Bihar’s economy is likely to get a boost with the railways awarding contracts to foreign companies for the two proposed locomotive manufacturing factories, diesel and electric, at Marhaura (Saran) and Madhepura respectively in the state. These two factories, which figure prominently under the PM Narendra Modi’ ‘Make in India’ initiative, are on the list of his top priorities.
According to Railway Board chairman A K Mittal, the railways has awarded contracts to a French company Alston for manufacturing electric locomotives at Madhepura at an estimated cost of Rs 1,296 crore. The proposed diesel manufacturing factory at Marhaura has been awarded to US-based GE Transportation at a cost of Rs 2,200 crore. The railways is likely to sign agreements with these two companies soon.
Sources said the factories would manufacture electric locomotives (12,000 HP) and diesel locomotives (6,000 HP and 4,500 HP) to cater to the needs of Indian Railway. The railways had set up a high-level committee to finalise the modalities to establish these two factories in Bihar. The committee placed these two projects before the Union cabinet for its final approval recently, the sources said.
The Indian Railway would need about 1,800 electric locomotives to run passenger and goods trains every year across the country. Besides, the railways would require more locomotives (diesel and electric) on completion of the dedicated freight corridor.
There are currently two locomotive factories – one in Varanasi (diesel) and the other in Chittaranjan (electric). Steps have also been taken to augment the electric loco production capacity of the Chittaranjan factory from 200 to 250 locomotives per year.
The focus will now be on acquiring land for the factories at Marhaura and Madhepura with the state government’s cooperation. The railways would develop these places by building colonies, hospitals, schools and proper infrastructure for their all-round development, Mittal said, adding Bihar would benefit immensely as several ancillary factories would come up in the vicinity to support these two majors.