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Himachal

Posted at: Dec 7, 2018, 12:47 AM; last updated: Dec 7, 2018, 12:47 AM (IST)

Norms eased to woo investors for Chamba cement plant

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 6

The Himachal Government has been compelled to relax some of the conditions for setting up of the white cement plant at Sikridhar in Chamba as not even a single bid has been received when global tenders were floated earlier.

Failing to evoke interest among the investors towards the project, the government has once again invited tenders for the project. The documents to apply for the project will be made available after December 11, 2018. The cement plant will be set up in the vicinity of Baroh and Shind villages where there are huge limestone deposits.

Though ACC Company had bought the tender document when the bids were invited in August earlier this year the tenders were not submitted. As such not even a single bid was received for the much-delayed project.

“In a bid to woo investors we have now decided to provide the road infrastructure that would be required for setting up the project,” revealed an industry official. As per the earlier tender terms and conditions, the investor was to undertake the road construction, which probably appeared to be a major inhibiting factor for investors.

Sources said that the other relaxation given to rope in investors was the removal of the condition that a minimum of 26 per cent of the cement produced will have to be sold within Himachal only. With this clause being removed, the company would be free to sell cement wherever it wished to with no restrictions in place. It is after fulfilling the cumbersome formalities under the new amended Mines and Mineral Act that the Industries Department had invited tenders for the Rs 1,000 crore project in August, 2018. The cost of the plant has escalated to almost Rs 1,000 crores but it is expected to provide employment to 1,000 persons in the remote areas of Chamba where employment avenues are very limited.

The project, earlier allotted to the Jayprakash Associates Ltd in 2007 was cancelled by the previous Congress regime as the company failed to start work even after the expiry of the extended deadline. The project with a capacity of two million tonnes per annum would have become operational much earlier had the Jayprakash Associates Ltd not delayed its setting up. It was on February 19, 2014 that the Cabinet cancelled the allotment made to the Jaypee group in February 2007. Since, Chamba district is very remote and has a locational disadvantage, the setting up of the plant is expected to herald economic prosperity in the area. Besides, 1000 persons getting direct employment, the setting up of the cement plant is likely to provide indirect employment to 5,000 persons as taxis, trucks and shops will be required.

The relaxation

  • It has now been decided to provide the road infrastructure that would be required for setting up the project. As per the earlier tender terms, the investor was to undertake the road construction.

  • The other relaxation was the removal of the condition that a minimum of 26 per cent of the cement produced will have to be sold within Himachal. Now, the company will be free to sell cement wherever it wishes.

Much-delayed project

The project, earlier allotted to the Jayprakash Associates Ltd in 2007, was cancelled by the previous Congress regime as the company failed to start work even after the expiry of the extended deadline. It was on February 19, 2014 that the Cabinet cancelled the allotment made to the Jaypee group in February 2007.

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