Kolkata: Union Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said there were supply constraints of iron ore for the steel sector and the Centre will “look into” suggestions to ban export of the key raw material. Representatives of the sector have been seeking a ban on iron-ore exports to aid the domestic industry and had earlier sought the minister’s intervention to tide over the crisis. Also Read - Naveen Patnaik Writes To PM Modi Urges Centre To Issue Timeframe for CBSE Exam 2021

“It is a good suggestion, let us see. We are talking to stakeholders,” Pradhan said during a virtual interaction at Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce’s annual general meeting. He also called for policy initiation on the part of state governments to tackle the supply woes. Also Read - PM Modi Indicated COVID-19 Vaccine May Be Ready in 4-5 Weeks: Karnataka CM

The minister, however, said though there is supply constraints at present, in 2019-20, the total aggregate production of iron-ore was 250 million tonne in the country and domestic demand was 180 million tonne. Also Read - Pollution Played Key Role in Severity of 3rd Wave of COVID-19 in Delhi: Kejriwal Tells PM Modi

The representatives, including members of MCC said the central government can also consider allowing state-owned miners to take over mines, at least on a temporary basis, which are yet to begin commercial production.

Pradhan said the Union government is making efforts to boost domestic sourcing of iron and steel products by central organisations and mandating preference. “Through the Domestically Manufactured iron & Steel Products (DMI&SP) policy, steel imports worth more than Rs 20,000 crore have so far been avoided. We are working to ensure raw material security for the sector,” he said.

“By way of ‘Mission Purvodaya’, we are building an integrated steel hub in eastern India, which would add to the competitiveness of the steel sector and facilitate regional development with job creation,” Pradhan added.

He said without development of the eastern region, ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ is not possible.