Siliguri: A rail equipment making company in Germany that is owned by a businessman in Bengal will send a team to the state soon to scout options to set up a unit to make sleepers.
PCM Rail.One AG, owned by the Siliguri-based PCM Group of Industries, has footprint across a number of countries, including the US.
Kamal Kumar Mittal, the chairman of the supervisory board of PCM Rail.One, said that during the chief minister’s visit to Germany this month representatives of PCM Rail.One AG were also there.
He said: “After the meeting, Jochen Riepl, the CEO of PCM Rail.One AG, announced that it would set up an industrial unit in Bengal to make composite railway sleepers. The investment will be from Germany while the employees will be the skilled workers from Bengal.”
The PCM group took over Rail.One in 2013.
Mittal said a tentative estimate of the investment would be Rs 250 crore. Senior officials of the company are in the process of preparing the detailed project report. Once ready, they will be here for a recce to visit and select the location for setting up the factory.
“This is indeed an important decision which has been taken after the chief minister’s visit,” Mittal said.
The German company was founded in 1895. Gradually, it forayed into the sector of railway sleepers and was known as Rail.One GmbH. One of the technologies that the company had developed is ballast-free rail tracks. After the acquisition of Rail.One, it was restructured and renamed PCM Rail.One AG.
“At the proposed unit, the company will make composite railway sleepers. These are not made of concrete but of plastic and other recyclable materials. The sleepers are costlier that concrete but more durable,” Mittal said.
“There are steady markets for such sleepers in some south-east Asian countries and in Austrialia. The idea is to send such sleepers from this proposed plant to these countries.”
He said: “The manner in which they (German businessmen) responded in Munich where the chief minister addressed them, is positive.”
The PCM Group, which has 17 subsidiary companies, is also planning to foray into the tourism sector, Mittal said.
“We have been selected through a tender by the state tourism department to set up a three-star resort at the tourist hub in Gazoldoba (in Jalpaiguri district). Also, we are planning to open another resort at Samsing Tea Estate (in the Dooars in Jalpaiguri district),” he said.