INDIA: Plans to establish a coach manufacturing plant at Palakkad in Kerala were approved by the cabinet on February 16. With the capacity to produce 400 coaches per year, the new factory would develop 'state of the art' aluminium vehicles for Indian Railways.

The cost of the project is put at R5·5bn, excluding land which IR will purchase from the Kerala state government. The project is to be funded through a PPP, with IR contributing 26% of the equity through a joint venture company.

Construction of the plant is scheduled to begin by 2013 for completion within 36 months.