Indian Railways could drop Chinese bid for 44 Vande Bharat Trains under Rs.1500 Crore project

The CRRC, which emerged the lone contender for the bid, could get dropped in light of the diplomatic tensions between India and China.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways might not consider the bid of CRRC Corporation, the Chinese state-owned company that is the lone foreign player in the tender for the semi-high speed indigenous Train 18 project.

The CRRC has emerged as the only foreign company to bid for the global tender worth around Rs 1,500 crore for manufacturing 44 of the trains dubbed ‘Vande Bharat Express’. The bid for the tender that was floated in December last year by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, which manufactures the locomotive, opened last week.

The other contenders include Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Hyderabad-based Medha Group, Electrowaves Electronic Pvt Ltd and Mumbai-based Powernetics Equipments Pvt Ltd.

“The bid (of the CRRC) may not be considered or even be eliminated due to the Make in India and Vocal for Local policies of the government,” a highly placed source said. “Under the principle of reciprocity, India can restrict investment by foreign companies if Indian companies face restrictions in applying for contracts there,” the official said.

“Naturally, after the Indian government has said they will promote the Atmanirbhar mission, the Railways will also comply with that.”

Train 18 is the country’s first engine-less train and has been manufactured by Integral Coach Factory. At one point, it was touted as India’s fastest train when it hit speeds of over 180 kmph during a trial run. The first Train 18 was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February 2019.

However, the ambitious project has been embroiled in controversy for months now, with a turf war breaking out between the mechanical and electrical engineering departments over ownership of the train.