Paswan urges steel industry to keep prices in check

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New Delhi, Mar 5 (UNI) Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today urged the steel industry to exercise restraint while increasing prices as it directly affects basic consumer goods.

Delivering the inaugural address at the Summit on Mining to Steel Making organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Mr Paswan said every price hike should have some relevance with the rise in cost.

He said, the government has accepted several of the recommendations of the steel ministry and these have been incorporated in the latest Union Budget.

The Minister said steel producers had responded positively to his request for partial roll back and urged the industry to ensure that any price reduction should be reflected in the retail prices.

He pointed out that the price monitoring committee can play an effective role only with the cooperation of all stakeholders.

''The government is alive to the problems of the steel sector and will take all steps to remove hurdles on increasing capacity.

''Indian steel sector is set for rapid expansion with production likely to touch 124 million tonnes by 2011-12. The consumption of steel is growing at 14-16 per cent at least for next 7 years.

Therefore there is a need to expedite the ongoing steel projects,'' he said.

Mr Paswan observed that one of the critical problems facing the growth of steel sector was the need for a sound policy on allocation of iron ore mines.

He said the his ministry has always favoured priority in allocation of iron ore mines to the domestic value addition in the country itself.

He said export of iron ore should be limited to the quantity only after meeting the domestic steel production.

''There is also a need for conservation of iron ore as well as its scientific use through better technologies,'' he said.

UNI BKS Ya KP1813

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