Jul 31, 2010

A goods train carrying rice disappears

It can happen only in India. A goods train carrying rice has disappeared.

The train was carrying 26,000 quintals (or 260 metric tonnes) of rice, stacked in 40 coaches. The rice stocks belonged to the Food Corporation of India (FCI), which had loaded the grain on May 23, 2010 at Dhamora (Rampur), and the food stock was to be delivered at Jorhat in Assam.  Over two months have passed, and the FCI is unable to locate the goods train.   

Well, I thought only the renowned magician P C Sarkar had the ability to make trains disappear before our eyes!!

This is not the first time however that a goods train has disappeared. I remember in the early 1980s, a goods train carrying chemical fertiliser from the public-sector National Fertiliser Ltd (NFL) had disappeared somewhere in Andhra Pradesh. As a young reporter with Indian Express, I recall a news report that I had written on this mysterious disappearance act. If I remember correctly, even a year later the NFL had failed to track the fertiliser that had disappeared.

I did not follow the news story thereafter. But it will be interesting if some intrepid reporter is able to find out from NFL whether the chemical fertiliser was ever traced. Also, what happened to the train? Was it ever traced?       

I am sure you must be equally baffled at such disappearance acts. Only a month back, nearly 500,000 tonnes of iron ore valued at Rs 200-crore, and seized by the Karnataka forest department and Lok Ayukta, had disappeared from Bellikeri Port in Karnataka. I sometimes wonder how can such a huge quantity of metal simply disappear? It certainly would require a massive operation, involving hundreds of people and officials, and it shouldn't be difficult to pin down the culprits.

But such is the indifference that we have become accustomed to that we don't even raise an eyebrow. We no longer question, and make any effort to force the authorities to bring the crooks to book. We have simply accepted such frauds (and this one probably defies any visible logic) as nothing unusual. As a nation we have become immune to frauds, the size and scale does not matter any more.

Mera Bharat Mahaan


Arvind said...

Is there a related news article or link? I can't seem to find reports about this in the mainstream media.

Anonymous said...

It was based on a Muradabad-dateline story on the front page of Dainik Jagran (July 31, 2010).

Sridhar said...

India is a country that can tolerate frauds...have we not been tolerating frauds of the type of Suresh Kalmadi, Sharad Pawar, who have effectively made thousands of resources - money, grains etc disappear. What if this disappearances are to the coffers of some UK companies or to the stomachs of rats...And the lesson...We tolerate frauds...

pv said...

Tried looking for this news - couldnt find any reference!

Anonymous said...

The train has finally been traced. I am told that the train had reached the Northeast, but because of floods and disruption of rail tracks, the entire rice stocks had to be shifted to the meter gauge rail. The 40 coaches than became 82,but the stocks were finally delivered.

Devinder Sharma