Implementation of the National Steel Policy was put on a fast track with the Honorable Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilisers and Steel, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, today laying the foundation stone for the modernisation and expansion of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) of Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) in the distinguished presence of the Chief Guest of the ceremony, Honourable Chief Minister of Orissa Mr. Naveen Patnaik, at the site of the plant's upcoming 5th Blast Furnace.
In his address the Hon'ble Minister said: "SAIL has chalked out an ambitious plan for nearly doubling its annual output to 26 million tonnes over the next three years. The SAIL plants are going in for capacity enhancement as well as modernisation and rationalisation of production equipment and processes. The expansion of RSP is a key component of this programme. I am impressed with the tremendous growth achieved by RSP in its physical as well as the financial performance. For the first time in its history the plant crossed the 2 million tonne mark in the production of hot metal during the year 2006-07. This stupendous performance resulted in RSP registering the best ever net profit of Rs. 1,336 crore in the same fiscal. This year I am expecting that RSP will be making more than Rs. 1,500 crore. The most significant feature of this achievement is all the major units of RSP recording more than 100% capacity utilisation on a consistent basis. It is the dedication and the commitment of the entire RSP collective that has led to this impressive performance and I take this opportunity to congratulate all of you for this."
Mr. Paswan also outlined his plans for SAIL By saying: "It is my vision to make SAIL so strong that it can sustain the vagaries of the dynamic steel market. We have chalked out a plan for the merger of some of the steel plants under which IISCO has already by being merged with SAIL and the next in line are MEL, NINL etc." Elaborating on the vital role played by raw materials in the performace of SAIL he spoke about the renewal of the mining leases at Barsua, Taldih and Kalta and requested the Orissa Chief Minister to sort out the difficulties related to these mines as outlined by Chairman SAIL and Secretary, Steel. He further urged Mr. Patnaik to expedite the process of transfer of Thakurani mines to SAIL.
Elaborating on the challenges ahead the Honourable Minister said, "You have to ensure that the modernisation programme is completed without any time and cost over runs. The steel environment has become fully globalised and intensely competitive and unless SAIL plants internalize these realities and step up their productivity they will be left behind."
Commenting on Corporate Social Responsibility - a subject close to his heart - the Minister said, "I am pleased to note that RSP has adopted 16 villages in the vicinity as model steel villages, in addition to providing other services in areas like education and health care. As suggested by the Chief Minister we will be setting up ITIs."
Expressing his immense happiness at the tremendous dedication and enthusiasm of the RSP collective which had resulted in the remarkable turnournd of the steel plant the Honourable Minister announced a special reward of Rs. 2000 for the employees of RSP.
It is significant that the modernisation and expansion of RSP, which was the first steel plant in the public sector in the country, will not only increase its production and productivity but will also improve the quality of products, increase the production of value added steel, reduce the energy consumption, take care of the environment and cut down the cost of production. The plan envisages capacity increase to more than double from the existing 2 million tonnes of hot metal to 4.5 million tonnes. The modernisation package will help to establish RSP as an important player in the dynamic steel scenario, besides contributing to progress and prosperity in the region.
Orissa Chief Minister Mr. Naveen Patnaik expressed his happiness over the way RSP the biggest industry of Orissa has contributed in the development and progress of the state as well as improving the socio-economic condition of the people of Orissa. He expressed the hope that the steel plant after the massive modernisation will continue to contribute to the well being of the state and its people and at the same time will be a pioneer in the steel industry.
Mr. R.S. Pandey, Secretary (Steel), Govt. of India, informed the gathering that an MoU has been signed between SAIL, RINL, CIL, NTPC and NMDC to jointly promote a Special Purpose Vehicle for acquisition of coal mines/properties. "Consumption of steel is outsripping production, making India a steel importing country and with the implementation of the Steel Policy initiatives the country is expected to become a steel exporting country."
Mr. S.K. Roongta, Chairman, SAIL, in his address said: "RSP which is known for its versatile products has shown a commendable performance. Now the steel plant has a big challenge of implementing its modernisation and expansion plan by 2010 which includes installation of a new sinter plant, new blast furnace of higher volume of 4060 cubic meters new plate mill and new CRNO mill."
Mr. Jual Oram, MP, Sundargarh, and Mr. R.C.Paswan, MP, Rozera, Bihar, also spoke on the occasion and express the hope that the modernisation and expansion would usher in a new era of progress and prosperity.
Mr. B.N.Singh, RSP Managing Director, while proposing a vote of thanks expressed his gratitude to the Honourable Minister and Honourable Chief Minister for gracing the occasion and inspiring the Rourkelites. Outlining the SAIL's vision for RSP he said," RSP is already on the track for achieving 4.5 million tonnes and would move to achieving 8.5 million tonne capacity in the next phase."
Earlier, in an informal interaction with the members of the media, Mr. Paswan said, "RSP was incurring losses continuously for about ten years till 2003-04. I am happy to announce that today it is a high profit making company. During the tenure of the UPA government in the last three years it has made a profit of Rs. 3,500 crore. I wish to thank the RSP collective and Government of Orissa for providing support and making this achievement possible."
Commenting on the future of the steel industry in general and SAIL in particular the Honourable Minister said, " The Government is planning to invest Rs. 3.5 lakh crore in the steel industry by 2014-15 and Rs. 8 lakh crore by 2020, making India the second largest producer in the world. The expansion plans of SAIL to the tune of around Rs. 50,000 crore would increase the capacity of SAIL from 14.6 million tonnes per annum of hot metal production to 26 million tonnes by 2010. I am also hopeful that the Jharkhand Government would take steps to expedite the handing over of the Chiria mines to SAIL."
In response to a query the Hon'ble Minister said he had asked all the steel plants under SAIL to invest 2% of the profit on Corporate Social Responsibility activities clearly underscoring the immense importance he pays to CSR initiatives. Answering a question on how he assessed the performance of SAIL Honourable Minister said, "SAIL is one of the best organisations in the country and its performance is even better than the companies in the private sector."
Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister For Chemicals & Fertilisers And Steel, addressing the gathering on the occassion of foundation stone laying ceremony for Modernisation & Expansion of Rourkela Steel Plant today (4th Jan. 2007).
Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan along with Mr. Naveen Patnaik, Mr. R.S. Pandey, Mr. S.K. Roongta and other dignitaries after unveiling the plaque to commemorate the inauguration of Rourkela Steel Plant's expansion & modernisation programme today.