Parliamentary committee suggests handover of Chiria mines to SAIL

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New Delhi, Oct 22 (UNI) Expressing concern over the delay in handing over the Chiria mines to the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), the Parliamentary Consultative Committee today urged the Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan to discuss the issue with the Jharkhand Government.

In the absence of the mining lease, the expansion programme of SAIL has been struck up, an official release said here.

Keeping in view the rising steel demand, the SAIL wants to add 19 million tonne capacity in Jharkhand through brownfield and greenfield expansion route.

The Committee, which met under the chairmanship of the Steel Minister to discuss the expansion programme of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), expressed satisfaction that only 11 per cent of NMDC's iron ore output is exported.

It said the country should not export high-grade iron ore without making provision for atleast 50 years requirement, including the requirement of the greenfield projects that might come up in coming years.

Also, it advised the NMDC to expedite its Rs 21,000 crore expansion programme.

NMDC Chairman, meanwhile, said the company, whose core strength is mining, is now entering steel making and other value added activities, and the three million tonne capacity plant to come up in Chhatisgarh will provide direct and indirect employment to about 20,000 people.

The Corporation will also set up pellet plants in Bailadila and Donimalai and expand the capacity of sponge iron making after Sponge Iron India Ltd is merged with it.

He said the NMDC is also entering coal mining with two projects in Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal and will tie-up with NALCO for nickel extraction.

Meanwhile, the committee members also urged the Ministry to take step for the merger of the Bird Group of companies with other project making PSUs under the Steel Ministry.

Regrading this, Steel Secretary P K Rastogi said ''the government has initiated steps to restructure the equity of some of the Bird Group of companies and the merger issue will be taken up after the restructuring is over.'' The members also complimented the government for timely steps to contain steel prices.

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