4 state-owned urea factories closed due to gas crisisTapos Kanti Das
Four out of six state-owned urea factories, which are run by Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation, have stopped production due to lack of gas supply.
The operations of Polash Urea Fertilizer Factory Limited and Urea Fertilizer Factory Limited, both in Narsingdhi, along with the Chittagong Urea Fertilizer Company Limited were suspended on March 27, March 22 and March 31 respectively, BCIC officials said
Ashuganj Fertilizer and Chemical Company Limited in Brahmanbaria, which had remained closed for weeks due to mechanical problems, could not resume its production due to low pressure of gas.
However, the remaining two factories – the Jamuna Fertilizer Company Limited in Jamalpur and the Natural Gas Fertilizer Factory Limited in Sylhet – continue to operate.
The officials claimed that closing the four factories would not create any difficulties for the country as the government had adequate stock of urea.
Industries minister Dilip Barua, while addressing a rally at Mahanagar Natyamancha in the city on Thursday said, ‘The country has now adequate stock of fertilizer and there is no crisis of fertilizer as the government has been keeping smooth supply through transparent procurement, production and distribution.’
Recent BCIC statistics showed that as of April 4 this fiscal year the government had provided – though a mixture of manufacture and import - a total of about 21.5 lakh tonnes of urea and the country has a stock of over 6 lakh tonnes at the moment. There is an annual demand of around 30 lakh tones of fertilizer.
The annual manufacturing capacity of the country’s
six public sector factories is 23.75 lakh tonnes per year but the production in the factories till April 4 was only about 8.5 lakh tonnes.
In the last financial year, state-owned factories produced around 13 lakh tonnes of urea, the corporation officials said.
BCIC officials admitted that most of the fertilizer factories in the country are old, established between 1961 and 1989, and as a result those cannot be run to their full capacity.
The last straw on the camel’s back is the acute shortage in gas supply that forced the factories to keep shut.
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