The refractory fraternity wants refractory and refractory raw materials supply chain to be brought under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), 1981 and be allowed to function uninterruptedly because these are essential inputs to keep running thermally-intensive industries like iron and steel, thermal power and petrochemical plants, cement, non-ferrous metals and glass.

The Indian Refractory Makers Association (IRMA), the apex body of refractory makers, has already represented to the Ministry of Steel, Government of India, as also to other important ministries and various industry bodies that the refractory and refractory raw materials industry should be brought under the ambit of ESMA, 1981 and is awaiting a favourable response from the concerned authorities.

Refractories are ceramic materials which provide resistance to thermal, mechanical and chemical attacks. IRMA has appealed to the government that the refractory industry’s customers in steel, thermal power, petrochemical, non-ferrous metals, glass, waste management and pulp & paper are directly responsible for supplying the primary materials used in the production of most essential items such as rapid steel-intensive constructions, hospital beds, ambulances, respirators, face masks, medicines and other medical devices as well as everyday needs like electricity and petrochemicals. “Their production processes cannot continue without refractories, even in the short term,” IRMA has stressed in a release.

Parmod Sagar, Chairman, IRMA, said, “In the context of nCOVID19, we, the refractory makers in India, are facing a unique challenge of maintaining supply lines and services to our customers, which they would like to run following all safety and health guidelines. They are fully geared up to accept the challenges and serve the country in its hour of need.”

“We must continuously produce and service refractories because they are critical components in almost all products’ supply chains. At the same time, our top priority is, and always has been, the safety and well-being of our industry employees and the communities in which they operate. Needless to mention, we are already complying with all pre-requisites that the government has put in place to ensure safety of people and prevention of further spread of the nCOVID19 infection,” Sagar further added.