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Journal of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI). Asbestos Free India campaign of BANI is inspired by trade union movement and right to health campaign. BANI has been working since 2000. It works with peoples movements, doctors, researchers and activists besides trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims. Contact: Advocate Gopal Krishna, LL.M.,

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hyderabad Industries to sharpen focus on non-asbestos building products

Hyderabad Industries, a C. K. Birla Group company, is expanding its business architecture by transforming itself from an asbestos cement (AC) roofing sheet products manufacturer to an innovative building materials and solutions provider.

Even while expanding its AC sheet manufacturing capacity, the company is sharpening focus on creating a domestic market for non-asbestos based building products, including tiles, walls and ceiling. It is also expanding its flat product line involving cement-based products that are suitable to replace plywood in certain building products.

As the first step, it has initiated trading in certain products such as mineral-fibre based ceiling tiles, steel roof sheeting products and AAC blocks. “At present we are sourcing these products primarily from China and Europe. Soon we will expand our portfolio of such products by sourcing them from Korea and Taiwan,” Mr Abhaya Shankar, Managing Director, told Business Line.
New units

To further consolidate this stream of business, HIL will be looking at setting up manufacturing facilities for these new products. “The market response so far is encouraging. We may begin to manufacture some of these products locally in two years, while other products could take about four years,” he said.

HIL, as part of this strategy, is open to acquiring or having joint ventures with companies that have strengths in this sector. “We have recently decided to be open for such buys or tie-ups with suitable overseas companies too,” he added.

Does this mean that the company sees an early end to asbestos-based products life cycle? “No. India will still require asbestos cement ceilings in the rural housing segment due to its cost and other advantages. Still, 50 per cent of our rural population live under thatched roofs,” Mr Shankar said.

HIL, which has 12 production lines in nine plants across India, is adding one more line at its UP plant at a cost of about Rs 50 crore, which is expected to be ready by January next year.

India, which imports 4 lakh tonnes of chrysotile (asbestos fibre) to produce about 4 million tonnes of AC roofing sheet, will be adding new capacities, with at least six new plants coming up in the next one to two years.


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