Centre not going to Privatize the Indian Railways: MOSR Sinha

BONGAIGAON: The 93rd annual convention of All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) started from Wednesday in Gorakhpur city of Uttar Pradesh with a two-day long programme.  The programme started with a women’s conference which had been followed by AIRF working committee meeting. A procession throughout the city was taken out which culminated in Sayed Modi Railway Stadium of Gorakhpur.

In the mass meeting, several noted persons like Manoj Sinha, Union Minister of State for Railways, Stephene Cotton, general secretary, International Transport Workers Federation, Noel Coard, Head of Inland Transport Section, ITF, Backer Kundajki, Youth  Coordinator, ITF, Rakhal Das Gupta, president AIRF, and Shib Gopal Mishra, general secretary, AIRF, were present.

Addressing the gathering, Manoj Sinha said that the government was not going to privatize the Railway department. “But we have to upgrade the department as per requirement of our consumers and hence we need the help of Railway employees,” he said. Shib Gopal Mishra said the tough times had started and hence all the labour class people should be united. Stephene Cotton also appealed to people to be united for the rights of labour class people.

More than 30,000 delegates from all over India and also from other countries are taking part in this convention. N F Railway Mazdoor Union has also taken part in this convention with more than 1,000 delegates.

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Bullet train project part of India’s developmental plans: Piyush Goyal

Goyal, who has an active presence on social media, gave a 884-word defence of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR), popularly known as the ‘Bullet Train’.

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal today defended the Centre’s decision to launch bullet train project in India, stating that it was part of the country’s developmental plans.

He was replying to a query on Quora, a website where users ask questions and invite answers from the online community – “Does India actually need a bullet train”?

Goyal, who has an active presence on social media, gave a 884-word defence of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR), popularly known as the ‘Bullet Train’. He also included several graphics with pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to illustrate his point.

“India is a rapidly developing economy with numerous developmental needs. A major component of India’s developmental plan is the upgradation of current rail networks as well as the development of new high speed rail corridors popularly known as bullet trains.

“The Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project is a visionary project by the NDA government which will herald a new era of safety, speed and service for the people, and help the Indian Railways become an international leader in scale, speed and skill,” Goyal said.

He said although introduction of a technology is often met with resistance but it eventually goes on to usher in change.

“New technology has not always been adopted easily, and has at most times seen resistance. However, history shows us that new technology and advancements are highly beneficial for the country,” he said.

The railway minister cited the example of the start of the Rajdhani Trains in 1968 which was opposed by many including the chairman of the railway board.

“Such things keep India backward. But today, they are the trains that everyone wishes to travel in,” the minister said.

Giving another example, Goyal argued that many thought India was not ready for new technology like mobile phones, but today India is the second largest market for such phones in the world with almost every Indian owning a mobile phone set.

“Similarly, the bullet train project will also help railways revolutionise every passenger’s journey,” he said.

Goyal also gave a detailed report of how bullet train is a “low-cost project”, how it will promote Modi’s ‘Make in India’ doctrine, work with cutting edge Japanese technology and usher in economic growth by creating thousands of jobs.

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New Railway Time Table earmarks blocks for Maintenance, Safety

NEW DELHI: The Railways’ new timetable promises not just faster trains but has set aside hours for maintenance work across the country every day for greater passenger safety.

‘Trains at a Glance’ for 2017-2018, which came into effect yesterday, shows that the timetable has been designed to help engineers and others undertake regular maintenance work in blocks of two to four hours.

The maintenance will be for fixed infrastructure such as tracks, signalling gears and overhead equipment.

The emphasis on maintenance assumes importance in view of some recent train accidents. At least 20 people were killed after a train derailed in Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh on August 19 because tracks were being repaired.

Soon after taking over the railway portfolio, minister Piyush Goyal had said no demand for blocks from any rail section should be denied.

Blocks are periods when trains are not allowed on a track so that maintenance work can be carried out.

Currently, on highly dense routes such as the Delhi- Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai sectors, there is a train on the tracks every 10 minutes, leaving engineers with little time for maintenance work.

But with trains running faster under the the new timetable, hours will be taken out of the schedule for maintenance work.

A total of 65 trains on the Northern Railways will run faster than before. The national transporter has reduced the running time of close to 500 trains across zones from anywhere from 15 minute to three hours, officials told earlier this week.

Under the new timetable, trains have been either bunched together or shifted on different tracks to make way for maintenance blocks.

So, some trains have been rescheduled, some mail or express trains regulated and some passenger trains short terminated in each section where asset maintenance works are scheduled. This, the Railways believe, will ensure passenger safety.

The Railways will also have a timetable for its employees which will enumerate operational details of all trains and for each division. It will contain information on gradients, running time, locomotive hauling capacity, margin for drivers to make up and speed restrictions, and other information to assist operators.

Railway tracks are inspected daily on foot in addition to inspection by push and motor trolleys once a month. The assistant divisional engineer reviews it once in two or three months depending on the route s importance.

In the new timetable, virtually every rail zone has faster trains. The Northern Railway timetable has three new trains for the sector — Tejas, Humsafar and Antyodaya Express.

MOSR flagged off Agartala-Delhi Rajdhani Express ending a long wait of around 53 years

AGARTALA: Union Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain flagged off the Rajdhani Express from Agartala railway station in presence of Governor Tathagata Roy and other dignitaries here on Saturday ending a long wait of around 53 years.It was 1964 when the first metre-gauge train reached at Dharmanagar, State’s extreme subdivision with Assam’s border.

Gohain and the Governor flagged off the superfast train at 2.30 pm amidst cheers and joy as large number of people assembled at the station to witness the historic moment.

The Union Minister said that it is a good beginning for the people of Tripura as they have Rajdhani Express to travel to Anandvihar (Delhi) within shortest period of time.

“We used to hear that there is a need to give due importance to the North-east but nothing has been done for the backward region. But, during the past three years, especially under the leadership of Prime Minister, there has been a mark improvement in the connectivity- railways and road”, he said.

“Tripura has been a front runner when it comes to railway expansion in the region over the past three years”, he said.

Asserting that there is no dearth of fund for executing railway projects in this region, Gohain said officials were asked to speed up the railway projects taken up as sufficient funds are available for this purpose.

“Modiji doesn’t believe in political colour when it comes to need of a State. In Assam, the Centre has given Rs 2,000 crore for flood relief and Rs 200 crore was earmarked separately for study the cause of floods in Assam and find ways to prevent this”, he said.

Gohain said Union Minister of Railways Pijush Goyal would be on a three-day visit to the North-east starting from November 3 to take stock of the railway projects. “If you have any demand, you can place before Goyalji during his visit to the State”, he added.

In his speech, the Governor lauded the Central Government role in speedy expansion of railway network in Tripura and other north-eastern States over the past three years.

Railways aims at Rs.250 Crore Annual Savings with 10% reduction in Energy consumption in non-traction operations

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal today launched the railways’ first set of solar plants with a total capacity of 5 megawatt peak (MWp), an ambitious project aimed at reducing the national transporter’s carbon footprint.

The project is part of the government’s National Solar Mission in which Indian Railways plans to commission 1,000 MWp solar plants across its network.

The minister launched the plants at the inauguration of the ‘International Conference on Green Initiatives and Railway Electrification’ here.

“We are working in a time-bound manner to skillfully and effectively transform the Indian Railways into a world class transporter. We shall be able to accomplish 100 per cent electrification at lower prices with an incentive-cum-penalty scheme,” he said, adding that all payments of the railways will be done within a span of 30 days.

The plants on the roof tops of Hazrat Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Anand Vihar and Delhi railway stations will generate 76.5 lakh units of solar power cumulatively per year, and shall meet about 30 per cent of the energy requirement of these stations.

Through the project, the railways will save Rs 421.4 lakh annually and will reduce 6,082 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The project was awarded in December 2016. The cost of the project is Rs.37.45 crore and has been bought in by the developer under the PPP model.

The developer will also maintain it for 25 years and the Railways will only pay energy consumed at Rs 4.14 per unit, officials said.

Goyal added that the railways has targeted 10 per cent reduction in energy consumption in non-traction operations, thereby saving about Rs 250 crore annually.

The two-day International Conference on Green Initiatives and Railway Electrification will deliberate on finding new ways to increase the use of renewable energy by the national transporter.

Congress caused Delay in Bidar-Kalaburagi Railway Line project: Piyush Goyal

Piyush Goyal said that Indian Railways is missioned to invest $150 Bn, create 1 mn jobs in 5 years under NDA Government.

MANGALORE: Unon Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday accused the former United Progressive Alliance (UPA) – led government for causing delay in the Bidar-Kalaburagi railway line project, saying that the link, which was approved during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure, could not see light of day as Congress failed to provide adequate land.

“Congress government that came in 2004, did not provide adequate land which caused the delay,” Goyal said at a press conference in Mangalore.

He further added that the project gained momentum only in 2007, when the then chief minister of Karnataka, B.S. Yeddyurappa, offered to pitch in 50 percent of the cost from the state government’s funds.

Goyal, stating that the last piece of land was received in February 2017, commended the Railway Ministry for having “completed the work in record time after that”.

Speaking on the railway project, Goyal informed that a major specialty of the 110.40-km line was its 12 new railway stations, 1.7 km long tunnel, and 269 bridges.

Goyal assured that the railway line will not only contribute to the socio-economic development of Karnataka, but also facilitate the functioning of the railways.

Elaborating on it, Goyal said the connectivity of Bidar with such major cities as Bengaluru and Mumbai will improve as the distance between Bidar and Mumbai will shorten by 115 km, while distance between Bidar and Bengaluru will be cut short by 52 km.

In effect, the farmers will then be benefited in selling their produce, Goyal inferred, adding that it will also improve efficiency and scope of cement industry in North Karnataka.

“Under the government of Modi ji, development in rail facilities for the whole of Karnataka have quickened in pace. The investment by rail ministry in the state has increased by five times,” the Railway Minister claimed, adding that the budget provision for rail projects in Karnataka has increased from Rs 783 crore in the year 2014-15 to Rs 3174 crore in the current year 2017-18. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the railway line today in Bidar.

Railways to invest $150 bn, create 1 mn jobs in 5 years

The Railways is looking to invest over $150 billion over the next five years which would help create one million additional jobs, minister Piyush Goyal has said. Goyal, who took over as the rail minister after a Cabinet reshuffle in August, said he was trying to give the national transporter a “new direction”.” During the next five years, the Railways alone will be looking at an investment of upwards of $150 billion. And when I translate that into jobs, I see a million jobs being created only through investments in the railway sector,” he said.

The Railways can play an important role in “aggressively pursuing” government agenda to provide safe, secure, comfortable travel, he said addressing an awards function organised by the business daily Economic Times here late last night. A focus on infrastructure could also help increase local manufacturing, he said. Goyal said his ministry was also compressing the time taken for complete electrification of rail lines to four years from the earlier plan of 10 years, which would help cut costs by around 30 per cent for the loss-making Railways.

