Final Location Survey of Bilaspur-Manali-Leh New Broad Gauge Line

Proposed Line is to Provide all Weather Rail Connectivity to the Remote Regions of Himachal Pradesh and Leh-Ladakh 

After the significant progress in the completion of the rail line in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, the Indian Railways endeavours to extend the socio-economic benefits of rail transportation to other remote areas and challenging terrains of the hilly states (HP & J&K) where development is scarce.

Amongst the various socially desirable projects in the country, Bilaspur-Mandi-Leh Rail Line (route length 498 Kms) constitutes great significance. The project is of both strategic and economic, development and tourism importance, with its unique distinction being the highest railway track in the world.

Minister for Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu laid the foundation stone for the Final Location Survey Of Bilaspur-Manali-Leh New Broad Gauge Line, at Leh today (27th June 2017) in the august presence of distinguished guests on the o

ccasion. Shri R.K. Kulshrestha General Manager, Northern Railway and other Senior Railway officials were also present in the function.

Leh is the most important town in Ladakh region of J&K State having approximately 1.5 lakhs population. It has a high footfall of Indian & Foreign tourists each year.

The district Leh is the second largest district in the country with elaborate Army Establishments and is the Headquarter of 14 corps. The region being a cold desert, the temperature during the winter months (Oct-Mar) plummets down to well below freezing point. The road connectivity to this area is gets cut off from other parts of country due to heavy snowfall, thus necessitating all weather rail connectivity both for strategic as well as socio-economic needs.

In order to connect Leh with a broad gauge railway line with the rest of the country, Indian Railway have taken up Final Location Survey, a precursor to actual construction from Bilaspur to Leh via Manali. The alignment shall connect Mandi, Kullu, Manali, Keylong and other important towns of Himachal Pradesh & Jammu & Kashmir states enroute. The line from Bilaspur shall be further connected to Bhanupali between Anandpur Sahib and Nangal Dam.

The Proposed alignment passes through the Shivalik, Great Himalayan & Zanskar Ranges, areas with wide variation in height (600m to 5300 m above MSL) and Seismic zone IV and V  [ IS:1893(Part-I)-2002], necessitating  building of large number of tunnels, deep viaducts & bridges. The work of Final Location Survey has been entrusted by Ministry of Railways to RITES Ltd and is planned to be completed by March 2019 with an approximate cost of 157 crores.

Activities Involved for the Survey:

State of Art technologies are being employed to have a constructible, most economic, safe, and all weather railway line.

●       Development of corridors with different grades using Digital elevation Models, with overlays for Geological Maps, Snow & Avalanche Studies, Hydrological & Seismic Data using the latest software and selection of most optimum corridor.

●       Analysis of the selected corridor and development of most suitable alignment.

●       Geological and Geophysical investigations and design of bridges, tunnels & viaducts.

●       Marking of central line of alignment on site.

●       Preparation and submission of Detailed Project Report.

The construction of railway line in such difficult and treacherous terrain would be a daunting challenge for Indian Railways and would be an unmatched marvel globally once completed.

Railways to comply with domestic steel preference

NEW DELHI: The Steel Ministry constituted standing committee to implement the Policy on Preference for Domestically Manufactured Iron and Steel Products in government procurement has clarified that the Railways will have to comply with the domestic preference.

In its representations to the committee Railways had said, “Rail as a product should not be included in the list of iron and steel products.”

According to an official statement, in its response the committee noted that even though rails are produced through a complex and specialised processes, they will have to meet certain specified quality and performance criteria.

The clarification said, “However, there could always be more than one manufacturer (indigenous or foreign) meeting the above criteria. Therefore, argument put forward on this ground for its exclusion…is untenable and therefore, not accepted by the committee.”

The Railways has also sought exclusion from the mandatory domestic sourcing on conditions of procurement that are stipulated by external funding agencies. The Standing Committee said, “Where conditions of procurement by external funding agencies are governed by existing contracts/agreement/MoUs, policy provision shall not apply.”

However, for all future agreements, the domestic sourcing policy provision shall be applicable unless waiver is taken from Standing Committee to deal with specific case.

In response to the query by ONGC seeking clarity on whether steel used in the offshore platforms will be covered under the domestic sourcing norms preference norms, the Standing Committee responded, “Any project which has an aggregate steel products of value ₹ 50 crore or more, shall be eligible under this policy.”

Railways to add 400 Megawatt Solar Power capacity in the current fiscal

The national carrier is also planning to procure 300 Mw of solar energy from the Rewa Ultra Mega Solar (RUMS) park in Madhya Pradesh.

New Delhi: The Indian railways, which is working on an ambitious plan to reduce its dependence on conventional fuels and cut down energy bill, is planning to award 400 Megawatt (Mw) of solar energy generation capacity in the current financial year.

The transporter plans to award 200 MW of rooftop solar and 200 MW of land-based solar energy capacity in the current fiscal. Overall, railways has a target of installing 1,000 Mw of solar power and 200 Mw of wind energy by 2020.

“In terms of solar rooftop installations, we have a target of installing 500 Mw till 2020. So far, we have commissioned 17 Mw rooftop solar with the latest being 750 Kw at Guwahati, Assan. Our target is to award 200 Mw of rooftop this financial year out of which 100 Mw will be through the PPP route,” Railway Board Member (traction), Ghanshyam Singh told ETEnergyworld.

The national carrier is working with Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) for setting up 150 Mw solar energy capacity in Assam, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. “The 150 Mw will be set up on solar parks. In addition to this, the Railway Energy Management Company Ltd (REMCL) is also finalizing setting up 50 Mw solar capacity on railway land by next year as well as 62 MW of solar rooftop, the tender for that will be issued in a week’s time,” he said.

REMCL will also be setting up another 50 MW following confirmation of the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). In addition, Indian Railways is also working with Central Electronics Limited (CEL) for installing 100 MW of solar energy capacity. “We aim to cover 770 stations under this. MNRE is yet to provide the Viability Gap Funding (VGF),” a railway ministry official said.

The national carrier, under its ‘net zero energy’ plan is also planning to set up solar plants in a bid to run nearly 8000 stations on solar energy, as reported by ETEnergyworld. “We will be setting up solar plants in 800 stations. We have also begun sanctioning study for covering another 4,000 stations under the same category,” Singh said.

The national carrier is also planning to procure 300 Mw of solar energy from the Rewa Ultra Mega Solar (RUMS) park in Madhya Pradesh. “From Rewa, 50 MW solar energy capacity is in the final stages and another 250 MW is under negotiation. We are set to meet our required target by 2020,” Singh added.

He also added that the national transporter is working towards meeting its wind energy requirements too. With 37 MW of wind energy capacity commissioned so far, Indian Railways will be floating a tender for another 35 MW apart from 10.5 MW of wind capacity installation in the pipeline.

Adequate funds for completion of railway projects: CRB

BHUBANESWAR: Railway Board Chairman A K Mital during his recent visit to the East Coast Railway said funds would not be an issue and adequate funds would be given for ongoing railway projects, official sources said today.

Mittal said this while reviewing performance and progress of East Coast Railway especially on ongoing projects with General Manager Umesh Singh and other Principal Heads of the Departments of Railways at Rail Sadan, Bhubaneswar, according to an official release.

“Mital assured that funds for Railway projects for East Coast Railway would not be an issue and adequate funds would be given. He stressed on early completion of vital infrastructure projects to avoid cost overruns and to speed up mobility in this region,” it said.

Mital also sought co-operation from all agencies for development of Railway infrastructure and projects in this region.

Passenger gives up Train Fare subsidy, sends Cheque, Letter to Railways

The Railways is in a fix over a cheque of Rs. 950 sent by a passenger apparently to give up the subsidy borne by the government on the train fare between Jammu and Delhi.

NEW DELHI: The Railways is in a fix over a cheque of Rs 950 sent by a passenger apparently to give up the subsidy borne by the government on the train fare between Jammu and Delhi.

Currently, the Railways bears 43 per cent of the cost of all rail fares even as the public transporter incurs a loss of about Rs 30,000 crore every year in subsidising passenger fares.

“There is no provision to accept such cheques so we will return it,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.

In order to make passengers aware of the subsidy burden on the fare, it had started printing – “Indian Railways recovers only 57 per cent of cost of travel on an average” – on the computerised printed tickets issued to passengers since June 22 last year.

Recently, a person travelling from Jammu to New Delhi saw the message written on his ticket about the 43 per cent subsidy borne by the Railways during his train journey.

He then decided to forego the subsidy and sent a cheque of Rs 950 to IRCTC for a similar train journey undertaken by him and his wife on the Jammu Rajdhani.

He sent the cheque along with a letter addressing the railway minister stating that “he will never avail such financial benefits in future”.

The Railways had already given an option to senior citizens for foregoing concessions while buying tickets.

“But foregoing senior citizen concession is voluntary now and we are planning to make it broadbased covering other categories as well,” he said.

The Railways recovers only 57 per cent of the expenses incurred for passenger transportation through sale of tickets of all classes.

The Railways thus aims to convey a message to passengers that they have been given a subsidy of 43 per cent, or in other words, the transporter is incurring heavy losses to the tune of 43 per cent for ferrying travellers.

Kolkata Metro: Archaeology Department permits construction of Metro Line, Station in Dalhousie Area

KOLKATA: A major roadblock in building the East West Metro corridor was removed with the Archaeological Survey of India granting permission today to build the track and a station near three monuments in the heart of the city.

The ASI today submitted to the Calcutta High Court a copy of its order permitting the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL) to lay the underground metro line and build Mahakaran station at Dalhousie area, near the heritage Currency Building.

The office of the regional director and competent authority in West Bengal of the National Monuments Authority (NMA) today submitted a copy of its permission order to bench of Justice Dipankar Datta, removing a major impediment in laying the metro line.

Nandini Bhattacharya Sahu, the competent authority, granted permission for construction of the Mahakaran Metro station in the regulated area near the Currency Building, a national monument.

Apart from the Currency Building, there are two synagogues which are also heritage buildings.

Laying down the conditions for such construction, the NMA said “all construction above the ground, including Mahakaran Metro station, shall be beyond the 100-metre prohibited area of Centrally Protected Monuments.”

It also said that a “joint committee shall be set up under the chairmanship of the regional director, ASI, which will include technical experts from IIT, Kharagpur and officers of KMRCL.”

“This committee shall monitor the proposed works and shall ensure all possible measures which are required to be taken for the safety of the three monuments in question,” according to the conditions laid down by NMA.

It said a monthly report on the progress of the project shall be submitted to NMA and Director General, ASI.

Reiterating its concern over the safety of the monuments during and post-construction and to monitor it on real time basis, the NMA said “for this purpose, KMRCL shall install equipments on all protected monuments along the proposed route capable of measuring vibrations, structural impacts when construction activities are on and during the metro operations.”

It also said that any adverse effect in any of the centrally-protected monuments in the vicinity due to the KMRC project has to be taken care of by KMRC under the supervision of the superintending archaeologist, ASI, at Kolkata.

The permission also said that KMRCL should set up a separate fund for the purpose of heritage promotion and campaigning for the cause of Kolkata’s heritage.

Justice Datta had, during the previous hearing, asked the Centre to make efforts to find out ways to make an exception in the ASI’s heritage building rules to facilitate the construction of a tunnel, which will pass through places near or under three such buildings and of Mahakaran station.

AFCONS, which is carrying out the construction work of the tunnel, has moved the high court seeking relief over delay owing to the issues related to occupiers who are not evacuating five old buildings in Burrabazar area and permission for construction near or under the three heritage buildings in Dalhousie area.

AFCONS has claimed that stoppage of the working of huge boring machines that are being used for the purpose, will lead to financial loss to the company and also further delay in completion of the work.

The 14.67 km-long East West Metro corridor connecting Howrah with Salt Lake Sector V has suffered delays in completion schedule owing to various reasons.

Tunnel boring from the Howrah side is being done and at present work is on under the Hooghly river.

After passing through the riverbed, the metro tunnel will enter the highly congested Burrabazar area, which is the wholesale trading hub of eastern India, and then it will reach Dalhousie where the heritage buildings are located.

Bangalore Metro inks MoU with Embassy Group to build Metro Station

With Rs.100-crore funding for Kadubeesanahalli station on ORR line, Embassy Group is the first corporate company to be part of the innovative funding model for Namma Metro.

BANGALORE: Kicking off its innovative financing model, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Embassy Group to build the Kadubeesanahalli Metro station.

Under the agreement, Embassy Group will pay Rs 100 crore to BMRCL in instalments. The group is the first corporate to sign the agreement under the public-private partnership scheme.

The station, to be located just outside the Embassy TechVillage on the Outer Ring Road, will be on the recently approved 17-km North-South Metro corridor linking Silk Board Junction with Krishnarajapuram.

The construction, according to the group, will be done in accordance with the façade designs and specifications approved by BMRCL. The period of concession and permission granted to Embassy Group will be for 30 years starting from the date of commencement of commercial operations and could be extended further on mutual terms.

The agreement mandates that the group will maintain Kadubeesanahalli Metro station, including housekeeping and maintenance, along with all the equipment, according to specifications laid down by the corporation.

“This move will help the park users greatly, as there will be a ramp access directly to the Metro station from Embassy TechVillage, and a dedicated access from the exit point of the station,” the group said in an official release.

The partnership also means the group will be entitled to utilise the pre-determined spaces for advertisements. “Embassy can also use the leasable retail space measuring approximately 3,000 sq.ft at the Metro station. Embassy will also have the advantage of leveraging the linear zone of 250 metres around the Kadubeesanahalli Metro station,” the release said.

The new Metro line will run between Central Silk Board in the south and Krishnarajapuram in the north. The Rs 4,202-crore project is being taken up under Phase 2A of the Namma Metro network and will have 13 stations covering the entire ORR IT corridor. To be completed in three years, the project is expected to benefit nearly 4.5 lakh people who work on this stretch. The ridership is projected to eventually grow to six lakh every day. The average speed of road travel on this stretch is currently 10 kmph. This is likely to increase to 34 kmph once the Metro is in place.

BMRCL had identified and invited private entities and companies to sponsor up to 25% of the total project cost. This was to pool funds as well as get corporates to participate in faster funding and completion of transportation projects.

Pradeep Singh Kharola, MD, BMRCL: The MoU signed between BMRCL and the Embassy Group is part of the innovative financing push by Namma Metro and we strongly believe that it will encourage corporates to come forward and contribute in developing the urban infrastructure and build a well-equipped modern city.

Malaysian firms eye Rs.5000 Crore station makeover kitty in 1st big FDI boost for IR

NEW DELHI: In potentially the first big FDI in railways, Malaysia’s state-owned Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) will participate in the auction for redevelopment of Udaipur, Howrah, Indore, Secunderabad, Pune and Faridabad railway stations.

The estimated cost of redevelopment of these stations would be Rs 5,000 crore, a top rail ministry official said. CIDB Holding Malaysia has written to the Railway Board, saying it would participate in the ongoing Swiss challenge bidding process of these shortlisted stations on behalf of Malaysian companies.

The letter from CIDB Holding Malaysia chairman Judin Abdul Karim, dated June 17, did not disclose names of Malaysian companies that would be participating. Indian Railways had held a road show in Malaysia in March this year to showcase Investment opportunities in India’s rail sector.

The Malaysian board had earlier sought station redevelopment contracts through nomination route, but the railways asked it to participate in the Swiss challenge auction to win contracts as India does not allow nomination route, said the official cited earlier.

In 2014, India allowed 100% FDI in railways through automatic route. So far, foreign firms have established two rail loco factories in Bihar with a total investment of Rs 3,500 crore. Malaysian investment in station redevelopment could mark the first major foreign investment in the operations side of railways. The railway official said that various
Japanese and South Korean investors have also expressed interest in station redevelopment projects. Indian Railways has lined up 400 stations for redevelopment.

Malaysian investment in station redevelopment could mark the first major foreign investment in the operations side of railways. The railway official said that various Japanese and South Korean investors have also expressed interest in station redevelopment projects.

Whether FinMin agree to bear Social Obligation Costs of Indian Railways?

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) computing the Indian Railways’s social obligation costs will help in streamlining the finances borne by Railways; says experts.

NEW DELHI: In what will help in streamlining Indian Railways’ finance, the government plans to task the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) to find out the social obligation costs borne by the national transporter, several people aware of the development said.

The issue of social obligation costs due to concessions given to senior citizens, defence personnel, sports-persons and cancer patients among others as well as running non-economical rail routes has been plaguing railways’ finance. The decision by Indian Railways to mandate NIPFP to undertake the study follows the finance ministry’s refusal of the Indian Railways’ social obligation costs claim of around Rs30,000 crore till date citing “inaccurate figures”.

The cash-strapped railways has been requesting the finance ministry to bear its social obligation costs.

“The decision has been taken to empanel NIPFP after finance ministry has refused to accept our calculations of social obligation costs. A memorandum of understanding will be signed with the institute soon,” said a senior railway ministry official requesting anonymity.

NIPFP is a research institute under the finance ministry.

Railway ministry spokesperson Anil Saxena confirmed the development.

This comes in the backdrop of the merger of the railway budget with the Union budget which was presented earlier this year. Also, the National Democratic Alliance government unveiled the largest-ever rail budget of Rs1.31 trillion, an 8.26% increase over the Rs1.21 trillion allocated in 2016-17. Indian Railways, the world’s fourth-largest railway system, has also firmed up a medium-term plan of investing Rs8.5 trillion by 2019-20.

“The railways and finance ministries had several meetings and the railways have apprised them of costs incurred by us on social service account. These include lower passenger and freight fares, special concessions, new lines and branch lines. However, the finance ministry is not accepting the low fare argument stating it was railways’ decision and not a social obligation,” said the first railway ministry official cited above.

Earnings from freight traffic continued to fall, declining by 4.4% to Rs1.04 trillion in 2016-17, reflecting the competition railways is facing from airlines and road transport, a slower-than-expected economic recovery and the declining demand for coal.

The official added that the finance ministry is of the view that passenger concessions are going to people who are travelling in reserved categories.

“Their view (finance ministry) is then how can railways say it is for poor as the concessions are for A1, A2, A3 and all categories. If special concession is considered category wise then it (social obligation costs) amounts to only Rs ,600 crore,” the official said.

Railways, which has been losing out freight traffic to roads, clocked revenue of Rs1.65 trillion in 2016-17, a marginal increase over the Rs1.64 trillion registered in 2015-16 due to non-fare revenue such as right of way charges, reimbursements for strategic lines, advertising, land monetization, catering and parking.

“The railway ministry is not correct with its figures. When the finance ministry asked for the branch lines it was running, the national carrier handed over a 17-year-old list of 90 lines in most of which gauge conversion has taken place. Despite this, they are incurring operational expenses on station master etc., on abandoned narrow and metre gauge lines,” said a senior government official aware of the issue.

The official added that the finance ministry has said that it would accept the railways’ demand provided there was proper computation.

Queries emailed to finance ministry and NIPFP on Friday remained unanswered.

Railways runs against time to become GST-ready

With the GST registration window opened only on 25 June, Railways need to hurry to register its zonal entities in different states ahead of July 1 rollout.

NEW DELHI: Preparing for GST is turning out to be a major challenge for Railways. One of the world’s largest logistics organisations is now racing against time to register its zonal entities like Western Railways or Eastern Railways in different states. And with the GST registration window set to open only on 25 June, Railways need to hurry.

Not only this, several of Railways’s operations such parcel handling are done manually and would now have to be computerised. Again, treatment of charges for long-distance tickets that includes meals is also bothering the authorities.

“It has come to our notice that fresh registration (for GST) will be starting around June 25 for a limited period. Taking the help of consultants appointed by each zonal railways, necessary actions may be taken to apply for fresh registrations during this limited window so that Indian Railways obtain registration across all states,” Railway Board said in a communication to all its zonal chiefs and heads of production units.

The railway minister had earlier appealed to the GST Council demanding a unified entity status which would have spared this mammoth organisation from getting all its wings – 17 zones or 73 divisions – register separately and avoid paying GST for movements of coaches, wagons or tracks across its production units and depots.

To help Railways manage the migration, Goods and Services Tax Network, the implementing agency for GST, has appointed one of its senior officials as a nodal officer to deal with it, the letter said.

Realising the complexity of the new tax regime the railway ministry had earlier communicated that GST preparedness be monitored daily by assistant general managers of zonal railways and general managers of production units and that a core team of officers and staff be prepared from each of the department should become master trainers for other personnel.

The Railway Board is now being briefed daily on the progress as well through a standardised feedback form, sources said.

To mimic real life situations post-July 1, even state-wise dummy GST identification numbers have been allotted to be replaced by actual GSTIN when issued.

Several transactions are not on centralised software and, as such, no computerised invoices like in the case of catering services, parcel traffic, advertisements exist.

“Procedures should be put in place immediately for collecting details and computerising them in offices where these transactions occur on a daily basis as uploading invoices on the GST network will be a daily exercise under the new tax regime,” another communication from the ministry said.

Treatment of combined services in rail tickets or treatment of cancellation of tickets are other areas bothering the authorities.

“In the case of composite supply like Rajdhani tickets, which also include catering services, the GST applicable to principal service (transport in this case) will be applicable. CRIS (Centre for Railway Information System) will have to be advised by Railways regarding the catering charges (excluding tax),” an approach paper for implementation of GST on Traffic Commercial Directorate says.

In the case of those trains where charging is composite (fare plus catering) but optional catering has been permitted, the extent and rate of tax would be notified separately, it said.

Several of Railways’s operations such parcel handling are done manually and would now have to be computerised. Treatment of charges for long-distance tickets that includes meals is also bothering the authorities. Several transactions are not on centralised software and, as such, no computerised invoices like in case of catering services, parcel traffic, advertisements exist

CMI Ltd bags Orders worth more than Rs.30 Crore from ECR & BHEL

CMI Limited, the BSE & NSE Listed Specialty Cable company, has been awarded orders worth more than 30 crore from East Central Railways and BHEL(Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd), to provide Railway Signalling cables and HT XPLE cables, respectively.

New Delhi: CMI Limited, the BSE & NSE Listed Specialty Cable company, has been awarded orders worth more than 30 crore from East Central Railways and BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd), to provide Railway Signalling cables and HT XPLE cables, respectively.

The order worth Rs 9.97crores from BHEL to supply HT XPLE cables will be delivered within the next 4 months, while the order for the Railway Signalling cables for Rs 20.68 crores will be staggered over a period of 8 months. These orders are also revenue accretive and together with several other orders (received in May 2017), will add over 151 Cr to the topline for FY 17-18.

Supply of Signalling cables and Quad Cables to Railways contributed 45% to the total revenues of CMI in 2016-17 while supply of power cables contributed over 12% to the total revenue. The contribution of the power segment to the revenues of CMI is expected to reach around 15% by 2019. Supply of Wires and Cables to Railways has seen a CAGR of 88% over FY 13-16 and it is expected to continue growing at 28-30% over the next few years(FY 16-19).

“With continued focus of the Government on redefining both the infrastructure segment and Indian Railways, we believe that the industry will grow at a fast pace. We at CMI have the wherewithal to be the preferred choice to provide high quality wires and cables for their every need. Our continuous focus on unwavering quality and our zeal to improvise tilt the balance in our favour”, says Mr Amit Jain, MD, CMI ltd.

CMI is a listed, specialty cables company (BSE Scrip Code: 517330, NSE Symbol: CMICABLES). CMI closed the year 2015-16 with revenues of Rs.27139.28 Lakh.

CMI focus is currently on new product development with the emphasis on latest technologies at its facilities. CMI’s original facility is located at Faridabad in Haryana. CMI began the Commercial Production at its new facility at Baddi, Himachal Pradesh in April 2016, which was a part of its acquisition of General Cable Energy Private Limited from fortune 500 Company, General Cable Corporation. It is India’s first green factory in the segment.

Today, CMI manufactures a wide variety of cables for infrastructure, Railways, Oil& Refinery industries, Engineering Companies, EPCC contractors, and thelike. CMI’s satisfied customers include Railways & its subsidiaries like IRCON. RITES, MRVC, Konkan Railways, DLW, DMRC & other metros; Oil&Refinery industries like IOCL, BPCL, BORL, GAIL, MRPL, HPCL, ONGC; Leading Government companies like EIL, ISRO, BHEL, NLC, NTPC, NPC, BSNL / MTNL and HEC; Private Sector EPCC companies like L&T, Alstom, Siemens, Hitachi, Linde, Thales, Lurgi, Technip and ABB; Steel plants like Vishakhapatnam Steel Plant, Bhushan Power & Steel, etc. CMI has also exported cables to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & Iran Railways

Delhi HC raps Railways again, says it emerged so stubborn that it doesn’t accept any order of anyone!

Delhi High Court says Railways most litigious department, doesn’t accept any orders. “Problem is Railways does not accept any order of anyone. Your trains are running slow, your tracks are dirty and you do not have the political will to deal with it. You are carrying on at 40 km per hour, you carry on like that,” the court said.

NEW DELHI: The court issued notice to the corporation and the Delhi government seeking their stand on the Railways’ plea seeking quashing of the attachment order of June 7.

The Delhi High Court on Friday rapped the Indian Railways on its functioning saying it was the “most litigious department” which was not even respecting circulars of a central ministry. “Problem is Railways does not accept any order of anyone. That is why you are the most litigious department. Your trains are running slow, your tracks are dirty and you do not have the political will to deal with it. You are carrying on at 40 km per hour, you carry on like that,” the court said.

The strong words by the high court came while hearing a plea by the Railways challenging an attachment order issued by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) demanding Rs 48.73 crore as service charge for servicing railway staff colonies. The court issued notice to the corporation and the Delhi government seeking their stand on the Railways’ plea seeking quashing of the attachment order of June 7.

According to the corporation, its order was based on a circular of the Ministry of Urban Development that said if the corporations are providing all services, normally provided to residents of other areas, in a government colony then service charge equivalent to 75 per cent of the property tax has to be paid to the MCDs. The Railways has contended that its colonies are entirely self sufficient and hence it has to pay only 33 and one-third per cent of the property tax. It further told the court that it has already paid Rs 9 crore to the NDMC.

The bench, however, was not swayed by the arguments as it said that “ordinary citizens who get zero services from the MCDs still pay their taxes”. “Secretary, Urban Development (in his circular) has said that pay 75 per cent. So you have to respect that. It is apparent that you do not follow anyone’s orders,” it said and added “there cannot be a civil war between Railways and the MCD”.

The court said the attachment order would be vacated only after the Railways pays 50 per cent of the amount demanded by the corporation and listed the matter for hearing on August 30. The bench passed the order after the lawyer for the Railways said the officials present in court cannot give an undertaking that payment of 50 per cent of amount would be made in four weeks. “Give the undertaking and we will vacate the attachment order,” the bench said.

National Council of Applied Economic Research to bring out report on jobs in Railways

NEW DELHI: The National Council of Applied Economic Research will soon bring out a report on employment generation potential in Indian Railways in the backdrop of the huge investments that are planned, said the Union Minister for Railways, Suresh Prabhu.

Delivering the 33rd Nani A Palkhivala Memorial Lecture on the topic ‘Putting India on the Fast Track’, here on Saturday, he said every rupee invested in the railways offers six times more in spinoff benefit.

Citing the massive efforts by the Ministry to strengthen railway infrastructure, he said this was an instance of the government driving economic development by creating an environment for business and entrepreneurship.

Prabhu pointed out that Palkhivala, an eminent jurist and authority on Constitution and taxation laws, was always for individual rights and believed that State should act as a facilitator.

Proposals for the creation of a dedicated freight corridor that will speed up movement of material and free up space for passengers, high speed trains linking major cities, modernising rolling stock and enhancing efficiency are all aimed at creating an enabling environment for business.

