Iuguration of Gas Cracker Project
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Feb 3: Assam Government spokesperson and former Assam Industries Minister Pradyut Bodoloi has expressed his hope that Prime Minister Nerendra Modi will honestly acknowledge the stellar role of the UPA Government under Manmohan Singh as well as that of the State Government in making the Gas Cracker plant a reality in Assam. Prime Minister rendra Modi is set to iugurate the Project on February 5 at Lepetkota in Dibrugarh.
In a statement issued to the press today, Bordoloi said that the Project was origilly proposed by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as a corollary to the implementation of the Assam Accord signed on August 15, 1985. When he was the Prime Minister of India, The ‘Gas Cracker’ concept was otherwise not mentioned in the texts of the Assam Accord.
“Due to inherent disadvantages of locating a large project in Assam compared to industrially advanced states such as: (i) higher cost of development of land and civil works on account of remoteness and idequate infrastructure, (ii) higher cost of transportation of material equipment due to geographical location (iii) less effective working time per year due to prolonged rainy season and other deterrents, the Assam Government could not attract a joint venture partner in spite of their best efforts. Therefore, the Assam Government approached the Central Government in April, 1992 for fiscal concessions in order to neutralize the disadvantages of setting up the project in Assam, viz-a-viz, elsewhere in the country. While the concessions sought by the Government of Assam were being considered by the Government of India, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Government of Assam and Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) on May 20, 1994 for setting up of this project and Reliance Assam Petrochemicals Ltd. (RAPL) was formed for implementing the project. The shareholding Pattern Envisaged was 11 per cent for Assam Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC), 40 per cent for RIL and 49 per cent by the public,” Bordoloi said, and added: “Prime Minister PV rasimha Rao laid the foundation stone for Assam Gas Cracker Project at Tengakhat in November,1995. However, all hopes raised by this MoU were belied as RIL kept delaying he implementation under one pretext or the other. Successive Central governments under Prime Ministers like Deva Gowda (1996-97), lK Gujral (1997-98) and Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998-2004) all failed in their attempts to kick start the project. It was only when Dr. Manmohan Singh took over as PM in 2004 that the Detailed Feasibility Report (DFR) was prepared and Cabinet approvals were given in 2005-06. So after remaining in the doldrums for around two decades, the Gas Cracker Project was revived and Gail India was given the responsibility of executing the project. Dr. Singh also gave a generous subsidy to ensure the viability of the Project. In fact, the subsidy makes up around 53 per cent of the total project cost of Rs 9,965 crore.”
“Dr. Manmohan Singh, after facilitating all arrangements of huge Central Government support, laid the foundation stone of the project at new site of Lepetkata near Dibrugarh on the 9 April, 2007. Dr. Singh as Prime Minister of India persolly monitored the progress of the project, while the Congress Government in Assam ensured conducive site conditions so that the project achieved almost full mechanical completion by the end of the tenure of the second UPA Government. So now when the present PM is scheduled to come for the formal iugural of the Project, we do hope he will honestly acknowledge the stellar roles of the UPA Government under the Dr. Mahmohan Singh as well as that of the State Government under the Congress in making this project a reality.”