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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.