Bangalore, Jan 30 :
The railway ministry is setting up a greenfield factory in Karnataka’s Kolar to roll out about 1,000 passenger coaches per annum when fully commissioned in the coming years.
An agreement for the proposed joint venture was signed here Thursday between the railways ministry and the state government, which will equally share the cost, estimated to be Rs.1,460 crore.
The ambitious project, which will generate about 5,000 jobs, will be built across 1,100 acres of land near Kolar, 100 km from here, to be provided by the state free.
“The new rail coach unit will meet the increasing demand for passenger coaches and foster economic development of the state,” union Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Minister K.H. Muniyappa said on the occasion.
Muniyappa, who represents the Kolar Lok Sabha constituency, conceived the project when he was the minister of state for railways in the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA-I) government.
The agreement was signed by Railway Board advisor K. Swaminathan and state Infrastructure Development Secretary Vandita Sharma in the presence of Muniyappa, Minister of State for Railways Surya Prakash Reddy, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, and state Infrastructure Development Minister Roshan Baig.
“The factory will roll out 500 coaches in the first phase and 1,000 coaches when fully completed by early 2019,” Muniyappa said.
As one of the world’s largest transport networks, covering 65,000km and 7,500 stations, the railways ferries 25 million passengers daily in about 11,000 trains across the country.
The railway behemoth has two integral coach factories at Chennai in Tamil Nadu and Kapurthala in Punjab, with a third one coming up at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh.
Though the railways will require an estimated 33,000 coaches during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17) and 37,000 in the 13th Plan (2017-22), its three factories are able to roll out only 3,300 of them annually, with the state-run Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) in Bangalore making an additional 600 coaches, taking the total production to 19,500 in five years.
The railways are building three more coach factories at Kancharapara and Haldia in West Bengal and Palakkad in Kerala, with a combined capacity of 1,300 coaches.