The Indian Railways cancelled the tender for 44 Vande Bharat semi-high speed trainsets on Friday after some of the bidding companies indicated the price they were willing to offer, a detail that was not required as the process is still in the qualification stage.
The Railways had cancelled the tender on Friday about eight months after inviting it, stating that a fresh tender would be issued in accordance with the government’s revised public procurement policy that intends to give a push to the Make in India campaign. It said it will call for new tenders in about a week.
Three companies that wanted to participate in the tender had indicated their price. One of them was CRRC Pioneer Electric (India) Pvt Ltd — a joint venture with China’s CRRC, source said, according to The Indian Express. The company had, in fact, quoted the lowest price of the three, they said.
The tender was invited by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, under the two-packet system. It involves two phases — the first phase is to ensure if the bidding companies have the technical capabilities to take part in a project; the second phase involves calling for the financial offer only from companies shortlisted after the first stage.
The bidders had given financial details that were not needed at the qualifications stage — the first stage under the two-packet system — of the tender process, Railway Board chairman VK Yadav said. The tender was cancelled to ensure “highest standard of transparency”, he said.
Besides CRRC Pioneer Electric (India), there were five other bidders — Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, Bharat Industries, Sangrur, Electrowaves Electronics Pvt Ltd, Medha Servo Drives Pvt Ltd, and Powernetics Equipment India Pvt Ltd, the Railway Ministry said.
Yadav said the new tender, to be again called by ICF, Chennai, will ensure that the Make in India component is more than 50% in manufacturing the trainsets.
The cancellation of the tender and inviting a fresh one would delay the project by about three months, Yadav said.
The Vande Bharat trains, designed by ICF, Chennai, will likely start operating in 2022, Railway officials said. During test runs, it had hit speeds of up to 160 km/h, faster than a Shatabdi Express. The train, also known as Train 18, was first launched on February 15, 2019. Currently, the Indian Railways operates two Vande Bharat train services between New Delhi and Varanasi.