BHEL approach Railway Board for being kept out of Rs.1500 crore Railways’ Tender!

In a letter to Railway Board, the public sector company has alleged that three private companies were being favoured after a change in qualifying criteria.

NEW DELHI: Public sector Maharatna, Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd. (BHEL), which has been supplying equipment to the Indian Railways for a long time and has been eyeing a big role in the national transporter’s plan to electrify 24,000 kilometres of rail tracks, has complained to the Rail Board that it has been kept out of a tender for supplying propulsion systems for 141 electric trains in favour of three private companies.

Flagging the change in the eligibility criteria regarding a Rs 1,200-1,500 crore tender floated by Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, BHEL’s chairman and managing director Atul Sobti has written to Rail Board chief Ashwani Lohani. In the letter, according to a report in The Economic Times, Sobti said: “I have been told that three parties may be eligible for the bulk tender, whereas BHEL, the only public sector company, is being eliminated. If conditions are not changed, BHEL will not only be denied a fair opportunity to submit its competitive bid but the reduced competition may also preclude the discovery of the most economic price for Indian Railways.

The tender opened on November 15. Fearing cost escalation due to lack of competition, Sobti said in the earlier tender, “the qualifying criteria was the the participant should have supplied on AC rake (on train set), which has now been increased to ten”, the  report said.

Apparently, an NSE-listed private sector company, Titagarh Wagons, which has factories in India, Italy and France, is also a bidder and has also sought more time for the bids to be “more competitive”, the report said, adding that another private manufacturer, who did not wish to be identified, has also alleged that the “tender conditions favour only one company”, but did not name it.

In January this year, Mint reported that after the then Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu announced plans to save Rs 41,000 crore over 10 years ( by reducing dependence on imported fuel and rationalising energy costs) by electrifying 24,000 km of rail tracks over the next five years, Sobti had written a letter to Lohani, seeking that BHEl be entrusted with electrifying 1,000 km tracks initially.