Union chemicals and fertilisers minister Ananth Kumar here on Monday said the expansion of the Nangal plant of the National Fertilisers Limited (NFL) was on top of the ministry’s agenda.
Talking to mediapersons, Kumar said adequate natural gas and other facilities were available for meeting the Nangal plant’s requirement after its expansion, adding that there was a proposal to increase urea production at the plant from the existing 4.78 lakh metric tonnes (MT) to 13 lakh MT annually.
He said the expansion project was expected to cost `5,500 crore, while production in the new plant was likely to start in about four years. Kumar said the detailed project report regarding the expansion would be prepared and placed before the Prime Minister. The matter would also be discussed at the Union cabinet meeting to be held on Wednesday, he added.
He said there was a nationwide demand of about 310 lakh MT of urea annually, of which 225 lakh MT was produced in the country and the rest was imported.
As per the minister, there was an annual demand of 44 lakh MT urea in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, including 25 lakh MT in Punjab. He said the country faced urea shortage in the past due to the failure of the UPA government to float tenders for importing urea. The NDA government has taken steps to ensure availability of adequate quantity of urea, Kumar added. “We will not allow shortage of urea for farmers.We have decided to set up new fertiliser plants, revive closed ones and expand existing ones to meet the shortage,” he said.
The minister also took a round of the NFL plant here and addressed a gathering.
Earlier, Kumar paid obeisance at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib in Anandpur Sahib. Akali MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, Punjab BJP chief Kamal Sharma, Punjab industries minister Madan Mohan Mittal, education minister Daljit Singh Cheema and Akali leader Balwant Singh Ramoowalia were also present on the occasion.