Delay in allotment of wagons by the Indian Railways last fiscal and indecisiveness in finalising design of new passenger coaches have taken a heavy toll on the operations of Titagarh Wagons.
The company is now looking at alternative areas to stay afloat, including supply of boats to the navy, building bridges for Railways and getting more orders for its French subsidiary Titagarh AFR.
Owing to a scandal and Railways’ precarious financials, the Railway Board is yet to issue tenders for last fiscal even though budget announcements for procurement for this fiscal have been made already.
“Some orders might come, but there are frequent changes in the Railway Board which impacts order release,” Titagarh’s chairman J P Chowdhury told shareholders.
“As per Railways ‘Vision 2020’, there should have been orders for 29,000 wagons in all. Titagarh, with a share of 15%, would have received orders for 3,500-4,000 wagons.
But in the last 30 months, what we have received is zero,” said the firm’s MD Umesh Chowdhury.
It has started participating in opportunities to build railway bridges “for various freight corridor projects in technical association with Kawada Industries, one of the largest bridge manufacturers in Japan. We’ve also pre-qualified in some of the tenders,” said Chowdhury.
Titagarh has also forayed into ship-building by acquiring Corporate Shipyard.
“We have some orders which are being executed. It has a dry-dock, and also the technology, licences and approvals required. We are looking at some investments but they would be made cautiously,” he said.