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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

SAIL well prepared for its iron ore requirements - Mr CS Verma

Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012

Steel Authority of India may be staring at delays in its expansion program, but chairman Mr CS Verma said that the company will have an exciting 2012, with a slew of projects.

Excerpts from an interview with ET's Ms Meera Mohanty.

Q - How is SAIL's expansion and modernization program shaping up given the slowdown in the economy?

A - We are starting trials of our cold rolling mill at Bokaro, which should start full fledged commercial production before March. Trial runs for our new sinter plant are already on in Rourkela, which will be commissioned this month. At Burnpur (based IISCO Steel Plant), the sinter plant is ready for trial runs and the coke oven battery will be ready for commercial production before March, by when we also hope to start cold trials of the wire rod mills. We also intend to set up a 5.6 million tonne steel plant in Sindri, UP. By February, we should own the assets of the former fertilizer plant.

Q - But IISCO, once hailed as the trigger for modernization exercise at SAIL, has been delayed.

A - Once we excavated the foundation at IISCO, we discovered that molten material had solidified underneath, which increased our work multi-fold. Excavating that was a Herculean task because of which we fell behind time and faced a cost overrun. There is also very little land at IISCO. I don't think anyone has such a tight layout anywhere in the world for a 2.5 million tonne facility. It is a big task to have 22,000 people working on three shifts, moving so much material around in just 900 acres. On top of it, there is the issue of Jhodabudi, a patch of land of about 27 acres which has become a thorn in the neck. We had paid compensation for the land four years ago, and now the locals are demanding permanent employment. We have taken up the matter with the chief minister and the chief secretary of West Bengal, but the locals have gone to court.

(sourced ET)

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