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About 80 mini steel plants, located in the industrial area near the state capital, have halted production and closed their units since Sunday night claiming that running cost of their units has gone up considerably, particularly due to increase in power tariff, leading to heavy losses.

Chhattisgarh Mini Steel Plant Association (CMSPA) is demanding reduction of electricity tariff to Rs 4.00 per unit from the hiked price of Rs 6.19 per unit.

Association's members said Chhattisgarh, which generates electricity, is considered as a power hub, but has failed to supply electricity to steel industry at nominal rates, whereas the states including Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttrakhand, Jalna and Vidharbh Maharashtra and Punjab, which are purchasing the electricity from other states, are charging electricity tariff from industries between Rs 3.81 to Rs 4.99.

Talking to TOI, Chhattisgarh Mini Steel Plant Association's president Ashok Surana said, "The steel industrialists have closed down their units voluntarily, neither without any Association's role nor in wake of protest.

"The matter is anyway on monthly basis. We are already bearing the loss of Rs 45 lakh on operating the units. Even when the units are closed, we will have to bear a minimum loss of Rs 15 lakh," he said.

He said the association has submitted a memorandum to Chhattisgarh Power Holding Company Limited managing director Ankit Anand and also the state electricity regulatory commission, which determines the tariff, and all other concerned, seeking reduction in tariff to Rs four per unit".

In Industrial areas of Hirapur, Tendua, Urla and Siltara on the outskirts of Raipur, there are 185 steel industries.

According to the association, monthly bill generated for one mini steel plant is around Rs 60 lakh. With closure of 80 units, the load on transformers has reduced to 250 megawatt from 490 megawatt on Monday. This is a big revenue loss for the electricity department besides no work for more than 15,000 labourers.

The steel industry has been witnessing a downward slide due to multiple factors, including increase in cost of inputs, since 2013. Many steel plants in Chhattisgarh have downsized their staff and scaled down their operations.

Source: timesofindia