Akshay Jain, director of Silverton Pulp & Paper, says it's time to promote agro residue as a raw material to lessen the scarcity of fibre

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Mr. Akshay Jain, Director of Silverton Pulp and Papers Pvt. Ltd., shares his views on issues faced by the Indian paper mills. He speaks about the shortage of imported waste paper, the need for Agro-forestry, paper mill - an employment hub, substitute of waste paper, and the need to promote agro residue as a raw material.

March 2022 | The Pulp and Paper Times: 

Europe Union had implemented a ban on export of waste paper to India in October 2021, however, with the Covid cases reducing, the exports to India has resumed in April 2022. The ban has impacted the Indian paper mills in many ways, but the lift on ban has also opened new doors and opportunities for the paper mills. 

The Director of Silverton Pulp and Papers Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Akshay Jain, shares his views upon the issues and the opportunities this ban brought upon the Indian Paper mills. On asking his take upon current waste paper crises in India, he said, “The reason behind crisis is short supply of waste paper from Europe countries. The mills are dependent on Europe for waste paper. And since past six months the waste paper is not imported to India. We hoped that the market would open, but due to unforeseen reasons, that is not happening. All workload has is shifted over to United States however, there are some shipment problems in the USA, resulting in delay of shipments. On the other hand, due to obsolete technology the waste paper recovery rate in India is much lower, and the government needs to step in so that the paper mills can become self-dependent. However, it is gradually increasing.” 

On asking his views on India being a fibre deficient country, he added, “There are three ways to produce paper, 1. Wood 2. Agro-waste, and 3 Recycling. We can retain up to 85-90 kgs of paper from recycling 100 kg waste paper. By boosting Agro-forestry fibre deficiency can be reduced.” Jain opined, “It will not only help farmers, but will also help the country as it will reduce the import burden. There are many challenges to be the tackled to achieve this. One is the government allowing us to pursue Agriculture forestry. The other one is being a capital-intensive industry, government should also provide financial support because the current Indian paper industry is financially weak. Despite being poor infrastructure, Indian entrepreneurs are performing very well. If we get permissions for Agroforestry, we can solve this problem.”

When asked about the requirement of OCC and can paper mills make a mechanism or association that can collectively import paper at low prices, he said, “Ultimately, this is a business and not a charity, so when the demand increases, rates also increases. The challenge today is about availability. If we buy in smaller quantities, we can procure them cheaper. So, this step is not feasible.”

When asked about their manufacturing capacity and plan for expansion in future, Jain explained, “Our group manufactures around 850 ton per day, including 650-ton Kraft paper and 200-ton writing paper. Due to Covid, we had put a franchise on hold, but we will decide on it in future. Whether to opt for Kraft paper or Writing paper depends upon the demands, as the basic running cost of a paper mills have increased manifold, but in comparison the profit hasn’t. So, we are discussing internally as to what level we should work.” 

Sharing his views on future scenario of writing printing paper, he added, “Definitely, it will perform very well. There are many reasons behind that. The government is applying ban on plastic usage, and the machines have turned curb stock. The demand has already gone up, and it has potential for better export viability. The government is changing its course, which would take around three years, and I hope that the following three years, the demand will stay high.” 

“We have recently launched 3-4 products, like virgin top liner in Kraft paper, in which the top layer is made of virgin pulp and has a BF of 40. Another product is Virgin Kraft Liner paper weighing 250/ 300/ 350 grams and has 40 BF. We have developed a kraft paper specially for e-commerce, that weighs between 60 to 120 grams and is made from pure virgin pulp and has high tier of around 150 and no one in India Produces it,” he proudly said. 

On asking what relaxations he seeks from government, as the recovery is costlier, he said the government should issue licences properly and provide low-interest loan. Jain added, “We have not approached the government through any channel. Currently, we are focusing on applying the Environment Clearance (EC) first. As it takes around 6-8 months to get issued.”

Web Title: time to promote agro residue as a raw material to lessen the scarcity of fibre

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