According to reports in The Hindu Business Line, Tractors India Pvt Ltd (TIPL) — which owns the dealership for Caterpillar earthmoving equipment in North, East and North-Eastern India, Bhutan and Nepal — is to set up an underground mining machine manufacturing plant at Asansol in West Bengal. This comes after state-owned BEML Ltd said it is looking to get into the manufacturing of underground mining equipment, using the now closed mining machinery facility of Mining and Allied Machinery Corporation (MAMC) in Durgapur for manufacture of the equipment.The proposed facility, coming up at an estimated cost of INR120 crore, is likely to go on stream between July and September 2018. The INR1,600-crore TIPL — once a subsidiary of Kolkata-based TIL — was acquired by Goodearth Minetech Pvt Ltd of Delhi for a net consideration of INR350 crore in 2016.According to Sunil Kumar Chaturvedi, Chairman and Managing Director, TIPL, the company will tie up with Caterpillar for using its technology for making this “expensive and sophisticated” equipment. “These would be specialised mining equipment covering segments where Caterpillar has exited the market,” he told The Hindu Business Line on the sidelines of Infocom 2017. While Chaturvedi did not specify the type of machines, he claimed there was a good market for these in Eastern India, Russia, Australia and Africa.“Caterpillar is more into a volume game with the US market dictating its product portfolio. But, it still owns the technology for these equipment that have demand elsewhere,” he added. TIPL is already in talks for sourcing spares and other parts of these equipment from countries in Europe, the US and India.