“Inappropriate regulations are major challenges”

JSW Cement is one of India’s leading cement manufacturers with its products being sold in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharastra and Goa. The company produces three varieties of products: Portland Slag Cement (PSC), Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag cement (GGBFS).

Anil Kumar Pillai – Director & CEO, JSW Cement told Renu Rajaram that cement demand has been buoyant this year due to demand for highways, road ways, smaller towns converting to real estate hub and emergence of smart cities.

Anil Kumar Pillai

Anil Kumar Pillai

Excerpts from the interview:
As one of the leading manufacturers of cement in India, what services are provided by JSW Cement focusing on sustainability, and to develop approaches of green built concept?

In order to reduce the carbon emission levels and to conserve the natural resource like Lime Stone, JSW Cement has commissioned a green field and state-of-the-art technology integrated cement plant of 4.8MTPA at Nandyal, AP; 0.6MTPA at Vijayanagar (Karnataka) and1.0 MTPA Dolvi (Maharashtra). The plants are dedicated to produce 100 per cent eco friendly cement (Portland Slag Cement) and Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag (GGBS) by utilising blast furnace slag generated by JSW steel, as sustainable building materials. By focussing on manufacturing of slag products, the company achieved in conserving limestone by 40 per cent there by reduction of CO2 emissions by 50 per cent as an approach of Green Built Concept.
Please discuss your latest low carbon-emitting concrete innovations and strategies?
The Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag (GGBS) is a useful by-product recovered from blast-furnaces used in the manufacturing of Portland slag cement and as a supplementary cementatious material in production of concrete. JSW Cement is focussing to develop the Low Cement Concrete Technology (LCCT) by replacing OPC with GGBS up to 70 per cent as low Carbon Foot Print Strategy.
Brief us on the company’s target of cutting its carbon-dioxide emissions?
The average CO2 emission for tonne of cement is reported as 0.66t CO2 / t Cement. 0.5 t CO2 / t Cement is reported as the Indian best and that of Global best is as at 0.52 t CO2 / t Cement. The Ultimate target of JSW Cement is less than 0. 35 t CO2 / t Cement.
In launching these ‘green’ initiatives to present a sustainable environment, what barriers or challenges your company had to face?
– Inappropriate regulations and enforcement of standards.
– Lack of awareness about product application.
– Inadequacy in Govt. Policies for providing incentives for using Industrial by- products,
– Non allocation of sufficient funds for Research and Development towards utilization of Industrial by-products for various applications.
– Due to lack of knowledge and experience on alternative building materials, people still prefer to use traditional building materials even in Government Departments.

What are the recent trends being witnessed in the cement sector?
The production and consumption of blended cement such as Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC) and Portland Slag Cement (PSC) has been on steady increase worldwide in recent years. This trend points to the fact that blended cements are gaining acceptability and being considered as suitable or even superior substitute for OPC in various types of construction. India is the second largest producer of cement in the world after China. The cement production reached 375 Million Tons. Out of which production of blended cements is reported as high as 70 per cent. The shift towards blended cement in the last 15 years provides various environmental benefits such as conservation of limestone reserves, reduction in green house gas emission and gainful utilization of industrial by-products like fly ash & slag.

What are the main reasons for buoyant cement demand this year? On an average, tell us about your expected growth rate this year?
Well, the cement demand has been buoyant this year due to the infrastructure boom. The same can be attributed to the demand for highways, road ways, smaller towns converting to real estate hub and the emergence of smart cities. On an average a 15-20 per cent year on year growth is what one is looking at.
With the present housing shortage of 26.5 million homes, what growth do you see for the sector in the next two to three years?
There is a visible migration of people from smaller towns to cities in search of Jobs. At the same time, the infrastructure growth in smaller towns is also making it growth opportunity areas. We are witnessing the emergence of smart cities in the near future. A good infrastructure helps in creating opportunities and gets people to come and settle in. This results in demand for homes today the demand is more than supply but we are looking at a healthy growth in this sector for the next couple of years.
What are your expansion plans?
We are looking at increasing our facilities in our Dolvi Plant in Maharashtra. With all three facilities now ready and working to optimum production capacities – there is a need to take the brand forward in terms of network expansion and brand visibility.
What do you think of the Make in India campaign?

India has the bandwidth to take on any country in the world as far as the manufacturing space is concerned. Technologically and manpower skills are two of our biggest strengths today. India has the ability and the potential to develop and manufacture world class products and this is across categories. What India needs at this point in time is the solid infrastructure that acts as the back bone to the growing economy. With the emergence of new highways, airports, ports, railway networks, smart cities, we only see India growing steadily. Amongst the BRICS nations, India has the edge due to its young skilled population and availability of Natural resources.