NEW DELHI, Dec 13 (Reuters) - India approved a new policy to
encourage investment in urea manufacturing, a senior minister
told reporters on Thursday, a move likely to expedite $6.5
billion in projects that have been held back and to reduce the
country's reliance on imports.
Under the new policy, manufacturers would get help in
covering the cost of natural gas, the preferred feedstock to
make urea, when high gas prices would make projects lose money.
Private-sector companies such as Tata Chemicals
and Coromandel International and state-run companies
National Fertilizers and Rashrtiya Chemicals and
Fertilisers are expected to benefit.
Nitrogenous urea, India's most subsidised fertiliser, is
also its the leading soil nutrient in the country.
Indian farms last year used about 52 million tonnes of
fertilisers, and urea alone accounted for about half of it.
State-run and private companies together produce about 19
million tonnes of urea, and the rest is imported from the Gulf
($1 = 54.24 rupees)
(Reporting by Nigam Prusty; editing by Jane Baird)