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International firms vie for India's Metro, monorail pie

world Updated: Sep 24, 2012 23:25 IST
Darpan Singh

With the government emphasising the need to take Metro and monorail networks to areas that have not had improvement in transport infrastructure in Delhi and other cities, global rail car manufacturers have begun vying to grab a slice of the lucrative pie.

After losing the Chennai Metro order out to French multinational conglomerate Alstom, Bombardier Transportation - supplier of cars for Delhi Metro rail Coporation's (DMRC) Phase II - says it will bid for every Metro and monorail project planned in India.

"India is a prime example of a country which needs monorail. We're offering Bombardier Innovia Monorail 300 system for India's monorail projects planned in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai (as feeder lines), and Kozhikode and Thiruvanthpuram (as main line)," said the firm's chief operating officer André Navarri.

The Canadian company, which has its headquarters in Berlin, took part along with several other rail equipment manufacturing companies in InnoTrans-2012 - the world's leading business meet for transport technology.

The September 18-21 meet held in Berlin highlighted the fact that light infrastructure required for monorail reduces execution time and budget.

The Centre has asked the Delhi government to plan and propose 14 monorail corridors.

The Centre will also support Metro rail projects in 19 cities with population of over two million.

"We will also bid for Kochi Metro. Our plant in Gujarat has the capacity to make cars for these projects. We are also interested in high-speed train projects in Kerala and one from Pune to Ahmedabad," said Bombardier's India director Harsh Dhingra.

The first wave of rolling stock for Delhi Metro was manufactured by ROTEM in South Korea and Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) in India.

In 2007, Bombardier got a contract to supply 340 cars. Between 2008 and 2010, DMRC sought an additional 84 and 114 cars.

In 2011, another 76 cars were ordered, bringing the total number of Metro cars ordered from Bombardier to 614.

"For Delhi Metro's Phase III, 486 cars are required. Eight companies, including us, have submitted tenders. The contract would be awarded soon," said Bombardier's managing director Benoit Cattin-Martel.

(The writer attended InnoTrans-2012 on the invitation of Bombardier Transportation)