LAHORE: The Pakistan Railways has decided in principle to invite for the third time the tenders for procurement of 150 new locomotives.
“Since all the four bids have some deficiencies, it has been decided to re-invite the tenders afresh,” a source in the railways ministry told Dawn on Thursday.
The procurement of 150 completely built-up locomotives was planned in May 2010. However, some prospective bidders smelt a rat in the procurement process and moved the Lahore High Court.
The Supreme Court also took suo motu notice of “discriminatory clauses (included) to favour a particular locomotive manufacturer of USA”.
The railways authorities assured both the Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court that the process would be completed in a transparent manner through competitive bidding wherein all international locomotive manufacturers would be invited to make offers for supply of locomotives.
Through advertisements in the print media, railways re-invited international tenders for the supply of 75 locomotives, each of 2,000 to 2,500 horse power and 3,000 to 3,500 horse power in August, last year.
The second tender also became controversial as most of the potential bidders strongly objected to the revised specifications, alleging it was meant to favour the two US manufacturers -- General Electric (GE) and EMD.
The Pakistan Railways arranged two pre-bid conferences in an attempt to allay these concerns, but the meetings were marred by accusations of corruption with regard to the technical specifications.
The rival manufacturers from USA, China, Russia, France and other countries lodged, not only verbal but also in black and white, complaints that PR was favouring a particular company. The railways carried out various revisions in the tender documents and kept on extending the opening date.
Finally, the tenders were opened on Dec 14 last year and bids were submitted by General Electric and General Motors Electro-Motive Division of the USA, besides Dongfeng Electric Corporation with manufacturer M/s Dalian Locomotives of China and CRM Holdings Hong Kong Ltd with manufacturer M/s Qishuyan Locomotives of China.
However, after two months of deliberations the railways high-ups came to the conclusion that all the bids had some deficiencies. Consequently, it was decided in principle to consider inviting bids for the third time.