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Minister: India close to setting up petrochemicals complex in Iran

February 11, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:42 am IST - KALABURAGI:

Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar has said that India was inching closer to setting up a natural gas-based petroleum plant-cum-petrochemicals complex in Iran and talks were on with Turkmenistan and Myanmar to establish similar oil and gas exploration plants there.

Talking to The Hindu here on Wednesday, Mr. Ananth Kumar said that India proposes to establish Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in Iran, Turkmenistan and Myanmar as part of the National Democratic Alliance government move for “Reverse SEZ” in oil-rich countries with dedicated exports back to the country. Mr. Ananth Kumar said that India had formed a joint venture with Rashtriya Chemical Fertilizers and Gujarat Narmada Fertilizers Corporation and had several rounds of meeting with Iran, the latest being in January this year. Negotiations were on for fixing the price of gas and on terms of contract. “We are confident of clinching the deal now as the sanctions imposed on Iran have been lifted,” he said.

He said that the proposed natural gas-based petroleum plant-cum-petrochemicals complex in Iran would be established in the port city of Chabahar. The Minister had had two levels of discussions in this regard with the Ambassador of Iran, Indian Ambassador to Iran and Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to hasten the process.

Mr. Ananth Kumar said that India has initiated talks with Turkmenistan and Myanmar for establishing a natural gas-based petroleum plant-cum-petrochemicals complex. To a question, the Minister said that the revival of sick fertilizer plants at Ramagundam has been finalised. The coal gasification plant at Talchel was ready for inauguration.

Neem coating

He said that Neem coating of urea has effectively curbed illicit diversion of more than 20 per cent of the product meant for agriculture purposes to industrial houses (urea is base material for paints, dyes, for bonding plywood, among others) that was recorded during the rule of the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre. While industrial urea costs Rs. 22,000 per tonne, urea meant for agriculture use was priced at Rs. 5,360 per tonne.

Cases of illegal diversion of urea have come down to nil now as Neem-coated urea is of no use to industries.

This has also helped in overcoming artificial shortage of urea caused during the rule of the UPA government at the Centre. Neem coating of urea has also helped tribal people collecting “Nimbola” (Neem seeds) in a big way and prices of neem seeds had jumped from Rs. 10 per kg to Rs. 120 per kg now. In Gujarat, self-help groups have made a profit of more than Rs. 10 crore by supplying neem seeds.

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