Parliament: Govt Plans to Shut Down 2 Plants of Hindustan Insecticides in Kerala, Punjab
New Delhi: The government on Friday said it is planning to shut down the operation of state-owned Hindustan Insecticides Ltd's (HIL) two plants located in Kerala and Punjab due to losses incurred for the last several years.
Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Bhagwanth Khuba, in his written reply to Lok Sabha, said: "Yes Sir", when asked if the government proposes to close down the operation of Kerala and Punjab plants of HIL.
He also said that the government is aware of the reports that the salaries of employees have not been disbursed for the last five months.
To address this, the government has proposed the closure of the two units of HIL i.e Bathinda in Punjab and Udyogamandal in Kerala, he said.
"Accordingly, a proposal seeking funds from the government has been made to cater to meet the expenditure arising on account of VRS/VSS and payment of balance dues of the employees of both units proposed for closure," he added.
Khuba further said the two plants in Kerala and Punjab are "incurring losses for the last several years" and are "unviable" to be operated due to various reasons.
Due to the gradual reduction and ultimate stoppage of DDT production at the Kerala plant, the utility cost distribution to agrochemicals has resulted in a high cost of production, he said.
Moreover, due to locational disadvantage, inbound and outbound transportation costs were "abnormally high". Low capacity utilisation resulted in a high fixed overhead cost per unit, he added.
Whereas the Punjab plant is an agrochemical formulation plant for solid and liquid pesticides.
The minister said the technical grade of pesticides are transported from the company's Maharashtra and Kerala plants and formulated in Punjab, which makes the overall proposition "unviable".
The Punjab plant is also "suffering losses" due to low automation, manual packing, excess manpower and non-availability of raw materials.
Asked if the government will consider the redeployment of employees of both plants, the minister said, "No sir".
Show Cause Notice to 31 Firms Over Online Drugs Sale
The CDSCO has issued show cause notices to 31 firms based on representations raising concerns over the sale of drugs online or through other electronic platforms in contravention to the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, the government informed the Lok Sabha on Friday.
Cases concerning the quality of drugs, when reported, were taken up with the State Licensing Authority (SLA) concerned for necessary action under the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said in a written reply.
The SLAs are empowered to take action on violation of any conditions of such licenses, including prosecution in an appropriate court of law.
She also told the Lower House of Parliament that as informed by Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), various representations are received raising concerns regarding the sale of drugs through online or other electronic platforms in contravention to the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
Based on findings in these representations, CDSCO issued show cause notices on February 8 and 9 to 31 firms engaged in the online sale of the drugs, Pawar said.
Apr-Feb Fertiliser Imports From Russia Highest in 3 Years
India imported 34.19 lakh tonnes of fertilisers, including urea and DAP, from Russia during April-February of the current fiscal, highest in the last three years, according to the data placed before Parliament.
The imports have risen notwithstanding the Russia-Ukraine war.
"....import of urea in the current year up to February (during the ongoing Ukraine war) is more than double as compared to the previous year," Minister of State for Fertilisers Bhagwanth Khuba said in his written reply to the Lok Sabha.
Out of total fertiliser import of 34.19 lakh tonnes, about 6.26 lakh tonnes of urea was imported till February of the ongoing 2022-23 financial year, as against 2.80 lakh tonnes imported during the entire previous fiscal, he said.
Apart from urea, Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP), Muriate of Potash (MoP) and NPK were the other fertilisers imported from Russia.
DAP imports stood at 7.65 lakh tonnes, MoP at 0.43 lakh tonnes and NPK at 19.85 lakh tonnes during April-February period of the current fiscal, the data showed.
Total fertiliser imports from Russia were at 19.15 lakh tonnes during the 2021-22 fiscal, 19.15 lakh tonnes during the financial year 2020-21 and 11.91 lakh tonnes in 2019-20 fiscal year.
Urea and DAP are two largely consumed fertilisers in the country.
Thermal Plants had ‘Sufficient’ 33.5 mt Coal Stock on Sunday
Thermal power plants monitored by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) had 33.5 million tonnes of coal stock as on Sunday, which was sufficient to run them for 12 days at 85% capacity utilisation, Parliament was informed on Thursday.
This assumes significance in view of the projection of an unprecedented high demand of electricity during this summer. Electricity demand is expected to touch 229 GW next month as per power ministry estimates.
"As on 12.03.2023, the total coal stock available with coal-based thermal power plants monitored in CEA is 33.5 Million Tonne (MT), which is sufficient for an average of 12 days at a requirement of 85 per cent Plant Load Factor (PLF)," Union Power Minister R K Singh said in a written reply to Lok Sabha on Thursday.
In another reply to the House, Singh stated that as on January 31, 2023, coal (including lignite) based installed capacity was 51.27% of the total installed capacity.
The CEA has carried out generation expansion planning studies and published draft National Electricity Plan (NEP) in 2022 which reveals that the share of coal (including lignite) based capacity in the total installed capacity of the country is likely to reduce to 38.4% by March 2027 and to around 28.7% by March 2032, he added.
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