Finding serious flaws in the railways' ambitious Rs one lakh crore station redevelopment plans, the CAG has said the focus is mainly on improving passenger facilities and facade of stations and not on removing bottlenecks to ensure timely movement of trains, which is the basic service to be provided by the national transporter.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its report, "Augmentation of Station Line Capacity on Selected Stations in Indian Railways", tabled in Parliament today, said that the station modernisation plans should address infrastructural constraints.
"The station development/re-development plans mainly address on facilities for the passengers on the station premises and facade of stations only and not on removing constraints and bottlenecks for ensuring timely arrival and departure of trains to/from the stations, which should be one of the most important parameters of the quality of service being provided to the passengers," the audit report said.
It said that while over a period of time there has been a significant increase in the number of trains handled per day in the 15 selected stations, the infrastructure were not augmented
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The audit reviewed data on number of trains handled, platforms, washing pit lines and stabling lines in respect of these station for March 2007, March 2012 and March 2017 and observed that infrastructure such as platforms, washing pit lines and stabling lines at the stations were not augmented according to increase in number of trains handled on these stations over a period of time.
"Absence of adequate number of platforms was one of the important reason for detention of trains at the preceding station/outer signal," it said.
Of the 2,436 trains handled by the selected 15 stations as of March 2017, 638 trains are being run with 24 or more coaches every day.
However, on the selected 15 stations, out of 164 platforms, 100 platforms have the capacity to handle trains with 24 or more coaches.
Due to absence of adequate capacity of platforms, trains with higher number of coaches had to be handled on platforms of shorter lengths, which led to inconvenience to passengers in boarding and de-boarding trains.
In its recommendations, the auditor has said that modernisation and redevelopment of stations should address infrastructural constraints and works such as construction of additional platforms, stabling and washing pit lines, remodelling of yards.
"It may be desirable to increase the length of the platforms at major stations so as to accommodate trains of 24 or more coaches," it said.