Gas cracker project opens opportunities to invest in plastic

The Centre and the Assam government have undertaken an ambitious plan to encourage small and medium entrepreneurs to venture into the plastic industry which will get a boost with the commissioning of the Assam Gas Cracker Project in 2012.

The gas gas cracker project coming up at Lepetkata in Dibrugarh district would open up opportunities for investment in the plastic industry as a downstream project, state industry minister Pradyut Bordoloi said.

The minister told a seminar recently that Assam government has taken several steps to create awareness about opportunities in the plastic industry among youths.

Altogether 1,500 youths have been already trained outside the state on trades required for the project, with another 3,000 to be sent soon for training at the National Academy of Construction at Hyderabad.

A manpower development programme has also been compiled by the state government which proposes to offer new courses in the state engineering colleges.

Besides a well chalked out manpower and skill development programme, the government has also taken up an ambitious project to establish a plastic park in an area of 1,500 bighas in Tinsukia district of Upper Assam.

Bordoloi pointed out that the recently concluded North East International Plasto Fair was organised to showcase new product ideas and processing techniques to take the plastic industry a few steps forward.

''There are immense expectations of the people on the economic benefits of the Gas Cracker Project and there is an urgent need for credit support especially to the first generation entrepreneurs for setting up downstream industries,'' the minister told the seminar.

The first generation entrepreneurs need special care in handling and, therefore, they must be guided, whereever necessary, while extending credit support, North East Development Finance Corporation's chairman cum managing director K N Hazarika observes.

In case of some banks, the plastic was kept in the non-priority sector which may restrict credit support, but the state government has assured that it would take up the matter with appropriate authority so that the banks can take up the downstream projects on a priority basis, he said.

On the issue of security for financing, it was felt that for commercial banks credit upto Rs one crore under Credit Guarantee Scheme could be sanctioned without collateral while regional rural banks can extend the facility upto Rs 50 lakh, Hazarika said.

Union Industry and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma told the seminar that the Centre would support any initiative taken by the plastics industry for promoting 'Green Techonology' and for promoting measures for safety, health and environment.