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NFL maintains sustained production, supply of urea amid rail restrictions in Punjab

NFL maintains sustained production, supply of urea amid rail restrictions in Punjab
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New Delhi: National Fertilizers Limited (NFL), a Government of India Undertaking, under administrative control of Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, with its timely efforts not only continued urea production in its plants in Punjab, but also supplied fertilizers to farmers even during ongoing "Rail Roko" stir in Punjab.

The company produces around 10 Lakh MT urea (5200 MT/day) in its both Bathinda and Nangal plants in Punjab.

NFL's production operations were initially impacted due to non-supply of Coal, which is used for steam generation in plants during production of urea. Both the plants require around 2,000 MT of Coal everyday and the supply of the same remained struck in state since October 1 after the halt of rail movement. With every passing day, the coal stocks were depleting in plants.

Seeing the situation, NFL executives swung into action as stopping the plants during Rabi season would have caused shortage of availability of urea. It was decided to switch to an alternative fuel, Natural Gas in the boilers which was, otherwise, a very costly affair. The company also made arrangement to pick Coal from its nearby Panipat Unit as a temporary arrangement, as movement of trains in Haryana was operating normally. But this resulted in huge transportation costs to the company. With these collective actions, the company was able to manage sustained running of plants in Punjab under the crisis.

In addition to this, the rail dispatch of urea from Nangal & Bathinda plants was also affected due to halt of movement of goods trains in the state due to "Rail Roko" agitation.

More than 80 per cent of the 5200 MT urea produced daily from Nangal and Bathinda plants is normally dispatched to fields through railway wagons. Rest of the quantities (20 per cent) is sent through trucks to nearby areas in Punjab and neighborhood states of Himachal and J&K. Each plant requires one rail rake (of 42 bogies) every alternative day to dispatch urea to respective locations. Due to the non-receipt of railway wagons after the agitation, the urea stock in these plants started piling up taking the silo stock to the brim.

To handle this situation, the company took a call to deploy additional trucks for transportation of urea. Though it was again a costly affair compared to rail transport, but helped in sustained supply of urea to markets. Other than using trucks to distant areas, the company successfully supplied urea from its Nangal plant to some destinations in Himachal Pradesh and J&K which were in crucial need of the fertilizer. With these efforts, the company not only maintained sustained production of urea, but also ensured timely supply of fertilizers to farmers. The company is keeping a close watch on the situation to ensure continued operations and uninterrupted supply of fertilizers to farmers.

Even during the COVID19 lockdown, the company had successfully continued its operation by pressing extraordinary efforts so that the Kharif Season should not be affected by shortage of fertilizers. The company, with these efforts tried to live up to its motto of "Farmers' Friend, Nation's Pride".

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