‘The steel plant currently buying iron ore from other States'

Twenty-one applications made by the RINL-Visakhapatnam Steel Plant in various States for allotment of iron ore mines were not cleared, the Steel Plant Employees Union has said demanding allocation of Obulapuram mines to the plant.

Taking a dig at the State Government for not taking enough initiative to get mining leases for a public sector steel manufacturing company within the State, president of the union J. Ayodhya Ram said at a press conference that there was no surprise that other states did not care for the VSP.

Now that the Supreme Court instituted Central Empowered Committee had asked for cancellation of the mining leases in Obulapuram and Centre asking cancellation of Bayyaram mines to Rakshana Steels, these mines should be allotted to the VSP, which given Rs.20,000 crore to Government in the form taxes.

Currently the steel plant was buying iron ore from other States at Rs.7,000 a tonne, which could be substantially brought down to make the products more competitive. “Orissa, Rajasthan and Jharkhand refused to allot mines as they wanted value-addition done within their state for employment generation. Our State Government however, had given Bayyaram mines to Rakshana Steels that did not begin their work at all and a Chennai-based company Jimpex through the APMDC instead of the VSP,” said Mr. Ayodhya Ram.

Appealing to Visakhapatnam MP Daggubati Purandeswari and Rajya Sabha member T. Subbarami Reddy to take interest in getting mining leases for the VSP, the Steel Union office-bearers said buying 51 per cent stake in OMDC at Rs.360 crore did not benefit the VSP too much, but allocation of mines within AP would help a lot, he added.