Town planning authority MMRDA has scrapped the bidding process for sourcing 10 rakes for the Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur monorail project wherein two Chinese firms had expressed their interest to supply the rakes, saying the companies were "dictating" terms.
The decision has come at a time when the clamour for boycott of Chinese products growing louder, following China's attack on the Indian soldiers at Galwan Valley in Ladakh which left 20 Indian Army personnel dead and many others severely injured.
According to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the decision to scrap the tender process was taken as the Chinese firms were "dictating" the authority to change its terms.
"In the situation that the two Chinese companies are dictating us to change tender conditions, MMRDA administration has decided to search for technology partners in India and develop it in India. As we do not require large quantities, it is possible for Indian companies to manufacture and supply in less time," metropolitan commissioner R A Rajeev said in a statement.
The MMRDA had invited global tenders last year and it had received bids from China's CRRC Corporation and BYD to supply 10 rakes.
According to the MMRDA, these Chinese firms were continuously asking for revisions in terms and conditions and eligibility criteria, even after uploading of common set of deviations (CSDs).
The MMRDA also noted that due to the current economic situation that has arisen due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in line with the various polices announced by the government to encourage the Make in India schemes, it has been decided to look for Indian technology partner for development and long term support.
"Considering this, it has been decided to cancel the present tender and start re-tendering process immediately; with revised eligibility criteria such as manufacturing facilities established in India for last 10 years on similar projects to enable participation of Indian companies," the authority said.
The MMRDA has decided to initiate dialogues with Indian manufactures like BHEL and BEML, among others for procurement of the rakes.
In March last year, the MMRDA commissioned the operations of the second phase of the 19.54 km monorail project after it took over operations and maintenance of the monorail from Scomi Engineering in December 2018, after the latter failed to supply the contracted rakes and other operational materials, including the signalling equipment and maintaining the quality of monorail services despite many extensions.
The MMRDA had also terminated its contract with the LTSE consortium (Larsen & Toubro and Scomi Engineering), which had the contract to build the country's first and only monorail in the megapolis.
"MMRDA does not want again to create a Scomi like situation when it has to depend upon foreign manufacturers even for spare parts of mono rail coaches," Rajeev added.
The L&T-Scomi consortium had won the Rs 2,460-crore contract in 2009 to build and operate the 19.5-km monorail network on the Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle corridor connecting the eastern periphery of the island city to the central parts.
The 8.9-km-long first phase of the monorail from Chembur to Wadala was opened to the public in February 2014, almost four years after the original deadline, while the second phase from Jacob Circle to Wadala was opened in March last year.