With Congress regaining the vital railways portfolio after 16 years, the much-delayed Rs. 2,500 crore Rae Bareli rail coach factory — a pet project of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi — has been put on the fast track.
Gandhi will launch the factory at a function in her constituency Rae Bareli on November 7 — eight days after Pawan Kumar Bansal took charge of the railways.
A meeting of the expanded Railway Board has now been called for November 9 to decide on necessary clearances and to make funds available to enable early completion of the project.
During her two-day visit to Rae Bareli, the UPA chairperson would hand over appointment letters to farmers who had given up their land for the setting up of the factory.
Although 18 coaches are ready for a commercial roll-out for the last year and a half, the inauguration date had been repeatedly put off in the past for the fear of sparking employment demands from amongst farmers dispossessed of their land.
Besides flagging off the first set of coaches, Sonia is also scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the Rae Bareli Utratiya rail line and a multi-purpose complex at the railway station.
Gandhi's visit will coincide with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's tour of her mother's constituency. She will be in Rae Bareli for two days from November 8, where she is scheduled to interact with Congress workers and voters.
The interaction programme had been put in place on the request of party workers during the Congress chief's visit to the constituency in July this year.
The recent UP polls saw Congress relegated to fourth position, winning 26 out of 403 seats. In Rae Bareli, Amethi and Sultanpur, it won two of the 15 seats. In Rae Bareli, it won no seat.