New Delhi: The railways had to invite a global tender for procuring more than 4 lakh metric tonne of rails to meet the shortfall of supply from Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), parliament was informed on Friday.

Minister of state for railways Rajen Gohain informed the Rajya Sabha that the requirement of rails for Indian Railways for year 2017-2018 was 14.59 lakh metric tonnes. “SAIL as per their latest projection has given commitment to supply 9.5 lakh metric tonne rails during 2017-2018. To meet the shortfall of supply from SAIL, Railway has invited a global tender...", Gohain said.

The pre-bid conference for this tender was held on 21 November. The technical bids of tender for procurement of 4,87,000 metric tonnes of 60 kg-UIC rails was opened on 22 December 2017, he said. This was the first time that the national transporter floated a global tender for procuring rails.

State-run SAIL has always been its sole supplier. The additional rail tracks will help the railways towards clearing the track renewal backlog, officials said. The railways has a track length of around 1,15,000km, making it the world’s largest network under a single management.