New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Tuesday informed Parliament that there was no policy or framework for setting up inland container depots (ICDs) and container freight stations (CFSs) in India. In the report ‘Performance Audit of Inland Container Depots (ICDs) and Container Freight Stations (CFSs)’ tabled in Parliament, CAG said ministry of commerce and industry guidelines, 1992 prescribed the requirement for setting up ICDs and CFSs and the agency’s audit found that these guidelines were just procedural. No policy or framework was laid down.

It also pointed out that neither the commerce ministry nor the Central Board of Indirect Taxes (CBIT) had any basic data on setting up and operations of ICDs and CFSs, which pointed towards a gross irregularity. The report said basic data such as number, location, operational status (i.e. functioning or closed), installed capacity, performance in terms of operating capacity, etc was unavailable with even a single reliable source.

Till March 2017, India had 129 ICDs, the maximum being in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. There were no ICDs in Jammu and Kashmir and only one ICD in Assam, signalling unequal distribution. Similarly, out of the total 168 CFSs in the country, Tamil Nadu had the highest number, followed by Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

The report pointed out that new ICDs and CFSs were being approved without assessing the capacity created and utilised, as a result of which nearly 40% of these facilities were operating at less than half of their installed capacity and another one third at 50 to 70% of their capacity.

The auditor said India had procedures for re-export of containers with hazardous waste as a result of which many containers were lying undisposed. During the audit, containers of hazardous waste were found lying undisposed comprising live bombs, war material scarp, used tyres, metal scarp and hazardous chemicals. The auditor test-checked 85 ICDs and found 7,877 containers occupying a total storage area of 1.17 lakh square metre was pending for disposal. Out of these, nearly 57% were pending disposal for more than three years.

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