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Phailin takes a toll on industries in Ganjam

Loss of Odisha Sands Complex is estimated at about Rs 100-crore

Hrusikesh Mohanty  |  Berhampur 

While cyclone Phailin has passed off without causing too many casualties, major industries in south Odisha’s Ganjam district, the worst-hit by the storm, took a hard knock.

Orissa Sands Complex (OSCOM), a unit of the Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL) under the Department of Atomic Energy, caustic soda producer Jayashree Chemicals, a Bangur Group company, and the state-owned Aska Cooperative Sugar Industries Limited (ACSI) have suffered massive damages. These companies may take months to come back to the normal course of action.

According to preliminary estimates, OSCOM’s loss is estimated at Rs 100 crore. The company’s mineral separation plant and sand dredging equipment have been severely damaged. Besides, the storm has seriously dented infrastructural facilities of the plant.

OSCOM is located at Matikhala near Gopalpur, where the cyclone made a landfall last Saturday. The company produces ilmenite, a rare earth mineral, by processing the mineral-rich sand from the nearby beach. The company has halted production following the storm.

“There is no power. Plus, some machines have been damaged. It will take time to resume operations,” an official of the company official, which is incurring a loss of Rs 1 crore a day due to the production halt.

Similarly, Jayashree Chemicals suffered huge losses when the cyclone ravaged the plant. “The loss is yet to be calculated,” said a company official.

Aska Sugar Industries, the oldest sugar factory in the co-operative sector in the state, has decided to postpone the start of sugarcane processing activity this year after its infrastructure got damaged in the cyclone.

“We had planned to run the factory from November 15. But we have now decided to postpone the start of the crushing season,” said Trilochan Majhi, managing director of Aska Sugar.

Around 30 per cent of the sugar stock in the factory has been damaged due to torrential rains after the roof of the godown was swept away by the massive storm that blew at a speed of 220 km an hour.

The cyclonic storm, which claimed nine lives in Ganjam district, has inflicted heavy losses to the civic infrastructure in the district. Over 200,000 houses have been damaged.

“We have cleared the roads and will resume supply of power to hospitals and drinking water pumping systems on a priority basis,” said district collector Krishan Kumar. He said the rehabilitation and restoration work is being taken up on a war footing.

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First Published: Wed, October 16 2013. 00:13 IST