Two years on…Indian logging firm still to build processing plant

Start-up logging company, Vaitarna Holding Private Incorporated (VHPI) has not yet set up a promised wood processing plant here but company director Chethan Narayan has assured that such a facility is on the cards and the company is doing the groundwork.

“We are still working on it,” Narayan told Stabroek News when contacted last week. VHPI is a subsidiary of the India-based Coffee Day Group. Coffee Day, through its Dark Forest subsidiary, in 2010 acquired the State Forest Exploratory Permit (SFEP) for 391,853 hectares of forest originally awarded in 2007 to US-based Simon and Shock International Logging Inc (SSILI), after buying out SSILI.

After the acquisition, the company registered in Guyana as SSILI. Subsequently, Dark Forest acquired the 345,961 hectares concession which was originally awarded to Caribbean Resources Limited (CRL). The government accepted an offer of $600 million for the Timber Sales Agreement (TSA). The company was registered as VHPI and has been harvesting and exporting logs from this concession.

The total area held by Coffee Day is 737,814 hectares of forest.

The company has committed to set up a processing plant here with V G Siddhartha, owner of the Coffee Day group, saying in May that a processing centre for logs will be set up here but the main facility will be in India.

Narayan told Stabroek News that they are doing the groundwork for the setting up of the plant but could not give a time frame as to when the processing centre will be set up. “We are working on the commercial (aspect),” he said adding that they have to look at the cost, type of production, capacity, market and so on.  “We are working on it,” he assured.

He disclosed that the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) had asked about a month back for a practical plan for setting up a sawmill and this was submitted. In addition, their five-year operational plan includes the setting up of a sawmill, the director said. In the meantime, the company continues to harvest logs from its CRL concession and he noted that it is a new venture. Narayan said that the company has 15 pieces of equipment on the ground and logs are exported and some sold locally.

He noted that in terms of setting up a plant, the company has to look at every aspect. He point out that Vaitarna’s concessions make it the second largest in Guyana and “our setup should be big.”

Meantime, the company has completed all the prerequisites to convert its SFEP for the SSILI concession to a TSA which would allow it to harvest logs and is now awaiting approval from the GFC. “We can get (the) TSA at any moment,” Narayan said adding that they have done all the studies to a high standard.

Siddhartha has said that the company has exported logs from Guyana to India and China. The export of unprocessed logs has long been a concern of activists who argue that Guyana could earn more from processing logs here and exporting the products. Former forestry minister and now Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud had said last year that there would be no large scale export of logs by Vaitarna. (Gaulbert Sutherland)

 

More in Local News

default placeholder

Gov’t will not be ‘lectured to in the press’ on forest concessions, Trotman says

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Raphael Trotman yesterday said that the government will not be “lectured” to in the press on the issue of forestry concessions, while announcing that the arrival of officials from a company in China that may take over the operations of the controversial Baishanlin is being awaited.

default placeholder

Black Bush triple murder suspects brought to city

Seven men, including the main suspect who was arrested in connection with the Black Bush Polder, Corentyne triple murder were transported to Georgetown on Tuesday evening and are currently being questioned by ranks from the Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID), Major Crimes Unit.

Anthony Jhagroo

Bulletin issued for suspect in murder of mechanic

The police yesterday issued a  bulletin for Anthony Jhagroo, who is wanted for questioning in relation to two offences: escaping from lawful custody and the murder of mechanic, Yugeshwar Shiwcharan.

default placeholder

Five cops under close arrest over stolen gold

Five police officers attached to the Brickdam Police Station are currently under close arrest after they allegedly stole a quantity of raw gold from some miners last Friday.

default placeholder

Norway team ‘horrified’ at bauxite mining in pilot village Muritaro

A private bauxite mining operation in the Amerindian community of Muritaro on the Demerara River, discovered by members of a “horrified” team from Norway, was shut down by the Ministry of Natural Resources late last year, since the community was one identified to benefit from the Guyana-Norway forest protection scheme.

default placeholder

New candidate identified to head Bid Protest Committee

Attorney at Law Joann Bond will now head the recently-constituted Bid Protest Committee (BPC) established under the Procurement Act, well-placed sources say.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: