ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Excise Irritants

Excise Irritants Hansavivek STRAW PRODUCTS has produced good results for 1984 with increases in production, sales and profits. Production of paper and board was higher at 65,848 tonnes against 61,807 tonnes in the previous year. Production at the paper mills in Orissa reached an all-time high. The output of board mills located at Bhopal would have been substantially higher but for the tragic incident of gas leakage from the Union Carbide India's plant there in December last resulting in complete dislocation of normal operations for nearly a month. There has been an improvement in the demand for paper, but the market for kraft paper and duplex board remained sluggish. The high excise duty differential enjoyed by smaller units in the case of these varieties affected the company's board mills. The directors feel that the increase in excise duty on certain varieties of paper produced by large integrated units through the Union Budget for 1985-86 may affect the sales of the integrated paper mills. They also contend that the increase in the price of the controlled variety of white printing paper from Rs 5,400 to Rs 6,400 per tonne in May 1984 is still "far too inadequate" to cover the cost of production and the industry continues to suffer heavy losses on this account. The full requirement of raw materials for the paper mills in Orissa could not be met from the company's leased forests, and sizeable quantities had to be brought in from distant regions like Assam, North Bengal and Maharashtra or purchased otherwise at considerably higher costs. Exemption of import duty on wood pulp should help the paper industry to overcome to some extent the difficult raw material position. About 20 per cent Of the coal required at the paper mills had to be transported by road at higher cost and the quality of coal continued to be poor. With the recent hike in railway freight, increase in the price of petrol and petroleum products and general rise in prices, the costs will be further pushed up. The company is implementing a Rs 23-crore scheme of modernisation and renovation of its paper mills in Orissa, which was set up in 1962. Orders for most of the equipment have been placed. The scheme would be implemented before the

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