‘Sonia Gandhi is incorrect… Corporatisation is not privatisation,’ a Railways official said.
New Delhi: UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday raised in the Lok Sabha the issue of corporatisation of railways’ Modern Coach Factory in her home constituency of Rae Bareli constituency and accused the government of selling the country’s assets to private players at throwaway prices, a charge that was immediately denied by the Railways officials.
“Sonia Gandhi is incorrect… Corporatisation is not privatisation,” a Railways official said.
Sonia earlier criticised the decision of the government during the Zero Hour of the Lok Sabha and said, “Those who don’t understand the real meaning of corporatisation....It is actually the first step towards privatisation. They are selling the country’s assets to handful of private players at a throwaway price. This will leave thousands unemployed.”
The railways official, however, said the “corporatization” involved making a government PSU “Indian Railway Rolling Stock Company” under the Ministry of Railways, and shifting the Production units including Modern Coach Factory (MCF), Rae Bareli to that.
“This means they will remain under government control but will be better managed as these production units will become fully functional PSUs. This will help drive technology partnership and modernisation,” the official added.
“Railways will consult with unions and ensure no harm comes to employees and will also ensure best utilisation of taxpayers’ funds,” the official said.
Taking a dig at the government, Gandhi said in the Lok Sabha that the unit (in Rae Bareli) was started during the UPA regime to promote “Make in India”, an initiative of the Modi government.
“The MCF is the most modern factory of the Indian Railways and manufactures best coaches at cheapest rates,” she asserted.
“The government has invested heavily in it (MCF). It is difficult to understand why the government wants to resort to corporatisation,” she said.
Sonia pointed out that the future of 2000 workers remains uncertain due to the government’s move. “The primary job of the PSU is welfare of the people and not to benefit capitalists,” she said.
The Railways official, however, said that since 2014 the unit has been a priority area. In July 2014, MCF was declared a production unit of Indian Railways. Within a month it started production of fully formed coaches. Since then it has doubled production almost every year: 140 coaches in 2014-15, 285 in 2015-16, 576 in 2016-17, 711 in 2017-18. It is expected to produce 1,425 coaches in 2018-19. Target for this year is 2,158 coaches, the official added.