This electrification initiative would help save the national transporter around Rs 10,000 crore per annum on fuel bill, he said.Earlier this month, Goyal had said the Railways would create one million jobs within the next 12 months. In 2015, his predecessor Suresh Prabhu had said the Railways needed investments of Rs 8.5 trillion over the next five years, and invited overseas investors for the same.

Prabhu had also secured a debt funding worth Rs 1.5 trillion from Life Insurance Corporation to fund various projects. It is not clear whether Goyal’s $150 billion is part of Prabhu’s Rs 8.5 trillion investments.

 

Railways floats Global Tender for procuring rail worth about ₹3,500 Crore

Procurement to help the utility clear pending track renewal work, says Goyal

NEW DELHI: In a first, the Ministry of Railways has floated a global tender to procure seven lakh tonne of rail, worth about ₹3,500 crore, instead of purchasing from the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), in a bid to clear pending track renewal work.

“We floated a global tender on October 12 to procure seven lakh tonne additional rail, which will help us to ensure that the backlog of track renewal is cleared,” said Piyush Goyal, Railways Minister, on Wednesday.

“We were not able to meet the demand for track renewal due to shortage of rail,” he said.

At present, the Railways procures rail solely from public sector SAIL which is the largest steel producer in the country. The move comes five months after the Union Cabinet approved a policy to provide preference to domestically manufactured iron and steel products in government procurement.

“We are going to stick to our commitment to procure steel from SAIL. We are procuring steel from open market to meet the shortfall of rail for new lines, gauge conversion and doubling,” said a top Ministry of Railways official.

The Ministry had decided that the rails earmarked for constructing new lines would be diverted for renewing tracks in accident-prone areas in the wake of rising derailment cases.

NITI Report

SAIL had committed to supply 11.45 lakh tonne rail to the Railways in 2017-18, leaving a deficit of 3.14 lakh tonnes. A NITI Aayog report earlier this year raised concerns over delay in overdue track replacement that could likely lead to train accidents. In 2016-17, the Railways renewed 2,487 km tracks compared with 2,794 km in 2015-16 and 2,424 km in 2014-15.

According to a ‘White Paper on Indian Railways’ published in February 2015, the Railways has a total track length of 1,14,907 km and on average, 4,500 km should be ideally renewed every year.

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No Shortage of Fund in Railways for Projects related to Passengers Safety: Piyush Goyal

Rail Minister Piyush Goyal said that General Managers have been given full powers to sanction out of turn safety related works without any ceiling.

NEW DELHI: Rail Minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday that there is no shortage of fund in railways for projects related to passengers’ safety and security.

The rail minister said that PM Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has given railways full liberty to use funds on safety. He said that General Managers have been given full powers to sanction out of turn safety related works without any ceiling.

Addressing a press conference, the rail minister said that procedures have been substantially simplified for procurement of material in the Railways.

Piyush Goyal told the media that the government is doing transformational changes in the Railways and for faster implementation, those changes will have a defined time span.He said that in every rail division now there would be two ADRMs instead of one to ensure a smooth operation.

The railway will categorise its station on the basis of passenger footfall and will accordingly increase the facilities at these stations. For the benefit of specially-abled and senior citizens, the railway has identified 3000 spots where escalators would be built.

The railway has decided to increase the number of CCTVs across trains and stations.

He especially took the name of Mumbai rail network, one of the biggest suburban rail networks in the country for this purpose.

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Railway Board wind up ambitious Rs.5000-crore One ICT Project and the Transformation Cell

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal is changing the tracks set by his predecessor, Suresh Prabhu. After overhauling the Rs 1-lakh crore station redevelopment plan, Goyal has now spiked two pet schemes and directorates set up by his predecessor.

The Railway Board has decided to wind up the ambitious Rs 5,000-crore One ICT (information, communication and technology) plan and the transformation cell.

Prabhu had set up four directorates during his tenure as the railway minister — mobility, non-fare revenue, One ICT and the transformation cell.

The One ICT directorate was created to set up an integrated software that would have brought various functions of the Railways — such as passenger reservation, movement of goods trains, asset management and the entire functional requirements of the national transporter — under one roof.

The transformation cell directorate was mandated with the implementation of 55 new ideas that had originated at the Rail Vikas Shivir, held in November last year, where rail employees shared their visionary ideas in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The railway board has decided to shut ICT and merge the transformation cell with mobility,” confirmed a railway official. Officials said the new minister was of the opinion that these areas were already being covered by other directorates, including non-fare revenue and mobility, and there was no requirement for a separate department.

Prabhu had set up the ICT directorate with a view that an organisation like the railways, which posted a revenue of Rs 1,65,068 crore in 2016-17, should spend a considerable amount of money on information, communication and technology. The railway information technology expenditure was only Rs 336 crore in 2016-17, which was scaled up to Rs 513 crore in the 2017-18.

The Rs 5,000-crore One ICT software was supposed to be implemented over five years using digital technology. It was to ensure better connectivity of goods and services with the market and efficient internal management to ensure customer satisfaction.

Revamping the railways, Goyal had earlier decided to cancel the bidding process for 23 stations for redevelopment owing to tepid interest shown by construction companies.

He had also wound up the Swiss challenge mode for redevelopment (under which a public authority asks for a bid, and publishes it for third parties to match or top it), which was mooted by Prabhu.

Such changes in policies are normal when there is a change in government. But railway officials are experiencing this situation for the first time when only the minister has been changed.

“For Goyal, the priority is implementation of schemes in a quick pace. He is giving additional emphasis on renewal of tracks and safety and has instructed the Railway Board to allot the required money for each division in this regard,” said another official.

Railways raises Track Renewal target, to spend Rs.1000 crore/month

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways will spend Rs 1,000 crore a month over the next six months to replace old and out-of-date tracks with new ones, an exercise aimed at reducing train derailments.

Rail minister Piyush Goyal ordered the spend after raising the track renewal target for the current fiscal to 3,600 km, an 80% jump over the average 2,000 km of tracks renewed by the railways every fiscal.

The minister has also cleared a proposal to call for global bids next month for supply of steel rails. State-run Steel Authority of India was until now meeting 80-85% of the total demand for rails.

A top rail ministry official said the minister just wants to ensure that the massive track renewal exercise is not halted for want of supplies.

We will be changing everything from track ballasts to the clips, the official said. The work is being done on a war footing. Tracks are already being routed to the desired locations. General managers of the zones have been instructed to award maintenance blocks wherever needed.
On an average, a rail zone allocates only 50% of the total maintenance blocks demanded by track engineers on a route. But last month, nearly 65% of the total demanded maintenance blocks were allocated.
Because of the high traffic density (movement of trains), the zones were reluctant to allocate traffic blocks earlier. But now, the minister has instructed that a block should be allocated as soon as it is asked for, the official added. A preliminary inquiry into August’s train derailment near Muzaffarnagar has blamed non-allocation of maintenance blocks to track engineers as the reason for the accident, which claimed 21 lives. In the last three years, there have been about 115 train derailments on an average every year.

Goyal has also instructed the Rail Board, the top administrative body of the railways, to meet every Wednesday to review the safety parameters of all 17 rail zones. The railways has also decided to work out a new time table of trains so that enough time is available for maintenance of tracks and signalling. On highly dense routes such as Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai, there is a train every 10 minutes, which leaves the engineers little time for maintenance. The new time table, to be released on November 1, will also cut unnecessarily delays on routes, reducing the travel time of 500 trains by 30-60 minutes.

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Flag pending decisions to Railway Board: Goyal to Railway Zones

NEW DELHI: In a bid to ensure safety of passengers, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said he has asked all zones to immediately flag “pending decisions” to the Railway Board.

He said the September 29 tragedy at the Elphinstone Road railway station in Mumbai was a wake-up call for the railway officials.

“After the stampede at the Elphinstone Road railway station in Mumbai, I was pained to see that several decisions that were to be implemented earlier had been pending for over a year,” Goyal said at the 12th International Rail Conference in Pragati Maidan here.

He said that for the safety of passengers, he had given immense powers to the zonal general managers after keeping the Railway Board informed.

Goyal was referring to the stampede at the Elphinstone Road station in Mumbai on September 29, in which 23 people were killed.

The minister also stressed the need for taking decisions fast.

“Earlier the decisions were not taken at the required speed. I have asked the Railway Board to list out everything that is with the RDSO (Research Designs and Standards Organisation),” he said.

Speaking at the event, Goyal said that for safe and comfortable journey, there should be a separate freight and passenger corridor.

He also said that the Indian Railways had adopted modern technologies late.

“India is already late in adopting modern technologies. Last thing was the Rajdhani Express in 1969,” Goyal said.

“But despite being late, India … is in a hurry to provide most efficient modes of transport to serve the common man. And the High Speed Rail project shows that the Indian Railways is fully prepared to be the best of the best,” he said.

He also urged railway officials and entrepreneurs to come up with innovative ideas for the railways.

“There is no fund crisis in railways, give us a plan and we shall implement that, and I also want to assure the people here that soon a new system will come where the railways will make payments within 30 days,” Goyal said.

Indian Railways to cut delays, go for bulk procurement: Railway Minister

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said Railways will now go for bulk procurement and disburse payments within 30 days of all work orders.

Pending projects

The Railway Board, which was meeting every week to clear pending projects, had been directed to put up online list of projects pending with Research Designs and Standard Organisations (RDSO) along with the timeline for approval.

“We want to change the rules of the game now; no more delays in the rail projects should be entertained from now,” said Mr. Goyal at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)’s 12th International Railway Equipment Exhibition (IREE) 2017 here.

“I find it a great opportunity to change the mindset with which the Railways has worked for so many years. I am delighted the Railway Board is meeting every week and disposing off all the matters expeditiously,” he said.

The government was working on a system under which it will guarantee payment on the 30th day for everything that was supplied to the Railways.

“Simple things like prompt payment and quick approval of designs bring down costs significantly,” the Minister said.

The Railways will go for bulk procurement for modernisation of trains and railway stations.

“We need at least 2,000 escalators in the railway network and the current cost of procuring an escalator is ₹1 crore. I have asked the Railways to review their entire system of estimates as well. We want to do large scale procurement.” The Railways plans to put up CCTV cameras in all coaches and railway stations.

Further, the Railways is exploring fog light technology for smooth train operations during winters, the Minister said.

He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked for a complete revision of timetable followed by Indian Railways. “We will bring the best of experts around the world to see if passenger trains can run in sequence or if freight trains can also have a timetable. We will explore whether we can guarantee traffic blocks for maintenance so that we can avoid accidents,” Mr. Goyal said.

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Railway Minister stresses need to redefine the roles of RPF, GRP

The suggestion has come in the wake of the September 29 Elphinstone bridge stampede in Mumbai that killed 23 people. Both the GRP and the RPF work to secure railway premises and trains.

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has stressed the need to clearly define the roles of the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to avoid confusion in their operations, Director General RPF Dharmendra Kumar has said.

The suggestion has come in the wake of the September 29 Elphinstone bridge stampede in Mumbai that killed 23 people. Both the GRP and the RPF work to secure railway premises and trains.

The DG RPF in a letter to the Director General of Police and the Additional DGP (Railways), Maharashtra, on October 10 said there are areas in which the roles of the two forces overlap, resulting in confusion.

