Envoy’s advice to SAIL chief on soft power goes unheededhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/envoys-advice-to-sail-chief-on-soft-power-goes-unheeded/

Envoy’s advice to SAIL chief on soft power goes unheeded

Follow-up: SAIL,NMDC scouting for mines in Tanzania,yet to deliver on training Tanzanian students

The Indian high commissioner in Tanzania has written to the state-run steel maker SAIL to respond to the “repeated requests” of the Tanzanian government to extend industrial training of manpower for its mineral and metallurgical sectors.

Steel minister Beni Prasad Verma had during his visit to Dar es Salaam on April 6,endorsed the need for joint ventures between Indian and Tanzanian companies in exploring mineral reserves there and a Letter of Intent (LoI) to this effect was signed between the two governments.

The LoI envisaged facilitating exchange of technical know-how in developing iron and steel production and that both the countries would work jointly work for exchanging technically trained manpower.

In a letter to SAIL chairman CS Verma on April 15,High Commissioner Debnath Shaw reminded that in a meeting with Beni Prasad Verma,Tanzania’s minister for energy and minerals Sospeter Muhongo had requested that both NMDC and SAIL should sponsor eligible Tanzanian students for study and training courses on mining,metallurgy,and energy in India.

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Verma is also currently officiating as the chairman of NMDC and was part of the delegation,had expressed his willingness that some of the courses offered by the Indian School of Mines at Dhanbad could be considered.

He had even suggested that the chairs supported by SAIL at various IITs could facilitate such training.

Shaw said that despite several reminders from the Tanzanian government,there has been no response from both SAIL and NMDC.

Shaw’s letter comes at a time when NMDC acquired a licence to develop a gold mine in the country (the Bulyang Ombe mine) and is prepared to make substantial investments in exploring it.

“As discussed,in order to develop a business relationship with Tanzania including in areas indicated like coal,iron ore,gold and diamonds by both SAIL and NMDC,it is felt necessary to respond to Tanzania’s repeated requests for training and study assistance in India. I would urge both the PSUs to extend a firm offer of sponsorship for at least two candidates,” Shaw said in his letter to CSVerma.

Verma,did not respond to calls and text messages sent by The Indian Express until the time of going to press.

Mining is the fastest-growing sector in Tanzania and contributes to a significant share of its exports. The value of mineral exports increased from $14 million in 1996 to $711 million in 2005.

Investors in this sector are guaranteed security of tenure,repatriation of capital and profits,and the Tanzanian government ensures a transparent regulatory and administrative system in the acquisition of mineral rights.

India’s state-run mining and metallurgical companies are yet to show results in their quest for acquiring mineral assets in countries like Tanzania.

The International Coal Ventures Limited (ICVL),a special purpose vehicle of the steel,and coal PSUs to pool surplus resources of state-run companies like SAIL,NMDC,Coal India and RINL is yet to register any success since its formation since 2009.

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This despite the fact the special purpose vehicle has an authorised capital of about Rs 10,000 crore and enjoys the powers of a Navratna public sector company.