Steel ministry seeks help of MoEF, mines to fast track Rs 70,000-cr small projects

Concerned over delays in execution of small steel projects worth about Rs 70,000 crore, theSteel Ministry has sought cooperation of ministries like mines and environment and the states in removing various hurdles.

These plants are in addition to about Rs 2,00,000 crore mega projects proposed by giants like ArcelorMittaland POSCO but are stuck due to regulatory hurdles and problems like land acquisition.

“An assessment has indicated that 35 small steel projects with investment proposals to the tune of Rs 69,556 crore are yet to take off in Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand despite investors signing memoranda of understanding with states in 2008,” a senior Steel Ministry official told PTI.

Concerned over the slow pace of work on these, the Steel Ministry apart from taking up the matter with the state governments has asked Ministries like Environment, Mines, Shipping, Railways and Highways to extend cooperation in removing hurdles in implementation of the schemes, the official said.

Of the 35 projects, four each are in Odisha and Jharkhand while remaining 27 are in Chhattisgarh, the official said adding the projects are facing hurdles like land acquisition, law and order problem, delays in mines acquisition and grant of forest clearance besides poor infrastructure.

Apart from these, some of the mega projects, including those proposed by ArcelorMittal and Posco, have failed to see the light of the day even after six-seven years, as they could not acquire land and get regulatory clearances amid opposition from local people.

Meanwhile, an inter-ministerial panel on July 27 reviewed the progress made in major projects in which officials from key infrastructure ministries and representatives from SAIL, RINL, Monnet Ispat, Jindal Steel, ArcelorMittal etc participated.

The steel ministry is concerned that delays in projects would result in India failing to meet the projected demand of 145 million tonnes (MT) by 2015-16.

The demand for steel in India, as per estimates, has crossed 110 MT and would further grow to 200 MT by 2020 and 500 MT by 2050.

As per the official, the ministry is concerned that if capacity addition is delayed, India — the cheapest producer of steel in the world — will have to import 50 MT of steel in the next few years.

The country’s steel production capacity has reached 80 MT per annum and it plans to ramp it up to 120 MTPA during the current fiscal.

[Source — The Economic Times]

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