“While their legal powers are clearly defined, field formations of both organisations find their roles overlapping in many areas during their day-to-day working. This causes confusion among the rank and file of the forces.

In the absence of a standard operating procedure, this confusion becomes more pronounced during a crisis. The recent stampede at Elphinstone Road Station in Mumbai is a prime example, Kumar said in the letter, a copy of which is with PTI.

“In the wake of the incident, a meeting was conducted by the minister of railways in Mumbai on September 30 during which the need for proper codification of duties of the GRP and the RPF was flagged,” the letter read.

Kumar in his letter recommended setting up a committee under the Commissioner of Police (Railways), Mumbai, with the Additional Commissioner of Police as a member and two representatives from the RPF.

Its task, Kumar said, would be to examine the roles and responsibilities of both forces and suggest ways for the proper codification of their duties.

“The committee can also suggest a shared standard operating procedure to be implemented by both agencies in case of exigencies such as bomb threat, large-scale law and order disturbance, stampede, terror attack,” Kumar said.

The RPF DG said the panel’s recommendations would be implemented for the Mumbai suburban railways first and then replicated across the country if found suitable.

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Railway Minister assures Electrification of Locos by 2020, Diesel Engines to go

In his earlier stint as power minister, railway minister Piyush Goyal had offered to help railways with electrification process.

NEW DELHI: If the railway ministry has its way, thousands of diesel-guzzling locomotives could be a thing of the past in the country. In a move to expedite the complete electrification of rail network, Indian railways has advanced the deadline by two years to 2020.

This means the railways would remove diesel engines in the next three years and all 19,000 trains will run only on electric locomotives, a senior railway official said. Railway minister Piyush Goyal has issued directions to speed up the electrification process of rail routes. Railway officials said this will not only contain greenhouse emission but also save cash-strapped railways at least Rs 11,000 crore annually on fuel expenses.

At present, Indian Railways spends Rs 18,000 crore annually on purchase of diesel. On the other hand, its electricity purchase bill is pegged at Rs 9,000 crore. As per estimates, if railways run all its trains on electricity, the expenditure on purchase of power will be Rs 16,000 crore and thus saving Rs 11,000 crore every year. “We are giving a relook to the ways of speeding up the electrification process of rail lines across the country. The cost on account of power is quite less and so we can do a lot of savings in that,” Goyal said recently.

Senior officials also maintained that shifting train operations to electric mode will drastically reduce import of diesel from foreign countries that will also be beneficial for the country’s economy. At present, Indian railways has a fleet of 19,000 passenger and goods trains. Of these, about 5,000 trains run on diesel consuming nearly 300 crore litre of fuel every year. Sources said railway’s power purchase cost has also gone down significantly over the past few years. A number of states have allowed railways to purchase electricity from alternate sources and thus its procurement cost has reduced from Rs 9 per unit to Rs 5 per unit. Earlier, railways had to purchase electricity only from state-owned power utilities.

It is to be noted that Goyal, during his previous stint as power minister, had offered the railway ministry help to expedite the electrification process. The power ministry had offered to bear the entire cost of electrification at one go as the process involved no land acquisition. Officials said the entire electrification would cost approximately Rs 35,000 crore. “The savings from not using diesel alone will be around Rs 18,000 crore and the cost will be recovered in seven years. Railways will stop production of diesel locomotives in the country if we achieve the target of complete electrification,” a senior official said.

The railway ministry has stepped up efforts to electrify 4,000-km route in the current fiscal, a quantum jump from the last year’s target of 2,000km. Railway also has rolled out an action plan to drastically decrease the use of diesel in order to reduce energy cost and greenhouse gas emission. Currently, only 42 per cent of total track network is electrified, rest section is operating on fossil fuel.

Railways energy bill is touching about Rs 32,000 crore a year, of which diesel is about Rs 18,000 crore. During the last three financial years (2014-2017) and for 2017-18, total number of 93 railway electrification projects consisting of 16,815 kilometre at an estimated cost of Rs 17,165 crore have been included in the Budget. The pace of electrification has been increased from present average of 1,700km route per annum to 4,000km in 2017-18, a senior railway ministry official said. According to the action plan, about 22,000km route has to be electrified by 2021.

Railways to have Make In India Coaches that Guarantee more Safety

Indian Railways to ramp up production of LHB coaches

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways in a bid to fulfil Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s Make in India dream have launched a 100% Make In India Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches.

Each and every component of the coach has been manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory at Chennai. The coaches have been allotted to Western Railways and the Railways has guaranteed passenger safety in these coaches.

Out of the two ‘Make in India’ coaches that have been rolled out by ICF, the non-AC one has 100% indigenous components. The AC coach has one imported component, the report added.

Given the spate of rail accidents over the last year, Indian Railways has decided to stop production of traditional ICF coaches in 2017. LHB coaches boast of stainless steel bodies and have anti-climbing features. This ensures that in case of a derailment, the coaches do not pile onto each other, hence making them safer. The LHB coaches also have a graduated release modular braking system the axle mounted disc brakes.

Earlier in the day, Union Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal spoke to a gathering regarding the modernisation of the railways and the necessity of passenger safety.

Speaking at the International Conference on Technological Advancements in Railway and Metro Projects, Goyal also said that budget allocations are a limitation and tend to hold back research and innovation.

“Personally, I believe a budget is a limitation, it holds you back. Allocation of a budget doesn’t allow scientists to flourish as he wants to. Budgets restrict innovation,” said Goyal as he called for out-of-the-box thinking to improve rail safety features like as signaling systems and fog vision for locomotive pilots.

The railways is embarking on a massive programme to ensure safety of the entire network, he said. “As much money as required is available for safety.

“I am not even saying it will be made available, I am saying it is available,” he said, adding that he cannot make the railways safe without new ideas and he hoped that the conference will help generate innovations.

Switch-over to LHB

Shailendra Singh, Chief Rolling Stock Engineer, Northern Railway, said a decision had been taken to produce 5,000 LHB coaches this year. At present, there are around 51,000 Integrated Coach Factory (ICF) coaches and 5,500 LHB coaches made in the Kapurthala factory.

“It has been decided to completely switch over to manufacture LHB coaches from April 1, 2018 onward,” he added.

Railways had already take a decision shift to LHB coaches, but increasing production requires a sharp ramp up from the present annual coach production target of 2,435. The vendor capacity also needs to be increased accordingly. Addressing the conference, Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Coal, said: “We must work to see whether we can design better coaches, better locomotives, better signalling system and other related activity. We must explore cooperation with Military Engineering Service. Indian Railways need to work with commitment to make the railways safe, secure and to offer better amenities, riding comfort, punctuality and efficiency.”

‘Adopt latest tech’

Earlier in the day, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu said Railways needed to plan for a massive expansion very meticulously with forward-looking, efficient technologies and innovative practices currently available across the globe and adopt them.

“Indian Railways will have to plan for this massive expansion meticulously. It will have to look for technologies and innovative practices currently available across the globe,” he said.

Indian Railways’ ecosystem can create a Million Jobs in 12 months: Piyush Goyal

Indian Railways initiatives such as dedicated freight corridors and station redevelopment have the potential to create jobs, says railway minister Piyush Goyal

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways ecosystem can create a million jobs within the next 12 months, said railway minister Piyush Goyal at the opening session of the India Economic Summit.

As part of this exercise, the national carrier plans to create a sort of a franchisee model wherein local entrepreneurs, by using a smart device, can book tickets at 2,000 railway stations across its network which don’t have a booking office.

“This is in the works and will happen very soon,” Goyal told.

The national carrier has a track length of around 115,000km, making it the world’s largest railway network under a single management. It runs around 20,849 trains daily and transports 23 million passengers.

Goyal said various initiatives such as dedicated freight corridors, track renewal, station redevelopment, passenger holding areas and amenities such as parking have the potential to create these jobs without them being on the books of the country’s largest employer.

Goyal’s comments came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first time directly addressed the criticism that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has mismanaged the Indian economy—especially after the first quarter showed that economic growth slowed sharply to 5.7%.

“The narrative is changing and India is becoming the pole around which the world economy can flourish,” Goyal, who also holds the coal ministry portfolio, said at the session.

Goyal has been given charge of the railway ministry to take care of critical issues such as passenger safety, corporatization of railways, monetization of the transporter’s assets and boosting non-fare revenue to deliver tangible outcomes.

He said the investment potential in the railways can have a significant impact on job creation in the country.

Goyal added that works such as track renewal and safety can alone create 200,000 jobs.

The NDA government unveiled the largest-ever rail budget of Rs1.31 trillion for this financial year, an 8.26% increase over the Rs1.21 trillion allocated to the national carrier in 2016-17.

“There is a changing nature of the jobs worldwide. The youth of tomorrow doesn’t want to be a job seeker but a job creator,” Goyal said.

He said he will leverage the people’s carrier real estate and monetise it so that there is no pressure on the exchequer.

This comes at a time when railways’ finances are stressed as it faces stiff competition from airlines and road transport for carrying people as well as freight.

Indian Railways is increasing its capital expenditure (capex). According to a recent Citibank report on the performance of Indian Railways, railway capex increased 60% year-on-year (y-o-y) in FY16 and 18% y-o-y in FY17. Physical commissioning of projects has improved sharply. Average commissioning of broad-gauge lines increased 86% in FY16-17 over average commissioning in 2009-14. Electrification of rail lines increased 58% in FY16-17 from the average in 2009-14.

“The potential in India is huge, it’s the mindset change which will transform India; we’ve seen that happen in sector after sector. It is the railways’ turn now,” Goyal added.

Indian Railways may tweak Flexi Fare scheme: Railway Minister

NEW DELHI: Union minister Piyush Goyal today said the flexi fare scheme of the Railways, which helped it earn an additional Rs 540 crore in less than a year, may be amended to ensure that it brings in revenues without taxing passengers.

“People have brought to my notice the issue of the flexi fare scheme. It could be made better in a way that it does not hurt people’s (pockets) and also meets the revenue target,” Goyal told reporters here.

He was responding to question on whether he had reviewed the flexi fare scheme after taking charge of the ministry earlier this month.

Asked if there could be any amendment to the scheme, Goyal said, “There is a possibility of making some change”.

The scheme, launched on September 9 last year and applicable to premium trains such as the Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto, allows 10 per cent of the seats to be sold at normal fare and thereafter increasing it in phases by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold, with a ceiling of a 50 per cent rise.

The Railways earned an additional revenue of Rs 540 crore from September 2016 to June 2017 through the scheme, its data show.

The minister said the railways was also working to ensure efficient and faster services.

“It is proposed to increase the speed of around 700 trains with effect from November 1, 2017. This exercise will help in converting 48 Mail Express trains to the Super Fast Express category,” he said.

He said all stations and trains will have high speed wi-fi connectivity, but did not specify when this would be implemented.

To ensure transparency, all Railway Protection Force (RPF) staff and Travel Ticket Examiners (TTEs) will be in proper uniform while on duty, Goyal said.

The RPF staff will not check tickets, which is the function of the TTEs, but they will assist ticket checking squads, he said.

