India Cements 75 not out!

An apt milestone for one of the largest cement producers from south, considering the behemoth’s contribution to industry and sports.
N Srinivasan, VC-MD, India Cements hands over a momento to Amit Shah
N Srinivasan, VC-MD, India Cements hands over a momento to Amit ShahJustin George

CHENNAI: From a humble beginning in Talaiyuthu in Tamil Nadu, India Cements has come a long way. The 75-year cement major celebrated its platinum jubilee on Saturday, firming up the foundation for yet another 25 years, when it would score a century. An apt milestone for one of the largest cement producers from south, considering the behemoth’s contribution to industry and sports.

Setting the tone for the celebrations was Rupa Gurunath, whole-time director, India Cements, who, in her welcome address, said: “75 years...it has passed by in a blink of an eye. More than three generations of Indians have built this great country with perseverance and toil. Every generation has instilled its own values and passed on the baton of nation building to the next one seamlessly.”

Drawing a parallel with the country’s progress post-independence, she said “And, here we are today with a swift passage of time celebrating 75 years of independence as the largest democracy and as a signature of the world. India Cements started off with just over half a million tonnes and one cement plant, we have grown to 15 million tonnes, over 10 units, spread across the country.”

“We are no longer just a South Indian cement company. Our brands Coromandel, Shankar, Concrete Super King are available in the far corners of the country,” she sought to point out.

N Srinivasan, VC-MD, India Cements, acknowledging the importance of Home Minister Amit Shah, who presided over the event as the chief guest, said “There is a lot to learn from our Home Minister…

meticulous planning… I have seen him…minute learning is his forte, and then excellence in execution.”

“He succeeds because he has attention to detail… he never loses his temper. His focus is very strong. These are the few things I learnt in the interactions I have had with him. If he thinks of something, he only thinks of that. So, I learnt a lot, and to have such a person as a chief guest is not a tribute to me, it is a tribute to the founding fathers (of India Cements),” he further said.

Having the distinction of steering independent India’s first public issue company, Srinivasan said, the feat achieved by India Cements could not be taken away. “When I came back from the US in 1968, the cement industry in India was only 19 million tonnes, that was the capacity of the country. Today, it is 400 million tonnes. There are only seven states in the country where limestone is available. Demand is all over India, but it is produced only in three or four places. One fact about the cement industry that is not fully appreciated is, the largest producer of Cement is China - 2.4 billion tonnes - after that comes India, 450 million tonnes. After us comes America, which is 70 million tonnes. Leave aside China and its size, we are by far the largest and the most sophisticated producers,” the cement baron sought to highlight.

Srinivasan also spoke about the sports backbone of the company. “The other aspect about India Cements is we have always prided ourselves in the fact that we support sport. Even in the 1960s, eight or nine of the Ranji Trophy players were from India Cements. Not only did we engage them, we employed them. We first started the habit of employing the cricketers, not just play like a consultant, No. In the audience, there are so many older cricketers who have done yeoman service not only to India Cements but also to the state and the country. (Former India skipper) S Venkataraghavan played for us once. With the Chennai Super Kings, we have created a landmark. Chennai is today known as the home ground of the Chennai Super Kings. Captain MS Dhoni is here, and we continue our sporting tradition.”

Lauding the stellar leadership of Srinivasan, Amit Shah, in his address, traced the origins of their relationship. The association between them began when the minister was the president of the Gujarat Chess Association. Thereafter, when Srinivasan became the secretary and chairman of BCCI, Shah was the president of the Gujarat State Cricket Association.

Shah also said the basic requirement for a country’s development lay in infrastructure which again was dependent on cement. “Cement production should be of good quality and I can say that India Cements in the cement industry has contributed good quality cement right from their beginning.”

The home minister shared some data about India’s economic progress in the last eight years. “Our nation is travelling strongly towards development. And today, I have faith in 2025, India will become a 5 trillion-dollar economy for sure. I can say this for sure because in just eight years India’s economy from 11 (rank) has come down to five.”

Shah drew attention to a recent report of Morgan Stanley which predicted India’s position would be third in world economy by 2027.

Other dignitaries who spoke included TN Governor RN Ravi, TN Industry Minister Thangam Thennarasu and AP Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy.

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