Machinery worth crores rust in KIOCL

Machinery worth  crores rust in KIOCL

Nearly seven years after the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL) plant in Kudremukh was closed following a Supreme Court order, the giant machinery at the plant stand mute witness to the glorious past when the mini-ratna ruled the roost.

Not one or two, but hundreds of huge machines, mostly imported from Canada in 1976, are gathering dust.

In fact, the machines waiting for a potential buyer.

They include eight massive shovels (each can take out 32 tonnes of ore in a single scoop) costing more than Rs 25 crore (at present market value) each, 32 dumpers (trucks) each with a whopping 120-tonne capacity, five drills (with 58 feet depth and 12.25 dia), six track dozers (the tyre diameter is nine feet), five rubber tyre dozers, five front end loaders, four motor graders and seven huge water sprinklers (dumpers), to mention a few.

Though a global tender was invited four years ago, it did not yield any result as the mining giant wanted to sell the entire equipment to one firm and not in pieces. Sources said that the equipment was estimated to be worth around Rs 2,000 crore, a few years ago.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, KIOCL Chairman and Managing Director Malay Chatterjee (who assumed charge on July 1, 2012) said that if the global tender failed to yield positive results this time, the entire machinery might be auctioned to scrap in a year.

Noting that he held a discussions with Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, he said that the chief minister had promised to look into the issue after the Assembly session.

He said the entire plant may be relocated. However, he did not elaborate on the same.
Stating that the firm requires a minimum of Rs 30 crore a year to maintain the equipment (that includes salaries of CISF and other staff at the plant), Chatterjee termed it as a sheer waste of national resources.

It was Rs 48 crore two years ago and much more in earlier years. The government for the past seven years has spent over Rs 250 crore just to maintain the equipment.

To a query, he said that the present number of employees in Kudremukh plant was less than 240 (it was 1,260 when the plant was in operation). It is also interesting to note that almost every day, the employees start the machines so that they are kept in good condition, he added.

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