Indian Railway: Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has now made a big announcement. The Railway Minister has said that the Railways has floated a tender for setting up a wheel factory where at least 80,000 wheels will be manufactured annually.
Also, a blueprint has been prepared to become an exporter of rail wheels. Vaishnav said that the Railways had invited private companies to set up rail wheel plants for the first time. Wheels for high-speed trains and passenger coaches will be made in this ‘Make in India’ plant. An assured purchase of Rs 600 crore for the 80,000 wheels manufactured here annually will be made.
He said that this is the first time the Railways has floated a tender inviting the private sector to manufacture wheels. Indian Railways needs two lakh wheels every year. According to this plan, while the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) will manufacture one lakh wheels, the remaining one lakh wheels will be made in this new ‘Make in India’ plant.
Export of wheels
Vaishnav said this tender would be given because the rail wheels made in this plant will also be exported and shipped to the European market. A provision has also been made in the tender that the plant will be installed within 18 months.
The railways import wheels from Ukraine, Germany and the Czech Republic. But the purchase of wheels has been stalled due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and the railways have been forced to look for alternatives.
The Railway Minister said, “Today, this tender has been floated. We have been importing wheels from European countries since 1960. Now we have decided to manufacture and export them.”
He said that this decision had been taken after a thorough technical analysis and discussion on points like the availability of raw materials required for this in the country. Railway officials estimated that domestic manufacturing of rail wheels is expected to save the railways a lot as it has to pay Rs 70,000 to import a wheel.
High-capacity rails will be made.
Vaishnav said that India had imported high-capacity rails (rails) for the corridor and bullet trains made for freight, but now an agreement will be made to make them in the country itself.
He said, “Under this Make in India agreement, high capacity rails will be made within the country.” In May, the Railways had awarded a contract of Rs 170 crore to a Chinese company to supply 39,000 wheels for Vande Bharat trains.