“India does not have enough capacity to make wheels. Axle manufacturing, on the other hand, is something India is fairly comfortable with. So, the award to a Chinese company raises some eyebrows,” a person who keeps track of the sector told Economic Times on the condition of anonymity.
The railways, it is believed, decided to source axles from outside India anticipating increased demand this year which couldn’t be met by domestic suppliers.
It is worth mentioning here that tenders for supply of axles have been awarded to domestic companies from October 2020 onwards. The domestic firms include Metal & Steel Factory (Ishapore), Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd (Hyderabad), Saurabh Metals Pvt. Ltd. (Bhopal) and Steel Authority of India Ltd.
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The last company from outside India to bag an order for supply of axles to the Indian Railways was China’s CRRC Yangtze Tongling Co. Ltd. The order was placed in May 2020 for 6,000 semi-finished Linke Hofmann Busch axles.