He added that India’s space research body, ISRO, had offered to map all railway assets.

“We also plan to eliminate 5,000 unmanned level crossings in a time-bound manner,” Goyal added.

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Passenger Safety, Modernisation of Railways top priorities: Piyush Goyal

Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal told in an interview that passenger safety will be his first priority. The railways is also focusing on non-fare revenue options to boost earnings and improve its operating ratio. The high-speed corridor between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will transform the economy of the entire region, the minister said, adding that private operators may be roped in. He declined to comment on reports about exiting the diesel locomotive factory project being set up in a joint venture with General Electric in Bihar but said that he’s very keen on electrifying the entire rail network to save costs significantly. Edited excerpts:

What are your first impressions after taking over as Railway Minister?

Piyush Goyal: I’ve been in office just for 17-18 days. I’m studying the rail sector and the framework of our functioning. I haven’t yet finalised all my plans for the railways. I would like to see our rail network becoming modern and safer as soon as possible. I’m fortunate that my first official programme as rail minister was the launch of the high-speed train network with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad. We’ll do everything to implement his vision for the railways

What are the benefits of high-speed train network?

Piyush Goyal: With the high-speed train corridor, we’re planning to bring in a completely transformative Japanese Shinkansen technology. Ideally, this technology should have come to India 50 years ago. It operates trains at speeds of over 320 km per hour. The Japanese high-speed system has the best safety record. Japan is funding this project. The corridor between Ahmedabad and Mumbai would transform the economy of the entire region.

Will the corridor be extended to other cities?

Piyush Goyal: We’re looking at various other sectors and options to introduce high-speed trains. As we work out the viability and financing of other such projects, the government is looking at rapidly scaling up the high-speed train network in the country. Also, we want to bring in competition in the sector and engage with more countries.

Does that mean that you’ll also have private operators to run high-speed trains in India?

Piyush Goyal: Yes, it’s an exciting proposition. Through this we can generate competition and provide the best value to customers. Having a public-private partnership in this area would be beneficial. Right now we’re studying the railway framework and its working and how we can expand the existing capacity and realise more rail lines.

What’s being done to ensure safety of passengers?

Piyush Goyal: We have an aspirational goal of having an accident-free network, which was set by my predecessor Suresh Prabhu. All rail employees are working towards it. In my second or third day in office, I took a review of train safety and it was decided that we’re going to eliminate all unmanned level crossings. Currently, 35% accidents happen because of unmanned level crossings. I’ve told officials that in 12 months we’ll eliminate all level crossings. So that by Ganesh Chaturthi next year, we shouldn’t have a single unmanned crossing in the country.

We’ve decided to have safer LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches. I’ve told the officials to use all available tracks and stock for track renewal—there’s a huge backlog. Where tracks are needed for safety, we’ll first complete that work and only when the requirements of safety related works are fulfilled, we’ll go place more orders.

Has any budget been earmarked for safety-related work?

Piyush Goyal: We’re still studying it. But I can assure you that we’ll invest as much as possible so that any dearth of funds doesn’t come in the way of safety works.

What’s being done on station upgrade and private Investment?

Piyush Goyal: On September 20, I held discussions with at least 150 stakeholders, including real estate companies, who were constrained by the process that was being followed.

To start with, we’re doing away with the cumbersome bidding process. I want to do away with the Swiss challenge method and have a single bidding process.

Then, to make investment in station redevelopment projects more viable, I’ve decided to extend the lease period for concessionaires to 99 years from the current 45 years. Also, we’ll have some revenue-sharing agreement with them.

Is there any plan to give infrastructure status to station redevelopment?

Piyush Goyal: I’m yet to discuss it with the finance minister but I’m hopeful that it could happen.

How many stations are you targeting for redevelopment?

Piyush Goyal: Currently, we’re doing 23 stations—that’s the priority-—but I would love to do 300 stations.

Is Railways exiting diesel locomotive factory being set up with General Electric in Marhowra in Bihar?

Piyush Goyal: I don’t want to comment on media reports. But I am very keen that we should electrify the entire rail network. We have sufficient electricity in India. Currently, we’re importing diesel worth Rs 16,000 crore. By having a 100% electrified network, I’ll be able to save Rs 8,000-10,000 crore every year.

What plans do you have to increase rail revenue?

Piyush Goyal: We’ll be focusing on the non-fare revenue. There are options such as getting more revenue through advertising, how we can utilise our assets such as coaches and platforms to get revenue.

Revenue has taken a hit because of decline in loading of coal. Currently, 45% of total freight revenue comes from coal transportation. You’re also the coal minister. What is being done to contain the revenue loss?

Piyush Goyal: Revenue generation through a department of the government is not the purpose. Through rationalising coal linkages, we’ve saved thousands of crores for consumers.

We’ve reduced the cost for discoms. We’ll do whatever is in the national interest. We’re working on various ways to improve our freight loading.

The operating ratio of Railways has been hovering at 95%, which signals that the national transporter is stressed. How do you intend to lower this?

Piyush Goyal: Non-fare revenue will help us improve our operating ratio as we’ll get additional earnings. We’ll improve the efficiency by improving the utilisation of same assets. We can also do it by bringing down the journey time of trains, especially freight trains. We plan to bring down our fuel bill. We are also studying how we can make our existing assets sweat more. We are looking at all these options to have a healthy operating ratio.

Railways to cut travel-time of over 500 Trains; here is all you need to know

In order to increase the average speed of the existing trains to bring down the journey time, the travel time of more than 500 long-distance trains by up to 120 minutes have been cut down by the Indian Railways.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways has started an exercise to cut down running time of over 500 long-distance trains by up to 120 minutes. The new travel timetable is to be effective December. A detailed plan is ready and will be incorporated in the ‘Trains at a Glance’ timetable to be released November 30, Railway Ministry officials have told.

Through a mix of measures that are being collectively called “innovative timetabling”, popular trains are set to knock off minutes stretching up to over an hour-and-half coupled with increased speed, following one of the major decisions taken by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal earlier this month.

Around 50 ordinary mail/express trains will get upgraded to “superfast” services after completion of an internal audit of running time of around 700 trains. The exercise started two weeks ago following Goyal’s directive. Incidentally, increasing the average speed of existing trains to bring down journey time is one measure which the Prime Minister’s Office has been pursuing with the Railways for the last three years.

The overall upgrade affects trains to and from almost all states across India. For example, the popular Hyderabad-Tirupati Express, running 733 km over 14 hours, will now take 100 minutes less. The Bhopal-Jodhpur Express will reach 95 minutes early. The 2,330-km journey on the Guwahati-Indore Special will be 115 minutes shorter. The Ghazipur-Bandra Terminus Express will complete its 1929-km journey 95 minutes earlier. As it turned out during the exercise, the longer the journey, the higher the scope for time-reduction.

Hundreds of long halts allotted to over 700 popular trains will be shortened by varying minutes. Several halts, where footfalls and ticket sales have been found to be next to nil, are being shed. In long distance trains, the time for engine reversal, which currently takes 30-55 minutes, has been brought down to around 20 minutes or less, as per the plan on paper.

In a number of sections, infrastructure upgrades in the last three years — like automatic signalling, emergence of a third line, etc — have raised maximum permissible speeds. The speed of trains in these sections have been recalibrated in the new plan. Similarly, there exist trains whose maximum speed has been kept on the lower side because they have been running on the older variety of rolling stock. It was found that several of these trains now run with modern Linke-Hofmann-Busch coaches that allow 130 kmph top speed. This has been rectified in the charting.

Across the network, thousands of temporary speed restrictions have been identified – these had been granted in the past over and above the norm of six minutes per 100 km. In the new timetable, most are being brought down to meet the norm, getting rid of excess delays. Many permanent speed restrictions are being reviewed.

Govt. may open Railway Lines to Private Players

NEW DELHI: The Union government is open to the idea of giving operations of railway lines to private players for enhancing competition, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said in an interview.

“It’s an exciting proposition. We will be able to generate competition in the process and improve customer satisfaction,” Mr. Goyal told on board the Mahanama Express train, launched between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s old constituency in Vadodara and his present one in Varanasi on Friday, ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections.

Mr. Goyal, who took charge of the Railway Ministry on September 4 after Suresh Prabhu resigned following a string of derailments, said he was studying various models for attracting more private players.

Claiming that he was willing to spend unlimited funds on safety, he said clearing the backlog for track renewal would be the focus, and a zero accident rate would be an aspiration.

“In my working, there is no budget for safety. Whatever (fund) is required we will spend,” Mr. Goyal said.

He said the government was engaging with other countries to “rapidly scale up” the bullet train project.

Mr. Goyal is also re-tuning policy to attract private companies for modernising railway stations.

To begin with, the Railways have decided to do away with the ‘Swiss Challenge’ model of awarding railway stations to private players and taken a slew of measures to lease out at least 100 stations.

The steps include increasing the lease tenure from 45 years to 99 years, allowing private players to sub-lease stations for increasing their investment value and mortgaging assets to allow banks to give low-cost funds, he said.

“We had a meeting with over 150 stakeholders (recently). All were interested in being a part of this journey of station redevelopment and land redevelopment but were constrained by the process being followed,” Mr. Goyal said.

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Stop Train Mishap, get out-of-turn Promotion: Piyush Goyal to Railway Staff

Terming the recent train accidents as ‘unfortunate’, Goyal called upon the railway staff to work diligently

BANGALORE: In the wake of a series of recent train accidents in the country, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has suggested out-of-turn promotions for those railway employees who take timely action to avert mishaps.

Speaking at a review meeting with senior officials of the South Western Railway, he asserted that such schemes will boost the morale of the staff.

Terming the recent train accidents as “unfortunate”, Goyal called upon the railway staff to work diligently for ensuring complete safety in running trains, a release by the South Western Railway said.

“The minister suggested various schemes such as granting out-of-turn promotion for the staff who take timely action to avert accidents. He said such schemes will go a longway in boosting the morale of the staff,” it said.

The Railway Minister emphasised that safety shall be given top most priority and track renewal works be taken up expeditiously.

He also asked the Railways to develop an action plan for eliminating unmanned level crossing gates in a year’s time, instead of 2019-20 as planned earlier.

Piyush Goyal bats for switching over to Electric Vehicles

MUMBAI: The Union Minister of Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal, has said that India would have to ‘leapfrog into electric vehicle age.’

Speaking at the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IAAC) Annual Convention in Mumbai, the minister said that “it (electric vehicles) is something that’s in the interest of the people of India,” further asking “till when we are going to have our personal interest or corporate interest over country’s interest.”

Goyal’s comments come days after the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, said that the carmakers producing vehicles that run on traditional fuel, need to go for an alternative source of energy.

Goyal, terming the switch over to electric vehicles as a ‘game changer’, urged, “We don’t have to continue to be indifferent and after 30 years, when the world has already become efficient, then India wakes up and starts planning for efficiency.”

The government aims to have an all-EV (Electric Vehicles) fleet on Indian roads by 2030 and has thereby, recently announced that the cabinet note on the EVs is ready.

