Zero Hour Mention of Ritabrata Banerjee on Industrial City of Durgapur and disinvestment of Alloy Steel Plant

March 18, 2017

Zero Hour Mention of Ritabrata Banerjee on 17th March 2017 in the Rajya Sabha Demanding to save the Industrial City of Durgapur and stop the strategic disinvestment of Alloy Steel Plant

Through you Sir, I am voicing the demand of the people of West Bengal in general and Durgapur in particular and urging the government to save the industrial city of Durgapur and stop the strategic disinvestment of Alloy Steel plant.

The Sail Board has recently decided for strategic disinvestment of Alloy Steel Plant. 

The Alloy Steels Plant, is one of the most important crowns of SAIL which is capable of producing most special steels of nearly 500 varieties for use in Missile technology, Defense applications, Sub-marines, Research projects, Neutrino experiment, High speed Railways and many other very sophisticated technological and strategic applications.

It is not mere a plant, rather over the last 50 years it has been developed as a strategic unit of the nation.
ASP collective took all pains to discharge its mighty role for national interest despite the fact that its regular employee strength have been reduced from 7400 to mere 954 but did not compromise with its production & quality.

The net loss in ASP, is nominal within SAIL,. The reasons are mainly external which can easily be made up if specific measures are initiated by the Steel Ministry. Such national properties should not be allowed the handover of this Gem to any private hand.

It is a fact that one of the giant sectors of SAIL, Durgapur Steel Plant, is under tremendous pressure as it has now been reduced into one of the smallest units. In current phase of modernization & expansion plan of SAIL, out of total package amount 72,000 Cr., only 2,875 Cr. was sanctioned for Durgapur Steel Plant, and for the Alloy Steels Plant it was nil. After the last modernization Durgapur Steel plant is having a capacity of 2.2 MT with finished product of only 49%. Our demand is to uplift Durgapur Steel Plant phase by phase to a capacity of 10 MT/annum of Crude steel, along with more than 90% of finish product, so that Durgapur will regain its pride and have a speedy recovery

All prestigious CPSUs situated in and around Durgapur viz, Mining and Allied Machinery Corporation (MAMC), Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation (HFCL), Bharat Ophthalmic Glass Ltd. (BOGL), Burn Standard Company’s Refractory Units at Raniganj and Durgapur, IISCO’s Kulti Growth Centre, Jessop’s Unit at Durgapur, RIC, BALCO’s Unit have been  closed down rendering thousands of employees jobless.
Now again during the second decade of this century, respective governments have decided to close down Coke Oven batteries of Durgapur Project Ltd., a State PSU & the CPSU Hindustan Cable Ltd. of Rupnarayanpur.
MAMC’s revival decision is not being pursued. Revival of closed fertilizer units at Durgapur and Haldia plants have not been that vigorously attempted. These are afoot now to make strategic disinvestments of State PSUs like Durgapur Chemicals Ltd, and CPSUs, like Burn Standard’s Wagon manufacturing Unit at Burnpur and the prestigious Alloy Steels Plant at Durgapur along with DTPS/DVC also.

From 13-21 November 104 km long march has been conducted with the marchers spending the night in the house of the workers and labourers. The long march was without any flag and had the pictures of Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy and Jyoti Bau.
5th March the united people of Durgapur formed a 9 km long human wall from DPL Factory gate to Bankura More with the demand of saving Alloy Steel and Durgapur industrial area. 62 thousand families have signed in the memorandum urging to save Durgapur

All the local trade unions, cutting across their affiliation and ideology, have come together in Bardhaman District to fight this onslaught. Through you sir,  I urge upon the Central Government to stop the Strategic Disinvestment of Alloy Steels Plant and different units of SAIL to bring out the steel collective from a very demoralizing scenario and motivate them to exert optimum efforts to regain the glory of SAIL.