The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has announced that it was cancelling the bidding process for procurement of 10 Monorail trains, in which two Chinese companies had emerged as the contenders.The MMRDA has said it would instead look at Indian technology partners for development and long-term support. It has also decided to initiate dialogue with Indian manufactures like BHEL and BEML.
The Mumbai Monorail operates on a 19.54-km stretch between Chembur, Wadala and Jacob Circle. It had initially begun operations on a 8-km stretch in 2013 and started commercial operations on the entire stretch only on March 4 last year.
Since the beginning, the project — worth Rs 2,700 crore — has been plagued with problems and not been able to garner the desired ridership. The MMRDA had taken over control of the Monorail in 2018 from the Malaysia-based SCOMI Engineering, which had executed the project and was operating it, over its failure to meet contractual obligations. Since then, MMRDA has been pursuing international companies for procurement of 10 new rakes in a bid to run the service efficiently. It was was hoping that 3.6 crore people would use the service every year. However, the ridership that it actually managed to attain was only 41 lakh on the complete stretch.
Before the lockdown, only five Monorails trains plied at one go.
In order to increase the frequency, the agency was planning to procure 10 trains, for which MMRDA had floated a global tender. It had received two bids, both from Chinese manufactures – CRRC Corporation and BYD.
A statement by MMRDA late Thursday said: “In the current economic situation due to Covid-19 and in line with the various policies announced by GoI (Government of India) to encourage the Make in India schemes, it has been decided to look for Indian Technology partner for development and long term support.”
It added that it has decided to cancel the current tender and start the retendering process immediately. Also, to enable participation of Indian companies, the eligibility criteria would be revised, giving chance to manufacturing facilities working in India for the last 10 years on similar projects.
The release said the two Chinese companies had been asking for revisions in terms. “MMRDA does not want again to create a SCOMI-like situation when it has to depend on foreign manufacturers even for spare parts of Monorail coaches. In the situation that the two Chinese companies are dictating us to change tender conditions, MMRDA administration has decided to search for technology partners in India. As we do not require large quantities, it is possible for Indian companies to manufacture and supply in lesser time,” MMRDA Commissioner R A Rajeev said.
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