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Thu, 31st Dec 2015 (Source:Business Standard)
The Odisha cabinet on Thursday approved the setting up of a separate Directorate of Steel to address the problems faced by steel industries and frame policy initiatives for utilisation of the untapped potential in the sector.
"Though we have a separate directorate of mines and a directorate of geology, we do not have a separate establishment to deal with matters relating to steel industries. Now, the cabinet has approved a proposal for creating a separate directorate of steel," chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi told reporters. The new directorate of steel will be operational from April 1, next year.
Padhi said the directorate will deal with steel industries passing through various problems in the state as well as across the country. "The state does not have a mechanism to regularly interact with promoters or maintain an updated database on production or to assess the problems faced by the steel industry," he said.
An additional secretary in the steel and mines department would now function as the director of steel. The government has successfully attracted large investments in the steel sector by executing 49 MoUs with steel companies. Of these, 33 projects have already started partial production. Besides, 30 iron ore based industries have been set up through the non-MoU route.
Padhi said a good number of sponge iron, pellet, iron ore benefaction and steel plants are operational in the state. The separate directorate would deal with the issues of investors, said Padhi. The Directorate of Steel would appoint a senior and experienced expert from the steel sector as advisor on steel and would engage consultants to further boost the state's steel industry.
The state cabinet also approved a proposal to amend the Long Term Ore Linkage Policy (LTL) to address the difficulties of industries in getting raw material. The cabinet approved an amendment in penalty provision of the Sale Agreement of notification dated September 17, 2014. The Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) which was allowed to execute sale agreement with long term buyers of ore should not be inconsistent to the provision of the notification. Earlier, the notification had a provision to impose penalty on not lifting the agreed amount of ore.
According to the amendment, the industries would pay penalty on the volume of ore not lifted and not on the total agreed volume of the mineral from OMC. The industries would now pay 5 percent penalty on unlifted ore to OMC. The decision would help improve the ease of doing business for the buyers of iron ore and chrome ore under LTL.