Even as the car ownership across the country is set to grow, the vehicular pollution is on the rise in several Indian cities.

Besides pollution, cars running on traditional petrol and diesel cause huge dent into India’s oil import bill, which was pegged at Rs. 4.7 lakh crore in 2016-17, that’s the 3 per cent of the GDP.

The EVs, besides checking pollution, are expected to ease off the burden of oil import.

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Railways to run 4,000 Special Trains this Festive Season: Manoj Sinha

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways would run 4,000 special trains for the upcoming festival season, minister of state, railways, Manoj Sinha said here on Tuesday.

“In the next 40 days, we will celebrate the Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali and Chhath. So, we are introducing additional trains to facilitate holiday travelling between October 15 and October 30,” he said.

Last year, the railways had run 3,800 special trains during the festival season.

Sinha said the ministry was also considering cancelling the leave of all the staff to deal with the holiday rush.

“The railways will run special trains from different places to popular destinations and also add additional coaches to the existing trains. For Chhath, special services will be introduced from Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Surat, Vadodara, Ahmedabad to eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,” he added.

The railways said some of the special trains would be run from the sub-stations in big cities.

For example, it said, some of the trains from Delhi to the eastern states would originate from Anand Vihar.

Sinha said the ministry had planned a range of facilities for the passengers during the festive season such as pandals at major stations, clean toilets etc.

He added that it had also been decided to stop selling platform tickets in case there was a massive rush.

Additional reservation windows would also be opened, the MoS said.

“Extra security teams will be deployed at the stations to keep a check on the illegal agents and vendors,” he added.

Last year, the railways had registered 1,654 cases during the festive season and taken disciplinary action against 693 of its staffers.

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Political Control should be Intense & Vigilant as IR is under the ruling Political Party first time in the last 20 Years

It is a well warranted fact that Railways have run the Governments in the past but in contemporary India, it is a challenge for the Government to run it! In the wake of High Speed Railway systems taking shape, the successive governments should be more vigilant and be intense in proper governance.

After a gap of more than two decades, Indian Railways came directly under the ruling political party of India with the Union Minister of Railways now belonging to ruling BJP at the Centre, and not from any of its allies. This development is after a gap of more than 20 years, as Railways is now under the ruling political party and not under the portfolio of the allies supporting the government. Government should hence bear complete accountability for it. Importantly, political control should be more intense and vigilant as all eyes are now on the duo of Piyush Goyal, who did an appreciable job as the Minister of New and Renewable Energy, has recently sworn in as the new Minister of Railways and Chairman Railway Board Ashwani Lohani who served in diversified fields being the lien with parent Railways. Let us hope that things fall in their respective places in their leadership.

It is a well warranted fact that railways have run the Governments in the past but in contemporary India, it is a challenge for the Government to run it. Since 1997, Railway Ministry was used as a bargain or barter for support of allies in formations of Govt. It was used as a tool to bribe regional partners though it reflected promising signs in the initial stages. Later on, the government in power was confined to start new trains and took populist’s decision for their political gains.

Railway tracks laid by the British were totally neglected. Neither officials nor political leaders felt the need to keep them in good shape, maintenance; a subject of prime importance was grossly ignored. In due course of time commensurate to the ever increasing population the demand of more trains was felt. And it indeed was fulfilled and the number of trains operating on tracks scaled up. Consequently the load was increased on these age-old tracks which made the situation more vulnerable

This sheer ignorance has now taken form of disasters on tracks which were not foreseen by our concerned authorities. Recently, the ministry is more active on social media instead of maneuvering and being vigilant of the ground reality. To brush the issue aside the officials in the ministry delegated everything to the concerned departments. It is hard to imagine how arm-chair managing can help solve the problems instead of focusing on the ground situation. All what seems to take place in the industry is passing of buck from one tier to another.

There are ‘real’ problems in the ministry and the Govt. of India instead of addressing them has taken one step in the direction of creating chaos in the ministry by augmenting its budget with the Finance Ministry. Officer’s cartelization and internal bureaucracy is always at loggerheads for their personal and professional growth.

Currently, railways as a body, is not managed on ethical principles. It’s a stockpile of adversaries. Infighting between IRTS and IRAS who monitor operations and commercials. Engineering services, Signals, Stores of Irrational stores, they all behave and work as if they are autonomous bodies. There is an extreme lack of coordination and teamwork in the railways. In the name of building a team, there is only inbreeding unlike other ministries. They have got experts coming in and out. But here it is inbreeding of combatant railway officers.

Bright & honest officers are feeling suffocated in their own railway department which they regard as their second home. Ashwani Lohani, who was a railway officer, was transferred to tourism department of Madhya Pradesh where he was recognized for his agility and commitment. From there he was commissioned for a distinct assignment of Air India, there also he proved his abilities. It is disheartening to see that such committed officers are terminated from the railways.

There is big challenge for it to invite or begin importing officers like other ministries have done successfully to improve the bureaucratic efficiency and accountability.

Now since that India is progressing towards High Speed Rail systems which will gradually leave aside the antiquated British era Railway lines, those who oppose the high-speed rail corridor project citing poverty and the extravagant cost of the project should realise that it is a long-term dream scheme that a nation like India deserves, being funded at a meagre interest rate of 0.1%. High Speed Railways will create thousands of employment opportunities, directly and indirectly, in the long run. The Bullet Train is an endeavour to bring in economic growth and prosperity by adopting the most modern technology from a leading nation, Japan. We are living in a world where technology is the need of the hour and India cannot afford to miss out on such projects. It was once argued by the Left that information technology was a bane but it was subsequently proven that India is a world leader in this area. Likewise, High Speed Railway systems!

Hence the Government in Power at the Centre should be highly vigilant and sensitive to good governance practices right from the start. Political control should be intense & vigilant as Indian Railways had come under the ruling Political Party for the first time in 20 Years and it is an opportunity to transform for the good of the nation.

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Minister of Railways briefs Media about India’s High Speed Train Project ahead of Japanese Premier’s state visit

In the presence of Prime Minister of  India, Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Japan, Shri Shinzo Abe, Ceremony for Commencement of Work for First High Speed Train Project (popularly referred as Bullet Train) between Mumbai Ahmedabad to take place on 14th September 2017. The bullet train project will generate nearly 15 lakh jobs in India, says the Railway Ministry. 

NEW DELHI: Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal briefed media about Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Train Project (popularly referred to as Bullet Train project) in Rail Bhavan i.e. 11th September 2017. Minister of State for Railways & Minister of Communication (I/c), Shri Manoj Sinha was also present to brief the media. Chairman, Railway Board, Shri Ashwani Lohani and other board members were also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Railways, Shri Piyush Goyal said, “The commencement of work on the Country’s First High Speed (Bullet train) will begin on 14th September, 2017 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The groundbreaking ceremony shall be held in the presence of Prime Minister of  India Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Japan, Shri Shinzo Abe. This would be a historic moment as India will gets it first bullet train.

It was envisioned by Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi to take Indian Railways towards most modern technologies like developed countries. This bullet train is an endeavour to bring economic growth & prosperity in the country with the growth of  Indian Railways adopting most modern technologies. New Shinkansen Technology by the Japanese shall ensure more growth opportunities. The cost will go down further as the technology will grow massively and it will be developed under Make in India. The financial assistance given by Japan is at a minimal interest and will not be a burden as it will be paid after 50 years at a minimal interest. This technology will revolutionize and transform the transport sector of India. This is an occasion to celebrate the advent of the most modern technology in India. It shall also benefit the farmers for transportation of agricultural produce in a fast mode.”

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Background:

This Mumbai–Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) project (popularly known as the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train) is a  visionary project which will herald a new era of safety, speed and service for the people and help Indian Railways become an international leader in scale, speed and skill.

Low cost of the project:

The 508-km Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project would be made in an estimated cost of Rs 1,10,000 crore with a loan of Rs 88,000 crore from Japan. The interest on this loan would be as low as 0.1%.  The loan would be given back within 50 years. Piyush Goyal told reporters that the grace period of another 15 years has also been given by Japan.

  • Major portions of large scale infrastructure projects are financed by debt, and the cost of debt is a significant portion of the total costs. As a part of cooperation agreement between India and Japan, Government of Japan will provide a soft loan of about Rs. 88,000 crore at miniscule interest rate of 0.1%. The repayment period of the loan is 50 years.Repayment of loan is to begin after 15 years of receiving the loan, making it practically free since, this loan interest works out to roughly Rs. 7-8 crore per month.
  • Generally, any such loan even from World Bank or such other agencies costs about 5-7% with a repayment period of 25-35 years, thus India is getting loan for the High-Speed Rail Project at almost zero cost without putting any strain on existing financial resources available with the country, as more than 80% of the project cost is being funded by Government of Japan. Clearly Peter is not paying for Paul.
  • It is for the first time in the history of the country that an infrastructure project is being funded on such favourable terms.

Make in India:

  • One of the prime objectives of the project is “Make in India”, which is to be realized before commissioning of the project.
  • As per the agreement between Governments, the MAHSR Project has “Make in India” & “Transfer of technology” objectives.Under the guidance of task force (DIPP and Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO)), action is being taken as per accepted concept paper guidelines.
  • Four sub-groups with representatives from Indian industry, Japanese industry, DIPP, NHSRCL & JETRO to identify potential items & sub-systems for make in India.
  • Active interactions are already taking place between the industries of India and Japan. It is expected that many joint ventures will be formed in the time to come to take up manufacturing of various components including rolling stock. This will not only benefit the Indian Industry with new technology but will also create several job opportunities within the country.
  • The Make in India objective will also ensure that most of the amount invested in this project would be spent and utilized within India.
  • The construction sector in India will also get a big boost not only in terms of investment but also with respect to new technology and work culture.
  • This project is likely to generate employment for about 20,000 workers during the construction phase, who will be trained specially to take up construction of such projects in India. Some of the new areas where construction skills would be developed are ballast-less track, under sea tunnel etc.
  • A dedicated High Speed Rail Training Institute is being developed at Vadodara. This institute will be fully equipped with equipment and facilities such as simulator etc. as are existing in the training institute at Japan. This institute will be functional by the end of 2020.The facilities at this institute will be utilized to train about 4,000 staff in next three years, who will then be utilised for operation and maintenance ensuring that this work is through skilled people in India rather than foreign dependent. They will also serve as a backbone for future development of other High Speed Corridors in India.
  • In addition, 300 young officials of Indian Railways are being trained in Japan to give them exposure in high Speed Track Technology.
  • Keeping in view the long-term plan for human resource development, Government of Japan has also offered 20 seats per year for Master’s course from the universities of Japan, for serving Indian Railway officials. This programme is fully funded by Government of Japan.

