Advocate for Revamping Namrup Fertiliser Plant

Avik Chakraborty

A six member delegation of the Namrup-based Brahmaputra Valley Fertiliser Corporation Limited (BVFCL) urged Union minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers DV Sadananda Gowda to revamp the fertiliser plant which is witnessing a sharp decline in production in recent years.
The BVFCL members met union minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers DV Sadananda Gowda in the month of August in New Delhi. The members representing Joint Council of Officers (JCO) BVFCL, Namrup Fertiliser Shramik Union (NFSU) and Fertiliser Workers’ Union Namrup (FWUN) were accompanied by Assam MP and Union MoS for Food Processing Industries Rameswar Teli.
The Union minister was briefed about the present condition of the fertiliser plant which has now been going through troubled waters due to various factors. The representatives while submitting a memorandum urged the Union minister to take urgent steps to rejuvenate the functioning second (Namrup-2) and third (Namrup-3) units of the fertiliser plant which has been bogged down by outdated technology and high energy consumption.
The two fertiliser units are the only functioning ones at present after the Namrup-1 unit was permanently shut down many years ago. The delegation also appealed to the Union minister to expedite the process for setting up the proposed Namrup-4 fourth plant.
“We appealed to the Union minister to sanction an amount of Rs 100 crore for rejuvenating the Namrup-2 and Namrup-3 units. The proposed Namrup-4 unit will take at least five years to complete if the government decides to build it. However the existing units will not last that long if they are not overhauled. The complete sets of machineries have to be changed and replaced. Even the replacement of machines would not be easy as the units are over three to four decades old. We have been assured of a positive result by the Union minister within ten days time,” Tileswar Bora, general secretary of the Namrup Fertiliser Shramik Union said.
BVFCL which was set up in 1969 has seen a rapid decline in production in recent years with its three fertiliser units outliving its utilities. In 1986, the ageing Namrup-1 plant was phased out by the authorities while the two operational plants, Namrup-2 and Namrup- 3, that was set up in 1976 and 1987 respectively, has been producing less than 3.5 lakh metric tonne of urea annually. The output is far below its optimum capacity of 5.55 lakh metric tonne due to which the plant has been struggling to cope with the growing demand of urea from major buyers like West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.

“BVFCL is the country’s oldest gas-based fertiliser industry. It is one among the few industries of Assam and holds a sentimental value for the people. We have urged the Union minister to preserve the legacy by setting up the new unit soon. Unless the Namrup-4 unit is set up, the fertiliser plant will be forced to shut down its operation. Not only will it be a huge blow to the economy of the state, it will also bring doom to the lives of the 600 permanent and 1,000 temporary employees of the plant,” Bora added.

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