Ajay Sharma flags off the first truckload of cement from the plant in Bokaro on Friday. Picture by Pankaj Singh
Bokaro, May 20: Bokaro Jaypee Cement Limited (BJCL) — a joint venture of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL) — today kicked off commercial production from one of its two units that will be producing 2.10MT cement per annum.
The units will be using slag generated by the blast furnaces of Bokaro steel plant to produce cement.
However, officials of SAIL and Bokaro steel plant were conspicuously absent on the inaugural, as the Jaypee cement bosses apparently forgot to invite its partners’ representatives to the occasion.
Sources said no invites had been sent to steel plant managing director’s office either, which a senior official termed as “humiliating and disgusting” for Bokaro steel.
When pointed out, the chairman of BJCL, Ashok Kumar Sharma, and director Ajay Sharma said they did not sense any urgency to invite their major partners now, but claimed they would invite top officials for the formal inauguration of the plant next month.
The Rs 440-crore plant, with a majority stake of 74 per cent in favour of JAL, was earlier slated to start production from June 2010. However, it faced stiff opposition from local residents, who burnt its office at the earlier site in Bodrotand on October 23, 2008.
The site was then shifted to Bokaro Industrial Area Development Authority campus at Balidih, where it was allotted about 90 acres in two phases.
Ashok Kumar Sharma said the plant was one of the best in the country and it was adopting the latest technology in slag-based cement production. The unit has employed more than 450 people, including 54 local residents. Sharma added that the plant would indirectly provide livelihood to about 2,000 people.
Promising prosperity for the region and a congenial industrial atmosphere, Sharma pointed out that cement produced by the plant would be sold in Bengal, Bihar, and Jharkhand. The raw materials for the plant will be brought from Sonebhadra in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
“It is indeed a golden day in the history of Bokaro and Jharkhand, as Bokaro steel plant has been dreaming of starting a cement plant for 25 years,” Sharma said. Senior general managers Jagmohan, P.P. Singh and Mahesh Sharma were also present at the news meet.
SAIL had signed a shareholders’ agreement with (JAL) on February 21, 2008, to form BJCL for setting up a 2.1MT capacity cement plant in Bokaro. The signatories to the agreement were V.K. Srivastava, managing director of SAIL’s Bokaro Steel Plant (BSL) and JAL executive vice-chairman S.K. Sharma.
BJCL is SAIL’s second cement-related joint venture after the its plant in Bhilai.