The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) has said that the diesel locomotive unit being built by American manufacturer General Electric (GE) is not in line with the Indian Railways’ aim to switch over to electric trains, reports The Financial Times. The Railways plans to migrate to 100 per cent electrification of all broad gauge lines by 2021, including setting up dedicated electrified freight corridors.
The CAG observed that in the event that the Railways did not go in for complete electrification, the necessity for diesel engines would only be on routes with low traffic, which would not warrant the high-horsepower engines that are being manufactured.
Setting up of a new infrastructure for production of diesel locomotives incurring a huge liability of Rs 17,126 crore is not in sync with the overall strategic vision of railways. In its audit report for the Railways for the financial year 2016-17, it added that the diesel locomotives in use were sufficient for present requirements.CAG Audit report on Railways for 2016-17
In 2015, the Railways had awarded GE with a contract to manufacture 1,000 diesel locomotives over a ten year period. While the Railways set its target for 100 per cent electrification of broad gauge routes only last September, it had reportedly asked GE to reconsider its manufacturing unit, but could not do anything as the contract had already been awarded.
The auditor added that the locomotives produced by GE would have no scope for productive utilisation in the future.
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