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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers (PALSP) has urged the government to take all necessary measures to curb the menace of production & sale of substandard steel in the country.

In a letter addressed to Federal Minister for Science and Technology Agha Hassan Baloch and Federal Secretary Ghulam M. Memon Secretary PALSP has lamented that due to non-enforcement of PSQCA standards, around 40 to 50% of the total market remains flooded with sub-standard steel bars in the country.

According to PALSP, a major chunk of substandard steel that is being produced here enters into our nation’s infrastructure as well as housing projects. This is a worrying situation as unchecked usage of substandard steel creates national risk for the future generation by compromising over the quality of the infrastructure projects of the country, as Pakistan is located on a seismic zone.

The laws and standards are very clear but unfortunately are not being implemented. According to a research study conducted by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of 2005, one of the major factors for collapse of buildings which was identified was the usage of substandard steel.

According to PSQCA Standard PS-1879-2018 for steel reinforcement bars clearly states that rebar should be manufactured by following the complete process of melting refine and rolling with complete temperature controls.

Re-rollable Scrap and Scrap ship-plates must not be directly re-rolled into Steel Bars. However, many manufacturers are blatantly violating the PSQCA laws/standards by producing sub-standard steel bars by directly rolling plates generated from the ship breaking industry as well as from imported Re-Rollable scrap into Sub-Standard Steel Bars.

According to PS-1879-2018 (Pg 5): Material and Manufacture: “The bars shall be rolled from properly identified heats of mold cast or strand cast steel using the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) or Induction Furnace (IF) coupled with Ladle Refining Furnace (LRF) basic oxygen, or open-hearth process from quality Meltable Steel Scrap or its substitute or combination of both. Material of re-rolling scrap and from ship breaking industry is excluded for direct rolling.”

There are large numbers of mills that are producing bars directly from the re-rollable scrap as well from ship plates. This is direct violation of the PSQCA standard for Rebar producing. The Rebar/ Steel Bars produced from re-rollable are of inferior quality and cannot be exported because it is converted into bars without following the proper process.

PALSP urge Ministry of Science & Technology/ PSQCA to intervene and to take urgent measures to stop the production & sale of sub-standard steel and enforce PSQCA Act / rules and standards. PALSP hopes the issue which is of great national importance will be accorded highest priority and if this matter remains unaddressed, it would be a recipe for DE-INDUSTRIALIZATION of the steel industry as it making the major steel maker to bleed.

As a result of this, it will discourage future investments in the critical steel sector. The Association urges MoS&T to recommend that entry in the IPO relating to re-rollable Scrap and its description be deleted or place it in the negative list on the basis of Environment, Safety and Health reasons and also on the basis that re-rollable scrap is not as per raw materials required for production of Steel Bars as per International Standards. Further, Re-rollable Scrap is also not listed under Brussels Nomenclature.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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