Bhilai, Jun 14: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday inaugurated the modernised and expanded Bhilai Steel Plant to the nation. Addressing a gathering here, the Prime Minister said the Bhilai Steel Plant will make the foundation of ‘New India’ stronger than steel. He also said he was dedicating to the people of Chhattisgarh schemes of around Rs 22,000 crore.

The Prime Minister was on a day-long visit to Chhattisgarh where he inaugurated different projects. He visited SAIL’s Bhilai Steel Plant located in Durg district of the state.

With the inauguration of the expanded Bhilai Steel Plant, the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) has completed its around Rs 72,0000 crore modernisation and expansion programme which will take its production capacity to 21 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) from the present 13 MTPA.

Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, addressing the gathering, said four years back the steel industry was going through a tough time, but today India is the second largest steel producer. Bhilai Steel Plant, he said, is today producing 130 metre long single piece rail track which is the longest in the world.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha were among others present during the occasion.

Implemented with an investment of more than Rs 18,800 crore, the new and modernised Bhilai Steel Plant would now have an enhanced production capacity of 7.5 MTPA hot metal from earlier 4.7 MTPA, which will be the highest among all steel plants of SAIL. The new blast furnace number 8 – Mahamaya alone has a capacity of 2.8 MTPA.

Prior to his visit to the Steel Plant, PM Modi held a roadshow in Bhilai. He also inaugurated the Integrated Command and Control Centre in Naya Raipur. The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone for the permanent campus of Indian Institue of Technology (IIT) Bhilai. He also inaugurated air services between Jagdalpur and Raipur and distributed laptops, certificates, and cheques etc. to beneficiaries under various schemes.

This is Prime Minister Modi’s second visit to Chhattisgarh in the last two months. The visit comes ahead of the assembly elections scheduled to be held in the state later this year.