More than 3.30 lakh repaired wagons were operated without NCO approval and this has compromised safety, according to a new report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. Neutral Control Office in workshops/yards are meant for independent examination of repaired wagons or those that go undergo periodic overhauls before their actual handing over to open line for operations.
An NCO approval is vital as wagons repaired in workshops are subjected for a check by the Neutral Train Examiner (NTXR). Only those certified fit can be inducted into service. Those found defective by NTXR are detained for further attention.
“More than 3.30 lakh wagons constituting 41 per cent of total were passed locally (without NCO approval) after being repaired at workshops/terminal yards, compromising safety,” the CAG report said.
It also said that an analysis of the FOIS (Freight Operations Information System) data for 2016-17 to 2020-21 revealed that the halt time was close to half of the total travel time and hence the average speed was also close to half of the average speed without halt time.
The report also said that in violation of the codal provisions, Zonal Railways did not participate in the assessment of wagon requirement or send proposals or justification for their acquisition to the Railway Board.
“In absence of any input from the zones, RB kept on changing requirement of wagons. Available wagon holding was more than the wagon requirement, as assessed in audit on the basis of wagon utilisation norm (NTKM), throughout the review period.
“Supply of wagons by wagon manufacturers was not commensurate with allotment of wagons made by the Railway Board and there were huge delays in supply. Rakes were cancelled by parties due to non-supply by the Railway administration resulting in loss of potential earnings,” it said.
The report also highlighted that there were instances of detention of rakes in the selected loading and unloading points/terminal yards which resulted in loss of wagon days and their earning capacity.
“In around 69 per cent wagons abnormal delay was noted in connecting the unconnected wagons resulting in loss of earning capacity of wagons for the time taken for connecting those wagons. Moreover, assistance of FOIS was not taken in all zones for connecting those unconnected wagons,” it said.
The CAG also raised concerns over six tenders finalized by the Railway Board during the period from 2016-17 to 2020-21, in which cost of wheels and axles consumed and destroyed in testing was included in the total supplies made to the Railways instead of supplying free of charge by the manufactures.
“This was in contravention to the provisions of the standard specifications of RDSO and led to loss to the tune of Rs 5.88 crore. In another case, placing orders for a specification of the axle other than requirement of the end user resulted in procurement of additional 3,400 units of axles resulting into avoidable expenditure of Rs 18.01 crore,” it said.