November 26, 2023

Privatisation in Railways: Private Sector’s Attempt to Enter Integral Coach Factory Prevented

ON November 6, 2023, the Joint Platform of ten central trade unions and independent national federations (CTUs) supported the demands and agitation of the ICF (Integral Coach Factory at Chennai) Joint Action Council opposing private sector’s entry in the ICF; and demanding withdrawal of the decision to handover manufacturing / maintenance of Vande Bharat trains to private sector within ICF premises. They launched agitation staging demonstrations and holding gate meetings. 

As per the draft of the agreement, to be signed between the Railway Board and the private industry, ICF has to provide all facilities – in production shops, free electricity, compressed air, drinking water, restroom and canteen facilities etc. Besides, the private company would have the liberty to use ICF designs and drawings. It is how the Railway Board is patronising the private corporates at the cost of ICF.

ICF, established in 1955, is the largest coach manufacturing unit of the Indian Railways. The competency, efficiency and the quality of its production have been appreciated by all. ICF has already manufactured 40 Vande Bharat trains.

In view of more work orders, instead of expanding the ICF and recruitment of manpower, thereby providing employment opportunities to the qualified unemployed youth, especially from the socially and economically oppressed sections like the SC, ST and OBCs and also the ex-trade apprentices and filling up 1,400 vacancies in ICF itself, the ministry of railways has decided to enter into manufacturing/maintenance agreement with the private sector.