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Pradhan directs stakeholders to prepare roadmap for revival of Odisha-based NINL

Pradhan directs stakeholders to prepare roadmap for revival of Odisha-based NINL

New Delhi, Dec 6 (PTI) Union Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has asked the stakeholders of Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd (NINL) to prepare a roadmap for the revival of the Odisha-based steel maker, according to a source.

Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd (NINL) is a joint venture company of four central PSUs -- MMTC, NMDC, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and MECON -- and two Odisha government companies IPICOL and Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC).

Operations at the 1.1 million tonne integrated NINL plant at Kalinganagar, about 100 kilometers from Pradhan's native place Angul, are suspended at present.

"The minister (Pradhan) has been giving special attention to the issues being faced by NINL and its employees. He has also held consultations with all stakeholders to prepare and implement a roadmap for NINL's revival and solve the issues being faced by its employees," a source in the Ministry of Steel said.

Besides, several other steps have been taken by the Steel Ministry to help address the problems being faced by the employees of the plant.

NMDC, which has 10.10 per cent shareholding in NINL, has been directed to immediately release a sum of Rs 20 crore into the account of NINL for payment of salaries of its employees. Earlier in March 2020, NMDC also paid Rs 60 crore to NINL, the source said. Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has also proposed to purchase raw material belonging to NINL worth Rs 75 crores, which will further ease the financial distress being faced by NINL, the source added.

Speaking to PTI over phone from Odisha, a senior NINL employee said, "Many NINL employees have not got salaries for as long as 10 months. Besides, there are about 3,500 workmen engaged on contract basis who have been affected. There is also inventory piled up at the plant cost of which would be around Rs 240 crore."

Recently, Tata Steel evinced interest in acquiring a stake in NINL. Tata Steel also owns and operates a 3 MTPA plant in Kalinganagar, where the NINL plant is located.

NINL also has a captive power plant and an air separation unit for producing oxygen, nitrogen and argon. Besides, the company also has captive iron ore mines which are under development.

In January 2020, the Centre gave in-principle approval for strategic sale of NINL by allowing the six PSU shareholders to sell their stake in the steel company.

The government's looks to identify a strategic buyer for NINL through a two-stage auction process.

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