By Arun Kumar Das
New Delhi, March 19 - Five leading global loco makers have joined the bidding in Indian Railways Rs 5,000 crore tender for the manufacture of 200 high horse power electric locomotives to be pressed into service for heavy haulage in the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor.
Railways require 200 electric locos with 9,000 horse power (HP) each to haul double-stack containers in the upcoming 1,534 km long Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) from Dadri to Mumbai, passing through Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
According to the tender conditions, the selected manufacturer will make 190 locos at the Indian Railways' Chittaranjan Locomotive Works facility in Asansol, with transfer of technology provision and import of only 10 engines. The company will also set up a maintenance depot at Rewari.
Showing interest in the project, five international players -- Siemens, Bombardier, Alstom, BHEL-EMD and Toshiba-CRRC -- have submitted applications on March 15, the last date for submission of pre-qualification bids.
"These companies will submit their price bid by the end of April and the awarding the contract is expected by December this year," said a senior Railway Ministry official.
The Railways had floated the global tender for high power locomotives after revising the loan conditions with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as the Western DFC is fully funded by Japan.
Procurement of locos for Western DFC had to be from Japanese companies, as per the earlier agreement and, accordingly, the Railways had floated the tender two years back inviting Japanese companies for the project.
However, the bidding process got stuck on the pricing front as the Japanese companies quoted Rs 50 crore per locomotive which was considered too high and the Railways sought reduction by almost half.
While the Japanese consortium did not agree to reduce the price as desired by Railways, a fresh global tender was floated after renegotiating and suitably revising the loan conditions.
With five global players in the fray, the Railways is expecting to get a competitive price this time.
The 3,373 km long DFC, a flagship project of the Railways, aims to augment rail transport capacity to meet the growing requirement of movement of goods by segregating freight from passenger traffic.
The Western DFC (1,534 km) will be from Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai to Tughlakabad and Dadri near Delhi, and would cater largely to the container transport requirements between the existing and emerging ports in Maharashtra and Gujarat and the northern hinterland.
The Eastern DFC (1,839 km) will be from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni near Kolkata -- to be extended in future to serve the new deep sea port proposed in the Kolkata area, and will largely serve coal and steel traffic.