Ministry Of Transport To Go Ahead With Shady Deal For Railway Coaches?

Questions have been raised whether the Ministry of Transport will go ahead with a shady deal to purchase railway coaches from India, which was once sidelined after revelations by the media.

The deal was to take place under unfavorable terms without following the due tender process.

Tenders were called in May 2016 year for the purchase of 160 railway coaches from India through the Indian Line of Credit provided by the Exim Bank of India. Since it is an Indian Line of Credit, the coaches have to be bought from India. But there is no rule against competitive bidding among Indian companies.

The procurement notice was not gazetted and was not published in newspapers in Sri Lanka and in India, which kept several manufacturers in the dark.

In this event, only a supplier with ties to Indian government, the Integrated Coach Factory in India (Chennai) made a bid.

It is learned that the bid is for Sri Lankan Rs 80 million for one coach. However, the current price for one coach is around Rs 45 million.

This deal was opposed by the higher authorities in the Railways Department due to this exorbitant price, sources within the department said. Meanwhile, the matter was sidelined for the time being.

Minister of Transport Nimal Siripala de Silva recently stated during a function that the government was considering buying locomotives from Europe and also to buy 160 railway compartments (coaches). He did not specify the origin of the compartments. At the time, only the Indian Line of Credit is available for the Railways Department for such a large purchase.

If the purchase is to go forward, tenders have to called once again so that competitive bidding is allowed.

It should also be noted that the Indian Railways has decided to terminate purchases from the Intergrated Coach Factory in India (Chennai).

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