OSIMA concern over expansion ban on sponge iron units

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Angul,Dec 11 (UNI) The Orissa Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association (OSIMA), has expressed concern over the ban imposed by the state government for expansion of the sponge iron plants in the state.

The sponge iron industries, which got a red carpet welcome by the Orissa government during 2000s, were now facing problem from the government in expanding these units into steel venture.

OSIMA advisor Naba Kishore Das said given an opportunity, the existing 95 sponge manufacturers in the state could produce another 10 million tonne of steel in the next three years in addition to its current production of 7 million tonnes per anum.

He said the current sponge manufactures could well contribute to the goal of the state to achieve desired steel output in future.

Mr Das demanded withdrawal of the ban, imposed by the government on the expansion or setting up more unit in the state, as it was against the objective of makinf Orissa a frontline steel producing state.

At least 23 steel makers out total 46 companies which signed Memorandums of Understanding(MoU) with the state government were from these existing steel and sponge makers in Orissa.

The Regional council meeting of OSIMA held here on Saturday also opposed the ban on setting up more sponge unit or any expansion on sponge units which had so far invested a whopping RS 55000 crore in the state.

The ban has no meaning when the Centre was permitting these sponge units, having the investment of more than Rs 100 crores, to open up new units after taking prior environmental clearance from the union ministry of Forest and Environment, he added The ban has blocked employment opportunities, Mr.Das said adding if it continued for long then sponge units in the state would turn sick,he cautioned.

Regarding inferior quality coal and iron ore for low capacity production of sponge and steel in sponge units in the state, Das urged coal and iron ore authorities for better quality of these raw materials.

Bhubaneswar Regional Council of ISIMA led Jay Bardhan Mishra, who presided over the meeting, expressed concern over arbitrary closure of sponge units on the issue of environment.

Pointing out lack of infrastructural support by the government to these industries which contribute about Rs 500 crores to Orissa a year, Mr Mishra urged the government to address some of the basic problems like availability of dumping yard, good transport facilities and a level playing field with the steel companies.

UNI

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