Alstom to hire up to 1,000 engineers in India in 3-4 years

French engineering major Alstom plans to boost its employee strength in India, adding up to 250 engineers annually over the next 3-4 years, in line with its soaring India business, which is expected to double to €800 million (about Rs5,700 crore).

The French company has about 800 engineers on its rolls at present in India and by 2020 the company will have nearly 2,000 engineers in India.

Alstom has high hopes on the new government's 'Make In India' initiative and the infrastructure and smart city development plans, which could bring increasing business opportunities.

"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 €400 million," Alstom (transport) president Henri Poupart-Lafarge told reporters.

He said business environment in the country has improved in the last one year and that Alstom is looking at increasing the skilled workforce in India to strengthen manufacturing and R&D capabilities.

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.

Alstom also plans to introduce the latest signalling systems for the metro rail projects.

''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.

Alstom is also keenly looking at the feasibility of participating in the Dedicated Freight Corridor project, the largest railway infrastructure project in the country creating a freight quadrilateral across India, according to Jojo Alexander, vice president-business development, Alstom Transport (Asia-Pacific Region).

''We have recently bid for the electrification and 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.

''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.