Indian Railways: CAG Flags Slow Progress In Reducing Travel Time Of Passenger And Freight Trains

by Arun Kumar Das - Apr 7, 2022 10:54 AM +05:30 IST
Indian Railways: CAG Flags Slow Progress In Reducing Travel Time Of Passenger And Freight TrainsA freight train. (Photo Credits: Aaron C/Wikimedia Commons)
Snapshot
  • In its latest report tabled in Parliament, the CAG has pointed out that there was no significant improvement on the mobility outcomes despite investing Rs 2.5 lakh crore on track infrastructure.

Despite investing Rs 2.5 lakh crore on track infrastructure during 2008-19, Indian Railways has failed to speed up passenger and freight trains, observed Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.

In its latest report tabled in Parliament, the CAG has pointed out that there was no significant improvement on the mobility outcomes.

Mission Raftaar introduced in 2016-17 targeted an average speed of 50 kmph for mail/express and 75 kmph for freight trains by 2021-22.

The CAG observed speed of mail/express and freight trains until 2019-20 was, however, still around 50.6 kmph and 23.6 kmph, respectively.

Out of 478 superfast (SF) trains, the scheduled speed of 123 SF trains (26 per cent) was less than the specified speed of 55 Kmph, it has noted.

The national auditor has found that Indian Railways has no guaranteed delivery time for goods consignment.

This was due to non-scheduling of goods trains operation, CAG has noted.

Coming down heavily on the implementation of the dedicated freight corridor project, the CAG observed that DFCCIL could not fully utilise the World Bank fund resulting in payment of avoidable commitment charges of Rs 16 crore.

Noting that no maintenance facility was created by the DFCCIL, the report has pointed out that out of total 4,844 route kilometre, only 2,346 route kilometre (48 per cent) of feeder routes were upgraded till November 2020.

The report has said that DFCCIL incurred avoidable expenditure of Rs 285.21 crore during the land acquisition process. The progress of the project got adversely affected due to delay in awarding of contracts. There was also a delay in appointment of consultants up to 32 months.

DFCCIL incurred avoidable extra expenditure of Rs 2,233.81 crore till March 2021 towards price escalation which was due to delay in completion of project.

CAG has also highlighted the fact that the railways had incurred avoidable expenditure of Rs 968.73 crore towards procurement of power from Bhartiya Rail Bijlee Company Limited (BRBCL). This avoidable expenditure includes Rs 463.30 crore towards fixed capacity charges and Rs 505.43 crore due to injudicious decision to discontinue power purchase agreement with TATA Power-distribution and procurement of power from BRBCL at higher tariff.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.


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