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Mumbai, Aug. 31

The Government plans to restart eight public sector fertiliser plants in the next three years, said Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister for Chemicals, Fertilizer and Steel.

The move follows the rise expected in demand for fertiliser in the near future. The Minister said the demand was expected to rise to 359 lakh tonnes by 2010.

Mr Paswan was addressing the media at `INDIA CHEM 2006' a chemical industry meet in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Some of the plants have been closed since 1990 on account of technological obsolesce, feedstock limitation, non-viability of the facility and financial losses.

Mr Paswan said that his Ministry has started addressing the problems faced by the closed down plants. The feedstock of the plants would be shifted from naphtha to natural gas, in view of the availability of the gas by 2010. The fertiliser plants, which are closer to the existing gas lines, will be able to avail themselves of gas from these lines. New gas lines would be laid for those plants, which were not located near the existing lines, he said.

Replaying to a query about plans to set up fertiliser plants in Africa, Mr Paswan said it was currently under consideration.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 1, 2006)
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