India: two new cement plant sites could go to auction

India: two new cement plant sites could go to auction
Published: 05 January 2016


Two proposed cement plants at Gumma, Chaupal, in the Shimla district  and at Nauradhar in the Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh, India, could be sold via public auction.

The mining wing of the Industry Department is planning to seek cabinet acceptance before bids can be invited for the two sites, but any cement plant allotment can be open for auction, according to the amended Mineral Regulation Development Act (MRDA).

The limestone deposits at Nauradhar have a high level of purity and are therefore suited for production of white cement, but their location in the interior part of the country represents specific issues for potential owners. “Some companies, including one based in Jaipur, have expressed interest in setting up a white cement plant at the site but because of the site being in an interior part, providing power and road connectivity is an issue,” admitted Rajinder Singh, director of industries.

On 5 August 2015 the state government decided to cancel its agreement with India Cement Ltd for setting up a plant at Gumma. Sources said India Cement had failed to start work and had been issued a notice. The company later conveyed to the Industry Department its unwillingness to set up the cement plant.

As a result, the Industry Department can now hold open auctions. “Had the issue of the cancellation of the proposed [2Mta] cement plant in Chamba, earlier allotted to Jaiprakash Associates Ltd (JAL), been decided by the court, we would have put up this site as well for auction,” said an official.

Meanwhile, the committee headed by the chief secretary has decided to provide time to Lafarge India Pvt Ltd to set up its plant at Alsindi in Karsog, Himachal Pradesh, and Harish Cements its works at Sundernagar in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, until March 2016.