Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Left Democratic Front legislators staged a protest outside the Indian Railways’ headquarters in New Delhi on Friday against the Centre’s decision to scrap the proposal to establish a railway coach factory in Palakkad district, PTI reported.

The railway ministry last week decided to drop the Rs 550-crore rail coach factory project at Kanjikode, saying there was no shortage of coaches at the moment. In 2017, Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said that his ministry had sought land for a coach factory in Uttar Pradesh.

Vijayan urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Goyal to resolve the matter. He alleged that the Centre was punishing the people of Kerala because the Left Front is in power. “The coaches, which are currently used in Kerala, are worn out and creaking,” Vijayan said. “The Centre has decided that a coach factory is not needed at Palakkad, but it seems they have agreed to open one in Haryana.”

He asked if this is how a democratic country should function. “Doesn’t this amount to punishing the people of Kerala?” Vijayan asked. “It shows that the Centre doesn’t approve of democratic manners.”

Palakkad MP MB Rajesh, Idukki MP Joice George, Payyanur MP PK Sreemathy, Rajya Sabha MPs Elamaram Kareem and KK Ragesh were among those who took part in the protest.

Kerala’s Minister of Railways G Sudhakaran had lashed out at the Centre on Wednesday, accusing it of giving up on the project even as it commissioned a factory at Rae Bareilly. The government is also considering a similar project in Chennai, he added.

The decision to set up the rail coach factory was announced in the 2008-’09 Union Budget and the state government had extended full support to the proposal. About 240 acres of land had already been acquired for the factory.