With Lok Sabha elections due in 2014, the railways is racing ahead against time to fully operationalise the Rail Coach Factory (RCF) in the Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s parliamentary constituency Rae Bareli by June 2014. The railways is closely monitoring the progress of the RCF Rae Bareli ever since the Ministry came back to the Congress after a gap of over 17 years.
“The RCF Rae Bareli is doing interior furnishings of coaches currently. We are hopeful that by June 2014, the RCF will also start rolling out coaches,” said Mr Arunendra Kumar, the newly appointed Chairman of the Railway Board (CRB).
While the railways, while headed by the Trinamul Congress nominees — Mamata Banerjee, Dinesh Trivedi and Mukul Roy, had put the RCF Rae Bareli on low priority, the former Rail Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal fast tracked the big ticket project after assuming charge of the ministry. Mrs Gandhi had recently inaugurated the RCF Rae Bareli but the workshop is largely carrying out the interior furnishings on coaches provided by the RCF Kapurthala, said a senior official.
After the exit of Mr Bansal from the Ministry, his successor Mallikarjuna Kharge is learnt to be keeping a close eye on ensuring that the RCF Rae Bareli becomes fully functional soon.
Apart from the RCF Rae Bareli, the railways is also undertaking expansion of other coach factories to meet growing demands for modern coaches. “We are seeking to add capacity in all factories to manufacture additional 200 coaches each,” said Mr Kumar.
However, the fate of RCF Palakkad has not yet brightened despite being sanctioned along with the Rae Bareli project. The RCF Rae Bareli will exclusively manufacture LHB coaches, which are reckoned to be highly modern and less prone to accidents.