Rlys issues fresh tender for thermal cameras after row over specs favouring Chinese firm
Indian railways’ telecom arm RailTel has issued a fresh tender for thermal CCTV cameras meant for ‘Covid surveillance’ changing the specifications following allegations by Indian firms that the earlier tender favoured one Chinese company.
It has also made it mandatory for firms to list the country of manufacturing of the equipment.
Railways had scrapped the tender for thermal cameras meant for ‘Covid surveillance’ after Indian firms alleged that artificial intelligence technology - DeepInMind - which is specified in the tender is a proprietary feature of Chinese firm Hikvision, a company partly owned by the Chinese government, Hindustan Times reported on July 1.
In a letter written to RailTel, one of the vendors had said the pre-qualification criteria laid down for the OEM and bidder had some anomalies and ambiguities.
Under the specifications mentioned in the tender for temperature screening with facial recognition and mask detection, RailTel mentioned “Special interface in DeepinMind NVR.”
According to Hikvision’s technology, Network Video Recorder (NVR) has a “mind” of its own and can analyse and classify human and vehicle targets from video streams.
The fresh tender issued on Monday has removed this technical specification as a requirement and has asked vendors to name the country manufacturing the equipment that they supply.
“Bidder shall mention country of manufacturing against each item in SOR (schedule of requirement). In case country of manufacturing is not mentioned by the bidder, RailTel Reserves the right to reject his offer. Moreover, GoI’s Present as well as Future Guideline regarding foreign country material will be applicable,” the new tender document said.
The PSU has retained one significant specification of the blackbody temperature -- the ability of the cameras to accurately measure temperatures emitted by a person to say whether a person has fever or not.
It has also listed features of the cameras to include software with simultaneous temperature screening for multiple persons with alarm (indoor), contact-free mask detection, alarms on people without masks, identity verification and stranger alarm, that is confirming identity, even with a mask.
This comes at a time when India and China are involved in a tense border stand-off along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. A brutal brawl in Galwan Valley on June 15 led to 20 Indian and an unspecified number of Chinese soldiers being killed.
India has also decided to ban 59 mobile phone apps, mostly having Chinese links.
The apex traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) last week also objected to the bid placed by a Chinese joint venture company for a global tender by the railways for manufacturing Vande Bharat trains. The traders body has written to railway minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday urging him to not allow the bid placed by the Chinese joint venture company CRRC Pioneer Electric (India) Private Limited which is one of the six bidders for the project.