Cutting-edge versus Catch-up Technology:

  • Unlike other areas,for high speed, country is getting a cutting-edge technology in totality. The Shinkansen Technology is known for its reliability and safety and is proven for more than 50 years. The train delay record of Shinkansen is less than a minute with zero fatality.
  • Thus,the project is set to provide reliable and comfortable service with high standards of safety. The technology regarding disaster predictions and preventions will also be acquired as a part of the project. Such safety systems ensure that the train operation safety is maintained in case of any natural calamity such as earthquake etc.
  • With the presence and availability of this technology, India will be leapfrog to the cutting edge of latest train developments with passengers able to reach their destination in 2 hours as against the current 7-8 hours by train.
  • As the engineering staff learns the latest technology it will also help in developing the same in India
  • Keeping this scale-up in mind, there are other high speed corridors which are being reviewed –  Delhi Kolkata, Delhi Mumbai, Mumbai Chennai, Delhi-Chandigarh, Mumbai-Nagpur, Delhi- Nagpur. All these corridors will also be able to operate high speed trains in the future. For this, the Ministry of Railways has constituted the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited, which is also implementing this MAHSR project.

Salient Features of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project:

Overview:

  • HSR: Defined as Railway Systems Running Trains at Speeds in excess of 250 kmph. Presently, available in 15 countries
  • India was a lone exception among major passenger railway systems not to have one
  • Feasibility study undertaken by Japanese Consultants in December 2013 and report submitted in July 2015
  • Recommendation of Empowered Committee for Innovative Collaborations (Chaired by Vice Chairman,NITI Aayog) and sanction by Cabinet in December, 2015.
  • Planned completion by December 2023
  • All-out efforts will be made to complete it by 15th August 2022

Key Features:

  • Length 508 KMs (approx.), doubleline through two states, Maharashtra (156 KMs) and Gujarat (351 KMs) and UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli (2 KMs).
  • Longest tunnel 21 KM switch 7 KMs undersea (Thane Creek).
  • 12 stations: Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara,Anand, Ahmedabad,Sabarmati. Underground station Mumbai, all others elevated.
  • Maximum Design Speed – 350 kmph;
  • Maximum Operating speed of 320 kmph.
  • Journey Time: 2.07 Hrs (limited stops), 2.58hrs (stopping at stations) vis-à-vis existing train travel time of 7-8 hours

Low Cost, High Speed:

  • Cost estimated at Rs.1,08,000 crore-entire corridor elevated for safety and land economy.
  • 81% of the project cost by Japanese soft loan at 0.1%per annum with repayment period 50 years–including grace period of 15 years.
  • Project funded by a loan on terms which tantamount to a grant.
  • First time in India that an infrastructure project is being funded under such favourable terms

“Make in India”

  • As per the agreement between Governments,the MAHAR Project has “Make in India” & “Transfer of technology” objectives.
  • Under The Guidance Of Taskforce (DIPP and JETRO), accepted concept paper action is being taken as per guidelines
  • Four Sub-groups with representatives from Indian industry, Japanese Industry, DIPP, NHSRCL, JETRO to identify potential items /subsystems / activities for make in India.
  • Four Subgroups-Track,Civil,Rolling Stock,Electrical and S&T

Best tech available to India:

  • Will launch Indian Railways to be select club of countries having the state of the art technology.
  • Shinkansen Technology Known for reliability and safety with proven track record of more than 50 years
  • Punctuality record is less than a minute with zero fatality
  • Reliable and comfortable services
  • Project Comes with technical support and handholding of the Japanese–will ensure complete transfer of know-how to Indians for future projects
  • High Speed Rail Training Institute at Vadodara to train 4,000 staff for operations and maintenance

Boost to Economy & Employment

  • 20,000 construction jobs
  • 4,000direct employment for operations and 20,000 indirect jobs too
  • Boost To Urban And Industrial Development Along The corridor
  • Ease Of Travel Between Cities And Enormous Capacity for commuting
  • Capacity building for other high speed projects

Ground Breaking Ceremony:

  • Project Commencement function is Sabarmati on 14.09.2017 by Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister and H.E. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan
  • Will mark the commencement of the Project and laying of foundation stone for the High Speed training Institute at Vadodara

Project Status: Major progress made

  • National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited, incorporated with equity by Ministry of Railways, Governments of Gujarat and Maharashtra in February 2016.
  • General Consultant (GC) & Environment Consultant appointed.
  • Schedule of Dimensions (SOD) and Manual of Standards and Specifications for track, tunnels, bridges, Signalling, Telecom and OCC finalised.
  • Ground Survey completed using Aerial LiDAR Technique.
  • Geotechnical Investigations substantially completed.
  • Social Impact Assessment (SIA) consultant for Gujarat and Maharashtra appointed.
  • Land acquisition- ROW requirement is under finalisation.

Number of Rides:

The train will make 70 Ahmedabad-Mumbai rides. Reportedly, a total of 24 high-speed trains will be imported from Japan and then rest of the rakes will be manufactured in India. Also, the officials stated that the reason behind giving this project to Japan is that the nations has been running the trains since many years without a single accident that ever happened on its bulet trains.

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Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project ready for takeoff; Modi, Shinzo Abe to lay foundation on Sept 14

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will lay the foundation stone for the India’s first bullet train project connecting Ahmedabad to Mumbai on Thursday. The high speed train will cut travel time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad by at least five hours.

MUMBAI: India’s ambitious High Speed Rail (HSR) project is now at the take-off stage, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the 508-km long Mumbai-Ahmadabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) on September 14 in Ahmedabad.

Once complete (scheduled in December 2023, but commencement date sought to be advanced to August 2022), the train which will have a top speed of 350 km per hour will reduce travel time between the two cities to around 2 hours from the existing 7-8 hours.

“The project will integrate the Indian Railways to the global transportation technology and will help rewrite India’s transport infrastructure narrative,” railways minister Piyush Goyal said at a press conference.

“Unfortunately, Indian railways have not graduated from the colonial-era technologies and practices in past four or five decades. Exposure to the high speed technology (popularly called the bullet trains) will enable rail engineers in India to innovate and modernize systems and practices,” Goyal said.

He emphasized that the project funding had come from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at a low rate of interest of 0.1% per annum. “The project will also enable creation of around 15 lakh jobs,” the minister said, adding that passenger fares on the premium train were likely to be lower than the air fares between the two cities.

“This bullet train is an endeavour to bring economic growth and prosperity in the country with the growth of Indian railways adopting most modern technologies. New Shinkansen Technology by the Japanese shall ensure more growth opportunities. The cost will go down further as the technology will grow massively and it will be developed under Make in India programme. This is an occasion to celebrate the advent of the most modern technology in India. It shall also benefit the farmers for transportation of agricultural produce in a fast mode,” the minister said.

Chairman Railway Board Ashwani Lohani said, “The Modi government’s astuteness in securing favorable deals through deft diplomacy, innovative financing, and efficient implementation indeed stands out in this case. The bullet train will come to India almost for free.”

Speaking about plans to set up a High Speed Rail Training Institute at Vadodara, Lohani said the centre would provide equipment, ancillary facilities, and trained personnel, emulating the training institute at Japan.

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“The setting up of the institute signifies the government’s intent and commitment towards creating a suitable indigenous workforce for this as well as future bullet trains. The Japanese government while taking consideration of India’s long-term plan for human resource development has also offered training of Indian railways officials in Japan besides reserving fully funded seats for the Master’s course in the universities of Japan for serving Indian railways officials,” Lohani added.

While assuring the transportation revolution, which the new Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet train will bring, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, on Monday, drew parallel to the criticism Suzuki faced when Maruti was brought in 30 years ago. When we partnered, lots of people criticized, he said.

“I’d like to draw a parallel to Maruti Suzuki. When we partnered with Suzuki to bring in Maruti, a lot of people criticised the move. Can we imagine now that those two models, which isn’t even made anymore, changed the way we travel,” he said.

Goyal further said that Maruti Suzuki paved the way for a change in the transportation sector, with a hope that the Bullet Train will bring about a similar change in the country.

He said, “It was a matter of 30 years. The old technology became redundant and the whole country is travelling in new cars. I am sure that the bullet train will transform the transportation sector of India in future.”

He quelled the fear of the “naysayers”, saying that the people with optimistic thinking will help India move ahead.

Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe will also be visiting India to attend the `Bhoomi Pooja` and foundation stone laying ceremony of the Rs. 97,636-crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail link, using Japanese bullet-train technology.

During the visit, Prime Minister Abe will also hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Modi and is expected to serve as the “top salesman” for the adoption of the Shinkansen technology by other Indian railway systems, with China also aiming to win orders for the projects, the Japan Times had reported, earlier in August.

The 500-km railway will link Mumbai and Ahmedabad in Western India, with services planned to commence in 2023. This train is based on Japanese high-speed technology called Shinkansen, known for its safety and comfort.

India has pledged to build high-speed railways, focused on the four major cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

When Prime Minister Modi went to Japan last November, he travelled by Shinkansen with his Japanese counterpart from Tokyo to Kobe to visit a bullet-train plant of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., a maker of Shinkansen cars.

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India’s Train Accidents are not even accidents, but High-probability Events caused by Systemic Problems!

The Dear Lives India lost in Rail Mishaps is a matter of Serious Concern – Can new Rail Minister has guts to shake the System to bring about a change?

India has had four train derailment accidents in the last few weeks. One of the accidents, in Uttar Pradesh on August 19, killed 23 people and injured more than 150 people. This series of serious accidents led to the resignations of Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu and Chairman of the Railway Board A.K. Mittal.

Since last many decades railway up-gradation was not keeping pace with time technology. Unions in railways rule the roots, efficiency and safety are the last things on their mind. Accountability is passing the buck and generally the blame is put on human error. However, we are supposed to follow rules. Shoddy maintenance of railways across India is the main cause for major accidents – particularly on the Northern India. Railways are also looting passengers by imposing safety surcharge. People started thinking that all the false promises were given from behind the veils of power mongers. God knows how the tough rakes are maintained or not but prone to more major mishaps.

India was one of the first countries in the world to build a large railway system. Its 21-mile railway from Mumbai to Tana was built in 1853, under British colonial rule. At the time of independence in 1947, the Indian railway network covered more than 55,000 kilometers, behind only the US, the former Soviet Union and Canada. The surge in India’s population and its rapid urbanization meant that the trains, which were relatively affordable, became the most important means of transport for most people. But the explosion in passenger numbers severely burdened the aging railway system, which had been constructed to a fairly low standard. As a result, accidents have not been uncommon.

As in the past the blame on the derailment near Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh is caused by negligence and the blame is passed on human error. The locals in UP expose lapses and it is very clear that accident could have been averted. The victims narrate their ordeal and that is pathetic.  Just by giving compensation we will not be able to make up the human loss. Eyewitnesses recount the horror and how the victims were struggling for help. Medical facilities reached the accident spot late and that shows the apathy and the lethargic approach of the officials.

By suspending or by transferring officials is not the solution.  More and more care should be taken on passenger safety and the railway budget should allot more funds to reduce the accident cases to a negligible level. The approach after the tragedy by the government does not augur well and the railway passengers are feeling lack of relief during such major accidents. It should not be out of context to mention here that the system is controlled by the Railway Ministry through the state-owned Indian Railways having more than 1.5 million employees and is India’s largest state-owned enterprise too. However, it is also probably the most inefficient Company in the world, in the state sector. Coupled with the government’s policy of low-cost train transport and high salaries for railway employees, the Indian Railways simply cannot accumulate enough funds to update its railway system.

