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Rs 4000-cr plant for Nayachar petro hub

KOLKATA: The Centre’s approval for the petrochemical hub at Nayachar is yet to come through, but the investments are already flowing in. Cals Refinery on Wednesday signed an MoU with the state for a Rs 4,000-crore oil refinery plant.

'The refinery will come up in three phases. The first two will be at Haldia and the third at Nayachar,' said chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, elated at the first venture in the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) project. 'We need this petroleum company for the PCPIR.'

The MoU for the 5-million tonne oil refinery plant was signed between Cals Refinery, Haldia Development Authority (HDA) and West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC).

The project will be commissioned by 2010 and generate more than 1,500 jobs. Land won’t be a problem, initially. The 400 acres needed for Phase I is already with HDA, said its chairman Lakshman Seth. But another 400 acres will have to be acquired for the second phase, he said.

But land at Nayachar, for the third phase, depends on the Centre’s nod to the PCPIR. Last month, the chief minister gave the 'permission possession' of Nayachar to Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy Petrochemicals Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between WBIDC and NKID, the consortium led by the Salim group, which will be the anchor developer for the PCPIR.

Asked whether he expected the UPA government to give the approval, a confident chief minister said: 'I don’t brook any doubt about the project. If anybody (any state) gets the go-ahead for the PCPIR, Bengal will be the first to get it.'

Commerce and industries secretary Sabyasachi Sen said no state has yet got the nod for the PCPIR. But his minister in the commerce department, Nirupam Sen, said: 'If we hit a block, we shall not have the PCPIR.'

The state sees the Cals Refinery investment as a confidence booster. 'This refinery is vital for the PCPIR’s viability,' said the industries minister.

A 15-million-tonne capacity oil refinery is mandatory for PCPIR status. The one set up by Indian Oil at Haldia is 7.5 million tonnes. Cals Refinery plans to increase its capacity by 10 million tonne by 2010 and another 20 million tonnes by 2013.

Cals Refinery CEO Manabendra Guha Roy said work for the first phase would commence by April. 'Equipment shipments from Germany will start landing in Haldia by July,' he said, adding that the refinery would have a strategic alliance with British Petroleum.