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Indian Steel Association seeks Odisha’s support to tackle steel sector crisis

Noting that steel industry is going through a tough time due to several factors, Indian Steel Association (ISA) on Thursday sought Odisha Government’s active support to tide over the challenges.

“Indian steel industry has been going through a tough time and major players are incurring losses. We need the govenrment’s support in a more sustainable manner,” Tata Steel Managing Director T V Narendran told reporters here after a delegation of the ISA met Odisha Chief Secretary G C Pati.

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Besides Narendran, the delegation comprised JSPL Chairman Naveen Jindal, ISA Secretary General Sanak Mishra, MESCO Steel Advisor Priyabrat Patnaik, Essar Steel (Odisha Projects) CEO R K Mittal, JSPL Executive Director Manish Kharbanda, among others.

The delegation during its first discussion with the chief secretary apprised the state government on various problems faced by steel industries in Odisha, said Jindal Steel & Power Ltd Chairman Naveen Jindal.

Expressing concern over the fact that India imports at least 1 mtpa steel per month from other countries like China, Japan and Korean, the ISA, which comprised steel industries both in the public and private sector, said that Indian industries should get adequate support from the state government to face the challanges.

The ISA drew attention of the Odisha Government over issues like very low availability of iron ore and chrome which lead to very high prices. “This is not supporting the domestic steel industry. ISA members requested for support on this issue, said ISA secretary general Sanak Mishra.

Seeking enhancement of iron ore Production by Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and merchant miners, the ISA urged the state government to consider its demand of keeping low DMF (District Mineral Foundation) to lessen the burden on Steel Industry.

They said the OMC should allocate iron ore & chrome to MoUA memorandum of understanding (MoU) is an agreement between two (bilateral) or more (multilateral) parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action. It is often used in cases where parties either do not imply a legal commitment or in situations where the parties cannot create a legally enforceable agreement... More signed steel plants on priority basis. “Cartelization efforts for road transportation should be effectively handled to bring overall logistics costs to realistic levels. Firm steps requested from the Government,” they said.

Stating that the ISA member companies have already invested over Rs.1.25 lakh crore and provided employment to about 1 lakh people of Odisha, they said the water charges should be as per actual usage not as per allocation. The proposed one time infrastructure charge of Rs.2.5 crore per cusec should not be loaded on the Industry, they said.

State government through GRIDCO should support captive power plant in terms of timely payment, they pointed out during the discussion with the chief secretary.

Requesting the state government to expedite approvals through project monitoring, the ISA said this would enable provisions being attempted by industry like slurry pipeline, beneficiation plants, private ports, railway sidings, water pipeline and other get approved in a timely fashion by various government departments.

“During the next meeting issue wise discussions with the government will be taken up at the highest level and I am confident that the Odisha steel industry would become stronger,” added Narendran.

During the meeting, the Chief Secretary Pati informed the delegation that during auction of non-coal blocks, the state government has been considering for giving preference to state based steel industry, which has already made substantial investment and generated employment in the state, a release issued by the ISA said.

Government is also actively considering for giving right of way for laying underground water pipeline/ slurry pipeline to expedite project work, it said.

All the eight integrated Steel producers of the country, those with a production capacity of 2 million tonnes and above are members of the ISA.

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