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RINL may appoint consultant on 6th coke oven battery project.

September 12, 2018
The Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) may appoint a consultant to take up the construction of the coke oven battery (COB)-6 amid speculation that the Build, Operate and Own (BOO) route is being reconsidered owing to the investment it requires. At the board meeting of the RINL, the corporate entity of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant recently, the officials discussed the issue, informed sources told The Hindu.

COBs produce blast furnace grade coke, the major raw material for production of steel. At present, four COBs produce around 2.5 lakh million tonne of coke even as the COB-5 is under construction.

According to market estimates, a COB with a recovery system costs around ₹2,000 crore and without it costs half the amount. While there was no word from the company on the BOO move, members of the Steel Plant Employees’ Unionsaid the management was examining the proposal since taking up the construction of the COB-6 with a bank loan would take a long time owing to the long-drawn-out process of getting clearance .

“We are opposed to the move as it will subsequently lead to the privatisation of critical facilities. Moreover, we want the management to have a long-term vision to cater to the needs of the country’s largest shore-based integrated steel plant,” SPEU president J. Ayodhya Ram said.

The slow progress of completion COB-5 works remains a worry. Costing over ₹2,000 crore, the work should have been completed by December last year. It is similar to the other four COBs with a height of seven- metre, 67 ovens and by-product recovery top-charge batteries. Capacity augmentation and the dependence on ageing batteries have necessitated the installation of new coke oven batteries. The RINL had has not only commissioned the 6.3 million tonne expansion costing ₹12,300-crore but also completed modernisation of blast furnaces by using puvlverised coal injection technology and undertaking capital repairs at ₹4,000 crore to raise the capacity.

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