The Ministry of Steel has permitted Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd to import 5,000 tonnes of steel products for Kolkata Metro rail project.
The central government in 2017 instituted a policy favouring domestically-manufactured iron and steel products (DMI&SP) over imports for any project of a public sector company.
In its meeting on May 14, the Standing Committee under the DMI&SP Policy chaired by Additional Steel Secretary Rasika Chaube, allowed RVNL to import 5,000 tonnes of 1080 Head Hardened rails for its 64km metro corridor project in Kolkata.
“The Standing Committee took note of the fact that the project was of strategic importance for which exemption for 6,700 tonnes had been granted in 2019,” said the minutes of the meeting.
In December 2018, RVNL had initiated a proposal to procure 11,800 tonnes of the rails. In October 2019, the Steel Ministry granted it exemption to procure 6,700 tonnes. RVNL is implementing the project jointly with Kolkata Metro Railway.
The revised demand for the remaining 5,000 tonnes cannot be met by domestic suppliers since the Steel Authority of India Ltd does not produce these rails while RVNL has already placed a development order with Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, the minutes of the meeting said.
SAIL said that it has been in the process of manufacturing the rails but the foreign experts involved with the commissioning of its Head Hardened facility at Universal Rail Mill of Bhilai Steel plant left the country in April due to the second wave of Covid-19.
The rails supplied by JSPL will be commissioned in November on trial run for 1-2 years after which the firm will be considered for regular vendorship, RVNL told the committee.
As with its previous batch, RVNL will continue to import from Russia. “For the future 5000MT rails, no tender is required to be floated, no process approval is required, only the order is required to be placed for rolling,” the minutes said.