Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Saturday that she would like to set up a coach factory at Singur, erstwhile site of the Nano factory of Tata Motors, if land was made available.
Launching an automobile hub at Shalimar, near here, she said: “If we get land, we will set up another coach factory there.”
In her budget speech, Ms. Banerjee said the railways received a request from the West Bengal government to set up a coach factory in Singur. “The Ministry has conveyed its willingness, provided the State government hands over the required land to the railways after the return of the 400 acres.”
The Tata Group, which had to relocate from Singur their small car project from Singur following an agitation led by Ms. Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, still holds the lease for the 997 acres project area. Ms. Banerjee had alleged that of this, 400 acres was acquired against the wishes of the landowners.
Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata has said the company will not sit on the land and that it has no plans for it at the moment, but will return it if compensated for investments made on the land. Talks are reportedly on between the State government and the company.
Ms. Banerjee said the railways targeted the the no. 1 position in the world from its current no. 4 position.
“I appeal to all workers and officers to help realise this goal. You do your duty and we will do ours,” she said. The Trinamool chief exhorted the gathering of industrialists to avail of the single-window system announced in her budget speech and help set up projects in the public-private- partnership mode.
The Minister on Saturday inaugurated a parking space at an auto-hub that was kicked-off in November, saying nine more such hubs would be set up all over the country to increase the railways' business by diverting traffic pertaining to the automobile industry to railways from roadways. “I have requested theautomobile sector industrialists to set up ancillary industries too in these hubs.”
She also launched by remote control two new trains, the Howrah-Gandhidham Weekly Express and the Kolkata Amritsar Bi-Weekly Express. In her budget speech, Ms. Banerjee had said of the 120 new trains announced, 117 would be flagged-off by March 2010.