The shutdown of JSW Steel’s Ballari mill in Karnataka has been extended, along with the township in Toranagallu village, through July 31, to restrict COVID-19’s spread.
The limitations were imposed by Karnataka’s Ballari region administration with firm instructions to be implemented immediately by the fully integrated Vijayanagar steelworks on Wednesday.
The steel plant cut its workforce for five days while trying to sustain steel capacity utilization before sealing the mill off, but a wave of increased COVID-19 cases prompted the authorities to shut down the plant again. The plant was originally shut down on June 18 and workers from nearby towns were not allowed to enter it.
However, according to local media reports, these actions did not prevent the surge in COVID-19 cases, leading the local deputy commissioner to use applicable authority to contain all JSW steel employees within the affected township.
Some employees have been permitted to work but are allowed only to pass between the township and the plant to transfer necessary items. Ballari is faced with the second highest numbers of COVID-19 cases in Karnataka at present.
JSW Steel is the JSW Group’s steelmaking arm with an output capacity of 18mn mt per year. The Vijayanagar works plant in Ballari, Karnataka has an output capacity of 12mn mt per year and was combined with Jindal iron and steel in 2005. The company website asserts its Ballari mill is the sixth largest global steel plant possessing India’s largest blast furnace, and widest hot strip mill.