Lo­cal ce­ment qual­ity fails to meet hy­dropower project stan­dards

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu

Cur­rently, Pu­natsangchhu Hy­dropower Au­thor­ity I & II have slashed their ce­ment re­quire­ment to 165MT against their nor­mal re­quire­ment of 700MT per day. Apart from the chief rea­son, main­te­nance works at the dam site, an­other is­sue the projects are fac­ing is ce­ment qual­ity that of­ten does not meet re­quired stan­dards.

PHPA II has been run­ning short of ce­ment for some time now. It re­quires 2.5mn tons of ce­ment for con­crete place­ment.

The Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor (MD) of PHPA, R N Khaz­inchi, said that the spec­i­fi­ca­tion of ce­ment of­ten al­ters.

He said at times the batch of ce­ment reach­ing the project meet re­quire­ments while at other times it does not and has to be sent back.

Once the ce­ment reaches the project, it is tested in the hy­dropower projects’ lab­o­ra­tory ev­ery day.

How­ever, the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer (CEO) of Dungsam Ce­ment Cor­po­ra­tion Lim­ited (DCCL), which sup­plies ce­ment to the hy­dropower projects, Sonam Jigme, said the projects re­quire ce­ment, which is fast set­ting so that the projects can be com­pleted on time.

“There would be lit­tle al­ter­ation in spec­i­fi­ca­tion of the ce­ment,” he said.

The CEO said that while DCCL pro­duces ce­ment of su­pe­rior qual­ity, there have been in­stances where the project con­trac­tors have ex­pressed con­cern re­gard­ing meet­ing of spe­cific re­quired pa­ram­e­ters.

He added th­ese con­cerns have been re­dressed with the com­pany’s stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dure con­firm­ing to ISO re­quire­ments.

“Any such in­stances have been duly re­solved to the ut­most sat­is­fac­tion of the project con­trac­tors,” said the CEO.

DCCL CEO also said that the com­pany is com­mit­ted to pro­duce and sup­ply ce­ment con­firm­ing to Bureau of In­dian Stan­dard (BIS) and Bhutan Stan­dard Bureau (BSB) norms adding that ce­ment be­ing a mass-pro­duced and process-based prod­uct, no com­pany can boast of zero in­stances of qual­ity com­plaints ir­re­spec­tive of its stature.

DCCL has been sup­ply­ing ce­ment to hy­dro­elec­tric con­trac­tors for the past three years and while most of the time the project con­trac­tors have ex­pressed com­plete sat­is­fac­tion re­gard­ing sup­plies, lo­gis­tics has been a ma­jor con­straint in the hilly ter­rain of the project, the CEO added.

Mean­while, PHPA MD said when the projects face short­age of ce­ment sup­ply, they have to im­port from In­dia.

“But if we are to tie up with In­dian sup­pli­ers, firstly we have to get gov­ern­ment ap­proval. We have to regis­ter with the sup­pli­ers and by the time reg­is­tra­tion is fi­nal­ized, rates for ce­ment changes in the mar­ket. We also need to seek tax ex­emp­tion as con­ces­sion for the projects.”

RN Khaz­inchi said that be­cause of this, the projects need a long-term agree­ment for one year or so with the In­dian sup­pli­ers so that they can sup­ply at com­mit­ted rates while the projects can also avail tax ex­emp­tion.

The MD said that pro­vided there is con­tin­u­ous sup­ply of ce­ment from DCCL with req­ui­site spec­i­fi­ca­tions, the projects can be com­pleted by 2021.

“We can­not store the ce­ment since shelf life is only three months, and the sup­ply has to be con­tin­u­ous,” he said.

In the past DCCL supplied ce­ment to the projects by ty­ing up with Pen­den Ce­ment Au­thor­ity Lim­ited as well as Dalmia Ce­ment in In­dia.

DCCL also sup­plies to Mangdechhu Hy­dro­elec­tric Project (MHEP) and Tangsi­bji projects. DCCL sup­plies 628MT of ce­ment per day to MHPA and Tangsi­bji project.

Most of this goes to MHEP since Tangsi­bji hy­dropower project is in the ini­tial stages and the de­mand is er­ratic and low as of now.

Sonam Jigme said that ex­port sales are the core busi­ness in­ter­est for DCCL. Af­ter the com­ple­tion of the hy­dropower projects in the near fu­ture, DCCL will be re­quired to sell 75-80% of the pro­duce to ex­port mar­ket. The cur­rent mar­ket in­cludes en­tire north­east states in­clud­ing north Ben­gal and Sikkim.

DCCL is ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing 4,130MT of ce­ment a day trans­lat­ing to 1.36mn tons per an­num.

Pu­natsangchhu Hy­dropower Au­thor­ity II dam site.

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