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Interviews Word of Wisdom

The Executioner

Sanjay Singh

Mr. Sanjay Singh, a chemical engineer from IIT Kanpur,  who is better known as an executioner because his  responsibilities includes, to administer all the operations  of all the units of ITC located at Bhadrachalam,  Bollaram (A.P), Kovai (Tamilnadu) and Tribeni (West  Bengal). Under his belt Bhadrachalam Paperboards,  completed a series of production investments for Rs 11  billion (USD 242 million, EUR 178 million) in 2007-08.  Likewise he has also played an important role in the  other expansions too. His analytical & insightful  thinking makes it easy for him to undertake  any task with confidence and execute it at  its best. Below are the dialogues from the  conversation.

Paper Mart: Stepping back a bit, what it takes to build a state of art manufacturing unit – one that demonstrates the benefits and transformation, which involves major investments and a lot of change? What strategies you have applied to be sure that all the elements are aligned on every front in terms of latest technology (energy efficiency, water management etc.) along with culture?

Sanjay Singh: To built a state of art manufacturing unit the management of ITC PSPD kept in mind the following strategies –

1) Latest technology has to be sustainable.

2) Use minimum amount of natural resources like Water, Energy, Wood etc.

3) Benefit the society & cause no damage to the eco-system.

When new technology is brought in lot of time and money has to be spent on training of people to absorb the technology & operate the plant efficiently. In India we generally spend lot of money on buying the technology but we do not spend enough of time and money on training of people. Very intensive training was imparted to people ahead of start up of the plant to prepare them for the new technology.

It was extremely difficult for us to get good quality qualified professional to work in our plant located at Bhadrachalam. This was done by providing good housing & infrastructure facilities for people to stay & work.

We need to keep updating the team on developments in technology & its connect to the final customer. Every development and technology finally must benefit the customer.

Our experience has been that along with exposure bring in the latest technology which will use minimum of natural resources & give maximum benefit to customer. It always pays. The Indian paper industry has become big enough to reap the benefits of technological advancement and give good products to customer.

The Indian paper Industry needs to be convinced that new technology which uses the minimum natural resources will be sustainable in the long run. We need to go for bigger plant size to bring in economies of scale in the paper Industry.

PM: As the Indian Paper Industry operates comparatively on a smaller scale? Can Indian paper mills actually go for the expansions along with better technological advancements, to reap the benefits and How?

SS: As, the Indian economy is growing at 8 – 9 % and likely to continue at this rate the demand for Paper & Board will continue to grow. To meet this additional demand, the opportunity for existing mills or new entrants will be huge. The demand for good quality paper & board will continue to grow, as more & more automatic filling machines came into the country to meet the growing demand of population. To meet this new demand of paper mills will have to invest in higher & higher speed machines with new technology. The new technology brings within a lot of cost saving opportunities. Our experience has been that, the investment in new technology along with expansion brings lot of economic benefits to the mill besides being environment friendly.

PM: Being the head of the India’s best paper manufacturing unit? Kindly elaborate the development plans along with the expansion plans in the course of transformation?

SS: At our Bhadrachalam unit we have invested in state of art pulp mill with ozone bleaching. This was only the seventh plant in the world to introduce ozone bleaching. This has helped us to reduce water consumption & improve the quality of the effluent going into the effluent treatment plant. in the effluent treatment plant we have introduced the MBBR Technology for the first time in paper Industry in the country.

To meet the raw material requirement of our pulp mill we have completed 100,000 hectares of plantations working closely with the farmers. It has helped to improve the green cover & created additional employment opportunities in the state.

We also use wastepaper at our Bhadrachalam & Kovai units. For this we have started the Wealth out of Waste (called WOW) in the state of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In this we collect waste paper at the source itself namely households, schools & offices. We are working with hundreds of schools & corporate on this initiative.

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