Railway officials taken for a royal ride

Unloading of parcel from a goods train

After two sleepless nights spent re-weighing bulk parcels in both trains coming from Balti station in New Delhi to the City, officials learnt the hard way that they had received incorrect information from the Northern Railway Division.

The detaining of the trains has also resulted in disrupting the carefully-drawn schedule of other parcel trains and loss of freight income for the division.   

To generate additional revenue, the scheme of leasing out an entire Valuable Parcel Train (VPU) to private concerns to transport goods was initiated by the Division just three weeks ago. A private courier concern, Rakesh Cargo Private Limited, was awarded the contract to transport parcels in trains plying both sides between Balti station (located 12 km from New Delhi railway station) and Bangalore. The agreement mandated that the maximum capacity in each wagon not exceed 23 tonnes (23,000 kg).

After the luggage in one goods train equipped with 13 wagons was loaded at Balti station, the luggage was re-weighed at New Delhi station with the help of sophisticated weighing machines. Officials at the Northern Division, found that it was overloaded by 29.92 tonnes, which would have attracted a penalty of Rs 10,75,577. The information was passed on to officials at the Bangalore Division, sources said.

Bangalore City station lacks weigh bridge facilities. Hence, when the train reached the City station last week, the luggage was shifted to Yeshwantpur for weighing on private weigh bridges. In all, 15 Travel Ticket Examiners spent an entire night taking the details.
It was a novel experience for the Division as it was the first time such an exercise was carried out. To their dismay, they learnt that there was no over-loading.

They decided to weigh the luggage again when another train with 15 wagons arrived from Balti the next day.  "After weighing six wagons and finding them to be of correct weight, we abandoned it," said an official. It was just waste of labour and time, an official observed.

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