New Delhi: As many as 136 fatal accidents have been reported at different units of state-owned steel firms SAIL and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam (RINL) in the last four years, the government said on Monday.
These accidents include 25 fatalities in the first 10 months of this year alone, Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
Of the total 136 fatal accidents, 102 were reported at various units of SAIL between 2009 and October, 2012, while 34 such incidents took place at RINL's steel plant in Vizag during the period, he added.
According to the data given by him, 568 other accidents (other than fatalities) were reported in the last 4 years at various units of the two state-owned steel majors.
"Accidents in the plants of SAIL did not involve any loss of property. As regards RINL, there has been a major incident on June 13, 2012, at VSP (Vizag Steel Plant) while commissioning of converter-1 in Steel Melting Shop-2 in the Pressure Reducing Station-3," Verma further said.
However, the government does not maintain any such data of private firms as steel is a deregulated sector, he added.
The Steel Minister also said that SAIL and RINL have paid over Rs 17.37 crore as compensation to the injured persons and families of deceased in the last four years.
Besides, the two steel firms have also spent Rs 6,049.22 crore on maintenance of their plants between 2009 and October, 2012, he said.
Replying to a separate question, Verma said that various states, including mineral-rich Chhattisgarh, Karnataka Jharkhand and Odisha, have signed 133 memorandums of understanding (MoU) between 2009 and 2011 to set up steel plants.
Of this, Karnataka alone had signed 73 MoUs, while Gujarat signed 43 such initial agreements, he said. However, he added that many companies are yet to start work on setting up their plants due to a host of reasons.
This includes non-availability of land, absence of raw material linkages and environmental clearances and opposition by the local people, he said.
Major projects announced by steel majors like Tata Steel, ArcelorMittal, Posco and JSW Steel, amounting to about 63 million tonnes per annum proposed capacity, are also in the list of plants where no noticeable progress has been made, the Steel Minister said.