The management of Ramagundam Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited announced on Sunday that its prestigious gas-based urea manufacturing plant at Ramagundam was in advanced stage of commissioning and production of urea for commercial use was expected to commence shortly.
In the early hours of Sunday, the RFCL successfully carried out testing of its prilling tower and bagging plant. As part of production procedures at two units — prilling section and tower and conveying systems to the silo as well as bagging unit — a test was successfully conducted using technical grade urea.
The trial run was a big step ahead of the much awaited commissioning of the ₹ 6,180 crore project after it jumped quite a few deadlines. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the revival of the project on August 7, 2016 — earlier it was Fertilizer Corporation of India unit which fell sick and stopped production on March 31, 1999 — the targeted completion was fixed for April 2018 but revised to December 2018 and some other later dates. More recently, the commissioning of the project was anticipated by June last year. However, it was again postponed due to coronavirus.
Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy said in January that Mr. Modi will be invited for the inauguration. He had earlier reviewed the plant progress with RFCL officials through video conferencing and asked them to ensure that the fertilizer needs of farmers in Telangana were met on priority basis as the facility was located in the State.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had also expressed the hope that the plant will augment fertilizer supplies to the State as its cultivable area had vastly grown in size due to construction of irrigation projects.
The project was a result of Modi government’s decision to revive some of the sick units of FCI, including the one at Ramagundam, which had to be shut down due to high production cost on account of usage of coal as fuel. The earlier Congress government contemplated to turn it into a naphtha-based project but no headway was made. Finally, a revival package with a joint venture between National Fertilizers Limited (26 % equity), Engineers India Limited (26 %) and FCI (11 %) was struck in 2015. The Telangana government (11 %), Gas Authority of India Limited (14.3 %) and a consortium led by HTAS joined the financial closure in August 2018.
It was decided that the supply of natural gas to the plant will be from the 365 km long gas pipeline from Kakinada. The Telangana government will provide water from Sripada Yellampalli project on river Godavari and power from its utilities.