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`Probe import of rock phosphate by FACT'

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, FEB. 9. Trade unions at Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT) Ltd. have demanded the suspension of three top officials of the company and an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the alleged malpractices involved in the import of rock phosphate from Togo.

At a press conference here today, K. Chandran Pillai, MP, and the district president of INTUC .K. P.Haridas said that the officials involved violated a decision by the Standing Sales Purchase Committee (SSPC) in ordering rock phosphate worth about Rs.40 crores for FACT's phosphatic fertiliser plants.

The trade union leaders said that FACT usually imported rock phosphate from countries such as Jordan and Morocco. At the same time, tenders for the supply of the raw material were also accepted from African countries like Togo and Algiers.

The FACT corporate management had ordered 30,000 tonnes of rock phosphate from Togo in October last year on an experimental basis. However, the SSPC decided against the use of the rock phosphate from Togo as it proved to be uneconomical for FACT, said the trade union leaders.

The SSPC decided against the Togo raw material because of certain technical reasons including the requirement for excess use of sulphuric acid for processing the rock phosphate imported from the African country, claimed the trade union leaders.

Besides, buyers of Factamphose from the company had registered complaints about the product with the FACT marketing department, they said.

According to them, the SSPC meeting on December 9 and 10 decided to re-tender the supply of 1.2 lakh tonnes of rock phosphate and not to entertain any offer from Togo suppliers of rock phosphate.

However, said the trade union leaders, some of the company's top officials went against this decision and placed order for rock phosphate worth Rs. 40 crores from Togo in December last.

Although the SSPC decision was overlooked, the trade union leaders alleged that the issue did not figure during the Board meeting of FACT on December 24 last and January 31 this year.

The trade union leaders said that FACT was already in deep financial crisis and that such practices would push the company into further trouble. They demanded a CBI enquiry to unearth the facts behind the decision by the company management to place order for rock phosphate from Togo.

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