Punjab to take up RCF issue with Centre

Railway budget had declared the Railway Coach Factory in Kapurthala as a PSU

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today assured the State Assembly that he would take up with the Union Railway Ministry the issue of the declaration of the Rail Coach Factory (RCF) at Kapurthala as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU).

Railway Minister Laloo Parsad Yadav in his budget recently announced the decision to declare the RCF as a PSU following which the employees and their families have being holding protests at Kapurthala since the past few days.

The Chief Minister gave the assurance after the leader of the opposition Parkash Singh Badal (SAD) raised the issue during the Zero hour.

Earlier, SAD member from Sultan Lodhi Upindrjit Kaur tried raise the issue, but was not allowed to do so by the Speaker Kewal Krishan saying the Railway Minister could not be discussed in the State Assembly.

The Chief Minister said the Railway Ministry had decided to make the RCF a PSU, ``I will take up the issue with the Centre,'' he assured the House.

All the unions of the RCF have joined hands to intensify their struggle against the proposal of the Railway Minister in his budget speech to declare the RCF as PSU.

They have holding daily gate rallies and protest marches in the RCF colony against this decision.

Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal today urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav to withdraw the proposal of converting Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala into a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU).

In a letter addressed to them, Badal said this un-expected and ``ill conceived proposal'' mooted by the Railway Ministry in the Railway Budget for 2006-07 has caused wide spread resentment, unrest and sense of insecurity amongst the employees and families of the RCF.

Badal said that this announcement has sent shock waves among the efficient and hard working staff of the RCF who have taken the proposal as a first step towards privatisation of this prestigious project.

Sudden development

The employees and their families are sitting on dharna for the last 15 days, he said not only employees, and other sections of the society were also concerned about this sudden, unwanted and retrograde development.

Meanwhile, All the Member Parliaments from Punjab will oppose the proposed conversion of Rail coach Factory (RCF) as Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) in the Parliament.

This was disclosed by BJP Member Parliament Navjot Singh Sidhu in Parliament while addressing a gathering of employees and their family members who were staging dharna infront of the administrative block of the factory.

The employees and their families were staging dharna for past few days to protest against the proposed conversion of RCF into PSU. - PTI