Ambuja Cement Eastern, a subsidiary of Gujarat Ambuja Cements, has decided to shelve its expansion plans till the closure of the company’s current accounting year at the end of June 2004. The management of ACEL, which was earlier known as Modi Cement Ltd, was contemplating doubling the capacity. According to Harshavardhan Neotia, Managing Director of AECL and a director of GACL, the company has already received necessary permissions for the capacity expansion. "We are holding back the project for the time being. We would first like to end the financial year 2003-04 in June and then we would go to the board of GACL with the proposal of the capacity expansion. The board will take the final decision," Neotia told local reporters.
ACEL was acquired by GACL from the Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) in December 1997. At the beginning, AECL had just one unit at Bhatapara in Chhattisgarh. In January 2000, it embarked on a one-million-tonne grinding unit at Sankrail in West Bengal. The plant was commissioned within a year in January 2001. Clinker for this unit was mostly supplied by the Bhatapara plant. In January, this year, Neotia announced that the management wanted to double the capacity of the Sankrail unit and for that, permissions from the State Government and other authorities had been sought. However, now, Neotia seemed doubtful that there might be a shortage of clinker if the capacity of the Sankrail unit was doubled. "Again, I am not too sure. We may just make it. So to be completely sure of the clinker position and other matters, we are holding back the expansion proposal and finally get the plan cleared by the GACL board", he said.