The Indian Railways has decided to terminate its contract with Beijing National Railway Research and Design Institute of Signal and Communication Group, a Chinese firm that was to carry out work on the 417-km long Kanpur-Deen Dayal Upadhyay section, News18 reported on Thursday. The cost of the contract was Rs 471 crore, and it was granted to the company in June 2016.
The development comes in the aftermath of a violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control in Galwan Valley in Ladakh, which has caused major tension between the two countries. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the confrontation on Monday. The number of Chinese soldiers who died is not known.
Railway officials said the contract was terminated because of the poor performance of the company, the Hindustan Times reported. They said that only 20% of the work had been completed despite the passage of four years. The Chinese company was reluctant to furnish technical documents required as per the agreement. The firm was also unable to provide adequate engineers and other authorised personnel at the site.
The Beijing-based firm had also not done the material procurement properly. “There have been meetings at every level, but no improvement in progress,” an unidentified Railways official said.
Protests against the Chinese actions broke out all over the country on Wednesday and continued into Thursday. There have been calls for a ban on manufacturing and selling Chinese products.
Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale on Thursday called for a ban on restaurants in India selling Chinese food. Athawale also urged people to boycott Chinese products.
On Wednesday, the Confederation of All India Traders released a list of more than 500 Chinese products to be boycotted. Products on the boycott list include fast-moving consumer goods, consumer durables, toys, furnishing fabrics, textiles, builder hardware, footwear, apparel and kitchen items. The group also asked celebrities not to endorse Chinese products.
The Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday said that China’s claim over the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh was “exaggerated and untenable” and contrary to the agreement between New Delhi and Beijing to responsibly resolve tensions. Earlier that day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that said that the sacrifice of Indian soldiers killed in a “violent face-off” with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Ladakh would not go in vain. He said India wants peace but is capable of giving a befitting reply if provoked.