Porbandar (Gujarat), Feb.3 : Porbandar, the place famous for being Mahatma Gandhi's birthplace is also the largest manufacturer of quality natural chalk powder in Asia that is mined and processed at a nearby town Aadinayana.
For over five decades, this chalk powder has been used as one of the prime raw materials in the rubber, paint and putty industries. The quality of the chalk powder extracted from the ground here is reckoned to be the best in the country.
"There is huge requirement of chalk in the rubber industry. Besides, the paint industry and distemper industry require chalk. There are around 2,000 persons working here in this industry," said Prakash Pandit, owner of one of the chalk processing units in Aadinayana.
Be it the synthetic chemicals, plastic, cosmetic or paper industries, they rely on the chalk powder from Aadinayana.
"Earlier, it was found in Rajasthan. But the quality of white chalk in Porbandar is much better, in terms of elasticity and plasticity. Hence, it is convenient for the rubber industry. Also as compared to the quality of chalks existing in different parts of the world, Porbandar's chalk quality is much better and has higher contents than them. The chalk from here goes to all parts of the country and even abroad," said Naveen Kanadi, President, Chamber of Commerce, Porbandar
At Aadinayana, around 133 mining leases are in operation. The mining activities fetch the Gujarat government royalty worth lakhs of rupees.
Last year, approximately rupees 68 lakhs (6.8 million rupees) were earned by the State exchequer as royalty.
According to the Joint Director of Industries, the chalk mining and processing provides direct and indirect employment to around 6,000 persons.
It is estimated that every month 20,000 tonnes of chalk powder is produced here.
An interesting aspect of chalk powder industry is that the mining is not excessively mechanized as such it is more of labour-intensive. Besides, the chalk dust is of least magnitude in terms of environmental pollution and related health hazards. By Divyesh Vayeda