (BVFCL) at Namrup in upper Assam’s Dibrugarh district.
In a report that appeared on October 12, EastMojo had highlighted how Asia’s oldest gas-based fertilizer plant was gasping for air. BVFCL is the lone fertilizer-manufacturing plant in the entire Northeast region and produces and supplies urea to the farmers and tea gardens of the entire nation at a subsidised rate.
Established in 1969, the BVFCL has three units — Namrup I, II and III. The generation capacity of the plant has gone down due to the ageing factor of these chemical plant which has a maximum life span of 15 years.
Once considered one of the best fertiliser factories of the country, the BVFCL of late is struggling to stay afloat with dipping production of urea.
Despite the approval of the installation of a new plant with a production capacity of 8.646 metric tonnes per annum and modeling the joint venture as a public-private partnership on May 5, 2015, the Central government could not attract investment as only two parties participated in the bidding process. However, both the parties did not submit any proposal for the joint venture forcing the government to step in.
After the failed attempt to generate funds, government agencies initiated the revamping process and set up the joint venture, the fourth plant of the BVFCL in Namrup. The Rastriya Chemicals and Ferilizers and Oil India Limited took stakes of 52% and 26%, respectively, and the Assam government and the BVFCL shared stakes of 11% each, as a measure to set up the new unit. However, the project, whose cost has been put at Rs 4,500 crore, had not seen any development as far as its setting up was concerned.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre had even included the establishment of the fourth unit in PM Narendra Modi’s 100-day programme during the 2014 general election campaigns, but nothing had happened on the ground so far.
The nod for setting up of the fourth plant at BVFCL was finally given by the Union ministry of chemicals and fertilizers and the approval letter was sent to the CMD of BVFCL recently.