Tender for 44 Vande Bharat Express trains dropped: Rlys

Tender for manufacturing 44 semi-high speed Vande Bharat Express trains cancelled: Indian Railways

Credit: PTI Photo

In yet another set back to Chinese based company, Indian Railways has cancelled the tender for manufacturing 44 semi-high speed Vande Bharat Express trains, which was floated last year.

“Tender for manufacturing of 44 nos of semi high-speed train sets (Vande Bharat) has been cancelled. A fresh tender will be floated within a week as per Revised Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) order,” the Railway Ministry said in a tweet on Friday night.  Revised public procurement order give preference to domestic firms.

Last month, when the tender was opened, a Chinese joint venture firm -- CRRC Pioneer Electric (India) Private Limited -- had emerged as the only foreign player among the six contenders for the supply of electrical equipment and other items for the 44 train sets of 16 coaches each.

A joint venture was formed between the China-based CRRC Yongji Electric Company Limited and the Gurugram-based Pioneer Fil-med Private Limited in 2015.

Though the Railways did not specify the reason behind the cancellation of the tender, sources said after the Chinese joint venture firm was the frontrunner for the project, the government decided to scrap it so that only domestic entity bags the tender.

Chennai-based Indian Railway's Integral Coach Factory in December 2019 had invited global tender for procuring propulsion systems or electric traction kits for 44 trains to function as the Vande Bharat Express which is also dubbed as Train-18 project.

When bids were opened recently for Rs 1400 crore project, a total of six firms participated including Chinese and Indian joint venture CRRC Pioneer Electric Pvt Limited. The remaining five bidders were the state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, the Bharat Industries, Sangrur, the Electrowaves Electronics (P) Limited, the MEDHA Servo Drives Private Limited and the Powernetics Equipment India Private Limited, according to the Railway Ministry.

Earlier, when India and China were involved in a tense border standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, the railways had scrapped a tender for thermal cameras meant for “Covid-19 surveillance” after Indian firms alleged that the tender specifications favoured a Chinese company.

The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) too had terminated a Rs 470-crore contract with a Chinese firm at that time.

Even the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had written to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, urging him to disallow the bid for the 44 trains from the Chinese JV.

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