Railways get 3 bids for plant to manufacture 80,000 wheels per year
A Railway official said the requirement of wheels is projected to increase up to 2 lakh by 2026 onwards due to induction of more high speed trains
The Railways on Wednesday said that it has received three bids from Steel Authority of India Ltd, Bharat Forge, Pune, and Ramakrishna Forgings, Kolkata to build a manufacturing facility to supply 80,000 wheels of various types per annum for the next 20 years.
The Railways had opened the tender for the same on January 24, 2023 with an aim to reduce dependency on imports and to meet the requirement from domestic sources.
“It is an important initiative in the Make in India Initiative for Import Substitution. The bidding process was very transparent and competitive,” said a statement issued by the Railways.
Among the three bids, Ramakrishna Forgings, Kolkata has emerged as the lowest bidder followed by Bharat Forge, Pune and SAIL. The successful bidder will be setting up the manufacturing facility within 36 months from award date.
Presently, SAIL is supplying at an average rate of ₹1,87,000 per tonne. Existing Domestic Capacity of SAIL is 40,000 wheels, RINL- 80,000 wheels (yet to start regular commercial production) making the total of 1,20,000 wheels.
“Requirement of wheels is projected to increase up to 2 lakh by 2026 onwards due to induction of more and more high speed trains,” said an official who did not want to be named.
Currently, due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, all the import requirement of wheels is being met from China. Indian Railways has been importing various types of forged wheels required for locomotives and coaching stock (LHB) since 1960s from the UK, Czech Republic, Brazil, Romania, Japan, China, Ukraine and Russia.
This year (2022-23), 80,000 wheels worth approximately ₹520 crore are imported from China and Russia, with remaining 40,000 being sourced from SAIL.
In September last year, Railways minister Ashwini Vaishnav said, “For the first time, the railways has aimed to become an exporter from an importer by floating a tender to manufacture wheels under ‘Make In India’.”
“We have been importing forged wheels (used for high-speed trains) since 1960 from European nations. Now, with this plant, India not only will manufacture wheels but also export them to Europe,” he added.