Public sector firm Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has piled up a Rs 5,000-crore war chest to keep pollution levels in check as it implements ambitious expansion plans to enhance the country's steel-making capacity.
SAIL chairman C. S. Verma said, " The current modernisation and expansion plans of the company will not only increase the production capacity of steel, but also usher in environmentfriendly state- of- the- art technologies and new product lines."
Out of the total outlay of about Rs 72,000 crore for the on- going modernisation and expansion programme, about Rs 5,000 crore is being spent on pollution control schemes, he disclosed.
SAIL has been continuing its environment management efforts in line with the vision of the organisation in this important area.
Verma said, "SAIL goes beyond merely ensuring that regulatory requirements are duly adhered to, by initiating measures proactively to give back to nature what has been taken from it."
The protection and preservation of the environment and its ecosystem are an established priority covering all areas of SAIL operations, he added.
SAIL has put in continuous efforts to improve the environmental performance of its assets. This has resulted in reduction of particulate matter emission, specific effluent load and specific effluent discharge.
The company has been emphasising on the importance of solid waste utilisation at the integrated steel plants. Due to sustained efforts, specific water consumption and specific CO2 emission have also reduced significantly. There has also been a reduction of around 22 per cent in specific energy consumption in SAIL plants.
During the last five years there has been an increase of 11 per cent in steel production without any increase in total consumption of energy. As a result, due to increased thrust on energy conservation projects, CO2 emissions have reduced by six per cent in the last five years. Around 20 million saplings have been planted by SAIL in and around its plants since inception.
Under an agreement among Department of Biotechnology ( DBT), Government of India, Centre for Environment for Degraded Eco- system ( CEMDE), University of Delhi and SAIL, for ecological restoration of degraded ecosystem, 25,600 saplings have also been planted at the Purnapani Limestone and Dolomite Quarry during the year 2012- 13.
The massive modernisation and expansion in all steel plants to enhance hot metal production capacity from 14 MTPA to 23.5 MTPA is under an advanced stage of implementation.