Jindal plans Rs 800-cr cement plant in WB

Jindal plans Rs 800-cr cement plant in WB

Jindal plans Rs 800-cr cement plant in WB

 Jindal Steel Works (JSW) on Wednesday heralded a new chapter in its business roadmap, with a plan to set up a cement plant in West Bengal, instead of a steel plant, which it has earlier envisaged.   

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee laid the foundation stone of the Rs 800-crore cement plant of JSW at Salboni in West Midnapore district on Wednesday. Initially proposed as an integrated steel plant, the project got delayed by eight years due to various issues, the topmost being lack of linkages to source iron ore.

JSW Group’s proposed integrated steel plant would have produced 10 million tonnes of steel at an investment of Rs 35,000 crore. The cement plant, which will come up by January 2017, will increase the group’s current cement producing capacity of six million tonnes, to 16 million tonnes, said the group’s economic analyst, Parth Jindal.

In terms of the earlier integrated steel plant, the group had signed an MoU with the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation in 2007, under which, it acquired 4,500 acres of land.

Meanwhile, the cement plant will come up on just 134 acres, said Chairman Sajjan Jindal. Calling it “a small beginning”, he said, “a lot more could follow like downstream steel and paints, besides cement”.

The cement plant project, which includes setting up a 2.4 million tonnes cement grinding unit, is the company’s third such facility after Vijaynagar in Karnataka, and Dolvi in Maharashtra. While JSW executives said the raw material linkage for the cement grinding unit has been finalised, next in line is a 300-mW captive power plant at a cost of Rs 2,000 crore.

Banerjee, who welcomed the cement plant at the commencement ceremony, meanwhile, pointed out at the lack of a national iron ore policy on the lines of the coal policy. “If the country can have a national coal policy, then why shouldn’t there be a national iron ore policy in place?” she asked. She stated that had there been a national iron ore policy, “the steel plant could have seen the light of day”.

The project first ran into trouble in November 2008, when Maoists exploded a powerful mine in the way of erstwhile Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, when he was returning from the plant’s foundation stone laying ceremony. Former Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan and the JSW chief were also part of the convoy, but had a narrow escape. The explosion was the first major shot Maoists had taken in the state.