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Cement, petro products drive core sector growth

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, June 20

THERE is continued good news for the economy, with the six `core' infrastructure industries registering an overall growth rate of 5.8 per cent during April-May 2002, as against one per cent in the corresponding two months of the previous fiscal.

According to official data released here on Thursday, the core infrastructure index, which rose by 5.9 per cent in April 2002 (minus 0.3 per cent in April 2001), sustained its buoyancy during May as well, growing by 5.5 per cent (1.7 per cent).

Cement and refined petro products mainly powered the overall 5.8 per cent growth for April-May 2002. The output of refined petro products rose by eight per cent from 157.23 lakh tonnes (l.t) in April-May 2001 to 169.85 l.t in April-May 2002, while amounting to 151.57 l.t in April-May 2000.

Production of crude petroleum in April-May 2002 at 54.38 lakh tonnes (l.t), too, was 5.9 per cent higher than 51.35 l.t in April-May 2001 and 52.65 l.t in April-May 2000.

It is in cement that the growth has been impressive. Cement production, which went up by 3.6 per cent from 176.30 l.t in April-May 2000 to 182.70 l.t in April-May 2001, registered a further growth of 10.1 per cent, touching 201.19 l.t in the first two months of the current fiscal.

Among the other industries, production of coal during April-May 2002 at 512 l.t was 5.6 per cent higher than 485 l.t in April-May 2001 and 479 l.t in April-May 2000, even as finished steel output rose by 6.4 per cent to touch 52.738 l.t during April-May 2002, from 49.553 l.t and 50.16 l.t achieved in the corresponding two months of the preceding two fiscals.

The country's total electricity production during April-May 2002 was assessed at 87.733 billion units, which was 3.6 per cent higher than the 84.677 billion units generated during the same period last year and the 82.658 billion units of April-May 2000.

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