Acting on the decision of Indian Railways, South Central Railway has decided not to levy any charges for demurrage or wharfage for Goods and Parcel freight traffic from 22nd March to 14th April, 2020 in the wake of COVID-19 Corona Virus being classified as a case of Natural Calamity by the Finance Ministry, Government of India. This initiative of the Railways comes to further relax the norms from the earlier decision to slash the demurrage and wharfage rates to half of the prescribed tariff. No charges will be levied for stacking, detention and ground usage charge in case of container traffic too.
As already known, South Central Railway has been running freight train services to transport essential commodities since last weekend, in the wake of stoppage of passenger carrying trains on account of the country wide lock down announced by the Government. In the last six days i.e., from 22nd to 27th March, 2020, the zone has registered freight loading of 10.17 Million Tonnes, averaging to around 1.70 MTs each day.This has been possible on account of loading around 270 freight trains services in the six day period, signifying the seriousness towards meeting National needs in times of crisis.
The commodities primarily ranged from Coal to Thermal power plants for generating electricity, fertilizers to meet the needs of agricultural sector, food grains to ensure uninterrupted supply chain for the people and transporting of milk to the National Capital, Delhi from Renigunta. Towards this, extensive coordination is being maintained with various State Governments, to seek their involvement in smooth running of trains and to deliver their own needs, wherever possible. With round the clock command control in operation, monitored at the highest level by Shri Gajanan Mallya, General Manager, South Central Railway, the zone is geared to render its best to tide over the situation.
In addition, SCR, which is the gateway to South from all other directions has handled inter change operations of 961 freight trains originating from other zones and passing through its network, averaging to around 160 freight trains daily.
With the looming threat from the Global Pandemic, SCR is compelled to strive hard and overcome various challenges to ensure that the wheels of freight trains keep rolling to their destinations. Railway personnel involved in the emergent train running duties including those from the Operating, Safety, Security, Track Maintenance, Commercial departments etc., are being adequately taken care including thermal screening before commencing duties, provision of sanitizers, soaps and masks for use and maintenance of social distance etc., Medical attention is available for them for the rail staff on call 24/7. The working places, rest houses etc., are also continuously sanitized so as to provide safe environments. Disinfection is being carried out in offices and shed premises.
To negate any possibility of contracting infections, the mandatory breath analyzer (BA Test) has been done away for Crew Operating Freight trains, where no other types of services are being run. To implement the measure, ensuring no compromise on safety, Loco Inspectors have been deputed to keep a stringent check. Likewise, manual signing of attendance registers in lieu of Bio-metric verification has also been arranged.
Loading and unloading of goods at the originating and destination points is yetanother huge task, since the services of local contract labour workforce needs to be requisitioned. Officials of the zone have been exploring all avenues to ensure the availability of man power to meet the requirements, duly ensuring social distance conditions at the time of their work.
The General Manager, SCR has clearly spelt out the priorities for the railways in this critical times, focusing on one side to ensure movement of essential commodities to various locations, while at the same time making no compromise when it comes to the care and welfare of the railway personnel involved in various emergent operating duties, to the extent of reaching out to the immediate domestic needs of their families too. During his review meetings with other senior officials, the General Manager continuouslyseeking updates on the number of personnel involved in duties each day and on the roaster management system which ensures delegation of official tasks in a well drawn rotational system, so that every employee performs emergent dutiesequitably on rotation.
Source: South Central Railway