With India moving towards electrification, the Railways has started considering the possibility of exiting or packing up the Marhowra diesel locomotive factory, reported Indian Express. The likelihood of such a move was discussed during a review meeting of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal with members of the Rail Board on September, reported IE. The reason cited for such a possibility is that diesel will no longer be used by the Railways as the network is aiming towards a cheaper and cleaner source of energy. According to internal communications cited by IE, following the discussions, the Railway Board is required to move the matter on files “on top priority”. However, any move to exit or wind up the project would require a formal mandate from the Union Cabinet.
When the GE spokesperson was asked to comment on the proposal to exit the project, he said,”We are on track and actively fulfilling our contract with Indian Railways to develop and supply 1,000 fuel-efficient diesel-electric Evolution Series locomotives, bringing modern rail infrastructure and new high-skills jobs to the country. Two locomotives have been built and tested. The first locomotive has been shipped and will arrive in India on October 10 for IREE (International Railway Equipment Exhibition).” He added,”The construction of our Brilliant Factory in Marhaura, Bihar and maintenance shed in Roza, UP are well underway and expected to be completed on time. The project creates a robust supply chain ecosystem in India, constituting 60 new local suppliers and 10 global suppliers to achieve over 70% localisation. Roughly 1,000 direct and indirect roles have been hired to support these efforts in the region.”
The Railways have said that all the good and bads will be taken into account while keeping in mind the interests of all stakeholders. After all this, the final decision will be taken. The Railway Board is also working on a plan to immediately halt the rehabilitation of diesel locomotives, and ensure that no new investments are made on infrastructure to maintain stocks. As per IE sources, the decision to move from diesel to electric was taken under the Suresh Prabhu’s tenure, which was finalized earlier this year, the report added.