Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) has said that the company, along with Steel Authority of India (SAIL), is equipped to meet the entire requirement of 1.5 million tonne (MT) of rail by the Indian Railways and there is no need for the country to import rail from abroad.
This is at a time when JSPL became the first and only Indian manufacturer to successfully develop Heat Treated(HT) Rails suitable for high speed and high axle load applications. The Indian Railways has projected a requirement of 180,000 MT per annum of this high-grade 60E1 1175 Heat Treated (HT) Rails.
“If Railways opt for international tenders, it will take six months for delivery. On the other hand, we deliver within six weeks of order. Moreover, our rails are long compared to small imported ones. The overall requirement of the Railways is around 1.5 MT, while JSPL, along with Steel Authority of India (SAIL), has a total capacity of 2.2 MT. Hence we do not have to import even a minute quantity of rail from abroad,” said V R Sharma, Managing Director of JSPL.
Sharma’s assurance is coming close to the heels of global tenders floated by the railways in recent years, that got derailed. The Railways opted for a global tender to meet its requirements in October 2017 -- the first move of its kind in three decades. Though global majors such as Sumitomo Corporation, Angang Group International, Voestalpine Schienen, East Metals, CRM Hong Kong, British Steel, France Rail and Atlantic Steel participated, none of them made the cut in meeting Indian specifications. After this, one more tender was floated, out of which only a developmental order was given to JSPL.
As part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, now the government has also decided to give a push to domestic manufacturers. The yearly demand is part of the Indian Railways policy to improve its tracks to run heavy load wagons. At the moment, a wagon can carry a maximum weight of 62 tonnes, the railways are working on increasing it to 75 tonnes.
“Presently Indian Railways is using grade 880 rails, this will be phased out and they would like to go to hardened rails that include 1080 and 1175 grades. The grade 1080 we started supplying about eight months back. The other one we have started now. In addition, there is a grade called R-260 and asymmetric rails too that we are supplying. Now, we supply the entire product requirement of the Railways,” Sharma added.
The company’s capacity on rails comes to around 1 million tonne, out of which around 380,000 tonnes of 1175 can be produced and an equivalent quantity of 1080 can also be produced, he said. JSPL’s total capacity now is 8.5 MT. The company targets to bring down its debt from around Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 15,000 crore by 2023.