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National honour for 14 scientists
- Minister promises new steel policy soon

Union steel minister Beni Prasad Verma on Friday evening felicitated 14 acclaimed scientists at the 50th national Metallurgists’ Day function that was held at Tata Auditorium. The awardees were honoured by the Indian Institute of Metal.

The minister, who painted a rosy picture of India’s steel production capabilities while addressing the gathering, said a new steel policy was in its final phase and would be notified by the next quarter.

Those felicitated during Friday’s programme included Srinivasa Ranganathan, who was conferred the lifetime achievement award and Sadhan Kumar Roy who bagged the national metallurgist award.

The others who were honoured by Verma during the function included the names of K. Bhanu Shankar Rao (research and academia) and Arunansu Haldar, Santosh Kumar, Asit Kumar Bhakat, Jyotsana Dutta Majumdar, Satyam Suwas, Suman Kumari Mishra and Mrinal Sen (all metallurgist of the year award).

Apart from them three others — Golap Mohammed Chowdhury, Niraj Nayan, Arpan Das — were conferred the young metallurgist of the year awards.

Addressing the gathering later, Verma said: “The new steel policy would lay focus on optimum utilisation of raw materials, like iron ore and non-coking coal. It would contain ways of creating an environment that is conducive for growth of the industry, which is currently plagued by issues like land acquisition and raw material scarcity. It will also help in increasing the capital inflow and develop the infrastructure for the steel sector”.

He also said the land acquisition bills and mines and mineral bills — both of which are pending in the Parliament — would soon be cleared paving way for Greenfield projects that would benefit farmers.

“India became the fourth largest producer of crude steel in the world in 2010 and is expected to become the second largest producer of crude steel in the world by 2015,” the minister said.

Secretary in the Union steel ministry D.R.S. Choudhary, who was also present during the event, added that the new national steel policy was warranted as the existing one had lost its relevance with the industry’s changing dynamics.

Chairman of Steel Authority of India C.S. Verma hoped that the four-day deliberations on the sidelines of the metallurgists’ day function would help the steel industry in undertaking appropriate modernisation plans besides bringing about innovation in technology and human resource development.

Earlier, Tata Steel managing director H.M. Nerurkar inaugurated the four-day international symposium on “Converting challenges into opportunities: Iron and Steel”.

Nerurkar also released a technical volume of the symposium, which would witness 28 eminent speakers from abroad delving into the latest developments in technologies, efficient use of resources, prospects for the metal industry and energy efficiency and finding out ways to overcome new challenges in iron and steel industry.