Assam Tribune Gas Cracker Project may get delayed DIBRUGARH,

Assam Tribune Gas Cracker Project may get delayed DIBRUGARH,

– The inordinate delay in commissioning of the Assam Gas Cracker Project, an enterprise of the Brahmaputra Cracker & Polymer Limited (BCPL), has reportedly caught the attention of the Centre.

Earlier scheduled for commissioning by June 30 this year, the almost Rs 10,000-crore gas cracker plant is unlikely to be ready for commissioning anytime this year, according to sources who know the technicalities. It is to be noted that the project was to be commissioned in April 2012, which was then shifted to December 2013, then again to September, 2014 and the latest being June 2015.

The then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had flagged off the construction works at the Lepetkata venue of the plant in April 2007.

BCPL managing director Prabhu Nath Prasad and his predecessor JK Singh Teotia are among the top managers who are being blamed for the delay in the project construction works. The allegations are many: Prasad and Teotia reportedly have had frequent conflicts with contractors and even the project management consultant, Engineers India Limited, though the latter too is not entirely free from blame.

Those in the know of the tardy state of affairs at the gas cracker project are now demanding immediate suspension of managing director Prasad and initiation of CBI/CVC investigations into allegations of corruption, nepotism and negligence of work. Prasad was summoned to New Delhi on Monday by the Union chemicals and fertilizer department (the controlling ministry of the gas cracker plant) to explain the delay.

It is learnt from sources that the BCPL management tried to fool the public and the government by “commissioning” the gas cracker plant’s poly propylene unit (PPU) by using propylene from the Panipat Refinery of the IOC. According to sources, propylene has to be produced at the BCPL plant here after ‘cracking’ natural gas as supplied by the OIL and ONGC.

An example of the confusion at the BCPL here can be gauged from the fact that in eight years since 2007, there were as many as seven persons who officiated as chief operating officer (COO). While the gas cracker is still in construction phase with taxpayers’ money, the BCPL management has been giving out donations liberally, which can be construed as misuse of public money.

The BCPL has two offices, one in Guwahati and another in Noida, for which the annual expenditure is in excess of Rs 1.5 crore. The Guwahati office is mostly unnecessary, and functions from a room of a luxury hotel. There is persistent public demand here that the registered and corporate head-office of the BCPL be located in Dibrugarh, and that a liaison office in Guwahati may be had, if required.

The project, an outcome of the Assam Accord of 1985, is a joint venture of the Assam Government, OIL, NRL and GAIL (India) Limited, in 10:10:10:70 per cent ownership ratio in the joint venture that is BCPL.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), which monitors national projects, may well find the reasons behind the snail’s pace of construction activity at the BCPL if a proper inquiry is held.

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