Bokaro: The steel industry has to make further progress to fulfil the demand of the country and has a long way to go since the consumption level in India is very low compared to that in other nations, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said.
“Steel industry has made progress, but it has to make further progress to fulfil the country’s demand,” Singh said while laying the foundation stone for modernisation and expansion of the Bokaro Steel Plant.
He said although the Indian steel industry is decades old, it is still emerging and there is lot of scope for modernisation of the industry.
The Prime Minister, however, did not talk about rising prices of steel. Earlier in the day Finance Minister P Chidambaram had charged the industry with ‘cartel-like´ behaviour in Parliament.
Turning to Jharkhand’s progress, Singh said an amount of Rs40,240 crore had been allotted for the state during the 11th Five Year Plan. This amount is three times more than the allocation in the previous Plan.
Singh said the UPA government took steps for the backward states and Rs700 crore was sanctioned for Jharkhand. Unfortunately, the state could not avail of the funds due to litigations. The Prime Minister expressed hope that the case would be resolved soon and the state would get its due share.
Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who was also present on the occasion, said the Indian steel industry was growing at the rate of 10% while the consumption growth was 13%. This called for raising of production for which Steel Authority of India would invest Rs54,000 crore across all steel plants in the country to raise the total capacity.
He said that SAIL’s capacity would be ramped up to 26 million tonne by 2010 from the present level of 14 million tonne.
Stating that IISCO Steel Plant has already merged with SAIL, Paswan said other companies like Maharashtra Electrosmelt Ltd and Nilachal Ispat would also be merged with SAIL to make it a big entity.
He also announced setting up of a 12 million tonne greenfield steel plant in Jharkhand, but asked Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda to take a faster decision for resolving the Chiria mines issue.