CHENNAI: The Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Indian Railways coach manufacturing unit in Chennai, is all set to manufacture more than 3,000 coaches in the current financial year. However, a section of officials in the railway board has asked them to scale down the production to around 2,400, said sources.
This was brought to the notice of Union railway minister Piyush Goyal during his review meeting at ICF on Thursday evening. Goyal was told by ICF officials that the directives of a section of RB officials is contrary to Goyal’s own orders as well as the NDA government’s ‘Make in India’ plan.
After he was briefed, Goyal called the railway board officials as well as instructed his personal secretary that ICF’s coach manufacturing plans should not be scaled down at all. “The minister wants ICF to manufacture at least 6,000 coaches every year. ICF’s internal target is around 3,200,” said highly placed railway sources.
The railway board’s argument to ICF was that there was no demand for coaches and increase in the number of LHB coaches would lead to early condemnation of ICF design coaches. This was opposed by ICF officials stating that there was huge demand for LHB coaches as they have better safety features than ICF coaches.
ICF’s manufacturing output has been consistently growing at around 10% every year. In 2016-17, the unit manufactured 2,277 coaches and in 2017-18, it went up to 2,503.
“In a manufacturing industry, it is not easy to scale down after scaling up for so many years. Many allied contractors as well as downstream industries are dependent on ICF,” said a senior official. All the staff and unions were also raring to go to achieve the increased production targets, the official said.
Around 800 LHB coaches will be exported to Sri Lanka in the next few weeks and the consignment is ready, sources said.