Steel Minister lays foundation stone of new road bridge over Damodar

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New Delhi, Mar 18 (UNI) Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, laid the foundation stone of a new road bridge over the river Damodar at Burnpur in Burdwan district of West Bengal at a simple function held today.

The bridge will connect Burnpur in Burdwan district and Madhukonda in Purulia district of West Bengal. The construction of the bridge is being funded by Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) under its Corporate Social Responsibility programme. The estimated cost of construction is about Rs 50 crore.

The proposed 720-metre-long all-weather road bridge will provide better connectivity for the entire area under the Asansol Durgapur Development Authority, in which SAIL's IISCO Steel Plant (ISP) is located, with Ranchi, the capital of neighbouring state Jharkhand.

ISP, which was merged with SAIL two years ago on the initiative of the Steel Minister, is presently undergoing massive modernisation and expansion as part of SAIL's growth plan. The bridge will also pave way for major socio-economic development of the area.

Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Mr Paswan assured that ISP would keep its modernisation&expansion deadline of 2010. The recently-revived Kulti Steel Works is likewise likely to commence production by August this year.

The Minister said the revival of ISP and Kulti Steel Works would be the harbingers of development for West Bengal. It may be mentioned that SAIL is investing over Rs 20,000 crore for modernisation and expansion of its units in West Bengal.

Describing IISCO Steel Plant and Kulti Steel Works as 'national heritage', Mr Paswan requested the West Bengal government to extend sales tax waiver for ISP beyond March 31st, 2008 since the plant was yet to regain its net worth.

Even as he was upbeat about SAIL's development in West Bengal, however, the Steel Minister expressed concern over SAIL's projects in Jharkhand due to the delay in settlement of Chiria iron ore mines in favour of SAIL.

Members of Parliament Basudev Acharia and Bangsagopal Choudhury, SAIL Director (Personnel) Ganatantra Ojha and ISP Managing Director S P Rao were among the dignitaries present at the foundation stone laying ceremony at Burnpur Stadium, said a SAIL release issued here today.

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