The steel ministry is planning to make use of the excess land lying with PSUs under its jurisdiction, like SAIL, for capacity addition by private parties —either by themselves or through joint ventures with the state-run firms. The idea is to use such “clean” land parcels for creation of steel-making hubs across the available sites which would not only make things easier for investors, but will also help the government to actualise its target of taking the country’s steel-making capacity to 300 MT from around 124 MT now, steel minister Birender Singh said here on Thursday.
While there would be no bar on the PSUs forming joint venture projects within the cluster with minority stakes, PSUs may also choose to limit their contribution to the project only by way of land. Facing inordinate delay in land acquisitions and others, two mega steel projects of 12 MT capacities each by Posco and ArcelorMittal could not take off in the country.
The steel ministry has been trying to create four special purpose vehicles (SPVs) that will acquire all government approvals, aimed at fast-tracking and reviving investors’ interest, but none of them has taken off so far. Steel secretary Aruna Sharma said foreign steel firms might now come to the country in a big way as the ministry is also proposing to take necessary steps to ensure availability of raw materials like iron ore and coking coal at competitive rates.
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While a committee has already been formed in the ministry to suggest ways and means to cap iron ore prices, targets would made to reduce dependence on coking coal imports by setting up of coal washeries. Meanwhile, the steel ministry believes that the current 81:19 ratio in domestic steel production between the private and public sectors is likely to sustain even in 2030-31, which would essentially mean that PSUs would create around 34-MT capacity in the next 12-13 years. “It would be feasible,” the steel minister said.
Secondary sector, which contributes around 57% of the total steel production in the country, will be encouraged to unleash their potential. Thrust would also be given on their overall productivity and on reducing energy intensity.
The new steel policy also seeks to increase per capita consumption of steel in the country, which now stands at around 65 kg, to 160 kg by 2030-31.