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Slag evacuation at RSP gains pace with CEO’s intervention

 Slag evacuation, which used to be a tardy process, has been expedited by Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) following the intervention of its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ashwini Kumar.

Evacuation of slag regularly is of prime importance for the smooth functioning of the blast furnaces, since the available storage space for Slag is limited. Non-evacuation of slag even for a few days would result in a critical situation where the BFs might have to stop production. Hence for sale of slag, stress is laid more on the continuity of dispatches.  Availability of rakes for slag is erratic as it is not a priority item for Railways. However, the CEO personally has taken up the matter with senior officials of railways and in all likelihood will improve the situation of rake availability. Dispatch by road has to be continued, even though the customer base for this is limited. However, continuous efforts are being made to improve the dispatches by Rail and the new conveyor system is a step forward in this direction, said a release.

The new blast furnace-V of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) that was established as part of the modernisation and expansion drive was put on trial in the year 2013.  The level of slag generation has been going up quite substantially since the years 2013-14 when all the blast furnaces were operational.  In the project stage for BF-V, provisions were envisaged for a conveyor system for dumping of slag for loading by rail by laying new Rail lines. These facilities could not be completed when BF-V was commissioned.  In order to evacuate slag by rail, one of the existing rail-lines which was at a distance of about 150 meters from BF-V, was utilized temporarily for loading of slag by rail to cater to the customers who had booked orders.

This was done through a contract which was awarded for shifting of slag manually from the generation point to this rail-track for loading into wagons. Thus loading of one rake of slag would take 3-4 days time thus limiting the number of rakes loaded per month. However, major quantity of slag was still being despatched by road.  The generation of slag had increased substantially by 2014, but the despatches were not commensurate resulting in a huge stock accumulation reaching a level of 5.00 lakh tonne. Slag had to be dumped at available spaces at various locations in the plant by incurring additional cost towards loading, transportation and unloading of lag.  The nature of slag is such that it solidifies with time and becomes rock hard and it has to be dozed before it can be loaded, which again added to the cost.

Then in 2015 the dispatch of slag had picked up and the situation eased out. Due to continuous lifting in the areas near BF-V, by October 2015 all the big heaps which were covering the iron structures of the conveyor belt were completely cleared. But the structures were partially damaged and the conveyor system could not be operated. Once the area was cleared, work for laying the rail-line was completed.  However, shifting and loading of material had to be continued manually till the conveyor system was repaired. Damaged structures are still visible at many places which are still being repaired at considerable cost and risk to the equipment.

The job of reviving the conveyor system and clearing the bunkers could be completed by end of April 2017 and the rail-loading through conveyor became operational since May 2017. The performance of the new Rail-loading infrastructure is under observation. Execution of the job was a bit difficult as it was to be done with BF-V in full operation. However, personal intervention and focussed approach of CEO helped in the execution of the project.


Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.


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