HP cement plants: Adani CEO offers solution; truckers accept HIMCON rate

HP cement plants: Adani CEO offers solution; truckers accept HIMCON rate

An end to the impasse over the two Adani Group-owned cement plants in Himachal Pradesh may finally be in sight. A day after group’s talks with truckers ended without any solution, the group management on Saturday said the fleet of trucks engaged with its cement plants in Darlaghat and Barmana is bigger than what it requires. As a potential solution, the management has proposed that the trucks cover extra distance and excess trucks be phased out over the next three years.

The Adani Group acquired the ACC cement plant at Barmana in Bilaspur district and the Ambuja Cement plant at Darlaghat in Solan district in September. On December 15, it closed both plants unilaterally after the transporters refused to accept the lower freight rate of Rs 6 per tonne per km in the hills suggested by the group, down from Rs 10.58 per km.

Since then, several rounds of talks between the group management and truckers have come to a nought.

“Himachal trucks cover a fourth the distance”

On Saturday, Ajay Kapoor, CEO, Adani Group, in a communique to the chairman of the Permanent Committee, which is handling the matter, stated that trucks engaged with Adani cement plants in other states cover 80,000 km to 1 lakh km every year, but those in Himachal cover only a fourth of that distance. This jacks up freight and operational costs.

The group management has suggested that the average distance covered be enhanced from 40,000 km a year to 50,000 km, with a gradual increase of 5,000 km per year. Also, 3,311 multi-axle trucks are engaged with the two plants, as against the requirement of 550 trucks. The group management has proposed that excess trucks be phased out over three years.

In all, 2,797 trucks work at ACL Darlaghat, and around 3,500 at ACC Barmana.

Also read: Adani Group cement plants shut in Himachal: What is the row about?

Truckers accept HIMCON rates

Also on Saturday, the truckers had a meeting with Industries Minister Harshwardhan Chauhan in Shimla. They agreed to accept the freight rate prepared by the Himachal Consultancy Organisation (HIMCON), which is about Rs 9 per tonne per km, and demanded that the report be made public at the earliest. The Adani Group management said it would convey its decision later. The rate is likely to be notified by the Permanent Committee.

The minister stressed the importance of the early resumption of the operation of the plants, as the state government has been incurring revenue loss worth crores. The government had earlier issued show-cause notices to the two cement companies owned by Adani Group.

(With agency inputs)

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