The train accident near Khatauli saw tragedy struck killing of more than 23 people and injuring over 100 and that jolts the nation. It could have been averted if the track fractures had been taken care in time and a close watch carried on the train tracks. The derailment created fear among the passengers. Strange are the ways of train accidents in the Indian history. In the past we heard about bomb blasts, head on collision, wrong signal, smoke inside coaches and snatching of fish plates caused trouble and discomfiture to the travellers and caused major causalities at late night. A panel will be set up for a probe. But the dear lives were lost in a major mishap. Time tested methods are to be carried out regularly on all rail routes periodically.

The past governments have not given enough attention to vital infrastructure like railways. At the same time, India’s domestic manufacturing industry has fallen behind, unable to provide technical and equipment support for railway upgrading.

It could be said that India’s train accidents are not even accidents, but high-probability events caused by systemic problems. For decades, the situation has not improved. According to the statistics, in 2016 more than 500 train accidents took place in India. This problem cannot be solved by the resignation of the minister of railways. The minister himself to be serious on various corrupt practices in Railway system right from the Railway Board level to the Zonal and Divisional levels in the Engineering, Safety, Operations, Electrical, Signal & Telecom wings. Most of the Indian Railway officials are corrupt and past Governments have not taken sufficient steps to correct the system. Atleast Suresh Prabhu, former Railway Minister was too serious on such malpractices, as he has taken aggressive stand on corruption under the Prime Minister Mr.Modi’s regime.

The slow speed and frequent accidents on India’s railways have become symbolic of the backwardness of the country’s infrastructure. In the international media coverage of India, the train-related problems also give a negative impression of the country to the international community. Not only do foreign tourists feel insecure about traveling there, but foreign investors also have little confidence in India’s infrastructure, which has hindered the development of India’s economy and modernization.

Over the past decade, the government has recognized the importance of railways for economic development and it has proposed a series of railway construction plans. After Modi came to power, he expressed ambitions not only to reconstruct the original railways but also to form a “diamond quadrilateral” of railways connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta, the Delhi-Chennai high-speed railway corridor and the Mysore-Bangalore Chennai high-speed rail lines. At the same time, India also become more welcoming to the participation of foreign funds and enterprises. In September 2014, when Chinese leaders visited India, the two countries signed an agreement to invite Chinese enterprises to participate in a project to upgrade the railway from Bangalore to Mysore. India also announced in 2015 that it would invest more than $13 billion over five years to modernize and expand the railway system. In February 2016, India and Japan signed a $12 billion agreement to build a high-speed railway from Mumbai to Ahmedabad.

The Modi government’s railway construction plan is exciting, but will not be easy to achieve. First, the huge funds required have not yet been mobilized, partly because private capital hasn’t been properly involved, but also because there are still concerns regarding foreign investment. Second, long-term constraints in the institutional infrastructure in India have not been resolved, such as problems related to land expropriation.

Even if Modi can create a miracle and successfully complete his plan, it only involves the enhancement of the main Indian Railways, which account for just a small part of the entire Indian railway system. A comprehensive upgrade of the whole system will need a huge amount of money, and will take several decades to achieve. Therefore, news about Indian train accidents is not likely to fade away.

Perform or Perish: Piyush Goyal pulls socks up to begin Reforms to keep Railways on Right Track

NEW DELHI: In what could be termed as the first major step towards organisational structural reforms in the Indian Railways, newly-appointed Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has effected certain administrative changes that are being seen as a curtailment of the powers of the Chairman of the Railway Board (CRB). Decentralisation is the buzzword in the change process.

Goyal has directed that the number of officers reporting directly to the CRB must be reduced. A few top-level posts have been thus redesignated. The officers on such posts will now report to the respective Members of the Railway Board and not the CRB. The changes have been made in accordance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s advice to the Railway Ministry for necessary structural changes, sources said.

Both Goyal and the new CRB Ashwani Lohani were handpicked by the Prime Minister recently in the backdrop of a spate of train mishaps that cost many lives and led to the exit of erstwhile Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and the then CRB AK Mital.

While Prabhu was moved to take over as Commerce Minister in the Cabinet reshuffle, Lohani was brought back to Railways from Air India where he served as its Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) for two years.

Goyal recently chaired the first full railway board meeting where he took to task railway officers through a message, ‘perform or perish’. Following the meeting, the five Members of the Railway Board were empowered with certain functions.

A committee has also been formed to suggest ways to streamline the system of file movements and devise a mechanism for clearance of files in the shortest time. Further, all the Advisers of the Railway Board have now been re-designated as Principal Executive Directors (PED) with full powers to take decisions and execute rather than remain as mere advisors.

“The decades-old multi-layered file movement system which caused inordinate delays will come to an end. In maximum number of cases, files remained static even as Governments changed and rail ministers came and went. This would be a good move and projects will be put on fast track,” said a senior railway official.

He said the Minister and CRB at the meeting also discussed the Railway Board’s restructuring to make its functioning smooth and seamless and to avoid overlapping and confrontation between departments which have been creating hindrances for the holistic development of Indian Railways.

Prabhu had initiated the steps for restructuring the railway board, including redistribution of work allocation to board members and the creation of new post of Advisor for Resource Mobilisation for the national transporter.

 The Advisor has hence been re-designated by Goyal as PEDs who are also expected to provide a momentum for resource mobilisation for the development and modernisation initiatives of the Indian rail system.

With a view to reorganising the Railway Board on functional lines, the policy involves redesignation of the posts and accordingly Member Engineering will be Member Infrastructure with additional responsibility of signal and telecom departments (S&T). Till now, S&T was with the Member Electrical. Railways have already re-designated Board Member (Mechanical) and Member (Electrical) as Member (Rolling Stock) and Member (Traction), respectively, while redistributing the works.

Now, Member (Traction) owes the responsibility of all locomotives – diesel and electric, while Member (Rolling Stock) is responsible for all coaches, including Trainsets and electrical maintenance of entire coaching stock.  Member (Traction) has also been given fuel management, including all forms of conventional and non-conventional energy generation.

Piyush Goyal holds High-level Meeting on Safety with Railway Board officials

Comprehensive review of Safety undertaken. Minister emphasizes on according top most priority to Safety. 5 immediate measures to address the problem of Unmanned Level Crossings & Derailments. All Unmanned level crossings to be eliminated within a year

NEW DELHI: Minister for Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal held a high level Safety review meeting on 7th September, 2017 at New Delhi. The marathon meeting of the Hon’ble Minister with Chairman, Railway Board; all Railway Board Members & the Safety Directorate of Railway Board comprehensively reviewed the Safety measures for Train Operations. A detailed presentation on Safety was made at the meeting. There was threadbare discussion on the subject and the root cause of repeated cases of train accidents in recent past was thoroughly analyzed. In the meeting, the Hon’ble Minister emphasized that the safety is paramount and there cannot & should not be any compromise on this front.

Two major causes leading to accidents were identified as:

a)      Unmanned Level Crossings accounted for 34% of accidents in 2016-17
b)      Derailments due to defects in tracks

The special focus of the meeting was to identify measures to reduce accidents due to derailments which has emerged as one of the major causes of Train accidents.

The Minister for Railways gave following directions to the Railway Board to ensure Safety:

  1. All unmanned level crossings should be eliminated expeditiously on the entire Indian Railway network in a year’s time from now. The earlier target was to eliminate these in 3 years but by using Transformative mantra of “Speed, Skill and Scale” this target has been expedited to less than 1 year now.
  2. Track Replacement/renewal should be accorded Priority & the tracks (rails) earmarked for use for constructing new lines should be diverted to places/ stretches which are prone to accidents & where replacement is due.
  3. The procurement of new rails should be expedited on a large scale with a view to complete construction of new lines in time.
  4. The manufacturing of conventional ICF design coaches should be stopped forthwith & new design LHB coaches only should be manufactured.
  5. Anti-Fog LED lights should be installed in Locomotives so that unhindered safe train operations can be ensured during fog season.

The Hon’ble Minister has directed the Railway Board to monitor implementations of this action plan on a regular basis.

Railway Minister gives 48-hour Deadline for Railway Staff to stop overcharging, seeking tips

Piyush Goyal writes letter to all Zonal Railways across India, asking them to make sure that the new rules are followed strictly.

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has ordered that the practice of Railways staff seeking tips from passengers and overcharging for food should be stopped within 48 hours.

Letters have been sent out to all zonal railways across India, asking them to make sure that the new rules are followed.

The Railway authorities have earlier tried to do away with the practice of the catering staff overcharging the passengers, by giving a strict deadline. Giving tips, however, has never before figured in policy intervention.

After the directive, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) immediately contacted its catering contractors to convey an ultimatum.

Railways’ catering inspectors will check from Monday across trains to check if the old practices are still being followed. Social media platforms will be checked to see if passengers are complaining of being overcharging or about the staff asking for tips.

For overcharging of meals, most passengers are unaware of the actual rates and end up spending extra for a meal.

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Piyush Goyal bans production of conventional ICF Coaches that topples over other in case of derailments

Railway Minister took serious note of the Utkal Express derailment that highlighted severe neglect on the part of the local authorities — both maintenance (Engineering) and station (Operating) staff — in reacting to a broken track.

On Thursday, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has not only ordered the elimination of all unmanned level crossings within a year, advancing the deadline by two years. He told officials that the focus should be on replacing tracks prone to accidents immediately instead of laying new lines and asked the Board to expedite the procurement of new tracks on a large scale.

Importantly, he also directed the Board to stop the production of conventional Integral Coach Factory coaches that topple over one another in case of derailments.

The accidents last month led to a top-level rejig in the Railway Ministry, with the resignation of Railway Board Chairman A.K. Mital and Mr. Prabhu owning moral responsibility for the derailments. For the first time in decades, a Railway Board member was sent on leave, having been held responsible for the Utkal Express accident. Former Air India chief Ashwani Lohani has taken charge as the Railway Board Chairman. Mr. Goyal has made it clear that safety will be his top priority.

A string of derailments in the last couple of weeks has put the spotlight on rail safety. On August 19, thirteen coaches of the Haridwar-bound Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express went off the tracks near the Khatauli railway station in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, claiming at least 21 lives and injuring more than 90. This was followed by the derailment of 10 coaches of the Kaifiyat Express in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh four days later, after it collided with a dumper, injuring around 100 passengers. This was followed by the collision of a train with a lorry at an unmanned level crossing in Tamil Nadu’s Villupuram region on the same day.

The saga didn’t end there with three trains — two carrying passengers and one goods — jumping off the tracks in Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi and Maharashtra within a span of nine hours on Thursday. Two more accidents were averted – one in Uttar Pradesh and the other in Mumbai when rail fracture was detected by the patrolling staff on Thursday.

Although the total serious train accidents declined from 135 in 2014-15 to 104 in 2016-17, the derailments went up from 63 to 78 during the same period. The share of derailments in total accidents has soared from 46.7% in 2014-15 to 75% in 2016-17. Till August 20 this year, 85% of the total rail accidents happened due to derailments, raising the alarm among authorities.

