Sonia opposes corporatisation of coach factory

Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament in New Delhi. PTI photo

Congress Parliamentary Party chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday took up cudgels on behalf of employees of the Modern Coach Factory in Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh as she criticized the proposed move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to “corporatize” the Indian Railways' production unit located at her constituency.

She delivered her first speech in the 17th Lok Sabha on Tuesday, and criticized the purported move by Modi Government to “corporatize” seven production units of Indian Railways, including the Modern Coach Factory at Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh. She accused the government, led by Bharatiya Janata Party, of selling national assets to a few private players at throwaway prices.

In addition to the Modern Coach Factory at Raebareli, the Rail Wheel Factory at Yelahanka in Bengaluru is also among the seven Indian Railways production units which Modi Government is planning to corporatize into a single state-owned entity called “Indian Railway Rolling Stock Company”. The proposal was mooted as a part of the 100-day-agenda of Ministry of Railways, led by rail minister Piyush Goyal.

Sonia has been representing Raebareli in the Lok Sabha since 2004. She contested the April-May parliamentary elections from the same constituency and was re-elected to the 17th Lok Sabha.

She also spoke during the Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and alleged that the move to “corporatize” the Modern Coach Factory was just a prelude to privatizing it. She said that the fate of over 2000 employees of the Modern Coach Factory would come under cloud if the proposal to corporatize it and six other units was implemented.

“For those who do not understand the real meaning of corporatization, it is actually the first step towards privatisation. They are selling the country's assets to handful private players at a throwaway price. This will leave thousands unemployed,” Gandhi, who rarely spoke during Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, said, with several members of the opposition parties thumping on the desks.

The Modern Coach Factory (MCF) was set up during by erstwhile United Progressive Alliance Government and Gandhi, who was then the chairperson of the ruling coalition, inaugurated it in November 2012.

She noted during her speech in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that the Congress-led UPA Government had set up the MCF in 2012 to promote “Make-in-India”.

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