With the ministry of environment and forests giving its clearance, the Jaypee group’s proposed cement plant in Himachal Pradesh’s Solan district is expected to become operational by the end of next year.
The 2Mt capacity plant will come up at Baga Bhalag and will be the second plant in the limestone-rich Solan district. The Gujarat Ambuja group already has a plant in the neighbourhood.
The state government had allotted the Rs 6bn Baga Bhalag cement plant to Jaiprakash Industries over a year ago but was awaiting the crucial green clearance from the central government.
The mining lease for limestone spread over an area of 332 hectares has already been granted by the state government to the Jaypee group, one of the country’s leading infrastructural industrial group with a turnover of over Rs 30bn ($650m).
"As we have got the environmental clearance, the plant will come into operation by December next year," said Rikhi Sharma, a top Jaypee Industries official.
"Some 20,000 people will get direct and indirect employment by the setting up of this plant," he said.
"We would be using the latest electrostatic precipitator and baghouse techniques so that minimal environment damage takes place in the hills," he said.
Experts have identified 1,000Mt of cement grade limestone deposits in and around Baga Bhalag and of this 280Mt have been confirmed by drilling into the earth’s surface.
Earlier this month the state government allotted another cement plant in Chopal in Shimla district to India Cements. The Chennai-based company will set up the Chopal cement plant at a cost Rs 7.5bn.