New lease of life for Valaichchenai Paper Mill | Daily News


New lease of life for Valaichchenai Paper Mill

Test run to re- open factory completed
Minister Wimal Weerawansa observing the successful test run of Valaichchenai Paper Mill
Minister Wimal Weerawansa observing the successful test run of Valaichchenai Paper Mill

Re opening a new era in the Sri Lankan Paper industry, the abandoned Valaichchenai Paper Mill is being resurrected by Minister of Small and Medium Business and Enterprise Development, Industries and Supply Chain Management Wimal Weerawansa. The successful test run to re- open the factory was done last week.

The state-owned National Paper Company’s which was built in 1952 with German assistance helped Sri Lanka to be self-sufficient in paper. In 1992 LTTE bombed the factory and it was shut down since.

Minister Weerawansa during a visit to the factory said that there are over 350 acres, eight buildings and aging machinery as assets and earlier governments had pumped in a lot of money to review it but failed.

“We have already obtained Indian technical assistance and have successfully done a test run and the first ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ paper would be available in August.”

He said the government has to bear a huge cost for importing paper products and due to the production at the factory, Sri Lanka would be able to save millions of dollars.

The main aim is firstly to produce paper for school textbooks and cardboard packaging paper to industrialist through this factory to meet the national requirement locally.

He said when fully operational the Valaichchenai Paper Mill will provide over direct 400 employment and help to create new business opportunities to the youth in the area.

Weereawansa said that plans were underway to convert 300 acres as an investment park and tourism zone and also have the world’s largest ‘Print Museum’ in Valaichchenai.

In addition we will also have one of the largest solar parks in the premises thereby earning additional revenue. The plant also has a water recycling plant and this will be redeveloped to provide clean drinking water to hotels and will also have a water bottling plant. “We hope to get a financial injection of Rs. 800 million from the government for this,” he said.

For some of the other projects the Minister will look at implementing the PPP model. Chairman of the National Paper Corporation Wimal Rupasinghe said that the main raw material needed is recycled paper which is now imported to India.

He said that the Valaichchenai Factory owes Rs. 443 million to CEB for Electricity and the Minister has succeeded in cancelling around Rs. 200 million fines due to the CEB. He said that the Sri Lankan armed forces are helping them to help restore the factory.

The former Minister of Industries Rishad Bathiudeen has got Cabinet approval to liquidate and sell the factory and its surrounding land and for Rs. 200 million and the present Minister Weerawansa re submitted a Cabinet paper to revive it, invalidating an earlier decision said Consultant to Minister, Sudesh Nandasiri.

He said that plans are also afloat to use one of the abandoned building to have a state of the art ‘technical workshop’ to service the vehicles, boats in the area, to generate additional revenue.

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