Rs 61,870-crore modernisation and expansion programme at all of its five integrated steel plants in the current phase. SAIL has also earmarked Rs 10,264 crore for investment in their existing mines. "The implementation of modernisation and expansion plan has been affected mainly due to unforeseen soil conditions encountered, underestimation of quantities by the consultant, logistics problems due to brownfield nature of job, etc," the minister said. Till the end of October this year, SAIL has spent Rs 44,489 crore expenditure towards modernisation and expansion.
The minister also informed the House that at Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISP), Bhadravati, SAIL is continually investing for overall growth and improving profitability of the plant. SAIL has already implemented a 350x350 mm single strand bloom caster with 1,25,000 tonne annual capacity at an investment of around Rs 80 crore. One 30 tonne Pusher type Reheating Furnace for Primary Mill costing about Rs 10 crore has also been implemented.
The minister also said that SAIL has invited Expression of Interest (EoI) from interested parties willing to enter into a Joint Venture with SAIL for manufacture of steel and related products at VISP. On September 19, SAIL came out with an EoI looking for "interested parties" for jointly producing steel and pig iron at VISL. The company suffered a net loss of Rs 116 crore in 2012-13, nearly Rs 130 crore in 2011-12, Rs 129 crore in 2010-11 and Rs 100 crore in 2009-10.
Feasibility of revival of VISP by induction of a JV partner is being explored, Verma said.
The company has been incurring losses due to the high production cost at VISP owing to the lack of linkages of iron ore and coal as well as inefficient technology. Poor demand from units consuming alloy steels materials has aggravated the situation for this industry as a whole, wherein overall capacity utilization has been at the level of 55-60 percent, the minister added.