The Bengal government will give 25 acres of land to Exide Industries Limited in Haldia to set up a smelting project.
The decision comes at a time when the company has announced investment of Rs 300 crore in the next 18 months to manufacture motorcycle batteries using the latest Punched Grid Technology.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced that the company had approached the state government for land. Haldia Development Authority will provide the land to the company.
Banerjee made the announcement after inaugurating Exide’s state-of-the-art battery making plant, which is situated adjacent to its existing unit. The new unit will produce “most technically advanced lead acid storage batteries in the country using the Punched Grid Technology”.
Exide has collaborated with US-based East Penn Manufacturing Company to develop the new plant, which costs Rs 700 crore. Hundreds of new jobs will be generated by the venture.
State Transport minister and Chairman of Haldia Development Authority Suvendu Adhikari, Trinamool Congress MPs Subrata Bakshi, Sisir Adhikari and Dibyendu Adhikari were also present at the inauguration ceremony.
The Chief Minister also said that the plant is the company’s “New Year’s gift to the people of the state where job opportunities will get created.”
Gautam Chatterjee, Managing Director and CEO of Exide Industries Ltd said they had approached the state government very early for the land to set up the lead smelting unit.
“We always prefer to set up smelting unit outside residential areas. Thus we had approached the state government for a piece of land in a non-residential area. Accordingly, we were shown a plot by the Haldia Development Authority and we would start our work as soon as the land is handed over to us after construction of the road connecting the piece of land.”
“The plant will begin functioning within 15 months at an investment of Rs 120 crore,” Chatterjee said, adding that the company has decided to invest another Rs 300 crore to manufacture motorcycle batteries using the new technology. The production of the same would start in the next 18 months.
The demand for batteries has gone up, with an increase in the number of totos plying in the state. In connection with the demonetisation move, Chatterjee said that a drop by 30 per cent in sales of two-wheeler original equipment manufacturer battery was witnessed, but the sale in the replacement market remained unaffected.
“Discussion is also on for another expansion project on another plot adjacent to the existing unit of Exide in Haldia. But that is yet to be developed as there is a road passing in between the plot and our existing plant. So we have approached the government to settle the issue,” said Chatterjee.
The production of the new unit will go up to 3.5 million annually next year, compared to that of 2.3 million in the current fiscal, Chatterjee added.