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Steel standards deferred

New Delhi, March 13: The government has deferred the introduction of mandatory certification for construction steel — TMT bars and structurals — as well as tinplates used to pack food and medicines.

The move could help secondary manufacturers, mostly concentrated in northern India, who had been seeking a relaxation in standards to increase sales.

Compulsory certification by the Bureau of Indian Standards for TMT bars, structural steel and tinplates was to begin from February 13.

Analysts said the standards were necessary to ensure that quality steel reached the construction sector and only first-grade tinplates and not toxic ones were used in food and medical packaging.

S. Saha, an independent structural engineer, said, “These standards were formulated in the aftermath of the Gujarat earthquake to ensure quality structures . Similarly the use of prime tinplates was being encouraged to ensure best safety standards.”

Tata Steel, SAIL and Jindals use prime steel to make TMT bars for construction. But small players in the Punjab and Haryana region use rerolled steel and often scrap steel and structurals.

Tata-controlled Tinplate Company is the biggest manufacturer of tinplates in India and will be the hardest hit by the decision not to make the BIS standards mandatory.

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