Kashmir Indepth

Outsource or sell JK Cements Limited plants: Govt to take final decision in a week

Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Srinagar Oct 01 (KINS): After winding up Jammu and Kashmir Cements Limited, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha-led administration has decided either outsource or sell its cement plants and a final decision will be taken in a week’s time.

Sources told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS) that the administration has approved the proposal of Industries and Commerce Department regarding complete sale or outsource of Jammu and Kashmir Cements Limited through ascending e-auction from qualified bidders.

“A final order will be issued within a week’s time. There are many businessmen in and outside J&K who have shown willingness to purchase its plants. Government will invite tenders in this regard very soon,” a senior official said.

The employees of J&K Cements Limited have been adjusted in various government departments. “Government requires a lot of money to clear the pending arrears of employees. Some amount of money coming from its sale or through outsourcing will be used to clear employees pending arrears,” the official added. 

The decision has been taken in view of sharp decline in production and revenues from 2012-13 onwards, the official added.

Over the loss making years, the company has been burdened by its own liabilities on account of salaries/bills raised by the contractors and various departments, CP Fund of employees, and GST liabilities.

Sources said that over the years, its production had declined due to lack of proper management, and had been struggling with corruption and scams.

“The successive elected governments had blamed each other for the downfall in its production. But no government made any sincere efforts for its revival,” a retired senior official of JK Cements said.

“The private cement manufacturing units earn huge profits, while JKCL was suffering losses due to administrative failure, and corruption. The government had directed several times to departments to prefer using this cement rather than private companies, but there was rarely any implementation on the ground,” the official said.

Being a state owned company, it had a pivotal role to produce cement of well standard quality at reasonable rates. “Unlike other cement plants operating in Kashmir, it had lost its market value due to production of lower quality cement. There are several factors for its decline in production. Scams, mismanagement and interference by politicians, bureaucrats, and industrialists are main reasons,” the official said.

JKCL was incorporated as a fully owned government company in December 1974 with the objective to exploit the abundant deposits, make the quality cement available to the consumers at reasonable rates, besides filling up the gap between demand and supply.

The JKCL was providing employment to more than 1000 semi-skilled, skilled, specialised and super specialized people directly or indirectly. (KINS)

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