Chandigarh 25 April:Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal today sought personal intervention of the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to ban forward trading in Steel besides scraping import duty on the import of scrap. He also demanded a 25 % cess on the export of basic iron or steel. He said that the government should either levy cess on export of Iron ore or ban the export of Iron ore.
Releasing the contents of the letter to newsmen, Mr Harcharan Bains Media Advisor to Chief Minister disclosed that Mr Badal was likely to raise this issue at personal meeting with the Prime Minister. In his letter, Mr Badal urged the Prime Minister to declare ‘ Iron Ore ‘ as National Heritage, since this product and its stocks were limited. He said that the setting up of a Regulatory commission would be a right step to resolve all the issues relating to Steel Prices.Punjab has a large number of Small Scale Industrial ( SSI) Units and was one of the largest consumers of Steel. The units were engaged in production of cycle parts, machine tools, hand tools auto parts etc, according to Mr Bains.
Mr Badal pointed out that the representatives of Industries have brought to his notice that the main producers of steel like Steel Authority of India Ltd(SAIL), Tata Iron and Steel Company Ltd(TISCO) and Rashtrya Ispat Nigam Ltd(RINL) raise prices of steel arbitrarily and at frequent intervals, which were adversely affecting growth of industries in the State of Punjab
The Chief Minister referred to the demands raised by legislators from various political parties in the last session of the Punjab Assembly and said that since Punjab was a border state and had a locational disadvantage with regard to Steel plants, Steel Units in the state had to pay higher freight charges, as compared to other States. Resultantly, the SSI units of Punjab could not compete in the market. Therefore, these units required a special rebate on steel from main producers.
The Chief Minister demanded that the issue of price structure of steel items should be examined afresh, in the light of frequent price increase.