India gets first diesel loco from GE; work on Bihar factory on track
NEW DELHI: 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 today.
"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-inclass 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 localize 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. NEW DELHI: The tourism ministry has registered a growth of over 18 per cent in foreign tourist arrivals in the country in September 2017 over the same period last year.
The number of foreign tourist arrivals (FTA) in India in September 2017 was 7.23 lakh as compared to 6.08 lakh in September 2016 and 5.43 lakh in September, 2015, according to a statement by the ministry.
"The growth rate in FTAS in September 2017 over September 2016 is 18.8 per cent compared to 12.1 per cent in September 2016 over September 2015," the statement said.
Most tourists came from Bangladesh (29.65 per cent) followed by the US (10.24 per cent), the UK (7.04 per cent), Sri Lanka (3.98 per cent), Australia (3.50 per cent), Malaysia (3.32 per cent) and Germany (2.57 per cent), among others.
With almost 29 per cent share of FTAS, the Delhi airport remained the busiest followed by Haridaspur Land Check Post (16.06 per cent), Mumbai Airport (13.57 per cent) and Chennai Airport (6.56 per cent). The ministry compiles monthly estimates of FTAS, including those with e-tourist visas, on the basis of their nationality and port, courtesy the data received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI).
September 2017 also saw a substantial rise in the number of tourists arriving on e-visas.
"During the month of September 2017 total of 1.18 lakh tourist arrived on e-tourist Visa as compared to 0.69 lakh during September 2016, registering a growth of 71 per cent," the statement said.
From January to September this year, 10.67 lakh tourists arrived on e-tourist Visa as compared to 6.75 lakh during the same period last year, registering a growth of 58 per cent, it said.