Saraf Agencies dumps Russian partners for titanium project

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 07, 2013 19:42 hrs

Even as the row between Kolkata-based Saraf Agencies and its joint venture partners from Russia for a titanium project in Odisha is yet to be settled, the Indian promoter has reaffirmed its commitment on the project.

Saraf Agencies has unveiled Rs 5,000-cr investment plan that will include a titanium park besides the titanium dioxide plant proposed at Chhatrapur in south Odisha’s Ganjam district.

“Presently, we have got 260 acres of land at the project site. We have sought additional 250 acres for developing a titanium park. Our total investment on the titanium dioxide plant and titanium park will be Rs 5,000 crore,” S M Shroff, chairman, Saraf Agencies told the media after meeting chief secretary B K Patnaik.

On the titanium dioxide plant, he said, “We are going to perform the ground breaking ceremony on January 17. Production of titanium slag is expected to commence by April 2014 while titanium dioxide production will start within 20 months of the ground breaking ceremony.”

Shroff said, his company would set up the titanium plant on its own without any joint venture partner. The plant would use Chinese technology. The company has placed advances of Rs 15 crore to Chinese equipment suppliers.

Asked on the ongoing dispute with the Russian partners, he said, “In compliance with the order given by the department of industrial policy and promotion, the land for the titanium project was transferred to the joint venture (JV) company. But the Russian promoters announced that they are not keen on implementing the project. The matter is now under arbitration.”

Chief secretary, B K Patnaik said, “Saraf Agencies is interested to set up the titanium project on the acquired land. We have to examine whether it is permissible or not.”

Initially conceived as an Indo-Russian joint venture, the project has had a tumultuous journey for over last four years. Saraf Agencies and its Russian partners, State Property Management Agency and Tekhnokhim Holding, had sparred over the controversial manner of allotment of land by Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco) for the project.

Idco had allotted the land to Saraf Agencies at Chhatrapur while the Russian promoters had opposed it, demanding land allocation in the name of Titanium Products Private Limited (TPPL), a special purpose vehicle formed for the project on January 29, 2008. The Russian partners together were to hold 55 percent shares in the project with the rest standing in the name of Saraf Agencies.

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