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Gadkari to visit Iran; govt plans Rs 1 lakh cr investment

nitin-gadkari

New Delhi: A high-level delegation led by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari will soon visit Iran with proposals to make big ticket investments that could be worth more than Rs 1 lakh crore.

The visit will take place amid negotiations between the two countries on gas price for a urea plant to be set up in Iran. While Iran is offering to supply natural gas at USD 2.95 for the plant that India proposes to set up at Chabahar port SEZ, India is insisting for lowering the rates to USD 1.5.

With the US and other western powers easing sanctions against Iran, India has been in talks with Tehran to set up a gas-based urea manufacturing plant at the Chabahar port, besides developing a gas discovery ONGC had made.

Projects pertaining to iron ore, steel, highways and railways are also in the pipeline.

The total investment in the projects could be more than Rs 1,00,000 crore and will depend on negotiations on oil pricing, Gadkari told PTI.

“All the departments concerned will give their reports by September 28 to our (Shipping) Secretary (Rajive Kumar) on the projects they are planning in Iran,” said the Road Transport and Highways Minister.

“Guidance from Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be sought based on total investments proposed and we will go to Iran soon,” he said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had called on Gadkari on August 14 during his visit to India.

“Their Foreign Minister had visited us. I had told him that I will come to you within a fortnight with proposals. I could not go because we want to go with a bigger proposal with investment plans of other Ministries too,” he said.

India is negotiating to get gas from them at a price of USD 1.5 per million British thermal unit which will be economical, he said, adding that in 2013 they had offered it at less than a dollar – 82 cents.

He said if Iran agrees to it, India will see a significant decline in the country’s Rs 80,000 crore subsidy for urea and also slash its prices by 50 per cent.

India has already pledged to invest about USD 85 million in developing the strategic port off Iran’s south eastern coast, which would provide it a sea-land access route to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Ministries of Chemical & Fertiliser and Petroleum are working on the proposed 1.3 million tonnes per annum plant.

Gadkari had visited Tehran in May, and both the nations had inked a pact to develop the Chabahar port.

In August, Gadkari said Iran has given “very good offers” to India to develop the integrated Chabahar port, which has a special economic zone (SEZ).