LUCKNOW: In this age of jets, when speed is the new normal, a wagon of a freight train (maalgadi) of Indian Railways, one of the largest rail networks in the world, covered a distance of 1400 km at snail's pace in around four years. The stark revelation was made when the wagon carrying fertilizers worth Rs 10 lakh reached its destination -- Basti -- in eastern Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.
The wagon attached to the freight train started from Vishakhapatnam in 2014 and lost track, remaining untraceable all this time. The businessman, who was supposed to receive the consignment of fertilizer, claimed that it was all stale and of no use. Even the railway officials are shocked over the incident.
As per sources, Indian Potash Company had booked wagon no. 107462, loaded with a consignment of fertilizer from Vishakhapatnam port in the name of M/S Ramchandra Gupta of Basti. After a few months, when the wagon did not reach the destination, Gupta lodged a complaint with the railways. This triggered the exchange of a series of letters between the railways and the Basti businessman.
Ultimately, when railway failed to trace the wagon, Gupta gave up and stopped correspondence with the railways. When th wagon suddenly reached Basti on Wednesday, Gupta refused to receive the consignment worth Rs 10 lakh saying it was of no use. Slamming railways for its 'callousness' which resulted in such a huge loss to him, Gupta is now seeking compensation from the authorities.
However, the railway officials are now trying to find out as to where the wagon had been all this long. As per Sanjay Yadav, CPRO, Northeastern Railway, wagons were detached from the freight train owing to some technical snag sometimes. "Probably, this wagon also met the same fate. But nothing can be claimed without getting it thoroughly probed," said Yadav wondering how the wagon could remain untraceable for around four years. "Responsibility will be fixed. Those found guilty of this laxity will be punished by the authorities," said the CPRO.