SNM Group to set up mega solar power project in western Odisha: Prabodh Mohanty
Bhubaneswar: In a conversation, Prabodh Mohanty, Managing Director of SN Mohanty Group discussed the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the mining sector and also revealed some future plans.
Here is an excerpt from the interview:
S N Mohanty Group is a leading company in mining sector in Odisha. How were mining operations affected during the pandemic?
S N Mohanty Group is active in mining, steel, electricity, clean energy and horticulture. However, the COVID-19 pandemic deeply affected Odisha’s mining sector which was clearly reflected in April, May and June 2020.
How was your organisation affected?
Our mining operations were affected for the first few months as the workers returned to their hometowns due to the impact of the pandemic. Iron-ore transportation was affected due to a shortage of trucks in the lockdown. We had to manage to carry on with 30% capacity. But, things have changed now and mining is slowly returning to normalcy.
What is your organisation doing for value addition in Odisha?
Our group has been thinking about adding value since 2008. In the same year, we set up 200 TPD sponge iron factories in Bonai, Sundergarh district. In this regard, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the State government to set up an integrated steel project with a capacity of 0.25 million tonnes. As a result, our integrated complex now has 400 TPD sponge iron, 12 MW captive power plant and 0.10 million tonnes of steel billets.
How has your organisation contributed to the socio-economic development of the State?
In our mine, we have hired one member of each family from the surrounding village. Under the CSRR4 program, we provide the local villagers with the necessary infrastructure for education, communication, entertainment, sports and cultural activities.
Are there any plans to expand the steel production unit?
We have plans to increase the plant’s steel production capacity. We will add a rolling mill in the near future and increase our ticket production capacity. We will also set up an iron ore pellet mill in the area.
What are the plans for the solar energy sector?
In 2011, we installed a solar power project near Trisulia in Cuttack, which now has a capacity of 1 MW. As solar radiation continues to be good in the western part of the State, we are looking for land to set up a 10-megawatt solar power plant there.
What is CSR’s priority currently?
Concrete roads have been built to connect the villages around our mine with the township, and ambulances have been arranged to transport patients to the nearest hospital. We plan to provide primary health care in rural areas and connect more and more villages with concrete roads.
What would be your prediction for the market price of iron ore?
The iron ore market is as high as it was in 2009-10. Prices are high due to high demand for steel and low supply of iron ore in the state and abroad. Once the mines are auctioned, the price of iron ore will return to normal.
What does the mining industry expect from the Government?
The main problem is the extraction and transportation of minerals from the mines. Old roads need to be repaired and roads dedicated to the transportation of minerals need to be built. Rail connectivity also needs to be improved to reduce road pressure.
What is your opinion about Sambad Brands of Odisha Pride of India?
The Brands of Odisha Pride of India campaign offers a unique opportunity to showcase the brands of Odisha on the national frame. It provides a platform for emerging and established brands to showcase and popularize their products at the national level. I wish success for such initiative by the Sambad Group.