Towards environmentally sustainable industrialization: a case study of some mini iron and steel industries in India
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Iron and steel have been used in India since ancient times (possibly as early as 5000 BC). There are several references to the use of iron and steel in the Vedic literatures. The rust and corrosionfree iron pillar of ‘Qutub Minar’ in Delhi, built 1500 years ago and the ‘steel’ girders used in the temples of Orissa around AD 700–1200 still bear the testimony of these early industries. Steels are in great demand today but the large steel plants provide a limited range of steel mostly consumed in building and construction activities. In India, heavy machine tools, locomotives, automobiles, aviation, ship building and engineering tools require super grade steels with various specifications and these are met by mini iron and steel industrial plants. There are approximately 160 such plants mostly situated in big cities and towns. There are several economic and ecological advantages of these mini steel plants. They mostly use iron and steel scrap and other kinds of iron wastes from large industries as their raw material, contrary to the large plants which use ‘iron ores’ as primary raw materials, the extraction processing and utilization of which involves severe environmental damage by way of deforestation and air and water pollution. Mini steel plants consume much less water and energy. The government of India has given a number of incentives to the mini steel industries by way of exemption from income tax, custom and excise duties, depreciation and investment allowances and rebates on charges for consumption of water and electricity.
KeywordsSteel Industry Mini Iron Steel Scrap Ship Building Excise Duty
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