India will start laying steel cable for the first time in more than a decade from the capital New Delhi to New York and from New Delhi through the western state of Punjab to the eastern city of Lahore.
India’s steel industry has suffered from a drop in orders and a sharp rise in production due to a string of deadly fires and an uptick in domestic inflation.
India is one of the world’s largest steel producers, but it is the fourth-largest importer of the commodity.
A steel cable connecting India and New Delhi, known as the China-India Steel Corridor (CICC), will be a critical lifeline for the sector.
It is expected to cut the cost of transporting steel and help boost the global supply chain.
India will be the first country to start laying the cable.
The first phase of the project is expected in 2019, with a second phase expected by 2021.
“The first cable will connect to India at a cost of Rs 2,600 crore, with an option of Rs 3,000 crore to go up to Rs 5,000 per kilometre,” said a person familiar with the matter.
The total cost of the first phase is estimated at Rs 8,800 crore, while the second phase will be Rs 6,000 to 7,000.
India is currently constructing more than 40 kilometres of steel cable in the western city of Delhi, and has been building two other cables in the eastern state of Uttar Pradesh.
It plans to complete construction of two more cables at a total cost between $2.2 billion and $3.2 million, according to an official familiar with its plans.
India and China are the world leaders in steel, with the Chinese government building over 1,000 kilometers of the cable, which has a capacity of 800,000 tonnes per year.
China is also constructing two cables to connect the eastern and western cities of Xinjiang in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to the capital of Urumqi, and the northern city of Kunming in China’s northeast, according a statement by the ministry of industry and technology.
It has been more than two years since the fires in Xinjin, which have killed at least 2,700 people, killed more than 9,000 people and forced more than 700,000 from their homes.
The fires have been blamed on lax government regulation and an increase in demand for steel and other commodities due to global economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. over its alleged role in the attacks.
The U.N. human rights office has also been critical of India’s handling of the fires, saying that “the state’s response to the fires is in the shadow of the scale and seriousness of the situation”.