CAG points to insufficient admissions in 3.3 lakh railway wagons

Indian Railways has failed to obtain required permits for 3.30 lakh carriages operating on the network, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. In the Union Government (Railways) – Compliance Audit Report, the CAG also said that Zonal Railways did not participate in the assessment of the need for wagons or submitted proposals or justifications for the acquisition of wagons to the Railway Board (RB).

This is in breach of the Code’s provisions and in the absence of any input from the zones, the Railway Authority continued to amend the requirements for wagons. “The available wagon stock was higher than the wagon demand throughout the reporting period, as assessed in the audit based on the Wagon Utilization Standard (NTKM). The delivery of wagons by wagon manufacturers did not match the allocation of wagons by the Railway Board and there were huge delays in delivery,” the CAG said.

The result of this discrepancy was that rakes were canceled by the parties for non-delivery by the railway administration, resulting in a loss of potential revenue. “Incidents of rakes being held back at the selected loading and unloading points/terminal yards have occurred, resulting in lost wagon days and their profitability,” CAG noted.

Around 69% of the wagons experienced an unusual delay in connecting the unconnected wagons, resulting in a loss of wagon productivity for the time it took to connect those wagons.

CAG also said more than 3.30 lakh wagons, accounting for 41% of the total, were handed over without approval from the Neutral Control Office (NCO) after being repaired in workshops and terminal yards, threatening safety. The corporal conducts an independent inspection of repaired or periodically overhauled cars before they are actually committed to open line service.

According to CAG, the analysis of railway data from 2016-17 to 2020-21 revealed that the holding time accounted for almost half of the total journey time and therefore the average speed was also almost half of the average speed with no holding time.

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