The Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) rail coach factory project in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara, proposed by then United Progressive Alliance government, has been scrapped,Parliament was informed on Wednesday.
In a written reply in Lok Sabha, the Centre also said that it considered the Jaisalmer-Barmer to Kandla port rail project financially inviable.
The foundation of the MEMU coach project was laid by then UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in September 2013, months before NDA formed its government at the Centre.
The project was sanctioned during the second tenure of Ashok Gehlot as Rajasthan chief minister who has, time and again, reiterated the resumption of stalled projects of the state, such as, the MEMU coach factory; and the Banswara-Dungarpur-Ratlam rail project.
Speaking at the virtual inauguration of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor in January, Gehlot urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restart the sanctioned and stalled railway projects on priority. “MEMU coach factory in Bhilwara was sanctioned, and inaugurated but stopped. Oil and gas are there in Jaisalmer and Barmer – country’s 20% oil is supplied from Barmer. Now the refinery work has also started. The demand for rail line to connect Mundra-Kandla port with Jaisalmer-Barmer has been there for the past 40 years,” he stated.
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However, the ministry of railways informed the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, “Coach factories are set up keeping in view the overall requirement of Railways. With the increase in productivity of the existing coach factories over the past few years, there is no requirement to set up additional coach production unit at Bhilwara at present.”
Railway minister Piyush Goyal gave a written reply to MPs Arjun Lal Meena and PP Choudhary’s questions as to by when the Bhilwara MEMU rail coach factory and Jaisalmer-Barmer to Kandla port rail project would be ready.
“Jaisalmer and Barmer are already connected by Broad Gauge line to Kandla Port. However, for direct connectivity, surveys for Jaisalmer to Barmer and Barmer to Bhabhar were completed in 2012-13. As these projects were not viable financially and since adequate connectivity already exists, the projects have not been taken up,” the minister said.
Commenting on the development, state transport minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas said Rajasthan has given 25 MPs who should raise the issue. “The government of India is being biased towards a Congress-ruled state,” he alleged.
However, BJP spokesperson and MLA Ramlal Sharma said only those projects can be taken up which are feasible.