Railways may retender Kanjikode coach factory again
The prospects of the Rs.550-crore rail coach factory at Kanjikode have brightened with Union Railway Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda on Tuesday announcing that the project will be retendered again by December.
The retendering to identify a partner for the factory mooted on the public-private partnership model will be subject to clearance of the Union Cabinet, Mr. Gowda said a meeting of MPs from the State.
The meeting was convened by him in Delhi in the wake of complaints that Kerala had been sidelined in the Railway budget.
Instead of setting up facilities for making Linke Holfmann Busch (LHB)-design stainless steel state-of-the-art aluminium coaches at Kanjikode, it was announced that Railways will go for aluminium coaches alone. LHB technology is restricted to a handful of players.
The Minister said the wagon component unit at Cherthala would not be abandoned. The drinking water bottling plant would start functioning in October.
However, Mr. Gowda hinted that the proposed railway medical college in Thiruvananthapuram would not materialise as the Medical Council of India was unlikely to give its nod.
Ten long-distance mail and express trains operating through the State would be provided with a pantry car, he said.
Priority would be given for doubling the Kayamkulam Junction- Ernakulam section via Kottayam and Alappuzha to operate more trains.
Mr. Gowda said funds would be made available while acceding to the request of the MPs.
Electrification of the Shoranur-Mangalore stretch would be completed by March 2016. Gauge conversion of the Palakkad- Pollachi section would be completed by March 2015. On the Punalur- Shencottah gauge conversion, the MPs were informed that Railways would on Friday provide a schedule for completing the project.
The Minister also agreed to look into the demand for increasing the frequency of Rajadhani Express to Delhi and extension of the Karaikkal- Ernakulam Tea Garden Express and the Ernakulam- Ajmer Marusagar Express to Thiruvananthapuram Central. The decision will be communicated to Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P.J. Kurien.
Except Shashi Tharoor, Vayalar Ravi and K.V. Thomas, all MPs from the State attended the met.
N.K. Premachandran, MP, told The Hindu that the priority list was jointly put forward by the MPs and was accepted by Railways.
(The Hindu dt 13-8-2014)