People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 24, 2008
THE Bengal Left Front having completed the techno-feasibility report, has handed over a little over 13,000 acres of land at Nayachar to the designated concern for setting up a chemical hub - or to give it its official title, a petroleum, chemical, and petro-chemicals investment region (PCPIR).
The concern or rather a joint sector group, named after the legendary scientist and strong proponent of swadeshi industries of the past century, Acharya Prafulla Chandra ('P C') Roy, has been set up at the initiative of the state government as a private limited company as per PCPIR regulations.
There is at present in all 54 square kilometre of land-mass available at Nayachar. However, with the silting process in progress, more land-mass has started to appear of late, to the score of at least a minimum of 12 - 14 thousand acres. The processing region will be set up on a wider area (of 40 per cent of a total allotted area of 250 square kilometres i.e., 100 square kilometres), subsequently.
To start with, the Bengal government has chosen 54 square kilometre of land of Nayachar as a working beginning. More than 15 ministries of the union government are in one way or the other connected with the Nayachar project.
A debate was allowed to spring up by a group of scientists of late who tried to argue - more a surge of blustering than argument, we might add - that the island and the char area would not be able to 'hold up' the combined mass of the project and its ancillary machineries.
The Bengal government has carried out detailed techno-feasibility studies for some months now. The researchers have put paid to the pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo of the opponents of Nayachar development. A certain breed of NGOs had backed this opposition group to the hilt, in principle and via financial support.
The main research work of the techno-feasibility report was carried at the field level, followed by laboratory findings, by two institutions of the Jadavpur University: the school of oceanographic studies, and the department of structural engineering. Additionally a team of technologists and engineers involved in the setting up of the Jurong town in Singapore - built on a char land similar to Nayachar - will provide supplementary inputs.
A detailed project report (DPR) will soon be well on its way to completion. Assisting and participating in the entire process shall be a group of experts among whose ranks we note scientists specialising in Petro-Chem projects, ONGC experts, and noted environmentalists of international repute.
The total amount of investment in terms of funding alone will reach upto Rs 40,000 crore. An additional Rs 10,000 crore is set aside for development of infrastructure. The company that has been set up to act as the entrepreneur has a participating share of 49 per cent of the state government with the private consortium involved having a holding stake of 51 per cent. As it has been already pointed out, the chemical hub project will be the source of a large amount of employment - both direct, and in downstream and via ancillary units.