New Delhi, Feb 4 (UNI) Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan commended the resilient spirit of the workforce of public sector undertaking Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) that had withstood the various changes of the past five decades.
Delivering the inaugural speech on the launch of the year long celebrations of SAIL's Golden Jubilee year Mr Paswan said that the quality of SAIL steel was at par with the best in the world.
He said that it was a myth that efficiency and competitiveness were attributes meant for the private sector alone. ''The contribution of our public sector companies like SAIL to the national economy can be seen everywhere.'' Mr Paswan urged SAIL to complete its modernisation and expansion programme on schedule in order to help take the country closer to the vision of becoming the second largest steel producer in the world.
Earlier, the celebrations were inaugurated by Mr Paswan by lighting a symbolic torch to denote the first hot metal production at Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) on February 3, 1959 and at Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) the following day. India's first President, Dr Rajendra Prasad, had dedicated the two blast furnaces to the nation on the respective days.
Mr Paswan also felicitated five former Chairmen of SAIL in remembrance of the past who were present on the occasion they are R P Billimoria, Dr K C Khanna, Dr S R Jain, Arvind Pande and V S Jain.
The Minister also felicitated B Mohanty, Kailash Goyal and Gopinath Panda, three former employees of erstwhile Hindustan Steel Limited, now SAIL, who were part of iron production teams in the first two integrated steel plants.
He also unveiled a specially designed logo to mark the year-long celebrations and released a commemorative book pictorially archiving the 'perfect past, positive present and promising future' of SAIL.
The celebrations will conclude on February 3, 2009.
Earlier, SAIL Chairman S K Roongta in his welcome address said that hot metal production at Rourkela and Bhilai ''marked the beginning of steel plant operations in the public sector in independent India, thus laying the industrial base for the country as envisioned by our first Prime Minister, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru.'' Describing the contribution of 'all those who went to altogether undeveloped greenfield areas and worked in most difficult conditions' as 'unforgettable', he said they had been the inspiration for all SAIL employees who have helped the company to 'grow steadily from a modest beginning to a position of producing over 15 million tonnes of hot metal annually today'.
''SAIL is determined not only to enhance volume of production but also to produce newer varieties of steel in different grades which are required for the development of the country,'' he added.
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