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Efforts geared up to standardise steel production

Updated August 14, 2019

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As the demand for steel bars grows in the wake of increase in infrastructure products and construction of high-rise housing projects, the government has decided to implement standards in the sector. — Reuters/File
As the demand for steel bars grows in the wake of increase in infrastructure products and construction of high-rise housing projects, the government has decided to implement standards in the sector. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: As the demand for steel bars grows in the wake of increase in infrastructure products and construction of high-rise housing projects, the government has decided to implement standards in the sector.

The Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) has called a meeting of all stakeholders and experts after Eid holidays to establish steel standards and its implementation across the country.

“Last year, around seven million tonnes of steel bars were produced in the country and the average growth in this sector is more than eight per cent, but that is taking a toll on the quality,” said Shaban Khalid, former president Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and Director Ittehad Steel Industries.

The initial paper prepared by PSQCA shows that only 10-15pc steel mills out of around 800 in the country were following the quality standards in producing steel bars used for the construction sector.

“The business of steel bars is growing but the challenge faced by construction sector is ensuring quality and this becomes serious especially while executing the government sector infrastructure project such as bridges,” said Senator Ahmed Khan, chairman Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production.

He added that the quality of raw material was one of the key impediments in construction of high rise buildings in the country.

“We have serious housing and office space shortage, the construction industry is vibrant but ensuring quality standards of certain raw material including steel is essential,” he stressed.

The PSQCA has formed a committee in this regard to revise steel bar standards for ensuring its quality. It will also suggest the enforcement procedure to this end.

“However it is important to maintain a balance between manufacturing of quality steel bars and reasonable prices,” the PSQCA official said, adding that there has been a complaint that a ban should be imposed on the usage of Grade 40 steel for areas falling in seismic zones.

There are two main steel bars grades in the country — 40 and 60.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2019