While the rail coach factory promised by the Centre to Telangana has not seen the light of the day even after seven years, the state will soon see the inauguration of one of India’s largest private rail coach factories.
The modern rail coach factory is ready for opening at Kondakal in Rangareddy district near Hyderabad. Revealing this, state industry minister K. T. Rama Rao said Telangana will soon be manufacturing and shipping out rail coaches.
The development comes at a time when the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has been attacking the BJP-led government at the Centre for going back on the commitments made to the state including the assurance to set up a rail coach factory at Kazipet.
Under Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014 for bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh, the Centre had made various commitments to both the new state of Telangana and the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh.
Rail coach factory at Kazipet was one of the promises made to Telangana. However, there has been no progress on the front though the state government had allotted 150 acres of land for the purpose and also released Rs 40 crore towards its component for the plant.
In 2016, then union minister of state for railway Manoj Singh had said that there was no scope for setting up a rail coach factory in Telangana. However, the state kept demanding the Centre to honour its commitment.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao during his meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raised the issue and urged him to take steps for setting up a rail coach factory. The state government has been sending letters to the Centre in this regard.
Before the presentation of the union budget every year, the state government has been reminding the Centre of its commitment. This year too, the state had urged the Centre to include the proposal in the union budget 2022-23. State Planning Commission Board vice chairman B. Vinod Kumar had written a letter to the railway minister. The TRS leader said like in the last seven years, the state got nothing but disappointment.
K. T. Rama Rao’s announcement about the private rail coach factory assumes significance in this context. The minister has been stating that even without receiving any help from the Centre, the state government will carry on its development and welfare schemes.
TRS leaders say the inauguration of a private rail coach factory will demonstrate that the state can continue its march on the path of development and prosperity without any help from the Centre.
They say the Centre has shelved the rail coach factory just as it shelved the Information Technology and Investment Region (ITIR) project for Hyderabad. “Despite the Centre going back on ITIR, Telangana and Hyderabad continue to make rapid progress in the IT sector and now the state has also succeeded in building a rail coach factory though the Centre took a U-turn on the factory at Kazipet ,” a party leader said.
This development is likely to further boost the efforts of KCR to project Telangana as a role model before the country while pitching for a front of regional parties as an alternative to both BJP and Congress at the Centre.
After the presentation of the union budget in Parliament on February 1, KCR had mounted a scathing attack on the Prime Minister for neglecting Telangana as all the demands of the state for allocation to various schemes and approval of pending and new works were ignored.
Set with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore, the private rail coach factory will have a production capacity of 500 coaches and 50 locomotives per year.
It was on August 13, 2020 that Rama Rao had laid the foundation stone for the factory. Spread over 100 acres, the factory will develop all types of railway rolling stock including coaches, train sets, locomotives, metro trains and monorails.
The plant with employment potential of 2,200 is expected to give a big push for the manufacturing sector. It will meet future requirements of Telangana of not just metro and mono rails but also high-speed trains.
Medha Group had signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC) in 2017 for the plant.