In­dia gets 1st diesel loco from GE, work on Bi­har fac­tory on track

Financial Chronicle - - PLAN, POLICY -

The first diesel-elec­tric lo­co­mo­tive built by US con­glom­er­ate Gen­eral Elec­tric as part of a $ 2.5 bil­lion deal to sup­ply 1,000 such en­gines to the Rail­ways has ar­rived in In­dia.

The project, a joint ven­ture be­tween the Indian Rail­ways and GE to sup­ply and main­tain mod­ern diesel elec­tric lo­co­mo­tives of 4,500 HP and 6,000 HP to the public trans­porter, was an­nounced in Novem­ber 2015.

GE said the work on a diesel lo­co­mo­tive fac­tory in Bi­har's Marhowrah is on track, days after rail­way min­is­ter Piyush Goyal ruled out any changes in the deal.

But with gov­ern­ment's thrust on elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of tracks to com­bat pol­lu­tion, there was a buzz, and some me­dia re­ports that it could exit the con­tract.

"The first of 1,000 diese­l­elec­tric evo­lu­tion se­ries lo­co­mo­tives has al­ready ar­rived at In­dia's Mun­dra Port," Vishal Wan­choo, pres­i­dent and CEO GE South Asia, told PTI on the side­lines of the In­ter­na­tional Rail Con­fer­ence and the 12th edi­tion of the In­ter­na­tional Rail Equip­ment Ex­hi­bi­tion (IREE) here on Thurs­day.

"The work in our diesel fac­tory in Bi­har is on track and as the min­is­ter has said there are no changes in the con­tract," he said, adding GE was ac­tu­ally ahead of sched­ule.

The plan is to de­liver 100 lo­co­mo­tives per year on an av­er­age. The first fis­cal year will be lit­tle bit more. We plan to de­liver the 1,000 lo­co­mo­tives to the Indian Rail­ways over 11 years, he said. "Our part­ner­ship with the Indian Rail­ways is a best-in- class bi­lat­eral ex­am­ple of how en­ti­ties can work to­gether to cre­ate jobs and drive eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in a re­gion," said Wan­choo. "Through this project, we're creat­ing a ro­bust sup­ply chain ecosys­tem in In­dia, and will lo­calise more than 70 per cent of all con­tent. We're proud of the more than 6,000 jobs that have been cre­ated by GE in Bi­har and Ut­tar Pradesh and re­main com­mit­ted to our work in the coun­try," he said. Goyal had last month said there would be no changes in the Marhowrah fac­tory set up. But, the rail­way min­is­ter had also said he had dis­cus­sions with top ex­ec­u­tives of GE to ex­plore how the ob­jec­tives of re­duc­ing pol­lu­tion, bring­ing down over­all cost and hon­our­ing agree­ments with the global con­glom­er­ate be met.

Wan­choo said GE has no plans to man­u­fac­ture elec­tric lo­co­mo­tives at the Marhowrah fac­tory. "GE bid for diesel lo­co­mo­tives and our Bi­har plant can man­u­fac­ture only diesel lo­co­mo­tives. Two con­tracts were floated and we bid for the diesel plant. How­ever, we sup­port the gov­ern­ment's elec­tri­fi­ca­tion process. In every coun­try that we op­er­ate, we sup­ply these lo­co­mo­tives. Most coun­tries wherein we op­er­ate have an elec­tri­fi­ca­tion pro­gram, which makes a lot of sense, but the diesel lo­co­mo­tives also co-ex­ist for var­i­ous rea­sons as they are ef­fi­cient and af­ford­able," Wan­choo said.

Project is a joint ven­ture be­tween the Indian Rail­ways and GE to sup­ply diesel elec­tric lo­co­mo­tives

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