Bihar got two major foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in railways on 9 November, 2015. US based GE got the contract for setting up a Rs 14,656 crore diesel locomotive factory at Marhowra, 81 km north of state capital Patna. French transport giant Alstom got the electric locomotive project, worth Rs 20,000 crore in Madhepura, about 280 km northeast of Patna.

With the government allowing 100 per cent FDI in the railways, the railways projects is likely to get a major boost with the setting up of these two joint venture projects. The railway minister, Sursh Prabhu had asked the Board to speed the two major FDI projects.

Apart from GE, three other companies — including US based Electro-Motive Diesel and two Chinese firms—were in the race for the Marhowra project. The Chinese firms were disqualified by the railway ministry and the request for proposal (RFP) was issued to the two shortlisted bidders on 11 March 2015. The final bid was opened on 1 September 2015.

GE will also maintain the locomotives for 13 years, after which the Indian Railways will take over. The locomotives will also support the upcoming dedicated freight corridors on the Delhi- Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata routes.

Alstom will supply 800 locomotives over 10 years. Apart from manufacturing 80 locomotives a year, the company will maintain them for 12 years. The government had shortlisted three global companies — Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens.

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