CAG urges Railways to improve Parcel Service

NEW DELHI: Highlighting the lapses in parcel services, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has urged the Railways to improve the quality of services being provided so as to minimise complaints from customers.

The CAG in its report, which was tabled in Parliament on Friday, said the Indian Railways should recognise the need to augment its parcel business and reposition it as a separate line of business rather than an extension of its passenger transportation services.

“However, they did not undertake adequate steps to put in place the infrastructure and other institutional arrangements for improvement in parcel services,” the CAG said.

It also noted that parcel services continued to be a non-core activity without any specific emphasis on augmentation and improvement in the capacity of infrastructure or the quality of service.

The auditor also rapped the Railways, saying that the “computerisation of parcel services, which was started in 2005-06, was still not complete on a large number of locations”.

The CAG said that adequate measures for security monitoring and screening of the parcels were not available as seen at the selected parcel depots.

The auditor in its report also said that adequate weightment (weighing bridge) arrangements were not made or ensured by the railways for weightment of leased parcel traffic.

“On the other hand, rules were framed for termination of contracts after default of overloading. These were, however, not a deterrent as weightment was not being done as a regular measure to check overloading despite laid down norms,” the CAG said.

The auditor pointed out that response for booking of leased parcel traffic through SLRs (seating-cum-luggage rake) as well as parcel vans was inadequate. “The offers received were far less than space offered for lease… The railways did not allot parcel vans in 65 per cent of cases,” it said.

According to the report, for leasing of parcel space, there were delays of up to 240 days in finalisation of tenders by zonal railways.

“Customers had to cancel indents for VPs due to non-supply by the railway administration and in many cases parcel vans were declared sick after being loaded,” the CAG said.

“For non-leased traffic, zonal railways carried parcels beyond intended destination in a significant number of cases,” the CAG said.

“In the two-month test, the railways carried 13,565 over carried parcels back to their original destinations, thus resulting hardship to customers and created operational problems,” it said.