Recalling from his personal experience while heading the power sector, he said the power sector had grown only after power reforms and drawing private sector players to invest.

“But that does not mean privatise everything,” he cautioned. There should be a balance with the State focussing on governance, ease of doing business, large infrastructure projects, safety and security and regulation. In the last few decades the government has “ignored core functions and abdicated its responsibility”. That is now being corrected, he said.

Earlier in February, 2016, NCAER conducted a Research Study for Indian Railways, “Factors Impacting Railway Freight Traffic in India” and the document was published in the presence of Railway Minister.

Movies on Mumbai-Goa Tejas Express no longer Ad-free on Konkan Route

Railways will earn ₹18 lakh a year through Ads. A contractor, who will be hired for three months, will also be allowed to charge passengers ₹30 for a pair of earphones.

MUMBAI: Rs18 lakh in one year — that’s how much the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) plans to earn solely through advertisement revenue generated from the high-speed Tejas Express.

The IRCTC plans to hire a contractor, who will make arrangements to stream free movies, documentaries, programmes and songs on the train’s display screens. Earlier, these were ad-free. However, this is set to change.

“The licencee will be permitted to display advertisements,” reads a tender document.

The contractor, who will be hired for three months, will also be allowed to charge passengers Rs30 for a pair of earphones.

IRCTC, an undertaking of Indian Railways, aims to earn an annual revenue of Rs18 lakh from this service.

Designed and manufactured by the Kapurthala-based rail coach factory, the Tejas Express has several unique features such as automatic doors, infotainment screens for each passenger and tea-coffee machines, which have contributed to its popularity among commuters.

Since railway minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the Mumbai-Karmali train on May 21, it has been fully booked on each trip.

Despite its comparatively higher fares — Rs1,200 for a chair car and Rs2,600 for an executive car — commuters opt for it over other premium trains such as the Rajdhani and Shatabdi expresses.

An IRCTC spokesperson confirmed that a contractor would be appointed, but added that the contract had not yet been finalised.

CRB visits country’s first underwater tunnel project

Funds won’t come in the way of East-West Metro completion; says A.K.Mital

KOLKATA: Railway Board chairman A K Mital today visited the country’s first underwater tunnel project across River Hooghly, which will provide metro railway connectivity between Howrah and Kolkata.

“Construction work of the tunnel, which was recently completed, was reviewed by the Railway Board chairman,” general manager (administration) of Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation Ltd (KMRCL), said.

India joined a select band of nations on completion of the tunnel, which is a crucial link for the 16.4 km-long mass rapid transport project being constructed by KMRCL at an estimated cost of around Rs 9,000 crore.

The metropolis got the first metro railway in the country in 1984.

Mital earlier reviewed the performance of Eastern Railway, South Eastern Railway, Metro Railway and KMRC, all of which are headquartered here, at a high level meeting with general managers of Eastern, South Eastern and Metro Railways.

The Railway Board chairman reviewed the performance of these railways in respect of passenger carrying, freight loading, cleanliness, safety and punctuality, a senior railway official said.

Later, addressing the general managers and all officers of Eastern, South Eastern and Metro Railways, Mital advised railwaymen to always display devotion to their duties and keep up their hard work at the time of crisis situation like accident and derailment, the official said.

He said that shortage of funds would never come in the way of the project and it would not miss any more deadlines. “Funds will never be a problem for the project. I understand there has been some cost escalations since the onset of the project, but the increased cost will be taken care of and the funds would not be a problem,” said Mittal, who walked along the tracks of the 520m-long tunnels.

Sources said the railway minister and the chairman of the finance commission will also visit the project site sometime next month. On being asked if JICA, which is providing 46% of the project cost, is ready to pay the extra money after cost escalation, Mittal said: “We will try to make them understand the reasons behind the delay and the cost escalation. But in any case, funds won’t hinder this particular project.”

Mittal said he was satisfied with the development and was confident that the first phase of the servicewould be operational by June 2018. “By 2020, the entire route will be complete and trains will start moving.”

Southern Railway applies brakes on Break Journey, Circular Tours from July 1 in the wake of GST

No GST on rly tickets booked before July 1.

CHENNAI: Come July 1, break journey will be a thing of the past. The Southern Railway has directed its commercial staff and station masters not to issue break and circular journey tickets and combined tickets starting next month.

Railway sources said the order was issued to eliminate technical difficulties in assessing five per cent GST on AC class bookings for break and circular journeys.

Though the GST does not apply to sleeper class reservation and will affect only AC class ticket booking, the railways has decided to go ahead with its plan.

However, the move will cause much discomfort to rail passengers, especially pilgrims and tourists, who take a break during their long distance travel and continue their journey, say next day, using that same ticket.

The new order, quoting a Railway Board directive, further said AC tickets would not be issued at unreserved ticket counters. Similarly, cluster tickets will not be available at counters.

Currently, pilgrims and tourists who take temple tours for more than 1,500 km opt for circular journey. They use a single ticket, valid for 15 days, allowing them to break their journey at a maximum of eight stations. For break journey, the applicants have to submit their forms to station masters of the originating station. Once the station master fixed the fares, passengers could reserve their tickets at counters.

A senior railway official said for circular journeys, a passenger could opt for any class of travel by paying reservation fare to TTE, if he/she had wait-listed tickets with them. Confirmed ticket holder can upgrade his/her class onboard.

“Of the eight break journeys, if a passenger opted for different classes (sleeper and AC classes) for travel, the GST  for AC class should be calculated for that particular part of the journey. It will create a lot of practical difficulties,” the official said.

Opposing the move, rail passengers said the circular journey option eliminated the hassles of booking tickets for every single journey and also came at lower rates.

At a time when railways is trying to promote tourism and run premier trains, withdrawal of circular journey would affect train tourists, said T Mohammed Mubeen, member of the Divisional Rail Users Consultative Committee, Chennai division.

“If there is any technical difficulty in calculating the GST, the railways should allow manual booking of tickets until they fix the issue,” he said.

However, to implement the GST guidelines, the circular rail journeys will be discontinued from July 1, the circular has said.  The Goods and Service Tax (GST), set to kick in on July 1, will replace service tax for all air-conditioned and first class railway tickets. However, tickets booked before July 1 for journeys starting on or after that date will not attract the tax and the difference in service tax and GST will not be collected.

GST will come into effect only on tickets booked on or after July 1, a circular issued by the Railway Board on June 23 has said. The GST amount on that charge will be retained by the railways, it added. The railways will also do away with, from July 1, combined return journey tickets for AC and first class passengers. This means that separate tickets will be issued for onward and return journey to implement GST guidelines, the circular directed.For suburban commuters, a combined return journey ticket will be issued if the originating station and the terminating station fall within the same state. As per the circular, the rate of GST will be 5% of the total fare.In the case of tickets that were booked before July 1 but cancelled after the date, the entire amount along with service tax will be refunded after the cancellation charge is deducted.However, an amount calculated on ther GST rate will be deducted on the cancellation or clerkage charge applicable, the circular said.In the case of cancellation of tickets booked after July 1, the total amount, inclusive of the GST charged at the time of booking, will be refunded with a deduction of the cancellation or clerkage charge, the circular said.

The Goods and Service Tax (GST), set to kick in on July 1, will replace service tax for all airconditioned and first class railway tickets.However, tickets booked before July 1 for journeys starting on or after that date will not attract the tax and the difference in service tax and GST will not be collected.GST will come into effect only on tickets booked on or after July 1, a circular issued by the Railway Board on June 23 has said. As per the circular, the rate of GST will be 5% of the total fare.In the case of tickets that were booked before July 1 but cancelled after the date, the entire amount along with service tax will be refunded after the cancellation charge is deducted.However, an amount calculated on ther GST rate will be deducted on the cancellation or clerkage charge applicable, the circular said.In the case of cancellation of tickets booked after July 1, the total amount, inclusive of the GST charged at the time of booking, will be refunded with a deduction of the cancellation or clerkage charge, the circular said. The GST amount on that charge will be retained by the railways, it added.The railways will also do away with, from July 1, combined return journey tickets for AC and first class passengers.

This means that separate tickets will be issued for onward and return journey to implement GST guidelines, the circular directed.For suburban commuters, a combined return journey ticket will be issued if the originating station and the terminating station fall within the same state. Some zonal railways accord the provision of circular rail journeys, especially for passengers opting for pilgrimages or sightseeing trips to many destinations.These journeys began and ended at the same station and passengers could take the advantage of telescopic rates which are considerably lower than regular point-to-point fare. However, to implement the GST guidelines, the circular rail journeys will be discontinued from July 1, the circular has said..

Railways gets green signal for ‘creeping’ rail fare hike

Currently, IR recovers only 57% of the cost in passenger services and around 37% in suburban services. Class-wise, only the AC III tier fetches it a profit, but that is neutralised by the losses from other classes.

NEW DELHI: The Prime Minister’s office has given its sanction for a hike in Railway fares, which have remained suppressed for years. The increase in passenger fares may be implemented sometime later this year. The signal to work on the move followed a meeting of the infrastructure ministries in late April, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which the state of the Railways was reviewed.

“Implement creeping increase in passenger fares” was one of the actionable points for the transporter issued by the PMOThe timeline frozen for the move, and agreed to by the Railways, is September 2017.

Railway fare hike is feared to have a political backlash, and getting a green signal on this from the political masters has always been a challenge for the ministry officials, especially during the UPA dispensation, even as the transporter’s coffers continued to bleed. As a result, the Railways maintains silence on the move, and officially denies that a hike is in the works till the move is actually announced.

Documents from the April review meeting show that this time, there is agreement on the necessity for a “creeping increase” in fares from time to time, with a definite milestone being set for the move.

The meeting also mandated the Railways to work as “a commercial enterprise with focus on core operations to provide efficient and safe travel while enhancing customer experience”.

A top Railway Board functionary accepted that the mandate from the PMO after the April 25 meeting was clear but maintained that the modalities had not been worked out yet. “It is clear what ‘creeping increase’ means. Now we have to take a call on it. Nothing has been finalised yet,” said the officer.

He explained that from the point of view of commercial viability, the need of the hour is to increase the fares of non-AC classes as they have remained unchanged for ages. But that is easier said than done. In their time as railway minister, both Lalu Prasad and successor Mamata Banerjee never hiked fares. Lalu in fact reduced fares in his last Rail Budget by 2-7 per cent across classes.

Later, Dinesh Trivedi as railway minister had earned party supremo Mamata’s wrath and eventually lost his job after introducing a hike in passenger fares in his Rail Budget of 2012-13. The hike, proposed in the novel form of paise per kilometre travelled — for example, 5 paise per km for Sleeper Class — was rolled back for all classes, except AC First Class, Executive Class, AC-II tier, and First Class, by his successor and Mamata’s then deputy, Mukul Roy.

It was finally Railway Minister Pawan Bansal who hiked fares across classes in 2013, around a decade after the last proper hike. The hike was between 2 and 10 paise per kilometre depending on the class, including the General and Sleeper Classes. The hike came less than four months after the Trinamool Congress walked out of the UPA coalition.

Even the NDA government under Modi has had its share of troubles with fare hike. On June 25, 2014, pressure from ally Shiv Sena had forced then railway minister Sadananda Gowda to roll back hikes in the suburban train services, which had, in fact, been decided by the outgoing UPA government.

Current Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has warded off proposals from the bureaucracy for a direct hike in the past two years. Instead, last year saw the rollout of the dynamic fare model, which increased fares of premium trains and AC classes by up to 50 per cent. But that exercise had mostly spared non-AC, General Classes.

Officials said in what shape and form the new fare hike will come this year is yet unknown. One section of officials said the government was aiming at a “smart play” which involves progressive incremental revision that does not hurt the pockets of the passengers in one go, and does not at once give the impression that a steep hike has taken place — hence the phrase “creeping increase”.

Another set of officers said the Rail Development Authority (RDA), the proposed regulatory body that would be in place by the end of this year, might take up the exercise. Even though the RDA does not have the powers to compel the Railways to hike fares, officials said an “advisory” from the regulator will strengthen the case for the hike and may somewhat cushion a backlash.

Currently, the Railways recovers only 57 per cent of the cost in passenger services and around 37 per cent in suburban services. Class-wise, only the AC III tier fetches it a profit, but that is neutralised by the losses from other classes. The social service obligation of the Railways, excluding staff welfare charges and law and order expenses, comes to around Rs 24,000 crore.

Railways get GST relief, exempted from IGST on Rolling Stock

In further relief to Indian Railways, the GST Council has exempted the carrier’s inter-state movement of rolling stock such as coaches and locomotives.

NEW DELHI: In further relief to Indian Railways, the goods and services tax (GST) Council has exempted the carrier’s inter-state movement of rolling stock such as coaches and locomotives. This is in addition to tax exemption that the railways got earlier for inter-state movement for repair and maintenance.

The latest move will save the carrier from paying IGST when its rolling stock moves across state or from manufacturing units to zones. The railways has 17 zones and one zone will be representing the railways in each state as the principal officer. However, the railways plea to exempt depot-to-depot movement of material for own consumption has not been accepted till now. The railways procures materials such a track fittings at one location which are then distributed across various locations. Though, according to a railway official who did not want to be named, the discussions with the Council is on and hopefully the exemption will come through before the July 1 roll out of GST.

The railways has also requested the Council to rationalise GST on container cargo movement and bring it at par with that for the roadways. The freight charges of the railways are also set to go up by 50 basis points post-implementation of the GST. The services tax applicable on freight is 4.5% which is set at 5% under the GST. As reported by FE, the railways is also worried about the project costs as the tax incidence on work contracts is set to rise under the GST regime. The carrier will start the process of registering its zone from June 25 when the window for fresh registration opens. At present, those entities which were already registered are migrating. The railways is in the process of engaging a GST Suvidha Provider (GSP) which will upload the data on the GST Network. The GSP will acquire the data from the Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) which is preparing the enterprise resource planning solution for the railways. CRIS, an autonomous body under the railway ministry, already has access to all data of the railways including passenger and freight.

The railways is also staring at an increased burden of administrative work as the GST regime sets in. Many significant segment of transactions, such as land rent and fibre optics passing under tracks, will have to be brought to invoice format as at present they are executed through agreements and paid through cheques.

Member-Staff conducts Review Meeting at SWR

MYSORE: Pradeep Kumar, Member-Staff, Railway Board, New Delhi, visited South Western Railway (SWR) in Hubballi on June 22.

During his visit, he inaugurated 19th Hole-Renovated Golf Lounge at Rail Golf Club in Golf Links Railway Officers Colony.

He also inaugurated 36 Units of Type-II Railway Quarters for Railway Staff at New Vinoba Nagar on Gadag Road.

Later he inspected the Simulator at Diesel Loco Shed, Hubballi. Simulator is a tool designed for giving virtual experience of driving a rail engine. After inspecting Hubballi Railway Station, he inaugurated the Digital Audiometry at Central Railway Hospital, Hubballi and conducted a Review Meeting with Railway Officers at Rail Soudha, Hubballi.

In the meeting, Pradeep Kumar discussed about various subjects like progress of doubling and new line works, earnings of Railway, passenger amenities and Staff matters of SWR.

A.K. Gupta, General Manager; P.A. Lamgahre, Additional General Manager; A.K. Jain, Divisional Railway Manager of Hubballi; G.J. Prasad, Chief Operations Manager; K. Sivaprasad, Chief Commercial Manager; A.K. Singh, Financial Advisor & Chief Accounts Ofäcer; S.K. Albela, Chief Personnel Ofäcer; D.B. Kasar, Chief Security Commissioner; H. Pradeep Kumar, Chief Medical Director; K.S. Kalra, Principal Chief Engineer and other Ofäcers were present.

Railways ready for JV for doubling of Chennai-Kanyakumari section and other Rail projects in TN.

CHENNAI: The doubling project of the Chennai-Kanyakumari railway line can be taken up, expedited and completed if there is cooperation from the State government, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said.

He was responding to a request placed by State Finance Minister D Jayakumar, at a railway function here on Saturday.

Railway officials say barring a small stretch, work on doubling the Chennai-Madurai stretch is almost complete. However, the proposal to extend that facility beyond Madurai to Kanniyakumari has been there for the last one decade, but no real progress has been achieved in that regard. “The railways can form a joint venture with the State government. The project could be completed by the two parties entering into partnership,” Prabhu said.

With regard to other requests, he said that land measuring around a distance of 0.5 km required for the MRTS connectivity work from Velachery to St Thomas Mount would be acquired and work completed in 18 months. “The request for a railway line from Chennai to Mahabalipuram along the east coast would be considered,” he said.

He received a memorandum from Jayakumar with a list of demands. He launched fourth line between Ennore and Tiruvottiyur, a new food plaza at Tambaram and wi-fi at Arakonnam station.

MPs from Nagpur & Bhusawal Divisions seek say in development of Rail facilities

NAGPUR: At least seven of the ten MPs who attended the divisional level meeting held by Central Railway on Friday here wanted that they should have a say in development process of the railway infrastructure and facilities.

The seven MPs from Nagpur and Bhusawal divisions of Central Railway and those who attended the meeting included Nana Patil (Jalgaon), Jyoti Dhurve (Betul), Prataprao Jadhav (Buldhana), Krupal Tumane (Ramtek), Ramdas Tadas (Wardha), Sanjay Dhotre (Akola), Anandrao Adsul (Amravati) and Rajya Sabha member Dr Vikas Mahatme (Nagpur). Central Railway general manager DK Sharma and DRMs of Nagpur and Bhusawal BK Gupta and RK Yadav were also present.

Though the discussions revolved around issues pertaining to respective MP’s constituencies, for the first time two committees have been formed for Nagpur and Bhusawal divisions under MPs. Nagpur division committee will be headed by Wardha MP Ramdas Tadas while Bhusawal division one will be headed by Akola MP Dhotre. These will directly represent problems and issues related to railways with the top officials.

“The directions for such committees were from the Railway Board, as meetings with MPs are not held frequently, the committee will serve the purpose,” Tadas told. A section of MPs was of the view that they should be involved in development process of railway infrastructure and creating facilities at stations in their constituency. “This will help solve many problems instead of crying over spilt milk later,” said Dr Vikas Mahatme.

Among the MPs’ wish list was an intercity between Nagpur-Ballarpur, Duronto between Nagpur-Pune and Jan Sadharan Express between Nagpur-Mumbai. They also demanded stoppages of trains at Ajni.

Railway officials said line capacity utilization had already reached 180% and operating more trains would be possible only after third and fourth lines are commissioned on different routes.

Tadas also wanted to expedite work on Wardha-Nanded-Yavatmal line. “Passengers still prefer private buses over trains to reach Nanded and Aurangabad due to frequency and less travel time,” he said and suggested to cut travel time to both the cities. Wardha MP also demanded Wi-Fi facility at all important stations between Nagpur and Mumbai.

Dhotre demanded a revamp of Akola station by utilizing vacant railway land for commercial purposes on PPP basis. On his demand to install escalators, Sharma said work to set up two escalators was already in progress and will be completed by September.

Earlier, CR General Manager Sharma commissioned 225th loco at Ajni electric loco shed. The shed achieved milestone by increasing its annual maintenance capacity to 225. The 225th loco that rolled out on Friday was named ‘Ojas’.

CleanMax Solar to set up 300 MW Solar Capacity this fiscal

The Chennai Metro Rail Project is looking to the sun to power its operations, quite literally. The project is on track to get one of the largest rooftop solar installations in India.

CHENNAI: The Chennai Metro Rail Project is looking to the sun to power its operations, quite literally. The project is on track to get one of the largest rooftop solar installations in India.

Energy solutions provider CleanMax Solar plans to set up nearly 300 MW of solar capacity, including 100 MW of rooftop installation, this fiscal and will invest around Rs 1,500 crore for the same.

“There is a huge opportunity in the sector, not just in the ground mounted solar space but also rooftop projects.

We are hoping to install nearly 300 MW of solar capacity in the country in FY 2017-18, which will include 100 MW of rooftop installations,” company’s Co-founder Andrew Hines told.

 

60 Suvidha Special Trains between Yeshwantpur-Jaipur-Yeshwantpur

YESVANTPUR (BANGALORE): In order to clear extra rush of passengers, Sixty Suvidha Special trains will be run between Yeshwantpur-Jaipur-Yeshwantpur, as detailed below:-

Accordingly, Train No. 82653 Yeshwantpur-Jaipur suvidha special train will depart Yeshwantpur at 11:30 hrs on 6th,13th,20th,27th July, 3rd,10th,17th,24th,31st August, 7th,14th,21st,28th September, 5th,12th,19th,26th October, 2nd,9th,16th,23rd,30th November, 7th,14th,21st,28th December 2017, 4th,11th,18th,25th January 2018 (Thursday) and arrive Jaipur at 06:35 hrs on Saturday.

In the return direction, Train No. 82654 Jaipur-Yeshwantpur suvidha special train will depart Jaipur at 22:15 hrs on 8th ,15th,22nd,29th July, , 5th ,12th,19th,26th August, 2nd, 9th,16th,23rd ,30th September, 7th,14th,21st,28th October , 4th 11th,18th,25th November, 2nd ,9th,16th,23rd ,30th December 2017, 6th,13th,20th,27th January 2018 (Saturday) and arrive Yeshwantpur at 17:55 hrs on Monday.

Enroute these special trains stop at Tumakuru, Arsikere , Birur, Chikjajur,Chitradurga, Ballari, Guntakal, MantralayamRoad, Raichur, Yadgir, Wadi, Gulbarga, Solapur, Pune, Panvel, Vasai Road, Surat, Vadodara, Ratlam, Mandsar, Chitaurgarh, Bhilwara, Ajmer stations in both the directions.

Temporary Augmentation of 26 Express Trains with Additional Coaches by SCR

SECUNDERABAD: In order to provide additional travelling facility for waitlisted passengers, South Central Railway will extended the temporary augmentation of following Trains with additional Coaches as detailed below:-

1. Train No. 17618 Nanded-Mumbai CST Tapovan Express will be augmented with one AC Chair Car Coach from 1st to 31st July, 2017.
2. Train No. 17617 Mumbai CST-Nanded Tapovan Express will be augmented with one AC Chair Car Coach from 2nd July to 1st Aug, 2017.
3. Train No. 12747 Guntur-Vikarabad Palnadu Express will be augmented with one AC Chair Car Coach from 1st to 31st July, 2017.
4. Train No. 12748 Vikarabad-Guntur Palnadu Express will be augmented with one AC Chair Car Coach from 1st July to 31st July, 2017.
5. Train No. 17256 Hyderabad-Narsapur Express will be augmented with one AC III Tier Coach from 1st to 31st July, 2017.
6. Train No. 17255 Narsapur-Hyderabad Express will be augmented with one AC III Tier Coach from 2nd July to 1st Aug, 2017.
7. Train No. 17230 Hyderabad-Trivandrum Sabari Express will be augmented with one AC III Tier Coach from 3rd July to 2nd Aug, 2017.
8. Train No. 17229 Trivandrum-Hyderabad Sabari Express will be augmented with one AC III Tier Coach from 5th July to 4th Aug, 2017.
9. Train No. 12740 Secunderabad-Visakhapatnam Garibrath Express will be augmented with one AC III Tier coach from 1st to 31st July, 2017.
10. Train No. 12739 Visakhapatnam-Secunderabad Garibrath Express will be augmented with one AC III Tier coach from 2nd July to 1st Aug, 2017.
11. Train No. 12796 Secunderabad-Vijayawada intercity Express will be augmented with one AC Chair Car Coach from 1st July to 30th Sep, 2017.
12. Train No. 12795 Vijayawada – Secunderabad intercity Express will be augmented with one AC Chair Car Coach from 1st July to 30th Sep, 2017.
13. Train No. 07757 Secunderabad – Vijayawada Superfast Special Train will be augmented with one AC Chair Car Coach on 2nd , 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th July, 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th Aug, 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th Sep, 2017 (13 Trips).
14. Train No. 07758 Vijayawada – Secunderabad Superfast Special Train will be augmented with one AC Chair Car Coach on 2nd , 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th July, 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th Aug, 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th Sep, 2017 (13 Trips).
15. Train No. 12707 Tirupati-H.Nizamuddin AP Sampark Kranti Express will be augmented with one AC III Tier Coach from 3rd to 31st July, 2017.
16. Train No. 12708 H.Nizamuddin-Tirupati AP Sampark Kranti Express will be augmented with one AC III Tier Coach from 5th July to 2nd Aug, 2017.
17. Train No. 17417 Tirupati-Shirdi Sainagar Weekly Express will be augmented with one Sleeper Class Coach from 11th July to 26th Sep, 2017.
18. Train No. 17418 Shirdi Sainagar-Tirupati Weekly Express will be augmented with one Sleeper Class Coach from 12th July to 27th Sep, 2017.
19. Train No. 07417 Tirupati – Nagarsol weekly Express will be augmented with one Sleeper Class Coach 7th , 14th, 21st, 28th July, 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th Aug, 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th Sep, 2017 (13 Trips).
20. Train No. 07418 Nagarsol – Tirupati weekly Express will be augmented with one Sleeper Class Coach 8th , 15th, 22nd, 29th July, 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th Aug, 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th Sep, 2017 (13 Trips).
21. Train No. 12749 Machilipatnam – Secunderabad Express will be augmented with one AC III Tier Coach from 1st July to 31st July, 2017.
22. Train No. 12750 Secunderabad-Machilipatnam Express will be augmented with one AC III Tier Coach from 2nd July to 1st Aug, 2017.
23. Train No. 17221 Kakinada-LTT Mumbai Express will be augmented with one AC III Tier Coach from 1st to 29th July, 2017.
24. Train No. 17222 LTT Mumbai-Kakinada Express will be augmented with one AC III Tier Coach from 2nd to 30th July, 2017.
25. Train No. 12775 Kakinada Town-Secunderabad Cocanada AC Tri-Weekly Express will be augmented with one AC III Tier Coach from 2nd to 30th July, 2017.
26. Train No. 12776 Secunderabad-Kakinada Town Cocanada AC Tri-Weekly Express will be augmented with one AC III Tier Coach from 3rd to 31st July, 2017.

SWR continue running of Krishnarajapuram-Kacheguda-Krishnarajapuram WEEKLY SPECIAL

BANGALORE: South Western Railway has decided for continuation of Train No. 07603/07604, Kacheguda – Krishnarajapuram – Kacheguda Weekly Special with special fare to clear extra rush of passengers.

Train No. 07603, Kacheguda – Krishnarajapuram Weekly Special departs Kacheguda at 18:00 hrs. on every Sunday from 02nd July, 2017 to 24th September, 2017 (Total 13 trips) and reaches Krishnarajapuram at 06:00 hrs. on respective Monday.

Enroute, the train arrives/departs Jadcherla at 19:30/19:31 Hrs., Mahabubnagar at 19:48/19:50 Hrs., Gadwal at 20:54/20:55 Hrs., Kurnool Town at 21:50/21:52 Hrs., Dhone Town at 22:48/22:50 Hrs., Gooty Town at 23:35/23:36 Hrs. and on Monday arrives/departs Anantpur at 00:39/00:40 Hrs., Dharmavaram at 01:38/01:40 Hrs., Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilyam at 02:03/02:05 Hrs., Penukonda at 02:18/02:20 Hrs., Hindupur at 02:58/03:00 Hrs., Yelhanka at 05:00/05:05 Hrs.,

Train No. 07604, Krishnarajapuram – Kacheguda Weekly Special departs Krishnarajapuram at 22:30 hrs. on every Monday from 03th July, 2017 to 25th September, 2017 (Total 13 trips) and reaches Kacheguda at 11:15 hrs. on respective Tuesday.

