The Central Government is planning a dose of divestment in Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) and National Mineral Development Corporation within this fiscal, Union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh said here on Saturday.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting organised by the Indian Institute of Metals, Mr. Singh said “we will try to do something this fiscal.” He was answering a question as to whether disinvestment in these two public sector units would take place within the current financial year.

It was learnt that in the case of SAIL, in which the government holds 85.8 per cent of the equity, the disinvestment would be done through dilution of the government stake as well as some fresh offerings.

Higher demand

Mr. Singh said steel demand was set to outstrip supply with improved demand from sectors like infrastructure, housing and automobiles in recent months. “While production is set to increase by around 5 per cent, demand is growing at seven per cent,” he said. The current financial year will be closed with a production of 60 million tonnes against 56.4 million tonnes in 2008-09. The XI Plan steel production target is 124 million tonnes.

Tata Steel Managing Director H. M. Nerurkar said work on the Orissa plant was set to start by December.

While people had been evacuated from 80 per cent of the land, the remaining 20 per cent were likely to vacate by next month, he said.

The plant is proposed to be set up in two phases of three million tonnes each.

Jamshedpur works

On the Jamshedpur works expansion, he said this was likely to be completed by August 2011 taking the capacity from 6.8 million tonnes to 10 million tonnes annually.

Tata Steel Vice-Chairman B. Muthuraman was conferred the 2009 IIM- JRD Tata award for excellence in corporate leadership in metallurgical industries.

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