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Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited (RCF) is one of the most revered public sector undertakings in India. A Mini Ratna company, it has two manufacturing units, one at Trombay, in Mumbai– which has completed 50 excellent years in the fertilizers and chemicals domain – and the other at Thal in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. RCF has, over the last five decades, displayed a distinctive work culture and management style, a concern for the community and the environment, and of course, an innate affection for the farmer.
It has based its growth and success on the philosophy – ‘Let us grow together’.
RCF’s Trombay unit has witnessed the complete transformation of the Indian Fertilizer industry right from the nascent stage into the covetous position of being the third largest producer of fertilizers in the world. Although operations at Trombay initially commenced with Ammonia, Urea, Nitric Acid and Sulphuric Acid plants in the 1960s, strategic diversification and expansions led to the addition of new chemical plants producing Methanol, Ammonium Bicarbonate, Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite, Methylamines, Phosphoric Acid, etc. As a result, the unit has metamorphosed into an integrated fertilizers and chemicals complex with the advantage of having a diverse product basket of several industrial chemicals apart from fertilizers. This has helped RCF maintain its profitability even under adverse agro-climatic conditions which normally impact fertilizer sales as well as margin, thus providing stability in performance.
While maintaining operational excellence, the Company has also been working incessantly to go beyond the stipulated requirements for environment management and pollution control. The ‘Chembur Green Project’, the Sewage Treatment plant and the CDM project for abatement of N2O gases from the Nitric Acid plants are some of the notable measures in this direction. Even after 50 years of uninterrupted operation, the Trombay Unit still continues to be a vibrant complex with all its plants de-bottlenecked and revamped. It is the result of the Company’s constant endeavour to reduce energy consumption, improve productivity and achieve reliability and safety in operations that Trombay’s vintage plants are still operating with great energy efficiency. Besides being a pioneer in its sector, RCF has contributed handsomely over the years in fulfilling the fertilizer requirements of the country to ensure food security for its teeming millions.
The company’s Super Fertilizer Unit at Thal comprises of two gas-based Ammonia plants and three Urea plants, each of 1,500 metric tonnes per day capacity. The Urea plants went into commercial production in 1985. Utility plants at Thal include ‘captive power generation’ and steam generation boilers.
The plants at Thal were set up with huge infrastructural investments, including construction of roads, railway siding, power and water supply, jetty, township for employees etc. Associated Gas from Bombay High and Bassein Off-shore was made available, while water was sourced from River Kundalika. The Heavy Water Plant, DMF, Methylamines, Carbon Monoxide and Formic Acid plants are the other installations at Thal. These plants are technologically advanced and energy efficient, equipped with sophisticated instrumentation and process control. The best available technology has been employed for environmental management at significant cost. Designed for minimal pollution, air is continually monitored at three different locations around the plant and a marine outfall system disposes treated effluent deep into the sea. In the pipeline for Thal are the Thal III Ammonia and Urea plants, with an annual capacity of 12.7 lakh metric tonnes of Urea.
RCF’s products, namely Ujjwala Urea, Suphala 15:15:15 and Suphala 20:20:0 are household names in rural India. Modern products like the 100% water-soluble Sujala, Biola and Microla have also helped farmers increase their outputs and profits, and have created a stir in the markets. The Company has strived to provide farmers with one-stop shops for farm products by not only marketing its own range of trusted products but also other quality products through imports or through other manufacturers.
Safety at the workplace and safety of the community is of paramount importance to the Company. Therefore a disaster management plan - along with a mutual understanding agreement with neighbouring companies - is in place in case of emergencies. New products and implementation of new projects are a continuous process at RCF with the help of a strong Research & Development base. State-of-the-art technology and highly skilled and trained personnel enhance the value of innovation here.
RCF takes its CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) seriously. It works diligently to reach out to the needy and works for the general good of society. A host of activities are undertaken by the company which include adoption of villages, providing drinking water, school facilities and scholarships, mid-day meals to students, special coaching facilities to poor children to enable them get admission in IITs and NITs, community medical facility through mobile medical vans, special measures for SC/ST and the under privileged, providing training to farmers etc. As part of its social efforts, the Company has adopted 63 villages in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh for overall development. This programme has brought about a qualitative change in the economic status of farmers and people in various other occupations in villages.
The Company is concerned about the soil makeup of the country, which ultimately will lead to better yields. In order to promote the balanced use of fertilizers for improvement in farm productivity and also to help maintain soil health, RCF has set up 13 Soil Testing laboratories at strategic locations in the country, like Mumbai, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Hassan, Vijayawada, Latur, Kolar, Suryapet, Raipur, Nanded, Lucknow and Satara. In addition to these labs, the Company also operates six Mobile Soil Testing labs. This service is rendered free of cost, and in the last forty odd years, over 50 lakh soil samples have been analysed.
RCF has sought to bridge the gap between research scientist and the farmer by setting up dedicated Farmer Training Centres at Nagpur and Thal. RCF publishes a monthly farm magazine, which started in 1967, named "RCF Sheti Patrika". Sheti Patrika disseminates latest agricultural news, information and practices to the farming community and is distributed free of cost to the farmers. The Company has also introduced a Toll Free Helpline – 1800 22 3044 service through which the farmers can get advice and suggestions on their agriculture and farming related queries.
RCF’s Chairman & Managing Director, Mr. R.G. Rajan says, “The next level of growth for RCF will come from several projects which are on the anvil, like the Thal III expansion project, revival project of the Talcher unit in consortium with GAIL, CIL and FCI, the joint-venture fertilizer project in Ghana, etc. Besides, the Company is also actively pursuing the long term off-take agreement for potash with suppliers from Canada and Europe.RCF is also concentrating on developing value-added-products like water soluble fertilizers, bio fertilizers, micronutrients, fortified fertilizers with micronutrients and customised fertilizers. Customised fertilizers could be the products of the future.
“RCF has ambitious capex plans which, if fructified, would catapult the Company into a ‘megacorp’. A capital investment of around `16,500 crore, over the next five years for setting up new plants and expanding the existing ones, is being planned. The targeted turnover by the end of the 12th Five-Year-Plan is `15,000 crore,” adds Mr. Rajan.