ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Technology Development in Fertiliser Industry

Technology Development in Fertiliser Industry I WAS resisting my temptation to intervene in the Sudip Chaudhuri-Ramaswamy Iyer debate on the developments in the Indian fertiliser industry in the 1960s and the 1970s, but since (May 28, 1994, August 20, 1994, April 29, 1995 and June 24, 1995) Iyer has made an attempt to obfuscate the issues by referring, above all, to the "appreciative letters" he has received in support of his position, I felt prompted to respond. I have long worked on the Indian fertiliser industry and having gone through the material during the period when the decision regarding the 1,350 tpd ammonia plants were being taken, which incidentally was during Iyer's tenure as the financial adviser in the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers, I can provide some vital facts that Iyer has preferred not to mention- One of the most glaring omissions in Iyer's interventions was the absence of any reference to the Sethna Committee report (chaired by H N Sethna. then chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission) that considered the working of the three engineering design organisations involved in the Indian fertiliser industry, viz, Pand D division ofthe FCI, FEDO of the FACT and the EIL. This report was never made public. Iyer could possibly provide the reasons why the report was kept secret. But what is important in the context of the Chaudhuri- lyer debate is that the Sethna Committee had argued that EIL should not have been in the business of setting up fertiliser plants in the country The Bechtel Corporation- supported EIL was thrust upon the fertiliser industry even when two public sector organisations, P and D and FEDO, were long involved in setting up plants largely based on expertise available locally. Thus, instead of allowing P and D and REDO to hone up their skills, it could be said that EIL was introduced to dissipate the efforts of the organisations that were involved in developing indigenous technology.

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