"The idea is to ensure smooth passage of freight to aid its timely supply," the official said. Priority goods are not diverted unless necessary for operational requirements, ensuring their delivery on time. The list of the new routes identified for priority movement include coal loading from Northern Coalfields Ltd in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh, all coal traffic from Pathardih in Jharkhand, coal traffic in eastern and central zones through Mughalsarai up to Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, coal traffic from western railway catering to Allahabad division of the north central railway.
The prioritization of these routes is in addition to the routes already on the priority list, such as Panem in Jharkhand and Korea-Rewa fields of Bilaspur division in Chhatisgarh. A recent order to general managers in-charge of operations and commercial asks them to ensure that freight movement on the specified routes is not unnecessarily delayed. It also asks them to ensure that rakes are not diverted for reasons other than operational convenience.
Independent experts and coal users, however, are not enthused by the move. "While there is an agreement at the strategic level to introduce schemes on improving operations, they are short of empowering people who are at the level of implementation," said Vishwas Udgirkar, senior director at Deloitte in India.
An official with a state-run power company said rationalization in itself does not mean timely delivery of freight. "Rationalisation is basically for the purpose of streamlining route for calculation of freights, which does not necessarily mean reduction of freights or the time," the official said, requesting anonymity.
Even the Comptroller and Auditor General questioned the effectiveness of the rationalization scheme in a recent report. The Railways has reportedly run a loss in the first nine months of the current fiscal.
Bulk of the transporter's revenues come from freight, but passenger traffic uses up most of its resources. The Railway's ambitious plan to have dedicated freight corridors has also not made much progress. Union minister for railways Mamata Banerjee told general managers of all zonal units to improve freight loading and movement of goods trains.
Source- Economic Times