Cement is an essential item of modern development owing to its vigorous use in building and construction works. So much so that its production and consumption may be used as an index of country’s progress and prosperity.
The industry has made sufficient progress in recent years and India is at present the seventh largest producer of cement in the world. The installed capacity of die industry has risen from 3.3 million tons on the morrow of Independence to 109.56 million tons in 1997-98. Over 2.5 lakli persons are employed in die industry.
The first attempt to manufacture cement using sea-shell was made at Chennai in 1904, which was unsuccessful. Another attempt was made in 1912-13 when dies Indian Cement Company put up its plant at Porbandar. Later on the Katni Cement and Industrial Company Ltd. set up its cement factory at Katni in January 1915 and the Killick Nixon’s Bundi Portland Cement Co. at Lakheri (Rajasthan) in 1916.
The World War I gave boost up to the industry and six new plants were installed during 1922-23 at Japla (Bihar), Dwarka (Gujarat), Mehgaon, Banmore and Kymore (Madhya Pradesh), and Shahabad (Karnataka). These factories togedier had a total installed capacity of 5, 59,000 tons.
A turning point came to the history of die industry in 1934 when 10 out of 11 cement companies merged into die Associated Cement Co. Ltd. (ACC). The Dalmia Cement Group, formed in 1937, installed its plants at Dalmianagar (Bihar), Dalmiapuram (Tamil Nadu), and Dalmia Dadri (Pun- jab). By 1947 there were 18 cement factories with total installed capacity of 21.15 lakh tons. After independence three new factories were installed at Talaiyudiu (Tamil Nadu), Kottayam (Kerala) and Sikka (Gujarat).
The massive construction activities during die plan period generated huge demand for the cement and consequent laying down of more factories and increase in the installed capacity and the production. Consequently, the industry raised its capacity to 29.3 million tons by the end of the seventies. It was after this period that there was quantum jump in die installed capacity during the Sixtii and Seventh Plans.
This led to partial decontrol of the cement in February, 1982 and total decontrol in March 1989. The total installed capacity rose to about 65 million tons by 1991-92. The addition to capacity took place through expansions by established producers (like ACC, India Cements, Madras Cements, Dalmia Cements and Orissa Cements) and entry of several big houses (Birlas, Larsen and Toubro, Modis, TlSCO and Raymond Woolen).
At present (2004-05) there are 128 large cement plants with an installed capacity of 152.09 million tons per annum and about 332 mini cement plants with an estimated capacity of 11.10 million tons per annum. The industry had achieved growth rate of 8.15 per cent in 2004.05. With the assimilation of latest technology, the cement industry has improved both in terms of quality and overall capacity utilisation.
The raw materials of die cement industry include limestone (about 45 per cent CaO content), slag from steel plants, sludge from fertilizer India’s per capita consumption of paints is very low at 0.23 kg as compared to the US (25 kg), France (15 kg), Japan (8 kg), Malaysia (4.8 kg), and Thailand (1.0 kg). Hence, there are good prospects for the industry. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has selected three groups of paints for eco- friendly labels. These are water-based coatings, high solids coatings and powder coatings.
There are two methods which are used for making Portland cement-the wet method, and dry method. Use of either of the two methods depends upon the moisture content of the limestone used in making cement. The wet process is used when the moisture content of the raw material is less than 10 per cent and the cost of fuel is higher. Here more water is added during grinding to increase the moisture content to 35, 40 per cent. In dry process the moisture content of the limestone is more than 10 per cent. Here grinding is done without adding extra water. The ground matter is roasted in rotary kilns at temperature between 2500-3000°C to form clinkers. These clinkers are added with gypsum and are ground to form cement.
Although there is hardly any state of the country which is devoid of cement plant but the localisation of the industry is largely controlled by the distribution of raw material, i.e., limestone. That is why the spatial distribution of cement plants very well coincides with the occurrence of limestones in the Vindhyan and Cuddapah rocks. Seven states (Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka and Bihar) mostly belonging to this belt account for about three- fourth of the installed capacity and production of cement in the country. Table 22.IX shows state-wise installed capacity, production and number of cement factories.
The cement industry has been making commendable progress in the nineties with the execution of expansion and new schemes mainly by established enterprises. The output has risen to 123.5 million tons, including mini cement plants, in 2003-04 from 44.80 million tons in 1990-91. This growth was facilitated by a steady increase in the capacity over the years. The addition under this head has been more than 55 million tons during last eleven years. There was no problem of utilising capacity effectively until 1996 (about 81 per cent). But due to declining demands it has come down to 76 per cent in recent years.
Seven states of Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh), Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra account for over 85 per cent of die total installed capacity and production of cement in the country. About two- dirt of the production is contributed by the private sector. Associated Cement Company (ACC) has the largest installed capacity (15 million tons) and production followed by Larsen and Toubro (L & T) 12 million tons), Grasim Industries (capacity: 8.84 million tons), Ambuja Cement Eastern Ltd. (7.5 million tons), and India Cements Ltd. (7.5 million tons). These five major players account for 45 per cent of total installed capacity and 50 per cent of the total production of cement in the country.
The western and southern regions of the country account for 71.66 per cent of the total out-put of cement in 1988-99 while their share in all India consumption was 57.92 per cent. The northern region has a deficit with its share of consumption being higher at 29.81 per cent against an output of 21.79 per cent. Likewise the eastern region’s share of consumption was 12.27 per cent against die local availability of 6.55 per cent.
The surplus of the western and southern regions amounting to 12.32 million tons is marketed in odder regions which needs proper transport facilities. Within the regions, dyers are surplus and deficit states.
In the northern region Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi have deficits even after their rising output. Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh depend upon nearby states for disposal of their surpluses. In the western region Madhya Pradesh has a large surplus which is absorbed by Maharashtra and eastern region.
India mainly produces ordinary Portland Cement (OPC). The other varieties produced in small quantities are Pordand Pozzalana Cement (PPC), Portland Blast Furnace Slag Cement (PBFS), Oil Well Cement, White Cement and hydrophobic cement. These different varieties of cement are produced strictly under BIS specifications and the quality is comparable with the best in the world.
The export of cement started only after 1965- 66. State Trading Corporation is die agency through which cement is exported to Iran, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Muscat, and UAR. Myanmar and African countries. The export of cement was 2.7 million tons in 1996-97 and 10.6 million tons in 2004-05 India is facing tough competition from Pakistan, Japan, Soudi Korea and China in the world market.
Problems and Prospects
The cement industry is confronted within a number of problems. These include transport constraints to move raw materials, coal and finished products; shortage of coal, the main fuel in the manufacture of cement; power shortage; situation of glut affecting profitability; high cost of production; consumers’ resistance over price rise; falling international prices and stiff competition from neighbouring countries like Pakistan, China etc.
The per capita consumption of cement in India has shown remarkable increase during the last two decades (86 kg from 28 kg in 1980-81). With the increase in per capita consumption the internal demand is expected to rise to about 250 million tons up to 2010 AD. This needs furdier increase in the output. To remove transport bottleneck there is a need to use modern packages and bulk movement, preferably the movement of the cement in loose form; build captive power houses and popularise the use of blended cement.