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99 Yatra
Dry spell for industries in Kutch to soon come to an end
11 September 2006

A long pending demand of the industries in parched Kutch district for adequate water is likely to be met soon, with the Government finally acting on the project of seawater-based desalination plant.

On Thursday, the Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB) initiated pre-qualification bidding process for a 150 million litre a day (MLD) desalination plant to be set up on a Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) basis. When commissioned it would be the largest desalination plant in the country.
The news has given some relief to more than 250 medium and large-scale units in Kutch region that were lured by the State Government to set up shop post-2001 quake, only to find inadequate water and power infrastructure. Though welcoming the step, industry sources, however, claim that this might still be less as compared to the demand.

Presently, the Kutch industries between Mundra and Samkhiyali get a paltry 45 MLD of Narmada water through the Gujarat Water Infrastructure Limited (GWIL), against a standing demand of 200 MLD. The water shortage left industry dependent on poor quality and scarce ground water resources that were costing up to Rs 45 per 1,000 litres. After the desalination plant comes up, the cost is likely to come down to Rs 25-30 for the same volume, and more importantly would provide a dependable supply.

Desperate for water, industries under the banner of Federation of Kutch Industries Association (FOKIA), an umbrella organisation of all Kutch industries and business associations, decided to set up their own water economy earlier this year.

“We had scourged for technology in Hong Kong, Singapore, Israel and some European countries.

But we received a call from the Government in July that they had decided to go ahead with the desalination project,” informs FOKIA general secretary Nimish Fadke.

On September 6, a Spanish firm made a presentation of possible design and technology of the plant at Gandhinagar in the presence of top bureaucrats from Industries department. Earlier, an Israeli firm too had presented its technology.

“It’s a fruit of three years of hard work. The Government invited such massive investment without any plan for requisite infrastructure. This is still lesser than demand but the situation would be much better with this,” adds Rasik Mamtora of Sanghi Industries.

To be set up at a cost of more than Rs 700 crore, the plant is to have a captive power plant for a non-disruptive supply. Tentative location of the plant is to be Wondh or Nani Chirali villages between Mundhra port and Mandvi. Work is likely to start in the next six months.

Officials say depending on the success of the process, as also rising demand, the plant could be scaled up to 200 MLD in a phased manner. Selected company would have to bring its own design, technology, construction, operation and maintenance plan, and financing plan.

A special purpose vehicle would be set up between the Government and local industry for the purchase and supply, and distribution of water.

“Modalities for the SPV are yet to be finalised. It might take another few months. The next stage would be a price bidding, followed by floating of tenders for the project. The company would be free to choose between a 150 MLD plant or two units of 100 MLD each,” informs an official.

Courtesy :Ahmedabad Newsline kutchhis globally , from Mumbai

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