Govt trying to bring down price of steel: Paswan
New Delhi, Apr 12 (UNI) Union Minister for Steel and Chemicals Ram Vilas Paswan today said the government was keeping a close watch on the situation arising from the increase in the cost of steel and emphasised the need for regulating the price of the commodity without irking private sector producers.
Talking to senior UNI journalists at the news agency's headquarters here, Mr Paswan said he had talked to steel producers on the possibility of a regulator on the lines of the Telephone Regulatory Authority of India. But since the industry was not in favour of such a regulator, a decision in the matter was still pending, he said.
Claiming that the situation in the steel industry has improved during the past two years, Mr Paswan recalled that just after the Lok Sabha polls, the prices of steel had gone up substantially and it appeared that many of the units would either close down or be sold.
But the government's efforts bore results and the prices came down.
However, even when the public sector units brought down the prices, the private sector did not follow suit. As a result, the prices remained the same with middlemen pocketing the profits, he said.
Mr Paswan noted that the cost of steel in the country was affected by international market prices in this era of liberalisation.
Moreover, since the country has to import 13 million tonnes of coke, a raw material for steel production, the cost of production varied with international prices of coke, creating a problem for public sector units like SAIL.
The minister sought the private sector's cooperation in lowering the price of steel and keeping it stable. India produces 38 million tones of steel, of which 12 million tonnes is produced by PSUs.
UNI AJ AT PM1600