Steel ministry doing well on sales front
Efforts made by the Ministry of Steel have ensured placement of orders for domestic iron and steel to the tune of Rs 8,129 crore in the last five months.
Ministry of Railways, ONGC, GAIL, HPCL and EIL have placed orders with domestic iron and steel manufactures for various categories of rails, pipe and tubes. These products were earlier imported but are now being procured from domestic producers. As a result, domestic companies got order worth Rs 8,129 crore from June to October, said an official of the Ministry of Steel.
“Discussions are on with the Ministry of Railways to increase consumption of rails manufactured indigenously either through SAIL or other domestic manufactures. Efforts are also being made to on-board sectors like defence and public works so that use of steel products manufactured in India grows,” the official said.
In order to give preference to domestically manufactured iron and steel products in government procurement, the Ministry of Steel promulgated a policy, which was notified on 8 May last year.
To ensure that the policy is implemented in letter and spirit, a Standing Committee under the ministry, chaired by Steel Secretary, has been constituted to oversee its implementation.
A grievance committee has also been constituted for redressal of problems which may arise while implementing the policy.
The Ministry of Steel organised a conclave in Bhubaneswar in October this year for domestic manufacturers of capital goods meant for the steel sector. In this conclave, MoUs worth Rs 39,400 crore were signed between foreign capital goods manufacturers and technology providers with Indian capital goods manufacturers and steel producers.
This, the ministry hopes, will result in the manufacturing of capital goods for the steel sector within the country in the next four years. This is a major shot in the arm for the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Centre. Unmanned level-crossings ( UMLCs) may become a thing of the past on all the busy broad gauge tracks of the vast Indian Railways network by the end of this year. Taking a lesson from the Kushinagar in Gorakhpur distict incident in which 13 children were killed on the spot when a train hit a school van on 26 April this year, the Indian Railways decided to give a major push to elimination of UMLCs.
There were 3,479 unmanned railway crossings as on 1 April this year. In the last seven months, the railways has done away with as many as 3,402 of them owing to its special efforts. Thus, only 77 are left now, which railway officials hope will be covered by the next month.
A Railway Ministry official said most of these unmanned crossings have been eliminated either by subways/railway under-bridges or by manning them. “All unmanned level crossings on routes having speed more than 130 km per hour and on sub-urban routes have been eliminated,” he said, adding that “effectively, 12 out of 16 railway zones are now completely free of such crossings on broad gauge.”
The railways had earlier set a deadline of March 2020 to eliminate all the UMLCs.