Enroute the train arrives/departs Yelhanka at 22:58/23:00 Hrs., and on Tuesday arrives/departs Hindupur at 00:28/00:30 Hrs., Penukonda at 01:08/01:10 Hrs., Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilyam at 01:28/01:30 Hrs., Dharmavaram at 02:18/02:20 Hrs., Anantpur at 02:50:00/02:51 Hrs., Gooty at 04:0/04:01 Hrs. Dhone at 05:10/05:15 Hrs., Kurnool Town at 06:02/06:04 Hrs., Gadwal at 07:03/07:04 Hrs., Mahabubnagar at 08:20/08:22 Hrs., Jadcherla at 08:40/08:41 Hrs.,

The train Composition will have ONE AC 2-tier coach, THREE AC 3-tier coaches, EIGHT Second Class sleeper coaches, TWO Luggage-cum-Brakevan with Generator.

SWR holds Freight Customer Meet at Hubballi

HUBBALLI: South Western Railway is poised to load 46.5 Million Tonnes of originating freight loading in 2017-18.  In order to achieve the same, a Freight customer meet was held on 23.06.2017 at General Manager’s Office of South Western Railway, Hubballi.  Major Freight Customers viz. JSW Steel Ltd., Toranagallu; Mormugao Port Trust and representatives from major cement, fertilizer, Container and sugar industry have participated in the meeting.  The meeting was chaired by Shri A.K. Gupta, General Manager, South Western Railway.  Also Shri G. John Prasad, Chief Operations Manager, Shri K.S. Prasad, Chief Commercial Manager, Traffic and Commercial officers of South Western Railway have attended the meet.

Various freight incentive schemes viz. Long Term Tariff Contract, Station to Station Rates and Short Lead Concession, etc. available for the freight customers were explained to the customers to enable them to avail benefits under these schemes.  Customers have expressed the assistance required from railways on various day-to-day issues.  General Manager has assured all possible assistance to the customers and emphasized to move more traffic by railways as it is one of the non-polluting environment friendly mode of transportation.

18 Special Trains between H.S.Nanded and Ajni

NANDED: In order to clear extra rush of passengers, 18 special trains will be run between H.S. Nanded and Ajni as detailed below:-

Accordingly, Train No. 07629 H.S.Nanded – Ajni Special train will depart H.S.Nanded at 20:30 hrs on 3rd, 10th, 17th , 24th, 31st July, 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th August, 2017 (Mondays) and arrive Ajni at 05:25 hrs on the next day.

In the return direction, Train No. 07630 Ajni – H.S.Nanded  Special train will depart Ajni at 22:20 hrs on  4th, 11th, 18th , 25th  July, 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd  and 29th August, 2017 (Tuesdays)  and arrive H.S.Nanded at 08:10 hrs on the next day.

Enroute, these special trains will stop Purna, Basmath, Hingoli, Washim, Akola, Murtizapur, Badnera, Chandur, Dhamangaon, Pulgaon and Wardha in both the directions.

These special trains consist of 12 Coaches viz,. one AC II Tier, two AC III Tier, seven Sleeper Class, and two Luggage cum Break van coaches.

Regular Run of Tirupati-Jammu Tawi-Tirupati Humsafar Express Commencing with Revised Stoppages

SECUNDERABAD: Train No. 22705 Tirupati – Jammu Tawi Superfast Humsafar Express on regular run With effect from 27th June, 2017 (Tuesdays) will depart Tirupati at 17:15 hrs; arrive/depart Secunderabad at 06.55/07.20 hrs next day (i.e., Wednesdays) and arrive Jammu Tawi at 21.10 hrs on Thursdays.

In the return direction, Train No. 22706 Jammu Tawi – Tirupati Superfast Humsafar Express on regular run With effect from 30th June, 2017 (Saturday) will depart Jammu Tawi at 05.30 hrs on Fridays; arrive/depart at 22.45/23.00 hrs next day  and arrive Tirupati at 11.25 hrs on Sundays.

Enroute these trains will stop at Guntakal, Raichur, Kazipet, Balharshah, Nagpur, Habibganj, Jhansi, Delhi Safdarjung, Ambala Cantt, Ludhiana and Jalandhar Cant Stations in both the directions.

This train consists of sixteen AC III Tier Coaches, one Pantry Car and two Generator Power Car Coaches.

SWR runs Yesvantpur-Pandharpur-Yesvantpur Weekly TATKAL Special

BANGALORE: South Western Railway has decided for continuation of Train No. 06541/06542, Yesvantpur – Pandharpur – Yesvantpur Weekly Tatkal Express Special for few more trips to clear extra rush of passengers.

Train No. 06541, Yesvantpur – Pandharpur Weekly Tatkal Express Special departs Yesvantpur at 18:00 hrs. on every Thrusday from 06th July, 2017 to 28th September, 2017  (Total 13 trips) and reaches Pandharpur at 11:35 hrs. on respective Friday.

Enroute, the train arrives/departs Tumakuru at 18:58/19:00 Hrs., Arsikere at 20:55/21:00 Hrs., Davangere at 23:40/23:43 Hrs.  and on Friday arrives/departs Hubballi  at 03:00/03:15 Hrs.,  Dharwad  at 03:30/03:32 Hrs.,  Belagavi at 05:30/05:32 Hrs.,  Ghataprabha  at 06:40/06:42 Hrs.,  Kudachi  at 07:20/07:21 Hrs.,  Miraj  at 08:40/08:50 Hrs.,  Kavathe Mahankal  at 09:49/09:50 Hrs.,  Dhalgaon  at 10:04/10:05 Hrs.,  Sangole  at 10:40/10:42 Hrs.,

Train No. 06542, Pandharpur – Yesvantpur Weekly Tatkal Express Special departs Pandharpur at 13:35 hrs. on every Friday from 07th July, 2017 to 29th September, 2017  (Total 13 trips) and reaches Yesvantpur at 06:20 hrs. on respective Saturday.

Enroute the train arrives/ departs Sangole  at 14:01/14:03 Hrs.,  Dhalgaon  at 14:40/14:41 Hrs.,  Kavathe Mahankal  at 15:00/15:01 Hrs.,  Miraj  at 16:15/16:30 Hrs.,  Kudachi  at 17:00/17:01 Hrs.,  Ghataprabha  at 17:38/17:40 Hrs.,  Belagavi at 18:37/18:40 Hrs.,  Dharwad  at 21:38/21:40 Hrs., Hubballi  at 22:25/22:35 Hrs.,  and on Saturday arrives/departs Davangere at 00:55/00:57 Hrs.,  Arsikere at 03:00/03:05 Hrs.,  Tumakuru at 05:05/05:07 Hrs.

The train Composition will have ONE first class AC Coach, ONE AC 2-tier coach, FOUR AC 3-tier coaches, TEN Second Class Sleeper coaches, TWO Second Class coaches, TWO Luggage-cum-Brakevan with disabled friendly compartment and ONE pantry car.

Closure of Dhanbad-Chandrapura Rail line – Rail Minister reviews the alternative arrangements

Existing Gomoh flyover work to be expended with two additional Rail connections and implemented expeditiously. Railway PSU RITES to undertake survey for diversion of track of affected portions. Possibility of running some more passengers carrying trains to be explored. Railway Administration constantly monitoring the situation.

NEW DELHI: Ministry of Railways is constantly working on putting in place  alternative arrangements in the wake of closure of Dhanbad-Chandrapura Railway line due to Jharia Coal Field Fire. Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu today again reviewed the alternative arrangements in a high level meeting attended by Railway board members. The participants at the meeting included Chairman Railway Board A.K. Mital, Member Traffic Railway Board Mohd. Jamshed and Member Engineering Railway Board Aditya Kumar Mital and CMD, RITES (Railway PSU) Rajeev Mehrotra. The Railway Minister directed Railway Administration to further plan ways and means to ease the problem being faced in the movement of passenger traffic and freight traffic in the region. He said that an action plan should be prepared and implemented in an expeditious manner for the benefit of the Rail users.

Under the direction of the Railway Minister, Railway Board decided that the infrastructure facilities at the Gomoh Railway stations need to be enhanced and upgraded as bulk of traffic will have to be moved via this station. The Board decided that the flyover work already sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 250 crore at Gomoh would have too additional connections (Rail on Rail) from Matari station so as to avoid reversal of trains at Gomoh coming from Dhanbad side thereby making traffic flow further smooth. Total cost of Gomoh flyover along with two additional Rail connections will be about Rs. 500 crore which has been sanctioned. It has been decided to expedite the construction of this flyover networks at Gomoh.

In addition, as an urgent short term measure,Railway PSU RITES has been asked to undertake the feasibility study for diversion of track of affected portions only and submit the report at the earliest. After that the appropriate strategy of creating new infrastructure will be prepared and implemented. Coal Ministry will be approached for funding of local diversions as well as permanent measures to deal the passenger trains as well as freight traffic. Zonal Railway will interact with State Government for early acquisition of land and work will be taken up on priority.

The Railway Administration is also exploring the possibility of running some more passengers carrying trains through short termination and diversion.

The Railway Board, East Central Railway Zone and Dhanbad Railway division are constantly monitoring the situation and regularly working on to devise steps to mitigate the problems for rail users.

Reliance Infra to consolidate Transport Biz

Plans to spin off Railway, Metro, Airport and Road projects

MUMBAI: Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) has initiated a process to spin off a new unit, called Reliance Transport, to take care of its interests in railway, metro, airport and road projects even as its proposed listing of Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) hangs fire. Analysts say that the move is to generate positive investor sentiment amid delays in its plans to float an InvIT.
A senior RInfra official told that four of its businesses such as roads, metro, airports and railways would be consolidated into a single strategic business unit.
“We intend to go big in the transport space,” said the source, without giving any details.
At the moment, RInfra under the Reliance Airport Developers Pvt Ltd banner operates five brownfield airports in Maharashtra – at Nanded, Latur, Baramati, Yavatmal and Osmanabad. In 2009, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) had awarded lease rights for 95 years to develop and operate these five airports.
Under its road vertical, there are 11 projects – of which seven are to be listed under the InvIT – Namakkal-Karur (Tamil Nadu), Trichy-Karur (Tamil Nadu), Salem-Ulundurpet (Tamil Nadu), Trichy-Dindigul (Tamil Nadu), Dindigul-Samayanallore (Tamil Nadu), Reengus-Jaipur (Rajasthan), Gurgaon-Faridabad (Haryana), Pune-Satara (Maharashtra), Kandla-Mundra (Gujarat) and Hosur-Krishnagiri (Tamil Nadu).

The other road projects are Kandla-Mundra (Gujarat), Pune-Satara (Maharashtra), Hosur-Krishnagiri (Tamil Nadu) and Delhi-Agra.

It has two metro companies – Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL) and Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Ltd (DAMEPL), the latter had gone into arbitration and has won an award from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

It doesn’t have any railway projects in its kitty and plans to start bagging Indian Railway projects, too.

With their need to cut debt, these changes within their internal functioning may help in reducing their consolidated debt of Rs 25,821 crore, an analyst said.

Last year, RInfra was in talks with Canada-based Brookfield to sell its entire road portfolio of 11 road projects for about Rs 8,000 crore. But the deal was called off on account of the InvIT plan.

Initially, the company planned to raise Rs 5,000 crore through the InvIT route in Q4 of 2016-17. But due to clearance-related issues, it had to drop three road projects from the InvIT and trim its size to Rs 3,000 crore. The plan was to hit the markets by June 10. The company officials are tight-lipped on the revised date of InvIT launch.

“Sentiment isn’t great for their InvIT, that’s why they are yet to come out with InvIT,” said an analyst.

Possibly the company wants to create a better atmosphere and interest among the investors by pooling all these assets under one unit. “Investors may look at the portfolio in a combined way,” said an analyst who did not wish to be named.

UNDER ONE ROOF

  • RInfra under the Reliance Airport Developers Pvt Ltd banner operates five brownfield airports in Maharashtra
  • Under its road vertical, there are 11 projects – of which seven are to be listed under the InvIT

Germany lobbying for Indian Railway projects

Germany is lobbying for its firms to win business revamping India’s railway network, including two key railway links in south India.

NEW DELHI: Germany is lobbying for German firms to win business revamping India’s creaking railway network, one of several countries attracted by the scale of New Delhi’s transport needs and which are campaigning to export their technology.

The economy ministry said on Friday it had agreed to finance a government feasibility study into a high-speed rail link between Chennai and Mysore, and had discussed a project to modernise the Chennai-Hyderabad route.

“The government is conducting talks…with the Indian government about two railway projects in which German companies are interested,” it said in a statement, confirming an earlier report in German business weekly WirtschaftsWoche.

It said the projects had been a topic of conversation during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Berlin in May.

The ministry did not name any companies but industrial group Siemens would be most likely to benefit from any business. Siemens declined to comment.

Under Modi, India has been talking up the appeal of bullet trains as the main rail network, slow and saturated, struggles.

India appointed Chinese, French and Spanish firms in 2015 to conduct studies into building three high-speed rail lines linking its major cities.

However, aside from one line awarded to the Japanese, Modi’s government has not said how it would pay for high-speed lines if they eventually get the green light.

Tenders called for tests for Bangalore Airport Metro Rail link

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has called tenders for tests for the proposed Metro to airport though the detailed project report is yet to be finished.

Backed by the feasibility study, Metro officials have decided not to lose time in waiting for DPR and be ready with all the required test reports when time comes.

The two separate tenders include a range of surveys from topography and soil testing land and property survey, including alignment. While the bidding process will take about a month, the BMRCL has set a deadline of six months for both successful bidders to submit the final reports.

The state government finalised the route to the airport over a month ago. Accordingly, the line will begin from Nagawara and continue on Thanisandra Road before turning left near RK Hegde Nagar.

The Metro line will meet the Airport Road (NH 44) near Gandhi Krishi Vijnan Kendra and run along the highway flyover till the trumpet flyover where it will turn right to reach airport.

The airport Metro will be an extension of 21-km Gottigere-Nagawara line proposed in Namma Metro Phase 2, which has a 13-km underground section. The state government has directed the BMRCL to complete Phase 2 by 2020.

It remains to be seen whether work on airport route will be taken up simultaneously with Phase 2 or after its completion.

The just-finalised Metro link tender for Kempegowda International Airport will take over five years to take off. Why not use an existing rail track that runs right under the Trumpet Flyover to operate an airport train is the question in frequent debates?

The fast expanding Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) had to be linked to the Namma Metro network.

There was no choice. The question is not why, but when and how. Now that the route has been finalised, isn’t it time to ask how fast will the project take shape, and think about alternatives to make up for the inevitable delay?

Yes, delay. Inevitable, because the Metro’s first phase itself is yet to be fully operational and the second phase could take six years or more. Besides the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the airport link is not ready yet. The message is clear: To be integrated with the second phase, the link will not happen in a hurry.

The finalised route is an extension of the 21.25 km Phase 2 line from Gottigere to M G Road to Nagawara. This line had entered the tendering stage for civil construction in March 2017.

Modified route: The chosen route does not exactly match any of the nine routes floated for public response. But, as the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) officials explain, it is a modification of two of the suggested routes.

Citing security guidelines, KIA operator, the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) had ruled out allowing the Metro line anywhere near or under the second runway being built now. The line had to enter the airport premises only from the Trumpet Flyover side, and that is exactly how the finalised route has taken shape.

Much of the 28.4-km link route will now run on NH-44, the existing Airport road before turning right at the Trumpet Flyover. The Flyover is expected to be widened to six lanes and modified to accommodate the Metro line.

Extended timeframe: It is learnt that the elevated Metro line will run on the left side of the BIAL main road, before going underground near the Air Traffic Control (ATC) building towards Terminal 2. Enroute to the terminals, the line will get a station near the Fuel Farm within the KIA premises.

But all these will take over half a decade to get anywhere near completion. The air passenger numbers are estimated to exceed 65 lakh by then. Inevitably, the existing Airport road will be inadequate to cater to the mounting traffic. The alternative road, now under construction, will be the only other option.

Existing rail link: This leaves a critical question unanswered. Why is there no interest in exploiting an existing railway track that leads from Yeshwantpur, Baiyappanahalli and Yelahanka stations, and runs right under the Trumpet Flyover? What is the rationale behind not using this link for airport connectivity?

Urban mobility experts have repeatedly stressed on the Railways allowing a halt station at the Trumpet Flyover. Airport taxis and shuttle buses could then take the passengers right up to the terminals, only five kilometres away. Is this not the best option till the Airport Metro link gets operationalised?

Low cost option: This project could be completed at a fraction of the Metro cost at less than Rs 150 crore in about three months. The Yelahanka-Channasandra track has already been doubled and electrified. Extend this to Baiyappahanalli, add a halt station under the Trumpet Flyover and kick off the train. Currently, the Yelahanka-Devanahalli line is underutilised. A high frequency, airconditioned airport train could be operated even with the single track. The halt station will cost about Rs 15 crore, the electrification of the Yelahanka-Devanahalli line another Rs 20 crore and about Rs 75 crore for the new coaches. But neither the state nor the Railways has shown much interest in this project that could boost multi-modal transport options to the airport. Urban mobility analyst, Sanjeev Dyamannavar reminds that these options will also benefit commuters bound for the aerospace park near KIA.

Final route issues: Once the commuter rail link is operationalised, the state could tackle the challenges posed by the chosen Metro link route. Issues there are aplenty, as Dyamannavar points out. For instance, the Government Flying Training School (GFTS) in Jakkur will lose its runway space. Its flight training potential will take a hit.  These issues could have been avoided if the Metro link extension from Nagawara had followed the alternative road route. This would have meant taking the Bagalur-Mylanahalli-Begur route before turning right to the airport, bypassing the second runway.

Railways signs MoU with Ahmedabad University to preserve its Heritage

As part of the agreement, the institutes will engage in a series of activities to build the capacity of railway personnel by integrating heritage perspectives in their training and work practices.

AHMEDABAD: To conserve, preserve and manage the Indian Railways’ old and rich heritage, the Centre for Heritage Management (CHM) at Ahmedabad University (AU) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Railways Institute of Civil Engineering (IRICEN).

The MoU aims to establish a long–term partnership in knowledge generation and collaboration. As part of the agreement, the institutes will engage in a series of activities to build the capacity of railway personnel by integrating heritage perspectives in their training and work practices.

The collaboration is also aimed at integrating ‘Heritage Management’ in the academic curriculum of IRICEN, wherein CHM will actively work towards developing training modules and course components to be imparted to railway officers for creating awareness about railway heritage.

Professor Devanath Tirupati, in-charge of CHM, said, “The MoU provides research opportunities for faculty and students of AU on heritage-related themes associated with Indian Railways.”

Railways to seek Territorial Army help in tree plantation

NEW DELHI: The Railways will seek help of the Territorial Army to speed up tree plantation drive across the country.

The Railways has undertaken the task of planting about 5 crore trees along tracks and on rail land in close coordination with states to increase green coverage in the country.

Reviewing the tree plantation drive, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today directed that the state-wise list be prepared pertaining to tree plantation on railway land by state agencies.

He has also directed to seek assistance from units of Territorial Army for the purpose of tree plantation.

Vice-chancellors of universities may also be approached for assistance, he suggested.

During the review, railway minister was apprised of the developments in the Zonal Railways in the states of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.

In the two states MoU has been signed between Railway Administration and Forest Development Corporations. Railways will identify tracts of land in the Railway premises and Forest Department of the States will help with identification and supply of local varieties of trees to be planted before the onset of monsoon in the month of July 2017.

Prabhu was informed that in Central Railway zone, MoU has been signed at the zonal headquarter level with State Forest Department and subsidiary MoUs have been signed at the divisional level with the local officers of the Chief Conservation of Forests.

Central Railway has identified and offered 227 hectares of railway land for such joint plantation for about 6 lakh saplings and trees.

In South East Central Railway zone, MoU has been signed with Chhattisgarh Rajya Van Vikas Nigam. Land is being identified for tree plantation.

Prabhu directed that these should be expedited so as to have effective tree plantation before onset of the monsoon season.

He indicated that Rajasthan CM has shown interest in tree plantation by the state government on land identified by zonal railway.

AC, First Class train fares to be marginally dearer following GST rollout

Service tax on ticket charges is set to hike from 4.5 per cent to 5 per cent after the GST implementation.

NEW DELHI: With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) coming into effect from July 1, train passengers will have to pay a bit more to travel AC and first class.

Service tax on ticket charges is set to hike from 4.5 per cent to 5 per cent after the GST implementation.

Service tax is levied only on AC and first class travel fares in the Railways. So if a ticket costs Rs.2000, then a passenger will have to shell out Rs 2010 from the next month, said a senior railway ministry official.

Gearing up for the GST roll-out from from July 1, the Railways has appointed nodal officer in each state to ensure smooth transition into the new single tax regime.

A consultant has been appointed for examining the impact of the GST in the Indian Railways, the official said.

Since GST registration is based on PAN details, Railways has already got its PAN.

The General Manager of each zone has been nominated as the Principal Officer for taking care of GST compliance.

The Centre for Railway Information Systems, the IT arm of Indian Railways, is in the process of making suitable software modification in respect of transportation of freight and passengers.

Though major transactions of the railways have been computerised, a few are still done off-line. Steps are being taken to digitise them also.

Ministry of Railways observes The International Day of Yoga-2017

NEW DELHI: Ministry of Railways organised the International Day of Yoga today on 21st June, 2017 in Rail Bhawan as per the directions of the Ministry of AYUSH.

The Union Minister for Railways, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu participated in the Yoga session along with the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis, on the occasion of International Day of Yoga at Bandra, Mumbai. He also participated in the Yoga session at Nalanda Auditorium, SIMSR Building, Somaiya Campus, Vidyavihar, Mumbai.

A Yoga session was organized at Rail Bhawan headquarters in New Delhi under the guidance of Shri Chakardhar Kushwaha, who is Yoga Instructor of the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, New Delhi. This event was attended by Railway Board officials including Chairman Railway Board Shri A. K. Mital, other Board Members and senior officials of Railways.

International Yoga day was also observed in the entire Indian Railway System which included Zonal Railway Headquarters, Division Railway Headquarter, Production Unit Headquarters, Railway Training Institutes and Centres, and all other Railway establishments.

Yoga must for Railway staff: circular

On the third International Yoga Day, the Railway Board sent a circular to zonal railway offices requesting all staff including motormen and guards to practise yoga.

Wednesday marked the conclusion of a 21-day yoga workshop that was started by Central Railway officials on June 1. All senior railway officials, officers and staff participated in activities organised on yoga day.

Central Railway General Manager Devendra Kumar Sharma said, “The purpose of International Yoga Day is to promote yoga and make it a part and parcel of everyone’s daily routine. The benefits of a yoga are many. Our staff members and officers should practise yoga.”

Railway authorities have planned to increase their efforts to promote. A senior railway official said, “The frontline staff of the Railways cater to nearly 75 lakh passengers every day. This might create stress and lead to diseases. So we are planning to organise yoga sessions on a regular basis.” Western Railway officials also organised yoga sessions for its employees at the motormen’s lobby and stations such as Matunga Road, Valsad, and Bandra. Ravindra Bhakar, chief public relations officer, Western Railway, said, “Yoga works as a stress buster.”

South Western Railway  celebrates International Day of Yoga

As part of 3rd International Day of Yoga, South Western Railway Head Quarters conducted Yoga and Pranayam Session for Railway Officers and staff at Chalukya Railway Institute, Gadag Road, Hubballi from 09:00 hrs. to 10:00 hrs. on 21st June, 2017. P.A.Lamghare, Additional General Manager was the chief guest.

P.A. Lamghare in his address said that Yoga education should be given at schools. Physical Exercises in Schools shall be replaced by Yoga as it is more beneficial for health. Yoga has nothing to do with religions. As a result more and more people are practicing Yoga now a days. Practicing Yoga will prevent people from illness and diseases. He also suggested that doing Yoga in group will be more advantageous than doing it individually as it will help in motivation.

Dr.Anita Kadagad and Dr.Aakash S.Kembhavi, reputed Ayurvedic doctors and Yoga experts along with trained students guided the participants in performing various Asanas. Dr. Anita Kadagad emphasized the importance of Yoga and said that self realization is the aim of Yoga. She said that yoga is the journey of the self, to the self, through the self. She has emphasized that age is not barrier for commencing Yoga. In today’s busy life yoga has become essential for holistic well being.

Later the Railway Officers and staff practiced various asanas like Vajrasana, Bhujangasana, Shalbhasana, Shavasana, Pranayama etc. under the guidance of Dr. Aakash S. Kembhavi and Dr. Anita Kadagad.

Srinivasaraghavan, Deputy Chief Personnel Officer of South Western Railway welcomed the Yoga instructors, Officers and staff who have gathered on the momentous occasion. Smt. Nagalatha Guruprasad Assistant Personnel Officer proposed Vote of thanks.

A large number of Officers and staff of South Western Railway Headquarters office including G.J. Prasad, Chief Operations Manager; K.Sivaprasad, Chief Commercial Manager; Gul Ashfaque Mohd., Secretary to GM participated in mass practicing of Yoga.

International Day of Yoga Celebrated over SCR

South Central Railway celebrated the International Day of Yoga at Indoor Stadium of Railway Sports Complex, Secunderabad today i.e., 21stJune, 2017. Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager participated along with John Thomas, Additional General Manager, N.V. Ramana Reddy, Chief Personnel Officer, Principal Heads of Departments, other Senior Railway Officials, South Central Railway. A large number of Staff, Family members, Trainees and School Children participated in large number.

Murari Mohan Renowned Yoga Teacher, Hyderabad conducted the session with Yogaasanas, Pranayama, Meditation etc., as part of the program to a large gathering who participated with enthusiasm. A pledge was administered to the participants for practising Yoga in daily life.

Speaking o­n the occasion, Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager highlighted the importance of practicing Yoga in everyday life. He said that the initiative taken by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India widely reached and being practiced regularly. Yoga has immense importance in upkeep of Health & Mind of every one. South Central Railway is propagating Yoga in a big way by conducting various camps and is being regularly undertaken in Institutions and offices.

Murari Mohan, State Coordinator, Art of Living Foundation called upon the gathering to practice Yoga in everyday life to attain good health, sound thinking and spiritual discipline. A Meditation Session was also conducted by Sister Rajkumari, from Brahma kumaris Hyderabad.

As part of International Day of Yoga celebration, a Seven day Yoga & Meditation Camp was organised at RRC Pavilion from 14th to 20th which was attended by around 100 participants under the eminent training of Yoga Guru P. Ram Koteswar Rao and Meditation classes was undertook by Brother Datta Ronade of Brahma Kumaris, Pune. Vinod Kumar Yadav complimented the trainers and organisations for taking up initiative to impart training in Yoga & Meditation to SCR Employees.

On World Wi-Fi Day, Google and Indian Railways connect millions of Rail Users

June 20 is World Wi-Fi Day and Google and Indian Railways have bridged the digital divide by connecting rail passengers with free Wi-Fi at 119 railway stations. World Wi-Fi day is a global initiative to help bridge the digital divide; a platform to recognize and celebrate the significant role Wi-Fi is playing in cities and communities around the world by driving exciting and innovative projects to ‘connect the unconnected’.

The Station Wi-fi For All project run by Google for the Railways currently connects millions of passengers with internet for free. When it is expanded to 400 stations, it is touted to become the world’s largest public Wi-Fi project.

Helping the Indian Railways spread connectivity to railway stations in cities and towns and every rail passenger is Internet giant Google.

The Wi-Fi For All project comes without any strings attached – it’s free and has no download limit once a user logs on using an authentication code. This is in a way also helping India bridge the digital divide.

When the project was conceived in 2015, a railway officer told that a PSU under Ministry  of Railways i.e. RailTel Corporation which is the largest neutral telecom infrastructure provider in the country owning a pan-India optic fiber network on exclusive right of way along railway tracks—used to provide the connectivity through its broadband service RailWire. But, soon, the free service ran into problems and led to many complaints. As RailTel had already tied up with Google for providing technology, the Internet giant itself took over the responsibility of providing the service.

