The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) on Saturday staged a 24-hour hunger strike at the Namrup-based Brahmaputra Valley Fertiliser Corporation Limited (BVFCL) seeking the establishment of the proposed fourth unit of the fertiliser plant.

Seeking revival of the fertiliser plant, the AASU members holding placards and banners sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, union minister for chemicals and fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya and chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

On June 26, 2006 former union fertiliser minister late Ram Vilas Paswan had made the first announcement of setting up the fourth unit during his visit to Namrup.

In 2018 the Centre had approved in principle the proposal for setting up of the fourth unit at an estimated cost of Rs 4,500 crore.

However, as of date, no progress has been made in the project.

Once considered among the finest and profitable fertiliser industries of the country, BVFCL which was established in 1969 has been struggling to stay afloat due to declining production over the years.

In 1986, the ageing Namrup-1 plant was phased out by the authorities.

The two functioning units, Namrup-2 and Namrup- 3 set up in 1976 and 1987 respectively has been producing less than 3.5 lakh metric tonne of urea annually which is far below its optimum capacity of 5.55 lakh metric tonne.

“We want to draw the attention of the Centre towards the Namrup fertiliser plant. BVFCL is the country’s oldest gas-based fertiliser industry. We urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revive the plant.

“Unless the Namrup-4 unit is set up soon, the fertiliser plant will soon be forced to shut down which will be a huge blow to the economy of the state. It will also bring doom to 600 permanent and 1,000 casual employees of BVFCL,” an AASU leader said.

The AASU leader also sought strict action against hoarders and black marketeers of urea in the state who buy it at a subsidised rate and then sell it to farmers and tea gardens at an inflated price.

He alleged that some unscrupulous traders buy it at a subsidised rate and hoard it to create artificial scarcity.

Avik Chakraborty

Avik Chakraborty is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dibrugarh. He can be reached at: babs8oct@gmail.com