The ministry has clarified that for the purpose of export, these units can even make products in gauges not generally found on the Indian railway network, such as the standard gauge.
New Delhi: In a challenge that the officials are terming as steep but exciting, the railway ministry has asked all its production units (PU) to prepare a plan to market at least 10% of their products to firms or countries outside the ambit of the Indian Railways. It has asked these units to partner with agencies such as the Research Design Standards Organisation (RDSO) to develop products for export to foreign countries.
The ministry has clarified that for the purpose of export, these units can even make products in gauges not generally found on the Indian railway network, such as the standard gauge. It has also emphasised on building modern three-phase metre-gauge locomotives and diesel-electric multiple units (DEMU) as both these products have a high potential in certain foreign markets.
“The plan is to create a Rs.100 crore corpus for Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW)-Varanasi, to develop new products for export markets. Quality upgrade of products for export is the need of the hour. Third party inspection should be done to improve the standard of acceptability of PU products,” read a statement of the minutes of the Chief Mechanical Engineers Conference, held recently at Ooty in Tamil Nadu.
The task is daunting. According to a senior railway official, all production units put together earn about Rs300 crore by selling products to firms and countries apart from the Indian Railways, something the railways calls “non-fare revenue”.
Currently, one of the biggest export orders with the railways is the construction of 120 LHB coaches for Bangladesh Railways. These coaches are being built at the Rail Coach Factory (RCF)-Kapurthala in Punjab.
“The plan is to get all production units under the Indian Railways to have an export target of at least Rs500 crore. It is tough but it is time these units stepped up to the challenge. By making standard gauge products, the railways can also cater to various Indian cities where metro railway systems are coming up on standard gauge (for example Mumbai’s Versova-Ghatkopar metro),” said the official.