Ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone for a Mainline Electrical Multiple Unit (MEMU) Coach Factory near Rupaheli station in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan today.
The factory was approved in the Railway Budget for 2013-14 at an estimated cost of Rs 800 crore. It is a joint venture between the Railways, the government of Rajasthan and the public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).
The Rajasthan government has provided 518 acres of land free of cost for the project.
Once operational, the factory will meet the demand for MEMU Coaches on Indian Railways to a large extent. Besides, it will generate direct and indirect employment and give a thrust to development activities in the region.
The entire cost of the factory will be incurred by BHEL. At present, MEMU coaches are being manufactured by Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala, which has a capacity of 112 coaches per year. The new factory at Bhilwara will meet the growing demand for coaches.
MEMU trains are very popular in non suburban sections. These trains are usually used by local commuters to commute from nearby rural areas and small towns to bigger cities for work. They have higher carrying capacity.
"MEMU trains ensure a better and economical mode of transport for people to commute daily for their livelihood. These trains are more powerful and have faster acceleration and deceleration as compared to conventional trains. This results in less running time resulting in saving of 30 percent in energy consumption. These trains are equipped with toilets and are vestibuled for greater passenger comfort," the release said.
Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and former Railways Minister C P JOshi, the Lok Sabha member from Bhilwara, were present on the occasion.