Driven by his ambition and entrepreneurial passion, an engineer from Kashmir valley worked on a marsh to set up a Rs 100 crore state-of-the-art steel manufacturing plant which is the first of its kind in northern India, Bilal Handoo reports.
It was June 2009 when Shahid Kamili, the director of Himalayan Rolling Steel Industries Private Limited, visited Rangreth Industrial Estate in Ompora locality of Budgam to survey the land for setting up his ambitious steel plant. The piece of land he was shown was one lakh square feet (22 kanals) marshy stretch. It was lying in a dilapidated state. There was no way a factory could be set up on a swamp.
But Kamili was hopeful. His idea was to convert the swamp into proper land for establishing his steel factory. And after four years of hard work which involved hundreds of labourers and engineers, the young entrepreneur saw his efforts bore fruit when the factory was thrown open in January this year.
The once marshy land is presently the site of Rs 100 crore Himalayan Rolling Steel Industries Private Limited steel plant, the first of its kind in J&K as well as in northern India. And with the opening of this steel plant, Kamili, an engineer, is all set to become first high-end steel manufacturer of valley.
“The moment I saw the marshy stretch, I knew that I will change the face value of it,” Shahid Kamili told Kashmir Life at his office in Rangreth. “I also knew it won’t be a cakewalk for me. I gathered all my strength and belief during last four years and today, by the grace of Almighty, I have turned my dream into a reality.”
What looked like an impossible feat for others, Kamili, through his grit, passion and determination, made it reality. To achieve the feat, he ordered 40,000 trucks loaded with soil to fill the marshy land over the last four years. “It was a huge investment. But I made it a point to create something worthwhile out of the dead stock.”
Standing tall in Rangreth Industrial Estate, the hub of industrial activity in Kashmir valley, Himalayan Rolling Steel Industries is the first of its kind, state-of-the-art unit in north India. Currently, the steel products in Kashmir valley are imported from Jammu and Punjab since there is no steel plant here. With Kamili’s initiative, it is expected that the steel requirement of the state will be now met locally.
Kamili says his manufacturing unit is highly sophisticated and equipped with advanced-technology machinery which effectively enhances the production capacity as well as the quality of the produce. The unit is fully automatic and controlled by computer-driven servers. The plant works on AC variable drivers imported from Italy and this is the only mill in north India working on AC motions/AC drivers and AC variables. Besides, the unit has its own power plant with the capacity of 6 MW (megawatts) and separate residential quarters for the employees. The Gasifier has been installed in the plant which will convert coal into energy for running the operation of the plant.
“It is designed to facilitate twin mills. One produces structural steel while the other produces Thermo Mechanically Treated (TMT) steel. Both the operations take place simultaneously,” Kamili says.
“The plant has a capacity to produce 18 million tonnes of steel per second while the capacity of TMT production is 22-25 MT/hour,” he said, adding, “The annual production of TMT and structural steel will be around 1.80 lakh ton and 1.5 lakh ton respectively.”
Kamili, who lives in Barzulla, Srinagar, is the only businessman in his family. His father is a retired bureaucrat while his wife works at a senior position in J&K’s tourism department. He says he has not seen his two children for last three months due to work. “In order to gain extra mile in life, I believe one has to isolate oneself from family for some time. I lost my sleep because of the unit. I have no social life at all,” Kamili says.
Himalayan Rolling Steel Industries provides employment to scores of youth, besides some technical experts from India. “Once fully operational, it will employ around 600 persons besides engaging dealers and distributors,” Kamili says, adding, “My priority is to provide employment with honour. I want to add to the growth of my workforce which, I believe, is the simplest rule for any organization to touch new heights.” Kamili is planning to have proper insurance cover, special perks and educational facilities to kins of his employees.
Recently, a visiting engineering professor from Srinagar’s National Institute of Technology (NIT) appreciated the testing lab at Kamili’s unit. “The professor opined that my testing lab is far better equipped than one at NIT Srinagar,” he says. His unit has its own testing lab accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
Improved surface finish and closer dimensional tolerance of steel are two factors that determine standard of any steel plant. Kamili claims his unit meets both these criteria and is at par with similar products from primary sector producers like SAIL (Steel Authority of India), TISCO (Tata Iron & Steel Company Ltd) and RINL (Rastriya Ispat Nigam Ltd).
The steel industry is a more than five decades old with an annual turn-over of Rs 600 crores across India. States like J&K, Punjab, Gujrat and Goa are having ample infrastructure with modern systems and constant sales network throughout India. The industry deals with production of construction materials of all sorts especially iron, steel, GI/MS sheets, TMT bars, rounds, structural steels, alloy steels, induction furnaces, square pipes, round pipes, rectangular pipe, railing pipe, steel doors, window frames, shutter strips, angles, fabrication and erection of pre fabricated huts and shelters, and all sorts of fabrication jobs.
The unit set by Kamili produces structural steel, automatic TMT bars, round bars, angles, flats, squares and channels. It is also coming up with a rolling mill with a production capacity of 2,50,000 TPA (tonnes per annum) of TMT and structural steel with vast range of sizes and sections.
“The unit has been designed in such a manner that it will be licensed to be the authorized conversion agent for various major steel producers like SAIL, RINL TISCO and BSP (Bhilai Steel Plant),” Kamili claims.
“We are equipped with a well-established manufacturing base which is the major factor behind our consistent growth in the industry,” Kamili says. “It further supports us in streamlining manufacturing process that enables us in timely execution of all our orders. With the help of our machines as well as the gained process expertise, we are able to offer prefabricated structures that are offered in exact finishes as per client’s given specifications,” he says.
It was a sustained effort and will of Kamili that makes his unit stand out in a state where industry has been worst hit in decades of conflict. His passion has become infectious for others who had abandoned their industrial units at Rangreth at the peak of militancy in Kashmir and are now returning. “Our mission is to build world class development concepts across all lines with the highest standards of professionalism, ethics, quality and customer service,” Kamili says.
“Our vision is to contribute significantly to build the new Jammu & Kashmir and become India’s most valuable hardware manufacturing company,” he says confidently.