Zuari in process of acquiring land for urea plant in Karnataka

 "The company has got approval from the Karnataka government to go ahead with the project. We have started the process of acquiring land in Belgaum district," Zuari Industries Executive Vice Chairman H S Bawa told reporters on the sidelines of a press conference.

"The project is estimated at Rs 5,000 crore," and it will will be built in Belgaum district, bordering Maharashtra and Goa, which has a gas pipeline running through it, he said. Natural gas is a feedstock for fertiliser plants.

The plant will be built near the Dabhol-Bangalore gas pipeline project, which is expected to complete by 2012-13, he added.

Bawa was here at a ceremony to reposition 21 group companies, including Zuari Industries, led by industrialist Saroj Poddar, under an unified banner -- Adventz.
The Belgaum plant will be commissioned by 2015-16 after the government's new fertiliser investment policy comes into force, he said, hoping the policy will be constructive and it will be investor-friendly.

Apart from Belgaum, Zuari Industries is also looking at land acquisition near Karwar, in Uttar Kannada district of Karnataka, for building a phosphate and customised fertiliser plant at an estimated investment of Rs 700 crore, he noted.

Regarding the conversion of its Goa fertiliser plant from naptha to a gas unit, Bawa said, "By 2012, we are hopeful that the plant will be converted to a gas-based unit with the use of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) initially".

As and when the domestic gas becomes available, the unit will switch over to gas, he added.

Presently, the Goa plant has the capacity to produce 8,00,000 tonnes of phosphate a year. After the revamp, the capacity would rise to one million tonnes a year.The country imported 16.17 million tonnes fertilisers in April-November this fiscal, almost equal to the total import of 16.38 million tonnes during the entire 2009-10.

India meets 85 per cent of its urea requirement through indigenous production, but is largely dependent on imports for meeting the phosphorus and potassium requirement, either as finished fertilisers or raw materials.

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