The Telegraph
Saturday , January 19 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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December date for OCL plant

Puneet Yadu Dalmia in Calcutta on Friday. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury

Calcutta, Jan. 18: OCL India Ltd, an associate company of the Rs 5,600-crore diversified Dalmia Bharat Group, will commission its cement grinding unit on a 200-acre plot in Bengal’s Jungle Mahal by December.

The company has started construction three months back and will invest Rs 500 crore in the 1.3-million-tonne (mt) facility at a location known for its Maoist association.

According to the company, JSW Bengal Steel’s proposal to set up a 10mt per annum facility at Salboni helped it to choose the location. The proposed steel plant can serve as a potential fly ash supplier.

OCL received 154.43 acres from the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation and purchased the rest directly. It received possession of the land in 2011.

“We started construction three months back. I was scared and sceptical. The Tatas moved out and we thought land problems would be there. We were pleasantly surprised. Till now, we have not faced any trouble. There is a need to improve the perception of the state. Reality here is much better than perception,” said Puneet Yadu Dalmia, managing director of Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd, which holds a 45 per cent stake in OCL.

A company spokesperson said besides the presence of the Jindals, the rail connectivity and the 95 per cent barren land were a major reason behind the choice of the location.

A West Midnapore district official said, “OCL is setting up a cement plant in Godapiashal in Salboni, about 70 km from Jhargram. The area was a Maoist stronghold between 2009 and 2010. But now, it can no longer be called Maoist-affected.”

Cement contributes about 70 per cent to the Dalmia Bharat Group’s turnover.