Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal urged the management of Numaligarh Refinery Limited to play a proactive role in promoting agro based economy in the state and take steps for skill development of youth of the neighbouring areas. The Chief Minister made this call during a review of the Numaligarh Refinery Expansion Project (NREP) and Bio Refinery Plant at the NRL Head Quarter in Numaligarh today. Chief Minister Sonowal also visited the construction sites of both the projects and took stock physical progress of the projects.
Chief Minister Sonowal said that in the industrial landscape of Assam, NRL is playing an important role and has generated much hope for the state’s economy especially in view of its expansion project and the bio fuel plant. However, it is time that NRL should come out of its conventional area of expertise and focus on promotion of agro economic fundamentals in the state, he said adding that the bamboo based ethanol plant is a big opportunity for NRL to venture into the field of agro economy by engaging maximum number of local people in bamboo production which is now an agricultural product. He further observed that the new bamboo and cane policy of the state government would significantly help the NRL and local farmers in this regard.
Moreover, the Chief Minister said that the NRL with its wide resources should also give a thought to strengthen the local economy including setting up of cold storages and providing succour to the horticulturists who suffered huge loss during the coronavirus induced lockdown. He said that establishing cold storages would not only help the farmers but also go a long way in boosting rural economy. Sonowal further said that concentrating on developing skilled men power who could also be a strong force to catapult industrial growth in the state should also constitute a core area of importance of the NRL and urged the management to take up skill development initiatives of the youth of neighbouring areas.
Appreciating the measures taken by NRL to deal with COVID-19, the Chief Minister said that guided by the Prime Minister’s vision, government of Assam is working on a mission mode to contain and control coronavirus pandemic and at the same time strengthening the state’s economy. He further urged the NRL authority to carry out its production activities maintaining the norm of social distancing and directives of the health department. He also asked them to continue with the sanitization drive and keep all logistics ready at its hospital to deal with any emergency situation. Besides, the Chief Minister lauded the NRL authority for regularly making monthly payment to its workers to the tune of Rs. 1.20 crore during the ongoing lockdown period and also setting up dormitory for migrant workers.
Stating that ease of doing business is the guiding principal of the state government for speedy industrial growth, the Chief Minister assured the NRL authorities to extend all needful support for timely completion of the expansion project and the bio fuel plant and smooth operation of the refinery.
NRL MD S. K. Baruah informed the Chief Minister that the expansion project which involves capacity enhancement of the refinery from 3 MMTPA to 9 MMTPA with project cost of Rs. 22,594 crore is being carried out with completion time of 48 months. Moreover, consultancy job has already been awarded and 200 acres land has been taken on lease at Paradeep Port for laying crude pipe line connecting Numaligarh. The NRL MD further informed that the bio refinery plant which is being executed with a project cost of Rs. 1750 crore will use 5 lakh MT bamboo per annum as raw material and produce 49000 MT ethanol per annum as main product. Other major bio products from this plant will include acetic acid and furfural besides production of biodegradable plastic out of furfural in collaboration with IIT Guwahati. The plant is scheduled to be commissioned by December 2021, he informed. For successful implementation of the project, the MD made several requests to the Chief Minister and sought his help on issues related to Forest, PWD and security related matters. The Chief Minister assured to look into all the requests positively, so that NRL continues to be a leading force in the industrial landscape of the state.
Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, MLAs Mrinal Saikia, Rosleena Tirki and Bimal Bora, DC and SP of Golaghat district, district officers of PWD and Forest as well as senior officials of NRL were present in the review meeting.