Odisha govt taking steps to solve steel producers’ problems

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Bhubaneswar: To meet the demand of steel producers, Odisha government today said it is taking steps for extension of lease validity of more mines, besides preparing for more iron ore blocks to put up for auction.

“Validity of lease period has already been extended in case of 82 mining leases including 55 iron ore producing leases,” state Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Kumar Mallik said while inaugurating Assocham India Steel Summit here.

“We are taking expeditious steps for considering other cases for extension of lease validity as per legal provisions,” he said.

The state government is also taking steps to prepare three more iron ore blocks to put up for auction during the current year and seven to eight more iron ore blocks to auction in 2017-18, the minister said.

Further, the government has also introduced various policies on supply of iron ore in more of pre-emption and long term linkage to encourage both small and large players in the steel sector by meeting their demand, he said.

Describing coaking coal as another area of concern for steel industry, Mallik said coking coal reserves in India have high ash content and are thus not fully suitable for making iron. “Efforts should be made to use indigenous wash coal to bring down cost of production,” he said.

Issues relating to logistics and infrastructure support must be addressed through mechanisation of mining and railway network in mines area, Mallik said.

Concerned over poor per-capita steel consumption in rural sector, Mallik said there was a need to thrust upon infrastructure and automobile sectors.

“Rise in demand from these sectors will help in augmentation of steel production which will help in capacity utilisation of existing facilities and bring down cost of production,” he said.

Secretary General of Assocham, D S Rawat said there was a need to ensure availability of raw material at a competitive price to realise the advantage of Indian steel sector.

“Logistics costs remain the concern for transporting raw material and finished products. Accordingly, there is a need to develop required logistics support for transportation at a reduced cost,” said Rawat.

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