Railway officials on Thursday were baffled to find that a wagon carrying bags of compost reached its destination almost four years after it had left from its starting point.
Wagon number 107462 was booked in November 2014 to carry fertilizer bags from Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam to a shop in Uttar Pradesh's Basti district. The wagon reached Basti railway station on Wednesday.
The bogie was reportedly carrying a consignment of 1,316 kg of Di-ammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertilizer bags valued at Rs 14 lakh.
The fertiliser belonged to Indian Potash Limited and had been sold to M/s Ramachandra Gupta.
"This wagon was found parked at a station under Northern Railway and was tracked when North Eastern Railways started looking for it," said Chief Public Relation Officer (North Eastern Railway) Sanjay Yadav.
The owner of the product, Manoj Kumar Gupta of M/s Ramchandra Gupta, had sent a letter to Railway officials when he realised that his parcel containing the fertilizer had not reached its destination. However, despite repeated reminders from the company, the wagon could not be tracked down.
It had reportedly passed through several stations unnoticed in the past three years. It is speculated that the wagon was attached to several other trains over the years, and therefore went unnoticed.
Indian Potash Limited, which had booked the consignment, thought the parcel to be lost and had filed a claim with the Indian Railways.
The fertilizer-filled wagon is now lying unattended at Basti Railway station since the compost inside has decayed and the owner has refused to take it. The owner has slammed the Railways for its negligence and has stated that he is planning to recover the cost of the decayed fertilizer from the Indian Railways on an assessment basis.
Speaking to TNM, Sanjay Yadav, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), North Eastern Railways said, "It appears that this specific wagon/ bogie was part of the rake and got detached from the train. It was sent to a yard for repairs as it became unfit for running on the track."
When asked about the lapse in follow-up, the CPRO said that the matter is being probed to ascertain the exact reason for the delay.
On the loss accruing from the delay, Yadav said that "only the consignee would be able to tellâ€ť.
He informed that the material is being delivered to the same consignee and said, "Senior officials from Central division told us that the consignee is ready to take the material".
The consignee is reportedly preparing to seek damages for the delayed delivery of material.
Railway officials, meanwhile, are trying to investigate where the wagon was all these years and how it went unnoticed.