The Ministry of Railways has approved a new iron-ore policy governing the allocation of rakes and transportation of iron-ore.
This new policy has been named as Iron-ore Policy 2021 and shall come into effect from February 10, 2021. The provisions of the new policy will be updated in the rake allotment system module by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS).
“Scrutiny of documentation by Railways has been removed. Executive Director Rake Movement of Railway Board (EDRM) office, Kolkata which has been sanctioning programmes for movement of iron-ore traffic will have no regulatory role in the new policy. The office will be undertaking an analysis of various iron-ore traffic for further improvement of Railway freight loading,” a Rail Ministry statement said.
“Customers now desirous of moving their traffic under any priority will have to give (an) undertaking that they have procured, transported and utilized materials as per rules and regulations of Central and State Governments. For lapses, customers will be liable to be taken up as per the law of land and railway will stand indemnified for any such lapses committed by customers,” the statement said.
According to the Rail Ministry, this has been done to facilitate the ease of doing business.
As per the new policy, higher priority will be given to the movement of iron-ore traffic for domestic manufacturing activity. Within the domestic movement of iron-ore traffic, priority preference will be given to steel, pig iron, sponge iron, pellet, or sinter plant owning customers having their own private sidings at both the loading as well as unloading ends. They will be followed by customers with private siding at either loading or unloading end. Customers without any private siding of their own relying totally on public good sheds, sidings will come next in the priority list.
The categorization of priority of movement of iron ore has now been based on the availability of railway infrastructure developed by the customer, for loading or unloading, and the nature of movement between various types of sidings with a view to maximize iron-ore movement by rail.
Under the fresh policy, old and new plants will be treated similarly as far as allotment and loading of rakes is concerned. The priority preferences for the customers will be self-generated by the system based on the customer profile fed in the system by the concerning zone.
“Customers are free to choose the priorities or combination of priorities for moving their traffic as per eligibility and necessity. No permission is required to be obtained for choosing priorities or combination of priorities,” the statement said.
Iron ore is the second most important stream of traffic of Railways and along with steel accounts for nearly 17 per cent (53.81 million tonne of steel and 153.35 million tonne of iron ore) of total 1210 million tonne freight loading of Indian Railways in 2019-2020.