May 11, 2015 2:07:18 am
In sync with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India programme, state-run steel maker SAIL on Sunday said it would invest about Rs 40,000 crore within ten years to ramp up its production capacity to nearly 15 million tonne in West Bengal.
This investment would be part of the company’s overall investment target of investing Rs 1.5 lakh crore to ramp up its total production to 50 MT by 2025. Modi had recently asked steel companies to gear up for 300 MT steel output by the same year. Modi on Sunday said, while inaugurating SAIL’s revamped IISCO steel plant in Burnpur, that it made little economic sense to export iron ore and import steel and compared this to exporting grains and importing bread from abroad. The Prime Minister said value addition of minerals is the cornerstone to his government’s economic policy.
“The irony is we kept exporting iron ore and imported steel. The country cannot run if we export wheat and import rotis. We have iron ore and will produce steel,” he told a gathering after dedicating the plant to the nation.
He said district mineral foundations would be set up in the mineral-rich districts of the country. Since the tribals predominantly live in mining zones, the money from exploration activities would be used for their welfare. “We have decided to set up a foundation from the money we get from the royalties of the mineral. That money would be used for the welfare of the tribals,” Modi said.
SAIL chairman C S Verma said of the planned investment of around Rs 40,000 crore in West Bengal, Rs 17,000 crore would be for the company’s Durgapur plant to ramp up its capacity to 9 MT from 2.2 MT currently. For the IISCO plant, SAIL will invest Rs 25,000 crore to increase its output to 5.6 MT from 2.8 MT as of now. Verma also said that an iron ore nugget manufacturing plant, also to be put in at Durgapur, would be the second of its kind in the world. Talking to The Indian Express he said that there was no apprehension of retrenchment. “Automation will not cut down the number of employees. Steel requires a lot of manpower,” he said.
The upgraded plant would produce high quality steel rebars including earthquake-resistant grades, wire rods and universal sections including parallel flanged beams to feed the growing need of infractructural development in India.
Other experts too said that it would start a new era towards a brighter India. “India, with a per capita steel consumption of 60 kg, compared to that of 400-plus of China, has a huge potential,” said Sushim Banerjee, director general, Institute for Steel Development and Growth. He said that products such as parallel slanted beams are new here and would have a very good marketability. Reinforcement bars too would get a huge of takers.
Workers here too are forseeing a brighter future for themselves. “I had been working here for a several years and have always been anticipating doom looking at the industries shutting down every other day. With today’s development, I am hopeful that we are heading for a better tomorrow,” said Harmeet Singh, an employee with IISCO.
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