New Delhi, Jan 1 (UNI) In view of the acute shortage of urea in the country, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) today demanded revival of closed fertilizer units on a fast track basis.
The CITU in a statement said that it had anticipated the present crisis, when it vehemently opposed the previous NDA Government's decision to close down seven urea producing units, totalling a production capacity of 20 lakh tonnes, leading to the present shortfall in domestic production and growing dependence on imported fertilizer.Mr Dipankar Mukherjee, Secretary, CITU, said the then NDA Government was harping on cheaper imported urea costing 80 dollars per tonne at that time and the government was justifying the closure on the plea that the production cost of these units -- Sindri (Jharkhand), Barauni (Bihar), Gorakhpur (UP), Durgapur and Haldia (West Bengal), Talcher (Orissa) and Ramagundam (Andhra Pradesh) would be much higher vis-a-vis import.
''Today, the government is importing urea at a cost ranging between 260 to 280 dollar per tnne, which is higher than that of the production cost envisaged after revival. While government had imported 20 lakh tonnes of urea in 2005-06, it is likely to import 50 lakh tonnes during the current year,'' Mr Mukherjee said.
In view of the present crisis caused due to suicidal policy of over dependence on import, CITU reiterates its demand for revival of these fertilizer units on a fast track basis.
The CITU also condemned the lackadaisical approach of the UPA Government to revive the closed fertilizer units in the last two years on the plea of non-availability of gas, naphtha and coal as feedstock, instead acting with overzeal in reviving the sick Dabhol power plant of Enron infame first with Naphtha and then with LNG on pressure from the US Government.
The CITU called upon the UPA Government to take immediate steps to make urea available to the farmers and to take up the revival of the fertilizer units with naptha/LNG/natural gas.
It further warned the Government that similar scenario may emerge in power sector, if the country continued to depend on imported uranium for running nuclear power plants. International cost of uranium would also go high, leading to escalation in cost of power, another major input to the farmers.