Consumption-production 'mismatch' responsible for price hike:Pandey

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Jamshedpur, May 31 (UNI) Holding consumption-production 'mismatch' responsible for the unprecedented steel price hike, Steel Secretary R S Pandey today said the ongoing 'boom' in the sector had proved wrong estimates of the steel policy.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the largest blast furnace of the country in Tata Steel works here, Mr Pandey said there was a great boom in the steel sector for the past three years, which was totally unprecedented and unanticipated.

'' In our steel policy the estimated growth rate for production was 7.1 per cent whereas that for consumption was 6.9 per cent. But proving wrong all our estimates, the actual growth in production last fiscal was only six per cent and that of consumption soared to ten per cent, '' he stated.

'' In the recent past, especially in the last three months, the rapid increase in the price of steel is mainly due to this 'mismatch' of production and consumption, '' he said.

Stressing the need for enhancing the production, Mr Pandey said the consumption rate was bound to increase in the coming years.

He also emphasised on a compatible manner to effectively tackle the global competition.

Lauding the efforts of private steel companies like Tata Steel regarding capacity enhancement, Mr Pandey said it was because of such efforts that the scene in India was somewhat better than many other countries.

Later talking to newspersons, the Steel Secretary said the government had taken some temporary measures to control the price hike.

'' We will look into the matter of banning iron export, '' he added.

Tata Steel Managing Director B Muthuraman also stressed the need for increasing the production.

'' If appropriate measures are not taken, there will be a huge gap between production and consumption in the next ten years, which will adversely affect the development of the country. An all inclusive plan should be chalked out to effectively deal with this problem. Despite all the difficulties our company is increasing its production capacity. That is why we are installing several green projects, including Orissa and Chhatisgarh, '' he said.

UNI RAJ-BDG SJC DB1810

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