A railway officer said, RailTel had roped in Google as its technology partner for setting up and providing a fast Wi-Fi network covering 400 stations. As of now, passengers can log in from 119 stations. Once implemented, this will be the largest public Wi-Fi project in the world.

Now, Google’s own routers connect users at blazing speeds that enable them to download entertainment, browse through mails or even to just check if the train they are on is running on time. The Wi-Fi is available to any user with a working mobile connection on a smartphone.

How does it operate? A user can log on by going to the website railwire.co.in, entering their phone number and choosing ‘receive SMS’; an OTP is generated and the user can then get connected.

Tej Kiran, a social media marketer who used the free Wi-Fi at Yesvantpur station in Bengaluru last week said internet speed was good. “In a matter of minutes, I found that some of the videos I had received on my WhatsApp, which I was unable to open earlier, had downloaded without much effort.

I was able to view many videos which would have taken a lot of time to download through my phone service provider. There is no limit too on the volume and, once connected, the user is always connected to the system,” Kiran added.

Railway officers say the speed is such that passengers waiting for a train or those on a train at some stations can use this free facility to stream high-density videos, download movies, songs, do office work online, check emails and even play games.

At some stations, there are complaints that the Wi-Fi connection gets disconnected after 30 minutes. “We found free internet was leading to non-passengers using them too. We want only genuine passengers to use them. At passing stations, trains rarely stop for 30 minutes, so we will soon have a 30-minute free limit. If the user wants to continue they will have to pay,” an officer said.

Vyoma Media founder Shriranga K. Sudhakara says that his company’s 2,000-plus screens are all currently connected on the cloud in 21 railway divisions. Vyoma Media is an ad-tech company that places advertisements dynamically for brands on TV screens fixed at rail stations that display adverts as well as social messages.

“Now with fast Wi-Fi connectivity at railway stations, we can geo-locate users and create ads based on user interests,” Sudhakara says.

June 20, 2017 is the inaugural year of World Wi-Fi Day. It is being celebrated by the Wireless Broadband Alliance, which came up with this initiative in the hope to accelerate affordable wireless connectivity around the world.

Its hope for connectivity charter directs attention of cities, government bodies, telephone operators, technology vendors and internet giants towards the critical influence and success of wireless connectivity in bridging the digital divide.

Prabhu calls for expediting Stations Redevelopment work

MUMBAI: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu directed the officials to fast-track the work on redeveloping five stations in the Mumbai metropolitan region.

Prabhu, who was in the city, held a meeting with the officials to review the progress of station redevelopment.

The Station Redevelopment Programme project entails improvement of passenger amenities at railway stations and commercial exploitation of land around them. Among the 400 stations identified for the project across the country, five in Mumbai- Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Thane, Mumbai Central, Bandra Terminus and Borivali- will see redevelopment.

General Manager of Western Railway A K Gupta, General Manager of Central Railway D K Sharma and CMD of Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Ltd (MRVC) Prabhat Sahai along with senior Railway Board and other officers attended the meeting.

Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar also present.

During the meeting, Prabhu instructed the officials to put the work of redevelopment of the selected five stations on the fast track, a statement issued by the Western Railway (WR) said.

The minister also suggested seeking partnerships with local authorities like the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to expedite the process.

Prabhu emphasised that the state and central infrastructure PSUs could be considered as strategic partners to expedite the station redevelopment work, the statement said.

“The Indian Railways will save Rs 3,000 crore in 10 years through rain water harvesting, restoration of old water bodies, water recycling etc,” the statement quoted Prabhu as saying.

He emphasised increasing the use of bamboo furniture to reduce deforestation and for the upliftment of tribals.

During the meet, Mungantiwar, who is also the state’s forest minister, said the state government will provide saplings to the Railways to curb pollution.

The Maharashtra minister said that joint nurseries are planned to be opened with the tie-up of Railways, the state government and the World Wide Fund (WWF) to promote green initiatives.

Railway Mail Service: Letterboxes back on three Trains

Letterboxes reintroduced on three trains by Railway Mail Service in Hubballi

HUBBALLI:  In an age where communication is largely digital, and even personal messages seldom exceed 140 characters, the idea of reclining on one’s chair and penning one’s thoughts on paper can appear quaint, even idyllic.

However, postal service is still robust in the country, and in recognition of its enduring importance to the public, letter boxes have been reintroduced on Railway Mail Service (RMS) coaches on three trains.

Going Nostalgic is always fun: Railway Mail Services Bag Token of RMS-Department of Posts

Discontinued in the 1980s, the sight of letterboxes affixed to the RMS coaches evoked a sense of nostalgia among passengers.

Citizens can drop unregistered letters – posts that do not require processing at the post office – in the letterbox and they will be processed en route. They will be delivered to a set of prescribed stations.

“Letterboxes have been installed on the RMS coaches of Rani Chennamma Express (train number: 16589 and 16590), Siddaganga Intercity Express (12725 and 12726) and Hubballi-Vijayawada passenger train (56501 and 56502).

Posts dropped in the boxes will be processed immediately,” superintendent, RMS Hubballi division, SK Murnal told.

Murnal said the services was reintroduced following the orders of the chief postmaster general, Karnataka circle.

“We have decided to provide the service on three trains in accordance with the orders of postmaster general, North Karnataka region, Dharwad,” he said.

However, the service is limited to few stations. Office supervisor for RMS Hubballi RC Negalur said that those in intermediate stations such as Haveri and Davanagere would not be able to avail of the service.

“Those in Dharwad and Hubballi can send letters to Bengaluru, and vice-versa on the Rani Chennamma Express.

If letters are addressed to locations in other places, they will be treated as non-RMS assignments and transferred to the postal department,” he added.

Pointing out that letters posted in Hubballi, and addressed to Bengaluru, would reach their respective destinations in one day, Negalur added, “People in Guntakal too can use the service on the Vijayawada-Hubballi train to send letters to Gadag and Hubballi.

They will be transported to the RMS offices in the respective cities, and delivered to their destinations through the local post office (s).”

Madhu Lokur, a citizen, recalled the days when he used the letterboxes for speedy delivery. “The RMS has taken a good decision to reintroduce this service.

People will be able to send letters, applications and invitations at a lower cost. Instead of spending a minimum of Rs 20 on private couriers, we can now do it for Rs 5 or even 50 paise,” he added.

Rival Railway Unions fight over recognition in Chennai

CHENNAI: An argument over ‘recognition’ between members of two rival unions of Southern Railway resulted in a brawl on Tuesday, which left three injured. The incident is said to have happened at around 3.30 pm at Perambur carriage works, when a visiting high ranking official from the Railway Board was to be received.

Several railway employees, including members from both Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU) and Southern Railway Employees Sangh (SRES), were there to receive the official.

SRMU, led by N Kanniah, is the sole recognised employee union in Southern Railways following an election. However, there are several other unions which fight for the welfare of employees.

According to sources, members of SRMU questioned the presence of employees belonging to SRES at the ceremony to welcome the railway official. SRES is not recognised, according to the SRMU and the former took offence at this. A verbal exchange erupted leading to fist fight out between the two groups.

All the three injured, belonging to SRMU, were said to have suffered cuts and bruises. One of them, Rajendran, a retired employee is an SRMU office bearer. Two others were identified as Selvaraj and Prithiviraj.

They were taken to the Railway Hospital in Aynavaram for treatment.

According to ICF police, there have been frequent tensions between members of the two rival unions. “We have received complaints from both sides. They often fight among themselves due to prior enmity, but used to settle their differences through mutual discussions,” a police official said.

Railway officials fear that the incident, which happened in the presence of RB Member (Rolling Stock) Ravindra Gupta, who was inspecting carriage works, might harm the image of Southern Railway. It is learnt that an official enquiry would be conducted by the mechanical department to punish those involved. Officials from both unions could not be reached for comment.

ASSOCHAM says Railways, Roads should be exempted from GST

NEW DELHI: In view of the long gestation period and showing negative returns, industry body ASSOCHAM has suggested that infrastructure and transportation such as road and railway sectors should continue to be exempted under Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.

In a note submitted to the Finance Ministry, ASSOCHAM has suggested that to avoid accumulation of input tax credit with the contractors, a similar exemption should be granted in GST on direct procurements made by the contractors for use in such projects. Further withdrawal of exemption on existing projects will have a negative impact on business revenues.

The chamber says, alternative options should be provided in GST, such as Zero rating the Contract Value chain, in the event the current Exemptions are withdrawn, so as to protect the Infrastructure Projects from any additional tax burden.

The chamber spokesperson says, presently, highway toll collected from passengers and annuity amounts received from NHAI for construction and maintenance of highways is exempt from Service tax. While service by way of access to a road or a bridge on payment of toll charges has been specifically exempted in GST regime, exemption to similar income received in form of annuity from NHAI has not been provided. Essentially in case of annuity based project NHAI collects Toll charges and share Toll income in form of annuity.

Levy of GST on existing contracts with non-recoverable taxes from NHAI will have significant impact on revenue and therefore exemption should be accorded to annuity income as well.

As per contract with NHAI, concessionaire is required to a share a pre-defined percentage of income from toll collection with NHAI and there is no clarification whether sharing of such exempted income would be subject to GST. Since Toll income is exempt from GST, sharing of such income also should not attract GST.

It may be mentioned that currently the services provided to infrastructure project are exempted from service tax and wherever service tax is levied, works contract abatement is available and in VAT also abatement is available and the combined effective tax rate comes to 10 percent to 12 percent while the rate schedule released by GST council provides for 18 percent GST rate for Works contract services.

ASSOCHAM has strongly recommended that rate of GST should be retained at the current levels on the Goods and Services, on the existing projects in progress as any increase in existing tax cost will adversely impact the project financials, cash flow and margins, due to inability to pass on or recover such increased cost in the entire Contract value chain and GST rate on works contract services should be provided as 12 percent instead of 18 percent.

Similar rate structure has been provided by GST council for Construction of a complex, building, civil structure or a part thereof, intended for sale to a buyer, wholly or partly.

NITI Aayog OKs Rs.18000 Crore project to increase Train Speeds

NEW DELHI: The ambitious Rs.18,000 crore project for increasing train speeds on the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah rail corridors has got the NITI Aayog’s approval, paving the way for being put up for Cabinet clearance.

The mega project is meant to bring about a paradigm shift in rail operations enabling trains to run at 160 km per hour on the busiest routes on the Indian railway network.

Aiming at reducing travel time between the three metropolises, the project envisages fencing off the entire 3,000 kms on both routes, upgradation of signalling system, elimination of all level crossings and installing train protection warning system (TPWS), among other works to make trains run at an increased speed of 160 kmh.

“Any project more than Rs 1,000 crore in worth will have to get the NITI Aayog clearance. So now after getting the NITI Aayog clearance yesterday, the proposal will now be examined by the expanded Railway Board,” said a senior railway ministry official involved with the project.

The expanded railway board is comprised of senior representatives from department of expenditure, department of programme implementation and NITI Aayog, besides the board members.

The Railways will submit the proposal for cabinet clearance after getting the proposal approved by the expanded railway board.

The 1,483-km long New Delhi-Mumbai rail route will also include the Baroda-Ahmedabad sector, and is estimated to cost Rs 11,189 crore.

The 1,525-km long New Delhi-Howrah route, which also includes the Kanpur-Lucknow section, is estimated to cost Rs 6,974 crore.

The work on both sections will be given to a single agency through global bidding for effective implementation of the project.

Prabhu seeks NITI Aayog’s help in revamping safety

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has sought the NITI Aayog’s help in monitoring investment in safety infrastructure and also suggestions in setting up of a dedicated wing for train accident investigation.

The government has allocated Rs 1 lakh crore for the safety upgrade in railways over the next five years.

Prabhu, who has introduced many reforms in rail administration, broached the idea of involvement of NITI Aayog in revamping safety system with PMO also, sources in the railway ministry said.

Prabhu is keen that expenditure in safety upgrade is being carried out with suggestion and guidance from Niti Aayog.

The Railways aims to achieve zero accident rate through strengthening of the safety mechanism.

Currently, train accidents are investigated by mostly railway men under the commissioner of railway safety.

However, Prabhu has strongly advocated for creation of a separate organisation comprising forensic experts to investigate accidents in a scientific way and come out with solutions to avoid such incidents in future.

The Railways is working out a strategy to have a dedicated team of experts to investigate train accidents.

No Waiting List Rail Tickets from 2020: Suresh Prabhu

Jamshedpur: All commuters will get confirmed tickets by 2020 and the issue of waiting ticket will get over, Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu had said on June 10, 2016.

He had also promised to improve the services of the railways. “Considering the present situation, I hope the supply and demand of tickets in railways will be met by 2020. This work is challenging, looking at the country’s population and increasing dependence on railways,” Prabhu said.

Railway is increasing the number of coaches in long route trains and several of the trains which cross Tatanagar for Ahmadabad, Amritsar, Chapra, Chennai and Mumbai route the third AC coaches are being increased to cater to the rising demand of the passengers.

Around 33 trains which cross Tatanagar or leave from the station the waiting list of tickets are around 72 to 80 in normal days. The railway is working on ‘Vikalp’ scheme to tackle the waitlist passengers and provide them with confirm tickets who otherwise suffer a harrowing time.

Railway is also working on building new model coaches were one sleeper and third AC coach will have 80 seats against the current 72.

The Puri-New Delhi Purushottam express which crosses Tatanagar has the same model coaches. Seeing the crowd of passengers, railway has also increased the frequency of special trains.

Four AC trains frequency has been increased which were ordered to be stopped in June. But the trains to Pune, Vizag, Rajkot, Kachiguda will run till August.

Suresh Prabhu inaugurates various Rail related services in Odisha and Assam

NEW DELHI: Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu inaugurated following services in Odisha and Assam through video conferencing from Rail Bhawan today i.e 19-06-2017.  Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas (Independent Charge), Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and Member of Parliament(Lok Sabha) Shri Dr. (Prof.) Prasanna Kumar Patasani, were specially present to grace the occasion. Chairman, Railway Board, Shri A. K. Mital, Member Traffic Railway Board, Shri Mohd Jamshed, other Railway Board Members and Senior Officials were also present on the occasion.

  1. New Railway Line between Bolagarh Road and Nayagarh Town
    • The work for provision of new line between Khurda Road and Bolangir for a total length of 289 km was sanctioned in the year of 1994-95 at a total cost of Rs 801.78 crores.
    • The work for commissioning of new line between Bolagarh Road and Nayagarh town (12 km) has been completed. The total length of rail line completed is about 65 Kms.
    • Train No. 58429/58430/58431/58432 (Khurda Road- Bolagarh) passenger trains are being extended upto Nayagarh Town.
    • A large number of pilgrims visit Puri during the Rath Yatra festival and this train will facilitate the movement of pilgrims between Nayagarh Town and Puri. This will be daily service with a composition of 12 coaches.
    • This will fulfill the long pending demand of the local people for rail connectivity.
  2. Nayagarh Town Railway Station Building
    • It is a ‘E’ category station on Khurda Road-Bolangir section, built at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore.
    • Passenger amenities like booking windows, public address system, waiting hall, platform, toilets, drinking water have been provided at the station.
    • To facilitate physically handicapped passengers wheel chairs have been provided. Stretchers have also been provided for medical needs of the passengers.
  3. Passenger halt at Bolagarh Town
    • Passenger halt at Bolagarh Town was sanctioned on 13.10.2016. on passenger amenity grounds. Location of the halt is between Rajsunakhala and Bolagarh Road stations on Khurda Road-Bolangir new line in Khurda Division of East Coast Railway.
    • It has been built at a cost of Rs. 98 lakhs.Amenities provided are (i) High level platform (360 metres), (ii) Booking counter cum waiting room (25 sqm), (iii) Approach road (900 sqm) and (iv) one hand tubewell.
  4. PRS at Kamakhya Temple
    • Hon’ble MR announced for opening of PRS counter at Kamakhya temple premises on 7.5.2017.This is non-rail head PRS with the assistance of Kamakhya Devottar Board cater to approximately catchment area of 5000 passengers.
    • This is a location of tourist importance, lakh of devotees visit the shrine especially during Ambubushi Mela.
    • At present, on Northeast Frontier Railway there are 249 locations where computerized reservation facility is available.  After this, the figure will be 250 (including 115 locations in the State of Assam).The inaugural function was held at the temple in presence of a large gathering of devotees.
    • At Kamakhya temple, NF Railway General Manager Chahatey Ram, Doloi of Kamakhya Devalaya Mohit Sarma and president of Kamakhya Bordeuri Samaj Bhupati Sarma were present.
    • NFR officials said that with the opening of this new PRS on the Nilachal Hill, lakhs of pilgrims will be able to get their railway tickets reserved or cancelled without visiting any nearby railway station.
    • The opening of the PRS also comes just ahead of the start of the annual Ambubachi Mela.

JSPL gets green light to enter European Rail market

MUMBAI: Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL), India’s leading private sector steel maker, has cleared the standard test to supply rails to  European countries.

The company has received certification from Luxembourg-based TUV NORD that its rails produced in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh facility match the standards of rails used in Europe. “The agency team inspected the Raigarh plant and certified two grades of rail based on European rail standards,” JSPL spokesperson said.

The development would help JSPL bag orders for supplying rails to European countries and strengthen its export portfolio.

According to company officials, JSPL has been supplying rails for dedicated freight corridors, Delhi Metro and other major projects. It is among seven companies in the world that manufacture head-hardened rail.

JSPL has started strengthening its presence in the international market, the officials said, adding that it is also looking to break the monopoly of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) in supplying rails to Indian Railways. SAIL is the sole supplier of rail to the Indian Railways.

JSPL is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to supply rails in a customised finished lengths ranging from 13 to 121 meters.

The company’s focus on Indian Railways is based on current demand projections as railways is estimated to require nearly 1 million tonne of head-hardened rails over the next five years. JSPL is set to produce 3,60,000 tonne of rails per annum.

Emission Norms for Diesel Locomotives sent for Approval: CPCB

NEW DELHI: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has submitted proposed emission standards for diesel locomotive to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for approval, the National Green Tribunal was informed today.

The submission by CPCB came in the wake of the green panel’s direction to set standards in this regard and ensure that the railway locomotive engines don’t cause pollution.

The lawyer appearing for the MoEF, however, told a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar that he would seek instructions on the issue and inform the tribunal on the next date of hearing.

The CPCB’s interim report titled “Exhaust Emission Benchmarks for Diesel Locomotives on Indian Railways” aims to fix standards and protocols for the sector to achieve the targets submitted by India under the Paris climate change agreement.

According to the report, the contribution of emissions from the transport sector on the whole has risen 3.5 times since 1990 to stand at 250 million tonne carbon dioxide, or 13.5 per cent of the total emissions in 2013.

The Railways contributed 9.7 per cent of this figure (24.7 million tonne). Globally, however, only 3.5 per cent of the emissions from the transport sector are attributed to the rail sector, CPCB’s report said.

“The changes in the energy sources allowed for a reduction of the share of rail transport CO2 emissions from 24 per cent in 1990 to less than 10 per cent in 2013, while rail activity doubled in the same period,” the draft report by CPCB said.

Earlier, the tribunal had directed MoEF to hold a meeting with the CPCB and Railways and submit report on emission standards for diesel locomotive within six weeks.

However, when the matter came up for hearing, the Environment Ministry sought more time saying, “the standards are yet to be fixed and one year time is required for completion”.

The Railways had earlier submitted international standards for emissions from diesel locomotive railway engines and filed a data sheet indicating the emissions from 30 railway engines.

According to the data sheet, the emission levels in the tested 30 railway engines were much above international standards.

The directions came while hearing a petition filed by Dwarka resident S K Goyal about harmful emissions from diesel locomotives.

GE partners Skill Development Ministry to train locals for its new Locomotive facility in Bihar

PATNA: General Electric (GE) in partnership with Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) is planning to source workers and skilled technicians from Bihar itself, in line with its greenfield manufacturing base being set up in Marhaura (Bihar), service facilities in Roza (UP) and Gandhidham (Gujarat). GE also plans to set up state of the art skilling centres with support from the Ministry.

In November 2015, the Railway Ministry had signed an agreement with GE under which the US firm would invest $200 million to develop and supply the railways with 1,000 diesel locomotives. As per this project, GE will roll out 900 diesel locomotives from a new factory at Marhaura in Saran district of Bihar.

As part of the project, the production of first railway coaches will start from mid-next year from Saran. GE, in collaboration with India Railways, is nearing completion of a diesel locomotive manufacturing plant in Marhaura. A new transmission line to Marhaura is being created to provide electricity to this factory. GE is also coming up with a state of the art maintenance shed for diesel locomotives in railway’s land in Roza near Shahjahanpur.

To discuss the progress of the project, a delegation of GE led by its vice chairman John Rice met Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, on Tuesday. During the meeting Rudy expressed his desire that GE should conduct skill mapping of the surrounding areas in consequent wake of the requirement of skilled workforce in setting of the plant. He stated that the nearing ITIs can be leveraged to offer skilled resources.

GE delegation informed the Minister that it was working on extending support for ancillary industries in that region.

GM/SCR lays stress on Safety & Punctuality as Key Elements to attain Customer Satisfaction

SECUNDERABAD: Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway conducted a Safety Review Meeting today i.e., 19th June, 2017 at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad along with Principal Heads of Departments. Divisional Railway Manager’s (DRM) of all six Divisions i.e. Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntakal, Guntur and Nanded also participated in the meeting through video conference.

The General Manager made a comprehensive review of the entire safety aspects pertaining to train operations on the Zone, including derailments occurring in yards, Loco failures and unsafe working. He instructed the officials to take corrective action and avoid short cut methods, so as to ensure optimal standards of safety.

On the aspect of punctuality, Vinod Kumar Yadav expressed satisfaction at the steps being taken to monitor and ensure best punctuality levels of train services on the Zone and opined that these efforts should continue all through without any letup. The General Manager instructed the DRMs to draw an action plan on punctuality and implement the same. He also stressed on the need to identify the root causes for asset failures and take corrective action and bring out System Improvements.

Earlier, the General Manager presented “Man of the Month” award to T. Uday Bhaskar, Trackman, Tuni Station, Vijayawada Division for his timely action in detecting a rail breakage during his check in the night and taking action immediately to negate any unsafe incident. John Thomas, Addl.General Manger, S.N.Singh, Principal Chief Engineer; D.K.Singh, Chief Safety Officer; N.Madhusudana Rao, Chief Operations Manager; Smt.Padmini Radhakrishnan, FA&CAO; Arjun Mundia, Chief Mechanical Engineer, N.V.Ramana Reddy, Chief Personnel Officer were amongst the officials present.

Rajdhani rides to be 30% faster, travel from Delhi to Mumbai in 12 hours

Later this month, Indian Railways will propose reducing the minimum travel time of the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah lines from 17 hours to 12.

The plan would make each line the fastest in India, running at top speeds of 200 kilometres per hour. The Gatimaan, which runs from Delhi to Agra, is currently number one with a maximum speed of 160 km/h.

The average speed of many Indian trains is slower by over 100 km/h. According to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the premier Rajdhani trains currently average around 75 km/h; the prevalent Express and Mail trains trundle along at 52 km/h; and freight trains are not even half as fast as that, averaging only 22 km/h.

Significantly, the proposal of the new plan is taking the official form of a cabinet note. In the past, hundreds of projects have been announced in railway budget speeches but have languished without approval by the cabinet. An estimated 394 rail projects worth nearly five lakh crore are pending.

According to Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, implementation of the new plan will begin in January 2018 and take two to three years. An official who was not authorized to speak to the media reckoned that the project will cost Rs 18,163 crore. The Railways will focus on improving the electrical systems that direct trains and on civil engineering projects such as the lifting of tracks and the construction of new fences.

Ultimately, the government hopes to run faster trains throughout the ‘Golden Quadrilateral’, which also includes the Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Kolkata lines.

Of the 9,100 kilometers on the Golden Quadrilateral, the tracks along 6,400 kilometers (70% of the total) do not have the capacity to run trains at 130 km/h. Speed restrictions are in effect at 730 locations. These stretches have 2,736 level crossings. “We are working at eliminating these obstacles,” said a ministry official .

Britain has had trains going 200 km/h since 1976, and France is expecting this summer to start running trains that hit and go above 300 km/h. The fastest commercial train in the world, the Shanghai Maglev, tops out at 430km/h. Despite the considerable size and importance of the railways in India, they have been unable to keep up with the standards set by some other Asian nations and by Europe.

Delhi Metro Vs. Delhi Airport Metro row: Supreme Court to hear dispute case today

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will on Monday hear the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) plea on Rs. 60 crore dispute case.

The DMRC had moved the apex court against the Delhi High Court’s order that asked it to pay Rs. 60 crore as three months interest to a lender of Delhi Airport Metro Express Private, a former concessionaire for airport express line.

The DMRC has challenged the June 7 order of the High Court that upheld its single judge order asking it to pay the three months interest to DAMEPL.

The single judge had directed the DMRC to deposit the amount of Rs. 60 crore within 10 days directly into DAMEPL’s loan account with Axis Bank – the main lender.

This was ordered after DAMEPL, a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure, had sought early payment of the award, claiming it was paying Rs. 65 lakh per day to its lenders, comprising public and other banks, since the termination of its agreement with DMRC to run the Airport Metro line.

The DMRC in its appeal sought stay on the interim order on the grounds that it would amount to partial implementation of the award and would also be akin to dismissal of its objections against enforcement of award.

The Anil Ambani company had claimed a total compensation of Rs. 4,670 crore, which includes the penalty and the interest on it, from DMRC.

The compensation awarded by the arbitral tribunal in May covers damage as a result of a breach by DMRC of its obligations under the concession agreement and material adverse effect on the ability of DAMEPL to perform its obligations under the concession pact.

Meghalaya CM proposes rail connectivity between Shillong and Sohra (Cherrapunjee)

SHILLONG: Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has asked railway officials to work out plans and design for rail connectivity between Shillong and Sohra (Cherrapunjee).

Sangma, who held a review meeting with the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) officials on Thursday, said the proposed Shillong-Sohra railway link would provide new opportunities for the State and the people who would utilise the railway for high-end tourism destination and as separate facility for farmers.

Sohra, known as one of the wettest places on the earth, is about 50 km from Shillong, the State capital.

In 1895-96, the British Provincial Government of united Assam built the Cherra (Sohra) Companyganj State Railways and it was one of the first railway projects during that time.

It was a contemporary of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways or the “Toy Train” now listed as World Heritage.

“It will be the most sought after train ride for the people who would like to visit Meghalaya again and again. This will also provide a kind of train ride for couples enjoying their honeymoon or others celebrating their anniversary in the midst of beauty and nature,” Sangma told media persons.

The Meghalaya Government’s proposal for the Shillong-Sohra railway line is significant in the wake of the violent protests in Khasi-Jaintia Hills region opposing the ongoing railway project connecting Meghalaya’s Byrnihat in Ri Bhoi district with Assam’s Tetelia in Kamrup district.

Railways have been opposed in Meghalaya by Khasi Students’ Union, claiming that it would encourage influx.

“I have asked the railway authorities to work out modalities for putting in place facilities that would dispel apprehensions over influx and illegal immigrants,” Sangma said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the first railway station at Mendipathar in the Garo Hills on November 30, 2014. The 19.47 km railway line will connect Mendipathar to Dudhnoi in Assam’s Goalpara district.

High speed train corridor to ensure non-stop net connectivity

Rail passengers can soon enjoy uninterrupted Internet connectivity with the Railways all set to equip main trunk routes with high speed mobile communication system.

This will also help in real-time monitoring of assets besides ensuring direct communication between gangmen and loco pilots and station masters on condition of tracks. Considered as one of the areas essential for transforming rail operation, the state-run transporter will be setting up the high speed mobile communication corridor at an estimated cost of Rs 5,000 crore through PPP model.

