HPCL moves investment to Rajasthan complex
As MoEF rejects HPCL's Vizag refinery expansion plan MoEF committee has stated that the proposed expansion...
As MoEF rejects HPCL's Vizag refinery expansion plan MoEF committee has stated that the proposed expansion project falls under the critically polluted area and as defined under office memo dated January 13, 2010, and moratorium imposed on further industrialisation in the area was still in force. Hence the proposal was rejected Hyderabad: While Telangana agitation has impacted adversely on industry in Hyderabad, the banning of industrial expansion in the identified 'bowl area' around Visakhapatnam is playing spoilsport for the industrial growth in the region. The latest being Hindustan Petroleum Corporation's refinery expansion plan, which was said to have been struck down by Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) as the project was part of the 'bowl area'. "The MoEF has rejected the clearance as there is a moratorium on industrial expansions in some parts of Visakhapatnam, where the company proposed to initiate expansion programme," PTI said quoting a senior official of HPCL. HPCL had approached the Environment Ministry seeking clearance for the expansion of its refinery from 8.33 MMTPA to 15 MMTPA at Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh. Interestingly, the HPCL official said as the ban continues in Visakhapatnam, all major investments are being diverted to Rajasthan location. He said, the PSU is now geared up to set up Rs 37,230 crore nine MMTPA refinery-cum-petrochemical complex in Barmer district of Rajasthan, where the committee under the MoEF directed the HPCL to hold public hearing for the proposed complex. "Visakhapatnam is one of the identified problematic areas in the country due to its vast industrial activities with available harbour facilities and other infrastructure. At the 29th conference of the Chairmen and Member Secretaries of the Central and State Pollution Control Boards held at Srinagar, 12 areas were identified as problematic areas in which Visakhapatnam is one of them. As per the directions of the MoEF, New Delhi, the CPCB identified the bowl area of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh one among the critically polluted areas of the country in April 1989," the official explained. While rejecting the application of HPCL, the MoEF committee has stated that the proposed expansion project falls under the critically polluted area and as defined under office memo dated January 13, 2010, and moratorium imposed on further industrialisation in the area was still in force. Hence the proposal was rejected. HPCL currently operates two major refineries producing a wide variety of petroleum fuels and specialities, one in Mumbai (West Coast) of 6.5 million metric tonne per annum (MMTPA) capacity and the other in Vishakhapatnam, (East Coast) with a capacity of 8.3 MMTPA. There are about seven major companies operating in the identified under bowl area, which include: Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Coromandel Fertilizers Ltd., Hindustan Polymers (name changed as LG Polymers), Rain Calcining Ltd, (name changed as Rain Carbon India Ltd),Hygrade pellets Ltd, (name changed as Essar Steels Ltd), Visakhapatnam Port Trust, Hindustan Zinc Ltd. All these companies are not allowed any expansion of their projects till the ban is lifted. "The ban on industrial expansion was imposed in the Bowl Area in November 2009. Every year a committee comprising scientists, public representatives and Government officials will review the pollution levels in the 'Bowl Area' and send reports to PCB. The last meeting was held on May 4," a PCB official said.