BCPL – Assam’s Industrial Pride in Petrochemical Sector of the country

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A BNE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH

MR. REEP HAZARIKA, MD, BCPL

Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited (BCPL), incorporated in the year 2007, is a petrochemical complex set up in Lepetkata of Dibrugarh District. Petrochemicals are derived from petroleum and natural gas, the two components currently shaking the country at its core. Being a leading industry in petrochemicals, BCPL has been playing a principal role in successfully paving the way for Assam towards economic development. Thus, Business-Northeast brings forth a diligent interview with the visionary Managing Director of BCPL, Mr. Reep Hazarika.

  1. BCPL’s genesis is based on developing the socio-economic structure of the Northeast Region. Can you shed some light on how BCPL has been contributing to that factor for the upliftment of Assam and Northeast?

As all of us are aware, BCPL is an offshoot of the historic Assam Accord which was signed in 1985 for the socio-economic development of the region. People of the region have a lot of sentiments and aspirations attached to this mega petrochemical complex. With the advent of BCPL, significant micro and macro-economic changes are apparent in the region. Many commercial establishments have come up, the real estate business is flourishing in nearby localities and there has been an upsurge in plastic consumption in the North East. BCPL is extending special discounts in the form of NEEDS (Northeast Entrepreneur Development Scheme) to provide competitive pricing to the NE plastic processors to boost local industries. BCPL has also proposed to extend special discounts to the green-field manufacturing units coming up in the Tinsukia Plastic Park to promote industrialization which will further create employment avenues.

BCPL has not only provided employment opportunities but also has contributed to the skill development of the local populace who have been working inside the plant. We are a company with a social heart and from inception, we have been supporting various educational, sports, and cultural events as a goodwill gesture to promote the social interests of our stakeholders. Various skill development programs, as well as employment generation projects, are also being undertaken through the CSR program. BCPL is fully committed to the overall development and rapid industrialization of the region.

2. What is the future of the petrochemical industry in terms of industrial and economical growth of Assam/Northeast?

The per capita consumption of polymer in NE is approximately 4 Kg against India’s approximate per capita consumption of 9 Kg. A deficit of around 5 Kg per capita consumption in the North East Region (NER) will boost the petrochemical sector in the future. A lot of reputed industries have set up their units in the Northeast including brands like Supreme, Milton, etc. Campaigns like “Make in- India” and “Atmanirbhar Bharat” launched by the Government of India are expected to give a further impetus in setting up of new plastic manufacturing units.

3. How much of the raw materials produced are being exported outside the state and how much is used within the region of Assam/Northeast? What is being done to increase the consumption of the end products within Assam? Who are the consumers of the end products of BCPL in Assam? Have any industries developed in the region that can make use of the raw materials produced by BCPL?

At present, on average, approximately 12 % of our products are sold within the Northeast. BCPL holds around 90 % of the market share in the Northeast Polymer market. The market share of our company is steadily increasing with growing credibility amongst customers. BCPL is putting all-out efforts to increase the market share in the NER and proactive steps are being taken jointly with the Government of Assam to make the plastic park at Tinsukia operational so that the entrepreneurs can reap maximum benefit out of the park. BCPL is striving to make the prices of polymers competitive in the Northeast vis-a-vis other locations by offering special incentives to the processors of NE in the form of NEEDS.  The main consumers of BCPL end products are plastic manufacturing units. Many plastic processing units of the NER have increased their capacities with the commissioning of BCPL and many new plastic processing industries have come up in the NER.

4.  Are the raw materials produced considered a part of the Make in India Project of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi? What role will BCPL play in the Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 of our country’s Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan?

Yes, the Make in India initiative was introduced as a part of India’s renewed focus on manufacturing. The objective of the initiative is to promote India as the most preferred global manufacturing destination. The produce of BCPL is the raw materials for the plastic processing industries. The current low per capita consumption of plastic in the NER presents an immense opportunity for investments in this sector. The industry has huge potential for attracting foreign investments and thereby fructifying India’s “Make in India” vision and converting the Northeast into a major manufacturing hub.

