Chandrababu Naidu’s office bungles on facts about Swiss firm


At a time when Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is in Switzerland to attract investments, communications team in his office today bungled up on facts regarding railway rolling stock maker Stadler Rail AG and its India plans.

A press release issued here in Telugu by Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) claimed Switzerland-headquartered Stadler has come forward to set up a locomotive and rail coach manufacturing unit in Visakhapatnam district but did not mention the likely investment.

A couple of hours later, a release in English said “the representatives (of Stadler) informed the Chief Minister (during a meeting in Zurich) that they are planning to start their operations in India too.

“The company has a presence in Kancharapara in West Bengal and they are looking at Visakhapatnam to locate another unit especially to manufacture parts with aluminium,” the release added.

“Apart from the investment, the project will create 3,000 jobs,” the English release said.

The Telugu release, on the other hand, came out with a misleading statement that Stadler already has a manufacturing unit in Kancharapara, West Bengal and that the proposed Visakhapatnam unit would be its second in India.

“The Chief Minister, during his talks with Stadler executives in Zurich, invited them to set up their manufacturing unit in AP and they consented to it,” the release claimed.

It quoted Stadler Executive Vice-President Peter Jenelten as telling the Chief Minister they already have a manufacturing unit in West Bengal and that another unit would be set up in Visakhapatnam for manufacturing spare parts.

“We have plans to expand (our operations) in India and the USA. We have plans to make India the southeast Asian hub for manufacturing rail coaches and locomotives,” the Telugu release quoted Peter as telling Chandrababu, who is on a week-long visit to Switzerland.

Stadler is an established company in manufacture of rail coaches and locomotives but it doesn’t have any unit in India as claimed by the CMO. Even the company’s website does not contain any mention of its Indian operations so far.

It is one of the major global players that evinced interest in the manufacture of EMU/MEMU coaches at the proposed Kancharapara facility in West Bengal under the ambitious Rs 20,000 crore joint venture project of the Railways.

Railways is expected to award the contract only in May and Stadler is not the only player in contention.