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Bokaro (Jharkhand) :  Admitting the  fact that steel industry is at present passing  through very  tough phase due to   25 percent extra steel dumping  done  by China, slump in steel  prices at global level and  big rise in import  cost of coking coal, union steel minister Birendra Singh on Saturday said that  that despite these difficulties, he is very optimistic  that  India will   emerge as second biggest steel producing nation  within five year after China, for which government was taking several initiatives.

Birendra  Singh was talking to mediapersons at Bokaro aerodrome on September 23 late evening after his five  hour visit to Bokaro steel plant to get first hand report of the progress, development and  modernization being carried  at the plant. The minster  informed that  earlier it was planned that Steel authority  of India Limited (SAIL), whose several units are going through  for massive modernization and expansion, will produce 150 million tons of steel  by 2020 but now it has decided to increase the production further by 50 million tons  making it 200 million tons.

“Despite the challenges, union steel ministry is pumping  in big finance in Research and Development  (R&D), which  is our top priority list asking scientists and researchers to find out ways to cut coal import bill  by finding  cheap substitute of required fuel as India still imports 90% of coking coal which increases production cost. Researchers are finding out ways as how to produce cheap steel adopting modern technologies improving steel  quality so that SAIL steel remains in demand.

” We are planning  to  establish a new steel plant to make quality steel from iron scrape and 40 % of scrape comes from J&K, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. But, it has not yet been decided where will the plant come up. An MoU has been signed with automobile giant Mahindras  and MSTC who will buy the steel produced from scrape which will be used in automobile and electrical sectors. Another MoU has been signed with Arcellor Mittal also for production of steel needed  in automobile industry.”

We have also requested Railway ministry to use  iron in making concrete sleepers  as the present concrete sleepers last for 50 years but if slight iron is used for making sleepers its life will be extended till 150 years, the union minister said. Besides  the union minister,  union steel secretary Aruna Sharma , SAIL chairman P K Singh, BSL CEO Anutosh Maitra and others were  present at the press conference.

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