Photo: SS Agarwal (second from left) receiving the award from Sayeddin Abassi, Jt. Secretary, Ministry of Steel
By Shevlin Sebastian
Around two years ago, industrialist SS Agarwal, managing director of Premium Ferro Alloys Pvt. Ltd., which has a steel factory in Binanipuram, Kochi, was invited to take part in a project called 'Energy Efficiency Improvement in Steel Re-Rolling Mill Sector in India'. This was run by the Ministry of Steel, Government of India, in association with United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Australian Agency for International Development.
The reason was that small-scale steel re-rolling mills all over the country had high levels of pollution. So the idea was to adopt a series of measures in the factories, to save energy costs by 30 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent.
“For two years we have been implementing all sorts of measures, with the guidance of the Steel Ministry,” says Agarwal. “It cost me Rs 2 crore but recently, I received a subsidy of Rs 40 lakh from the steel ministry.”
The project began with a study conducted by the National Institute of Secondary Steel Technology. Thereafter standard operating procedures were suggested by Mecon Limited Ranchi, apart from suggestions from the National Productivity Council, Bangalore. Finally, there was a Performance Improvement Training by SAIL Management Training Institute Ranchi. And it turned out to be fruiful. Agarwal's factory was the only one in Kerala which was recognised as a Model Unit. Around 28 such model units from all over the country were identified.
During a workshop held on November 25 at the Le Meridien, New Delhi, Agarwal received a memento and a certificate in the presence of Sayeddin Abassi, Jt. Secretary, Ministry of Steel, Alexandra Solovieva, deputy country director, UNDP-INDIA, A.C.R. Das, National Project Co-ordinator, UNDP/GEF PROJECT (STEEL), among other dignitaries.
“The effort was worth it,” he says. “We have now reduced our energy consumption by 30 per cent.” Overall, these units saved up to Rs 40 crore annually in fuel costs.
(The New Indian Express, Kerala edition)