With the Modi government enlisting the support of Beijing for the modernisation of the Indian Railways, China is set to supply 14 subway trains with 112 carriages to Kolkata city, which also marks the biggest rail & locomotive contract for a Chinese company in South Asia.
China Railway Rolling Stock Corp Ltd (CRRC), China’s well-known locomotive and rolling stock manufacturing company, will provide 14 subway trains with 112 carriages in total to Kolkata. So far, the company has exported its services to 80 countries and regions.
Metro services in Kolkata began in 1984, and since then the old trains have been running on its south-north subway line, covering a total length of 23.45 km in order to ease the transportation pressure in India’s third largest city.
The value of the order has not been mentioned yet. However, the announcement came ahead of the visit of a high-level delegation from West Bengal to Beijing to highlight investment opportunities in the state. During the visit, the two sides are likely to discuss the pricing for the project.
In the past, the chief ministers of several Indian states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, have visited China to woo Chinese investors in their respective states.
The two neighbouring countries launched India-China Forum for State and Provincial Leaders during India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China last month. The forum aims to facilitate direct interaction between Indian states and Chinese provinces.
The Modi government has proactively sought the support of a host of countries, including China, Japan, France and Germany, for refurbishing and modernisation of the country’s railway infrastructure.
Currently, China is conducting a feasibility test for the over 2,000-km New Delhi-Chennai high speed line, while Japan is conducting a similar study for Mumbai-Ahmedabad rail route.
The two countries have sealed pacts in a number of areas, including upgrading the tracks (Chennai-Mysore via Bangalore), the training of 100 railway personnel in heavy haulage, the setting up a railway university and the modernisation of railway stations in Bangalore and Bhubaneswar.
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