CAG thumbs down to diesel locomotives contract

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New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Diesel locomotives manufactured under an agreement between India and the US will have no scope for productive use by Indian Railways as it planned 100 per cent electrification, a CAG report tabled in Parliament on Friday said.

“As long time has elapsed, there was a need to reassess the necessity of setting up the new diesel locomotive manufacturing unit, before awarding the contract. Audit analysis showed that the diesel locomotives available with the Railways are sufficient in numbers to take care of the present needs,” the report said while coming down heavily on the agreement for setting up of the diesel locomotive manufacturing unit along with maintenance depot at Roza in Uttar Pradesh and Gandhidham in Gujarat.

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The Railways Ministry had proposed the setting up of the manufacturing unit at Marhowra in Bihar in September 2006. The contract was awared to GE Global Sourcing India Pvt Ltd in November 2015 for setting up of the manufacturing unit along with maintenance depots at Roza and Gandhidham.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) pointed out that the Railways planned to shift to total electrification of its broad-gauge routes by 2021 and will run trains on dedicated freight corridors on electric mode.

“Even if the Railways do not go for 100 per cent electrification, it is expected that most high traffic routes will definately be electrified and the need for diesel traction will remain only for low-traffic routes, for which high horsepower diesel locos are not likely to be used optimally,” the CAG said.

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The CAG said that consequently the need for high horsepower diesel traction in the Railways is going to diminish in the years to come.

“Indian Railways has realised this eventuality and decided to significantly reduce the production at diesel locomotive works at Varanasi… Also the production plan of diesel Loco Modernisation Works at Patiala does not include any plan for production of diesel locomotive in 2018-19,” it said.

“As such the diesel locomotives procured under this agreement will have no scope for productive utilisation,” the auditor said.

“Thus, setting up new infrastructure for diesel locomotive production and incurring a huge liability of Rs 17,126.08 crore is not in sync with the overall strategic vision of the Railways,” it added.

The CAG recommended that the Railways may revisit the issue.

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–IANS

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