Chinese consortium gets Legal entry for Ahmedabad Metro Rail bid

AHMEDABAD: Urban transportation could soon see the entry of a Chinese entity, even as steel and power sectors are apprehensive of awarding projects to Chinese companies.

Railway vehicle manufacturer China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), which was disqualified by Metro-link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA), has legally fought its way back to bid for the Rs 10,733-crore Metro rail project.

MEGA had disqualified the company as it was a merger of two state-run companies — CSR Corporation Ltd and CNR Corporation Ltd. It said the Chinese company cannot qualify with the expertise of its subsidiary companies, and there has to be a joint venture or a consortium of these companies.

The matter had first reached the Gujarat high court, which upheld MEGA’s argument. But this was set aside by the Supreme Court, citing that the Chinese company was qualified to bid.

A query sent to MEGA remained unanswered.

Industry experts have, however, said the field was uneven. “Trade should operate both ways. If we cannot export to China, why should we be readily open to importing from China and that, too, when the goods are not of the best quality,” an expert said.

The import policy of China makes it hard for India to export trains, he said, but India’s policies make no such restrictions.

After disqualification of CRRC, MEGA had decided to go ahead with tenders from three companies — a consortium of Bombardier Transportation India Pvt Ltd & Bombardier Transportation GmbH; Hyundai Rotem Company and a consortium of Alstom Transport India Ltd and Alstom Transport SA.

According to sources, MEGA is now re-tendering the contract, which essentially means that the first round — filter-cum-qualification requirement bid — is over and the bids would be invited for the next round from qualified bidders.

In a nutshell
* After Metro-link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad disqualified the firm, the matter had first reached the Gujarat high court, which upheld MEGA’s argument.
* However, this was set aside by the Supreme Court, citing that the Chinese company was qualified to bid.

A Hyundai Rotem spokesperson said, “We do not know the current status.” Bombardier Transportation India and Alstom Transport India declined to comment. Sectors like steel, oil and power have in the recent past imposed guidelines giving preference to domestic companies while issuing tenders. Domestic steel firms are expected to win orders for executing pipeline projects worth Rs 3,000 crore for GAIL India.  Moreover, some reports even suggested that the power sector may bar Chinese firms from some projects over safety and security concerns.

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