NMDC’s Nagarnar steel plant (NSP), situated in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district, has officially commenced its production, marking a significant milestone, according to company officials on Friday. Surprisingly, the plant achieved this milestone of producing its final product – the HR (hot rolled) Coil – a mere nine days after the production of hot metal.
The steel plant, with a capacity to produce 3 million tonnes per annum, belongs to the National Mineral Development Corporation, a central public sector undertaking. This colossal project has been realised at an estimated cost of around Rs 24,000 crore, spanning an expansive area of 1,980 acres in the Nagarnar village, situated over 300 km away from the state capital, Raipur.
A pivotal turning point for the plant occurred on August 12, when Amitava Mukherjee, the acting CMD and Director of Finance for NMDC, inaugurated the plant’s blast furnace, setting into motion the final commissioning phase. The subsequent production of the HR Coil, which transpired just nine days after the initial hot metal production, marked a remarkable achievement.
Rafique Ahmed Jinabade, the General Manager and Chief of Communications for the plant, shared his thoughts on this achievement, stating, “With the development witnessed on Thursday through the HR coil production, we not only establish our presence as a fresh entrant in the domestic steel market but also etch Bastar’s name onto the steel industry map.”
What further elevates the Nagarnar Steel Plant’s competitive edge is its strategic linkage with the Bailadila mines in Dantewada district, located approximately 100 km from Nagarnar, ensuring a consistent supply of iron ore.
Looking forward, the plant envisions the production of specialised steel variants catering to the manufacturing of generators, motors, transformers, and automobiles in the subsequent phases.
As the news of the plant’s success surfaces, discussions around its ownership resurface as well. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Bhupesh Baghel, made a fervent appeal on August 20, urging the central government not to pursue privatisation for NSP. He underlined the emotional attachment of the people of Bastar to the plant and urged against playing with its fate.
Baghel had previously conveyed his concerns in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2020, emphasising the need to keep the upcoming steel plant out of privatization. The Chhattisgarh assembly had similarly expressed its stance in the same year, passing a resolution that the Centre should refrain from disinvesting the NSP. However, if such a course of action was to be taken, the state government expressed its readiness to acquire the plant.
The inauguration of the NSP’s production marks a momentous achievement in the realm of steel production in India, promising potential economic growth and industrial prowess, while sentiments and debates around its ownership continue to simmer.