CM demands national iron ore policy to help flourish steel industry

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Kolkata, Aug 25 (UNI) Recognising steel as the ''most vital component'' of all industries, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today urged the Centre to formulate a national iron ore policy.

Addressing a seminar on "Opportunities in the Downstream Sector in Steel Industry," organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here, the Chief Minister said in line with the national coal policy, a national iron ore policy was also required to help augment steel production.

Mr Bhattacharjee said though mega steel projects were coming up in different parts of the state, these did not ensure adequate job opportunities and called upon the industrialists to set up downstream industries that guaranteed employment.

''About eight big steel projects are in the pipeline in West Bengal, but ironically no one is coming up to set up small-scale industries for manufacturing pins, screws and other articles which ensure more employment opportunities,'' the Chief Minister observed.

Referring to exports of steel, Mr Bhattacharjee said, ''We are not against export of steel, but we have to take care of our domestic requirements first.'' He said the steel industry was vital to both economic competitiveness and national security and reminded that while India's total steel production was 50 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA), that of China was 489 MTPA.

''The state government has initiated a number of steps for all-round growth of steel industry, which will also help achieve the target of 110 MTPA of steel production by 2020,'' Mr Bhattacharjee maintained.

UNI ADG DPM RD 1425

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