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I-Day speech: PM Modi mentions Vande Bharat Express even as Railways fine-tunes project

As the second semi-high-speed Vande Bharat train is being readied to be launched between Delhi and Katra in Jammu, the process to bring in the next batches of the Train 18 trainsets has gone through a shift.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Updated: August 16, 2019 10:36:30 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime minister narendra modi speech on Independence Day, Narendra Modi on Vande Bharat Express, Indian railways Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Red Fort in New Delhi on Thursday, August 15, 2019. (Express Photo: Neeraj Priyadarshi)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mention of the Vande Bharat Express in his Independence Day speech as a mark of people’s growing aspirations has come at a time when the Railway Ministry is fine-tuning the way forward for this prestigious project.

As the second semi-high-speed Vande Bharat train is being readied to be launched between Delhi and Katra in Jammu, the process to bring in the next batches of the Train 18 trainsets has gone through a shift.

Instead of procuring the next batch of trainsets the same way as the first two, Railway Ministry has decided to go for standardising the components that go into making the product.

The Research Design and Standard Organisation (RDSO), after meeting vendors and other industry players, is preparing standards and specifications of the subsequent trainsets to be manufactured under the Make in India programme.

The new tender for the trainsets will be floated as per these specifications.

“Once this process is complete, the tender will be floated and industry can participate as per the specifications laid out for the new trainsets,” said a senior ministry official. “Care is also being taken to make sure that the specifications do not end up favouring any one particular vendor,” he said.

In his speech, Modi said the people of India are no longer content with just a station or line.

“People’s thinking has changed. Earlier, people were happy with merely a plan to set up a railway station. Now people ask when will Vande Bharat Express come to my area. People do not want only good railway stations or bus stations, they ask when is a good airport is coming,” he said.

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