NEW DELHI/ VISAKHAPATNAM: Domestic steel giant Tata Steel is interested in acquiring the state-owned Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), the company’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director TV Narendran said. RINL, under the Ministry of Steel, owns and operates a 7.3 million tonne plant in Visakhapatnam. It holds the distinction of being India’s first shore-based integrated steel plant. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on January 27, gave its ‘in-principle’ approval for 100% disinvestment of government stake in RINL, the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), along with RINL’s stake in its subsidiaries/joint ventures by way of privatisation.
Tata Steel CEO’s statement that the company is interested in acquiring RINL, drew sharp criticism from the Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee, which is spearheading the agitation against the steel plant privatisation.
When asked about Tata Steel’s interest in acquiring RINL, Narendran replied in affirmative. “Yes! Also, because for inorganic growth for long product opportunities. There is a great opportunity because it is a coastal plant so there are many advantages,” he said.
‘Tata should instead set up a new plant’
RINL has approximately 22,000 acres of land and enjoys access to Gangavaram Port, where raw materials such as coking coal etc arrive. Since RINL is located on the eastern coast of India, the acquisition will give Tata Steel more access to the Southeast Asian markets, where the company already has presence, besides catering to the domestic needs of special steel through rail and road.
The CEO further said Tata Steel has submitted Expression of Interest (EoI) for Odisha-based steel maker Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd (NINL) as well. The EOI has been submitted by Tata Steel Long Products Ltd, he said. Speaking to TNIE, Porata committee chairman D Adinarayana said if Tata Steel is truly patriotic it should set up a new steel plant instead of trying to take over the existing one, which was set up following a protracted struggle and sacrifices of people of Andhra.