Paswan to meet PM with concerns of steel makers

March 3rd, 2008 - 9:11 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan Monday said he will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh soon with concerns of the steel industry that has been lamenting at the slow pace in securing approvals for new projects. Paswan, who met major steel producers along with officials from both the central and state governments here Monday, said he will also take up with the prime minister the issue of setting up a high-power panel to look at problems holistically.

“These issues need to be addressed. I am going to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard,” Paswan told reporters after the meeting. He pegged the pending investments in the sector at Rs.2.8 trillion ($70 billion).

Apart from some domestic players who have been seeking to set up steel projects in the country, overseas majors like South Korea’s Posco and the London-based L.N. Mittal group have faced delays in securing permission on a host of issues.

The problems include long-term supply of iron ore and coal, the minister said, adding this was particularly disturbing when steel production was growing at 6 percent, while the demand was expanding at more than 13 percent.

The minister said it was imperative for the government to provide a favourable climate for steel manufacturers so that the demand for steel, a major commodity for the infrastructure sector, in particular, could be met.

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