Mismanagement plagues ferrochrome plant

Jajpur: A state-owned ferrochrome plant at Jajpur Road is plagued by mismanagement, a report said. The company has faced a loss of Rs 14.34 crore in between 2013-14 and 2016-17 financial years.  

There was a time when the company used to make a profit of over Rs 60 crore that was in between 2006-07 and 2010-11 financial years.

However, due to the whimsical and money hankering attitude of some senior officials, the plant has been passing through a worst phase since its inception.

Locals alleged the plant authorities are trying to downplay its sorry state to save themselves from the wrath of the government.

To make matter worse, a 6.5 MVA (mega volt ampere) blast furnace has been lying defunct for the last two months. Another 9.9 MVA blast furnace is in similar condition. 

This has happened due to alleged use of sub-standard material in the blast furnaces. The plant authorities have claimed that the blast furnaces have been shut down for repair.

The company has its own chromite mines over 220 acre of land.   However, the senior officials of the company are allegedly involved in irregularities concerning ferrochrome loading, unloading, sale of hard slag, establishment of jigging plant and smuggling of refined ferrochrome. They are allegedly manipulating the tender process and awarding contracts to contractors from outside the state.

While two years back, a new jigging plant was installed on the plant premises to clean the hard slag now plans are afoot to establish another jigging plant. The state government has sanctioned Rs 1 crore for the purpose.  

Meanwhile, the company has established an automatic jigging plant by spending Rs 1.88 crore eight months back. Andhra Pradesh-based Venkatesh Engineering Works has installed the new plant. However, the plant officials instead of refining the hard slag in the new plant are selling them outright. During sale even refined ferrochrome are being smuggled outside, locals alleged.

When contacted, the plant’s managing director SK Mohapatra said Rs 1 crore sanctioned by the government fell short of the actual price of the jigging plant. A sum of Rs 2.50 crore is required for the installation of the plant for which hard slag is being sold to earn additional Rs 1.5 crore. He ruled out any negligence or mismanagement in operation of the plant.   PNN

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