Electrification Of Tracks: Railways To Give Tenders As Large As 1,500 Km To Bring Down Costs

Electrification Of Tracks: Railways To Give Tenders As Large As 1,500 Km To Bring Down CostsRailway Electrification in India (DRM Guntakal/Twitter)

Shifting from earlier patterns, the Indian Railways (IR) plans to tender out large sections as high as 1,500km under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model for electrification of railway lines,in order to achieve its target of complete electrification by 2021. The move is set to reduce costs for the railways which currently shells out around Rs 1-2 crore per km to electrify tracks.

“ We plan to make large packages ranging from 400km to 1,500km under EPC contracts. The deal will bring good value and expedite process. Besides, from now on, all electrification contracts would be on EPC mode,” said a senior railway officer to Mint.

Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal had discussed the possibility of larger tenders a month ago. On taking office, he said that he was surprised that the railways was calling tenders for distances as short as 30-40 km, at which rate it would never meet its target.

I have directed the electrification directorate to issue electrification tenders with minimum 500km of track length. This will ensure speedy electrification and cost reduction.
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal

On Monday (14 November), a model EPC Agreement, model request for qualification (RFQ) and model request for proposal (RFP) were uploaded for public feedback till 16 November to take the forward electrification deals.

Indian Railways plans to electrify 24,400 km of railway tracks over a period of five years ending in 2021 at a cost of Rs 35,000 crore. Several companies including public-sector majors such as Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) are in the fray to bag contracts. Railway officials have stated that EPC contracts would be open for global players as well.

Confirming the move, an official said that the railways had electrified 40 per cent of its total track length of 66,000 km, which is way behind target and that larger contracts would get more experienced global players which would in turn speed up the work.

IR has issued only two projects under the EPC model at a cost of Rs 1,050 crore for 781 km. The contract awarded was for the Delhi Sarai Rohilla–Rewari and Alwar–Bandikui–Jaipur– Phulera–Ajmer section (353 km) for Rs 594 crore and Roha–Verna (428 km) of the Konkan Railway at for Rs 456 crore.

Since he took charge, Goyal has pushed for electrification at rapid rates and has pushed for delegation of powers to zonal officers to be able to accept tenders and award contracts.