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Paswan has big plans for PSU steel cos

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January 12, 2007 15:54 IST

Chemical and Fertiliser Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday unveiled an expansion plan for government sector undertakings involved in the production of steel and particularly Steel Authority of India. The minister said that in next few years SAIL would become the biggest company in India.

" We would raise the production of steel from the present level to 40 million tonnes by 2019. Profits have almost doubled in the last two years from Rs 5622.37 crores (Rs 56.22 billion) in 2003-2004 to Rs 11,569.29 crores (Rs 115.69 billion) in 2005-2006 under the United Progressive Alliance government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh," Paswan, said at a media briefing in New Delhi on Friday.

The minister said that Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited would also be expanded and its production capacity would be raised from 3 million tonnes to 6.3 million tonnes after Rs 8692 crore (Rs 86.92 billion) is infused on its expansion plan by October 2009. This would be further raised to 16 million tonnes by 2018 at an estimated cost of Rs 25,000 crores (Rs 250 billion).

He told the scribes that these companies would spend two per cent of gross profit on looking after the areas in which the mines are located and would take care of constructing roads, schools and hospitals and even provide medicines to the local population so that they feel they are part and parcel of the company.

The ministry has set up a Steel Price Monitoring Committee headed by joint secretary Arvind Singh. Officials from government and private sector and consumer organisations would be part of this committee. He also announced the formation of National Steel Promotion and Awareness Committee.

"Till now we had 96 dealers and now we have issued letters to 650 dealers out of which 450 are operational. Out of which 202, which comprise of 45 per cent belong to SC and ST categories.

"We are going to consolidate the appointment of dealers at the zila and block level as well. A committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of J K Bagachi, former secretary, ministry of steel for restructuring and reorganising the Bird Group of companies.

"The committee will submit its report within two months. Besides the ministry has proposed to standardise sale of steel and those selling sub-standard stuff would be peanlised," he said.

He also pointed out that per capita consumption of steel in India was just 30 kilos whereas it is more than 300 kilos in China. The minister lauded the performance of almost all the 15 steel companies under it barring one or two who are running into losses.
Onkar Singh in New Delhi