Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh was also present at the conference. Indian Railways had invited the global tender for procuring around 4.87 lakh metric tonnes of rails to meet the shortfall of supply from the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). This is the first time in three decades that rail procurement has been opened for the private sector.
Seven foreign steel companies, and JSPL submitted their bids. JSPL was the only Indian steel maker in the fray, and was expected to get an assured order of 20 per cent under the ‘Make in India’ clause. JSPL is the only private company that produces rails in India. It was already supplying rails to various countries like Iran and Bangladesh.
The foreign entities are Sumitomo Corporation, Angang Group International, Voestalpine Schienen, East Metals, CRM Hong Kong, British Steel France Rail and Atlantic Steel. Till now, the national transporter was procuring rails from government-owned SAIL. It decided on an extra global tender after anticipating that SAIL would not be able to supply the 7,17,000 tonnes required for 2017-18 and 2018-19, as estimated at that time.
The Indian Railways is looking at 4,000 km of track renewal in each of the next two financial years, 2018-19 and 2019-20. Its estimated cost for 2018-19 is a little above Rs 10,000 crore.