April 8, 2015 11:23 am Published by

Centre mulls higher import duty on Chinese steel

Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday said that the Government is actively considering higher import duty on steel from China.

“China dumping steel in the country is a concern for both the industry as well as the Government. The industry have met with us and relayed their concerns and we have been talking to the Finance Ministry about the need to implement a higher import duty,” said Tomar, at an official event here.

Recently, junior Mines Minister Vishnu Deo Sai had informed Rajya Sabha there no ban on Chinese steel had been considered and added that with steel being a deregulated sector, the Centre’s role was restricted to facilitating industry growth.

China is the world’s largest steel producer with a capacity of more than 700 million tonnes (mt), substantially higher than India’s 80 mt. The Centre has set a target of 300 mt of steel by 2025 to become the second largest steel producing nation. Indian imports from China touched 2.9 mt in the April-January period.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had highlighted the need for India to surpass China in the production of steel earlier this week.



Kandla Port plans port-based multi-product SEZ in Kandla, Tuna

Major port, Kandla Port Trust (KPT) on Monday announced to set up a port-based multi-product special economic zone (PBMPSEZ) spreading over an area of 5000 hectares in Kandla and Tuna.

The project has already received formal approval from Ministry of Commerce & Industry for 5000 hectares of land spreading over two areas i.e. 3600 hectares at Kandla and 1400 hectares at Tuna, KPT revealed at an investor meet held on Monday at Kandla.

Kanlda Port has already floated Global Expression of Interest for the proposed SEZ project and already received more than 25 EOIs from leading players in the domain of Renewable Energy, Desalination Plant and Free Trade Warehousing Zone.

The Project development activities are at advance stage and different approval will be in place before implementation of the Project.

The Kandla area proposes to develop a Renewable Energy Park covering an area of 1000 hectares, while the 2600 hectares land would be used by non-polluting manufacturing industries.

The Tuna region would focus on Ship Building / Repair facilities along with several ancillary units to support the activity.

This ambitious project will be one of India’s largest Port-based SEZ with world class infrastructure. Terming the project in sync with the Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ mission, KPT mentioned that the units and industry operating inside the SEZ shall be promoting industrial development within the State.

 “The prime objective for the project would be to increase trade & investment, bringing in FDI wherever possible, creation of employment for skilled, semi skilled and unskilled category and enabling an effective administration mechanism,” a KPT statement said.

It is also expected that the proposed SEZ will help to expand the country’s ability to integrate into the global economy by offering special tax rates and business laws to attract investment.

Coal India, NTPC bury the hatchet over fuel sampling

National miner Coal India and state-run power producer NTPC have agreed to end their dispute on coal sampling, an outcome that could be related to having a common minister for power and coal.

For nearly two years, NTPC led a pack of state-owned utilities in demanding that fuel sampling be held at the plant-end, even as CIL refused to grant utilities such a liberty.

Both sides now agree by ironing out differences on a new mechanism that involves independent testing laboratories.

Earlier, NTPC had even withheld payments to CIL, citing ‘grade slippage’ or discrepancies in actual and promised quality of supplies.

Taking a cue from NTPC, Damodar Valley Corporation — jointly owned by the Centre and State governments of West Bengal and Jharkhand — had also raised a hue and cry on fuel quality and denied paying coal dues.

According to the new sampling method, which came into effect in September 2014, both buyer and seller are expected to appoint ‘independent’ agencies (from a list of empanelled vendors), which will collect samples jointly but test them separately.

In case of a discrepancy between two results, a third sample (separated during joint collection of samples) will play decider.

Everything was fine except a loophole in the standard operating practice (SOP)issued by the miner that granted utilities the option of collecting samples ‘independently’.

CIL officials said it’s a case of bad drafting. But NTPC wanted to use it to its advantage leading to fresh disputes on quality of fuel and a flurry of claims and counter-claims for the last three months.

But unlike in the past, both sides were now quick to bury the hatchet. NTPC agreed to CIL’s stand that samples must be collected jointly for the sake of authenticity. The SOP was duly amended and, both sides are now extending courtesies to each other.

Last week, NTPC Chairman Arup Roy Choudhury congratulated CIL for a vastly improved coal stock at the plant-end. From barely 1.6 million tonnes (four days’ equivalent) in September, NTPC’s coal stock has crossed 9 million tonnes – sufficient to fuel power plants for nearly three weeks.

CIL Chairman Sutirtha Bhattacharya, too, says the miner is attentive to the needs of its largest consumer. “As a responsible corporate citizen, we would like to make consumers and railways a party to our growth plan,” Bhattacharya said.


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