New Delhi: Scrap is a lucrative trade for Indian Railways and its contribution to the revenues of the public sector behemoth is going up year on year.
But to keep the mafia out of the trade, the Railway Ministry is mulling over a move to switch over to online to conduct the scrap selling business.
The move also aims at bringing about transparency in the lucrative scrap trade, a senior railway ministry official said.
“A pilot project is being commissioned by the Southern Railway to sell scrap through e-auction. This has been done on an experimental basis. There are some lacunae which needs to be addressed before opting for full-fledged e-auction,” said the official.
Railways sell thousand tonnes of scrap, including about 15,000 wagons, 1,200 coaches, 80 to 100 locomotives, every year through public auction.
“Currently, scrap is sold in open auction in the presence of concerned officials but the role of the mafia cannot be ruled out. Once it is online, then not only mafia role will be eliminated but there will also be complete transparency in the entire scrap trade,” said the official.
Railways aim to earn about Rs2,000 crore from scrap sale in the current fiscal while it has already earned Rs538 crore in the first quarter of this year.
Like the railway’s overall financial turnaround, earnings from scrap are also on the rise in the last three years. Railways had earned Rs1,834 crore in 2006-07 while in 2005-06 the earning was Rs1,365 crore and Rs1,032 crore in 2004-05.
The earnings from scrap is higher in Northern Zone followed by the Southern Zone at Rs225 crore and Rs221 crore respectively last year, said the official.
“Before going for e-auction, railways are planning to introduce some value-added service in scrap business by shredding and segregating scrap to suit the requirement of end-users. This would improve the earnings of the railways,” said the official.