MUMBAI: Western Railway and Central Railway lead the pack as the biggest losers in terms of money earned from freight loading on the railways between April 1, 2016, and March 10, 2017, when compared to the same period between 2015-16. WR has seen a fall of a whopping 22.64% in its freight earning, the steepest fall among all 17 railway zones in the country, and CR has seen a drop of 11.11% in earnings.
According to statistics available with the railways, while WR had managed to earn Rs 11,541.44 crore between April 1, 2015 and March 10, 2016, the same period during the current financial year has seen its earnings touch just Rs 8.929 crore. In sheer volume, the loading fell from 75.18 million tonnes in 2015-16 to 65.72 million tonnes in the same period this fiscal. This is a drop of 12.58% in loading of freight.
CR’s earning fell from Rs 5,191.71 crore during the period between April 1, 2015 to March 10, 2016 to Rs 4,614.67 crore for the same period this year, a fall of 11.11%. Its loading also took a hit and fell from 54.60 million tonnes to 49.95 million tonnes.
It is a worrying stat, agreed railway officials, as CR and WR have some of the biggest ports under its jurisdiction. This includes Jawaharlal Nehru Port. which is India’s largest container-handling port, and Mumbai Port, falling in CR’s operational area.
According to Ministry of Shipping data, between April 2016 and January 2017, JNPT handled 51.23 million tonnes of cargo, down from 53.54 million tonnes last year, and Mumbai Port, which handled 52.94 million tonnes, up from 51.4 million tonnes last year. WR’s operational area includes Kandla Port which handled the highest cargo among all ports in India with 88.47 million tonnes, up from 82.19 million tonnes last year, shipping ministry data reveals.
Overall the railways, as was expected, managed to keep its date with the ‘billion tonne’ club by loading 1031.91 million tonnes for this financial year till March 10. Officials spoke to said that poor coal demand through much of 2016 was the main reason for the poor show.