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SIPCOT units suffer losses after Thane

Jan 3, 2012

A.V.RAGUNATHAN
The Hindu

In the wake of the cyclone Thane the units in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here have suffered losses to the tune of Rs 75 crore, according to K.Indra Kumar, secretary, Cuddalore SIPCOT Industries Association.

Mr Kumar told The Hindu that there were 25 units, including 16 major ones, in the industrial estate and all of them had suffered one or other kind of loss. As the velocity of the wind force touched above 120 kmph on December 30 the pipelines carrying the inputs were either damaged or cut off, electronic equipment were drenched to the full, high-rise chimneys were pulled down and roofs were blown off.

Mr Kumar said that fortunately all the units acted well before the cyclone struck thus averting a major catastrophe. Soon after the news about the imminent cyclone was flashed, all the units adopted the phased shut down mode and moved men and materials to safety.

Now all the units were shut down and it might take about a month to revive them, because very many formalities such as claiming insurance and getting new chimneys fabricated might take time. Since there was power supply for the past four days the chimney suppliers too were hamstrung to accept and execute the orders. The ancillary units that were catering to the needs of the bigger ones too were hit.

President of TANFAC Industries Ltd Suresh Sodani told this correspondent that at least three chimneys in his unit, standing about 30 metre high, were damaged by the cyclone. He stated that the company acted with alertness to bring the units to the shut-down stage, soon after the news about the approaching cyclone were known.

The handful employees who were on night shift were brought to the control room, a concrete structure and the plant operation was stopped before the cyclone hit. The godowns stacking raw materials and the roofings of the tall structures too suffered damage.

Mr Sodani put the property and production loss at Rs 5 crore for his unit that was producing on an average 40 tonnes of hydrofluoric acid, 20 tonnes of aluminium fluoride and 250 tonnes of sulphuric acid per day and also added that it would take three to four weeks before normalcy was restored.

Loss of greenery

He was verily concerned about the destruction of the greenery on the unit campus as it would take quite a lot of time before gaining the lost glory. He ruled out the possibility of any spillage of any harmful chemicals anywhere in the unit.

The Pandian Chemicals Ltd, supplying dry fuel to the rocket programme too halted production. The shut down of the units would have its impact down the line because the end-users would have to cope with the unintentional delay causing by the unexpected disaster.

When asked whether the location of the industrial estate on the disaster prone coast line had anything to do with the repeated battering by natural disasters such as the tsunami and the cyclone Mr Kumar said that it was not so.

Coastal advantages

All the units coped well with the challenges posed by the tsunami and these would also virtually weather the storm and set things right in the aftermath of the cyclone. The advantages of the costal areas were many, including water availability and peaceful environment.

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