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Steel Authority of India to reopen Kulti Worksnews
18 September 2007

Mumbai: Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) will reopen the Kulti Works in West Bengal, the oldest steel unit in the country, which is closed since 2003.

SAIL had earlier decided to sell the unit, with the PSU seeking expressions of interest from private companies. Many private entities, such as Tata Steel subsidiary Tata Metaliks and the Pawan Ruia group, had showed interest in the plant. SAIL, however, changed tack after it committed itself to a massive expansion plan in Bengal.

Following a meeting with Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, SAIL chairman S K Roongta said the company has decided in principle to revive the plant.

"We will see how the idle assets can be utilised. It will not require much of an investment though," he added.

SAIL will invest Rs17,000 crore over the next four years in IISCO Steel Plant; Rs6,500 crore in Durgapur Steel Plant; and Rs500 crore in Alloy Steel Plant.
The Kulti facility is over 850 acres and has a sprawling colony of 2,300 residential units, nine-hole golf course and club. The factory itself is spread over 228 acres.

Kulti Works, set up in 1870 as Bengal Iron Works Company, became part of Indian Iron & Steel Company (IISCO) in 1936.

When IISCO - now called IISCO Steel Plant - became sick and got referred to the Board for Industrial and Finance Reconstruction, it closed the Kulti plant.

SAIL downed shutters at Kulti on April 1, 2003, after all the employees of the plant opted out on a voluntary retirement scheme.

The unit used to produce cast iron and spun pipes, which have lost market after the advent of ductile iron pipes. SAIL is likely to revive the foundry at Kulti that makes cast iron products and spun pipes. Roongta, however, made no commitments as to when the PSU would reopen the unit.

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Steel Authority of India to reopen Kulti Works