Bhubaneswar, June 6:
The Central government has started the process of revival of the Talcher Fertilizer plant in Odisha, which was shut down since the NDA regime in 1999, by disposing of the redundant junk machinery and other scrap items through a private firm.
SR Tradex Private Ltd, a New Delhi based firm, which has been awarded the contract, has started the dismantling of the junk machines and equipment since last week. The process of dismantling and selling of the scrap items is expected to be completed in two years time.
The revival of the fertilizer plant with an investment of Rs 8800 crore proposed by the UPA government will take off only after the old unit is pulled down and sold, sources said.
The present work relating to the dismantling and sale of the existing outdated equipment has nothing to do with the revival package, said Irfan Ahmed, general manager of the plant.
Ahmed said the public sector Metal and Scrap Trading Corporation of India was asked by the Fertilizer Corporation of India last year to dispose of the closed plant and accordingly it floated the tender which was awarded to SR Tradex at Rs 112 crore.
“Personnel of this firm are now on the job to dismantle the junk machinery and they have been asked to complete their work in two years time. One should not link this to the promised revival of the plant which is actually going to be a brand new one”, said the general manager.
Former Union Chemical and Fertilizer Minister Srikant Jena said the plant will come up after the dismantling process is over.
“Fertiliser Corporation of India Ltd (FCIL) has signed an MoU with Coal India Ltd (CIL), GAIL India Ltd and Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd (RCF) for the revival of Talcher Urea plant. The Talcher Unit of FCIL is being revived by a consortium of RCF, CIL, GAIL & FCIL at an estimated cost of about Rs 8,000 crore,” informed Jena.
This fertiliser unit was approved by Govt. of India in December 1969, with a project cost of Rs.71.18 crores and industrial license for setting up a coal based fertilizer factory to manufacture urea was obtained in November 1971. It started producing urea by early 1980 but till 1991 the plant never made any profit.
The then government branded it a chronic loss making unit and referred the case to the Board of Industrial Financing Reconstruction (BIFR). The government also stopped budgetary support to the plant.
In 1999, the NDA government closed it down while its case was pending in BIFR, rendering thousands of employees jobless.
Finally, in 2001 the BIFR gave its order of closure as the NDA government failed to furnish any proposal for revival of the unit.