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Posted at: Nov 7, 2018, 12:36 AM; last updated: Nov 7, 2018, 12:36 AM (IST)

No takers for Chamba white cement plant

Govt decides to re-advertise project I Only ACC bought bid papers, but didn’t submit it

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 6

With not even a single bid being received for the white cement plant at Sikridhar in Chamba, the Industries Department has decided to re-advertise the project.

It was on August 20 this year that the department had invited bids for the setting up of the plant. However, even after 45 days, no investor has shown interest.

Only ACC had bought the bid papers, priced at Rs 2 lakh but did not submit it before the deadline expired. It has been decided to invite fresh bids.

The BJP regime is keen that the contract for the plant be awarded before the Lok Sabha elections due in May next year.

It is after fulfilling the cumbersome formalities under the new amended Mines and Mineral Act that the department issued the tenders on August 20.

The cost of the plant has escalated to Rs 1,000 crore and it is expected to generate jobs for 1,000 persons. With Chamba still being one of the most remote and backward districts, the project will help herald economic prosperity by creating unemployment.

The project, earlier allotted to Jayprakash Associates in 2007, was cancelled by the previous Congress regime on February 19, 2014 as the company had failed to start work even after the expiry of the extended deadline. The cement plant will be set up near Baroh and Shind villages where there are huge limestone deposits.

The delay in setting up of the plant has resulted in cost escalation from Rs 800 crore to Rs 1,000 crore. The project with a capacity of two million tonnes per annum would have become operational much earlier had the Jayprakash Associates not delayed it. It was on February 19, 2014, that the then Cabinet cancelled the allotment made to the Jaypee group in February 2007.

Chamba district has no industry whatsoever and considering the locational disadvantage that the area has, the investors seem to have developed cold feet.

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