If all goes to plan, Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) could open a coach-manufacturing unit in Odisha.
The suggestion came from other than BEML chairman and managing director, DK Hota, while speaking at the Make in Odisha Conclave.
“BEML has been making rail coaches for several years now,” said Hota, “If the government wants, we will be happy to set up a coach-making unit in the state.”
Later, speaking exclusively to CNBC-TV18, Hota clarified that there was no formal proposal to build the plant, he was seized of the idea, and would be open to setting up the plant on invitation from the state government.
“Since the union railway ministry requires more capacity and Odisha does not have a manufacturing set-up, we will be happy to help,” he said to CNBC-TV18, “We have had no specific discussions with the state government. These suggestions need to be fleshed out first. We will be happy to establish a facility here, at the invitation of the state government.”
Interestingly, making coaches isn’t the only opportunity BEML has identified in the state.
Hota also has his eyes on the prospect of manufacturing mining equipment for Mahanadi Coalfields Limited, in Odisha. But that proposal comes with a rider, “We would like to manufacture mining equipment for Mahanadi Coalfields, provided we receive tax incentives.”
The Odisha government has told CNBC-TV18 that it would be open to working with BMEL to make the rail-coach project a reality.
“The state government has been proactively reaching out to the central government since the union railway ministry has been looking at making aluminium coaches. We in Odisha account for 50 percent of the aluminium that the country produces,” said Sanjeev Chopra, principal secretary (Industries), Odisha.
Incidentally, Odisha’s Vision 2030 manifesto prioritises adding value to the metals that the state produces.
"This means we aim to convert 50 percent of the metal that is produced in the state, into finished products,” said Chopra, explaining that the state government is on the same page as any company that wants to build finished products in the state.”"The proposed coach-making factory is in the realm of the Indian government as well; we will work them to make it possible,” he signed off.