Birla Corporation, flagship company of the M. P. Birla Group, is planning to set up a one-million tonne cement plant in Assam at an investment of around Rs.450 crore. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Assam Mineral Development Corporation on Thursday to this effect.

Company Chairman Harsh Lodha said at Guwahati that the North-East region had significant potential for growth and development, including hydro power, agriculture, tourism and floriculture and hoped that the group would be able to contribute substantially to the region's industrial growth by becoming one of the major producers of quality cement in the region.

This joint venture project, generating direct and indirect employment for about 1,200 people, is proposed to be set up at Umrangsu, in the North Cachar Hills district. Birla Corp deposited Rs.1.50 crore (one per cent of the equity base), as earnest money to the AMDC.

Birla Corporation will have 87.5 per cent equity in the new joint venture company and the balance 12.5 per cent will be allotted free of cost to the AMDC as per the tender conditions. The project will enjoy the statutory incentives for setting up industry in the backward region in the North-East.  Birla Corporation, which is in the cement manufacturing business since the past more than five decades, has been selected for the project through open bidding from among 23 companies.

The Rs.2,400-crore Birla Corporation has seven cement plants. The company has a production capacity of more than seven million tonnes of cement now , which is poised to go up to 9.3 million tonnes by 2011.

More In: Companies | Business