The plan of launching Vande Bharat sleeper coaches has hit a roadblock as the Russian and Indian consortium partners that won the Rs 40,000-crore supply and maintenance contract are caught in an ownership dispute, The Economic Times (ET) reports.
A senior official of Russia's locomotive manufacturer, TMH Group, told ET that its partner, Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd is pushing for a higher stake in the joint venture (JV) and to resolve the situation, the group has reached out to senior government officials with their concerns. The official cited by ET said that this is against the "irrevocable and binding agreement" reached by the two parties.
Earlier, the TMH-RVNL consortium successfully secured the winning bid to supply 120 of the planned 200 Vande Bharat sleeper trains.
So far, Indian Railways has not signed the supply contract with the consortium. People aware of the developments said that the ongoing tussle has delayed the signing of the contract.
As per the agreement reached earlier, Metrowagonmash (MWM), a subsidiary of the TMH Group, held a 70 per cent stake in the JV, and RVNL, on the other hand, had a 25 per cent stake. Russian train control systems operator LES held the remaining 5 per cent stake, the report said.
Citing TMH's head of business development in India, Sergey Medvedev, the ET report said that RVNL now wants a 69 per cent stake in the JV which is a departure from the original deal between the two parties.
"TMH has extensive experience in manufacturing rolling stock and executing projects as large as the Vande Bharat. We are best placed to lead the joint venture," Medvedev told ET.