Reported on: June 23, 2012 10:01 AM
Reported in: National
Chandigarh, June 23 (UNB) – India’s biggest rail coach manufacturing unit, the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala, along with diesel locomotives-manufacturing units in Patiala and Varanasi, are making air-conditioned coaches and locomotives for Bangladesh and Pakistan.
India manufactures around 250 such locomotives at its two workshops at Patiala and Varanasi, both of which are likely to send their locos on lease to Pakistan, reports The Times of India.
Railways Infrastructure Technical and Economic Services (RITES) has already signed a deal with Bangladesh for supplying 16 broad gauge locomotives and is in negotiations with Pakistan railways advisory consultancy services for sending 50 locos.
A deal by RITES was inked with the Bangladesh Railway on June 10 to supply 16 broad gauge locomotives at a cost of Bangladesh Taka 6.09 billion or Rs 413 crore. Earlier, in April, Pakistan had placed a request to hire 50 diesel locomotives from India. India will start exporting the rakes to Bangladesh after 18 months, starting with two each month.
"It's a first-of-its-kind deal of railways with Bangladesh. We are first supplying them locos and coaches will roll out soon," said V K Jain, executive director, RITES.
Bangladesh railway secretary Fazle Kabir told TOI over phone from Dhaka that the "deal with India was a breakthrough for a country whose rail network together holds the key to future developments of industrial towns".
"We are trying to upgrade the network and transform the Bangladesh Railway just like India," said Kabir.
In the first week of July, a clutch of Bangladesh railway officials will be visiting RCF Kapurthala to place order for the broad gauge coaches.
"It's a privilege to make these rakes for our neighbour. Bangladesh had been scouting for an agency for both metre gauges and broad gauges. The first proposal from Bangladesh was to supply them metre gauges. However, we told them we have stopped metre gauge production for a small requirement," RCF chairman B N Rajasekhar told TOI.
RCF which has a strong tradition of innovating and manufacturing range of products will be producing a host of AC buffet cars, AC power cars, chair cars. As recent as April this year, it had prepared 16 metre gauge coaches of Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) for Senegal.
RITES had received a request from the Pakistan Railways for supply of diesel locomotives from India.
"A formal agreement will be signed between RITES and Pakistan Railways Advisory and Consultancy Services Limited (PRACS) after the finalization of modalities with the Union ministry of external affairs," sources in RITES confirmed.
The plan mooted by the Indian Railways, ministry of external affairs and RITES is to lease 50 such locomotives of 3,000 Horse Power (HP) each at a rate of Rs 1,500 per hour per to Pakistan.
The move was apparently prompted after Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari requested for locomotives during his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.
Soon after, a delegation of Pakistani officials held talks with the RITES.
"The request from Pakistan came after the locos provided by China failed to fit Pakistani broad gauge tracks. Chinamakes standard gauge tracks," said a senior official with the Railway Board.