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Guest of the month

Vizag hosts many metallurgical plants like Essar Pelletization plant, Hindusthan Zinc etc. but the most prominant amongst them is Vizag Steel Plant of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. What TISCO is to Jamshedpur, RINL is to Vizag. When one enters the huge acres of VSP, what catches the attention is greenary. The company management has taken keen interest in developing green belts, gardens etc. inside the plant to such an extent that one wonders if he is really in a steel plant or in a thick forest – a rare sight in our country.

Mr.B.K.Panda, the present CMD of RINL, a mechanical engineer from REC Rourkela, cammands a long successful career of 36 years in Indian metallurgical sector. He is in Vizag for last 15 years and has served the company in various capacities. He has been known for his innovative and rational approach, indepth knowladge of the subject and effective decisionmaking. At home, Mr.Panda loves to read management books, the latest being ‘How to Manage the Change’ written by Management Guru, C.K.Pralhad. He is a happy familyman with doctor wife (serving in RINL’s hospital) and three daughters. A stronch believer of the thought, ‘We must follow EAST – Not WEST’, Mr.Panda deeply respects the cultural values in the east. Here are the exceprts of his exclusive interview with our editor, D.A.Chandekar

Q : How would you describe the present turnaround performance of VSP ?

A : The performance is much better than the last year. Obviously, higher international prices and better realisation have helped us in turning the company around but one can not ignore that we have produced 3.4 million tonnes of liquid steel and it even exceeds the rated capacity of the plant which is 3.0 million tonnes per year. This requires a lot of efforts at all fronts and I would like to give the credit to entire VSP team for their spirited and dedicated performance. Our HRD has come up with innovative incentive schemes based on production. Even the leave percentage of the workers has reduced. Today’s VSP’s performance is the result of such committed and responsible working.

Q : How do you see the prospects of the steel industry in India as well as abroad ?

A : In India, economy is showing a steady growth and this will surely translate in to steel demand. In my opinion, the steel demand in this country will continue to grow in coming years. To make this happen, the government must give a lot of emphasis on infrastructural projects. The situation in other parts of Asia and also in some Arab countries looks bullish and RINL is quite geared up to strike these markets. Ofcourse, today selling in domestic markets is more lucrative but we will continue to be in the exports markets too. We are very well aware that we will have to produce the world class quality at a very compititive price to be in the international marketplace.

Q : How would you access the potential of southern part of India ?

A : 55 % of our products are consumed in South India. Here, markets are growing at a remarkable pace and I am quite optimistic about future prospects of South India, in industry perspective. Also, people here are simple, committed and god fearing and are easy to deal with. These qualities will surely take South India to a better future and RINL will also be a part of it. An integrated public sector steel plant like us owes a lot to the nation in general and surrounding area in particular. As RINL prospers, it is our duty to ensure that not only our employees but also our town and the surrounding areas enjoys the fruits.

Q : What are RINL’s future plans ?

A : We want to jack up the production level. You must have seen the hoardings on the way. (Indeed, there were lot of hoardings on the approach roads which displayed not only hollow slogans but real growth charts, short term and long term goals etc.) Our first objective is to cross the 5 million tonnes mark and presently studding the possibility of injecting Natural Gas (NG) in our blast furnaces to enhance their productivity and to reduce the input costs in the steel making. New reserves of NG are recently found just 200 km’s from here and could be exploited commercially after some time. If this happens, RINL would further reduce its steel making cost and would be more compititive in the market

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