Former Minister in charge of Railways M. Vijayakumar said here on Monday that the inauguration of the railway coach factory at Palakkad was a political drama aimed at diverting attention from the privatisation of the project.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the earlier proposal for the coach factory had been scaled down by the UPA government and the project converted from a public sector undertaking to a joint venture with private participation.

He said the Railways had backed out of the initial proposal for Kerala and insisted on private participation, even as it went ahead with similar projects in Rae Bareli and Kolkata in the public sector. “The State's plea for equity participation in the project also fell on deaf ears”.

“The inauguration has been organised even though the government is yet to float global tenders to identify the private partner for the joint venture”.

He alleged that the bid to privatise the project smacked of corruption.

Mr. Vijayakumar said it was deplorable that the Leader of the Opposition V.S.Achuthanandan was not invited to the inaugural function.