BHUBANESWAR: The Ministry of Railways is weighing various options for the proposed project at Sitapalli in Ganjam where the Odisha government has already allotted 101.6 acre of land.
Although the Ministry of Railways had sanctioned a wagon factory in 2011-12, the proposal was later dropped as no investor came forward due to lack of demand for wagons.
Accompanied by a team of senior officials, General Manager of East Coast Railway (ECoR) Vidya Bhushan recently visited the spot and inspected the land.
“Wagons are usually procured from the private manufacturers as railways do not manufacture it. Such projects are implemented in public-private-partnership (PPP) mode. The land remained unutilised as this model did not work here,” he said.
The Ministry, Bhushan said, has now decided to revive the project following the intervention of the new Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who wants a project must come up at the location by mid-2024.
“Discussions are on various projects, including a wagon factory, maintenance factory of coaches and wagons, and other manufacturing units of railway components. We are hopeful that something would be finalised in the next six months,” he informed.
The ECoR General Manager said there are many components Railways procure but have limited vendors and suppliers. “We want to invite one of them and give the contract to set up a plant here. The railways will use 100 percent of its products. The possibility of a wagon factory can not be completely ruled out as we are also discussing with some of wagon manufacturers. The priorities are changing. No one evinced interest for the factory a decade a back. Who knows one may agree to set up it now,” he said.
Since the railways have been stressing on local employment, Bhushan said, they are also verifying the employability of the residents of the village so that maximum people can be engaged for the upcoming project.
“The land identified for the project is an ideal location. It is around 4 km from Jagannathpur railway station. Once established, the project will throw up a plethora of opportunities for the locals who can start small business and take part in the economic growth,” he added.
The proposed project got the much needed filip after the Union Minister for Railways directed its immediate revival following which the Ministry that had earlier asked to cancel the land allotment intimated the State government that the project was back in consideration.