How Chinese Firm Win Indian Railway Wheel Tender- Official



“A separate order for 8,000 forged wheels for Vande Bharat has also placed with the same Chinese firm,” said the official.


Synopsis

“While commercial operations of the plant commenced in September 2021, due to operational issues, the RINL plant is not being run as of now. Regular wheel supplies from the plant will take some time to start,” a senior government official told ET on condition of anonymity.

A disruption in the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) wheel manufacturing plant in Raebareli forced the Indian Railways to float a global tender, which was won by a Chinese company, said officials.


The forged wheel plant in Raebareli has a capacity of 100,000 wheels per annum exclusively to cater to the requirement of the railways, they said.



“While commercial operations of the plant commenced in September 2021, due to operational issues, the RINL plant is not being run as of now. Regular wheel supplies from the plant will take some time to start,” a senior government official told ET on condition of anonymity.

The Indian Railways imports about 60,000 forged wheels per annum to meet the requirement of rolling stocks, mainly for Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches. These coaches are considered safer and more comfortable than others.

“For the past two years, forged wheel supplies had been coming from Ukraine and Russia. Due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the supply chain was broken,” the official said, adding that the railways ministry was banking on RINL’s Raebareli plant to reduce the dependence on imports.


Due to uncertainties in supplies from RINL and shortage of capacity from Durgapur Steel Plant of Steel Authority of India Limited, the rail ministry awarded the Rs 170 crore contract for immediate requirement of 39,000 forged wheels for LHB coaches to Chinese firm TZ (Taizhong), Hong Kong, with Taiyuan Industries, China, as the manufacturer, according to the official.

“A separate order for 8,000 forged wheels for Vande Bharat has also been placed with the same Chinese firm,” said the official.

Vande Bharat is India’s first indigenous semi high-speed train. In the Union budget for 2022-23, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that 400 new Vande Bharat Trains will be developed and manufactured in the next three years.


The railways expects that with the commencement of regular production at the Raebareli plant, the domestic forged wheel requirement would be largely met through local production.

RINL officials said that 732 WDP4 passenger locomotive wheels have been delivered since the Raebareli plant began operations in September last year. The WDP4 is a passenger-hauling diesel-electric locomotive.

“At forged wheel plant, Raebareli, the planning and development of the new product, LHB wheel, is in progress which has been prioritised by the railways,” said an RINL official, who did not wish to be identified. “For this the continuous cast rounds of special chemistry have been produced at RINL’s Visakhapatnam Steel Plant,” said the official.


The drawings have been received from the railways’ Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) and production is planned from the fourth week of May, according to the official. The wheels will be subject to stringent tests of the RDSO and upon their clearance, production will be stepped up, else the process will be fine-tuned to meet the standards.

Source: The Economic Times

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