Currently, the Railways has been using wireless systems for operational applications. It has deployed GSM-R networks on select routes for operational voice communications between train drivers and train controllers.

“Now we are planning to migrate to LTE-R (Long Term Evolution-Railways) technology from GSM-R (Global System for Mobile Communication-Railways), for creating high speed train communication corridor,” said a senior official of the signal and telecom wing of the Railway Ministry.

The high speed mobile corridor aims to support various safety, train operation and train management systems apart from offering broadband service to passengers.

Today, passengers expect uninterrupted Internet connectivity while travelling by train or at stations. The system shall fulfil all these needs of passengers by setting up dedicated broadband network along the railway tracks, said the official. The high speed mobile communication system would enable the public transporter to have next generation mobile train radio communication between control office and crew of the trains for safe train operations.

It would also improve travel comfort of passengers by providing real-time multimedia information and access to social networks in stations or on the go.

It is expected that once implemented, the corridor will not only help in real-time monitoring of the assets, its maintenance and management, but will also help the Railways to provide next generation mobile train radio communication between control office and crew of the trains for safe train operations.

The Railways has implemented mobile train radio communication system on 2,541 route km and further works on 3,408 route km are in progress. Besides monitoring assets, it would provide a better passenger comfort and journey experience such as onboard Internet access, video on demand or other entertainment.

Japan pushes for Bengaluru-Chennai high-speed rail

Japan has reiterated its keenness to take up the high-speed train project between Bengaluru and Chennai.

Japan’s Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu, who met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday, stated that Japan was keen to expand the high-speed rail network in India.

Hiramatsu was in Bengaluru to participate in the launch of the Green Line of Namma Metro. The ambassador discussed the progress and implementation of several projects in Bengaluru taken up utilising funds from financial institutions in Japan.

Japan uses the Shinkansen bullet train technology which is proposed to be utilised for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed train.

Railways to float Content on Demand and Rail Radio tenders next week

The service will first be made available on Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto.

CHENNAI: The journey on board premium trains, such as Rajdhani and Shatabdi, will soon be entertaining for passengers. It has been learnt that tenders for content on demand (CoD) and rail radio (RR) services will be floated next week. It is expected to be rolled out in a phased manner by next year.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Railways released the CoD and RR policy.

According to officials, the rationale behind the policy was to augment non-fare revenue, by monetising entertainment-based services on trains and stations. The policy had earmarked a contract period of 10 years. It was proposed to allow contracted parties to provide content like movies and TV shows, with a revenue of more than `6,000 crore expected to be generated by the end of contract period.

The ministry had appointed RailTel, a public sector enterprise owned by Railways, as the nodal agency to carry out the process. A RailTel official said the tender documents have been finalised and bids will be opened this week. The applicants can be a consortium, comprising of individual content providers. “It is expected that the tendering process will take around three months. We hope to start work from August,” the official said.

The CoD and RR will be provided through personal devices of passengers. “There will be a library of digital content listing audio and video shows. Users can choose to watch any content, paid or free,” the official explained.

The service will first be made available on Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto. Railways has launched a series of initiatives, including advertising and branding, to increase non-fare revenue, to offset the dependence on earnings from the passenger and freight segment. Although total earnings from the passenger segment in 2016-2017 is estimated to be around `47,400 crore, officials say it did not match projections.

Gujarat CM flags-off Special Train on Centenary celebration of Sabarmati Ashram

GANDHINAGAR: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Saturday flagged off Gandhi Darshan Astha Special Train from Sabarmati Railway station on the completion of 100 year of Sabarmti Ashram.

In order to honour the centenary celebration of the Sabarmati Ashram founded by the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, the Ministry of Railways, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and the Gujarat tourism had decided to run the Gandhi Darshan Special Tourist Train.

“On behalf of the people, I want to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who allowed commencing this train which is related to the Mahatma Gandhiji. I am sure that this nation will move forward on the basis of Gandhian ideology,” Chief Minister Rupani said.

The train will cover all the important destinations connected with India’s freedom struggle movement and Mahatma Gandhi like Wardha, Motihari, Gaya, Varanasi, Allahabad and Surat.

It will be a nine-day tour organised by the Railway Ministry.

Rail Minister to inaugurate newly built Bolagarh Road-Nayagarh Town Rail line on June 19

NAYAGARH: Nayagarh district in Odisha will enter the railway map on June 19 and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will dedicate to the country the newly built section between Bolagarh Road to Nayagarh Town which is falling on the Khurda Road Rail Division of East Coast Railway.

The sanction of the Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety has been received by East Coast Railway for the section, which is part of the Khurda Road-Balangir ongoing rail line Project, official sources said.

The union minister will also inaugurate the Nayagarh Town station building and Bolagarh Road passenger halt and flag off the extension of Khurda Road-Bolagarh Road-Khurda Road passenger trains upto Nayagarh through video conferencing from Rail Bhawan, New Delhi, at 3 pm on June 19, the sources said.

In the inaugural run, the train will run as a special train from Nayagarh Town Station towards Khurda Road. The regular service in the extended portion will, however, commence from next day, they said.

As per the Railways schedule 58430 Nayagarh Town-Khurda Road Passenger will leave Nayagarh Town at 5 am and reach Khurda Road at 7 am. In the return direction, 58429 Khurda Road-Nayagarh Town Passenger will leave Khurda Road at 7.35 pm and will reach Nayagarh Town at 9.30 pm, they said.

58431 Khurda Road-Nayagarh Town Passenger will leave Khurda Road at 7.45am and will reach Nayagarh Town at 9.30am. In the return direction, 58432 Nayagarh Town-Khurda Road Passenger will leave Nayagarh Town at 10 am and will reach Khurda Road at 11.30am.

Both the trains will have 10 second class seating and two guard-cum-luggage vans and will stop at Khurda Town, Begunia, Rajsunakhala, Bolagarh Town PH and Bolagarh Road Stations between Khurda Road and Nayagarh Town from both the directions, the sources said.

Lucknow-Varanasi Rail line to be congestion-free by October 2017

LUCKNOW: The congestion problem on Varanasi-Lucknow route is likely to end by October end, said member, traffic, Railway Board, Mohammad Jamshed. He said that the route was much beyond its saturation capacity which was leading to delays and trains getting stranded on the outer signal.

“Against the capacity to run 55-60 trains, this route is handling the traffic of more than 90 trains. Add to it an abundance of goods trains and special trains and the burden is staggering. But, it should all end when the doubling of Uthrathiya-Jafrabad section is completed and the entire Varanasi-Lucknow route is doubled up by October end. Besides, after the inauguration of a dedicated freight corridor would further take the burden off,” he told.

“Punctuality is certainly an issue and we are working on improvement,” said Jamshed, who was in Lucknow on Thursday to attend the valedictory function of the passing out ceremony at Indian Railways Training Institute. He also reviewed safety measures and other amenities at Lucknow stations. He was accompanied by Northern Railway chief commercial manager Devesh Mishra.

The length of Uthrathiya-Varanasi route is 271 Km long, of which only 212 Km of route track has been doubled up while the work of rest Chandrauli-Adheenpur route length of 58.66 km is under way. The construction of second route track on these lines will reduce the traffic on outer sections of Charbagh railway station. As of now, trains have to wait for the route clearance. It eventually adversely affects the traffic on the Lucknow-Kanpur-Delhi and Lucknow-Bareilly-Delhi routes as well.

At present, around 166 mail and express and 22 passenger trains are running on this route. Besides, there are around 18 freight trains. However, Jamshed has said that after the inauguration of freight corridor, the load of goods trains would also be reduced which would give relief to passengers in terms of punctuality.

Railways will hold Roadshows abroad to showcase the financial robustness of the Stations Redevelopment scheme

Indian Railways has already received inquiries from Switzerland, the UAE, Kuwait, Slovakia, Malaysia and Japan, and the carrier has also reached out to the foreign embassies in India requesting them to market the plan in their own countries.

NEW DELHI: Enthused by the response received from overseas developers for the station redevelopment programme, the Indian Railways will hold roadshows abroad to showcase the financial robustness of the scheme and attract more investors. “The railway minister has asked us to do roadshows abroad. We have to decide the nations we should visit,” said an official from the ministry of railways requesting anonymity.

The Indian Railways is aggressively pursuing redevelopment of 400-plus stations across the country, providing world-class passenger amenities. The plan will be executed by leasing out railway land to private developers for a period of 45 years, and in turn developers will commercialise the land parcels, redevelop stations and maintain them for 15 years. At present, the national carrier has put out a list of 23 stations for bidding.

The official, however, added that the roadshows may not be done for the current lot on offer.

The railways has seen keen interest from Malaysian companies and one company has already submitted bid against request for quotation for Surat railway station. The Malaysian developers are been led by Construction Industry Development Board, a Malaysian agency established to promote, improve and expand the country’s construction industry.

The Malaysian developers have also indicated interest for a basket of 20-30 stations beyond the 23 on offer right now. The railways has asked them to participate in at least 4-6 current projects on offer before a concept for basket offering can emerge.

“They will do detailed project report for say 20 stations. Then to bring in transparency, we may get it Swiss challenged in the market. If they meet the challenge, they will get it. This will ensure transparency as well we will get the fair price,” added the official.

Though the contours of such an arrangement is still to be done, Malaysian developers have impressed that they can get key EPC firms from the UAE, Kuwait and Turkey to participate in the projects.

Meanwhile, the railways will again approach the state governments to identify stations they would like to develop through partnership. Under the planned method, railway entity such as RLDA or IRSDC, which are authorised to develop land, will partner with one of the state companies and together they will redevelop stations which the state governments want. “These could be any station beyond the ones we have identified depending on its local importance—religious, tourism,” added the official.

Full Speech of the Prime Minister at the dedication of Kochi Metro to the Nation

KOCHI: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today inaugurated the Kochi Metro, and travelled briefly on the new metro line. He later addressed a large gathering at the function to dedicate Kochi Metro to the nation.

Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s address:

I am happy to be part of the inauguration ceremony of Kochi Metro. I congratulate the people of Kochi on this proud moment.

Friends!

Kochi, the queen of the Arabian Sea, is an important spice trading centre. Today it is known as the commercial capital of Kerala. Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourist arrivals in Kerala. Hence it is fitting that Kochi should have a Metro rail facility.

The city’s population has been rising steadily, and is expected to reach twenty three lakhs by 2021. Therefore, a mass rapid transport system is essential to address the increasing pressure on urban infrastructure. This will also contribute to Kochi’s economic growth.

Kochi Metro Rail Limited is a fifty – fifty Joint Venture of Government of India and Government of Kerala. The Union Government has so far released over two thousand crore rupees for Kochi Metro. The phase being inaugurated today will operate from Aluva to Palarivattom. It will cover 13.26 kilometres and eleven stations.

This metro project has several significant features.

It is the first metro project to be commissioned with a modern signalling system called the “Communication Based Train Control Signalling system”.

The coaches reflect the “Make in India” vision. They have been built by Alstom of France, at their factory near Chennai, and have an Indian component of around seventy percent.

The Kochi metro integrates the city’s entire public transportation network into a single system. This system will have a common time-table, common ticketing and centralised `command and control’. It also focuses on improving last mile connectivity and non-motorised transportation systems in the inner city.

The Kochi Metro has also pioneered an innovative PPP model for ticketing Indian banks and financial institutions are being invited through a bid process to invest in an Automated Fare Collection system. The selected bank will co-brand the Kochi Metro Fare Card and App with the bank’s name.

I am informed that this Kochi-1 Card is a multi-purpose pre-paid contact-less RuPay card which can be used to travel in the metro and also like a normal debit card. Kochi will be one of the few cities in the world and the first in India to have a modern open-loop Smart Card, which can be used with other modes of transport like buses, taxies and autos as well.

I am also informed that the Kochi-1 Mobile app has been developed with a long term vision. The mobile App has an Electronic-wallet integrated to it, which is linked to the Kochi-1 Card. Initially, it will enable citizens of Kochi to avail of metro services. In future, it will fulfil all their travel related requirements, regular payment needs and provide city and tourist information. Thus, it is a good example of an e-Governance digital platform. Another noteworthy aspect of this project is that nearly one thousand women and twenty-three transgenders are being selected to work in the Kochi Metro Rail System.

The project is also an example of environment friendly development. It plans to meet nearly twenty five percent of the entire energy requirements from renewable sources, particularly solar energy. The long-term plan is to become a zero-carbon emitting urban transit system. Every sixth pillar of the metro system will have a covered vertical garden, which will substantially use urban solid waste.

It is heartening to note that all stations as well as the Operation Control Centre of Kochi Metro have achieved platinum rating which is the highest certification level given by the Indian Green Building Council.

Friends!

Over the last three years, my Government has placed special focus on overall infrastructure development of the nation. Railways, roads, power have been our priority areas. In PRAGATI meetings, I have personally reviewed nearly 175 projects worth more than eight lakh crore rupees. We have resolved bottlenecks and significantly improved the average rate of implementation in these sectors. Now, we are also focusing on next generation infrastructure, which includes logistics, digital and gas.

A number of initiatives have been taken by us to enhance public transport particularly in the cities. Foreign investment has been invited in this sector. Fifty cities in India are ready to implement metro rail projects.

The economic and social benefits of metro rail systems are well-known. We have speeded up policy formulation in this sector. Recently, the Government of India has standardized the specifications for rolling stock and signalling systems of metro rail. This will encourage manufacturers to set-up manufacturing facilities in India with a long-term perspective. In line with the “Make in India” vision, efforts are being made to promote domestic manufacture of metro rolling stock.

Friends!

There is need to bring about a paradigm shift in urban planning, by adopting a people-centric approach, and integrating land-use and transport.

Towards this end, the Government of India issued a National Transit Oriented Development Policy in April 2017. This policy seeks to transform cities, from being transit dependent to being transit oriented. It aims to create compact walkable communities and bring public transport closer to transit.

I compliment the Union Ministry of Urban Development led by Venkaiah ji for having formulated a Value Capture Finance Policy Framework. This provides a mechanism to capture the increased land value.

Let me conclude by congratulating the citizens of Kochi, the Kochi Metro Rail Corporation and the Chief Minister of Kerala for achieving this important milestone. Kochi was selected as a Smart City in Round One of the challenge process in January 2016. I hope it will do even better in the days to come.

Thank You.

‘Metro Man’ E.Sreedharan gets huge applause at Kochi Metro inaugural

The unassuming Metroman remained nonchalant throughout the ceremony.

KOCHI: The appreciation of the people of Kochi for their Metroman E. Sreedharan was in abundant display at the inaugural of the Kochi metro. DMRC Chief Advisor E. Sreedharan received huge applause from the audience at the Kochi Metro Rail inaugural ceremony here on Saturday.

This unexpected laurel came while KMRL Managing Director Elias George was delivering the welcome address at the function. Just as he uttered the name of E Sreedharan, a loud applause came from the sea of audience that he even had to pause his speech briefly. The crowd cheered as the visuals of Mr. Sreedharan, arriving along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the metro station, were beamed on the screen that served as the backdrop of the venue of the inaugural function. Thunderous claps echoed at the venue as he, along with other invitees, walked on to the stage.

Sreedharan, who helmed many important projects in the country and is now working with the Kochi Metro project, is fondly called the ‘Metro Man’. Mr. Sreedharan, who was found standing behind the row of dignitaries during the unveiling of the plaque, was later seen taking a closer look at the plaque, placed on a corner of the stage.

Prez Polls: How do you rate Metro Man of India Dr.E.Sreedharan as one of the Choicest Candidate for the Post of President of India?

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E. Sreedharan for President. ‘Sreedharan epitomises the way in which an Indic ethos can be brought to bear upon the seemingly intractable problems facing India,’ says Rajeev Srinivasan

Ten years ago, I wrote about the then Presidential election in India, bemoaning the fact that A P J Abdul Kalam, eminently qualified to continue, had been pushed aside by the Congress.

Now that we are in the throes of another election, it’s worth revisiting the entire drama, from first principles.

To begin with, what is the function of the President in India?

Apart from the fact that you get to live in an enormous palace and enjoy the 300 acre or so estate in the middle of New Delhi, exactly what does the President do?

Travel the world with an entourage, meet with other heads of government, receive and give gifts? Seems like a great sinecure to me, with no particular outcome, and lots of leisure.

Cushy sinecure. That’s probably why all parties like to lobby for one of their own to be put into the job.

One way to reward loyalty. Or a way to shut up someone who knows too much about your party’s indiscretions, and benefit greatly from taxpayer largesse.

Another reason would be to kick upstairs a troublesome person.

In the President’s job, you cannot do much damage. That’s why I wish India had had the good sense to shove Jawaharlal Nehru into that role, instead of letting him run amok as executive prime minister. Untold damage, as I suggested many years ago.

But seriously, why is there an office of President?

It appears somewhat like the office of the VP in the US: Ceremonial, with little substance. The US VP is supposed to take over in case the US President dies.

In India, the equivalent would be the President’s role in helping select a new prime minister. But an alternative power centre the Presidency is not, as was demonstrated by Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed during the Emergency (Abu Abraham’s memorable cartoon in the Indian Express lampooned the then President as signing orders in his bathtub).

If there has to be a ceremonial President, it should be mandated that it must be a non-politician, but a person of substance.

Of all past Presidents, only two stand out: Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and A P J Abdul Kalam. One, a philosopher and man of letters. Two, an accomplished engineer.

Yes, the kind of person that a child can be inspired by and look up to, a role model.

Consider the others: Not many of them have shown excellence in anything. One former President was said to be a personal retainer to the Nehru dynasty, with no other claim to fame. Others were utter nobodies, gray eminences who were utterly forgettable, and are deservedly forgotten.

But a man of letters inspires. When I wrote earlier, I mentioned that O V Vijayan, the brilliant novelist and cartoonist — for my money he was the greatest 20th century writer in India — would be the kind of person I would be proud to say is the President of India.

He was a Nobel-class fabulist, like Gunter Grass and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Of course, he was never in consideration, as politicians monopolsze the Presidency, and he would anyway have been blackballed by his former Leftie pals.

I once mentioned Shashi Tharoor, a silver-tongued orator and outstanding writer, as a potential Presidential candidate. Based strictly on his writing, I’d still vote for Tharoor. However, he has other baggage: He is a politician, forced to compromise based on political survival in the party of the Dynasty. Besides, he has other problems too.

But you see what I mean: An Octavio Paz, or a Haruki Murakami, or an S L Bhyrappa or a Margaret Atwood. People whose words ring true.

The other choice is people who have been professional successes in their spheres of endeavour. A brilliant engineer like M Vishvesaraya. I wrote in 2007 about the tycoons of software services, but they turned out to have feet of clay, as they stood by and watched the eclipse of their business model by insurgents.

Maybe an economist like Jagdish Bhagwati, but then people will push forward Amartya Sen, and economists on average seldom can predict anything, despite being keen how to explain how things happened post facto.

Or other professionals like the late Govindappa Venkataswamy (‘Dr V’) who set up the Aravind Eye Hospital, and created its astonishing business model.

Or someone from ISRO, which has made the nation proud.

Unfortunately, because of our pathetic education system, very few have distinguished themselves in science. Perhaps R A Mashelkar. Or perhaps Anil Gupta of IIM-Ahmedabad, the champion of barefoot grass-roots innovators.

The superlative management consultant C K Prahalad (of ‘strategic intent’ fame) was another, but alas, he passed away.

Of all these high achievers, the best I can think of is E Sreedharan, the man who spearheaded the engineering marvels of the Konkan Railway and the Delhi Metro (both masterpieces).

He has recently been involved with the Kochi Metro (and a wholly unnecessary and unseemly controversy — doubtless manufactured by politicians).

The thing that Sreedharan brings to the picture, in addition to his frugal innovations and management style that enabled him to finish these projects on time and under budget, is his native ethos.

I remember reading about how he gets up at 4 am (at least he used to, he turned 84 a few days ago), meditates and does yoga, and then goes to work.

His management style includes giving both authority and responsibility to his staff, and then he holds them accountable for results.

In other words, Sreedharan epitomises the way in which an Indic ethos can be brought to bear upon the seemingly intractable problems facing India. And he has a superlative track record.

It is along the same lines as Kalam’s (and by extension ISRO’s) record of delivery in the face of constraints.

Vijay Govindarajan of Dartmouth’s business school has written a best-selling book about the Three Box Solution (that is srishti, sthithi, samharam) and I am sure Sreedharan could tell him a thing or two about how that works in practice.

If that is not a perfect description of how a President can be a role model, I am not sure what is.

This is precisely what the Modi administration should be promoting. Instead of choosing yet another dreary apparatchik politician, the government could do a lot better by nominating the Metro Man.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Flags Off Kerala’s First Metro In Kochi: 10 Key Points

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged-off the Kochi Metro on Sunday morning at 11 am, says Kochi Metro a model for eco-friendly development, coaches Reflect ‘Make In India’. Appreciates the hard work and the efforts of Dr.E.Sreedharan, popularly known as Metro Man of India, and Elias George, Managing Director.

KOCHI: The Kochi Metro, Kerala’s first metro line, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also took the ride on the newly constructed rapid transport around 10.30 am. He was joined by other dignitaries including Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu as well as E Sreedharan, popularly known as India’s ‘Metro Man’.

With ‘Metro Man’ and rumoured NDA candidate for President E Sreedharan by his side, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Kochi’s first metro rail service that’s said to have many ‘firsts’ to its credit.

Over the last three years, my Government has placed special focus on overall infrastructure development of the nation: PM Modi said

Kochi, the queen of Arabian Sea was once an important spice trading centre, Modi said. Today it is known as the commercial capital of Kerala. Modi said. Today it is known as the commercial capital of Kerala.

The Prime Minister cut the inaugural ribbon at the rail network’s Palarivattom station. He then rode a train from there to the station in Pathadippalam. Also present at the inauguration were Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, urban development secretary Rajiv Gouba and Kerala chief secretary Nalini Netto, among others.

The Kochi Metro is scheduled to start commercial operations on Monday from 6 am onward. On the day, trains will begin operations simultaneously from Aluva and Palarivattom stations at 6 am. The day’s rides will end at 10 pm at Aluva. As many as 219 trips are scheduled for Monday.

Modi said Kochi was selected as a Smart City in Round 1 of the challenge in January 2016 and hopes it would do even better in the days to come. The PM said there is need to bring about a paradigm shift in urban planning by adopting a people-centric approach. Modi said we are also focusing on next generation infrastructure, which includes logistics, digital and gas.

The Kochi Metro will have many ‘firsts’ for India. The city will be the first one in the country to have a ‘water metro’, which will be a feeder service to the rail metro. That will in turn make it India’s first integrated multi-model transport system.

This new metro will also be India’s first to extensively use solar panels. As many as 22 stations on the final 25-km full stretch of the rail line will have solar panels. The Kochi Metro plans to meet 25 percent of its electricity needs from solar power.

The rail network will be the country’s first government agency to hire transgender people; 23 are expected to be on duty for the inaugural run. And in another likely first, the metro network will use compost generated from municipal waste to fertilize the vertical garden it plans to maintain on some of its pillars.

Kochi Metro officials said on Friday that the rail network will increase regional connectivity for residents in the Greater Kochi metro area.

1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first phase – 13.2 km of the total 25 km stretch – of the Kochi metro today.

2. The Prime Minister, along with other dignitaries, undertook a ride from the stations of Palarivattom to Pathadippalam in the city.

3. With 11 stations covering nearly 13 km – from Palarivattom to Aluva – this is the longest first phase of a metro to be inaugurated.

4. By road, it takes around 45 minutes to travel from Aluva to Palarivattom. The Metro will limit the travel time to 23 minutes.

5. The Kochi Metro is the first in India to use Communication Based Train Control technology to maximise frequencies and minimise errors.

6. Each station will showcase a theme, such as maritime history, western ghats as well as the local history of the city, among others.

7. Each station on the Kochi Metro will have solar panels, which will focus on producing 35 per cent of the total power usage.

8. The Kochi Metro Rail Corporation has also decided to employ transgender people in stations.

9. The construction of the Kochi Metro began in 2013 and was tasked to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. The DMRC was once headed by E Sreedharan, who also acted as an advisor in the new project.

10. According to the Kochi Metro website, the project cost an estimated Rs. 5,180 crore. The fare will vary from a minimum of Rs. 15 to a maximum of Rs.30.

President inaugurates new Metro Rail line in Bengaluru

Complete Phase-2 by 2020, Karnataka CM tells BMRCL.

BENGALURU: India’s President Pranab Mukherjee today dedicated the last section of the first phase of Bengaluru Metro Rail Project, popularly known as ‘Namma Metro’ to the city residents.

The public transport system, implemented jointly by the Union and the Karnataka governments, is aimed at providing efficient and environment-friendly transport option to the residents of Bengaluru, a city of estimated 10 million people.

The metro project was conceptualised as a viable solution at a time when the pressure on roadways communication is worryingly increasing. Also, Bengaluru has one of the worst air pollution indices among prominent cities in India. In May, the National Green Tribunal directed authorities to ensure 76 polluting industries around Bengaluru’s Bellandur lake be shut.

The project – totalling 42.3 kilometre in length – was started in 2008, and 31 km have been opened in different phases in the past. The last section, measuring 11.3 kilometre was opened today. It’s been built at a cost of Rs 13,845 crore.

Mukherjee, the chief guest at the inauguration, said organising transportation for large cities with population of 3-5 million is a “serious challenge” for the government.

“Urban transportation is posing a serious challenge to India’s development,” he said after inaugurating the service remotely from the Vidhan Soudha.

He acknowledged India was late to introduce metro “by several decades”, primarily because of doubts about cost- benefit ratio, nontheless there was “no looking back” after the project first rolled out in Kolkata in 1984.

‘We started with the first metro network in Kolkata in 1984 and then we started in Delhi in the year 2000,” he said.

The president thanked workers and engineers who toiled to ensure the project “sees the light of the day”. Praising the city, he said Bengaluru was earlier known as “Garden City Of India”, and is now famous as “Silicon Valley of India”.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said rapid economic growth has brought prosperity to the people of Karnataka, but at the same time it has strained civic infrastructure, particularly that of transport sector.

“Increasing congestion on roads, worsening air quality and related time and health issues were making the city economically inefficient”, he said, suggesting that projects like ‘Namma Metro’ will have far reaching impact on infrastructural, economic and social aspects of a city.

“The problem of last mile connectivity has to be addressed through multiple actions such as good bus services, taxi services, user friendly pathways etc,” the chief minister said.

Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu praised the “excellent work” done by everyone involved with the project.

He said the government has decided to move towards promoting “efficient” public transport systems such as metro rail to check increasing pollution in urban areas.

Naidu also lauded the cooperation between the Union and the state governments, hailing it as a “Team India” spirit. About the city’s emergence as an information technology hub, he said, “IT is the beauty of Bengaluru”.

Besides Union and Karnataka governments, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and AgenceFrancaise De Development (AfD) – Francis also contributed to the project. And amount of Rs 300 crore was raised by floating bonds, which is a first in the metro history of the country.

The second phase of ‘Namma Metro’ is already under implementation and would add another 72 kilometres to the existing network. The network, when completed, is expected to carry more than 15 lakh passengers per day.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told officials of the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) to complete the Namma Metro’s Phase 2 within the stipulated deadline of 2020.

The 72-km metro Phase 2 extends the lines of Phase 1 in all directions besides connecting Bommasandra with RV Road. While the Silk Board-KR Puram is seen as the final solution for the traffic snarls in the section, the Gottigere-Nagawara line is crucial as it is prerequisite for connecting the airport through Metro (Phase 2 B).

