The Union Steel Ministry is in regular talks with other ministries and departments, including the Railways, to ensure smooth supply of coal to steel manufacturers, the Union Minister for Steel and Rural Development Faggan Singh Kulaste said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by Assocham, Kulaste said his ministry is taking all measures to maintain supply of coal for steel makers.

Indian Railways has cancelled around 1,081 passenger train trips up May 24, and had deployed 86 per cent of its open wagons to transport coal to various power plants in the country. Out of 131,403 BOXN or open wagons in its fleet, the Railways is using 113,880 for coal transportation as part of a plan formulated by the national transporter in consultation with the coal and power ministries.

“We are regularly speaking to various states and ministries, especially railways and coal,” Kulaste said, replying to a question on whether coal supplies have impacted steel plants or not.

Market price

In India, integrated steel players use coal to run their captive power units. Meanwhile, secondary players make steel using directly reduced iron (DRI); about 70 per cent of DRI is made using thermal coal.

On the rising prices of steel, the minister said rates are market-driven and will calm down accordingly. As per industry estimates, rates of hot rolled coil are trading in the range of ₹73,000–75,000 per tonne.