Business Bureau :
Manganese, coal and other minerals are the strengths of Vidarbha and must be allowed to ensure value-addition here itself so that they can contribute to the economy of Vidarbha, Rao said
VIDARBHA Economic Development Council (VED) has always been instrumental in identifying local strengths with the basic objective of bringing value-addition to local resources and in the process generating employment for local youth, disclosed Shivkumar Rao, President, VED. He said, “The establishment of a Ferroalloys Cluster locally is one such area. Like Mumbai port is a great asset for Mumbai and Pune helping the industries to grow. Similarly, manganese, coal and other minerals are the strengths of Vidarbha and must be allowed to ensure value-addition here itself so that they can contribute to the economy of Vidarbha.” P Maheshwari, Vice-President of VED, said, “Since decades manganese ore mines in Vidarbha have given employment to thousands of people at Kanhan and Tumsar, but two large ferroalloys plants have closed down leaving many jobless.”
“Effective and efficient utilisation of local resources and their sustained and environment-friendly usage are the main objectives behind the development of a Ferroalloys Cluster,” P Maheshwari said. “Around 20-30 years back, Nagpur and the surrounding areas of Vidarbha had the largest ferroalloys manufacturing hubs. The country’s well-known industrial houses invested huge amounts in Vidarbha, but all the units closed down after struggling for survival, prominent among the reasons for the closure being the inordinately high power tariff,” he said. Therefore, most of the natural resources of Vidarbha are moving out of the region without any value-addition and economic support to the local population. Minerals and electricity are the main commodities produced here in huge quantities, but since a long time no attention has been given to the related possible advantagesand its consequent benefits, which could be available to the local people. The potential exists for creation of 20,000 jobs, he noted.
The proposal is to set up a Minerals Processing Cluster for value-addition of locally available important minerals to cut down the costs of finished products. Minerals like manganese ore, iron ore, dolomite, limestone, quartz and coal, which are raw materials for these industries, are available nearby for this cluster, particularly, the two main raw materials required, namely, manganese and power for the development of a Ferroalloys Cluster, Maheshwari added. Shivkumar Rao recalled that during the Mining Conclave ‘MINCON 2019’, current Industries Minister Subhash Desai, and former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, had committed to such a cluster with appropriate concessional tariff and incentives. Maharashtra State Mining Corporation was assigned the responsibility of identifying land and tying up with MOIL to secure manganese.
They have already identified land for the project. Considering the prospects of lower electricity rates and many common facilities in the cluster P Maheshwari said, “It is expected that many industries will be showing an intention of putting up their units in this cluster. Availability of assured and quality raw materials will only add to the inducement. The success of this initiative will support not only the core steel sector but also chemical and battery industries, are the major consumers of ferroalloys and who would be interested in setting up shop here.”