Shillong, March 28: VPP legislator, Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit has asked if the state government can infuse the required equity of Rs 200 crore to revive the Mawmluh Cherra Cement Limited (MCCL).
The MCCL is the oldest public sector undertaking unit and is the only state-owned cement plant set up in the early 1960s (then undivided Assam) in limestone-rich Sohra but has lately suffered making it a loss-making enterprise.
While raising this issue during the Question Hour in the Assembly here on Tuesday, Basaiawmoit said that this would help to maintain the identity of the MCCL as the public sector undertaking (PSU) of the state government.
According to him, the PSU owned by the state government has been considered to be the rice bowl of the people of Sohra and its neighbouring areas.
“I am of the view that the very existence of the MCCL will be put at risk if the government decides to run the cement plant on a joint venture,” the VPP legislator said.
He further suggested that it would be better if the government carried out a comparative study between MCCL and privately owned cement plants operating in Jaintia Hills
According to him, the government can find out how much the local people are benefitting from the MCCL as compared to the private cement plants before arriving at any conclusion.
The VPP legislator also questioned if it was true that the Kolkata-based firm Bhavika Commercial Private Limited (BCPL) was ready to operate on a joint venture basis.
He pointed that as per the media reports, MCCL former chairman, Wailadmiki Shylla had given the cement plant of the BPCL in Kolkata adding that it seems that the government has asked the Kolkata-based company to submit its credentials for verification.
Basaiawmoit also questioned if there was any guarantee that this company would be able to run MCCL taking account that its turnover was under Rs 1 crore for the financial year ending on March 31, 2022.
In his reply, Chief Minister, Conrad K. Sangma informed that despite infusing Rs 350 crore of funds, the MCCL could not be revived forcing the government to look for private investors to run it in a PPP mode.
“Since 2006 till date, Rs 350 crore has been infused into the Mawmluh Cherra Cement Limited and in the last five years alone Rs 100 crore has been infused, mostly to pay salaries and other dues,” the CM said during Question Hour.
Stating that they are not able to revive despite making a huge investment, Sangma said that the PPP mode was what the government was eyeing presently.
“We are exploring all possible options which are available. We do not want to close it own since we are concerned about the employees,” Chief Minister said.
Apart from looking into the affairs of the MCCL, Chief Minister said that the government has also infused an additional Rs 1,000 crore in MeELC which was why the government went for the option of a PPP mode to get private investors.
Earlier, Commerce and Industries Minister, Sniawbhalang Dhar said that the government had not fixed any timeline to resume the operations of the MCCL.
Dhar further informed that the BPCL was yet to submit its documents as requested by the government.
“We will take a decision on how to move forward only after scrutinizing the documents of the BPCL,” he said.
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