Nagpur Surrounded by a multi-crore scam involving sale of 4 units in scrap, Mahagenco is now trying to recycle its ways, quite literally. In yet another move which sources suspect can be turned into scam anytime, Mahagenco Ash Management Services (Mahagams) has invited brick kiln owners of the city and surrounding areas to set up their units near Koradi. The kiln owners are in trouble as due to the city widening its radius, local bodies are not renewing their land leases. There are about 400 kilns in the area.
Mahagams director Sudhir Paliwal said that currently the kiln owners use about 30% fly-ash in their bricks. “Once they set up their units near Koradi we will encourage them to use 70% fly-ash. Deorao Kapde, a kiln owner from Akola district, has pioneered this technology,” he said.
Paliwal added that owners are unable to operate their kilns during rainy season and also their output was low. “We have identified a Chinese technology which will operate all-year round and enhance production too. The vertical shaft brick kilns (VSBKs) can produce 5,000 bricks per day against a few hundred by traditional kilns. These kilns used in most countries also consume less coal and hence are environment friendly,” he added.
VSBKs are promoted by Swedish Development Council (SDC) in several developing countries due to lower coal consumption. A traditional kiln consumes 25 tonne coal for producing one lakh bricks. The VSBKs consume only 15 tonnes of coal.
The kilns are the third-biggest users of coal in India. VSBKs are popular in many parts of the country but there are none in the state.
Mahagams intends to set up a fly-ash brick kiln cluster near Koradi. “There is some barren land in between Khaparkheda and Koradi thermal power stations. About a hundred VSBKs can be housed there. It is near Waregaon ash bund and hence there will be constant supply of fly-ash. State energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule wants to inaugurate this facility by August 15,” said Paliwal.
However, there are some hurdles to be crossed. The cost of a kiln is about Rs 30 lakh, which is too high for an individual kiln owner. Mahagams wants four to five kiln owners to come together to buy a kiln.
Moreover, enough land is not available in the cluster to accommodate all the 400 kiln owners. “However, before the kiln owners agree to go for a bank loan, we will have to prove the technology to them,” said Paliwal.
The company has decided to set up a common facility centre in the Koradi cluster. Mahagams will buy a VSBK and successfully operate so that owners of traditional kilns are convinced that their money will not go waste.
Meanwhile, Mahagams is building bridges with the kiln owners. It had organized a visit to the Koradi site on Monday. It will be holding an orientation programme for them on July 3. This will be followed by skill development training.