Railways has decided to join hands with the state-owned BHEL for setting up a Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) coach factory in Rajasthan to cater to the growing demand for more local and suburban trains.

The MEMU trains, equipped with higher acceleration capacity, are expected to move faster on electrified tracks and would benefit daily commuters.

Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal is expected to announce the setting up of the modern MEMU coach factory in Rajasthan in his maiden Rail Budget 2013-14 on February 26.

While Rajasthan will provide about 200 acres, BHEL will set up the Rs 1,000-crore factory in a joint venture with the railways, railway sources said, adding “modalities of the project are being worked out’’.

The railways will sign a MoU with BHEL and the Rajasthan Government for setting up the coach factory.

MEMU trains

MEMU trains are required for faster connectivity with suburban areas. Nine MEMU coaches comprise one MEMU train. The Rajasthan factory is expected to manufacture about 400 MEMU coaches in a year, the sources said.

MEMU trains have engines on both sides so they can operate in both directions quickly. Each MEMU train with nine coaches can carry 1,800 passengers as each coach has a seating capacity of 100 passengers and equal number of people can stand as there is space for standing passengers as well.

BHEL is already into the manufacturing of diesel and electric locomotives at its plant in Jhansi and has an annual capacity to make around 50 engines.

Cash crunch

Despite cash crunch, substantial funds are likely to be announced in the Rail Budget 2013-14 for long pending projects.

Currently, there are about 347 pending rail projects worth Rs 1.47 lakh crore and the railways is planning to complete some of these works in the next fiscal.

“Certain pending projects involving laying of new lines as last-mile connectivity is being identified and we want to complete them,” they said.

Budgetary support

Burdened with increased diesel cost and a large number of pending projects, the railways has sought Rs 38,000 crore as general budgetary support from the Finance Ministry for fiscal 2013-14.

It had received Rs 24,000 crore from the Finance Ministry during the current fiscal.

Besides, the railways expects to generate Rs 7,000-crore revenue from internal generation and Rs 18,000 crore from market borrowings during the next financial year.

It plans to invest Rs 5 lakh crore in capacity addition during the 12 Five-Year Plan (2012-17).

(This article was published on February 19, 2013)
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