Steel production to rise if land, mining bills passed

December 15th, 2011 - 7:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 15 (IANS) India’s steel production is expected to grow by 4-5 percent this fiscal against a target of 8 to 10 percent, but the situation would improve next fiscal if parliament passes the land acquisition bill and the new mining bill, according to the Institute for Steel Development and Growth (INSDAG).

“If the land acquisition bill and mining bill are passed, then the country’s steel industry would have a stable year next fiscal, as after that many pending projects of various steel companies will be cleared. There will be capacity expansions of several steel makers with the greenfield projects coming up,” INSDAG director general Sushim Banerjee told reporters here Thursday.

INSDAG is jointly promoted by the ministry of steel and steel producers.

The steel industry has been hobbled by many problems. Many projects are delayed due to pending regulatory clearances in various states.

Also, increased focus of government agencies in enforcing mining and transportation regulations to curb illegal mining has led to decline in production of iron ore and disrupted supply, resulting in shortage of the raw material for steel production.

Banerjee said due to these problems, the country’s steel production, targeted to grow by about 8 to 10 percent, was expected to grow by four to five percent this fiscal.

“Industry is forecasting about 70 million tonnes production at the end of this financial year against the targeted 78 million tonnes,” he said.

The Indian government early this week introduced in parliament a draft legislation that proposes to make mining companies pay higher compensation to people displaced by mining activities.

The bill also seeks to empower state governments to constitute special courts for the purpose of providing speedy trial of offences relating to illegal mining.

Stating that steel industry in the country was only confined to the cities, Banerjee said villages had to be converted into cities as centres of consumption.

He said INSDAG, in association with the West Bengal government’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) department, has set up two steel fabrication units to impart training to local entrepreneurs.

“We are aiming to set up one or two fabrication units in every state in the next six months,” he added.

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