‘Steel industry will be in crisis without raw material security'
Steel Workers' Federation of India (SWFI) general secretary P.K. Das on Wednesday demanded imposition of ban on export of iron ore to meet the domestic demand.
Addressing a seminar on allotment of captive mines for Visakhapatnam Steel Plant conducted by CITU here at Ukkunagaram, he said the Indian steel industry would be in crisis without raw material security. Citing the instance of the United States as to how it sourced the minerals from other countries while keeping its reserves unexplored, he said whether high grade or low grade, there was no justification to export iron ore. He said Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, the corporate entity of VSP, was now implementing expansion at a cost of Rs.12,000 crores. Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), the third largest producer in the world, was also augmenting capacity by investing Rs.72,000 crores. “The industry will be in the red without availability of iron ore, an important raw material for producing steel,” he cautioned.
Mr. Das said if the iron ore available in the country was of low grade, required technologies should be explored to put it in proper use.
Stating that corrupt practices were being followed in the export of iron ore, he said over 50 per cent of iron ore production was being exported by showing high grade as low grade.
He said mining mafia was calling the shots in Jharkhand and other States in renewal of mining leases. Genuine demand of SAIL for leases was ignored due to vested interests, he pointed out. Visakha Steel Workers' Union honorary president Ch. Narsinga Rao said the allotment of mining lease in Bayyaram to a person connected with politicians and 40 million tonnes to POSCO in Orissa even before it set up its steel plant speak volumes about the nexus between the powers-that-be and the private investors. He said VSP was not only denied captive mines deliberately but also its site was snatched away to set up a private port on its backyard against the interests of the steel plant. CITU VSP unit president J. Ayodhyaram presided. Union leaders Indramani Behera, Samata activist G. Srinivas, CITU leaders N. Rama Rao, V. Dhanaraju and others were present.