The Rs. 750-crore contract to supply coaches for the metro was retendered on March 10 at the insistence of the director board of Kochi Metro Rail Limited

The number of firms in the fray to supply 75 coaches for the Kochi Metro will be clear on Wednesday, when the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the consultants for the project, is scheduled to hold a pre-bid meeting in New Delhi.

The Rs 750-crore contract to supply coaches for the metro was retendered on March 10 at the insistence of the director board of Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL). This was after only a single Korean firm qualified to supply coaches for the metro. DMRC had fixed 2.90 metres as the coach width, while KMRL wanted to relax the norms, in the hope of bringing in more competition.

DMRC countered this argument saying that coaches supplied by the Korean firm are already in use in Delhi Metro and a few others. The agency also spoke of how retendering might delay Kochi Metro’s scheduled date of commissioning – June 2016, by up to a year or more.

At Wednesday’s retendering, firms interested in supplying coaches will get a chance to clear doubts, if any, about the design, manufacture, supply, testing and commissioning of coaches.

“We attach a lot of importance to coaches since their appearance, interiors, passenger capacity and maintenance costs are crucial for passenger patronage and the metro’s sustainable operation. The coach supplier who will be shortlisted within a few months, must be in a position to supply quality coaches within a specified time,” metro sources said.

A technical bid will follow and finally a financial bid, prior to zeroing in on the coach supplier.

As per DMRC’s schedule, coaches were to arrive by August 2015, so that trial runs between Aluva and Palarivattom could begin from December that year. KMRL’s decision to retender the contract created friction with DMRC.

The two agencies had differed over third traction, with KMRL opposing overhead power lines which DMRC advocated. Finally, it was decided to source power from the third rail laid alongside metro track, though passengers who might trespass into the track are at risk.

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