After inspecting platforms 3 and 4 for the Nagasandra-Yelachanahalli trains at Kempegowda Metro station, the chief minister boarded a train along with mediapersons. He was briefed about the preparations for the inauguration of the Sampige Road-Yela- chenahalli section.

The train crossed Chickpet and KR Market stations in a jiffy and arrived at RV Road Metro station before returning to Kempegowda station, all in about 15 minutes.

The chief minister questioned BMRCL officials over the pending works in Chickpet and KR Market stations. The officials promised him that works will be completed before they begin operations on the section.

Siddaramaiah chose not to speak to media but went straight to Janardhan Hotel in Sheshadripuram to eat dosa. He was accompanied by Bengaluru Development Minister K J George, Law Minister T B Jayachandra, MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao and K Govindaraju.

Operation from Sunday

Though Sampige Road-Yelachenahalli section will be inaugurated on June 17, commercial operations will only be possible from the next day, said BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola. “We need some hours for final preparations,” he added.

Automatic Coach Washing Plant at Tambaram Terminal

CHENNAI: An Automatic Coach Washing Plant (ACWP) has been sanctioned for the Tambaram Railway terminal to automate the process of washing train coach exteriors while they move from the station to the maintenance shed.

Sanctioned at a cost of Rs 6 crore, the plant will replace the manual washing of coach exteriors at the terminal, but the bad news is that it would take about two years for the plant to be set up at Tambaram, according to Railway sources.

According to officials in the construction wing of the Southern Railway, the construction of the third terminal of the city at Tambaram, which was supposed to be finished by July 2016, has been completed but is awaiting commissioning from the division.

“The construction is ready with two stabling lines, two pit lines, and two sheds. Electricity connection is available but no water supply yet,” said a senior official, speaking about the delay in commissioning the terminal at Tambaram, that sees about one lakh footfalls per day from suburban as well as Mail and Express trains.

Earlier in 2016, the Railway Minister had ordered that all new pit lines that come up across Indian Railways should be provided with ACWP. Railway Board has also directed zones to expedite works for the ACWP.

The sanctioned plant will have the capacity to wash 250 coaches per day on two tracks, as the trains move at a speed of 15 kmph from the terminal to the pit lines, an official said.

“At a point, two trains can be washed and daily, 10 trains. As the train moves slowly, it would take about 7-10 minutes for all the coaches to be washed. The waste water would be recycled and again used for washing,” said the official, adding that the plant would have an inbuilt water recycling unit.With the water recycling unit, the water reuse will further help conserve water. The plant operations would be monitored on a control room, officials added.

JNPT installs Radiological Detection Equipment(RDE) at Rail Gates

MUMBAI: The Marine Department of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) had installed and commissioned the Radiological Detection Equipments at all the exit gates including the Rail Gates. As per MOS Directives, the work was awarded to M/s Electronic Corporation of India (ECIL) in 2012 at a total cost of Rs.23.324 crores.

Twenty-eight  Vehicle Monitor Systems have been installed at the Rail, Road, Exit Gates.  Out of these 11 are at North Gate Complex, 3 at the South Gate Complex, 7 at Central Gate Complex and 7 at Railway Gates, in addition to the above one Limb monitor, each has been installed at South Gate and NSICT Gate.10 Isotope Identifier, 10 Portable Radiation Detectors and 10 Radiation Monitors which are hand held devices forming part of total system.

Six local control station have been commissioned at individual gates and have now been successfully connected through optic fibre to the Main Control Station at the North Gate Complex.  M/s ECIL have successfully demonstrated the functionality of the entire system and CISF of the Port which specially trained to operate this system is monitoring on regular basis.

ECIL has appointed a Service Engineer to oversee entire system on round the clockwise basis as per terms and conditions with JNPT. With successfully installation and commissioning of the entire Radiological Detection Equipment system, JNPT becomes first Major Port in the country to have installed RDE at all road and rail gates.

Suresh Prabhu Launches Several Rail Infra Works in AP and Flags off three New Trains

VIJAYAWADA: Heralding a new era in the development of rail infra structure in Andhra Pradesh to better passenger comforts, N.Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister for Railways launched various rail infra developmental works on 15th June, 2017 at Tummalapalli Kalakshetram, Vijayawada. Simultaneously functions were also held at Tirupati, Guntakal, Kadapa on South Central Railway and Visakhapatnam on East Coast Railway involving public representatives and dignitaries. M.Venkaiah Naidu, Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information & Broadcasting, Govt. of India; P.Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Minister for Civil Aviation, Govt.of India; Kamineni Srinivas, Minister for Health and Medical Education, Govt. of AP; Kollu Ravindra, Minister for Law & Justice, Skill Development, Youth, Sports, Unemployment Benefits, NRI Empowerment and Relations, Govt. of AP; Gadde Anuradha, Chairperson, Zilla Parishad, Krishna District; Devineni Uma Maheswara Rao, Minister for Water Resources Management and Anantapur District In-charge Minister, Govt.of AP; Paritala Sunithamma, Minister for SERP, Women Empowerment, Child Welfare, Disabled and Senior Citizens Welfare, Govt.of AP; Kesineni Srinivas, MP; Gokaraju Gangaraju, Hob’ble MP and Khambampati Haribabu, MP amongst the dignitaries present on the occasion.

The works which were launched are:–

  • Dedication of 3-Phase Electric Locomotive Simulator at Electric Traction Training Centre, Vijayawada to the Nation.
  • Commissioning of 2.5 Ton Capacity Mechanized Laundry at Tirupati (via Remote Video Link).
  • Dedication of Doubling and Electrification of Guntakal-Wadi Section to the Nation (via Remote Video Link).
  • Laying of Foundation Stone for Doubling of Gooty – Dharmavaram Section (via Remote Video Link).
  • Laying of Foundation Stone for Augmentation of Diesel Loco Shed, Visakhapatnam (via Remote Video Link).
  • Laying of Foundation Stone for Wagon POH Workshop at Vadlapudi near Visakhapatnam (via Remote Video Link).
  • Commissioning of Kadapa – Pendlimarri New Railway Line as part of Kadapa – Bengaluru Project (via Remote Video Link).
  • Flagging off of Train No. 20890 Vijayawada – Howrah Humsafar Weekly Express.
  • Flagging off of Train No. 22705 Tirupati – Jammu Tawi Humsafar Weekly Express (via Remote Video Link).
  • Flagging off Kadapa – Pendlimarri DEMU (via Remote Video Link)

Addressing the gathering at all the five locations from Vijayawada on the occasion, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu informed that a fund of Rs.3,75,000 crs are being invested as capital investment on Indian Railways. He acknowledged the cooperation extended by the Andhra Pradesh State Government towards developing Railway network in the State. Further, he assured of holistic development of the State by strengthening integrated transport solutions, dedicated freight corridors and port connectivity etc. The Railway Minister announced “Tejas” train facility to the state of AP in the near future. He said that railways allocated 166% more funds than previous year for speeding up projects such as New lines, Doubling, Tripling and Electrification etc. He announced Railway claims tribunal for the state of AP. He also announced new stoppage for Tr.No.12795/12796 Secunderabad-Vijayawada-Secunderabad Intercity Express at Mangalagiri with effect from 16th June, 2017.

N. Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh complimented South Central Railway for the developmental initiatives on a large scale in the state of Andhra Pradesh. He stated that the rail projects in the State have been given due attention and allocated funds for their progress. He announced that State Government is keen on floating a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) as part of Joint Venture Project to take up 10 Major projects in rail infra structure development with a view to provide safe and cost effective means of transportation.

M.Venkaiah Naidu, Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information & Broadcasting stated that transformation is the need of the hour and Indian Railways is on the path of reform, perform and transform. He complimented Railway Ministry for the achieving the fastest pace of growth as desired by the Prime Minister.

Earlier, Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway welcomed the dignitaries and the gathering. R.Dhananjayulu, Divisional Railway Manager, Vijayawada Division proposed the vote of thanks.

Rail Coach Refurbishing factory to come up at Barhi in Sonepat district (Haryana)

CHANDIGARH: A rail coach refurbishing and rehabilitation factory would be set up in the Industrial Estate of Barhi in Sonepat district at a cost of about Rs 600 crore.

It would provide job opportunities to hundreds of youth, besides kicking off economic development through ancillarisation, Managing Director, HSIIDC, Raja Sekhar Vundru said here today.

With Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar having already approved a proposal to this effect, a Memorandum of Understanding would soon be signed between the Ministry of Railways and the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC), he said.

Vundru said the Corporation had agreed ‘in-principle’ to allot 161.48 acres of land on leasehold basis to the Ministry of Railways for setting up the project.

During the ‘Happening Haryana Global Investors’ Summit’ in 2016, the Railways Minister had announced that such unit would be set up in Sonepat district.

“As a follow-up to the announcement, the Ministry of Railways was asked to send a formal communication for initiating action in the matter. Following that a proposal has been received from the Railways for setting up the factory,” Vundru said.

The project would refurbish 500 to 700 coaches every year.

The HSIIDC will allott land on long-term lease basis with lease rental to be fixed at the rate of Rs 1,000 per acre per year. The lease period would initially be for 30 years which can be extended by another 30 years based on mutual consent.

“The project is expected to provide stimulus to lot of ancillary units, small and medium enterprises and hence would create a multiplier effect. Research and Development effort would also add tremendous value to the region by creating quality employment,” he said.

The project is expected to come up in five years. In case the Ministry of Railways or project entity fails to take concrete steps on ground for commencement of the project within two years of allotment of land, it would be liable for payment of penalty for the default period at the rate of Rs 500 per month per acre, Vundru added.

Nepal revamps Janakpur (Nepal) – Jainagar (India) colonial-era rail link

KHATMANDU: Shrubs spring up around a rusted train engine in southeast Nepal, with carriages propped up on bricks and tall grass growing over abandoned wheels, offering mute testimony to years of neglect suffered by an abandoned railway line.

First built as a cargo line to carry wood from Nepal to India in 1937, it was once the lifeblood of the community in Janakpur, running 29 km (18 miles) from Jainagar in India’s neighbouring eastern state of Bihar. Jainagar-Janakpur line, which is a 53 km, 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) line from Jainagar (in India) to Janakpur (in Nepal). The Jainagar-Janakpur line is primarily used for passenger transport, while the Raxaul-Sirsiya line is primarily used for freight transport.

Jainagar Railway Station falls under the Samasthipur Division of East Central Railway in India.

The train service, which eventually became a cheap way for travellers to cross the international border, closed in January 2014 for a $100-million project to upgrade the colonial-era narrow rail track into a broad-gauge line.

Now the only sign of life is laughing children, who chase each other through the disintegrating carriages, climbing on rusting benches and tumbling over one another.

But the closure hit Janakpur hard, with close to 130 railway employees losing their jobs, said Tula Bahadur Dangi, acting general manager of Nepal Railway Corporation, who has worked for the company for 18 years.

Travellers have been forced to use buses instead, paying three times the price of a train ticket for a journey four times as long, which is complicated further during the monsoon rains that make the roads muddy.

Other trades dependent on the railway have also suffered.

“There is no business now, compared to when there was a train,” lamented Rajendra Kushwaha, who ran a bookstall at Janakpur railway station for 45 years.

The revamp of the railway, set to be completed next March, presents clear signs of renewal and the improvements to come.

Construction is nearly 80 percent complete, with bridges and a total of 14 stations built along the route, where land has been levelled for the laying of track to extend the line northwards a distance of 69 km (43 miles).

The expansion will create 350 jobs, Dangi said, complete with plans for a museum to showcase the old German-made abandoned carriages and engines.

The expanded route would also make it easier for tourists to visit the Ram Janaki temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site that devout Hindus believe to be the birthplace of the goddess Sita.

Completion can’t come quickly enough for Rafid Kabadi, who drove trains on the old line for 25 years, the third generation of his family in the job.

“I am sad the train stopped, but happy the new one is coming,” he said, standing before a rusted carriage with his grandson.

Tight security ahead of PM’s visit to Kochi for the inauguration of the Kochi Metro Rail project

KOCHI: Prime minister Narendra Modi will be reaching Kochi on Saturday for the inauguration of the Kochi Metro Rail project and the arrangements have reached the final stage.

The Prime Minister will inaugurate KMRL’s commercial services on the 13-km Aluva-Palarivattom section of the 27-km Line-1 at 11 am on Saturday.

The security aspects for the prime minister is being monitored and is almost complete. The PM will reach by a special Airforce aircraft on Saturday morning at 10.15 am and will reach the Metro inauguration venue by road.  He will make a Metro ride at 10.35 am from Palarivattom station to Pathadipallam and back. After cutting the ribbon at the Palarivattom station, Modi will board the train. Modi will dedicate the rail project to the nation at 11 am at a special function to be held at the Kaloor Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.

The 3500 guests will be seated at a specially erected pandal near the Kaloor stadium .  Visitors to the stadium will be allowed only by invitation and identity proof.

Food-proof security arrangements have been arranged and the whole town has come under a tight security blanket. AIGs Anish Sirohi, Rajesh Kumar, T K Gowtham led team visited the places that the PM will take and supervised the arrangements.

District collectors K Muhammed Y Sameerullah, police commissioner M P Dinesh, deputy commissioner Chandra were also present.

Along with the prime minister, Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan too will take a ride in the Kochi Metro.  CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Union minister Venkaiah Naidu, Governor P Sadasivam, chief secretary Nalini Netto, Union Urban Development Ministry secretary Rajeev Gowbay, DMRC chief advisor E Sreedharan, KMRL managing director Elias George will accompany the distinguished guest.

Seven coaches have reached Kochi and 6 will be made operational.

Tight security has been put in place and 4 CCTVs have been installed around the main venue of the stadium complex.

The security arrangements have been implemented based on the directives of the senior officials of the Special Protection Group. The police also requested the public to stay out of the route of the PM’s cavalcade. A special batch of 160 specially trained commandos has been positioned at different locations

21 Railway Stations on SCR to be developed under Station Redevelopment Programme

SECUNDERABAD: The Railways has begun the tender process for 21 stations in Vijayawada, Guntakal, Guntur and Hyderabad divisions under the Station Redevelopment Programme (SRP).

The Ministry of Railways has extended by one month (up to June end) the last date for submitting the tenders online.

Once the process is completed, the bids will be kept open in the public domain and other parties can challenge the bids under the Swiss Challenge method.

However, the railway employees unions alleged that the Centre was privatising railways in a phased manner through such moves.

‘Development Agreement’

The union leaders said the Government of India was giving 45 years lease for private parties on the pretext of ‘Development Agreement’ and ‘Station Facility Management’ (SFM).

“Station Redevelopment Programme is aimed at privatising the organisation and very shortly, the Station Facility Managers will take over the control of the stations,” they alleged.

Recently, railways has allotted nodal officers for all the stations to be given under SRP, and an officer G.V. Ramana Reddy, would act as nodal officer for the zone, for implementation of the programme.

Privatisation began

In Vijayawada division, Vijayawada, Rajahmundry, Kakinada Town, Ongole, Anakapalle, Bhimavaram Town, Eluru, Tuni, Gudur Junction, Nellore, Chirala, Tenali Junction, Tadepallugudem and Samalkot stations will be given for SRP. In Guntakal division, Kadapa, Tirupati, Renigunta, Guntakal Junction and Anantapur, Guntur Junction (in Guntur division) and Kurnool (in Hyderabad division) will be developed under the programme in Andhra Pradesh.

Rail Mazdoor Union (RMU), divisional secretary Y.S.R.K.V.D. Prasad said like ticket booking, the railways has planned to privatise the organisation in a phased manner and on the name of SRP the process had begun.

“In the last 150 years, Indian Railway made lot of developments and won the accolades of the public in extending facilities, but never gave a chance for private persons.

“But in the name of development, the government is giving away railway assets and stations to private parties,” Mr. Prasad alleged.

Not privatisation

Central Railway (SCR) Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), U. Umashankar Kumar said the Railways has decided to improve stations on a par with international standards under Public Private Partnership (PPP) and extend more benefits to the passengers.

“SRP is not privatisation, and the person who took the railway assets on lease will share the revenue with the railways, but will not enter into operations and railway infrastructure as per the terms and conditions,” Mr. Umashankar said.

Railway Minister launches Mission Retro-Fitment to enhance the passenger experience

NEW DELHI: To enhance the passengers experience by upgrading existing fleet of coaches with better furnishing, aesthetics & amenities and better safety features with a view to provide a safe and comfortable travel, Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has launched MISSION RETRO-FITMENT in Rail Bhavan today. Member Traffic, Railway Board, Mohd Jamshed, Member Rolling Stock, Railway Board, Ravindra Gupta, Member Staff, Railway Board, Pradeep Kumar were among those present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said, “ Mission Retro-Fitment is an ambitious program to upgrade the level of furnishing & amenities in the coaches of Indian Railways. This is one of the largest  retro fitment project in the world as Indian Railways’ 40,000 coaches will be refurbished and retrofitted in the next five years. This Mission Retrofitment is an endeavour to provide better travel experience as the interiors of the coaches would be refurbished & the retrofitment of Center Buffer Coupler with balanced draft gear would add more to safety of the passengers. By 2020, Indian Railways would provide a new travel experience to the passenger over Indian Railways. This mission is challenging as it will be carried out without affecting the traffic operation. On the occasion, MR Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu also released a booklet giving parameters & guidelines on this mega exercise of retrofitment and refurbishment.

GUIDELINES OF MISSION RETRO-FITMENT

Refurbishing : Upgradation of Coaches with Improved Interiors

●      It has been planned to induct about 40,000 coaches with upgraded interiors by 2022-23.

●       RSP sanction for refurbishing of 6,700 coaches are already available.

●       Approximate Cost : Rs.30 lacs per coach.

Year

No. of Coaches

2017-18

1,000

2018-19

3,000

2019-20

5,000

2020-21

5,500

2021-22

5,500

2022-23

5,000

New manufacture with upgraded interiors  (18-19 to 22-23)

15,000

Total

40,000

Strategy

Existing RSP Sanctions

●       700 Coaches : Allotted to ZRs/PUs (Western Central Railways -411, Integral Coach Factory (ICF)-189, Central Railway-75, Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala-25); these are under different stages of tendering and execution.

●       57 coaches have been refurbished by Coach Rehabilitation Workshop/ Bhopal.

●       Refurbished Coaches are running in Varanasi – New Delhi Mahamana Express since 22.01.2016.

●       6,000 Coaches :

●       Tender by ICF :3,000

●       Tender by COFMOW :2,000

●       Tender by WCR :1,000

●       Total 6,700 Coaches.

Additional sanctions under RSP shall be sought in due course.

Refurbishing – Salient Points

•         World class ambience

Panels without visible screws, LED Lights,

Modular toilets with concealed plumbing, Branded fittings, Powered venetian blinds, Anti-Graffiti coating, etc.

•         Enhanced Passenger Safety

Fire and Smoke Detection System (in newly manufactured AC coaches),

Double acting compartment door (in AC coaches), Rounded edges at most locations for injury-free, etc.

•         Caring for the Environment

Bio toilets

•         Use of better materials

Such as Polycarbonate ABS, Advanced Composites, Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastic, GFRE, Stainless Steel, etc.

 •         Enhanced Passenger convenience

Passenger Address & Passenger Information System, Braille Signage, Ergonomic design, increased number of mobile / laptop charging points, etc.

Retro-fitment of Centre Buffer Coupler (CBC) with Balanced Draft Gear

●       Board has approved the Retro-fitment of about 32,000 Integral Coach Factory coaches (having a minimum residual life of 10 years), with CBC & Balanced Draft Gear.

●       Sanction under Rolling Stock Programme (RSP) for retrofitment in 16,000 coaches has been obtained vide Pink Book Item No. 1254/17-18.

●       Approximate Cost : Rs.28 lacs per coach.

●       Additional Sanctions under RSP shall be obtained in due course.

●       The work is targeted for completion by 2022-23. 

Year

No. of Coaches

2017-18

2,000

2018-19

5,000

2019-20

5,500

2020-21

7,000

2021-22

7,000

2022-23

5,500

Total

32,000

Strategy

In-House 

●       In Mid life Rehabilitation (MLR) and Periodic Overhaul (POH) Workshops.

●       24 coaches already retrofitted have been running in Train No.15120/19 Manduadih – Rameswaram Express since 23.04.2017.

●       Work likely to commence in a regular manner from October’17 after CBC with Balanced Draft Gear is made available.

Through Contract :

●       In Rly. Premises : COFMOW has invited Tenders for 2,500 coaches that are under finalization, Tentative Commencement of Work from October’17.

●       In Firms’ Premises : COFMOW has invited Tenders for 5,000 coaches, Tender Opening in July 17, Tentative Commencement of Work from November’17.

●         Additional sanctions under RSP shall be sought in due course

Retrofitment of CBC – A major structural modification

Sequence of Work

●       Stripping of the lavatories and doorway area.

●       Gas cutting the End wall stanchions, Headstock assembly and Trough floor

●       Fabrication of the Head stock compatible with CBC

●       Tack welding of the new Head Stock with the Stanchions pillars and Sole bar.

●       Measuring the camber, followed by full welding of the Head stock

●        Inspection of the critical weld joints using DPT

●        Painting with high performance anti-corrosive epoxy coating

●        Replacement of Sole bars of length 2600 mm and 2700 mm on both sides.

●       Welding of the End wall sheets, Side wall sheets, Turn under and Trough Floor.

●       Cleaning and Painting.

Suresh Prabhu to launch various Rail Infrastructure Developmental Works in Andhra Pradesh

VIJAYAWADA: Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu and Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh will launch various rail infra developmental works at Tummalapalli Kalakshetram, Vijayawada at 12:30 hrs on 15th June, 2017. Hon’ble Minister for Railways and Hon’ble Chief Minister will:-

  1. Flagging off of Train No. 20890 Vijayawada – Howrah Humsafar Weekly Express.
  2. Dedication of 3-Phase Electric Locomotive Simulator at Electric Traction Training Centre, Vijayawada to the Nation.
  3. Flagging off of Train No. 22705 Tirupati – Jammu Tawi Humsafar Weekly Express (via Remote Video Link).
  4. Commissioning of 2.5 Ton Capacity Mechanized Laundry at Tirupati (via Remote Video Link).
  5. Dedication of Doubling and Electrification of Guntakal-Wadi Section to the Nation (via Remote Video Link).
  6. Laying of Foundation Stone for Doubling of Gooty – Dharmavaram Section (via Remote Video Link).
  7. Laying of Foundation Stone for Augmentation of Diesel Loco Shed, Visakhapatnam (via Remote Video Link).
  8. Laying of Foundation Stone for Wagon POH Workshop at Vadlapudi near Visakhapatnam (via Remote Video Link).
  9. Commissioning of Kadapa–Pendlimarri New Railway Line as part of Kadapa –Bengaluru Project (via Remote Video Link).
  10. Flagging off Kadapa – Pendlimarri DEMU (via Remote Video Link)

M.Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information & Broadcasting, Govt. of India; P.Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Hon’ble Minister for Civil Aviation, Govt.of India; Y.S.Chowdary, Hon’ble Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Govt. of India will be Guests of Honour.

Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, Hon’ble  minister for Finance & Planning, Commercial Tax and Legislative Affaires and Krishna District In-charge Minister, Govt.of AP; Kamineni Srinivas, Hon’ble Minister for Health and Medical Education, Govt. of AP; Kollu Ravindra, Hon’ble Minister for Law & Justice, Skill Development, Youth, Sports, Unemployment Benefits, NRI Empowerment and Relations, Govt. of AP; Mandali Buddha Prasad, Hon’ble Deputy Speaker, Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly; Smt. Gadde Anuradha, Hon’ble Chairperson, Zilla Parishad, Krishna District; Koneru Sreedhar, Hon’ble Mayor Vijayawada Municipal Corporation; Kesineni Srinivas, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Vijayawada; Buddha Venkateswara Rao, Hon’ble MLC; Jaleel Khan, Hon’ble MLA, Vijayawada (West); Bonda Umamaheswara Rao, Hon’ble MLA, Vijayawada Central  will be the Distinguished guests for this function at Vijayawada. The function will be also attended by other public representatives, dignitaries and senior railway officials.

At Tirupati Railway Station:- K.Atchannaidu, Hon’ble Minister for Transport, BC Welfare & Empowerment, Handlooms & Textiles and Chittoor  District In-charge Minister, Govt.of AP; N.Amaranath Reddy, Hon’ble Minister for Industries, Food Processing, Agri Business, Commerce and Public Enterprises, Govt.of AP; Smt.Geervani Chandra Prakash, Hon’ble Chairperson, ZP, Chittor District; Dr.K.Chiranjeevi, Hon’ble Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha); Dr.V.Vara Prasada Rao, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Tirupati; Y.Srinivasulu Reddy, Hon’ble Member of Legislative Council; Smt.M.Sugunamma, Hon’ble Member of Legislative Assembly, Tirupati will be the distinguished guests for the function.

At Guntakal Railway Station:- Devineni Uma Maheswara Rao, Hon’ble Minister for Water Resources Management and Anantapur District In-charge Minister, Govt.of AP; Kalava Srinivasulu, Hon’ble Minister for Rural Housing and Information and Public Relations, Govt.of AP; Smt. Paritala Sunithamma, Hon’ble Minister for SERP, Women Empowerment, Child Welfare, Disabled and Senior Citizens Welfare, Govt.of AP; D.Chaman Sab, Hon’ble  Chairman, ZP, Anantapur District; J.C.Divakar Reddy, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Anantapur; R.Jithendra Goud, Hon’ble Member of Legislative Assembly, Guntakal; Smt.K.Aparna, Hon’ble Chairperson, Guntakal Municipality; Smt.B.Thulasamma, Hon’ble Chairperson, Gooty Municipality will be the distinguished guests for the function.

At Kadapa Railway Station:- Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy, Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture, Horticulture, Sericulture & Agri Processing and YSR Kadapa District In-charge Minister, Govt.of AP; Ch.Adi Narayana Reddy, Hon’ble Minister for Marketing and Warehousing, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, Fisheries and Co-operatives, Govt.of AP; Guduru Ravi, Hon’ble Chairman, ZP, YSR Kadapa District; K.Suresh Babu, Hon’ble Mayor, Kadapa Municipal Corporation ; Y.S.Avinash Reddy, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Kadapa; S.B.Amzad Basha, Hon’ble Member of Legislative Assembly, Kadapa will be the distinguished guests for the function.

At Visakhapatnam:- N.Chinarajappa, Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister, Home, Disaster Management and Visakhapatnam District In-charge Minister, Govt.of AP; Ch.Ayyannapatrudu, Hon’ble Minister for Roads and Buildings, Govt.of AP; Ganta Srinivasa Rao, Hon’ble Minister for Human Resource Development (Primary Education, Secondary Education, Higher and Technical Education), Govt.of AP; Dr.T.Subbarami Reddy, Hon’ble Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha); V.Vijaya Sai Reddy, Hon’ble Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha); Kambhampati Hari Babu, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Visakhapatnam; Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Anakapalle    will be the distinguished guests for the function.

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Introduction of New Trains on South Central Railway: Vijayawada-Howrah-Vijayawada Humsafar Superfast Express (Weekly); Tirupati-JammuTawi-Tirupati Superfast Express (Weekly) & Kadapa-Pendlimarri-Kadapa DEMU

Ministry of Railways has approved for introduction of new trains Vijayawada – Howrah-Vijayawada Humsafar Superfast Express (Weekly); Tirupati – JammuTawi – Tirupati Superfast Express (Weekly) & Kadapa – Pendlimarri – Kadapa DEMU with effect from 15th June, 2017. Shri N. Chandrababu Naidu, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh; Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister for Railways and several other public representatives will flag off the new Train services at a function to be held at Vijayawada and simultaneously at Tirupati & Kadapa stations (via Video Remote Link).

