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BW Businessworld

Alstom To Hire 1,000 Engineers For India Expansion

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French engineering major Alstom plans to hire 200-250 engineers annually in India over the next 3-4 years as it looks to double business to 800 million euro (about Rs 5,700 crore) in the country.
 
"We love doing business in India. We are finding good business environment in India. We are looking at doubling the order book in the next three to four years. Currently, we have an order book of Euro 400 million," Alstom (Transport) President Henri Poupart-Lafarge told reporters in Milan.
 
Speaking highly about the Modi government's "Make In India" initiative and the thrust on industrial corridors and smart cities, he said, business environment in the country has improved in the last one year.
 
Alstom, he said, is looking at increasing the skilled workforce in India to strengthen manufacturing and R&D capabilities and also to introduce the latest signalling systems for the metro rail projects.
 
The Indian arm of Alstom, he added, would be hiring about 200-250 engineers every year for the next three to four years depending on the growth in business.
 
The French company has about 800 engineers on its rolls presently in India.
 
Bids For Projects
Poupart-Lafarge said Alstom will bid for projects in the urban transport sector which is expected to witness rapid growth with more and more cities demanding metros services.
 
"There will be more demand for metros in different cities and also for expansion of the existing ones," he said, adding that the scope of work would increase substantially with the government developing smart cities.
 
"We are very much interested in smart cities...though there is no definition of smart cities as such, it does mean better life for people to work and live," he added.
 
On whether Alstom was worried about delay in passage of the land acquisition bill, Poupart-Lafarge said: "These are sensitive issues and every nation faces such problems. It is not something peculiar to India."
 
According to Jojo Alexander, Vice President-Business Development, Alstom Transport (Asia-Pacific Region), the company is keen to participate in the Dedicated Freight Corridor project, the largest railway infrastructure project currently in the country creating a freight quadrilateral across India.
 
"We have recently bid for the electrification an signalling package of the Khurja-Bhaupur (343 km) section of the Eastern Corridor and are optimistically awaiting the result. However, we cannot say much until the contract is formally awarded," he said.
 
As regards the main challenge faced by MNCs like Alstom in the metro business in India, Alexander said, is the lack of standardisation across metro projects.
 
"Presently the metro system in each city has its own specifications calling for unique solutions. The execution of metro projects could be faster and more cost-efficient if there are uniform standards. The efforts of the Ministry of Urban Development in this direction are welcome" he added.
 
India, he said, should also be looking at implementing modern light rail systems such as an elevated tramway as another mode of public transport.
 
"Light Rail will suit smaller towns and cities where the roads are narrower and passenger volumes are lower. They can also act as feeder networks for metros in large cities," he added.
 
Alstom is currently associated with metro rail projects in Delhi, Kochi, Jaipur, Chennai and Bangaluru. For Indian Railways, Alstom has provided the initial coaches and the technology for the LHB (lightweight all-metal) coaches used on Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.
 
(PTI)