Fair Competition: JSPL’s 260-meter Rail powers its railway entry

Company bagged the order from the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited

Raipur: The 260-meter rail produced by the Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) would power company’s plan to enter into Indian Railways market dominated by the state-run Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL).

The Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP), SAIL’s flagship entity in Chhattisgarh, had been the lone supplier of rails to the Indian Railways (IR) under a long term agreement for the last six and a half decades. The plant had been supplying around 700,000 to 800,000 tonnes of rails per annum to the IR. In 2004, it started supplying long rails to IR, starting from 130-meter to 260-meter. The highest profit making entity of the SAIL would now have a competitor in the rail market as JSPL had also started producing 260-meter rails.

JSPL bagged the order from the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) and supplied the 260-meter long rails that would be used for the construction of the eastern corridor of the landmark 350-km dedicated freight railway network in India. Country’s leading integrated steel maker was now eyeing to bag the order from the IR where it had failed to make entry despite moving to the competition commission of India (CCI).

“If there was a fair competition, JSPL would access to the IR market as its product matched all specifications,” Pradeep Tandon, Executive Vice President of JSPL, said. The private parties should be allowed to supply rails to the IR, he said, adding that the 260-meter rail produced by the JSPL matched the world-class standards and would strengthen company’s plan for bagging IR supply contracts. The JSPL, which previously supplied rail tracks to leading infrastructure companies such as Delhi Metro, Kochi Metro, L&T, NTPC, Tata Steel, JSW etc,  had also been eyeing to supply the new product for metro rails and bullet train.

The SAIL officials are however confident of retaining the IR market monopoly. “It is unlikely that JSPL claim of starting construction of 260-meter long rail will pose any threat to SAIL-BSP,” the company spokesperson told. As rail makers to the Nation, BSP has been an integral part of the day to day operations of IR, he said and added that BSP had been progressively improving standards to roll out world class rails as per stringent specifications of the IR.

A new and modern 1.2 MTPA (million tonnes per annum) Universal Rail Mill (URM) will soon be commissioned at Bhilai along with a new Rail Welding Line that has already been installed. The Plant will supply rails to IR in finished lengths of 130-meter, the longest produced anywhere in the world, as a single piece without any weld joints from this new Mill. The spokesperson claimed that the Plant would also be able to supply still longer rails to IR measuring upto length of 520-meter.

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