Foundries in Crisis
The Belgaum Chapter (Southern Region) of The Institute of Indian Foundrymen (IIF) has said there is a likely threat of closing down the foundry units in Belgaum and the neighbouring Kolhapur district in Maharashtra for a fortnight “to avoid heavy losses” because of the rising prices of raw materials.
Members of the IIF marched to the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on Saturday to draw the attention of the Government towards the “crisis” confronting the sector in the country owing to the increasing prices of raw materials.
The procession was led by chairman of the IIF’s Belgaum Chapter Ram Bhandare.
In a memorandum addressed to the Joint Director of the District Industries Centre, the IIF said the foundry sector was supporting engineering exports and domestic market.
It was the fourth largest producer of castings in the world. The sector was poised to become one of the top three producers of castings in the world by 2010, as it was witnessing an export growth rate of 15 per cent every year, the memorandum said. Exports during the year 2006-07 accounted for Rs. 4,000 crore and it was expected to touch Rs. 6,000-crore mark by 2010, it said.
Belgaum tops the State in the sector with production of one lakh tonne every year, Mr. Bhandare said. By 2010, the production would touch 1.60 lakh tonne a year and exports would increase from the present Rs. 100 crore to Rs. 300 crore by then, he said. This sector had provided employment to nearly 10,000 people and another 5,000 people were expected to get employment by 2010, he said. The revenue generation was also expected to grow from the present Rs. 500 crore to Rs. 800 crore during the next three years.
But, the sector was facing a crisis of sorts owing to rising prices of pig iron, steel, coke and scrap, he said and added that the prices of these materials were increasing every month and sometimes every fortnight.
To tide over the crisis, the IIF wants the Government to ban or exercise effective control on export of iron ore by imposing heavy duty which will help in better realisation for exports of steel/casting. The practice of increasing prices of raw materials every month should be stopped immediately and import duty on coking coal/coke should be abolished to bring down the prices, it said.