Assam Students for subsidies to gas-based industries

GUWAHATI, Oct 15 – As huge amount of natural gas is flared up in the oil fields of Assam every day, the gas-based industries should be given gas at subsidized rate, demanded the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU). The students’ body also demanded that the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, who represents Assam in the Rajya Sabha, should take personal initiative to ensure survival of the gas-based industries in the State.

AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said that a team of the students’ body recently visited Namrup to take stock of the gas-based industries and found that the sudden increase in the price of natural gas has seriously affected the industries like the Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizer Corporation, Namrup Thermal Power Station and the Assam Petrochemicals Limited. The AASU demanded that the Prime Minister must take initiative to provide gas at subsidized rates to these units to ensure their survival and the State Government, on its part, should also put pressure on the Centre in this regard. As a gas-producing State, the industrial units of Assam must get gas at reduced rates, he asserted.

The AASU demanded that the Namrup Fertilizer unit must be revived immediately and the Centre should play the key role in this regard. Bhattacharya said that the first unit of the plat is defunct, while the second and third units need to be revamped immediately. There is need for setting up a new unit of the plant to make it economically viable. There is no shortage of market for fertilizer but setting up of a new unit and revamp of the existing ones are required to make the plant viable under the present circumstances.

During the visit, the AASU delegation held discussions with the senior officials of the fertilizer plant on the problems faced by the workers. Bhattacharya said that there is need for improving the condition of the school run by the corporation and at present, only 39 teachers are working against 100 posts.

The process of revamping the Namrup Thermal Power Station is also very slow and the recent increase in gas price will also seriously affect the plant in the days to come. The Government of India must provide gas to the power plant at subsidized rates for improving power generation in the State, the AASU demanded.