In a bid to introduce a new system that provides all bidders a level playing field and ensuring transparency, the Indian Railways has introduced new tender system for the production of third rake of Train 18 (also called the Vande Bharat Express), The Financial Express reported.
The production of the third rake of Train 18 had come to a halt at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, after allegations of favouritism in the tendering process of the first Train 18 surfaced. Consequently all existing tenders awarded for the production of the third rake of Train 18 were scrapped.
While Train 18’s first rake was manufactured in a record time of just 18 months at an estimated cost of around Rs 97 crore, the Railway Ministry received nearly 25 complaints from multinational companies and vendors that a domestic private company was allegedly favoured in the procurement process for the train set’s electrical equipment.
The tenders for production of Vande Bharat Express type of rakes, suburban trains such as Diesel Electric Multiple Units (DEMU), Electric Multiple Units (EMU) and Mainline Electric Multiple Units (MEMU) at the Modern Coach Factory (MCF) in Rae Bareli were also scrapped.
Under the new system, the production units will have to mandatorily adhere to the specification standards defined by RDSO (Research Design and Standards Organisation), which functions as a technical adviser and consultant to the railways. These specifications were said to have been violated during the manufacturing of first Train 18 set by the ICF.
In a recent meeting, the Railway Board along with top officials and leading manufacturers of propulsion systems discussed new timelines to invite wider participation, another official said.
“The Board met train set manufacturers and informed them that train sets could only be procured from them if the demand exceeds the manufacturing capacity of railways’ production units.”
The ICF has been sanctioned to manufacture 40 Vande Bharat train sets over the next 3 years – 10 in 2019-20 and 15 each in the next 2 years.
A second Train 18 set is ready and is likely to be launched next month on the Delhi-Katra route.
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