Article by Rahul Sharma
The ISSDA has released a statement saying that railway operators should switch to corrosion resistant stainless steel to avoid collapses of infrastructure in future. Using stainless steel in the structural skeleton of a pedestrian over-pass could have avoided loss of life during a recent accident in Mumbai, it claims.
Collapse of Railway structures have led to disruptions and avoidable loss of life. The enquiry report made on Andheri bridge collapse has established that corrosion of the structure as the main cause of failure. The tragic pedestrian bridge collapse at the Andheri station, which injured five people and killed one, occurred barely nine months after a railway bridge stampede causing 23 deaths at Elphinstone Road in Mumbai.
The ISSDA believes such collapses could be avoided by adopting stainless steel for longterm social infrastructure, especially pedestrian bridges and overpasses. The Indian Stainless Steel Development Association (ISSDA), the country’s stainless steel body, has reiterated the importance of using stainless steel for social infrastructures such as bridges, overpasses etc. to drastically minimise loss of life and finances.
“Considering that 50% of the 120,000 railway bridges in India are over 100 years old, it is the need of the hour to deploy the best-suited material – stainless steel – to reduce casualties significantly. Moreover, stainless steel has twice the life cycle compared to carbon steel”, said the President of ISSDA, Mr. KK Pahuja.
Overall costing for the life cycle of stainless steel is significantly lower. India has a large coastline and structures along the coastline cities are suffering due to corrosion, resulting not only in economic losses due to frequent maintenance and replacements but also disruption to daily public life.
Stainless steel in structural elements is critical in coastal areas like Mumbai which are prone to high corrosion. Today, stainless steel structural elements such as angles, sections, nuts & bolts, anchors, and reinforcement bars are easily available and suitable for applications requiring long life in corrosive environments.
Stainless steel is known for its inherent quality of strength, resistance against fractures, weldability and a very good corrosion resistance. “The weight of the structure is reduced tremendously, thereby reducing the cost of the substructure and foundations and reducing overall lifecycle costs.
Its introduction in Indian railway infrastructure would be a very good decision for the upgrading of the present technology of design, fabrication and maintenance of steel bridges. In addition, stainless steel is completely recyclable and therefore, environmentally friendly,” Mr. Phuja’s statement continued.
In India, a substantial amount of downtime and cost is incurred on account of carrying out maintenance activities on old bridges. This not only causes inconvenience to road users, it also results in a significant outflow of money on account of repair, maintenance and labour related expenses.
ISSDA represents the stainless steel industry in India. Founded in 1989 by leading stainless steel producers, it was formed with the objective of diversifying the application of stainless steel in India. The association currently has a membership of over 145 companies engaged in the stainless steel business.