It is quite possible that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be making another ‘official’ foray into Telangana and this time, it could be to lay the foundation stone next month for the ₹521-crore wagon manufacturing factory at Kazipet being set up by the Indian Railways .
The plan is also lay foundation stone for the proposed textile park there, but the project now appears to have run into rough weather, so Mr. Modi could be completing his visit by holding a public meeting at the place. But nothing is confirmed yet as the PMO will take the final call, according to official sources.
The wagon factory is a significant project because the BRS has made it a big issue when the railways announced it would be only a repair workshop as it had sufficient coach manufacturing facilities. When Latur in MaharasHtra was chosen for a coach manufacturing unit, it made the BRS go apoplectic.
It was only recently that Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had announced the funds allocation increase from ₹269 crore to ₹521 crore for the proposed wagon repair unit to become a wagon manufacturing factory. “We have enough coach units but there is a high demand for wagons,” he said.
Clearly, the Modi Government is hoping to using the railways as a bandwagon to score over the BRS by allocating a record ₹4,018 crore this year for various railway projects with an estimated value of ₹29,581 crore. There is a buzz of the Prime Minister launching another Vande Bharat train, this time towards Bengaluru though official sources pointed out that TS already got two such trains and the priority will be to start in states going for polls soon.
In fact, ever since Mr. Vaishnaw had taken over the Railways Ministry, information about any railway project anywhere in the country is being issued through official releases and he has been using every visit to point out towards the increased funding and “non-cooperation” of the government.
Apparently, a top official in the ministry is also calling the shots giving directions on usage of social media and press releases. Railway employees were made to attend “classes” before Mr. Modi’s visit last week where they were instructed to carry placards and raise slogans.
While the mainstream media was barred from Secunderabad station for “security reasons” at the last moment for the Vande Bharat train flagoff, platforms 9 & 10 were occupied by railway personnel and party men only. And, like during the first Vande Bharat inaugural service to Visakhapatnam in January, travel bloggers were the preferred guests.