China-India joint venture only foreign bidder for Vande Bharat train sets
A Chinese company in a joint venture with an Indian firm is the only foreign bidder for the global tender floated for manufacturing 44 rakes (train sets) of Vande Bharat trains.
China-based CRRC Yongji Electric Co. Ltd. and Gurugram-based Pioneer Fil-med Private Limited formed a joint venture in 2015. Their joint venture is called CRRC Pioneer Electric (India) Private Limited.
The railways’ Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, had floated a tender for manufacturing 44 rakes of semi-high speed Vande Bharat trains on July 10.
“We have got bids from six players for the train set tender,” Vinod Kumar Yadav, chairman, Railway Board, said on Friday.
The other five bidders include: state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Bharat Industries, Sangrur, Electrowaves Electronics (P) Ltd, MEDHA Servo Drives Private Limited, Powernetics Equipment India Private Limited, according to the railway ministry.
This comes at a time when India and China are carrying out disengagement of troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, where 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent face-off with the Chinese troops on June 15. Just recently, India also banned 59 China-linked apps, including the wildly popular TokTok.
The railways has also scrapped a tender for thermal cameras meant for ‘Covid surveillance’ after Indian firms alleged that the tender specifications favoured a Chinese company, Hindustan Times reported on July 1. The government company has decided to issue a fresh tender after the controversy.
The ambitious ‘Make in India’ project involves manufacturing of 44 train sets of 16 coaches each of Vande Bharat Trains.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had flagged off the maiden run of the Vande Bharat train on New Delhi-Varanasi route on February 15, 2019. The second such train set between New Delhi and Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Katra was flagged off by home minister Amit Shah on October 3 last year.
The Railway ministry last week also began the formal process to allow a private company to run trains on 109 routes -- a process that aims to, for the first time, open up one of the government’s most prominent enterprises that has in recent decades been outpaced by the demands of a rapidly growing economy.
On whether Chinese firms will be allowed to bid for the private trains, Yadav had last week said, “As far as the question on Chinese companies arises, there are guidelines under the Make in India Policy by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and we will follow them.”