With the steel sector gradually growing in the eastern region, the Odisha government today decided to set up a separate Directorate of Steel to look into the problems faced by investors and frame policy initiatives for utilisation of the untapped potential in the state.
A proposal in this regard was approved at the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here.
"Though we have a directorate of mines and directorate of geology, Odisha does not have a separate directorate of steel.
The Cabinet today approved a proposal for creating a separate directorate of steel," Chief Secretary A P Padhi told reporters here.
Stating the new directorate of steel will be operational from April 1, Padhi said a good number of sponge iron, pellet, iron ore benefaction and steel plants have been operational in the state.
"The state does not have a mechanism to regularly interact with the promoters or maintain an updated data base on production or to assess the problems faced by the steel industry," he said.
The government has so far executed 49 MoUs in steel sector -- including 10 mega projects -- of which 33 projects have already started production. This apart, 30 iron ore based industries have been set up through non-MoU route. However, there is no separate authority to deal with the investors in the steel sector, he said.
Padhi, however, said an additional secretary in the steel and mines department would now function as the director of the steel who would be authorised to take expert opinions in the field.
Recently, the Indian Steel Association led by its Chairman Naveen Jindal met the Chief Secretary and senior officials of the state administration seeking a "hand-holding" by the state government as the steel industry in the entire country was passing through a bad phase.
The government also realised that mega projects like ArcelorMittal and Posco could not be realised due to lack of a special attention to the steel sector.
The proposed Directorate of Steel (DoS) would be appointing a senior and experienced expert from the steel sector as advisor on steel and would engage consultants, which could further boost the state's steel industry, officials said.
In another step, the cabinet also approved a proposal to amend the Long Term Ore Linkage Policy (LTL).
"The state government has authorised the Odisha Mining Corporation to amend the penalty provision of the Sale Agreement of notification dated September 17, 2014," Padhi said.
The OMC was allowed to execute sale agreement with long term buyers of ore, which should not be inconsistent to the provision of the notification.
Earlier, the notification had a provision to impose penalty on not lifting the agreed amount of ore.
Now after the amendment, they would pay penalty on the volume of ore not lifted and not on the total agreed volume of the mineral.
"The decision will help improve the ease of doing business for the buyers of iron ore and chrome ore under LTL," Padhi added.