Union minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers DV Sadananda Gowda on September 19, 2019 announced that the proposed fourth unit of the Namrup-based Brahmaputra Valley Fertiliser Corporation Limited (BVFCL) will be ready in 3-4 years time.
Addressing a meeting at BVFCL, Namrup, the minister said the Centre will take urgent steps to facilitate the revival of the ailing plant and asked the BVFCL management to chalk out a quick action plan to rejuvenate the existing Namrup-2 and Namrup-3 units and submit it to the Fertiliser ministry.
BVFCL which is the country’s oldest gas-based fertiliser plant has been struggling to stay afloat due to rapid decline in urea production caused by outdated machineries and failing infrastructure.
“Prime Minister Narendra has always given preference to the development of the North Eastern region. BVFCL is lacking in modern infrastructure which is resulting in high cost of production. The Centre will take every required step to revive the fertiliser plant. The fourth unit will be set up. But since it will take 3-4 years time for the unit to be ready, the existing second and third units will be rejuvenated so that production doesn’t suffer,” Gowda said.
The fertiliser plant which was set up in 1969 has seen a rapid decline in production in recent years. In 1986, the ageing Namrup-1 plant was phased out by the authorities while the two operational plants, Namrup-2 and Namrup- 3, set up in 1976 and 1987 respectively has been struggling to stay afloat due to declining production. Both the units combined has been producing less than 3.5 lakh MT of urea per annum which is far below its optimum capacity of 5.55 lakh MT. As a result the plant has been struggling to cope with the growing demand of urea from major buyers like West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Way back on June 26, 2006, then Union minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers Ram Vilas Paswan during his visit to Namrup had announced that a state-of-the-art fourth unit would be set up with an estimated production capacity of 8-9 lakh MT. However in the last 13 years since he made the announcement no progress was seen on the ground.
Last year, the Centre had approved the proposal in-principle for setting up of the Namrup-4 unit on a nomination basis proposing an equity share of 52% to Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited (RCF), 26% to Oil India Limited (OIL), 11% to the government of Assam and 11% to BVFCL. The proposed state-of-the-art brownfield ammonia urea project is expected to cost the exchequer Rs 4,500 crore.