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PM concerned over rising steel prices

india Updated: Apr 22, 2008 15:45 IST

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday voiced concern over rising steel prices after laying the foundation stone of a Rs 110-billion expansion and modernisation project of the Bokaro Steel Plant.

Urging steel traders not to take advantage of the situation, the prime minister said in a brief speech on the occasion: "Our government will take necessary steps to curb the rising prices."

The capacity of the steel plant, which produces 4.5 millions tonnes of hot metal, will go up to 7.44 million tonnes after the expansion. Its crude steel production also will rise, to 7 million tonnes from 4.36 million tonnes.

The prime minister also laid the foundation stone for a cold rolling mill and a steel melting shop.

"SAIL (Steel Authority of India Ltd) was the mark of industrialisation of India, and the role of the Bokaro plant was crucial in (the country's) industrialisation," Singh said. "The modernisation of the plant will create employment in the state.

"Our steel industry in growing fast. And it has to achieve miles and increase its production to meet the demands. There is a lot of scope for modernisation in the steel sector.

"And it is my firm belief that the Bokaro plant will achieve several milestones in the steel producing sector."

Bokaro Steel Plant is one of India's largest steel mills. It also has a captive power plant. Increased demand for steel in recent years saw all the blast furnaces becoming operational together for the first time.

Among those who attended the foundation stone ceremony was Steel Minister Ramvilas Paswan and SAIL chairman SK Roongta.