India must adopt global infrastructure norms for railway stations, bus depots, and airports: ISSDA

New Delhi: In a seminar organized on Stainless Steel for Sustainable Transit Building Solutions, Indian Stainless Steel Development Association (ISSDA), which is the apex body of the stainless steel industry in India, advocated the adoption of global infrastructural standards by using stainless steel for transit hubs. ISSDA highlighted that stainless steel usage has been the benchmark in several sustainable infrastructural projects worldwide and persuaded all stakeholders to take a cue from these international transit hubs. As the front runner in sensitizing stakeholders to the benefits of using sustainable stainless steel-based solutions across sectors, ISSDA brought stakeholders together through this seminar and discussed various aspects of stainless steel applications for long-lasting and maintenance-free public infrastructure. Commenting on the occasion, President, ISSDA, Mr K K Pahuja said, “Its exceptional characteristics make stainless steel the best fit for constructing transit hubs in India. Its durability, minimal maintenance and sustainability make it stand out among other materials in such areas of high footfalls. With the booming pace of infrastructural development, incorporation of stainless steel is a must for efficient, safe and durable transit infrastructure. A shift from old structural buildings to reliable and sustainable stainless steel infrastructure is the need of the hour.” Major players like Jindal Stainless Group and Salem (SAIL) are expected to play a crucial role in mobilizing stainless steel usage.

During the seminar, sessions on stainless steel usage for modern infrastructure, expanding transit building systems, architecture, railway stations, and airport construction were organized. Managing Director & CEO, Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation, Mr S K Lohia, who was the chief guest, emphasized the massive potential for stainless steel usage as he said, “The Indian Railways comprises a total of 8613 stations. Out of these, more than 1000 stations have the potential to be redeveloped using stainless steel. Within the next 15-20 years and with a huge investment of nearly Rs 4 lakh crore, Indian Railways can be one of the biggest consumers of stainless steel, if the industry comes up with sustainable solutions.” Elaborating the benefits of stainless steel in architectural projects, Ar Bimal Kachroo of Holistics Urban Innovations Pvt. Ltd., presented his futuristic perspective as he said, “90% of Indian buildings can be made in stainless steel, majorly because stainless steel is completely recyclable and has anti-microbial properties. Moreover, India is a four-season country with its own dynamics, enabling brown-field and green-field expansion at the same place. Hence, the buildings have to be energy-, water-, and material-efficient apart from being sustainable at the same time.” ISSDA presented how stainless steel is the most cost-effective material based on lifecycle cost analysis. Mr Nagarajan P from Jindal Stainless Limited also presented his experience on stainless steel usage for structural applications in infrastructural projects.

Internationally, the practice of stainless steel usage has changed the speed of infrastructure modernisation. Transit infrastructure, ranging from railway stations, subway stations, and airports to ticket counters, elevators, and barriers, has extensive potential for using stainless steel. Adoption of this wonder metal has recently started in airports, including stainless steel roofing solutions providing light, airy structures and less obstructuted views. Testimony to this approach is the first stainless steel roof over a terminal of a new airport in China. A 0.5 mm thick stainless material has been developed to withstand strong winds, torrential rain and marine corrosion. Some other airports sporting stainless steel are Aeropeurta de Barajas, Spain, Dallas Fort Worth International airport, USA and Suvarnabhumi aiport, Thailand. Singapore expocentre MRT station, European stations and Britomart train stations, Auckland are a few infrastructural projects which have used stainless steel due to its inherent property of resistance to corrosion even in saline environment, and better strength to hold the structures in adverse calamities.

The growth of stainless steel in India is expected to remain robust even in the future, considering its immense potential in the Indian economy. The per capita consumption of stainless steel in India is ~2 kg, compared to the world average of ~6 kg. As a metal, it outshines all its alternatives given its high strength-to-weight ratio, thermal fatigue endurance, superior crash resistance, lower life-cycle cost, nearly 100% recyclability, and exceptional aesthetics. Currently, ABC (Architecture, Building, and Construction) is the fastest growing segment in India with a stainless steel consumption of around 20% out of the total demand in India.

With a CAGR of 8-9% over the last decade, India is the second largest and the fastest growing market for stainless steel. At present, India’s total stainless steel melt production stands at ~3.6 million tonnes for both long and flat products. As compared to conventional materials, stainless steel is a green metal with nearly full recyclability. Resistance to corrosion and ageing and a virtually maintenance-free life make stainless steel indispensable in a variety of sectors, including railways, metro projects, subways, gateways, transportation, heavy machinery, process industries, kitchenware etc. Government initiatives such as Transit Oriented Development (TOD), aiming towards the expansion and modernization of metros, railways, airports, and BRTs will further increase the demand for stainless steel.


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