Steel output target raised to 80 million tonnes by 2010
ENTHUSED by a healthy rate of 12 per cent growth in steel sector, the government on Wednesday said the target for steel output had been revised upwards to 80 million tonnes from 60 million tonnes by 2010. “Earlier, we had set a target to achieve production of 60 million tonnes by 2010 but now we have revised it to 80 million tonne within the stipu-lated time,” Union minister of steel, chemicals and fertilisers Ram Vilas Paswan said while addressing the mediapersons here. The country’s production capacity was currently 50 million tonnes, he said. Paswan said the capacity expansion would require an investment of Rs 1.5 lakh crore. “Public sector undertakings such as SAIL and RINL will be investing Rs 60,000 crore for expansion while the rest of the money will be invested by the private sector,” the minister said. Noting that the country's was facing a shortage of coking coal, Paswan said the government had created a corpus fund of Rs 3,500 crore, in-volving PSUs such as SAIL, Coal India, MMTC, NTPC and RINL. “Under this venture, PSUs would be able to buy mines anywhere in the world where they find any opportunity in order to compensate the short-age of raw material,” said Paswan. He also said the government had planned to set up a steel processing facility at Nahan in Himachal Pradesh which would have a capacity of 50,000 tonne per annum. “For this, 100 acres has been sought from the state government for setting up this fa-cility,” he said. On being asked about the shortage of DAP in Punjab, Paswan said that there was enough availability of DAP in the country and Punjab was getting sufficient quantity of DAP. SAIL warns of possible rise in steel prices soon CHANDIGARH: Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) on Wednesday said it might increase prices of the alloy in the near future as there are expectations of a rise in input cost. “There are possibilities that the prices of input may rise in the coming time, which will force us to raise steel prices,” SAIL chairman SK Roongta said here on Wednesday. There was a lot of pressure on steel prices due to spiralling cost of raw materials, he added. Pointing out that the demand for steel is rising at 12 per cent, Mr Roongta said the major orders were coming from infrastructure, auto-mobile and manufacturing sectors. Denying reports that steel prices have increased astronomically during the last couple of years, putting a burden on the manufacturing sector, he said the rates have increased only by 15-20 per cent between Octo-ber 2004 and October 2007. The Union government had set up a monitoring committee on steel prices to monitor any large variation in steel prices.