The eagerly-awaited rail coach factory at Kanjikode will become a reality, with the Planning Commission giving its approval to this biggest-ever development project of the Railways in Kerala.
It was a long wait for the people of Palakkad and the State for a coach factory because the one that was announced in the 1980s was set up in Punjab.
The Commission is reported to have conveyed its decision to the Railway Ministry. Union Minister of State for Railways E. Ahmed informed this to Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, in whose Malampuzha Assembly constituency the project is coming up.
Mr. Ahmed also requested the Chief Minister to provide the land required for the factory.
Meanwhile, official sources here said the Chief Minister had called a meeting of the department heads concerned on September 8 to take steps to complete the land acquisition.
It is now for the State government to complete the acquisition of 700 acres at Kanjikode in the Pudussery West and Central villages and hand it over to the Railways.
The land is being acquired under the `Fast Track' acquisition scheme and a special office for it was set up in the Collectorate here a few months ago.
There has been resistance from some land owners.
The rehabilitation package announced is said to be having a clause for providing employment to one person from each family which is uprooted.
The factory will bring an investment of nearly Rs. 2,000 crore in the first phase and another Rs. 4,000 crore in the second phase. It will provide employment to 3,000 people directly and more than 10,000 people indirectly.
It will also bring more than 100 medium level industries to make the 1,000 components to make a rail coach, the sources said.