BHEL to foray into metro rail coaches development business

State-run BHEL will foray into development of metro rail coaches and is also exploring the possibility of manufacturing lithium-ion batteries in India along with four foreign firms, Union Minister Anant Geete said today.

Addressing a press conference here, the minister said the second phase of the FAME India scheme will be rolled out post September when the pilot phase ends. He said a provision of around Rs 9,300 crore has been proposed as budget for implementation of FAME II, including Rs 1,000 crore for charging infrastructure.

He said a collaboration model is being discussed between BHEL and four foreign firms entailing a joint venture or a consortium, whereby 20 perper cent equity will be owned by BHEL and 80 percent will be theirs.

He shared that BHEL has earned a profit of over Rs 1,500 crore and has secured work orders worth Rs 1.18 lakh crore. The minister said that as there is less scope now in the thermal power sector, efforts were being made for BHEL’s entry into the development of coaches.

The construction of metro has gathered pace in several cities across the country and BHEL is entering this sector. We have also directed BHEL to make efforts towards manufacturing lithium ion batteries in India, Geete said.

According to him, FAME II to be rolled out after September this year will primarily focus on utilising electric vehicles for public transport in cities.

Replying to a query, the minister said the Delhi government did not participate in the tendering process for allotment of electric buses under FAME I, after the Centre floated an Expression of Interest inviting proposals in this regard. He said Mumbai is being given 80 electric buses under FAME I.

The department of heavy industries had in December last year sanctioned Rs 440 crore to 11 states for procurement of electric buses, electric taxis and e-autos as a pilot project under FAME India scheme for public transportation.

We are making efforts towards production of lithium ion batteries in India. At present we are importing them from China which has a monopoly over it, we only assemble the batteries here. The discussions are in primary stage, Geete said.

According to him, the innovators of lithium ion batteries are interested in making the batteries in India.

Besides, the minister said the surplus land of sick PSUs under closure is not being sold and a decision on whether to utilise this land for Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is yet to be taken.

Under FAME India scheme, 22 Original Equipment Manufacturers with 80 models are registered for availing demand incentive. Till 31 March 2018, the government has given financial support (demand incentive) to about 1,86,431 electric/hybrid vehicles amounting to Rs 256.93 crore.

The minister informed that the department has sanctioned nearly 500 electric buses across nine major cities with an expected cash outgo of approx. Rs 280 crore, which will be a game changer in the public transport sector.