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Rlys penalises firms for overloading — Mulls higher penalty

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Sept. 30

THE Ministry of Railways has imposed penalties on firms involved in overloading of freight traffic in excess of the rated capacity. It has also suspended certain officials, while transferring and sending some others on leave. The move follows the surprise inspections carried out on September 27.

The consigners who have been penalised include National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), Sesa Goa, Jindal Steel, Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) and Samrudha Overseas, while the consignees hauled up include Jindal Vijayanagar Steel Ltd (JVSL) and Janpath International Nirmata Ltd, a Railway Ministry official said.

Of the total of 2,885.95 tonnes of freight overloading detected, 696 tonnes were on account of Samrudha Overseas.

The Railways has blacklisted this firm subsequent to such malpractices, said an official statement. Large-scale overloading was witnessed primarily in coal and iron.

While the Railway Ministry has informed the Ministries of Coal, Mines, and Shipping, about the action taken, the Finance Ministry has been appraised of the massive revenue losses on account of evasion of Central excise, sales tax, royalty and Income-Tax by the consigners and consignees, the statement said.

The Ministry is also working towards increasing the penalty imposed on firms involved in such malpractices to at least six times the total freight charges of the entire commodity, from the current level of three times.

Additionally, the Ministry has also transferred, suspended and sent some officials on leave, who, the Ministry suspects, are "conniving in sustaining overloading, leakages of revenue through undercharging" and thus are "defrauding the Central Public Exchequer."

These include the General Manager South-Western Railway, Hubli, Mr G.L. Pant; Chief Commercial Manager Mr K.B.N Das of South-Western Railway, Hubli; Chief Commercial Manager of West Central Railway, Jabalpur, Mr Radhacharan, and Adviser (Vigilance), Railway Board, Mr Shiv Kumar.

In addition, the Executive Director, Traffic Transportation, Railway Board, Mr V.K. Roy, who is in-charge of monitoring of the freight traffic, has been transferred.

The suspended officials include Assistant Operations Manager, West Central Railway, Jabalpur, Mr D.P. Srivastava; Chief Controller, West Central Railway, Jabalpur, Mr Ishrat Patel; Station Manager, Katni, Murwari, Mr F.S. Chauhan; Senior Godown Clerk, Murwari, Mr S.S. Thakur, and Mr Jitendra Sharma, Murwari.

All the Zonal Railways have been directed to install 150-200 new weight systems, besides putting the existing ones in order, within a short timeframe.

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