BCPL products have wide usage in the manufacture of various plastic products. Downstream plastic manufacturing industries such as polybags, plastic containers, packaging, housewares, etc. can be developed in the NER using BCPL’s end products as a feedstock. The availability of raw material will facilitate the development of numerous downstream plastic industries in the region and would also generate direct/indirect employment, which would help in achieving the objective stipulated broadly in the NE Vision document.

5. What are the major problems faced by BCPL? What kind of support have they received from the Government so far and what further do they seek?

After commissioning in 2016, the plant faced issues relating to the availability of sufficient feedstock. However, BCPL has taken necessary actions in order to augment feedstock availability. We could achieve optimum capacity utilization of the plant and the trend of high capacity utilization is now maintained on a sustainable basis by developing appropriate strategies.  In fact, BCPL operated at full capacity during the last three fiscals.

The Government has been extremely supportive since its inception in bringing our company to its present stature. The approval of the CCEA for providing feedstock subsidy along with exemption of VAT on natural gas under the Assam VAT Act has made the company financially more stable and this would propel the overall development of the NER.

6. What was the impact of the pandemic on BCPL? How did you support your employees during the hard times?

The outbreak of COVID-19 presented significant challenges in the business operation not only in our company but also cutting across all industries. The coronavirus pandemic disrupted organizations and compelled management to come up with different strategies as they adjusted to social distancing practices and to a new work environment that was never imagined before.

BCPL, being a responsible corporate citizen, is facilitating all its employees and associates by extending full support in every sphere.  Doctors and paramedical staff are working in shifts to cater to the mandatory as well as any emergency medical requirements for the workforce. To prevent the spread of the Corona Virus, our organization has undertaken various proactive measures to deal with the pandemic and for the well-being of the employees and their families by practicing social distancing, sanitizing workstations, replacing direct interactions with virtual ones, remote working, etc. Assistance has been provided for testing of persons with symptoms, facilitating quarantine in the township guesthouse and arrangements have been made to facilitate vaccination of all employees.

7. What has BCPL done so far in terms of its Environment policy?

Being a modern, state-of-the-art plant, pollution control and other environment protection norms are being fully complied. BCPL is ISO 14001:2015 compliant and is fully committed to operational excellence to improve environmental performance. BCPL’s goal is to increase the renewable energy portfolio and invest in pollution control equipment to assure carbon abatement and offsetting. I would like to emphasize that BCPL is aware of the burgeoning climate issues and accompanying socio-economic imbalances, and we will continue to try to address them in order to poise BCPL for future success by focusing on sustainable growth.

8. What has been BCPL doing so far under its CSR? What is the amount spent under CSR in the last financial year? What are BCPL’s further plans under CSR for the next financial year?

BCPL entered into the CSR regime in the financial year 2020-21. Prior to that BCPL voluntarily undertook CSR / development initiatives during its project phase in the nearby localities in the areas of education & literacy enhancement, drinking water & sanitation, health care & community development.

In the last fiscal, the budget of BCPL CSR was Rs.11.50 crore and our thrust area was in health & nutrition as per Government directives. Our company took up projects to enhance health care facilities in Dibrugarh District and several other initiatives to complement the Swachh Bharat agenda of our Honourable Prime Minister.

The CSR budget for the current fiscal is Rs 19.10 crore. Under CSR, BCPL has taken up projects for the development of infrastructure of Assam Medical College Hospital (AMCH), Dibrugarh for treatment of Covid-19 infected persons, extending support for carrying out vaccination drive for local people, construction of the local Barbaruah Market Complex, etc. BCPL has also supplied oxygen cylinders to AMCH and to the Govt. of Manipur to aid the fight against COVID. Apart from these, a lot of other projects are also taken up in skill development & livelihood, promotion of sports, literature, and culture in the surrounding areas.

BCPL is committed to focusing on social and environmental aspects of the region. With this vision, BCPL is continuously working for the upliftment of the region since its inception. In the future, our focus will be on the overall development of the local populace residing adjoining BCPL units.

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