The steel ministry is knocking at the doors of the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) to iron out hurdles holding up nearly 24 steel projects, including those of South Korean steel maker Posco and SAIL.
The ministry has compiled a list of about 24 projects — entailing an overall investment of over Rs 2.60 lakh crore in the steel sector — that are stranded for reasons ranging from delays in getting raw material to timely environmental clearances.
After both foreign and domestic steel companies recently voiced their concerns over the delays that are leading to increasing costs, the steel ministry had a day-long meeting on Tuesday to take stock of their problems.
In the meeting, the project promoters complained about lack of raw material security and difficult land acquisition conditions. They also reiterated that the Union environment ministry must be asked to give timely clearances.
“The steel companies expressed concerns that delays in projects have upset their plant commissioning schedules. The total envisaged investment in the steel sector is about Rs 2,67,628 crore and most companies have invested substantial funds into their respective projects. For example, Posco said the environment ministry is yet to re-validate the environmental clearance for its 12 million tonne steel project in Orissa. It said the Orissa government should hand over the land acquired for its project,” a top steel ministry official said.
The country’s biggest steel maker SAIL is also facing delays in its ongoing expansion and modernisation (E&M) programme worth Rs 72,000 crore in its plants. SAIL’s backward integration programme is also stuck as its mines are awaiting green clearance.
A case in point, E&M works at the Bhilai plant at an investment of Rs 17,265 crore is suffering because of inadequate resource mobilisation by the contracting agencies including state-run companies like Heavy Engineering Corporation, BHEL and others. A similar situation is being faced at other plants such as Bokaro, Rourkela and Durgapur.
Encroachments and land acquisitions in Orissa are posing hurdles for the leading private sector steel maker Tata Steel. The company’s investments in Jharkhand are stuck for want of mining clearances, and similar is the case with JSW Steel.
The other issue is raw material insecurity, a problem faced by RINL as it has failed to get coal and iron ore mines.
[Source — Indian Express]