पालाक्कड़ Palakkad (PGT): It has been two-and-half years since the foundation stone for the railway coach factory was laid at Kanjikode on February 21, 2012.
There has not been any progress in selecting the private partner for executing the Rs 550-crore project that is proposed to be implemented on the public-private participation (PPP) model. Only the work on the compound wall of the factory has been completed yet.
In the initial global tender floated for the coach factory, only one firm, based in China, had bid for the project. The Railway Board is yet to take a decision on it.
According to sources, two firms, one a local rail coach manufacturer and another an European MNC, have reportedly shown interest in the project. They have also made presentations in this regard to officials in the State Government.
Under the PPP model, the Railways will hold 26 per cent stake in the project while the private partner will have the remaining 74 per cent.
The coach factory was announced in the 2008-09 Railway Budget. A total of 230.10 acres of land was acquired by the Railways for the project, spending Rs 32.44 crore. The Railways has also requested the Forest Department to allot a 92 acre-land for the project, which requires clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
A compound wall, extending over 3.9 kilometres, has been built at a cost of Rs 3.45 crore.
The compound wall has been constructed on three sides of the proposed factory, and the fourth side is having wire-fencing.
The wire-fencing will be removed once the Environment Ministry grants clearance for the forest land. Once the clearance of the Environment Ministry is received, the State Government will have to de-notify the land. Then, a joint survey will be done by the State Government and the Railways.
Around two months ago, Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar had said in New Delhi that the issues related to the implementation of the coach factory would be settled within a month.
Recently, M B Rajesh MP met Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda, and urged him to speed-up the implementation of the Kanjikode coach factory project.