About 0.59 million tonnes of food grains loaded in 2012-13

Having surpassed the target set in freight loading in the last two financial years consecutively, the Tiruchi Railway Division failed to achieve the overall target in goods loading in the 2012-13 fiscal for various reasons.

Barring coal, loading of other major commodities such as cement, food grains, and fertilizers in the division were all well below the target set for each one of them.

As against the overall loading target of 10.49 million tonnes set by the Railway Board for the Division in 2012-13 financial year, the achievement was 8.99 million tonnes.

Coal loading at the end of March 31 was 5.73 million tonnes exceeding the target of 5.50 million tonnes, while the achievement in cement loading was only 1.62 million tonnes as against the target of 2.46 million tonnes. Coal is loaded from the Karaikal port from where iron ore was also moved by rail from the 2012-13 fiscal. Food grains movement witnessed a sharp fall with the division loading only 0.59 million tonnes as against the target of 1.73 million tonnes. In respect of fertilizer loading, the division achieved 0.53 million tonnes against the target of 0.60 million tonnes. Railway officials attribute the steep drop in food grains loading to substantial loss of paddy crop during the “kuruvai” and “samba” periods owing to monsoon failure. Paddy loading is essentially done from the delta districts by the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation, including at Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Mayiladuthurai, and Sirkazhi.

As far as cement is concerned, a host of factors are attributed by the railway officials for its decline in loading. There was no major demand in the market and the freight rates had gone up resulting in the drop in cement loading, a top railway official said and added that labour problem for a brief period in Kerala was also a factor.

Bulk of cement was moved to Kerala in addition to Karnataka from Ariyalur district where many cement companies operate, say railway officials.

However, the division was able to capture new product — iron ore which started moving from the Karaikal Port from the 2012-13 fiscal, the official added.