Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on March 4 made a veiled attack on Congress president Rahul Gandhi over his comments after the "Vande Bharat Express" ran into trouble on its maiden run, saying some people disrespected the Indian talent and "wanted to continue imports from Italy".
He asserted that India would export trains made by its engineers to Italy, but not import anything from there.
Goyal, also the Coal Minister, made his remarks in a ceremony to dedicate to the country a 1,000-megawatt (MW) thermal power project of NTPL and a 150-MW solar power projects of NLC India Ltd in southern Tamil Nadu.
"Some people tried to make fun of engineers of Integral Coach Factory in Chennai and try to show that our engineers had failed. I think they do not respect India, they do not respect Indian talent...They want us to continue everything from Italy," he said.
"I want to tell all those people, we are proud of our engineers, we are proud of our workers and we will make India the greatest country in the world. We will export trains made by our engineers to Italy, but not import anything from there," he said in apparent reference to Gandhi's critical comments.
Gandhi had mocked at the Make in India programme while referring to the trouble experienced during the inaugural run of the semi-high speed train last month.
"Modi ji, I think 'Make-in-India' needs a serious rethink. Most people feel it has failed. I assure you we in the Congress are thinking very deeply about how it will be done," Gandhi tweeted, tagging a report which claimed train 18 broke down.
Goyal announced a cash gift of Rs 8,000 to all employees of Neyveli Tamil Nadu Power Ltd (NTPL) for their hardwork.
A gift of Rs 3,000 was also announced for contract workers and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel associated with coal-based power plant located in Tuticorin district.
The 1,000-MW coal-fired thermal power project of NTPL is a joint venture between NLCIL and state power utility TANGEDCO with an equity participation of 89:11.
So far, NLCIL has installed 591 MW of solar power and 51 MW of wind power plants in various parts of Tamil Nadu.
Reiterating the Centre's welfare measures in the interim budget last month, Goyal said they were not a "favour".
"PM Kisan Sanman Nidhi is not a favour, this is announced as a mark of respect to farmers," he said.
Goyal also laid the foundation stone for the 36-km-long Dharmapuri Morappur Railway line at a function in Dharmapuri.