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India’s first silicon making unit likely in Bhandara

According to reports, Vidarbha may turn out to be the country’s Silicon Valley. The region is high on the radar of public sector undertaking Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) which is planning to set up the country’s first silicon manufacturing unit. BHEL is already coming up with a fabrication plant for power equipment in Bhandara district.

The PSU, which makes heavy equipment for the conventional power sector, is eyeing growth in the solar energy sector where silicon cells are used to generate power.

The company has drawn plans to set up a Rs2,000 crore plant for making silicon and silicon wafer. “Most probably, it would come up in Vidarbha. However, the company is negotiating with the state government for getting certain incentives,” said BHEL’s managing director B Prasada Rao, while talking on the sidelines of the Advantage Vidarbha investors meet.

Silicon is a strategic material in the electronics industry as well as the solar energy sector where the inputs are made using silicon cells. BHEL, which was till now making cells, modules as well as solar panels, is planning to manufacture the raw material on its own. “We would be growing silicon to make wafers out of it,” said Rao.

“It is high time the country gains self-reliance on the whole as the market is currently dominated by foreign players like China, which can dictate the rates to their advantage,” said Rao.

A highly placed source in the company added that if the deal with state government works out, the plant may come up in Bhandara district in the vicinity of its fabrication plant. “The project would be spread in an area of 200 acres,” added Rao.

Union heavy industries minister Praful Patel was also seen batting for this project as he spoke during the seminar. Bhandara comes under his constituency.

Union heavy industries minister Praful Patel was also seen batting for this project as he spoke during the seminar. Bhandara comes under his constituency.

Rao said BHEL is eyeing the solar energy sector which can be the future of power business. “Already, generation 20,000MW is being planned through Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Energy Mission by 2020. BHEL’s plant would have an initial capacity of making wafers equivalent to generating 500MW of solar energy,” he added.

The fabrication at Bhandara on which BHEL is currently working on entails an investment of Rs 1000 crore and is spread in an area of 300 acres. The company is eyeing business from the several power plants such as that of National Thermal Power Corporation ( NTPC) and India Bulls at Mouda and Amravati respectively.

Later during the Advantage Vidarbha session, the managing director of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Corporation (MSEDCL), limited said that this state government owned power utility will insist BHEL to develop ancillary units in Maharashtra as against the orders it bags from it.

One comment

  1. Ministers taking Industries to their location for generating employment or area development at the cost of PSU / Public Money should have the Fundamental aspects of sustainability in place. Why Bhandara? Are there any cheap raw material resources, air port, sea port and land connectivity etc for import and export and domestic supplies etc, huge power availability during operation which Vidarbha is in shortage / crisis? Business plan Logistics?….. Please note that Mr. Nehru and his battery of such North India voter pleasing politicians or their dynasty (even today the Rai Bareli wheel and axle plant? where is raw material logistics and at what cost and why not make plant viability report to public before announcing the place / location?? we should put up industry on the long term sustainability with competitiveness also) took away the industries without these basics in Place and many industries are SICK due to poor logistics and expensive transportation and irrelevant area like HEC Ranchi, many thermal plants where coal does not exist or any way nearby etc…. Creating industry for growth is good, but, not by defeating the fundamental principles of Business plan…. Hope BHEL can answer its share holders (now it is public listed company and it should act as per share holder’s consent and not to appease Minister or to come under political pressure… Business should be run in a professional way and not by political tantrums)… when do we get our math right for sustainability… please take the industries which have local advantages and not the tax sops…..Please justify the location advantages with scientific study and business case to public before announcing such projects for vote bank as the key objective, rather it should be vetted by investor’s, advisors and minority educated share holders too

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