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Business News/ News / India/  Titagarh Rail JV plans 1,200-cr wheel plant
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Titagarh Rail JV plans ₹1,200-cr wheel plant

India currently imports train wheels mainly from China, and the new venture is expected to make the country a net exporter of wheels

The government decided to invite tenders to manufacture 80,000 wheels in the country every year over the next 20 years (HT)Premium
The government decided to invite tenders to manufacture 80,000 wheels in the country every year over the next 20 years (HT)

New Delhi: Titagarh Rail Systems Ltd and Ramkrishna Forgings Ltd plan to jointly set up one of Asia’s largest train wheel manufacturing plants in India, a top executive at the private sector wagon-maker said. India currently imports train wheels mainly from China, and the new venture is expected to make the country a net exporter of wheels, he added.

“The total investment in this project will be about 1,000-1,200 crore. We will set up the plant with a capacity to manufacture 200,000 wheels per annum, out of which 80,000 will be supplied to the Indian Railways under a contract. And the balance of 120,000 will be for our requirements," Umesh Chowdhary, vice-chairman and managing director of Titagarh Rail Systems, said.

It also plans to export the wheels to several countries, including Europe.

“Of the projected total investment in the venture, the equity part will be 50% each for both firms, which is around 100-150 crore each. The rest will be funded through debt by a special purpose vehicle," he said.

Chowdhary said the project will make India self-reliant in rail wheel manufacturing.

“We import wheels from various countries, including China. With this plant, India will become a net exporter of wheels. One reason the industry did not invest in wheel manufacturing was the lack of guarantee on demand for wheels," he said.

Last year, wheels meant for the Vande Bharat Express were held up in war-torn Ukraine and had to be flown in to meet production requirements last June.

Following this, the government decided to invite tenders to manufacture 80,000 wheels in the country every year over the next 20 years.

A project like this would not be viable unless the main customer, Indian Railways, was interested, Chowdhary said, adding now its viability is not in doubt. “Once this project is commissioned in three years, we will be taking over the entire import of wheels, which is primarily happening from China," he said.

A committed order from the Railways of 80,000 wheels per annum will take the company very close to breaking even, he added.

Chowdhary explained to Mint that one of the main reasons companies in India were not entering into producing wheels was because there was no guarantee of market for these wheels in India. With a long-term commitment, Indian railways have solved that issue, which is a big positive.

Titagarh Rail Systems and BHEL Ltd have signed a contract to supply 80 Vande Bharat trains to Indian Railways and also maintain them over a period of 35 years starting in 2025.

Chowdhary added that the company will start supplying these wagons to Indian Railways starting June 2025 and will supply all 80 trains by 2029.

He added that it is a 24,000 crore contract—of the total, 10,000 crore will be for supplying these trains, which will be the first sleeper Vande Bharat trains, and the rest will be for maintenance over 35 years.

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Published: 16 Jun 2023, 11:01 PM IST
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