In a major shift from the past, Indian Railways plans to bid out large tenders as high as 1,500km under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model for railway electrification, to achieve its target of full electrification by 2021.
The move will bring electrification costs substantially down for the national carrier, which at present pays around Rs1-2 crore per km for electrification. “We plan to make large packages ranging from 400km to 1,500km under EPC contracts. The deal will bring good value and expedite process. Besides, from now on, all electrification contracts would be on EPC mode,” a senior railway ministry official said on condition of anonymity. He refused to share more details, adding that the bids were yet to be finalized.
The move comes a month after Mint had reported railway minister Piyush Goyal disclosing his plans to issue large tenders for electrification to save on costs and time. Goyal, who took charge as railway minister in September, had said that he was amazed to see Railways issuing tenders for electrifying distances as short as 30-40km, a rate at which it will take years for Indian Railways to complete its electrification mission.
“I have directed the electrification directorate to issue electrification tenders with minimum 500km of track length. This will ensure speedy electrification and cost reduction,” Goyal had said.