Seeking personal intervention of the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to put Rs. 5500 crore project of the expansion of National Fertilizer Ltd. (NFL) Plant at Naya Nangal in Rupnagar district on fast track, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today urged the Centre to immediately release Rs 1300 crore to the Union Ministry of Fertilizers & Chemicals, as equity demanded by it.
Badal called on the Union Finance Minister in his office here at Shastri Bhawan this morning and apprised the latter that the current capacity of NFL unit which was now five lac tons was to be enhanced to 15 lac tons, as all the requisite infrastructure was in place for the said expansion. Moreover, the Ministry of Fertilizers has already granted approval to undertake the expansion of this unit as it would not only generate tremendous employment potential in the region but also meet the ever mounting demand of urea in the state. He also impressed upon Jaitley to get the one time grant of Rs. 1300 crore released expeditiously so that the expansion of this project could be undertaken in fast mode.
Likewise, the Chief Minister also impressed upon Jaitley to release special funds to the tune of Rs. 1375 crore for rejuvenation of the Uppar Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) passing through the districts of Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur as it was the oldest canal system since 1989 and was in operation for the past 126 years. Consequently, the UBDC was working only at 13 percent efficiency as out of 13.43 lac acres of command area, actual irrigated area was 8.47 acres and thus it was the need of the hour to immediately modernize it so as to achieve its full water carrying capacity in the border region.
Taking up the issue of extension, renovation and modernization of canals from River Satluj (Sirhind Canal and Bist Doab Canal), the Chief Minister urged Jaitley to sanction and release special funds amounting to Rs. 18 crore for this prestigious project which was the lifeline of the farmers. He informed Jaitley the total cost of this project was estimated at Rs. 734.46 crore at 2009 price index and was also accorded investment clearance by the then Planning Commission of India (PCI) in February, 2011 but its execution could not be started due to non-release of funds under AIBP. Thereafter, on the advice of PCI (now NITI Aayog), the revised project involving a cost of Rs. 918.25 crore has been appraised by Central Water Commission and the requisite financial concurrence has already been given by the State Government.
Responding to the issues raised by Badal, Union Finance Minister assured him that he would soon get all these proposals thoroughly examined through his Ministries so that appropriate action could be taken in this regard. He said the his Ministry would soon take up the issue of granting Rs. 1300 crore as equity to the Ministry of Fertilizers so that the expansion works on this project could be taken up without any further delay.