Staff Reporter

ALAPPUZHA: Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's Communist hatred has come in the way of the plan to form a joint-venture company between Autokast, Cherthala, and the Railways to start a wagon-manufacturing plant, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac said here on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference, Dr. Isaac said Ms. Banerjee, during a high-level meeting in December 2009, had said that she was not bothered about the many memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed by the previous Railway Ministers. The Autokast-Railway company was not on her agenda, she had said, ignoring pleas from Union Minister of State for Railways E. Ahamed and K.C. Venugopal, MP, to discuss the issue.

Dr. Isaac said such an attitude was an open challenge to federal principles. The then Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad, had signed an agreement, not just an MoU, with Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan in February 2008 for forming a joint venture company to set up a plant for the fabrication of bogie frames for passenger coaches and side and end walls for wagons.

Accusing Ms. Banerjee of not allowing the Railway Board to discuss the Autokast file, Dr. Isaac said it was her Communist hatred that was behind her attitude. The State would hold a convention of trade union leaders and political parties for a political debate on the issue at Mararkulam on June 6.