International Paper, which bought 75 per equity in the Andhra Paper Mills Limited at Rajahmundry last year, dedicated a check dam to Mamidilova village in Visakhapatnam district on Friday. The dam was built by the company as a part of its corporate social responsibility.
Rampraveen Swaminathan, the Managing Director and CEO, said the company was encouraging farmers in the area to take up casuarina and subabul plantations and presently they were supplying 20,000 metric tonne of wood per annum to the AP Paper Mill at Rajahmundry and it would now go up to 70,000 metric tonne per annum, as the check dam would provide the irrigation facility. Roughly, 4,800 acres of land in the area in Visakhapatnam district would benefit from the dam.
He said, the company had spent Rs 30-35 lakhs, which was 90 per cent of the cost, on the check dam and the rest was borne by the villagers. "After acquiring the AP Paper Mills Limited at Rajahmundry last year, we have been focussing on improving the raw material supply to the mill by encouraging farm forestry. We are encouraging farmers in the State to take up casuarina and subabul plantations by supplying them with the seedlings, and other inputs. Later, we are buying back the wood from them. We now have forestry plantations in over 1.3 lakh hectares of land in Andhra Pradesh and we want to increase it to 1.5 lakh hectares soon," he said.
He said International Paper had two units - one at Rajahmundry and the other at Kadiam in East Godavari district - with a combined capacity of 2.5 lakh tonnes per annum. He said there was a bright future ahead for the paper industry in India, as the per-capita consumption still was very low, but there were short-term challenges to be addressed such as wood pulp shortage.