  1. Vijayawada – Howrah Superfast Humsafar Express:

The Inaugural Service:-

Train No. 00890 Vijayawada – Howrah Superfast Humsafar Express will depart Vijayawada at 12:30 hrs on 15th June, 2017 and arrive Howrah at 08.15 hrs the next day.

This Inaugural Special train will arrive / depart Rajahmundry at 15.00 /15.02 hrs; Visakhapatnam at 18.45/19.05 hrs; Vizianagram at 20.05/20.10 hrs; Bhubaneswar at 01.40/01.45 hrs; Cuttack at 02.15/02.20 hrs and Kharagpur at 06.20/06.25 hrs. This train consists of 19 coaches viz., sixteen AC III Tier Coaches, one Pantry Car and two Generator Power Car Coaches.

Regular Service of Train No. 20890 / 20889 Vijayawada-Howrah-Vijayawada Superfast Humsafar Express (Weekly):-

Accordingly, Train No. 20890 Vijayawada – Howrah Superfast Humsafar Express will depart Vijayawada at 23:05 hrs on Sundays and arrive Howrah at 18.30 hrs the next day i.e., Mondays. Ex. Vijayawada (W.e.f) 18th June, 2017 (Sunday).

In the opposite direction, Train No. 20889 Howrah – Vijayawada Superfast Humsafar Express will depart Howrah at 12.40 hrs on Saturdays and arrive Vijayawada at 07.45 hrs the next day i.e., Sundays. Ex. Howrah (W.e.f) 17th June, 2017 (Satruday).

Enroute these trains will stop at Rajahmundry, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagram, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Kharagpur. This train consists of Ninteen coaches viz., Sixteen AC III Tier Coaches, One Pantry Car and Two Generator Power Car Coaches.

  1. Tirupati – Jammu Tawi Superfast Humsafar Express:-

The Inaugural Service:-

Train No. 02705 Tirupati – Jammu Tawi Superfast Humsafar Express will depart Tirupati at 12:30 hrs on 15th June, 2017; arrive/depart Secunderabad at 02.30/02.45 hrs (early hours on next day) and arrive Jammu Tawi at 15.40 hrs Second day.

This Inaugural Special train will also stop at Guntakal, Adoni, Raichur, Lingampalli, Kazipet, Balharshah, Sewagram, Nagpur, Habibganj, Jhansi, Delhi Safdarjung, Panipat, Ambala Cantt, Rajpura, Sirhind, Khanna, Ludhiana and Jalandhar Cant Stations. This train consists of Ninteen coaches viz., Sixteen AC III Tier Coaches, One Pantry Car and Two Generator Power Car Coaches.

Regular Service of Train No. 22705 / 22706 Tirupati – Jammu Tawi – Tirupati Superfast Humsafar Express (Weekly):-

Accordingly, Train No. 22705 Tirupati – Jammu Tawi Superfast Humsafar Express will depart Tirupati at 17:15 hrs on Tuesdays; arrive/depart Secunderabad at 06.55/07.20 hrs next day (i.e., Wednesdays) and arrive Jammu Tawi at 21.10 hrs on Thursdays. Ex. Tirupati (W.e.f)
27th June, 2017 (Tuesday).

In the return direction, Train No. 22706 Jammu Tawi – Tirupati Superfast Humsafar Express will depart Jammu Tawi at 05.30 hrs on Fridays; arrive/depart at 22.45/23.00 hrs next day (i.e., Saturdays) and arrive Tirupati at 11.25 hrs on Sundays. Ex. Jammu Tawi (W.e.f) 30th June, 2017 (Saturday).

Enroute these trains will also stop at Guntakal, Adoni, Raichur, Lingampalli, Kazipet, Balharshah, Sewagram, Nagpur, Habibganj, Jhansi, Delhi Safdarjung, Panipat, Ambala Cantt, Rajpura,
Sirhind, Khanna, Ludhiana and Jalandhar Cant Stations in both the directions.

This train consists of sixteen AC III Tier Coaches, one Pantry Car and two Generator Power Car Coaches.

  • Kadapa – Pendlimarri – Kadapa DEMU Train:-

The Inaugural Service:-

Train No. 07405 Kadapa – Pendlimarri DEMU will depart Kadapa at 12:30 hrs on
15th June, 2017 and arrive Pendlimarri at 13.30 hrs on the same day.

In the return direction Train No. 07406 Pendlimarri – Kadapa DEMU will depart Pendlimarri at 13.45 hrs and arrive Kadapa at 14.40 hrs on the same day.

This Inaugural Special train will stop at Pabbapuram and Ganganapalle Stations. This DEMU train consists of Eight coaches viz., Six Second Seating and Two Power Car Coaches.

Regular Service of Train No. 77405 / 77406 Kadapa – Pendlimarri – Kadapa DEMU (Six Days a Week expect Sunday):-

Accordingly, Train No. 77405 Kadapa – Pendlimarri DEMU will depart Kadapa at 09:55 hrs (w.e.f) 16th June, 2017 and arrive Pendlimarri at 10.45 hrs on the same day.

In the return direction, Train No. 77406 Pendlimarri – Kadapa DEMU will depart Pendlimarri at 10.55 hrs (w.e.f) 16th June, 2017 and arrive Kadapa at 11.40 hrs on the same day.

This DEMU trains will stop at Pabbapuram and Ganganapalle Stations in both the directions. This DEMU train consists of Eight coaches viz., Six Second Seating and Two Power Car Coaches.

Advanced Safety System on 3330 km to prevent Train Accidents

NEW DELHI: Train travel is set to become faster and safer in certain sections with Indian Railways introducing Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) on total 3330 km at an estimated cost of Rs 2000 crore.

The advanced accident prevention measure, under which trains will be in constant communication with the signals through sensors installed on the track side, will be implemented in two phases over the next three-four years.

A pilot project of the system was operationalised a few years ago in certain sections of the railways.

The TPWS, which also reduces delays during foggy weather, is a proven European train protection technology and deployed extensively on world railways.

With the Railways planning to go for semi high speed and high speed trains, there is a need to have automatic train controlling system.

TPWS has capability to control the speed of train in accordance with the sectional permitted speed and signal aspect ahead by automatic actuation of brakes, in case loco pilot fails to do so in time.

Thus it mitigates safety risk of accidents/collisions due to loco pilot’s error of signal passing at danger or over speeding, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved in the project.

It is important to see that when the line capacity is saturated and more trains are running, there is a proper and effective train control system, he said.

TPWS work has been sanctioned on 3330 route km on automatic signalling/high density routes.

Currently the work is underway for installing the advanced safety measure in two phases.

In the first phase, the implementation of TPWS works has been taken up on 1244 km route of automatic signalling sections with EMU services including Sealdah-Howrah-Khana section, Delhi-Panipat section, Howrah-Kharagpur section and Chennai Beach-Tambaram-Chengalpattu section.

In the second phase, the implementation of TPWS on 2086 km route has also been taken up on high density routes including Delhi-Ambala- Amritsar section, Ghaziabad-Tundla- Kanpur, Kanpur-Mughalsarai and Agra-Gwalior sections, Mumbai Central-Virar-Vadodara-Ahmedabad section and Arakkonam- Jolarpettai section.

The phase-I and phase-II are planned for implementation in next 3-4 years.

The requirement of enhanced safety for train operations has always been of paramount importance. With increasing speed and dense train traffic on the Indian Railway network, enhanced safety assumes greater significance, he said.

At present, TPWS has been operationalised in Chennai- Gummidipundi suburban section, Dum Dum-Kavi Subhash section of Kolkata Metro Railway, Hazrat Nizamuddin-Agra Section and Basin Bridge-Arrakonam Section.

Further, based on experience gained, it has been planned with priority for introduction of this technology on high density network, the official said.

Carriage Repair Shop, Tirupati awarded with “GreenCo-Gold Certification” by CII

SECUNDERABAD/TIRUPATI: The Carriage Repair Shop (CRS), Tirupati on South Central Railway has achieved the distinction for being first of its kind on Indian Railways for any Workshop to receive the prestigious “GreenCo – Gold Rating” Certification for maintaining Passenger Coaches. The GreenCo – Gold Trophy and Certificate awarded by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The Trophy and Certificate was presented by Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister for Railways during the World Environment Day Celebrations held at National Rail Museum on 5th June, 2017.

Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway who guided this initiative, expressed his happiness at the Workshop getting recognition with this prestigious honor and complimented the entire set of officers and staff who were responsible for attaining the landmark. The team led by Arjun Mundiya, Chief Mechanical Engineer, SCR called on the General Manager, SCR at Rail Nilayam, SCR Headquarters.

To achieve this, the Tirupati Workshop has strived hard during the last one year and reduced energy consumption, water utilization drastically.  Energy and water resources management have been put in place. The workshop has added renewable energy measures i.e., solar energy, day pipe lighting, replacement of conventional fittings by LED etc., The green coverage of the workshop has also been increased by planting numerous plants. Solid waste management and scrap disposal management have also been put in place.

Efforts have been made to ensure that water consumption is minimized by inducing water recycling systems. Water harvesting pits at appropriate locations have been developed.  The Workshop is also in the process of developing phyto-remediation to mitigate environmental problems without the need to excavate the contaminated material and dispose it off elsewhere.

The Staff of the Workshop have shown exemplary zeal and dedication with the guidance of M.Vijaya Kumar, Chief Workshop Manager, CRS in getting this Certification.  K.P.Somkuwar, Chief Workshop Engineer and Arjun Mundiya, Chief Mechanical Engineer, South Central Railway were instrumental in guiding the plan implementation to enable the Tirupati workshop get this Certification.

International firms eye Vizag Railway station modernization project

VISAKHAPATNAM: Global firms have evinced interest in redeveloping Visakhapatnam railway station as part of a project announced by Indian Railways earlier this calendar year.

Visakhapatnam is the one of the 23 railway stations that come under the redevelopment project.

Sources said firms from southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore apart from some Indian companies are keen to renovate the railway station under the public-private-participation (PPP) mode. The lease period for the project would be 45 years.

The Indian railways already held a pre-bid meeting with the aspirants, received suggestions from the people and public representatives on main parameters of the redevelopment. This apart, the railways set June 19 as the last date for submission of bids. The sources said nearly Rs 600 crore, including the Rs 200 crore on the beautification and commercial activity is expected to be spent under the project.

“Tenders will be opened on June 29. Only then it will be known how many firms submitted bids. We expect good response because Visakhapatnam is one of the most important stations in Indian Railways. We have held pre-bid conference with the respective bidders. On the internet also, we have received suggestions from large number of people,” JP Mishra, East Coast Railway (ECoR) chief public relations officer, said.

When asked about the value of investment, Mishra said, “It is not known. It is to be invested by the successful project consultant.”

As part of the redevelopment project, the number of platforms will also be increased in the Gnanapuram end (rear side). This apart, nearly 19,000 square metres of vacant land owned by the railways in the surroundings of the city railway station will be converted for commercial establishments under the project. The 19,000-square-metres of land is available as two parcels including 15,400 square metres and 3,600 square metres. Both the land parcels are available close to the station towards Gnanapuram.

“The available land is encroachment free and land titles are available with the railways. The revenue generated from commercial exploitation of the vacant land will be used to develop the Vizag station and other nearby satellite railway stations,” said a senior railway official.

Maharashtra Cabinet approves draft MOUs for Nagpur and Pune Metro Rail

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Cabinet approved draft MoUs for the Nagpur Metro rail as well as for the phase 1 of the Pune metro rail projects yesterday.

The signatories to the agreements are the Centre, the Maharashtra government and respective metros.

A statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office stated that the MOUs were signed considering the increasing population of both cities.

The state government, in a decision taken in January 2014, had approved the Nagpur metro, after which a tripartite agreement was signed.

The government had on December 23, 2016 approved construction of the Pune metro rail, followed by signing of a tripartite agreement.

Both the agreements were approved during the meeting of the state Cabinet here today.

IRCTC offers mVisa payment solution for Travellers

NEW DELHI: Rail travellers can now book tickets by mVisa payment method which allows them to scan a Quick Response (QR) code and pay through smartphones. mVisa is a card-less solution which facilitates payment by scanning the QR code displayed at the merchant website/outlet or from the merchants mobile. Users can securely link their visa debit, credit or prepaid account to the mVisa application on their smartphones and make their travel bookings by simply scanning their mVisa QR code on the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation website. IRCTC, a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, is offering a promotion offer until September 4 that will give Rs 50 cashback to consumers booking their tickets through mVisa scan and pay on the IRCTC website.

The mVisa QR Code is a form of a bar code that has your unique seller identity embedded securely embedded in it (Merchant id, Account no.). Your customer will just need to scan this QR code with the scanner built in the mVisa app to start the payment process.

“The key to our success as India’s largest e-commerce organisation has been our ability to embrace new technologies that help us drive consumer engagement across our platform,” IRCTC CMD AK Manocha said today. India is currently one of the major smartphone markets in the world, with over a billion smartphones expected to be sold in the next five years. “Considering the phenomenal penetration of smartphones in India, moving to a mobile based payment solution such as mVisa was thus a natural choice for IRCTC,” Manocha said.

The increasing popularity and adoption of mobile devices presents a huge opportunity for the growth of mobile-based digital commerce. The mVisa payment solution on IRCTC can potentially empower millions of consumers spread across Indian cities, towns and villages, to make payments using just their smartphones from the comfort of their homes.

So, from now onwards, whenever you are planning to book train tickets with great discount offers, IRCTC have something flat Rs 50 cashback on your train ticket booking through irctc.co.in via credit, debit, pre-paid Visa cards or else using your classic, platinum, signature gold or visa infinite cards to grab this offer. The redemption period of the offer is upto 23rd August 2017.

Steps To Redeem Rs 50 Cashback On Train Ticket Using m-Visa Card
  • Visit irctc.in.co
  • Register or login to the website.
  • Enter Your Train details like Train Name, Boarding and Destination place.
  • Now select your journey date and also in which class you want to book your ticket.
  • Now proceed to the transaction age.
  • No login to your Bank’s mobile app.
  • Select scan and pay option.
  • Scan the QR code displayed on the screen.
  • Pay the amount using a visa card.
  • Your train ticket booking is done, Cashback of Rs 50 will be credited to your bank account within 30 days of the successful transaction.
Terms And Conditions
  • Get Rs 50 cashback when you book your train ticket on irctc.in.co by using your m-visa card only.
  • The cashback offer is only applicable when you book your ticket during offer period of 24th April to 23rd August 2017.
  • This offer is applicable only on online booking and valid for first 5 Lakh scan and pay transactions via visa card.
  • This offer cannot be clubbed with any of the other offers of irctc.
  • A customer can book the unlimited ticket as there are no monthly limits for availing this offer.
  • In the case of any doubt or payment/cashback related issues call on IRCTC Toll-free number- 011-3934000 or mail to care@irctc.in

Delhi Metro moves SC against Delhi HC Order to pay Rs.60 Crore to DAMEPL

The Supreme Court will on Monday hear the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) plea on Rs. 60 crore dispute case.

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) today moved the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court’s order directing it to pay Rs 60 crore as three months interest to a lender of its former concessionaire for airport express line.

The DMRC’s counsel mentioned the matter before a vacation bench comprising Justices P C Pant and Deepak Gupta which said it would hear the issue on June 19.

The corporation has challenged the June 7 order of high court’s division bench which had dismissed its appeal against a single judge order asking it to pay the amount.

The single judge’s interim order of May 30 had come on a plea by the concessionaire Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL) seeking early payment of Rs 3,502 crore, which is 75 per cent of the arbitral award of Rs 4,670 crore granted in its favour on May 11.

The single judge had passed the order “in view of the financial conditions and interest burden being borne” by DAMEPL which had claimed it was paying Rs 65 lakh per day, coming to Rs 20 crore per month, as interest to its lender.

In its appeal before the high court’s division bench, the DMRC had challenged the interim order, saying it would amount to partial implementation of the award and would also be akin to dismissal of its objections against enforcement of award.

The division bench had said that it was not inclined to interfere with the May 30 order as it was an interim decision and the issues raised by the DMRC have been kept open by the single judge.

The court had also noted that single judge had protected the DMRC’s interests by directing DAMEPL, a subsidiary of the Reliance Infrastructure (Rinfra), to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 65 crore.

DAMEPL is a joint venture of Rinfra and a Spanish construction company — Construcciones Y Auxiliar De Ferrocarriles — with a shareholding of 95 and five per cent respectively.

The single judge had directed the DMRC to deposit the amount of Rs 60 crore within 10 days directly into DAMEPL’s loan account with Axis Bank – the main lender.

DAMEPL, in its plea for early enforcement of the award, has claimed that under the guidelines issued by Niti Aayog on September 5, 2016, public sector undertakings (PSUs) are to pay 75 per cent of the award amount even if they propose to challenge the arbitral award.

The DMRC had argued before the single judge that the Niti Aayog guidelines would not apply in the matter as the award was of May 11 and it had 90 days to challenge the arbitral tribunal’s decision.

The Airport Express line was commissioned on February 23, 2011 after an investment of Rs 2,885 crore funded by DAMEPL’s promoters’ fund, banks and financial institutions.

DAMEPL has said in its plea before the single judge that it had terminated the concession agreement as the DMRC had not cured some defects in the line within 90 days of the notice issued by it.

According to its plea, the agreement was terminated with effect from January 1, 2013 and the project was handed over to the DMRC on June 30, 2013. Till handing over of the project, DAMEPL had operated the line as a deemed agent of DMRC.

Arbitration was entered into in August 2013 after efforts to amicably resolve the issues did not yield results.

Mumbai Metro III: HC allows MMRCL to cut mangroves to set up station

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court today permitted the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) to cut mangroves to set up the suburban Bandra Kurla Complex station as part of the Metro Line III.

A division bench of justices V M Kanade and M S Sonak allowed an application filed by the MMRCL seeking permission to cut 108 mangroves in suburban Bandra Kurla Complex.

The permission was required as the high court had earlier, while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Bombay Environmental Action Group, mandated taking its nod for anything regarding mangroves.

The court today accepted an undertaking submitted by the MMRCL assuring that it had taken all the necessary permissions from the authorities concerned and that it would plant mature trees in the area after the project work got over and would look after the trees for a period of three years thereafter.

“Ensure that you (MMRCL) have all the necessary permissions. Also make sure that the trees are planted properly… the method has to be proper or else the trees would die and there would no point of this undertaking,” Justice Kanade said.

The court also noted that the MMRCL should have considered all these aspects of tree cutting and how to avoid it at the planning stage itself.

“At the planning stage itself you (MMRCL) should have been careful and seen to it that no mangroves need to be cut,” Justice Kanade said.

To this, MMRCL advocate Kiran Bagalia said the authority had zeroed in on the land at Bandra Kurla Complex as alternative land in Kurla was under litigation.

Over 5,000 trees are proposed to be cut in various areas of south Mumbai to pave way for the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro line III project.

The 33-km line III project is a part of the Metro system, which will connect the Cuffe Parade business district in south Mumbai to SEEPZ in the city’s north-central suburb.

Closure of Dhanbad-Chandrapura Rail line to affect Coal Supplies to Power Stations

DHANBAD: The closure of Dhanbad-Chandrapura (DC) railway line of East Central Railway (ECR) will affect coal supply to thermal power stations of seven states.

Railway official said 20 pairs of coal loaded wagons go through this DC rail line everyday to supply coal to thermal power stations of Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab.

The Dhanbad-Chandrapur line is being closed from June 15 but no new rail sidings (where coal is loaded in rack) have been developed, so it will affect coal supply to thermal power stations, the sources said.

On June 10 the Railway Board on the recommendation of experts committee under Director General of Mines Safety (DGMS) declared the 34-km long Dhanbad-Chandrapur rail line of Dhanbad rail division unsafe due to raging mines fire and announced that the line would be closed from June 15.

The Divisional Railway Manager of Dhanbad, Manoj Krishan Akhori said there are 12 railway siding points in the DC line. “We are talking with management of Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) to develop Kusunda-2 and Kusunda Khas siding from where rack loading of coal could be continued”, Akhori said.

Both Kusunda-2 and Kusunda khas railway sidings are out of mines fire zone.

The railway official said coal of Dhori and Jharangdih mines would now be loaded at Keshargar and Bokaro rail sidings.

The DRM admitted that closure of DC line would also hit the financial health of Dhanbad railway Division.

SCR announces revised Porter Charges at Railway Stations

SECUNDERABAD: The charges for engaging licensed porters at Railway stations to cart the passengers luggage have been revised over South Central Railway. The revised rates will be implemented as detailed below:

Description of the luggage Category of the Station Revised Porterage Charges in Rs.
(A) For carrage of luggage per head load of 40 Kgs A-1 80/-
A 70/-
B 50/-
D 50/-
E 40/-
(B) Rate for carrieng sick and disabled passengers by Wheel Chair/Stretchers A-1 100/-
A 80/-
B 60/-
D 60/-
E 50/-
(C) Carrage of luggage by Trolley load A-1 130/-
A 100/-
B 80/-
D 80/-
E 60/-

SCR’s Commercial Branch urge passengers to pay the charges as per the tariff fixed and avail the porterage fecilities.

Railways to announce employment notification for filling up of 25,000 posts this fiscal

NEW DELHI: At least 25,000 new employees are set to join the ranks of Indian Railways this financial year. This is at a time when the national transporter is staring at a shortage of over 225,000 employees.

“Nearly 25,000 new staff will be joining the Railways in 2017-18. Tests to recruit 18,252 posts, including assistant station master, inquiry-cum-reservation clerk, traffic and commercial apprentices, goods guards and junior accounts assistant have already been conducted. In addition to this, applications for another 7,000 assistant loco pilots will also be invited soon,” said an official source close to the development.

Soon after this, vacancies for another 13,000 will be open under various categories, including technical supervisors.

In 2016, the Railways grabbed headlines by conducting the world’s largest online examination in which 9.2 million job applications were received for 18,252 vacancies.

“More than 270,000 people out of this were called for written test early this year and we finally short-listed about 18,000 people. These applicants are set to join us in a few months time,” the official mentioned earlier added.

As of December 2016, Railways has a staff strength of more than 1.3 million, while it has 225,823 vacancies in Group ‘C’ and Group ‘D’ categories.

According to data available with Railways, it has 122,911 vacancies in safety categories and a shortage of another 174,64 loco running staff.

This comes at a time when an audit on gazette officers manpower conducted by Deloitte, submitted to Railways suggested that it is neither “under-staffed nor overstaffed” in the officer category. The executive officer strength of Railways is around 18,000. Deloitte was expected to formulate a manpower policy for the gazetted officers of Railways.

“Though people say we have vacancies of over 200,000, a large chunk of it is not needed to be filled up because of advancement of technologies and computerisations of safety mechanism. Filling up of vacancies is a continuous process through various modes of intake,” the official added.

Railways was planning the rationalisation of its manpower over the years and in a decade, it has recommended surrender of close to 140,000 posts, according to sources.

Railway officials say the bulk of the accidents that take place every year is at unmanned level crossings. Indian Railways currently has more than 6,000 unmanned railway crosses across the country now.

In the wake of recent accidents, critics were highlighting the staff strength also as a cause of concern for safety.

Indian Railways extends to more than 67,312-kilometre track, having about 12,600 trains carrying about 23 million passengers a day.

IR considering expansion of Rail Wheel Plant Traction Machine workshop: says Hemant Godse, MP/Nashik

(File Pic) Launching of the Railway Reservation Counter at Trimbak Post office by Hemant Godse, MP, Nashik

NASHIK: Member of Parliament, from Nashik Mr.Hemant Godse has said that the Railways was considering of expanding its Rail Wheel plant Traction Machine Workshop area on Eklahara Road, Nashik city.

According to the member of parliament, Godse, who has been raising the issues with the Railways for expanding of their projects in the nearly 200 acres of vacant land, just about six km away from Nashik Road Railway Station, he met Railway Board Member Vinit Tandon recently where he was assured of the new steps being considered by the Railways.

“I met Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and have drawn his attention to over 200 acres of land available with Railways and Nashik industry having the potential to meet Railways technical requirement – especially in electricity. I also recently met Tandon on the availability of space and with a request to consider Nashik as destination for expansion of Railway Works,” Godse said.

The Railway Board member is said to have assured him about considering the space for expansion of Rail Wheel plant. “The Board member got the clear idea of how much space was available with the Railways and how it could be put to best use. He as assured to look into the matter,” Godse said.

The Railways has acquired 250 acres of land in the year 1983. It raised the Traction Machine Workshop that primarily looks into the ‘traction’ aspect of the Railway engines. The campus also hosts Indian Railway Institute of Electrical Engineering (IREEN) and Railway Protection Force (RPF)’s zonal training centres in the far corner.

Despite all these facilities in place, the Railways still has over 200 acres of plot lying vacant and the same can be used for the development of the Railways as well as the area, which will be a win-win situation for the both. “Railways will have a good plant at very short distance from Mumbai and at the same the locals will get jobs and the industry at Nashik will flourish,” Godse added.

AM (Commercial), Railway Board inspects Amritsar Railway Station, suggests improvements

AMRITSAR: Rajiv Dutt Sharma, Additional Member, Commercial, Railway Board, carried out an inspection at the Amritsar Railway Station and suggested steps to improve the efficiency of various public oriented services here today.

Accompanied by senior officials of the Ferozepur division in which the railway station of holy city falls, he visited various sections. Sharma said the Amritsar railway station is acknowledged as the most significant station of the Ferozepur division.

He said factors and measures to improve the productivity of employees, of course increasing the passenger amenities and their safety were also suggested. He stressed on making the journey for passengers safe and comfortable.

He suggested measures to improve amenities in reservation waiting hall and suggested installation of laser printer for printing 1,200 tickets.

After visiting the reservation block, he favoured introduction of token system and handle printer to catch agents. He said handle printers were already installed at railway stations of Pune and Ahmedabad. “The new technology turns light green to red to specify the person repeatedly coming to book tickets. The closed food plaza at the railway station falls under the IRCTC. I will speak to the officials concerned to resume its working,” he added.

The Ferozepur Division is one of the oldest divisions of the Indian Railways, with a route of 1,550 km, including 164 km of narrow gauge and 235 stations. Its jurisdictions stretches across Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and a part of Himachal Pradesh.

Found tipsy while on duty, Railway drivers to take booze test henceforth like Pilots

TIRUCHY: Stung by complaints of staff, including loco pilots and guards, being found tipsy while on duty, the Tiruchy railway division has installed 20 biometric breathalysers to ensure safety in travel by checking guards and loco pilots before they embark on their trip.

The breathalysers will check for alcohol levels before loco staff go on duty, to make sure they are fit to operate trains, much as is done with spot checks on roads for drunk driving and flight crew, before they take to the skies.

The high-end devices are installed in crew rooms and connected to a central server to monitor efficiency of guards and loco pilots. The system is gradually being implemented at all levels of railway staff, including the commercial division. The Railways has begun carrying out a massive exercise to improve safety, and the breathalysers are part of the measures.

Two months ago, Southern Railway purchased 40 breathalysers and installed 11 at Madurai, 10 pairs at Tiruchy, six at Thiruvananthapuram, eight at Chennai and two each at Salem and PGT.

A member of the All India Running Loco Running Staff Association, M Pandiarajan, said for a loco pilot and a guard prior to boarding undergoing a test was a welcome move. The central server can be accessed by stakeholders concerned. However, almost all data, such as hours of work and rest are all pre-loaded and there would be no compromise on safety, he noted.

Alstom to Make 800 Super High-Power Locomotives in India, export Rail Solutions

NEW DELHI: Endorsing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make In India vision, French conglomerate Alstom plans to manufacture 800 “super high-power” locomotives in India over a decade, its Managing Director for India and South Asia Bharat Salhotra said.

Salhotra said in an interview that the company was also planning to export rail solutions from India to Australia, Central Asia and SouthEast Asia.

