Thursday, April 26, 2018

ABHISHEK LAW THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE

Andreas Becker, Vice-President, German Railway Industry Association - Debasish Bhaduri

Delegation explores opportunities for partnership

KOLKATA, APRIL 25

German companies are keen to invest in Indian railways projects and see a good opportunity in the sector for the next decade or two. India is poised to be one of the largest markets for German companies operating in the railway industry.

So far, China and to a certain extent Russia are the other major markets for the European nation.

According to Andreas Becker, Vice-President, German Railway Industry Association, it has become “easier to work” with the Indian railways under the present political regime and there has also been a visible change in the functioning of the department.

More flexible

For instance, the administration appears to be “more flexible now” and “everything is prepared”. Moreover, there is an open policy in the Railways which means all communications come down right at the vendor level, as against the earlier practice where exact requirements were neither specified nor communications clear.

“If you ask me, India will continue to be one of our (Gerrmany’s) biggest markets over the next 10-20 years. Of course, compared to earlier years it has become much easier to work with the Railways with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and his ministers being very engaged,” he told BusinessLine on the sidelines of an event organised by the Indo German Chamber of Commerce and the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany.

A 26-member Railway delegation from Germany is currently in India to explore investment opportunities in the country.

The delegation comprises companies working in areas relating to manufacture of vehicles, control and safety technologies, infrastructure as well as suppliers and service providers.

According to members, investments by German companies could include setting up of manufacturing facilities in India, technology tie-ups with Indian companies and other forms of partnerships. High speed rail, track overhauling and maintenance and signalling systems continue to be areas of interest.

Feasibility studies

Known for its expertise in the high-speed rail sector, Germany is conducting a feasibility study for running trains at a speed of about 300 kmph on the 450-km-long Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysuru route. Germany has appointed a consortium of consultants to carry out the study. The European nation is also bearing the cost of the year-long study that involves exact location, number of riders, opportunities and challenges among other issues.

Also on cards is the probability of carrying out another feasibility study for high speed trains (of 200 kmph) along the Chennai–Kazipet route. The study is yet to start.

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