America’s General Electric (GE) and France’s Alstom have signed joint venture (JV) agreements with the Indian Railways to set up high horse power diesel and electric engines at Bihar’s Marhowra and Madhepura at a combined cost of Rs.40,000 crore.

"High-tech diesel locomotives will roll out from Marhowra factory and hi-tech electric locomotives from Madhepura factory," an official statement after the agreements were signed by top officials in presence of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, central ministers from Bihar and other dignitaries, on Monday.

GE Transport India managing director Nalin Jain and Railway Board director (mechanical works) Jayant Kumar signed for Marhowra plant, while Alstom Transport India managing director Bharat Salhotra and Railway Board executive director (electrical development) Sudheer Kumar signed for Madhepura plant.

GE Transport chief executive Jamie Miller and Alstom chief executive Henri Poupart-Lafrage were also present on the occasion.

Marhowra is about 80km from Patna, while Madehpura is 290 km from the state’s capital.

As per the deal, Marhowra plant will make 4,500HP (horse power) and 6,000HP diesel engines, which in combination can operate as 9,000HP and 12,000HP units, while Madhepura will produce 12,000HP electric locomotives.

"About 1,000 diesel locos will be manufacture in 11 years at a cost of Rs.14,656 crore and 800 electric locos in 11 years at Rs.19,904 crore. Taking into account cost of setting up plants and maintenance facilities, the twin projects together will cost Rs.40,000 crore," the statement said.

The high horse power electric and diesel engines will be used for heavy haul freight operations in the dedicated freight corridors.

Early this month, the railways awarded letters of acceptance for both the plants as part of the government’s ‘Make in India’ programme to indigenise production of modern transportation solutions and create thousands of jobs.