There are two coach factories in India, the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala, Punjab and Integral Coach Factory in Chennai. Both these coach manufacturing units have manufactured thousands of coaches for the Indian Railways. A third Rail Coach Factory is also going to be established in Kerala and people of Palakkad can be proud of the fact that the proposed site for the Coach factory is Kanjikode.
On the 16th of February 2012, the Union Cabinet approved the long-pending demand of Kerala for setting up a new rail coach manufacturing unit as a joint venture. Last month, Aryadan Mohammed, State minister in charge of railways, said that the Kerala Government is committed to set up the proposed coach factory in Palakkad, and after a meeting with the members of the parliament, he said that the State wanted the project to be implemented as a joint venture between the State and the Center. The nod from the center for the project came after the Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy met the railway minister Dinesh Trivedi last week, requesting speedy approval of the project. The estimated cost approved is 550 crore, excluding the cost of land, and the factory will make 400 coaches annually. About 239 acres of land is available in Kanjikode, for setting up the coach factory, and this land will be purchased by the railways from the Kerala State Government, who will contribute 26% of the equity in this joint venture.
photo credit: kkalyan
Water and power will be provided for this project by the State. The Kerala State Electricity Board, will set up a 400 KV substation in that area to provide power and an overhead water tank will be constructed to provide water from the Malampuzha Reservoir.
In the beginning there were some obstacles regarding the setting up of the coach factory. While the State wanted it as a public sector, the center wanted to implement it as a public-private partnership and finally the green signal was given for a joint venture.
Hundreds of ancillary industries will be set up to provide spare parts to the factory and this project is expected to provide employment opportunities for 3000 people directly in the railways and for around 5000 people in the ancillary units. Apart from providing employment, the factory will help in the development of all the sick and small scale industries in and around Palakkad District. The factory will help to supply coaches to meet the increasing demand of passenger transportation.
People of Palakkad are jubilant about the news of approval and are keeping their fingers crossed, hoping and praying for the day when the foundation stone will be laid for the Rail Coach Factory in Kanjikode.
Good news for the people of Palakkad – The foundation stone for the Kanjikode Coach factory was laid by Dinesh Trivedi, the Union Minister for Railways, on 21st February 2012. The coach factory will manufacture about 400 lightweight energy efficient aluminium coaches annually. The minister has also assured that women Railway Protection Force will be constituted in all the evening trains for the security of women passengers.