Ruling out any reduction in the freight rate on steel, Railways Ministry on Monday suggested increasing the export duty on iron ore by 15 per cent to ensure the availability of mineral for domestic steel producers.
"Government should ban iron ore export and impose 15 per cent customs duty to discourage its export. This would help the local industry," Railways Minister Lalu Prasad told reporters today.
"I am not in favour of export of iron ore. Not even a small quantity of iron ore should be allowed to be exported," Prasad said.
However, on the possibility of reduction in freight rate on steel, he said, "there is no such proposal at the moment."
When pointed out that the Railways have recently increased the freight rate of steel, he said the reclassification of steel rate would not have any effect on the steel price.
About the steps taken by the Railways to check hoarding, he said preference would be given to transporting foodgrains meant for FCI and PDS and not to private players.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a seminar on public-private participation in Indian Railways.