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Steps being taken to treble country's aluminium production: Tomar

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: February 2, 2019  | 20:22 IST

Bhubaneswar, Feb 2 (PTI) Concrete steps are being taken to treble aluminium production in the country to over 10 million tonnes by 2030 to meet the growing demand, Union Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said Saturday. "India now produces around 3.4 million tonnes of aluminium and our aim is to increase it to around 10 million tonnes by 2030 for which concrete steps are being taken," he said at the valedictory ceremony of International Conference on Aluminium - INCAL 2019 here. Tomar said the use and requirement of the strategic metal is growing in different sectors, including defence, aerospace and railways. To ensure increase in aluminium production, the government is taking necessary steps for making available required volume of raw materials, he said adding initiatives like setting up of the National Mineral Exploration Trust have been taken to encourage mineral exploration. Exploration of minerals including iron ore, bauxite and manganese are being encouraged to meet the needs of the industry and as many as 100 different new mines in the country are now ready for auction to ensure uninterrupted supply of raw materials to the industrial units, Tomar said. The Centre is also for increasing the contribution of mining activities to the GDP, he added. The Union minister asserted that the NDA government at the Centre has made mining operations in the country "transparent and corruption-free". Not a single question has been raised about allotment of mining blocks made during the tenure of the Modi government as the whole process is transparent and open, he said. As many as 53 blocks have been auctioned so far through which the government has earned an additional revenue of Rs 1.43 lakh crore and mineral bearing states have a share in it, Tomar said. At the same time, the Centre has taken concrete steps to deal with the impact of mining activities on the people as well as environment by forming District Mineral Foundation (DMF) which has a fund of Rs 23,000 crore, he said. Stating that around one lakh projects have been taken up for the development of areas around mines using the DMF fund, Tomar said Odisha has also been benefitted by it. Emphasising that the Centre's focus is on skill development, he said ITIs, which were considered the last option earlier, have now emerged as centres of excellence. Union Petroleum and Skill Development Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said Odisha has the pre-requisites for raising the production of the aluminium sector - namely affordable raw materials, power and manpower. The state has tremendous potential for aluminium as well as steel and polymer units as it is endowed with more than 50 per cent of the country's bauxite reserve and over 25 per cent of coal deposits, he said. Pradhan told newsmen on the sidelines of the function that Odisha got around Rs 5,000 crore from DMF but was unable to utilise the money for the development and welfare of the mineral-bearing areas. The state government should speed up land acquisition and extend necessary cooperation to ensure increase in coal production to meet the needs of the industry. T K Chand, Chairman of Aluminium Association of India (AAI) and CMD of state-owned NALCO, said the industry needs to facilitate growth of MSME and downstream units. More than 850 delegates, including 300 foreign participants from 20 countries, took part in three-day global summit, which was organised by AAI under the aegies of the mines ministry. PTI SKN KK MR MR

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