The Steel Ministry will soon set up a Safety Directorate that will oversee the safety standards in the steel industry.

Speaking after the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting in Goa, Steel Minister Birender Singh said the safety directorate would be operational soon, an official statement said.

Singh also said that a National Scrap Policy is also being drafted, which will be ready in a few months. This will make available nearly 7 million tonne scrap in the country. At present, the requirement of scrap is around 8.3 million tonnes and most of it is met with scrap imports.

PTI adds: To ensure that there is no massive shortage of iron ore and coal from 2020 when the captive mining leases expire, the government is looking at mining of these resources in the North-East States, Singh said. Most of the captive iron ore and coking coal mining leases, mainly in Goa Karnataka, will expire in 2020, which may lead to supply shortages, the Minister said, and called for exploration on a war-footing in other areas where good quantity of iron ore/coal is available.

“Some kind of exploration on a prototype basis has already taken place in the North-East and if exploration on a large scale takes place, then we may have some good raw material,” Singh said.

The Minister also said an additional secretary is looking into measures to reopen the closed mines in Odisha, Karnataka and Jharkhand.

“Odisha Mineral Development Corporation has some of the best iron ore and coal mines), but they are closed now. We are taking efforts to come out of the legal bottlenecks under which we re-allot or transfer those mines so that those mines become functional by again and to our plants,” Singh said.