ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Hard Choices

November 29, 1969 gap in the export sector. The long- run solution is obviously to increase supplies through better exploitation of scrap. The small arc furnaces that re- rollers now operate with are patently inefficient both from the technical and the economic points of view. It has been suggested by rollers that a billet mill with a capacity of 60,000 to 80,000 tonnes per annum should be set up in the western region and another with a capacity of 250,000 tonnes per annum in the eastern region. Cost estimates for a mill of the larger size vary between Rs 3 crores and Rs 3.5 crores. Such a mill will need electric melting furnaces (either a single furnace of 100 tonnes per day or two units of 50 tonnes per day) and balancing facilities for continuous casting. The Heavy Engineering Corporation, which is struggling to use its capacity even partially, is equipped to fabricate continuous casting machines. And if it is decided to go in for lower capacity furnaces (say of 40-50 tonnes per day), adequate indigenous capacity exists to fabricate these also locally. What is needed is a quick decision by Government.

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