The Railways has floated a new “domestic” tender for manufacturing 44 semi-high speed “Vande Bharat” train sets, in which only India-registered companies can participate and the minimum local component percentage required is 75, officials said on Monday.
In August, the Railways had cancelled a global tender it had floated the month before after it emerged that among the six candidates that had submitted financial bids was CRRC Pioneer Electric, in which China’s CRRC is a joint partner.
“The revised tender is in line with the Government of India’s preference for the Make In India policy,” a Railway spokesperson said.
“The minimum local content percentage has been revised to 75%. It is the first big tender under revised DPIIT norms of Atma Nirbhar Bharat having at least 75 % domestic components. This tender is now a domestic tender. It shall be local (indigenous) tender in which a two-stage reverse auction shall take place,” the spokesperson said.
The tender is for three-phase propulsion, control and other equipment along with the bogies for the 44 train sets.
The ministry also said a pre-bid meeting for the tender will be held on September 29 and the tender will be opened on November 17.
The bid document states that the train sets shall be manufactured at Integral Coach Factory, Chennai; Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala; Modern Coach Factory, Raebareli.
The government had earlier scrapped three global tenders for the project.
The August cancellation had come in the backdrop of rising tensions between India and China. The Railways had then said a fresh bid will be put out as per the revised Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) order.
As per the CRRC Pioneer Electric’s website, it is a joint venture of CRRC Yongji Electric Co. Ltd — a core subsidiary of the state-owned China Railway Construction Corporation — and India’s Pioneer Fil-Med Pvt ltd, set up in 2015.
The other bidders for the project, estimated to cost about ₹ 1,500 crore, were Indian PSU Bharat Heavy Electricals, the Hyderabad-based Medha Group, the Himachal Pradesh-based Electrowaves Electronic Pvt Ltd, Powernetics Equipments Pvt Ltd and Bharat Industries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had flagged off the maiden run of a Vande Bharat train on the New Delhi-Varanasi route on February 15, 2019.
The second such train service between New Delhi and Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Katra was flagged off by Home Minister Amit Shah on October 3, 2019.
Officials said that going by the cost of manufacturing of the first Vande Bharat Express, or Train 18, the present tender would be worth over ₹ 1,500 crore.
Earlier, the Railways had also cancelled a ₹ 471-crore signalling contract of another Chinese firm and scrapped a tender for thermal cameras as again a Chinese firm was seen as a front-runner.