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Wednesday, Aug 18, 2004

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Lalu orders probe into irregularities

By Our Special Correspondent

PATNA, AUG. 17. The Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad, today ordered a probe into the irregularities in the carriage of freight after he detected under-assessment during a raid that terminated at the Asansol Railway Station in West Bengal today. He warned of stern action against all those involved.

Mr. Prasad found that the consignments weighed at least 17 tonnes more than what the booking papers with the guard of the Millennium Parcel Express, which he inspected at Danapur yesterday, showed. He had all the wagons go through the weighing bridge at Asansol and the goods weighed 522 tonnes, 17 tonnes more than what had been entered in the receipts.

Mr. Prasad had gone to Asansol in a special train to supervise the weighing process and returned to Patna after checking the weight of the consignments.

Railways' loss

The loss of revenue to the Railways on account of this lower levy was Rs. 47,000. The receipts from the consignments totalled Rs. 12.6 lakhs.

Mr. Prasad said the under-assessment of goods deprived the Railways of several crores of rupees annually and termed it a major scam.

Mr. Prasad said he would break the nexus that existed among the officials and the consignors and the consignees. He said he would ensure the profitability of the railways in the days to come.

Mr. Prasad said that once the probe got to the bottom of the racket he would not hesitate to order the dismissal from service of the guilty if warranted.

Consignee fined

Our New Delhi Special Correspondent reports:

After Mr. Lalu Prasad led the charge in Patna, his Ministry's Vigilance Squad, guided by the Chairman, Railway Board, R.K. Singh, carried out a raid at the Subzi Mandi station here on Monday evening which revealed that one bogie of the Millennium Parcel Express train had 10.72 tonnes of excess loading of goods over the authorised capacity of 18 tonnes per wagon.

The overloading was to the extent 60 per cent of the prescribed limit. In the records, only 527 packets had been loaded but the number of packets actually found in the bogie was 924.

The consignee trading company was fined Rs. 2,33,032.

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