India is predominantly an agrarian nation, with a substantial portion of its population engaged in farming. Given its agricultural dependency, India is heavily reliant on fertilizer production for sustaining soil fertility and optimising crop yields, which is vital for sustaining food security and the livelihoods of millions engaged in farming.
Fertilizer Corporation of India Limited (FCIL), a key public sector undertaking, played a pivotal role in India’s fertilizer production since its inception. Facing financial challenges in the 1990s, FCIL’s production units were shut down. Recognising the need for domestic urea production, the government of India initiated the revival of old fertilizer units. The Union Cabinet of India, chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, with visionary initiative, approved the revival of shuttered fertilizer units in Gorakhpur, Sindri, and Barauni, spearheaded by the Fertilizer Corporation of India Limited (FCIL) and Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Limited (HFCL).
The initiative led to the creation of Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Limited (HURL) in 2016, a Joint Venture Company with three prominent Maharatna companies, NTPC Limited (NTPC), Coal India Limited (CIL) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) as its lead promoters, alongside FCIL and HFCL. This strategic support not only enhances HURL’s credibility but also offers invaluable resources, expertise, and industry knowledge.
The endorsement from these major companies reflects a commitment to excellence and a shared vision for success, providing HURL with the opportunity to contribute significantly to the growth and development of the chemical industry. HURL’s mission is to boost domestic fertilizer production, meet agricultural demands, and ensure food security, thereby reducing the reliance on fertilizer imports.
Effective March 15, 2023, Siba Prasad Mohanty assumed the role of Managing Director at Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Limited (HURL) in addition to his existing position as Chairman and Managing Director of BVFCL. On December 29, 2023, he assumed full-time charge as Managing Director at Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Limited (HURL).
Holding the position of Chairman at the Fertilizer Association of India (FAI) in the Eastern Region, S.P. Mohanty is recognised for his adept leadership. A Fellow Member of the Institute of Directors (FIoD) and Co-Chairman of the FICCI Crop Protection Committee, he also serves as an Executive Member of the Governing Body of SCOPE.
With over 32 years of diverse experience in Agri Input Marketing, S.P. Mohanty has made significant contributions during his tenure at Rashtriya Chemical & Fertilizers Ltd (RCF) and was honoured with awards such as “Marketing Man of the Year” in 1995 and “Best Employee” in 2012.
His accolades include the “Udyog Rattan Award,” “Excellence Award,” “Hindi Gaurav Award,” “Bharat Jyoti Award,” and the “State Business Leadership Award 2022.” Recognised for meritorious services, outstanding performances, and a remarkable role, S.P. Mohanty received the Chanakya Award 2022 from the Public Relations Council of India in Kolkata.
In an unprecedented global feat, a single entity undertook the implementation of three mega fertilizer projects simultaneously. Entrusted with the task of revitalising the old units of FCIL and HFCL, Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Limited (HURL) undertook the establishment of state-of-the-art, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly Ammonia Urea fertilizer complexes in Gorakhpur, Barauni, and Sindri, with a cumulative production capacity of 38.1 Lac Metric Tons per annum of neem coated prilled Urea and investment of Rs 28000 Cr.
Foundation stones for the projects were laid by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on 22 July 2016, for Gorakhpur, 25 May 2018, for Sindri, and 17 February 2019, for the Barauni Project. Despite facing multiple waves of COVID-19 and various challenges, HURL achieved record-breaking commissioning times for all three plants, making them among the fastest and most modern units. Monitored by Niti Aayog and the Department of Fertilizers (GoI), the projects attained operational milestones, with Gorakhpur commencing production on 26 March 2022, followed by Barauni on 18 October 2022 and Sindri on 5 November 2022.
A pivotal moment in HURL’s journey was marked by the dedication of the Gorakhpur unit to the nation by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, with the forthcoming dedications of the Barauni and Sindri units further affirming HURL’s vital contributions to the nation’s agricultural sector.
The commissioning of manufacturing units resulted in HURL becoming the second-largest Urea manufacturer in the country, having produced 12 million MT in FY 2022-23 and 26 million MT as of 31st December 2023 in FY 2023-24. In the future, HURL is set to reduce Urea imports by approximately 40 Lakh MT annually, significantly saving foreign exchange and aligning with the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. In accordance with Government directives, including the PM PRANAM Scheme, HURL is actively developing multiple products to benefit Indian farmers.
