The Indian Stainless Steel Development Association (ISSDA) has reiterated the importance of using stainless steel for social infrastructure, like bridges, railway lines, etc, to minimise loss of life and money. Collapse in railway infrastructure is leading to significant disruptions and economic losses. For instance, the pedestrian bridge collapse at Mumbai's Andheri station (barely nine months after the railway bridge stampede causing 23 deaths at Elphinstone Road in the city) could have been avoided by adopting stainless steel for creating such long-term social infrastructure, especially foot-over bridges and over-bridges.
"Considering that 50 per cent of the Indian Railways' bridges out of 120,000 across India are over 100-years-old, it is the need of the hour to deploy the best suited material - stainless steel - to reduce casualties to a great extent. Moreover, stainless steel has twice the life-cycle compared to carbon steel,ö said KK Pahuja, President, ISSDA. Overall costing for the life-cycle of stainless steel is also significantly lower.
In India, a substantial amount of downtime and cost is incurred on account of carrying out maintenance activities on old bridges.
Not only does it cause inconvenience to users, it also results in significant outflow of money on account of repair, maintenance and labour-related expenses.
Further, India has a large coastline, and structures in coastal cities are suffering owing to corrosion, resulting not only in losses owing to frequent maintenance and replacements but disruption in daily public life. Stainless steel in structural elements is critical in coastal areas like Mumbai that are prone to high corrosion.
Today, stainless steel structurals, such as angles, sections, nuts and bolts, anchors and reinforcement bars, are easily available, perfectly suited to applications requiring long life in corrosive environments.
What's more, stainless steel is known for its inherent strength, resistance against fractures and weldability. It also reduces the weight of a structure tremendously, thereby reducing the cost of the substructure and foundations and overall life-cycle costs.
Its introduction in Indian railways will be a good decision for the upgradation of the present technology of design, fabrication and maintenance of steel bridges. Besides, stainless steel is completely recyclable and, therefore, environment-friendly.