New Delhi, The country’s largest steel maker SAIL said on Friday that steel prices are unlikely to go up in November.
Speaking on the sidelines of a FICCI conference on Diversifying and Enhancing India’s Steel Consumption, Mr S.K. Roongta, Chairman, SAIL, said, “Let’s wait and see what happens in November, but it is unlikely that steel prices would go up.”
Mr Roongta, while delivering his address at the conference, said that the domestic steel consumption in 2009 is likely to grow by 9 per cent.
Focus on rural sectors
Earlier, while delivering his inaugural address, the Minister of Steel, Mr Virbhadra Singh, urged the industry to let steel be available at affordable prices in order to boost consumption in the semi-urban and rural areas.
“One of the major reasons for our low per capita steel consumption is the lack of focus on vast rural sectors. For steel to be acceptable, in preference to other replacements, the common man must find that it is affordable and is cost effective. In this regard, the stability of price of steel in the market plays an important role, steel producers must keep this aspect in mind,” said Mr Singh.
Survey on consumption
The Minister also announced the decision to launch a nationwide survey on rural steel consumption and demand to correctly assess the rural steel consumption. “As per the last survey carried out five-six years ago, the per capita steel consumption in rural sector used to be two kg per annum. Though there has been some improvement, there is an urgent need for a large scale improvement in rural steel consumption,” said Mr Singh.
The new survey will be conducted by the Joint Plant Committee and cover nearly 300 districts and 1,500 villages. “The survey will orient our strategy for an accelerated steel consumption growth in rural India,” said the Minister.
Mr Singh also urged the industry to focus on improving distribution in the remote and rural areas. “If steel items of mass consumption were easily available in the villages then people would not have gone in favour of wood, cement or stone for construction material,” he said.