After 22 months of launching Vande Bharat Express for Katra, Indian Railways has awarded the prestigious contract for manufacturing of 44 more such trains at an estimated cost of Rs 2,211 crore.
In what could be described as a major push to the 'Make in India' initiative, the Hyderabad-based Medha Servo Drives bagged the contract for making 44 Vande Bharat trains with 16 coaches each.
It is a good project and we would try to expedite it, said the Railway Board Chairman Suneet Sharma.
The first Vande Bharat train was launched between Delhi and Varanasi in February 2019 and the second was flagged off in October 2019 on Delhi-Katra route.
While Medha was involved in manufacturing both the trains at ICF Chennai, now these 44 Vande Bharat rakes would be made at three production units of railways — 24 rakes at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, 10 rakes at Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala and remaining 10 rakes at Modern Coach Factory in Raebareli, as per the contract.
The contract includes designing and manufacturing propulsion, control and other equipment required for making 44 rakes of Vande Bharat train sets.
Though three tenders were earlier floated for procurement of these train sets, all of them got cancelled due to technical reasons.
For the current bid, the specifications were revised after multiple deliberations with industry. For the first time, the tender required a minimum of 75 per cent local content requirement of the total value of the tender, which is expected to give a boost to 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' mission.
"Indian Railways has awarded the work of design and manufacturing of propulsion, control & other equipment for making 44 rakes (16 cars each) of 'Vande Bharat' type train sets," the Ministry of Railways tweeted.
The first two prototype rakes will be delivered in 20 months. Thereafter, on successful commissioning, the firm will be delivering an average of six rakes per quarter.
The procurement includes five years of a comprehensive annual maintenance contract with the supplier.
Earlier in August, the Railways had cancelled the tender for the manufacturing of the 44 rakes of Train 18, which has been re-christened as Vande Bharat Express.
The scrapped tender had allowed indigenous content of 50 per cent.
In this tender, three bidders participated and the lowest offer was from indigenous manufacturer Medha Servo Drives Ltd. who successfully met the minimum local content of 75 per cent of the total value.
Vande Bharat coaches would be equipped with modern facilities like automatic doors, coach display, luggage rack, LED, mobile charging point and CCTV.
The train will be fully air-conditioned with automatic plug doors with retractable footsteps and automatic intercommunication doors.
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