Srinagar: Once a profitable public sector undertaking, the government of Jammu and Kashmir has made its mind to wind up the J&K Cement Limited – the only government owned cement manufacturing plant in the Union Territory.
Officials informed that majority of the employees of JKCL have been shifted “on deputation” to some departments after the corporation was unable to generate revenue to clear its salary bills.
“The JKCL is almost closed, now only an official order is required to wind it up. There is no staff except a few watchmen who guard its premises. There is no activity in the plant for the last 2 years, the liabilities have piled up above Rs 300 crore,” a senior Industries and Commerce department official said.
The officials’ claim about closure is substantiated by an order issued by I&C department for regularization of accounts of the corporation.
“... Sanction is hereby accorded to the release of Rs 5.57 crore as loan out of major head 6885- loans to PSUs for repayment of debt of J&K Bank after proper verification of genuineness of this claim.” What is more important is that the same order mentions that sanction for repayment is made subject to the condition that the JKCL is being closed. “The sanction is subject to the condition that since JK cements limited is being closed and decision is under consideration, the loan shall be recovered by the government out of Liquidation of Assets.”
J&K Cements Limited is facing a whopping Rs 300 crore liability, its operation has been closed for the last two years.
Meanwhile, a senior Industries Department official on condition of anonymity said that the prestigious unit had become the victim of “mismanagement fuelled by politicians who for their petty gains had time and again used this unit”.
“Once, this unit had a monopoly over government work. But the situation later came to such a pass that it could not supply the cement,” he said.
JKCL was incorporated as a fully owned government company in December 1974 with the objective to make the quality cement available to the consumers at reasonable rates, besides filling up the gap between demand and supply.
The cement plant of 600 tonnes per day capacity installed at Khrew is listed as a heavy sector industry which started commercial production in April 1982. The company was manufacturing OPC garage 43 and had obtained license for manufacturing Fly Ash based blended cement from Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
The JKCL was providing employment to more than 650 semi-skilled, skilled, specialized and super specialized people directly or indirectly. In addition to this, the company in the sale promotion of its product had engaged a good number of distributors and sub-distributors.