The current trend of traffic throughput has left South-East Central Railway (SECR), the country’s largest freight-loading zonal railway, worried.

There has been virtually no growth in first seven months of the current fiscal till October — SECR moved 84.11 million tonnes (mt) compared with 83.92 mt in the same period last year, that is, a mere 0.19 mt growth. The pro-rata target for period was set at 88.38 mt. If this trend persists, achieving the targeted throughput of 158 million tonnes (mt) by March 31 will be out of question. Inquiries reveal that coal movement, accounting for nearly 75 per cent of SECR’s total traffic, has virtually stagnated, and that too at a time when almost the entire incremental traffic of eight mt targeted for the current fiscal is to come from coal.

Total traffic

SECR’s total traffic for 2012-13 has been set at 158 mt against 150.7 mt handled in 2011-12. “We all know the monsoon months starting from June are bad but this year the loading was bad even in April and May,” Railway sources observe. “The road-bridging (road transportation of coal from pitheads to nearest railheads) left much to be desired.”

Till September, the Ib Valley coalfields under Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd loaded 14.16 mt compared to 14.9 mt in the same period last year. The same is true about South Eastern Coalfields Ltd ’s (SECL) CIC collieries loading 10.14 mt (10.4 mt).

The loading at SECL’s Korba mines was up at 12.78 mt (11.3 mt). “We, almost daily, talk to coal companies as to how to step up loading and we together will do whatever is possible to do, but we concede that there are problems,” the sources observe. SECR’s cement loading this year also has been bad — down 11 per cent. “The improvement in loading of other commodities like foodgrains and containerised traffic could not compensate the loss,” the sources add.

(This article was published on November 6, 2012)
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