RailTel, a Railway PSU had floated the tender last month for AI-based surveillance cameras that measure body temperatures of individuals and even detects whether a person is wearing a mask or not.
This tender was scrapped two weeks back after receiving feedback from vendors that specifications mentioned for the procurement of the equipment may have favoured a Chinese company.
Indian vendors, in letters to RailTel, raised concerns that the specifications mentioned in the tender favoured Chinese company Hikvision, one of the world’s largest video surveillance companies which currently dominates India’s CCTV market.
They said the technology — DeepInMind — which is part of the specification for the cameras and mentioned in the tender document, is a proprietary feature of Hikvision.
The new tender has done away with this technology as a requirement, but retained other significant specification of the blackbody temperature — the ability of the cameras to accurately measure temperatures emitted by a person to say whether a person has fever or not.
Additionally it has asked vendors to name the origin country of all equipment that they supply.
“Bidder shall mention country of manufacturing against each item in SOR (schedule of requirement). In case country of manufacturing is not mentioned by the bidder, RailTel Reserves the right to reject his offer. Moreover, GoI’s Present as well as Future Guideline regarding foreign country material will be applicable,” the new tender documents said.
The PSU has also also listed features of the cameras to include software with simultaneous temperature screening for multiple persons with alarm(indoor), contact-free mask detection, alarms on people without masks, identity verification and stranger alarm, that is confirming identity, even with mask.
Over the last few weeks, the Railways has had to deal with issues related to involvement of Chinese firms in tenders floated by the national transporter which comes after a violent face-off between India and China in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh last month.
Following a standoff with the neighbouring country, the national transporter had cancelled a Rs 471-crore signalling and telecommunication work for a stretch of 417-km on the Kanpur-Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) section by a Chinese company.
A Chinese JV has also emerged as one of the bidders for a tender floated for manufacturing 44 Train 18 sets.