JK Cement Eyes 6 Million Ton Greenfield Unit

Shimla:  Rich limestone deposits and the state government not averse to having more cement plants is attracting more players with JK Cements being the latest entrant, vying for setting up a large Greenfield plant in Himachal Pradesh.

Industry department officials disclosed that JK Cement has put up a proposal for setting up a 6 million ton capacity plant in Sirmaur district that would involve an investment of about Rs 6000 crores.

“The proposal is under examination,” Arun Sharma, state geologist said.

Cement Corporation of India (CCI) already has a 1 million ton capacity cement plant operating in the area and JK Cement could crowd the region.

Besides CCI, ACC has a 4 million ton unit at Barmana and Ambuja Cements a 1.6 million ton unit at Dharalghat. Ambuja Cement is adding to capacity by setting up an additional 2 million ton unit at its Dharlaghat site.

JP Associates has obtained licenses for two cement plants, and work on the 2 million ton Bagha-Bhalag plant in Solan-Bilaspur district is in an advanced stage. The new plant is scheduled for commissioning by 2009. Work on their Chamba cement plant is yet to start as mandatory environment clearances are still to be obtained.

Controversy over locating the Sudernagar cement plant being set up by Harish Cement has delayed the project by many years. A wild life sanctuary in the vicinity and resistance by residents are cited as reasons for delays.

A Greenfield project at Alsindi in Mandi district was allocated to global cements major Lafarge by the previous government.

India Cements is yet another player to have bagged a cement plant in the state. Work on the Alisindi and Chopal plants is yet start.

Infrastructure constraints particularly poor road conditions are being stated to be the reason for delay in executing most of the cement plant projects.

However, industry officials state that some cement companies have allocated funds for widening of roads to the mining areas where the plants are to come up. “Work on widening of some approach roads has begun,” said a senior official of the industry department.

The BJP government headed by Prem Kumar Dhumal recently issued prospective license to Dalmia Cement for exploring the feasibility of setting up a cement plant at Sunni near Shimla.

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