CAG red-flagged Anomalies in Freight Weight process of Railways in December 2014

New Delhi: The CBI may have revealed the under-weighment of freight transported by railways on massive scale, but the issue was red flagged by CAG in its report of December 2014. The government auditor found that out of 1,176 loading points, the railways did not have its own weighbridges in 759 points. “The railway board failed to ensure weightment of all freight traffic. A majority of loading points were not covered by weighbridges,” the CAG noted.

It added, “They were largely (65%) dependent on privately-owned weighbridges, especially for bulk consignments such as coal and iron ore.” It was also found that the railway administration failed to regularly check the performance of weighbridges which increased risk of revenue loss in carrying bulk consignments.

It was also noticed by the auditor that there were deficiencies in proper upkeep and maintenance of these weighbridges.

“There is thus a high risk of revenue loss in carrying of bulk consignments,” it said. In a stinging remark, the CAG said, “These checks were generally not being followed by the railway administration especially for private weighbridges. Performance of these checks were not being monitored.”

“These checks assume importance in view of the railways’ dependence on private weighbridges and the fact that a significant proportion of bulk commodities are weighed at private weighbridges,” it added. Noting that the over-aged weighbridges are required to be replaced timely to ensure correct weighment, the auditor’s scrutiny revealed that 31.78% of weighbridges manned by railways were over-aged while in private sidings around 40% were over-aged. Thus private sidings had a larger proportion of over-aged weighbridges.

It also noted that despite railway board’s repeated instructions, the zonal railways failed to ensure 100% weighment of loose traffic. The CAG had said, “Further, in view of the high percentage of overloading noticed in the test checked cases of parcel vans it is advisable that their weighment is also made compulsory so as to avoid leakage of revenue.”

Railways carried around 1,008 million tonne of freight during the year 2012-13 and earned Rs 85,262 crore which comprised 67% of the total revenues earned by the transporter.