REACTING TO the rise in steel prices — Rs 42 per kg to Rs 65 per kg for cold-rolled sheets (CRC) and Rs 36 per kg to Rs 56 per kg for hot-rolled sheets (HRC) — in the past five months, Punjab industry has asked the Centre to ban the export of steel for at at least six months. A meeting was held in this connection on Saturday.
The industrialists said they had had a video conference meeting with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and an in-person meeting with Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Prakash, where they had requested them to enforce a ban on steel export. They have also written several times to the commerce and steel ministries on the issue.
Prices of re-rolled steel has gone up by Rs 10 per kg, while the price of plastic has gone up by Rs 15 per kg in the same time period. Upkar Singh, president of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), said, “Steel is one of the prominent raw materials for the engineering industry. It is processed and after value addition, sold as finished products to automotive, tractor manufacturing, hand tool companies etc. It is an important component in the bicycle industry as well.”
“Rise in demand of steel, low production of steel due to Covid restrictions, increase in export of steel and cartelisation by steel companies are cited as main reasons,” he added.
“Media reports indicate that large steel rolling mills are preferring to export steel. They have booked orders for Europe, Middle East etc, which is one reason for shortage of steel in India. Thus companies are increasing prices at their will,” said Pankaj Sharma, general secretary of CICU. “Cost of steel prices is adding to cost of MSMEs and hence they will run into losses. MSMEs will not be able to book orders considering current raw material prices and a number of MSMEs will be forced to close due to this increase prices of basic raw material,” he added.
CICU said that export of steel should be banned for six months and there be no import duty on steel. Maximum incentive should be given under the stimulus package announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to MSME, cartelisation should be controlled and betting/speculation in steel must be curbed by the government, added Sharma.
Onkar Singh Pahwa, MD, Avon Cycles Ltd., who also joined the meeting of CICU through video conference, said, “Industry is already going through a very tough time and is not in a condition to bear losses. Due to this, the units will decrease production and affect employment.
Amrik Singh Nexo of Nexo Industries said they had long-term contracts with customers and due to price rise, the orders will get canceled.
Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) president S C Ralhan said steel prices had increased worldwide, but while other countries had increased it by 25 per cent, in India it has gone up by 45 per cent. The only solution is a ban on export of steel.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines