New Delhi, Jun 20 (PTI) State-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has postponed its plans to begin commercial production of head hardened (HH) rails at its Bhilai Steel Plant in Chhattisgarh, as the foreign experts involved in the trials left India in the wake of the second Covid wave.
In April when cases of coronavirus infections were on the surge in several parts of the country, the experts from Europe left for their respective countries.
Replying to a query on its production plans for HH rails, SAIL said that cold commissioning of HH rails has been done and hot trials were taken in March this year. 'The entire process was going on with the help and support of foreign experts...but it had to be postponed mid way due to the second wave of pandemic. The work will resume as soon as the situation is conducive for experts to return,' the steel maker said.
The development will affect the company's plans to begin the commercial HH rail production. Earlier, SAIL was looking to start commercial production of main HH tracks in the 2020-21 fiscal.
HH tracks are special tracks used in high-speed cargo lanes and subway tracks. Such rails are manufactured using the head hardening technology to carry about 50 per cent higher pressure compared to normal rails. SAIL has set up facilities for the production of HH tracks at the new Universal Rail Mill (URM) at its Bhilai steel plant (BSP) in Chhattisgarh.
SAIL will be the second player in India to start the production of HH rails. Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) produces HH rails at its plant located in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh.
In the reply, SAIL further said it is committed to fulfil all the requirements of Indian Railways. 'In this context, SAIL had commissioned URM for long panel welded rails with additional facility for producing HH rails. Meanwhile, railways has asked for supply of R260 grade Rails in 60E1 profile. Production of these rails is being done in the dedicated mills at Bhilai plant since April 2021.' Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), under the Ministry of Steel, is the country's largest steel maker with an annual capacity of about 21 million tonne (MT). PTI ABI MKJ