After failing to keep up with Indian Railways’ requirement last fiscal, state-owned SAIL is now optimistic that it will be able meet the enhanced demand of rails from the national transporter this year and will supply 12 lakh tonnes of tracks, a top official said. This assumes significance as the government had last year pulled up the country’s largest steel producer Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) for not meeting the requirement of Indian Railways and had asked the company to increase output from its new rail mill in Bhilai.
“From the past so many years, we have been supplying at the level of 6-7 lakh tonnes per annum of rails as per their (railways) requirement… In 2016-17, there was a little increase in their demand. As per requirement, we have gone to the level of 6.6 lakh tonnes… in 2017-18, it had gone to the level of 8.8 lakh tonnes per annum. But demand was 9 (lakh tonnes) in the last financial year,” Bhilai Steel Plant CEO M Ravi told PTI in an interview.
SAIL’s Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) is country’s main producer of steel rails and supplies the produce to Indian Railways. “The demand (of Indian Railways) has become double…In that condition we could not supply as per their requirement in the last financial year,” Ravi said. SAIL-BSP’s new Universal Rail Mill has enhanced total rail production capacity of the country’s largest steel producer to 20 lakh tonnes per annum. “Even today their requirement is of 12 lakh tonnes that will be fulfilled this financial year,” the CEO said.
“We have gone for new Universal Rail Mill. Earlier our capacity was only 7 lakh tonnes… and we have added one more thing (new Universal Rail Mill) that is 12 lakh tonnes. Combining both, there would be approximately 20 lakh tonnes,” Ravi explained. The public sector undertaking has been supplying tracks to Indian Railways for more than five decades.
Replying to another question, he said, “This year that situation (of last year) will not come after July the graph will be at straight…for Bhilai Steel Plant as far as Railways is concerned,” he said.
Last year, SAIL commissioned its 1.2 MTPA new Universal Rail Mill, and with this, the PSU began the commercial production of world’s longest single rail of 130 metres from the new URM.
The railways had earlier invited a global tender to plug the shortfall in supply of rails from SAIL. Railways had earlier said that it had to invite a global tender for procuring more than 4 lakh tonnes of rails to meet the shortfall of supply from SAIL.