United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi will inaugurate a modern coach manufacturing factory in her Lok Sabha constituency, Rae Bareli, on Wednesday.

The inauguration of the Rs 1,685-crore coach factory was delayed for over a year due to the vexed issue of compensation to farmers whose land was used for the factory. Currently, the factory is engaged only in assembling coaches.

The issue is being settled now as the Railways has decided to provide jobs to all the affected land owners, said a senior Ministry official.

Beside the inauguration, Sonia will also hand over appointment letters to farmers whose land was used for the project.

The country’s largest public transporter had acquired 541 hectares for the coach manufacturing factory, out of which 283 hectares belonged to private land owners.

The Railways has agreed to provide jobs to about 1,400 persons in compensation for the land acquired for the factory. Jobs will be given to the land owners in ‘Group D’ category.

It has just released Rs 150 crore for the factory against the demand for Rs 400 crore. The project received a push after the Railway Ministry came to Congress following the exit of Trinamool Congress from the UPA, whose representatives had held the key portfolio for the last three and half years. The Rae Bareli coach factory is expected to cater to Railways’ increasing demand by annually rolling out about 1,000 coaches.

“We are in the process of acquiring modern machinery and equipment for manufacturing coaches in a full-fledged manner,” the official said.

At present, the bogies and body of stainless coaches are being supplied by the Kapurthala Coach factory and “once the required machinery is acquired, it will manufacture modern coaches,” the official said, adding “IRCON has been given the responsibility to execute the project.”

The Rae Bareli coach factory has rolled out 21 AC coaches till now and a dozen more are being readied to be added to the fleet.

“These coaches have higher carrying capacity and provide more comfort to passenger. They are safer in operations,” the railway official said.

Apart from resistance to corrosion, these coaches have modular fittings, microprocessor controlled air conditioning and environment—friendly controlled discharge toilet system.

While the foundation stone for the Rae Bareli coach factory was laid by Sonia Gandhi on February 13, 2007, the inauguration for construction of the factory was done by her on January 27, 2009.

(This article was published on November 6, 2012)
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