The railway coach manufacturing factory project in Kanjikode, Kerala, is back on the Centre’s radar, exactly 10 years after it was first mooted. This time it is a downsized, streamlined and more workable version, stringing together Induab Railways, BEML (Bharat Earth Movers) and the Kerala government in a joint venture (JV). Railways is putting together a preliminary feasibility report on the project. “Union defence minister Nirmala Sitaraman and railway minister Piyush Goyal are actively considering the revised project proposal,” MB Rajesh, Lok Sabha member from Palakkad, said. The Kerala government handed over 239 acre of land for the project when the railway budget for 2008-09 had announced a coach factory in Kanjikode under the PPP mode. While similar PPP projects announced along with it 10 years ago in Rae Bareli, Dankuni and Chhaapra came up and went active, the potential private investor for at the proposed Kanjikode PPP was at large, leaving the impression that the project was not viable.
“The new proposal projects annual production of 600 modern lightweight aluminium rail coaches on completion of the facility. Within five years, the Kanjikode coach project anticipates Rs 12,000-crore turnover and 1,200-crore profit,” said Rajesh in his Facebook post. The original proposal, 10 years ago, was for traditional rail coaches and that too for nearly double the cost, at about Rs 600-crore investment. BEML, which has ample expertise in state-of-the-art aluminium rail coach building, has been roped in in place of the missing private investor.