The All India Steel Bottle Association (AISBA) has urged the government to take immediate measures to check the imports of sub-standard and cheap steel vacuum flasks into India.
The imports of vacuum steel bottles from China and other countries are on the rise and the country has seen a 35 per cent increase in imports of the product from 2019-20 to 2022-23, the industry body said citing an official data.
Bharat Agarwal, Treasurer of AISBA, also suggested the government not to extend import relaxation under a BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) order which restricts quality approvals to such products beyond January 14, 2024.
As per the order, he said, "January 14 is the last date by when the products getting imported are to be approved by the BIS".
The products are not as per the BIS standards, hence the government must not extend the relaxation considering the issues faced by local manufacturers who have invested around Rs 1,500 crore in the Indian market, he said.
"We have also not been unable to utilise our 100 per cent capacity due to challenges from imports which land in India at lower than their actual manufacturing costs. We have an installed capacity of 1,90,000 pieces per day and we produce 38,000 pieces per day, which is 20 per cent of the rated capacity," Agarwal said.
The government intervention will help domestic players increase their capacity year-on-year and generate 25,000 job opportunities within 6 months, the industry body said.
At present, the industry employs around 9,500 people.
"We will also explore offshore markets like Canada, Russia which is cold, and hotter places like Brazil," he said.
Unlike the 204-grade imported steel bottles, made-in-India bottles are of BIS approved 304 grade and keep water temperature stable up to 12-18 hours, he added.