Sunday, August 7, 2022

Railways invites fresh tenders for 44 ‘Made-in-India’ train sets for Vande Bharat

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New Delhi: After cancelling the tender for the manufacturing of 44 semi-high-speed train sets for Vande Bharat last week, the Ministry of Railways has floated fresh tenders for the same on August 23. The old tender floated by the Indian Railways’ Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, on December 22 had to be cancelled after a Chinese joint venture company turned out to be the only foreign bidder for the global tender floated for the manufacturing of the 44 rakes. In the aftermath of the clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in the North-East, the government had issued a new public procurement policy. It had declared its intent to ban Chinese imports and increase policy thrust on Make in India.   

In a statement, Railway Board's Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav was quoted as saying, "While evaluating the technical bids of the tenders, the tender committee had noticed that some of the details of the financial offers had been revealed in the first packet, which was not acceptable. The new guidelines of public procurement will be strictly followed and will prefer the 'Make in India' initiative. To maintain the complete transparency, the committee has recommended to cancel the tender and invite fresh tenders." He said that the new tender included provisions for the local component of more than 50 percent, in line with the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative.

The tender has been invited in two parts: technical bids and financial bids. Technical bids will be opened first and evaluated, after which the financial bids would open, in which only those bidders who qualify the technical bids will participate.

The backdrop

In December 2019, the Indian Railways had planned to complete the production of 44 new rakes by India's 75th Independence Day. All the coaches of Vande Bharat Express have a stainless steel car body equipped with automatic doors with sliding footsteps, on-board computers for train control and remote monitoring. The coaches also have a GPS-based audio-visual passenger information system, onboard hotspot WiFi and comfortable seating arrangements.

Vande Bharat Express

Vande Bharat Express, also known as Train 18, is an Indian semi-high speed intercity electric multiple units. It was designed and built by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) at Perambur, Chennai, under the Indian government's Make in India initiative over a span of 18 months. The unit cost of the first rake was given as Rs 1 billion (US $14 million), and it is expected to go down with subsequent production. At the original price, it is estimated to be 40 percent cheaper than a similar train imported from Europe. The service was named 'Vande Bharat Express' on January 27, 2019. As of August 2020, the Indian Railways operates two Vande Bharat trains.

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