Railway Board failed to assess electric locos’ requirement: CAG

Piyush Goyal
New Delhi: Union Minister for Railways and Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal addresses at the launch of the Global Innovation Index – 2019, in New Delhi on July 24, 2019. (Photo: IANS/PIB)

New Delhi, Sep 23 : The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Wednesday said that despite the target of achieving 100 per cent electrification by 2022, the Railway Board failed to assess the requirement of electric locos properly, resulting in a 20 percent increase in diesel locos during 2012-2018, which adversely affected quality of maintenance.

The findings were mentioned in a CAG report tabled in the Parliament on Wednesday.

In its performance audit on “Assessment and Utilisation of Locomotives and Production and Maintenance of LHB Coaches in Indian Railways”, the government auditor said that the increase in the requirement of electric locos and the simultaneous reduction in utilisation of diesel locos was not adequately considered while assessing loco requirements.

“In the Mission Electrification and De-carbonization, the Minister of Railways issued directives (September 2017) for 100 per cent electrification in Indian Railways by 2022. The Railway Board, while assessing the loco requirements for the period 2012-19, did not properly review the increasing rate of electrification in the Railways. Increase in the requirement of electric locos and the simultaneous reduction in utilisation of diesel locos was not adequately considered while assessing loco requirements,” it said.

The CAG highlighted that the main criteria adopted by Railway Board for the assessment of requirement of locos were based on “previous year’s actual production”.

“Requirement of locos was not decided on the basis of actual need and there was no structured methodology for assessing the requirement of locos based on specifically laid down parameters. This led to more number of diesel locos in the system than required. In fact, the diesel loco holdings in Indian Railways increased by 20 per cent (947) during 2012-18,” it said.

Pulling up the national transporter, the CAG said that the Railways was holding and maintaining locos much more than the homing capacity available and this excess holding adversely impacted the quality of loco maintenance.

“Lack of quality control, use of inferior material, poor supervision and inadequate internal control occurred during scheduled maintenance of locos in loco sheds. Audit noticed unscheduled repairs of 17,530 diesel and 22,078 electric locos during 2012-17.

“On account of defective material in manufacturing etc, 46 per cent new locos failed within 100 days of their commissioning. Audit also noticed that almost half of diesel and electric locos failed after their scheduled maintenance by loco sheds,” it said.

The performance audit on production and maintenance of LHB coaches pointed out that data of accidents and fatalities showed that there is an urgent need to switch over to LHB rakes to ensure safety of the railway passengers, especially in trains with higher speeds.

“During 2013-14 to 2017-18, only 30 per cent of the total 19,327 coaches produced were of LHB type. Modern Coach Factory, Rae Bareli (MCF) was set up only for production of LHB coaches. However, against a combined installed capacity of 5,000 LHB coaches for 2013-18, only 1,842 LHB coaches (shortfall of 63 per cent) were actually produced,” it said.

“During 2015-16 to 2017-18, only 108 ICF conventional rakes out of 195 planned (55 per cent) could be converted into LHB rakes. Meanwhile, out of 49,033 ICF design coaches, 609 coaches have already attained their codal life of 25 years as on 31 March 2018. This has implication on passenger safety. About 13 per cent (6,259 coaches) were between the age of 20 and 25 years and would need to be replaced in the next five years,” it said.

The CAG also said that the Indian Railways need to replace at least 6,868 coaches (14 per cent) over a period of next five years. “However, the present production programme was not able to meet the requirement of coach production,” it said.

It also highlighted that the Indian Railways did not have adequate facilities in their workshops for Periodical Overhauling (POH)/Intermediate Overhauling (IOH) of LHB coaches.

Related Posts