Bangalore based BEML Ltd. has emerged as the sole bidder in the fourth round of bidding for the Rolling Stock contract of Kolkata’s East-West line. The contract valued at around Rs 770 crore for 14 train-sets of 6 coaches is yet to be revalued. With a technology transfer agreement in place with South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem, BEML has in the past supplied coaches for Jaipur, Bangalore and the Delhi Metro.
As per Aniruddh Kumar, the MD of BEML’s Rail & Metro Business:
We can manufacture the required number of trains within 18 months of the work order being issued
The fact that this was the fourth time bidding took place is precisely why no other international or domestic rolling stock manufacturers took part in the bidding process. The 14.67 km East-West line from Howrah station to Sector V has been tangled in legal issues at various locations and that’s the second major reason why other rolling stock companies did not participate in the bid.
To give you a little background of the messy bidding process, the lowest bidder in the first round of bidding was Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries, however their bid was trashed due to high cost. In the second round, BEML emerged as the lowest bidder, but once again their bid was trashed due to reasons which haven’t been made public. In the third round of bidding in 2009, Spain’s Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) emerged as the winner (with the design submitted below), but they recently opted out of the project because their cost escalation claim (due to land acquisition delays) was rejected. And finally in the latest round, BEML has emerged as the sole and therefore lowest bidder.
Work is progressing at a dismal pace on each one of Kolkata’s new metro lines (See: Kolkata’s Stalled Metro Lines Move Ahead) and that has led to the deadlines being revised multiple times already. The latest deadline for the elevated section from Phoolbagan (underground) to Sector V has now been revised to December 2017. Now, whether BEML wins the contract or the KMRC decides to rebid the contract, what’s certain is that Kolkata and its citizens continue to lose out due to the incompetence of some people in handling land acquisition and other crucial issues.
For more updates on Kolkata’s Metro, check out the Kolkata section of The Metro Rail Guy!