Aiming to ultimately finish India’s import-dependence for its requirement of forged wheels, the Railways has finally determined to construct a plant that can manufacture round 80,000 of the wheels utilized in high-speed trains and Linke Hoffman Busche coaches.
Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stated on Friday that the plant would be set up by a private participant under an assured off-take contract with the Railways by which Railways will purchase 80,000 wheels for Rs 600 crore per year.
As per the tender notice, the plant is to produce 6.5 lakh tonne value of wheels to the Railways for the following 20 years.
This is for the first time the Railways has floated a tender to invite private players to construct a forged wheel plant and make wheels for high-speed trains in India, Vaishnaw stated.
“We have been importing forged wheels since 1960 from European nations. Now we have decided to manufacture and also export,” he said.
Railways requires around 2 lakh forged wheels per year, a majority of which are imported. As per the plan, Steel Authority of India Limited’s Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited will present a portion of the wheels, the remaining will likely be supplied by the proposed “Make in India” plant. The Vande Bharat train units require these wheels.
Vaishnaw stated the tender shall be awarded on the condition that the plant shall be an exporter of wheels too and the market will be Europe.
At the moment, the Railways imports the majority of its wheels from nations like Ukraine, Germany and the Czech Republic. The delay in procurement because of the warfare in Ukraine has pushed the Railways to discover a solution nearer to home.
Railways pays around Rs 70,000 per wheel when it imports them and usually these wheels last for around four-five years.
“Now, we are coming up with a Make-in-India track agreement within a month, in which very high-strength tracks will also be manufactured in the country,” he said.
In May, the Railways had awarded a contract for the supply of 39,000 Vande Bharat train wheels worth Rs 170 crore to a Chinese firm as deliveries from other nations got impacted as a result of Russia-Ukraine war.