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Wednesday, Apr 03, 2002

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Industry & Economy - Paper, Board & Newsprint

`Newsprint cos have no plans to raise capacity'

Badal Sanyal

KOLKATA, April 2

THE domestic newspaper publishing establishments will continue to be dependent on imported newsprint in the foreseeable future as indigenous newsprint manufacturers have no plans to raise production capacity in the depressed market scenario, according to the Indian Newsprint Manufacturers' Association (INMA).

The INMA President, Mr Raji Philip, told Business Line that the availability of newsprint from domestic manufactures in 2002-03 would be about five lakh tonnes as against an estimated demand of about 10 lakh tonnes. This indicates the publishing sector will have to meet its 50 per cent of the total requirement from imports.

While ruling out the possibility of any price revision by domestic newsprint manufacturers, Mr Philip said that INMA was aware that the newspaper publishing establishments would prefer to use lower grammage newsprint for increased value per tonne.

The newsprint industry thus needs to reinforce its efforts to keep pace with the exponential improvements in printing technology and the trends towards greater decentralisation of printing facilities at multiple locations. The need for better quality newsprint, which can run on high-speed, high-tech printing machines and take sharp resolution four-colour printing had to be met, he suggested.

He said the emerging newsprint availability scenario would not affect the publishing sector as many publishing establishments preferred imported newsprint, while others were still loyal to indigenous newsprint. He felt that the newsprint consumption would not go up substantially even with steady rise in circulation because of the advent of new-look newspapers, away from the staid and stodgy versions.

Mr Philip said, "The age of designer newspapers has begun, much like designer jeans and perhaps even designer genes."

Newspapers in Asia might soon overtake their Western counterparts in adopting the latest technology by making strategic investments in advanced technologies to sustain their competitiveness.

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