Union Minister for Steel Virbhadra Singh on Monday announced that Navaratna status would be conferred on Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.
Addressing a press conference after dedicating the Rs.380-crore fourth coke oven battery of VSP to the nation, he said the performance of VSP made it a fit case to get the status of a Navaratna company.
He said the Centre was examining various ways and means to grant captive mines to RINL to give it greater amount of raw material security. Asked to comment on the fate of the Ministry of Steel's 100 days agenda in which it wanted to expedite RINL's buying equity in Birds Group of Company (BGC) to have a say over its iron ore mines, he said a favourable decision was expected anytime.
When insisted as to why the decision on captive mines was being delayed inordinately, Mr. Singh said “Had it been in my hands, I would have passed the orders here and now. It is not in my hands as clearance has to be obtained from the States concerned. Till then we are ensuring that supplies will continue from National Mineral Development Corporation.”
On the demand for imposing a ban or putting curbs on export of iron ore, he said, personally he was in favour of banning exports. “We have to take a decision as a whole. Hence, we have to consider the pros and cons,” he stated.
Mr. Singh firmly denied any proposal to give permission to RINL to go public, indicating that the proposed disinvestment of the company had been put on hold for the time being.
Union Minister of State for Steel A. Sai Pratap, Union Minister of State for HRD D. Purandeswari and RINL CMD P.K. Bishnoi were present.