SAIL to set up railway wagon factory

Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) is currently in talks with RITES Ltd, a subsidiary of Indian Railways, for jointly setting up a railway wagon making factory in West Bengal.

For the project, SAIL is expected to provide its surplus land in Kulti near Burnpur, West Bengal. The location of the plant could be near Chittaranjan Locomotive Works.

The SAIL Chairman, Mr C.S. Verma, said the factory is expected to produce 1,200 railway wagons a year. “At present, we are engaged in coming up with a feasibility study for the project. Details of the venture including the investment required, equity shareholding pattern and other such points have not been decided yet,” he said.

Earlier this month, the Railway Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee, had said that the tentative name of the factory would be Bengal Wagon Industry. “This will be the third wagon manufacturing plant in West Bengal after Braithwate and Burn Standard,” Ms Banerjee had said at that time.

The proposed joint venture with RITES would be a first foray into manufacturing for SAIL. The company already has a monopoly in supplying rails and analysts say that a venture into manufacturing would further strengthen the company’s presence in the railway equipment market. The joint venture company would face competition from Titagarh Wagons and Texmaco Industries for supplying wagons to the Indian Railway.

At present, the demand for wagons in the country is around 25,000. With numerous dedicated freight corridors coming up, this number is set to increase in the near future.