Alappuzha, Jun 29 (UNI) Once on the verge of closure, Kerala government-run Autokast is now pinning hopes of chugging to a better future with the Railways signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the State Government to build frames for passenger coaches and wagons in the state PSU.
Employees of the company, located at Cherthala in this district, look upbeat as the ailing Public Sector Unit will now become the first wagon factory in Kerala with the signing of the MoU in New Delhi yesterday.
Established in 1984, Autokast was set up to produce spare parts for wind mills, power engines and pump bodies. However, lack of modern management had pushed the firm into losses and it had been issued notice of closure by the BIFR, putting the fate of 329 employees at stake.
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac, who is the local MLA, had been earnestly trying for its revival and the MoU with the Railways surpasses the expecations of the employees.
As per the joint venture MoU, the firm would produce frames for 750 bogies per month.
Development projects worth Rs 500 crore were also planned. Prior to this, the state government would spend about Rs 4.50 crore to expand the infrastructure facilities and clear the electricity arrears.
Of the total area of 150 acres, 80 acres would be provided for the coach building unit.
According to an assessment by Autokast, the Railways need 24,160 wagons per year besides couplers and other equipment. With the 11th five-year plan suggesting exclusive railway lines for goods transportation, the demand for wagons was set to swell.
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