When the raw materials division (RMD) of the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) in Kolkata was ordered to be dismantled, there were fears of layoffs. This had pushed the finance minister of the state to request the Union Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to intervene and use his office to stop the dismantling.
However, Pradhan has responded with a written assurance that no jobs will be lost and there is no plan to strip the Durgapur Steel Plant or the plant at Burnpur of their assets or sell them off or weaken them in any way. Pradhan also clarified that all employees will continue to be taken care of; and that the existing system of centrally coordinating the allocation of raw material to various plants from the mines of SAIL will continue in the future too.
The raw materials division, headquartered in Kolkata, used to look after 15 coal, flux and iron-ore mines. Eight of the iron ore mines under the division are located in Orissa and Jharkhand, two flux mine each are located in Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh and the rest of the coal mines are in the ECL across Jharkhand and West Bengal.
The Minister reiterated that Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP) and the IISCO Steel Plant(ISP) at Burnpur are both important and indispensable units of SAIL, on which heavy investments have already been made, and therefore, they will continue to get their iron ore from the SAIL mines located in other states.
As part of its plan to expand, SAIL will have to work on expanding its mining operations too in order to produce more iron ore to fulfil its own needs. The excess iron ore may be sold in the open market to earn revenue, according to Pradhan.