PSU ready to supply 'advanced' rakes to other Kolkata metros Times of India, 14 February 2020
KOLKATA: BEML Ltd is prepared to replace all Metro rakes that are of inferior quality with advanced ones, DK Hota, chairman and managing director of the Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) assured railway minister Piyush Goyal in Kolkata on Thursday. BEML Ltd has already supplied 11 state-of-the-art rakes for the East-West Metro in the city, Phase-I of which was commissioned during the day. Metro Railway that is operating the East-West Corridor apart from the north-south one will be needing several rakes for ongoing projects in the city. "I spoke to the railway minister after he said that the BEML rakes are world class. He also complained of poor quality Metro rakes from abroad and a state-run factory in India. I told him that we are ready to replace all such rakes with modern ones. We are ready to sit together and fix a favourable price," Hota said. BEML, which has a large market share of Metro coaches in the country, is expecting more orders from Delhi and Mumbai. When asked whether BEML will be ready to supply coaches to the Metro Railway for other projects in Kolkata, Hota said: "Why not? There is a process. We are not saying that you give us any order on a nomination basis. But, at least don't give it to the Chinese." Metro has already placed orders for 14 rakes with Dalian in China. The first prototype is already in Kolkata and undergoing trials. Certain modifications to the rake will be required and a team of Chinese technicians is camping in the city for this. Only after the prototype is cleared for commercial services will a green signal be given for supply of the remaining 13 that will also require modifications. The Metro also operates rakes supplied by Integral Coach Factory, Perambur. The first of these rakes could be pressed into service only after trials and modifications that lasted over a year-and-a-half. In comparison, the BEML rakes for the East-West Corridor worked fine even though they use the advanced Cab Based Train Control (CBTC) system, something that the north-south corridor doesn't have. At present, BEML has the capacity to manufacture an advanced Metro coach every day. Very soon, non-Metro passengers may also get to travel on BEML trains operated by the company. BEML is planning to be a part of the railways' plan to operate 150 private trains. "We shall bid for the project. We are already into the business of rolling stock. We are the best people to operate it also. We shall tie up with a professional company and work out a pricing. All a private operator has to pay is Rs 697 per km. In return we can charge any price. If my train is good, the experience is good, people will come and use my coach. So I will have to sell a service, not a coach. It requires a different kind of experience. We shall recruit fresh, young people. Manufacturing will be different from this," Hota added. Download The Times of India News App for Latest City News.