By:- Lolano P. Khuvung,25 June: Conceived and conceptualised during the early eighties, the 50 TPD ( Tonnes Per Day ) Mini Cement Plant was set up at Wazeho based on the Limestone deposits, with a total proved reserve of 3.2 million tonnes (50TPD Mini Cement Plant requires a minimum proved reserve of 0.65 million tonnes) The limestone found at Wazeho is of high grade quality having CaO percentage up to 54.
The technology of the Plant is that of Vertical Shaft Kiln (VSK). The Plant which is financed and sponsored by the NEC at the cost of Rs. 450.87 lakh was not completed in time owing to legal disputes with the machinery’s suppliers. Thus, the State Government and the NEC, stepped in from 1989 onwards through NSMDC.
The Plant was put into production from September 1992 and operated till up to June 2003. The Cement produced from the Plant is of 43 Grade O.P.C. which is the second highest grade in India. However, of late many large cement plants has been set up in the country resulting in competition in the Cement Market.
Realizing that small capacity cement plant are not viably economically in this present day competitive market, so the Government of Nagaland decided to expand the Plant to 150 TPD capacity.
The proposal for expansion and modernization of Wazeho Cement Plant was approved by the Planning Commission for implementation during the 9th Five Year Plan for which the State Equity of Rs.160.00 lakhs was released during 1997-98 and 1998-99.
NSMDC tried to avail loan from both IDBI and NEDFI from 2001-2002 onwards, but the proposal did not materialized owing to non-settlement of an earlier loan taken by another State PSU. However immediate essential works and replacement of essential machines for modernizations and expansion project were carried out, for which an amount of Rs.106.20 lakhs was spent out of the State Equity till 2003-04.
In the year 2003-04, the State Government finally decided to finance this project costing Rs. 1,128.89 lakhs as on August 2003, with Negotiated Loan from LIC under Plan financing scheme.
The LIC allocated an amount of Rs. 500.00 lakhs which was released to the Corporation on 31st March 2004 and on receipt of the amount from the government, the NSMDC called for National Open Tender where five firms submitted their tenders. After scrutiny, the lowest tender by M/s Saboo Engineering Pvt Ltd (SEPL) Jodhpur was selected by the State Level Tender Committee, and order for supplying 100 TPD Plant was awarded to the same, with a revised DPR in August 2004, which came to RS 1,695.00 Lakhs to be implemented in 15 months.
Owing to the delays caused by non-availability of funds during 2004-05, the schedule implementation was delayed by more than 8 months, during which cost escalations on the unexecuted portion became unavoidable.
Therefore DPR was updated again in September 2005, incorporating an escalation of Rs. 154.40 lakhs to bring the total cost of the DPR to Rs. 1849.40 lakhs (September 05) During 2005-006 an amount of Rs. 700.00 lakhs was released and the balance of Rs. 275.00 lakhs was released during 2006-07 under Negotiated Loan from LIC.
However, the release of the project cost being spread for over four years, resulted in escalation in the cost of civil works/structural works particularly in steel materials and cement to Rs. 168.00 lakhs. The state government provided negotiated loan from HUDCO amount to Rs. 170.00 lakhs which was released in March 2008. The expansion and modernization works are now completed except for some minor works which was not envisaged earlier.
As per the contract agreement signed trial operation of the 100 TDP expanded unit of the Wazeho Cement has to be done by Saboo Engineers Pvt. Ltd. to ensure that good quality cement (OPC conforming to 15:269-1976) and quantity of (100 TPD of cement) is produced by the machinery supplied and installed by them. In order to do, the trial operation of the plant for one month, an amount of Rs. 125.13 lakhs was required for which proposal for additional amount had been submitted to the state government.
Out of the Rs. 170.00 lakhs sanctioned during 2007-08 an amount of Rs. 70.00 lakhs is being utilized for immediate procurement of raw materials for trial operation, to be adjusted as an when the additional amount proposed is sanctioned.
On completion of the expansion and modernization of the plant, National Open Tender was floated in the later part of 2006.
A company name “Resource Cement Ltd”, was interested in taking over the plant on lease where the CM of Nagaland who is also the Minister in charge of Geology and Mining invited the Chairman of the company. The company made an aerial survey of the 150 TPD Plant at Wazeho as well as the Nimi Limestone deposit on 29th May 2008.
This was followed by a meeting the same evening at the CMs residential office wherein the chairman of M/s Resource Cement Ltd. Kolkata expressed his willingness to take over the cement plant to be followed by investment in setting up of one Mega Cement Plant based on the Nimi Limestone Deposits. Thus an MoU was prepared and signed on 30th May 2008.
With the inauguration of the 150 TPD Cement Plant Wazeho on 27th June, by the Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio, the mineral related trade is expected to make huge contribution to the state economy if the discovered minerals are economically exploited.