Will flip-flop on establishing Kazipet Railway Coach Factory cost the BJP electorally?

Notwithstanding the Center’s dilly-dallying on the issue, the Telangana government has set up India's largest private rail coach factory

Will flip-flop on establishing Kazipet Railway Coach Factory cost the BJP electorally?

HYDERABAD: The Telangana Government has been at loggerheads with the Narendra Modi-led Central Government for the past several years over the establishment of a rail coach factory at Kazipet. The demand is not unjust and was one of the promises made in the 13th Schedule, Section 93 of the Andhra Pradesh State Bifurcation Act. The BJP reiterated its commitment and mentioned the same in its manifesto for Telangana, ahead of the Parliamentary and Assembly elections in 2014, the year the State was born. However, a decade later, the promise remains unfulfilled.

Why a rail factory in Kazipet?

  • It was in 1980 when the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi announced a railway coach factory in Kazipet. However, the project was moved to Punjab’s Kapurtala in 1981.
  • Later, rail coach factories were established in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. But, Telangana was never considered.
  • In 2016, then Minister of State for Railways Manoj Singh declared that there was no scope for setting up a coach factory anywhere in the country.
  • But in 2019, just before the Maharashtra Assembly elections, BJP announced a railway coach factory in Latur
  • Despite the Central Government releasing Rs 40 crore for the Kazipet factory and the allocation of 60 acres of land by the Telangana Government, the BJP unexpectedly reversed its stance on the matter.
  • Ignoring repeated requests from the Telangana Government to establish the Kazipet coach factory, in April 2022, PM Narendra Modi announced a Rs 20,000 crore electric locomotive plant in Gujarat's Dahod.
  • In December 2022, the Center clarified in the Parliament that Kazipet will not be getting a coach factory. But, in the same month, it announced plans to set up a rail coach factory in Kokarjahar of Assam.

Last week, Telangana Industries and information Technology Minister KT Rama Rao (KTR), demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologise for failing to fulfil the commitments to the people in the state under the Birfurcation Act. He said Modi denied a rail coach factory to Telangana but established one in Gujarat at a cost of Rs 21,000 crore.

“One rule for Telangana and another for Gujarat is not correct. The Prime Minister is for the entire country and not just Gujarat,” he said.

Notwithstanding the Center’s dilly-dallying on the issue, the Telangana government decided to set up a rail coach factory in private sector. In 2017, Medha Servo Drives Private Limited, a Telangana company which designs and manufactures complex electrical and electronic Railway products, had signed a deal with Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC) to establish a private rail coach factory..

On August 13, 2020, KTR laid the foundation stone for the factory at Kondakal village in Ranga Reddy district. It was then announced that with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore, the private rail coach factory would have a production capacity of 500 coaches and 50 locomotives per year.

By the time the project materialised, it had become India's largest private rail coach factory. Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao inaugurated the factory on June 22, 2023. During the event, KCR said Telangana was proud that a home grown company would be building rail coaches for the country. He expressed happiness over the company bagging monorail order from Mumbai.

Medha Managing Director Kasyap Reddy told during the inaugural ceremony that about Rs 400 crore was invested in the first phase. He said that 558 people were already employed and an additional 500 people benefited indirectly. “An additional employment of around 1,000 people will be made in the near future,” he said,

Post this setup and with elections just a few months away in Telangana, it looks like the Center just woke up from its slumber and decided to pay its lip service towards the cause. As per an announcement, on July 8, Prime Minister Modi will reach Warangal where he will lay the foundation stone for a railway wagon overhauling center in Kazipet.

Meanwhile, KTR did not mince his words and asked the Prime Minister to apologise to the people of Telangana for failing to setup a rail coach factory.

“While a coach factory was promised for Kazipet, the people are being deceived as the Center plans to establish a wagon periodic overhauling unit instead. This is simply unfair,” Rama Rao had said.

Only time will tell if the failure to setup a rail coach factory, which has now become a pride issue, will have an impact electorally for the BJP in Telangana.

Next Story

Similar Posts