Bhubaneswar ,15.07.2016 (By Mano Mani Singh)-Today, inaugurating the newly created Directorate of Steel in the premises of Directorate of Geology Sri Prafull Kumar Mallick, Minister, Steel and Mines said that Odisha is endowed with vast resources of iron ore. The current resources of hematite iron ore in the state is about 5716 million tonnes. This makes up for a lion’s share of the country’s total resources at about 27%. Not only iron ore, Odisha has adequate deposits of other raw materials required for the production of steel. Abundance of raw materials in our state has resulted in attracting the big investors to this region.Already more than 30 steel plants are in various stages of commissioning in Odisha. But the green field and brown field projects have several issues to tackle. The very purpose of setting up a Directorate for Steel is the manifestation of our intention to make best utilization of our iron ore resources in terms of optimised use of resources, zero waste mining, value addition and strengthening of mineral economy. This will also ensure generation of employment within our state. I am told that nowadays there is stiff competition in the steel sector all over the world. The post-recession scenario warrants implementation of new policies and mechanism for survival and progress of indigenous industries. We have already brought out a new Mineral Exploration Policy to streamline the exploration sector and prioritise our prospecting activities. The Government of India has published a National Mineral Exploration Policy during the last week of June. Prior to that it has carried out amendments in the MMDR Act, 1957 facilitating the auction mode of leasing out mineral deposits. In the changed scenario, we have to prepare ourselves and update our ways and means to get desired results. In this regard, our state has been the first State in the country to auction one iron are Mineral block which has been successfully concluded during March 2016 with one of the integrated Steel Plant of the country emerging as the preferred bidder. Subsequently, we are also preparing nearly more than 10 iron ore blocks to be put to auction during 2016-17 and2017-18, which will adequately cater to the raw material requirement of the steel industries in the country as a whole.The state has been pursuing a vision for creating a congenial business climate to attract investment in mineral based industry and infrastructure projects, raising income, employment and economic growth. The State initiated active investment promotion initiatives have resulted in concrete investment potential for value addition of iron ore resources and associated power generation.There is huge environmental concern associated with iron ore mining and transportation. Ecological issues also surround the steel industries. We must ensure all activities to take place in environment- friendly manner with due attention to environment management. Iron and Steel form the backbone of our civilisation. This Directorate will exclusively look after our issues surrounding this sector.Our visionary leader Biju Babu once said that Odisha has potential for 36 steel plants. He said this at a time, when there was only one steel plant operating at Rourkela. Some people laughed at him. And now we have about 30 projects operating at various stages in the Steel sector. Many more are in the pipeline. This Directorate of Steel will be instrumental in realizing all our aspirations relating to the systematic development of the iron ore and steel sector. It will also facilitate in providing quick and effective solutions for the investors in this sector.The departmental Principal Secretary Sri R.K Sharma emphasised on the creation of this new directorate. This will boost up the industrial activities in the state and encourage interaction among the stake holders to overcome the issues related to steel industries. It also take lead role in advising the Government regarding policy matter. Presently, the Special Secretary, Steel & Mines Sri P.K Mishra has been appointed as the Director of this Directorate of Steel. Representatives from various industrial houses attended the function and share their views. Among others MD, OMC Sri R. Vineel Krishna, Director of Mining Sri Deepak Mohanty were present.