Ballari: With the standoff continuing between steel plant owners and iron ore producers over the rising cost of ore, small and medium steelmakers have turned to CM H.D Kumaraswamy for help in sorting out the dispute.
Steel plant owners say they have no choice but to run their units despite the rising iron ore prices. “We can't shut down our plants like the miners. So the state government must intervene to resolve this standoff," said a steel company executive.
“The CM has listened to the miners and now he should give steel makers too an opportunity to express their point of view as we are generating huge employment in the region and contributing to the state's exchequer,” pleaded another steel company executive.
Meanwhile, Mr Kumaraswamy is reported to have written to PM Modi, appealing to him to increase the basic customs duty on the iron ore imported by the country as the present low duty of 2.5 per cent encouraged steel players to opt for the imported ore over the local.
So bad is the situation that the state-owned Mysore Minerals Ltd has reportedly not sold ore over the last six months despite having a stock of one million tonnes and the Union Steel Ministry-run NMDC, which has temporarily closed its Donimalai mine, is said to have four million tonnes of ore lying unsold. But a local miner blames the "unreasonable and unfair" price being asked for it by some big miners for a lot of the iron ore lying unsold for months....