Government mulling revival of closed fertiliser units

New Delhi, Nov 20 ( In order to increase urea production, the government is considering reviving closed units and has drawn up a new investment policy to attract investments in this sector, the Rajya Sabha was told Friday.

“To increase investment in the urea sector, a new investment policy to attract investment has already been announced,” Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Srikant Kumar Jena said.

Spelling out other initiatives, Jena added: “Revival of closed units is under active consideration of the government to enhance indigenous production of urea.”

The minister said no new production capacity had been added in the past few years because availability of gas for the urea sector was a major constraint rendering the country heavily dependent on imports.

Jena Thursday had told Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament, that the government was also interested in setting up joint ventures abroad to reduce urea imports.

“The government has been continuously encouraging setting up of joint venture fertiliser projects in gas-rich countries in order to reduce our import dependence of urea sector,” Jena had said.

He had said India was pursuing such projects in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Mozambique, but have not been able to conclude any major deal as there has been no firm allocation of gas for fertiliser joint ventures.

“The only successful joint venture project in the urea sector is the OMIFCO project in Oman,” Jena said.

OMIFCO or the Oman India Fertiliser Co is owned 50 percent by Oman Oil Co, with the remaining being held equally by Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd and Krishak Bharati Cooperative.