Railway division moves more coal, records rise in freight earnings

Failure of paddy crop in the delta has hit the foodgrains freight volume in Tiruchi Railway Division during the current fiscal even as the division achieved more in coal loading.

The Tiruchi Division could achieve only 0.431 million tonnes in foodgrains loading in the current financial year up to January, though the target set by the Railway Board for the Division in the 2012-13 is 1.73 million metric tonnes.

Railway officials here attribute the sharp decline in foodgrains loading to partial failure of paddy crop during the ‘kuruvai’ and the ‘samba’ seasons especially in the three delta districts, which fall under the jurisdiction of the division.

Paddy loading is essentially done by the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation from various places across the division, including Thanjavur, Mayiladuthurai, Kumbakonam, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Sirkazhi and Cuddalore.

Foodgrains loading during the corresponding period (from April to January) in 2011-12 was comparatively better when the achievement was 0.746 million tonnes, he added.

Coal, cement and foodgrains constitute the major commodities loaded in the division, which bagged the General Manager's Inter Divisional Overall Efficiency Shield after a gap of seven years last fiscal primarily owing to its excellent performance in the freight front.

Encompassing 13 districts, the division achieved 9.60 million tonnes in overall freight loading a month before the end of 2011-12 financial year, against the target of 8.5 million tonnes.

Officials say cement loading too dipped in the current year as compared to the previous fiscal. Loading till January was 1.30 million tonnes as against 1.52 million tonnes during the corresponding period last year.

Labour and storage problems in Kerala are attributed to be the factors behind the drop in cement loading . Bulk of cement loaded in Ariyalur district, where many cement companies operate, are dispatched to Kerala, say railway officials.

Freight earning

Despite the downward trend in foodgrains and cement, divisional railway officials say that the overall freight earning has gone up.

The division has done well in coal loading attaining eight per cent more in the current fiscal up to January. Against the total target of 5.50 million tonnes in coal loading, the division attained 4.852 million tonnes till January.

Coal loading is done from Karaikal Port from where iron ore is also being moved through rail from this financial year. Iron ore moved through rail from the Karaikal Port was 0.26 million tonnes up to January.

The Railway Board has set 10.49 million tonnes as the overall freight loading target for the division during 2012 -13, the official said adding that the achievement up to January was 7.42 million tonnes.