Mumbai’s wait for 47 AC local trains gets longer as coach factory cancels tender

ICF cancels tender over ‘technical clarifications’

mumbai Updated: Nov 29, 2018 00:16 IST
Kailash Korde
Kailash Korde
Hindustan Times
47 AC local trains,Mumbai,MUTP
The procurement was part of the third phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP-3).(Bhushan Koyande)

The city will have to wait longer to add to its sole air-conditioned (AC) suburban local train after the Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory (ICF) of the Indian Railways abruptly cancelled the tender issued to procure 47 more AC locals.

The procurement was part of the third phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP-3).

The biggest train-coach manufacturer of the country on November 23 cancelled the tendering process for AC locals, which was earlier scheduled to open on November 26.

According to the ICF, technical clarifications sought by RDSO (Research Development Standardisation Organisation) on the trains were the reason behind the cancellation.

“The tender has been cancelled as the RDSO had asked for certain technical clarifications,”said Sudhanshu Mani, general manager, ICF.

He, however, did not divulge any further details about the issue and when the new tender would be issued.

These AC locals were expected to be procured by 2020-end, but this deadline is now likely to get pushed by six months. The estimated cost was around ₹2,900 crore. The ICF issued the tender on September 27, after a green light from the railway board.

Amid opposition from Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR), the railway board had asked ICF to procure these locals, instead of the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC), a joint venture with the state government and implementing agency for MUTP-3.

“ It is cancelled but reasons are not known to MRVC,” said Sanjay Singh, MRVC spokesperson. Railway officials also suggested the real reason behind cancelling tenders lay elsewhere.

“If there were technical issues, these should have been cleared before issuing a tender. Were railway authorities really serious about the tender?,” questioned Rajeev Singhal a passenger activist.

Authorities had also planned to procure 250 more AC locals for ₹55,000 crore. Presently, Mumbai has only a single AC local that operates 12 services daily between Churchgate and Virar.

Two days after the cancellation, Mani had tweeted about the features of Mumbai’s new locals, stating they would be different from the existing locals.

First Published: Nov 29, 2018 00:16 IST