New Delhi: After a long delay, the Ministry of Railways has finally fast-tracked the process for setting up an electric locomotive plant at Madhepura in Bihar.
The state-run transporter has received bids from six global infrastructure firms – Siemens, Alstom, Bombardier, GE, CSR Corporation and CNR Corporation from China – for the Rs 1,293 crore project. The factory will manufacture around 800 electric engines of 12,000 horsepower (HP) over 10 years.
An official said the railways is expected to announce the names of shortlisted companies for the project within a fortnight.
The fresh request for qualification (RFQ) for the projects was issued in May after it was cleared by the Cabinet. Officials are expecting that the projects will be awarded by January, the deadline set by the PMO.
The project, part of the prime minister’s ambitious One Lakh crore investment target in the current fiscal, is being monitored by the top UPA leadership.
Fast-tracking the project is seen as a desperate move by the cash-strapped railways to send a positive signal to private investors and an attempt at image correction after bad publicity in the “cash-for-promotion” scam.
The project was announced in 2006-07 during the tenure of Lalu Prasad as railway minister along with the proposal to set up a Rs.1,300 crore diesel locomotive factory at Marhowra. The projects were to be set up in partnership with private players, with the railways holding 26% stake in each.
The projects failed to take off as allegations of favouritism towards certain private players cropped up. Other contentious issues between railways and private players were technology transfer, assured buying of locomotives and duration of maintenance of locos by the companies.