Traders’ body urges Centre to scrap Chinese JV bid for Vande Bharat trains
The traders body has written to union 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.Updated: Jul 11, 2020 17:48 IST
Apex traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has 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 union 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.
“We appreciate several steps taken by the Union Government and your Ministry as well to block Chinese Companies for their participation in Railways, Highways and other infrastructure related projects. As a part of our “boycott Chinese campaign” which began on June 10, 2020, under our mission statement Bhartiya Saamaan-Hamara Abhimaan, we request you to please not allow Chinese state owned CRRC Corporation to participate in global tenders for semi-high speed indigenous Train 18 project of Indian Railways. The total worth of the project is more than Rs 1500 crore for 44 Vande Bharat Express Trains,” CAIT said in its letter, a copy of which has been reviewed by Hindustan Times.
The JV was established jointly by China-based CRRC Yongji Electric Co. Ltd and Gurugram-based Pioneer Fil-med Private Limited in 2015.
The other five bidders include: state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Bharat Industries, Sangrur, Electrowaves Electronics (P) Ltd, MEDHA Servo Drives Private Limited, and Powernetics Equipment India Private Limited.
Indian railways’ Integral Coach Factory, Chennai had floated a tender for manufacturing 44 rakes or train sets of semi-high speed Vande Bharat trains on July 10.
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 apps, mostly having Chinese links.
Railways has also scrapped a tender for thermal cameras meant for ‘Covid-19 surveillance’ after Indian firms alleged that the tender specifications favoured a Chinese company, Hindustan Times reported on July 1.
The traders’ body had last month also requested the commerce minister to make it mandatory for e-commerce companies in India such as Amazon, Flipkart to mentions the country of origin with each product sold on their platforms.
“We further wish to state that this initiative of the Government is a part of ‘Make in India’ call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and as such considering the above fact and the current critical period, it will be most appropriate not to consider the said Chinese Company and rather emphasis should be laid more on Indian Companies who have been shortlisted for this project,” the letter added.
The ambitious ‘Make in India’ project involves manufacturing of for 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 the New Delhi -Varanasi route on February 15, 2019. The second such train set service between New Delhi and Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Katra was flagged off by home minister Amit Shah on October 3, 2019.
The Railway ministry on Wednesday 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, railway board chairman VK 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.”