French firm wins $3-bn contract to modernise Indian Railways

NEW DELHI: French engineering firm Alstom has won a contract worth $3 billion to modernise India’s vast colonial-era train network, the government said on Tuesday, a day after another mega agreement was announced.
Alstom will supply 800 electric locomotives and build a factory in the eastern state of Bihar as part of a contract expected to be signed in a month, a senior railways ministry official told AFP on Tuesday.
Late Monday, the government said it had awarded a $2.6-billion contract to General Electric to develop and supply Indian Railways with 1,000 diesel locomotives over a period of 11 years.
“GE will manufacture 1,000 diesel locomotives while Alstom has been picked for 800 electric locomotives meant mainly for heavy haulage,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The Press Trust of India news agency said the Alstom deal was worth 200 billion rupees ($3 billion).
A statement on the government website said the Alstom and GE deals signified “a giant leap forward in ‘Make in India’ drive”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship manufacturing initiative.
The vast but crumbling railway network has received special attention under Modi’s government, with railways minister Suresh Prabhu pledging to spend around $137 billion to modernise it over the next five years.
As a part of this effort, the government last year also allowed 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the railway sector.
The locomotives under the new deals will be highly fuel efficient “which will bring savings in fuel costs on Indian Railways”, the government statement said.
“These locomotives will be equipped with latest technology like electronic fuel injection system, motor driven blowers and compressors…. (and) noise control to the latest standards,” it said.

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