Cementing a future

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Despite huge limestone reserves, J&K relies heavily on the cement import from outside states. A new advanced plant hopes to bridge the gap. Haroon Mirani reports.

Director TCI Waseem Trumboo at his office.

Director TCI Waseem Trumboo at his office.

The Trumboo Cements Industries (TCI) is constructing an advanced dry process cement which will also be the largest in the state so far.

The plant coming up at Kashmir’s cement capital Khrew will produce 1000 tonnes per day (tpd) of cement. It is in the final stages of completion.  “We have a requirement of around 15.40 lakh tonnes of cements annually and our domestic production is about 7.50 lakh tonnes,” said Waseem Trumboo, Director TCI. “We import rest of 7.90 lakh tonnes from outside states at the cost of our precious capital.” Trumboo plant will add considerably to the domestic production.

TCI, which currently has a 400 tpd capacity in existing plants will also get a major boost in market share. “Our combined market share will climb to 35 per cent once the cement production from this plant starts,” said Trumboo.

Technology

The plant will be the largest dry process plant in the state.  “Our plant will be the most sophisticated and largest of its kind in the entire state.” The advanced dry process technology, says Trumboo will also be “100 per cent eco friendly”.

The plant is designed by German based Polysius. “This is a harmless non-polluting plant,” said Trumboo. “In other parts of the world such a plant is built near habitations, on sea shores, near habitations and even near eco sensitive zones like a glacier.”

However, to cut down any possible effect on environment, the company has planted 20,000 trees on the 500 kanal compound of the plant.

According to Trumboo, the new plant will provide direct employment to 600 people. “Indirectly it will give jobs to 2000 to 3000 persons,” he said.

Potential

The cement industry in Kashmir has managed to grow exponentially despite a number of problems. “Our cement industry is a success story,” said Trumboo. “And good thing is that we have managed to achieve it entirely on our own.”

Kashmir has about 3500 million tones of limestone reserves – the raw material for manufacturing cement. “In terms of quality this limestone is one of the best in the entire world” says Trumboo.

According to experts the cement industry in Kashmir has a huge potential. “We can not only suffice the demand of our domestic consumption but also export the same,” said Trumboo. “We can save the flight of capital and also earn a lot if only this industry is allowed to grow to its optimum.”

The biggest problem facing Kashmir’s cement industry is that almost 97 per cent of mineral reserves are out of bounds. “Our government has declared most of our reserves as forests and wildlife protected sites,” said Trumboo. “So it means we can’t exploit the same and have to remain as helpless.”

Himachal Pradesh, which has similar reserves produces 2.5 crore tonnes of cement per year, against Kashmir’s annual production of 7.5 lakh tonnes. “We have to work a lot to reach to that position” said Trumboo. “We just want relaxation in some policies and little bit of encouragement, rest we will do on our own.”

The other problems faced by the cement industry is non-availability of regular power supply, non-availability of good quality coal from coal India limited, bad road network and absence of marketing support by the state government.

Despite consumption of 15.40 lakh tones of cement per year, the state fares low in terms of per capita consumption of cement, which stands at 75 kgs per annum against the All India average of 170 kgs per annum.

But the good thing is that the growth is higher than the All India average. The state has an annual growth rate of around 10 per cent against the all India average of 7 per cent.

Based on the current market estimates the cement industry in the state is worth more than 1100 crore rupees.
Trumboo Industries has been in business for many decades. “We were primarily in flour and tea industry” said Trumboo. In 1999 the company shifted its focus to cement which was at its infancy during that time.

Starting with a capacity of 200 tpd, the company has been growing at a rapid pace. “In fact our company has been one of the fastest growing companies in cement sector in the state clocking a growth of around 100 per cent.”
Currently the company has the capacity of around 400 tpd, which will jump once the new plant becomes operational.

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A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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