Amid the domestic steel industry facing problems, Steel Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday said government is trying its best to increase iron ore supplies.
Tomar also asserted that fuel supplies to steel plants have not been disrupted due to Supreme Court cancelling coal blocks.
Grappling with shortage of iron ore, a key raw material for the steel industry, many companies are importing it.
“We are trying our best to increase availability of iron ore for the steel industry,” the Minister said in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.
According to him, if there is a crisis in the steel industry, it is due to inadequate availability of iron ore.
Mining activity, particularly that of iron ore, was affected after Supreme Court imposed ban to prevent illegal mining activities. Later the apex court lifted the ban with some riders.
“Coal production from coal producing coal blocks has been permitted till March 31, 2015. Therefore, coal supply has not been disrupted due to cancellation of coal blocks by the Supreme Court,” Tomar said.
He was responding to a query as to whether government has made any assessment of the adverse effect of cancellation of coal block allocations by the Supreme Court on operational steel plants.
Further, he said the matter of fuel supplies for steel and iron plants has been taken up with the Coal Ministry.
“Representations have been received from some stakeholders stressing upon the need to maintain the supply of coal to iron and steel sector in the new allocation process.
“Ministry of Steel has taken up the matter of ensuring adequate availability of coal to the steel sector with Coal Ministry,” Tomar said.
Among others, two projects of SAIL would be coming up and would help increase steel production, he added.