Around 6,000 bags of wheat brought to Vadodara from Punjab on a goods train on Monday afternoon was destroyed after getting drenched during heavy downpour in the last two days. The bags were lying open at the platform in Navayard as they could not be moved in time to safer place.
A total 12,000 bags of wheat weighing 3,600 tonne was brought here and around half of them were moved to a godown of the Food Corporation of India.
Officials of the Western Railways said that the responsibility to move the goods to godown stays with the persons or agencies booking the material. “Cover shade is not provided anywhere and it is not possible for us to do so. The responsibility of moving the goods lie with the persons who book it, and not with the Railways,” ADRM, Western Railways, Amit Kumar Singh said.
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The Food Corporation of India puts the responsibility on the contractor and slapped him with a fine for loss and damage.
Contractor Parim Thakkar said that the railway officials slapped him a fine of Rs 3.5 lakh for the loss. The incident is not new for Vadodara railway station. It had happened last year as well as the year before. The contractor said that he has been fined in lakhs because of the lack of proper shade at the railway station because moving a huge consignment during rainy season is not easy as unpredictable rainfall destroys food grain easily.
“Railway officials can prevent the destruction of huge consignment of food grains by creating a shade at the platform, as there is no other way to save it from sudden rains. We try our best to move the bags in time but we can do little as they are dropped at a platform with nothing to save it from rain, theft or anything else,” he said.
City Congress party took up the matter and shot a protest letter to the collector demanding action. “There is no provision to protect tonnes of wheat destroyed in rain water. A similar incidence of negligence took place last year too, food grains enough to feed 5,000 families for a year were wasted. Till date no actions are taken on any one,” said Congress president Narendra Ravat.
“Vadodara Congress strongly condemns the same, and requests you to intervene in this matter and take strong measures to ensure this does not happen in future and punish all those responsible for this criminal waste of food grains and public money,” he added.