NEW DELHI (Metro Rail & Steel): Indian Railways, aiming to boost self-sufficiency in wheel production, has set its sights on manufacturing 80,000 forged wheels annually to meet its demand, announced Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. This initiative comes following the approval of a project geared to produce a staggering 2,30,000 wheels.
Addressing concerns raised in Parliament, Minister Vaishnaw highlighted India’s reliance on imported train wheels, accounting for a substantial portion of the annual requirement of 4,40,000 wheels. During a recent press conference, Vaishnaw unveiled the government’s intent to embark on a new venture for indigenous forged wheel manufacturing, emphasizing both domestic utilization and export potential. “The project aims to produce 2,30,000 forged wheels, with 80,000 designated for domestic use while the surplus will be exported,” stated the minister.
Responding to queries in the Lok Sabha on December 6, the minister affirmed the necessity for 4,40,000 wheels annually, which include those for manufacturing and maintaining wagons, coaches, and locomotives. Existing suppliers like Rail Wheel Factory/Bangalore, Rail Wheel Plant/Bela, SAIL/Durgapur Steel Plant, and RINL/Rae Bareli cater to Railways’ needs, with any shortfall met through imports, as per governmental guidelines.
Minister Vaishnaw’s response was prompted by BRS MP G Ranjith Reddy’s query about SAIL and RINL’s inability to supply wheels, leading to imports from China. Emphasizing the ministry’s efforts to bolster indigenous wheel manufacturing capabilities, Vaishnaw revealed a contract awarded in June 2023 for the annual supply of 80,000 forged wheels as part of a long-term agreement, aligning with the ‘Make in India’ campaign.
Highlighting progress, Vaishnaw mentioned RINL’s establishment of a forged wheels plant in Raebareli, commissioned in September 2021, under an off-take agreement with the railways to annually supply 80,000 forged wheels.