New Delhi: India has no plans to close down its joint venture with General Electric, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has said after the American conglomerate warned against changes to the joint venture.
"I am open to suggestions, including on the electrification of Railways. But that doesn't mean existing projects like the present General Electric project would stop,” Goyal said on Wednesday evening after meeting General Electric Vice-Chairman John Rice.
General Electric had won a $2.6 billion contract in 2015 to supply Indian Railways with 1,000 diesel locomotives. As per the deal, GE is to build a manufacturing facility in Bihar, and two maintenance sheds elsewhere in the country, to service the locomotives over 11 years.
The Economic Times had reported last week that the Railway Ministry told the company that it would not require diesel locomotives in the future and offered the American company an option to manufacture electric locomotives at its upcoming factory in Bihar.
“We have offered General Electric various options.... Even if they want to manufacture electric locos with some other company in a joint venture, they will be welcome to do so,” the Economic Times had quoted an official as saying.
In response, the GE has said that any changes to the existing deal would “undermine” the Narendra Modi government’s Make in India initiative.
Any changes to the joint venture will put future foreign investment at risk and cause the government to incur substantial costs, GE said in an emailed statement.