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Railways to focus on increasing coach manufacturing capacity

New Delhi, Feb 24 (Calcutta Tube) Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday announced a slew of new projects, some in partnership with the private sector, to bolster the country’s coach manufacturing capacity and produce more wagons to ferry passengers and goods.

‘With the upsurge in the economy, there has been an unprecedented growth of passenger traffic during the last five years resulting in increased requirement of passenger coaches,’ Banerjee said, presenting the rail budget for the next fiscal 2010-11.

‘While other goods and commodities are readily available in the market, coaches and wagons are not available off the shelf. Our manufacturing capacity is less and we have to plan years in advance,’ added Banerjee.

Rai Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, Kancharapara in West Bengal and Palakkad in Kerala would see new coach factories being set up, while a diesel engine factory in collaboration with the private sector will come up in Sankrail in West Bengal.

Banjerjee’s home state, West Bengal, may also see another coach factory in Singur. Incidentally, her party the Trinamool Congress had virtually ousted Tata from Singur, where it had acquired land to build a factory for manufacturing the Rs.1 lakh car — Tata Nano.

Mamta had spearheaded the campaign alleging that the corporate major had grabbed land in collusion with the government.

The Railway Minister said she had received a request from the West Bengal government to set up a factory in Singur.

‘We have conveyed our willingness, provided the state government hands over the requisite land to the ministry of railways after returning 400 acres of land to the unwilling farmers,’ said Banerjee.

Among other wagon manufacturing and servicing facilities are:

– A wagon repair shop will be set up at Badnera in Maharashtra

– A rail axle factory will be set up at New Jalpaiguri

– Five state-of-the-art wagon factories at Sikandrabad (Uttar Pradesh), Bardhaman (West Bengal), Bhubaneshwar or Kalahandi (Orissa), Guwahati (Assam) and Haldia (West Bengal).

– Manufacturing of refrigerated containers for carrying agricultural produce

– A mid-life rehabilitation workshop of old coaches at Anara (West Bengal)

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