‘Failure of elected representatives on putting pressure on the government'
AITUC national working president and former MP Gaya Singh on Monday said the private sector lobby was responsible for denial of captive mines to the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited.
In a chat with The Hindu here, he said there was also failure on the part of elected representatives from the State in putting pressure on the authorities for early allotment of captive mines to RINL, the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.
Mr. Singh, honorary president of All India Steel Workers' Federation, said the future of public sector steel industry appeared to be bleak with the market share of RINL and SAIL slowly coming down over the past few years. Together their share had fallen from 35 per cent to 25 per cent over past couple of years.
“SAIL production has remained low due to shortfall in supply of coal at Bokaro and Bhillai. There is also problem in the functioning of coke oven batteries. Profit margin is falling since 2008-09. The modernisation plan is hit due to fund shortage. IISCO modernisation is not on track as per the original plan thereby resulting in cost escalation,” he stated.
He said in future SAIL might incur losses due to excessive bank loans and interest liability. Outsourcing had also compounded the problem as the overall maintenance was not up to the mark. Compared to other units, Rourkela Steel Plant was doing well, he pointed out.
The private sector lobby had forced increase in steel prices over past five years. Now the intake from the yards had come down drastically. Compared to SAIL, RINL was facing a complicated problem due to raw material security.
To a question, Mr. Singh said UPA-II was pursuing disinvestment in SAIL and RINL vigorously.
“If NDA is elected to power, it will make 100 per cent privatisation in the two public sector units within five years. The implementation is relatively slow compared to NDA,” he said.