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State Govt ready to share 10 pc project cost

By Kalyan Barooah
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NEW DELHI, March 22 � In a major push to revive the stalled Namrup Fertilizer modernisation plan, Assam Government has offered to share 10 per cent project cost of the new plant.

The offer was made at a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had on Thursday. The Chief Minister was accompanied by Minister of State for DoNER Paban Singh Ghatowar and State Minister Pranati Phukan.

At the meeting that lasted for over forty minutes at the Prime Minister�s Parliament House Office, the Chief Minister discussed a whole gamut of issues ranging from flood and erosion problems to coal linkages for thermal plants.

It has been learnt that the Prime Minister raised the issue of the anti-dam agitation stalling the proposed Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Power Project. The project has suffered on account of the agitation, as vital machinery is stuck at various points in the State.

While assuring the State�s full cooperation in transportation of the machinery, the Chief Minister said that NHPC has not sought State�s cooperation in this connection. But with the Prime Minister�s intervention, a crackdown on the agitators is imminent.

In this connection, the Chief Minister also wanted an assurance from the Centre that the apprehensions expressed by the committee of experts should be addressed and the facts should be �properly explained.�

He said that the State Government is willing to pick up 10 per cent of the project cost, while public sector undertakings like Oil India Ltd (OIL), Numaligarh Refinery Ltd could also be approached to share equity. �I suggested that the Government of India should take the initiative,� he added.

The cost of setting up a modern plant is estimated at Rs 4,000 crore and the project is stalled because of the huge financial involvement. The original proposal for setting up of the fourth unit of the fertilizer plant is currently lying with the Planning Commission pending clearance.

It is estimated that a highly energy-efficient modern plant would double the existing production level of 3.9 lakh MT of urea, consuming the same amount of gas.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has reiterated the demand for restructuring the Brahmaputra Board by clearing the Amendment Bill in the Parliament instead of waiting for the proposed North East Water Resources Authority (NEWRA) that got stuck following opposition from Arunachal Pradesh Government.

On top of Gogoi�s agenda is his pet project of reclamation of Brahmaputra river, which he says, is a vital part of the anti-erosion measures. He informed the Prime Minister that a detailed project report (DPR) is ready.

The Chief Minister said he also raised the issue of economic viability of the State�s refineries because of the withdrawal of the excise concessions. The State�s refineries were earlier allowed 100 per cent excise exemptions. The Chief Minister said he is also going to raise the issue with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The Prime Minister, however, suggested that the State Government should also consider withdrawing some of the taxes to bring about financial stability.

Gogoi also sought a hike in crude royalty rates from Government of India. The fact that the State Government has been losing on account of payment of lesser royalty, has also been pointed out by CAG, Gogoi said.

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State Govt ready to share 10 pc project cost

NEW DELHI, March 22 � In a major push to revive the stalled Namrup Fertilizer modernisation plan, Assam Government has offered to share 10 per cent project cost of the new plant.

The offer was made at a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had on Thursday. The Chief Minister was accompanied by Minister of State for DoNER Paban Singh Ghatowar and State Minister Pranati Phukan.

At the meeting that lasted for over forty minutes at the Prime Minister�s Parliament House Office, the Chief Minister discussed a whole gamut of issues ranging from flood and erosion problems to coal linkages for thermal plants.

It has been learnt that the Prime Minister raised the issue of the anti-dam agitation stalling the proposed Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Power Project. The project has suffered on account of the agitation, as vital machinery is stuck at various points in the State.

While assuring the State�s full cooperation in transportation of the machinery, the Chief Minister said that NHPC has not sought State�s cooperation in this connection. But with the Prime Minister�s intervention, a crackdown on the agitators is imminent.

In this connection, the Chief Minister also wanted an assurance from the Centre that the apprehensions expressed by the committee of experts should be addressed and the facts should be �properly explained.�

He said that the State Government is willing to pick up 10 per cent of the project cost, while public sector undertakings like Oil India Ltd (OIL), Numaligarh Refinery Ltd could also be approached to share equity. �I suggested that the Government of India should take the initiative,� he added.

The cost of setting up a modern plant is estimated at Rs 4,000 crore and the project is stalled because of the huge financial involvement. The original proposal for setting up of the fourth unit of the fertilizer plant is currently lying with the Planning Commission pending clearance.

It is estimated that a highly energy-efficient modern plant would double the existing production level of 3.9 lakh MT of urea, consuming the same amount of gas.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has reiterated the demand for restructuring the Brahmaputra Board by clearing the Amendment Bill in the Parliament instead of waiting for the proposed North East Water Resources Authority (NEWRA) that got stuck following opposition from Arunachal Pradesh Government.

On top of Gogoi�s agenda is his pet project of reclamation of Brahmaputra river, which he says, is a vital part of the anti-erosion measures. He informed the Prime Minister that a detailed project report (DPR) is ready.

The Chief Minister said he also raised the issue of economic viability of the State�s refineries because of the withdrawal of the excise concessions. The State�s refineries were earlier allowed 100 per cent excise exemptions. The Chief Minister said he is also going to raise the issue with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The Prime Minister, however, suggested that the State Government should also consider withdrawing some of the taxes to bring about financial stability.

Gogoi also sought a hike in crude royalty rates from Government of India. The fact that the State Government has been losing on account of payment of lesser royalty, has also been pointed out by CAG, Gogoi said.

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