Arunendra Kumar
The Union Railway Ministry has recently fast tracked the twin loco projects being set up in Madhepura and Marhowra area of Bihar on the PPP module involving an investment of Rs. 2,500 crore. The ministry is all set to announce the names of shortlisted companies very shortly as the projects in question have been delayed but the contracts are being awarded as per the pre-decided deadline, Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar, said explaining that the projects are being monitored by the Prime Minister's Office and the deadline set for awarding of contracts is by the end of this fiscal. The short listing for the electric loco factory in Madhepura and diesel locomotive factory in Marhowra have been delayed as it had to verify the claims of applicant companies with the countries where they have been operating as the board had to check with around 34 countries where these companies have supplied locomotives and this process takes a lot of time.

He said adding that the criteria for qualification for the projects include the condition that the companies applying should have supplied locomotives to at least three countries or more. For Rs 1,300-crore Madhepura project, six companies - GE, Siemens, Alstom, Bombardier and two Chinese companies, CSR Corp and CNR Corp – have applied and for the Rs 1,200-crore Marhowra project, GE, EMD, CSR corp and CNR corp are in the fray. The Fresh Request for Qualifications (RFQs) for the projects was issued in May after a Cabinet nod. The two projects were announced in 2006 by the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. These were to be set up in partnership with private players with the railways holding 26% stake in each. The tendering process for the same was initiated in August 2008 but was scrapped later after lukewarm response to the request for proposal (RFP).