• Birla Corporation Ltd is looking to scale up its cement manufacturing capacity by over
    60% to 25 million tonnes from the current 15.5 million tonnes with a total investment of
    around ₹5,000 crore in the next four to five years.
  • The company has already commenced construction of the 3.9-mtpa greenfield project at
    Mukutban in Maharashtra, expected to be complete by FY2022.
  • According to Pracheta Majumdar, Chief Executive Officer, the company is expected to
    be a 25-30 million tonnes player. It will reach 25 million tonnes by 2024-25 and will add
    another 5 million tonnes thereafter either through greenfield or an acquisition.
  • Birla Corporation is also setting up the second production line at Kundanganj in Uttar
    Pradesh of 1.2 million tonnes to augment unit capacity to 3.6 million tonnes.
    The expansion of the NCCW plant at Chanderia in Rajasthan has also begun.
    It will add clinkerisation capacity of 4,80,000 tonnes which, in turn, can feed the
    additional clinker needs of the Kundanganj grinding unit.
    The company will also look to add another production line at its existing unit at Maihar in
    Madhya Pradesh.
  • Birla Corporation has been able to ramp up capacity utilisation across its factories to well
    over 95%. For the quarter ended June 30, 2019, the capacity utilisation was up at 98%,
    as against 92% in the corresponding period last year.
    The company had registered 4% volume growth in Q1FY20 and is hopeful of keeping the
    momentum of growth in the coming quarters.
  • While Majumdar stresses on the need for adopting IT in a big way to ramp up capacity,
    the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Sandip Ranjan Ghose, talks about the need for
    premiumising cement sales.
  • Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) has shown its interest to develop a
    port at Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu at the site of the Nagarjuna Oil Refinery that is undergoing
    liquidation. It has planned six-million tonnes refinery including a captive port and a power
    plant.
  • The significance of mining and minerals sector can be gauged from the fact that no area of
    citizen’s daily life remains untouched by it. The mining and minerals sector has been
    witnessing some dynamic changes over the past few years.
  • With the highest court in the country clamping down on the mining sector due to constant
    environmental violations; year 2015 amendments in the MMDR(Minerals & Mining
    Development & Regulation) Act; new norms to allocate blocs through auction and still
    greater clarity needed to understand the National Exploration Policy 2019, the mining sector
    has several challenges to overcome.
  • As per Sumanta Chaudhuri, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Government of India, For
    mining, our motto is simple- ‘You are taking something from Mother Earth, you better give it
    back.’ A pro-active policy of environmental mitigation is needed in the industry so that
    problems of procuring environmental clearances and getting stuck in rigmarole stop. Such
    steps will also improve the entire image of the sector as a whole.
  • The Indian Railways is in talks with Coal India Ltd (CIL), and the governments of Jharkhand
    and West Bengal to partner it on a fresh lease for the 538-kilometre stretch of the Eastern
    Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC). Earlier, the railways had planned to undertake the
    project as a public-private partnership (PPP).
  • The railways is expected to float a tender for the Sonnagar (Bihar) to Dankuni (West
    Bengal) stretch of the EDFC, which is expected to cost around Rs 15,000 crore by October.
    The remaining EDFC is being funded by a $2.360-billion loan from the World Bank.
    Ahead of the tender, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) is likely
    to undertake road shows to sensitise potential investors and has already begun talks with
    CIL, other public sector undertakings and the state governments for the completion of this
    stretch, which is divided in two phases, sources said.
  • However, sources said that the company is yet to get official information in this regard. And
    it has already invested in three dedicated coal corridors, parts of which have already been
    completed. It is procuring its own rakes to ferry coal.
  • The Odisha government may not be able to generate big revenue from the eight iron ore
    mines, having reserves of about 573 million tonnes and will be put on the block next week
    due to the weak financials of steel companies.
  • Moreover, most of the steel companies have drawn major expansion plans and have
    already committed huge capex for the same.
  • As per the Mining and Mineral Development Act, about 24 operational merchant mines will
    shut operations in March 2020 and will be put on the block
  • The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has launched an initiative to fast-track
    acceptance of digital payments among traders across the country and linking them with e-
    commerce portals to cater not only B2B but also B2C business activities.
  • It has partnered with HDFC Bank, Mastercard, Global Linker, a networking platform for
    SMEs, and the Common Service Centres (CSCs) of the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY)
    for the digital initiative.
  • “This first of its kind grassroots initiative called ‘digi vyapari-safal vyapari’ will transform the
    rural and urban economy and benefit small merchants and traders even in the remotest of
    places across the country,” said Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General, CAIT.