No contractor found to overhaul 21 railway locomotives!

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26 May 2022, 09:05

Last modification: May 26, 2022, 11:52 a.m.

A Bangladesh Railways train heading towards Kamlapur station. Photo: Rehman Assad

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A Bangladesh Railways train heading towards Kamlapur station. Photo: Rehman Assad

Bangladesh Railway is struggling to find a contractor to repair 21 of its meter gauge locomotives, despite floating tenders three times.

Even after bidding a hefty amount, nearly half the price of a new locomotive, the railroad could not attract any contractors interested in repairing the old locomotives which were all past their economic life cycle.

At present, a 42-month project for the repair work has not yet started and only six months remain to implement it.

Now a group of railway officials want to announce that the project is finished, leaving it unfinished, while another group suggests overhauling the locomotives by Railway’s own workforce.

Stakeholders and some bidders said this is the result of the railroad’s fragmented supply system.

The contractors are not interested in this project because the spare parts and components required for the project are not available in the market.

When asked, Dhirendra Nath Mazumder, managing director of Bangladesh Railway, told The Business Standard that they plan to launch the tender once again. However, he did not explain why the contractors were not participating in the tender.

Currently, the railway has 92 active broad gauge locomotives and 171 meter gauge locomotives, of which 157 are active.

According to the mechanical data, the economic life of the 140-meter-gauge and 43-broad-gauge locomotives has already expired.

Sources said that Bangladesh Railway decided to overhaul its 21 locomotives purchased in 1995 from Garman to deal with the current locomotive engine crisis in the country.

The executive committee of the National Economic Council has adopted the project giving a timetable to complete it by the end of December 2022.

Bangladesh Railway called the first tender on November 11, 2019, when 14 tender documents were sold and only one bidder submitted documents.

However, the bidder was deemed ineligible for technical reasons.

Later, on February 2 and May 2, 2021, BR launched the same tender for the second and third time with relaxation of certain conditions. But this time, not a single bidder submitted the bid although 20 bidding documents were sold.

Faced with the dilemma, the Project Implementation Committee (PIC) on November 17, 2021, decided to announce the project completed leaving it unfinished.

However, in the project steering committee (PSC) meeting on February 2 this year, the additional general manager of Bangladesh Railway proposed to repair 3-4 locomotives every year with the railway manpower. through its revenue budget.

“It will help the railway to reduce costs and also improve the skills of the workforce,” he told the meeting.

Project manager Tabassum Binte Islam supported the ADG (rolling stock) proposal and said it would only cost Tk 3.5 crore to Tk 5 crore to repair each locomotive if done by manpower. railway work.

However, the meeting ended with two suggestions – either announce that the project was finished leaving it unfinished, or take the necessary steps to repair the locomotives with money from the railway’s revenue budget.

But Railways Director General Dhirendra Nath Mazumder opted to launch the tender once more before going either way, discussed at the meeting.

He also said that a committee has been formed to find the best outcome for the project.

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