Awarded a contract to manufacture 800 electric Locomotives for Indian Railways, Alstom, a world leader in rail transport business, has decided to produce them in India – at a factory in Madhepura in Bihar.

“The factory will produce 800 locomotives of 12,000 horsepower each. The first phase of the factory should get over in September and the first locomotive will roll out from that plant in February 2018,” Salhotra told.

He added that almost 85 percent of the supply chain for all those locomotives would be based in India.

“Eight hundred locomotives would be made in India. We would be importing some initial parts. But then we would subsequently move it to the plant in Madhepura.”

To achieve that, he said, local competency would be developed in India at supplier end through a partnership with France.

“Combining French technology and expertise with Indian talent and entrepreneurship would help us make rapid strides.”

Salhotra, who received the French honour insignia of the Knight of the National Order of Merits from the French Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler on Thursday, added that the company had already started moving towards the Make in India vision.

“Four years ago, we started with 30 percent (of the supply chain) coming from India and 70 percent coming from elsewhere. Now it is the other way around.”

However, Salhotra said he had larger plans not just to meet the Indian requirements but to expand the business to Central and SouthEast Asia.

“Our strategy is to develop our Indian footprint, first to deliver projects for India” and then to expand to other lucrative markets as well, he said.

“Today we have 1,000 plus engineers in signalling who are booking almost 1.5 million hours a year, partly for India and partly for various projects across the world.

“On the rolling stock front, we are designing trains in India for other countries. For example, we are going to export trains from India to Australia,” Salhotra said.

He added that Alstom would invest and expand its existing factories “depending on as-needed basis”.

“And not to forget we have the new Madhepura plant coming up. Once we have fulfilled the obligation of the Indian Railways for delivering the 800 locomotives, we can use that resource for various other projects,” he added.

In India, the French conglomerate started with Chennai Metro where it is providing 42 trains of four cars each.

For Kochi Metro, it is providing rolling stock, signalling and power supply solutions and receiving sub-stations.

It is also providing signalling system for Bengaluru Metro, train control system for Jaipur Metro and is doing track work for the Delhi Metro.

In the mainline space, Alstom is working on signalling system and power supply for the World Bank-funded 343-km Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC).

Salhotra said Alstom’s work does not end there as it is looking at building 50 metros across the country over the next 10-15 years, electrifying 4,000 km of Indian rail track every year and transform the transportation system in urban Indian cities.

“The 50 metros would take some time. Typically, we would see three or four metros coming every year.

“We believe we have the ability and capacity to handle that workload. And in addition to that, to also handle some workload beyond India,” the Indian Institute of Management alumni said.

IPRCL to construct 15 rail bridge projects near Ports to improve cargo evacuation

NEW DELHI: Indian Port Rail Corporation Limited (IPRCL), a firm formed under the Sagarmala initiative with a mandate to improve port connectivity, has identified 15 rail over-bridge and under-bridge projects for construction to improve evacuation of port cargo.

IPRCL is an organisation under the Shipping Ministry with stakes held by several ports. These are basically flyovers that cost about ₹100 crore each. The rail bridge projects were earlier implemented under the Railway Ministry.

“Some of the first few projects to be taken up include those near Machlipatnam, Krishnapatnam, Kandla port and New Mangalore Port,” Anoop Kumar Agrawal, Managing Director, IPRCL, told.

Port connectivity

The firm has equity from 11 ports and Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL). Till now, IPRCL had been constructing rail link projects for port connectivity. The Ministry of Road Transport, Highways had handed over 208 such rail over-bridge and under-bridge to IPRCL under the Sethu Bharatam programme from which the above mentioned coastal connectivity projects are being implemented first.

In some of the other projects, IPRCL is also building a heavy haul rail corridor, which will be a bypass to Cuttack to link it with Paradip port.

The Odisha government will be taking equity and we are also in talks with Coal India,” said Agrawal. IPRCL is also in talks with the Adanis to have a rail link for Dhamra Port and another link near Gopalpur port.

The other works where IPRCL is involved include Indore-Manmad line where JNPT will have a stake and a link for Karwar port in Karnataka. It is also undertaking two big railway yards at Sahibganj and Haldia.

At a workshop last week, Agrawal had flagged an issue for the Union Cabinet to be taken up through appropriate authorities. The issue was related to the running of a passenger train on goods railway link, which spikes the maintenance cost of a railway line, and makes the non-government railway unviable

28 IRSSE Probationary Officers (2014 Batch) pass-out from IRISET

Learn new technologies constantly, Railway probationers told.

SECUNDERABAD: The Indian Railways Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications (IRISET), Secunderabad was host to the ‘Passing Out’ function of 28 Indian Railways Service of Signal Engineering (IRSSE) Probationary Officers-2014 Batch at its premises, at a function held today i.e. 12th June 2017 at IRISET Auditorium. Akhil Agrawal, Director General (S&T), Railway Board, New Delhi and Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway presented the Passing Out certificates and mementoes to the Probationary Officers. A souvenir named “Prathibhimb” containing the articles of probationers was released on the occasion.

Addressing the gathering of Railway Officers, Probationers etc, the Chief Guest, Akhil Agrawal stated that learning is a continuous process and it is more relevant in the scenario of fast changing technology. Indian Railways and Signal & Telecommunications department are continuously progressing with the help of technological advantages. He said that the future of Indian Railways is significantly dependent imbibing advanced technologies for efficient services to the passengers. He called upon the Probationary Officers to assimilate the working of all departments in railways and resolve on hardworking.

Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, SCR, who presided over the function advised the probationers to develop positive approach in working and own the organization for better satisfaction. He also stated that duty mindedness and responsibility are key factors for the growth of individuals. He called upon them to identify the problematic areas in the field and work for the system improvements.

L.P.Sinha, Director, IRISET in his welcome address detailed that 28 Probationary Officers of IRSSE 2014 have passed out successfully in the training programme. He informed that IRISET has been imparting training in various modules of signal engineering & telecommunications including to trainees from foreign countries and Public Sector Undertakings.

Earlier, Akhil Agrawal inaugurated renovated “Blue Bells” primary school run by IRISET Women’s Welfare Organization at Railway Colony, Mettuguda. A 32 seat ISUZU SML Bus was flagged off by Akhil Agrawal, Director General, Railway Board in the presence of L.P.Sinha, Director, IRISET. A modern Interactive White Board with advanced features of Teaching Aid was inaugurated in one of the classrooms.

Railway Board moots Metro-like self-propelled Trainsets for High-speed Corridors

The Indian Railways is exploring the idea of using self-propelled trains like those used in Metro systems to realise its high-speed corridor dream.

NEW DELHI: Racing against time to bring a network of “high-speed corridors” on track, the Indian Railways is exploring self-propelled train sets similar to those used in Delhi Metro.

This technology, experts say, will not only achieve faster acceleration of up to 160 km per hour, but also put in place advance protective measures like electro-pneumatic braking system to improve passenger safety.

Senior railway officials said the prototype of the train is being manufactured at Integral Coach Factory in Chennai and the first two sets will be ready by March 2018. The trial runs will begin soon thereafter.

A top railway ministry official told Mail Today that the Chennai coach factory has already issued a global tender for technical support for the new trains.

MADE IN INDIA

“These self-propelled trains will be made in India. This will reduce the manufacturing cost to nearly half the cost of importing them from foreign countries. Apart from the passenger comfort, emphasis will be on safety of the trains while they run at high speed,” the official said.

The Chennai factory is looking to equip the train sets with improved mechanical couplers and modern bogies that will support its movement at high speed. “This will help keep the jerks and vibrations at bay,” officials associated with the project said.

“The train will have fully suspended traction motors, pneumatic secondary suspension and anti-roll bar. The brake system will be Electro Pneumatic, which will reduce the braking distance, so that full speed potential of the train can be harnessed,” the officials said.

The new technology, which comprises electro-pneumatic (EP) brake system, has an edge over the conventional air brake mechanism in terms of speed of control and quick on-vehicle reaction times.

The EP brake takes less time to respond giving the loco pilot instant control of the entire train. Experts said it was originally designed for subways or metro trains but over the years the system has been widely used in leading train networks across the globe. Its speed of operation also makes it ideal for automatic train operation (ATO).

For operating trains at the speed of 160 km per hour, the biggest challenge before railways is to modify its existing tracks. This includes removing sharp curves and barricading along the route so that trains can attain high speed without any physical obstructions.

MODI’S DREAM PROJECT

A network of high speed corridors is the dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi but so far only Delhi-Agra corridor has become operational. Gatimaan Express, India’s fastest train that runs at the speed of 160 km per hour, runs on the corridor.

Eight other semi-high speed corridors have been proposed across the country but these are still in the conception stage. Railways has also formed a separate entity, High Speed Rail Corporation (HSRC) for speedy execution of these projects.

The railways has also started the work to convert two of the busiest routes – Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah – into semi-high speed corridors. The maximum speed of trains on these rail routes will increase by 30 km per hour that will cut short the travel time to Mumbai and Kolkata by up to 5 hours.

As per the plan, the top speed of Rajdhani Express on these routes will be increased from the current 130 kmph to 160 kmph. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has instructed railway officials to execute the two projects on priority basis.

Railway Ministry has appointed its engineering wing RITES as a consultant to execute the project in the next three years. The project is a part of ‘Mission Raftar’ envisaged by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu under which average speed of the trains will be increased by up to 25 km per hour.

Railways to induct 40,000 refurbished coaches

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is planning to induct about 40,000 coaches with improved interiors and upgraded facilities at an estimated cost of Rs 8,000 crore to provide world-class comfort to passengers.

Besides, the state-run transporter will strengthen safety features in all existing conventional coaches equipping them with strong couplers to prevent capsizing during accidents.

According to the plan, coaches will be retrofitted with refurbished interiors, improved seating arrangement and newly designed bio-toilets among other facilities.

The retrofitting would cost about Rs 30 lakh per coach.

The target is to complete the process of refurbishing of coaches with improved interiors and 2023 in the next five years.

The aim is to make available 40,000 new look coaches in the railway fleet by 2023, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project.

The work plan envisages retrofitting of 1000 coaches in the current fiscal, the number will increase to 3000 in the next fiscal and 5,500 coaches in subsequent years.

Railways also expect to manufacture 15,000 new coaches with modern features during 2018-19 and 2022-23 periods.

Railways is also focusing on the safety front by equipping all conventional coaches with centre buffler couplers (CBC), a strong coupler system.

The CBC system prevents coaches from capsizing.

While LHB coaches manufactured at Kapurthala and Raebareli factories are equipped with centre buffler couplers, the conventional coaches manufactured by the Integral Coach factory in Chennai do not have CBC.

Now it has been decided to equip all conventional coaches with CBC which enhances safety by providing anti-climbing features.It would cost about Rs 28 lakh to equip CBC in a coach.

World’s highest Rail Bridge in Kashmir 30 meters higher than iconic Eiffel Tower; completion in June

The world’s highest railway bridge that will soar 359 metres above the bed of river Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir will also be 30 metres higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The bridge on the Katra-Banihal railway line at village Kauri in Reasi district is likely to be completed by June, 2019 as more than 66 per cent work has been finished.

KATRA: The world’s highest railway bridge that will soar 359 metres above the bed of river Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir will also be 30 metres higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris. The bridge on the Katra-Banihal railway line at village Kauri in Reasi district is likely to be completed by June, 2019 as more than 66 per cent work has been finished. The 1.3-kilometre-long bridge is being constructed at a cost of Rs 1,250 crore, Konkan Railway chief engineer R K Singh said today. He told PTI that more than 1,300 workers and 300 engineers have been working round-the-clock to complete the bridge by 2019. Its construction started in 2004, but the work was stopped in 2008-09 on the aspect of the safety of the rail passengers due to frequent high velocity winds in the area.

The Railways decided to survey the area again and find some alternate site where the bridge could be constructed on Chenab river to avoid 100 kilometres-an-hour high velocity winds but finally it was decided not to change the site as it is the most suited taking into account the high altitude, said deputy chief engineer R R Malik. He said that it was finally decided to stop train operations when the wind velocity rises to 90 kmh with the help of the automatic signalling system and anemometer (instrument to measure the velocity of winds). He claimed that the bridge under construction can withstand winds upto 260 kmh and its lifespan will be 120 years. He said that on the other side of Chenab river, the Railways is constructing three big tunnels of various lengths – T 2 (5.9 kilometres), T 3 (9.369 kilometres) and T 14 (13 kilometres).

AFCONS Construction Company project manager S M Viswamurthy said that it is a joint venture of AFCONS, VSL and Ultra companies. The company has undertaken the construction of the bridge and the laying of rail track from Katra to Banihal is very treacherous and difficult, he said adding that 80 per cent of the railway line will have to pass through tunnels which are under construction. He said the company has bought a crane from Italy at a cost of Rs 20 crore to carry all the construction material to the site of bridge. He said the crane would become a railway property after the completion of the bridge and would remain installed there for maintenance purposes. He said that it is the most challenging work to construct such a high bridge on the Chenab river and he complimented the engineers and workers for their high morale to complete the project by June, 2019.

Viswamurthy said it is the seventh largest arch-shaped bridge in the world as there is no support except on both sides of the river banks and one of the supporting RCC and steel pillar is 133 metres high. The arch is being supported by piers and trusses. Malik said that force technology firm Denmak has made a model study for the construction of bridge while US-based ITASCA company has rendered help in slope stabilisation. IIT Delhi Professor K J Rao is the project consultant and Indian Institute of Science’s Dr T G Seeta Ram has also rendered help in the construction work. The steel work is being supervised by UK-based consultant David Macanjii. He claimed that slope cuttings, transition curves and curves besides all the foundation work have been completed.

The Railways have deployed two CRPF battalions to guard the construction of bridge and for the safety of workers and engineers, said senior section engineer Anup Khare. The Railways plan to run a DMU on the Katra–Salal section near the bridge in 2018 as the railway track is almost complete, according to a spokesman. The first train on the line will run between Udhampur- Srinagar in 2020.

GST regime will impose a 12% tax on Container Cargo moved by the Railways (road will attract only 5% GST)

NEW DELHI: Railways will seek a reversal in the GST rate fixed on movement of container cargo by rail as the same for roadways has been kept at less than half which, it says, creates an unfair price advantage for the road sector for the same service and threatens to drive railways out of the container cargo business. The GST regime will impose a 12 per cent tax on container cargo moved by the railways whereas the same container moved by road will attract only 5 per cent GST.

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu may meet finance minister Arun Jaitley, sources said, to discuss a possible reversal of the rate as the rate difference negates any competitive edge the railways might have had. In the new tax regime, railways will charge 5 per cent GST on container/logistics companies, including its own Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) on the fee these companies pay to railways for the haulage. The tax the cargo movers will levy on their clients if the containers go by railways will be 12 per cent, whereas the same carried on trucks by road will attract 5 per cent.

In the existing tax ecosystem, the tax burden on the client in road sector is 4.2 per cent, which will rise to 5 per cent post GST — a marginal rise. For railways, the same will shoot up from the current 5.6 per cent to 12 per cent. As per calculations of the ministry, CONCOR alone is slated to lose out between 30 and 60 per cent of its business eventually if the proposed rates prevail. The size of its business might also shrink, sources said.

Railways has pinned hopes on the container cargo business for future expansion of its footprints in white goods sectors. The new GST rate threatens to upset those plans, source said. Railways has given licenses to 17 container operators, known as intermodal service providers to own the container trains (rakes), which are just hauled by an engine on tracks owned by Railways for which the transporter charges a fee. As per calculations, the sector’s around Rs 10,000 crore annual business will attract a GST liability of Rs 1,200 crore as opposed to Rs 560 crore now, making it a less attractive choice.

In the GST council, the Financial Commissioner of the Railway Board had represented the Railways. Sources in the railway ministry say that on this particular front, it appears that the sector was not represented adequately.

Train which runs on Virtual Railway Track unveiled in China

ZHUZHOU: A train that runs on virtual rails has been unveiled in China. The Autonomous Rapid Transit (Art), which was unveiled in the city of Zhuzhou on 2 June, is around 30 metres long and is fitted with sensors that detect the dimensions of the road. This enables the vehicle to follow routes without the need for metal rails, Feng Jianghua, a chief engineer behind the project, said according to Xinhaunet.net.

Each vehicle can hold up to 307 passengers, and is said to navigate the streets easier than a bus while being more adaptable than a train. It has a top speed of 70kmph.

The technology behind the Art was developed by Chinese railmaker CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive which also designs parts for the country’s high-speed railway.

The firm, which has been working on Art since 2013, hopes to roll out the train in 2018.

Instead of having steel wheels like a train, Art is fitted with rubber wheels attached to a plastic core which are linked to its especially designed guiding technology, The Paper.Cn reported.

Its creators say that Art is significantly cheaper than a metro service, which costs between 400 to 700 millon yuan (£46 to £80 million) per km to build. In contrast, Art costs between 15 million yuan (£2 million).

The virtual train was unveiled as engingeers across the world attempt to modernise transport infrastructure.

In the US, Tesla and SpaceX owner Elon Musk is developing the Hyperloop, which is proposed to run at a top speed of 760mph using pod-like vehicles in a tube with reduced pressure.

 

Railways asks GST Council to exempt internal supplies

IR might be staring at a substantial loss in irrecoverable integrated (interstate) GST, or integrated GST, if the council does not consider its plea to put its own material movement and coach repairing works under the exempt category. Wants to be treated as a unified entity to avoid multiple registrations.

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways has asked the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council to treat it as a unified entity under the new indirect tax regime, so that it needs only a single registration. It also wants internal supplies to be exempted from taxes.

The demands, along with a number of issues raised by the railways, were examined by the GST Council at a meeting on Sunday, when it reviews rates decided in the last two meetings. Sources said Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has spoken to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the chairman of the Council, regarding this. Railway officials are also likely to present their case before the GST Council. As of now, the railways will have to register each of its 17 zones or 73 divisions in all the states. They would also have to pay the integrated goods and services tax for moving its own products — coaches, tracks — for internal consumption from one state to another. “We have requested the Council to consider us a unified entity for the whole of India,” said a senior railway official who did not want to be named. He added, “An exemption should be made for the transfer of our own goods and materials. It is not logical that a train coach made in Alambagh, which we use internally, is again charged IGST in another state.”

Railways would also be in trouble if it had to submit an invoice for every ticket sold. “Currently, we report ticketing on bulk. Under the GST, each ticket will have to be submitted as a separate invoice. This will create a huge technical and accounting problem for an entity as large as the Indian Railways,” the official added.

Both input and output services of the railways are also likely to become costly after the GST roll-out, for which the targeted date is July 1.

In 2016-17, passenger traffic of the railways increased by 1 per cent to 8,221 million from 8,151 million in 2015-16. Under the GST, the rate of tax on the transport sector would be 5 per cent. Non-air conditioned (AC) trains, including local and metro, were exempted from the GST. Those travelling in AC would have to cough up 5 per cent, up from the current 4.5 per cent. The overall impact of the GST on the railways is yet to be calculated.   Recently, the railways had appointed senior tax attorneys V Lakshmikumaran and V Sridharan as consultants to handhold it for the transition to the GST. They will also study the impact o the new indirect tax on the railways. Both the consultants have worked with Infosys and also assisted in setting up the Goods and Services Tax Network.

The Indian Railways might be staring at a substantial loss in irrecoverable integrated (interstate) GST, or integrated GST, if the council meeting does not consider its plea to put its own material movement and coach repairing works under the exempt category. The national carrier has requested that material for its own use and repair of coaches and locomotives be considered a centralised activity eligible for IGST waiver. “There is no value added when the railways is transferring material for its own use, but going by the technicality of the Act, there is interstate movement,” said an official. Unlike integrated GST levied on other products that are bought by consumers, movement of wagons for repair, for example, would attract interstate tax,but will still be used by railways. This would mean that the IGST paid will not be utilised (for paying ouput tax) through further sale. The railways has been told by the finance ministry that it will consider such movement as interstate transaction initiallyand might review the matter at a later stage after the GSTrollout. “Right now we are worried about the impact of interstate GST,” said the official, adding that the railways is still to assess the quantum of impact,which it will do after the meeting’s outcome. The railways procures track fittings, for instance, and then these are distributed to various places. Also, its repair workshops are located in certain places which caters to locomotives and coaches from across the country. It has a coach workshop in Bhopal and a locomotive base in Kolkata which caters to the entire country. The carrier is seeking to put these under the exempt category. “We pay taxes when we buy material.

But bytaxing its distribution, we will be subject to double taxation, as we will not input credit,”added the official. The official argued that unlike group companies, the Indian Railways is on a different platform and to certain extent it should be considered an unified unit.”All our zones will have to register with the 35 states and Union territories and that iswhy we have asked to be registered as a single entity,”said the official. The railways has 17 zones.

There arevarious issues such as parcel and freight apart from material movement and coach repairforwhich the railways has approached the GSTCouncil for eithera special dispensation,exemption or lower rate. Separately, the railways will also be burdened with uploading data of each ticket sold on the GST network as the originating and terminating places of travels could be interstate. “A ticket could be bought in Delhi but the end point could be anywhere.Now each ticket is an invoice and we will need to upload data of each ticket,”said the official. The railways sells around 20 lakh tickets for the air-conditioned categories alone. Till now, such tickets sales were showed in an aggregate basis and no details were required.”We are awaiting the final decision, as everyone knows what are the ramifications,” said the official.

IR to privatize 23 Railway Stations, eAuction of Kanpur Central and Allahabad Junction Announced

NEW DELHI: In one of its largest Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects, the Central government has decided to privatize 23 railway stations of the Indian Railways. The list of stations include Lokmanya Tilak (T) Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Vishakhapatnam, Howrah, Bangalore Cantonment, Jammu Tawi, Faridabad and  two stations of Uttar Pradesh.

The two stations of Uttar Pradesh that are being auctioned are Kanpur Central and Allahabad Junction. As per the details announced, the online auction will be conducted on June 28. Interested companies and individuals can submit their bid on the railways website.

After the stations are handed over to private hands, the Railways will only take responsibility for train operations, ticket sales, parcels and security arrangements. However, in addition to the security system of Railways, private security guards will also be deployed at different areas of the stations.

The arrangement will be leased to the respective private company for a period of 45 years. During these 45 years, the companies will have to furnish the railway stations with world-class facilities and develop food stalls, retiring rooms, play areas, etc. The companies will also be responsible for bringing up shopping malls, five-star hotels and multiplexes on the stations.

It has also been clarified in the auction details that the private companies, under no circumstances, shall tamper with the architectural heritage of the stations. This means that the structure of Kanpur Central and Allahabad Junction railways stations will remain intact.

There is, however, no approval on revenue sharing proportion between private companies and Railways with regards to this privatization initiative.

Earlier this month, we reported that Habib Ganj railway station of Bhopal will be the first private railway station of the country, the contract of which has already been assigned to Bansal Group of Bhopal.

Railways to end dependence on State DISCOMs; to set up additional 8500 km of Transmission Lines

The national transporter plans to create a network of transmission lines across the diamond quadrilateral as well.

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways, which is working towards saving its energy bill and ending dependence on state discoms, is planning to expand its own power transmission lines by an additional 8,500 km.

At present the national transporter is working on setting up transmission lines across the dedicated freight corridor. It plans to create a network of transmission lines across the diamond quadrilateral as well.

“We have also planned to create a network of 8000 Km to cover the diamond quadrilateral under the first phase. This will be through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) route along with investment through railways’ capex,” Railway Board, Member (Traction) Ghanshyam Singh told.

The Railways also plans to set up additional 500 km of transmission lines along South East Central Railway Zone.

“We are setting up 400 km of our own transmission lines from Dadri to Kanpur, it has also been extended to an additional 200 Km from Kanpur to Allahabad. We will also set up transmission lines from Sonnagar to Mughalsarai which will be another 360 km. Another 500 km of lines are also be set up under South East Railways by Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd,” he added.

According to a railways’ document titled “Indian Railways’ Energy Policy and Management”, which was released on 3 November 2016, the national carrier has taken up construction on following routes—Allahabad-Mughalsarai (160km), Mughalsarai-Howrah (700km), Mughalsarai-Son Nagar (130km), Delhi-Bharuch (1,100km), Delhi-Chennai (2,200km), Howrah-Mumbai (2,000km) and in South East Central Railway Zone (500km).

The national carrier, which consumes 18 billion units of electricity, spends around Rs 10,000 crore on its electricity bill annually and spent Rs 9,200 crore the previous financial year.

Indian Railways following the nod given by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) in 2015 also acquired the status of deemed distribution licence under the Electricity Act, 2003 bringing railways on a par with discoms.

ETEnergyworld had earlier reported that more states were coming on board in allowing Non-Objection Certificates (NOCs) to the Indian Railways for procurement of electricity directly from a supplier of its choice. Indian Railways aims to reduce its energy bill by Rs 3,000 crore through the plan.

The transporter is also working on a mega 41,000 crore energy saving plan over the next decade.

Railways to replace all General Class passenger trains with self-propelled Carriages to raise speed

The Indian Railways is all set to replace all only-general-class passenger trains with MEMU or DEMU rakes to increase traffic speed. Also, Railways to strengthen Centre Buffer Couplers that joins coaches in trains.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is all set to replace all only-general-class passenger trains with main electric multiple unit (MEMU) or diesel electric multiple unit (DEMU) rakes to increase traffic speed. The move follows successful testing of MEMUs in the Mughalsarai section. Six traditional loco-hauled trains were replaced by MEMUs and the results have been satisfactory in one of the busiest sections across the country. DEMU and MEMU rakes have motors beneath the coaches and can decelerate and accelerate faster, resulting in quick movement of trains. These trains also do not require to be reversed as they can run both ways. “This will be implemented mostly on the routes on the Golden Quadrilateral, which account for 60% of passenger and freight traffic. These routes comprise only 16% of the track length available to the Indian Railways,” said Mohammed Jamshed, Member (Traffic), Railway Board.

There is approximately 2,000 km of tracks on these routes. Adding lines will require `10 crore per km of investment. However, change in rakes will allow faster movement of passenger traffic on the existing routes. The Golden Quadrilateral includes lines between New Delhi and Kolkata, Kolkata and Chennai, Chennai and Mumbai, and Mumbai and New Delhi. In addition, the plan will also be executed on the lines connecting New Delhi to Chennai and Mumbai to Kolkata.

Despite the national transporter launching various categories of trains with higher speeds such as the Tejas and The Gatimaan, congestion on the tracks reduce the average of all trains and often leads to delays. The deployment of MEMU and DEMU, which can make multiple stops maintaining a high average speed, is expected to ease congestion.

The development comes at a time when the national transporter has been able to arrest the slide in its passenger traffic. As reported by FE earlier, the Indian Railways’ passenger traffic segment witnessed a 2.5% growth in April-May 2017, compared with the similar period a year ago. This is a sustained growth after an increase of 1% in passenger traffic in 2016-17 to 822.1 crore passengers, from 815.1 crore ferried during 2015-16. In addition, suburban passenger traffic increased 4% during the past two months compared with the year-ago period. It was the first year since 2012-13 that passenger traffic showed a positive growth for the railways.

Also, Railways will strengthen Centre Buffer Couplers, which join coaches, as they cause sudden jerks in moving trains. What makes the Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains special is the Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches, which not only support acceleration, but help reduce injuries during accidents. But there is a catch to using them – the couplers that join two coaches. At a time when the Indian Railways are planning to replace the regular coaches of the long distance trains with these LHB ones, they are also trying to find a solution to the issue with the couplers, which is sudden jerks.

The LHB coaches support trains at high speeds and this is the reason why they are used in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and other high speed trains like Gatimaan and Tejas. These coaches are joined by Centre Buffer Couplers (CBC). They help the coach move independently; accommodating track curvature and elevation while remaining connected together.