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Ready for the Gas Cracker?

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  23 May 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Now that the day of commissioning of the Assam Gas Cracker Project is not very far off, it is time to do a cross-check on how ready the State is for a project that has got delayed by at least a couple of decades, and one that can usher in an era of industrialization in the State well beyond our imagition. When the project was first conceived of in the 1980s, its estimated cost was only about Rs 840 crore. Every delay in the execution of the project has added astronomical sums to its cost. However, there are subsidies and concessions meant exclusively for developing downstream industries in Assam that we cannot ignore without being very dishonest. These subsidies are closely linked to the commitment of developing downstream polymer industries in the State rather than permitting the product of the gas cracker to be used as feedstock in other parts of the country. There is the anticipated danger of the lower cost of feedstock produced by the Assam Gas Cracker Project making things highly competitive for gas cracker projects elsewhere in India. One must, therefore, guard against the temptation to forget the earlier commitments and to make the feedstock produced by the gas cracker here available to plastics industries elsewhere in the country. The Assam Gas Cracker Project must be totally committed to the creation of downstream industries in the State.

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