Talk of POSCO taking over ASP Durgapur fails bringing cheer

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Joint Convention of Trade Unions at Durgapur Steel Township to save ASP

Durgapur News Desk, 23 December 2016: The news of South Korean steel major POSCO (formerly Pohang Iron and Steel Company) showing interest in reviving the Alloy Steels Plant (ASP) of Durgapur, a loss-making unit of state-run Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) failed to bring any cheer among the people of Durgapur.

Steel minister Chaudhary Birender Singh recently disclosed that the Korean steel company after its ill-fated Orissa plan has shown keen interest in Durgapur-based ASP unit of SAIL with a diverse product portfolio of over 400 grades, catering to critical end-use by sectors including defence, railways, automobiles, power, heavy engineering and manufacturing industries, including steel plants.

At a recently held Joint Convention of labour unions across party line, at the Durgapur Steel Township, there is much apprehension among the speakers about the fate of Alloy Steels Plant, who have united to save the SAIL unit from disinvestment. They have vehemently opposed the takeover of POSCO as well because of the fear that such a takeover will result in massive job cut.

“We are in touch with Posco for our Durgapur alloy steel plant. They have the technology and our concern is regarding production of good quality alloy steel,” said the steel minister at the launch of InfraCircle on 15 December in New Delhi.

Singh said POSCO has approached the government and some sort of “understanding” (bilateral) is being worked upon. “They don’t have iron ore and we don’t have that kind of technology. Their technology and our raw material can go a long way in producing good quality steel,” said the minister, adding that POSCO is known for having the best technology in this field.

Alloy Steels Plant suffered a loss of Rs.60.86 crore during 2015-16, compared with a loss of Rs.117.72 crore in the previous year. The company has a diverse product portfolio of over 400 grades, catering to critical end-use by sectors including defence, railways, automobiles, power, heavy engineering and manufacturing industries, including steel plants.

However, a POSCO spokesperson said he was not aware of any such development.

“Posco’s technology will really help turnaround ASP, which is running into losses since many years,” said V S Jain, former chairman and managing director of SAIL.

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