The fate of India’s investment in Iran, that includes setting up a urea plant and others in the Chabhar SEZ area, cumulatively at Rs one lakh crore, would depend solely on at what rate the country offers gas, Union Minister for Road Transport and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari said Wednesday.
Iran has offered India gas at $2.95 per mmbtu for the urea plant, but India seeks the gas at $ 1.5 per mmbtu, Gadkari said, while unveiling a modernisation plan for major Indian ports.
Gadkari said that various ministries have been asked to submit their proposals for investment in Iran by September 28. The minister also said that his ministry has also received proposals from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka for setting up ports.
As part of the modernisation of ports, Gadkari said the target is to enhance mechanisation to 80% from 60% now, and the average turnaround time to less than 2 days from 4 days now. Cargo handling capacity of the 12 major ports has also been targeted to be raised to 1,230 Metric tonnes from 830 MT now.
About 200 MW green power would be produced in major ports, mostly for their captive use, in the next two years, Gadkari added.
The total investment in the projects will be around Rs 1,00,000 crore, Road Transport, Gadkari said.
Asked about the development of the port, he said: “Various ministries will give their report by September 28, based on which a final decision will be taken. India is ready to invest more than Rs 1 lakh crore, but that depends on negotiations with Iran.”
The rate offered by Iran is less than half the rate at which India currently imports natural gas from the spot or current market. Long-term supplies from Qatar cost four-times the Iranian price.
India, which imports around 8-9 million tonnes of the nitrogenous fertiliser, is negotiating for a price of $1.5 per mmBtu with the Persian Gulf nation in a move which if successful will see a significant decline in the country’s Rs 80,000 crore subsidy for the soil nutrient.
India has already pledged to invest about $85 million in developing the strategic port off Iran’s south eastern coast, which would provide India a sea-land access route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.
With agency inputs