Chandigarh: SAIL's Rs 70,000 crore modernisation programme has been completed and it will increase the capacity of the domestic steel giant to 23 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) by March next year, Steel Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said today.
Besides, the country's largest steel producer has also signed a Rs 2,000 crore memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Railways Ministry for a 240 km rail link from Raipur to Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh," Tomar said at a CII conference Wednesday.
Modernisation of SAIL with an investment of Rs 70,000 crore has been completed and it will enhance the production capacity to 23 MTPA from present levels of 13 MTPA by March 2016, the minister said.
The government has planned to invest another Rs 1.25 lakh crore for next phase of expansion to achieve the target of 50 MTPA from SAIL alone, he added.
"Further, SAIL has entered into an MoU with Railways worth Rs 2,000 crore for a 240 km rail link from Raipur to Jagdalpur, which is rich in iron ore," the minister said.
On the present condition of the steel industry, Tomar said the sector is passing through a tough phase but the Centre is committed to safeguard the industry's interests.
"We understand that secondary steel producers are passing through a very tough phase and have some serious concerns. To address these, we have planned to meet both the small and large steel industry players in August and draw the roadmap for future by finding out common solutions," he added.
The minister also emphasised on the critical and urgent need to promote and spread awareness about steel usage of steel, especially in rural areas, so as to boost its demand and hence to save the industry.
"To bring down costs of steel manufacturers, there is a need to bring down the interest rates, debt and transportation costs for steel industry.
"Proper rail connectivity of ports with raw material sites and steel plants, especially across north is highly imperative as well, to bring down the logistics costs and save time," Tomar said.