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‘Steel output likely to double by 2011-12’

Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh has said that India will double its steel production in the next two years.

He has even said that it is possible without the help of biggies like Posco and ArcelorMittal. He has informed that the present steel production of the country is 59.9 million tonnes.
“At present, the steel production is 59.9 million tonnes. By 2011-12, it should increase to at least 120 million tonnes,” Singh said durig a press conferecne.

Asked whether the ambitious target can be met even if the Rs 1.5 lakh-crore Posco and ArcelorMittal projects do not materialise by then, he said, "Yes, we have not taken those into account."
He said that besides several major producers like Jindal Steel, JSW, Essar Steel, Bhushan Steel and Tata Steel, many secondary steel producers were also implementing capacity-expansion projects.
"We are emerging as a steel-making power. We have ambitious projects to enhance the production," he said.

The minister said that state-owned SAIL and RINL were also enhancing their existing plants at Bokaro, Bhilai, Durgapur and Visakhapatnam at an investment of Rs 80,000 crore.
India's largest steel firm, SAIL, is slated to raise its production capacity from 14 million tonnes to 23 million tonnes. "We have launched a very big programme of expansion and modernisation of SAIL and RINL plants," Singh said, adding that all the major orders for equipment have already been placed.

He said that the government expected most of the expansion work to be completed by 2011-12. "It will increase the capacity in the public sector, which will be almost double (of present)," he said.
Singh said that the government is concerned about the ArcelorMittal and Posco projects, which have been stuck for over five years now. "The Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) has shown his personal keenness," he said, adding that his ministry has taken up the issue with the state governments concerned.
On tribal protests against land acquisition for the Rs 54,000-crore Posco project in Orissa, Singh said that the industry should not acquire more than the land required.

"I fully endorse ... I support the opposition that the land more than the required, should not be acquired," he said.

S K Gupta, Director, JSW Steel Ltd, attributes mainly two factors for growing dependence on imported steel. First, public sector steel behemoths Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) have not invested adequately on capacity expansion. Second regulatory bottlenecks, such as the land acquisition hurdles for multinational steel majors ArcelorMittal and Posco.

SAIL has proposed to add 7.7 mt of additional capacity to its existing 12.5 mt by 2011-12. RINL also plans to increase production capacity by 3.4 mt to its 2.9 mt of existing facility. But, the industry was expecting much more, especially from SAIL, which is self-sufficient in raw material availability, an analyst said.

Other steel majors, including Tata Steel, Jindal Steel and Essar Steel, are planning to bring in 26.7 mt of fresh capacity to raise India’s total potential to 101.4 mt.

Meanwhile, the government has levied 10 per cent and 15 per cent export duty on iron ore fines and lumps to discourage ore exports.

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