With HURL’s production, India has achieved a significant boost in self-sufficiency in Urea capacity, addressing a significant portion of the country’s nitrogenous fertilizer needs.
Recognising the Government of India’s emphasis on alternate fertilizers, HURL proactively introduced products like Apna Power (Mycorrhizae), PDMSri(PDM), and Apna Calgro(Calcium Nitrate). In alignment with its commitment to innovation, HURL is poised to introduce Nano Fertilizers, Sulphur-coated Urea, and Ammonium Sulphate & other Bio- Fertilizers reflecting a forward-looking approach to meet evolving agricultural demands sustainably, providing high-quality fertilizers.
With a diverse product portfolio spanning traditional to innovative fertilizers, HURL proudly serves 14 states across India, initially concentrating on Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and West Bengal. Recognising its crucial role, HURL expanded its service areas to include Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tripura, Manipur, and Mizoram, reaching a broader agricultural community.
In facing challenges typical to the fertilizer industry, HURL encountered disruptions in the supply chain, fluctuations in natural gas prices, and global geopolitical conditions, which are common concerns across industries. A significant hurdle arose during the COVID-19 phase, impacting the implementation of all three HURL plants.
Lockdowns and reduced manpower affected offshore and onshore consignments, with shortages of construction materials. Through adept coordination, local district administration support, and collaboration with the Department of Fertilizer, HURL successfully navigated these challenges, ensuring efficient and timely commissioning of its plants. S.P. Mohanty emphasises,
Prioritising a safe working environment, HURL upholds the highest safety standards in its role as a chemical and gas-handling process plant. Conducting Safety Integrity Level (SIL) studies for all instruments and employing dual redundant, IS-certified trip solenoids with SS316L as the MOC exemplify HURL’s commitment to safety. Critical operational loops are identified separately, adopting a 2oo3 SOV philosophy with plunger feedback in the control system.
HURL’s commitment extends to state-of-the-art fire and safety devices deployed across critical manufacturing areas, promptly detecting and responding to potential fire hazards. The implementation of Dust Extraction and Dust Suppression systems ensures air quality and mitigates Urea dust-related risks. Mock drills are conducted regularly to enhance awareness and preparedness for fire and ammonia leakage incidents. Blast-proof control rooms at all three units are designed to withstand potential blasts and facilitate equipment operation during emergencies.
Ongoing safety training programs cultivate a culture of awareness and responsibility among employees. Dedicated to continuous improvement, HURL conducts regular assessments, feedback mechanisms, and updates to safety protocols, demonstrating a proactive stance in identifying and addressing potential safety enhancements.
asserts S.P. Mohanty.
As the newest player in the fertilizer industry, HURL has ample room for growth in the chemical sector. Dedicated to advancing efficiency and decision-making in chemical manufacturing, HURL embraces cutting-edge technologies and industry best practices. Employing advanced integrated automation for Urea, Ammonia, and Offsite facilities at its plants, HURL achieves precision, minimises manual intervention, and ensures consistent, high-quality production, aligning with global energy efficiency benchmarks.
Data integration enables HURL to analyse vast amounts of information generated during manufacturing processes, facilitating data-driven decision-making and process improvement. Leveraging SAP as its comprehensive ERP solution, HURL ensures a cohesive, technologically advanced approach, fostering sustained success in the industry through optimised processes and enhanced operational efficiency.
Recognising the ongoing revolution in both agriculture and fertilizers, HURL is attuned to the sector’s significant transformation. With a focus on emerging trends such as drone technology in agriculture, nanotechnology applications, green energy, and biofertilizers, HURL is strategically developing its product portfolio to meet evolving industry needs. Positioning itself as a forward-thinking and environmentally conscious player in the fertiliser industry, HURL aims for sustained growth through innovation and sustainability.
Advising aspiring entrepreneurs, S.P. Mohanty shares, “The fertilizer industry is dynamic; commit to continuous learning and invest in your education and skill development to remain competitive. Build a strong professional network, embrace innovation, and be resilient in the face of challenges. Your journey is a canvas—every setback is an opportunity for growth.”