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Efforts continue to save VSP from privatization

Visakhapatnam: Hopes of revival of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant have been revived with Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Steel H.D. Kumaraswamy arriving in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday evening. The Union Minister held a meeting with the VSP management to understand the current status of the plant and the steps to be taken to revive the loss-making plant. Though it seemed at one stage that the Centre might merge it with SAIL, now it seems that another option is being explored to merge it with NMDC, the largest iron ore mining company. If this happens, the problem of VSP not having captive mines may be resolved. Notably, before the recently held Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, the Centre had decided to put the disinvestment issue on the back-burner. After intense discussions with stakeholders and trade union leaders, Kumaraswamy will submit a comprehensive report to the Central government. As part of the assurance given by the alliance parties before the elections, it is learnt that detailed information about the plant’s production, losses and other information will be submitted to the central government, so that measures can be considered to bring the plant out of losses. For the last three years, the plant has been producing less than its capacity. Due to insufficient raw material, Blast Furnace III at RINL was shut down. Also, the plant is incurring losses of thousands of crores of rupees. The possibility of taking loans from the World Bank and Exim Bank to overcome the mounting losses cannot be ruled out. Sources said that once a plan to revive VSP is made, it will take about a year to bring it back on track and make it a profitable company

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