The steel ministry on Monday held a meeting with management of PSUs under its control to take stock of the situation amid the coronavirus outbreak, and asked them not to reduce production.
Steel Secretary Binoy Kumar chaired the meeting, via video-conferencing, in which senior officials of SAIL, RINL, NMDC, MOIL and KIOCL, among others, participated, sources said.
"They were asked about their preparedness at their plants and units in the wake of outbreak of coronavirus. They (PSUs) have been asked to produce as usual and not reduce production," one of the sources said.
SAIL has implemented various preventive measures across its plants, units and offices to contain spread of the virus. Quarantine facilities and isolation wards have been prepared at SAIL hospitals. The company has restricted travel of its employees and the majority of the meetings are being conducted through video-conferencing.
At RINL, biometric attendance has been suspended. An isolation ward has been arranged with a quarantine facility at the Vizag plant.
NMDC has asked its staff to work from home and the company's offices and buildings across the country are being sanitised. Besides special arrangements are also being made at its healthcare centres to deal with the virus. Large gatherings have been prohibited, entry of non-company staff is being scanned using thermal scanners. Employees have also been asked to inform the company if they or any member of their family have a travel history to coronavirus-impacted country.
Further, the public sector undertakings (PSUs) apprised the ministry of the issues faced by their officials during the current lockdown.
According to the sources, the PSUs told the ministry that its officials who were on duty at important functional locations faced issues, as they were stopped by local authorities.
Another concern raised in the meeting was transportation of raw materials.
The movement of goods was crucial for the production to continue, the PSUs said while requesting the ministry to be in touch with the local authorities to resolve the issue.
Another source said that in Odisha, a truck carrying raw material to SAIL's Rourkela Steel Plant was stopped by the authorities. Due to this, the plant officials had to face difficulties in carrying the raw material to the plant.
"There is no clarity among state officials related to essential services and commodities. Steel is an important sector. Blast furnaces cannot be stopped. It takes several days to restart if it is stopped once," the source said.
NMDC is also setting up a steel plant with a capacity of three million tonne per annum (MTPA) in Nagarnar, Chhattisgarh, and the supply of raw material to the site is really crucial for it as the the company expects to commission its first steel plant by mid of 2020.
There are seven PSUs under the Ministry of Steel.
While Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) produce steel, NMDC and MOIL are miners and KIOCL is a pellet maker.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)