In a safety review meeting chaired by the new Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday, two major causes of accidents were identified: unmanned level crossings and derailments due to track defects. According to official figures, track defects had the highest share of around 44% in train derailments between 2012-13 and 2016-17. Derailments can also happen because of the failure of wheel and other train components. In 2016-17, 61.5% of the accidents happened because of the failure of railway staff against 37.7% in 2012-13. The Utkal Express derailment highlighted severe neglect on the part of the local authorities — both maintenance and station teams — in reacting to a broken track. While the track defect was detected early in the day, the maintenance team temporarily joined the tracks while waiting for a nod from the station authorities to get block time to fix it. Soon, the Utkal Express arrived at a speed of 105 km per hour, ran over the track and derailed.

In 2016-17, the total number of casualties in train accidents was at a two-year high of 238, mainly due to the derailment of the Indore-Rajendranagar Express near Kanpur, one of the worst accidents in over a decade, killing 152 passengers and injuring 183. In 2015-16, 122 people died in rail accidents compared with 292 in 2014-15 and 152 in 2013-14. The former Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced a ‘Mission Zero Accident’ while presenting his last budget of 2016-17 before the rail and general budgets were merged. With a slew of accidents still taking place, it seems to be a distant goal.

Suresh Prabhu will be Remembered as Railway Minister who provided extensive Rail Connectivity to People of Northeast

Under Suresh Prabhu’s tenure as Union Minister of Railways, five Northeastern States were included in the Broad Gauge network and 29 new trains introduced
Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, former Union Minister of Railways

GUWAHATI: History is proof that governments across party lines have often tried to find the answer to train accidents in the resignation of the railway minister – the latest example of this long practiced phenomena being Suresh Prabhu, former Union Minister of Railways. But for the people of the Northeastern region, the change of ministership of Suresh Prabhu, from Railways to Commerce and industry on September 3 is not a digestive item. Prabhu shall be remembered for delivering what no other Union Railway Minister could – a widened network of rail infrastructure to the people of the region.

In the last three years, the ministry under Prabhu was successful in including five northeastern states – Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura – to the broad gauge (BG) map of the country. As many as 29 new trains were introduced in the region in a span of just one year – 2016 to 2017.

Today, no metre gauge line exists in the northeastern states, thanks to conversion of over 900 kms of track to BG in the last three years. All the states of the region, except Sikkim, are now included in the BG network.

Many of these projects might have started during the UPA, Deve Gowda and Atal Bihari Vajpayee regimes but the ministry under Prabhu gave the much-needed push, thanks to which the projects, including those stranded for years, met completion or are near completion.

Look at Tripura. State capital Agartala saw a metre gauge (MG) track as lately as in October 2008, even though the MG line reached the state’s business hub Dharmanagar from Assam in 1964.

It was also during Prabhu’s term, in August 2016, that Tripura saw a foundation stone laid for the construction of the railway line connecting Agartala to Akhaura in Bangladesh, even though a pact to this effect was signed in January 2010 by the UPA government with the Sheikh Hasina regime.

Work is on in full swing in the 15-km stretch, which will not only be a part of the Trans Asian Railway Network but will substantially shorten the rail distance between Agartala and Kolkata via Bangladesh – from the present 1,590 kms to 499 kms.

This rail link will connect Agartala to Ashuganj river port, via Akhaura, about 54 kms away. As per news reports quoting North Eastern Frontier Railway officials, the project is likely to be completed before the year turns.

Besides, the 114 km BG track from Silchar in Assam to Agartala and thereafter to the border town of Sabroom, from where the Chittagong port of Bangladesh is merely 75 kms away, is likely to completed by March 2019. Already, the track has reached Udaipur town of Tripura. The Silchar-Udaipur track has been operational since January 2017.

Thanks to the gauge conversion of the Silchar stretch, there are now three new BG trains from the Barak Valley of Assam, including Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express, a direct train from Silchar to New Delhi, a decades-old demand of the people of that valley.

The other two trains, flagged off by Prabhu in February 2016, were the first freight trains from Badarpur in Assam to Jirania in Agartala, and to Jiribam in Manipur.

While the freight train from Badarpur to Jiribam helped include Manipur in the BG network, the one to Jirania came at a time when NH 8, Tripura’s only road route to the rest of India through Assam, was in shambles, thus leading to a crisis situation as hundreds of trucks remained stranded on it for months together. The goods train helped cart essential stuff to the state.

Work is presently on the 84 km long Jiribam-Tupul section of the railway project in Manipur and likely finish by 2018. Thereafter, the link will stretch to state capital Imphal. Though this project to lay railway track to Imphal began in 2004, barely 20% of the work was reportedly completed till 2014. Media reports say survey is on also to lay a railway line from Imphal to Moreh, a business town bordering Myanmar.

Mizoram entered the BG network in November 2014 when Modi inaugurated the 54 km long line from Kathahal (Assam) to Bhairabi, two kms within Mizoram. Since May 2016, a passenger train shuttles between Bhairabi and Silchar via Kathahal. Further work on laying lines from Bhairabi to Sairang, 20 km from Mizoram capital Aizawl, is underway and is said to be completed by March 2020.

In November 2014, Modi also flagged off the first BG train from Guwahati to Meghalaya’s Mendipathar, thus including that state too in the BG map of the country. Mendipathar in the North Garo Hills district is so far the state’s only railway station, like Jiribam is in Manipur. Though the route was approved in 2007, due to difficulty in land acquisition and huge opposition to the project as locals felt the rail service would bring ‘outsiders’ to their region (Such protest have been seen in Arunachal and some other parts of the northeast too), work began only in 2013.
Work is also presently on to lay a 21.5 km track from Tetelia to Byrnihat in Meghalaya’s Ri Bhoi district bordering Assam and is likely to be completed by next year. According to media reports, the survey work on the 108-km stretch of the proposed Byrnihat-Shillong railway project has reached near completion.

In February 2016, Modi inaugurated the first passenger train from Naharlagun, 10 km from Arunachal Pradesh’s capital Itanagar, to New Delhi via Guwahati. Since this past May 7, there has also been a Shatabdi service between Naharlgun and Guwahati, a vital means of communications for the people of the landlocked state.

With the commissioning of the Balipara to Bhalukpong line with gauge conversion, the state has also been provided the second BG connectivity during Prabhu’s tenure.

Also, in April this year, the railway ministry ordered final location survey for three proposed tracks in Arunachal – Bhalukpong-Tenga-Tawang (378 km), North Lakhimpur-Bame-Aalo-Silapathar (247.85 km) and Pasighat-Tezu-ParsuramKund-Rupai (227 km). The first one is certainly the most ambitious, which, if successful, can give a rail link to the mountainous India-China border in Tawang. The survey, being conducted by Northeast Frontier Railway, is expected to be completed by October 2020.

The railway ministry has also sanctioned reconnaissance engineering-cum-traffic survey for eight new lines in the state for a total length of about 625 km.

While Nagaland has been a part of the BG network since 1997 after the MG track in Dimapur was converted, in August 2016, Prabhu laid the foundation stone in the town to extend the track for another 88 kms to reach Zubza, situated 16 km from the state capital Kohima.

Though Sikkim is the only northeastern state to not have rail connectivity yet, there is now progress in the project to link Sevok in West Bengal to Rangpo, a stretch of 44 kms, after the Supreme Court gave a go ahead to it last year. Though the foundation stone for the project was laid by the then vice president Hamid Ansari in 2009, it ran into legal trouble due to environmental concerns as the line would pass by Mahananda elephant sanctuary.

In coming times, this railway line is likely to reach Nathu-La on the India-China border.

Quite a few times during his visit to the region, the former railway minister had reiterated to the media that all the capitals of the northeastern states would have rail connectivity with the national capital by 2020. Hope the new railway minister Piyush Goyal fulfils this unfinished agenda. For clearly, New Delhi needs to continue this ‘Act’ in the northeast, for the region to be truly able to play its part to make real the ambitious policy of the Modi government – Act East.

Huge investments made in Railways in the last 3 years will lead to Development: Piyush Goyal

NEW DELHI: Piyush Goyal, who on Monday took office as Railway Minister, said that huge investments made in the railways in last three years will definitely lead to the development.

“Huge investments in railways have been made in past three years, which will definitely lead to its development,” he said after taking charge in the Rail Bhavan.

He also said that Indian Railways will continue on the roadmap of development.

Appreciating the the efforts put in by his predecessor Suresh Prabhu, Goyal said: “Now people talk about ministers working 24×7. But I have seen Prabhu working like that 15 years ago.”

He also described Prabhu as his elder brother and said that it is an emotional moment for him as “Prabhu is my mentor”.

“He has been mentoring me for over 20 years. He (Prabhu) has worked with my father in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government,” he said. Goyal’s father had been Power Minister then.

He also said that he has got time to work under Prabhu.

Meanwhile, Prabhu, who was also present to handover the charge of office to Goyal described him as his younger brother.

“Goyalji is like my younger brother and now he will take over as new Railway Minister.
“I am confident that he would contribute to the development of the nation,” he said.

Goyal was on Sunday given charge of the Railway Ministry, replacing Prabhu, who shifts to Commerce and Industry that was with Nirmala Sitharaman, who has now become India’s first, full-fledged Defence Minister.

Prabhu had offered to quit after a major rail accident in Uttar Pradesh claimed 23 lives last month.

Newly appointed Railway Minister Piyush Goyal takes Charge; Rail Safety, Finance priority for Piyush Goyal

NEW DELHI: A confidante of BJP chief Amit Shah and someone who was in the good books of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Piyush Goyal replaced Suresh Prabhu as the new railway minister at a time when the safety of the national transporter has become a major concern.

Piyush Goyal on Monday took the charge as Minister of Railways in the presence of former post holder Suresh Prabhu. Goyal yesterday replaced Prabhu as he Union Railway Minister during the Cabinet reshuffle, possibly taking the most challenging ministry in light of several derailments in the recent past.

Though Prabhu had offered to resign after a spate of accidents recently, Modi had asked him to stay.

For Goyal, the upgrade from minister of state with independent charge of power and coal to a Cabinet rank was certainly an acknowledgement as a performer.

For Modi, he wanted an efficient person to transform the crucial Railway Ministry given his focus on pushing infrastructure in the country. Also, the fact that millions of citizens use the vast railway network regularly necessitated that public concerns over safety be put to rest. In the past three years under Prabhu, the Railways had witnessed 346 accidents and the highest number of 193 passenger deaths in a decade in 2016-17.

That precisely is the challenge for Goyal as the cash-strapped behemoth dreams big on realising the bullet train project but struggles to ensure smooth running of passenger trains. Goyal is the third railway minister in the NDA government. Prabhu, who became railway minister in November 2014, had replaced Sadananda Gowda.

Goyal, who also holds the coal portfolio, will have to hit the ground running in the Railway  Ministry and focus on steps to improve freight earnings and complete pending projects ahead of the 2019 general elections. At present, the Railways is facing a loss of Rs 36,000 crore annually due to passenger fare subsidy.

Prabhu, a chartered accountant by profession, was brought in as railway minister with expectations that he would help improve the financial health of the Railways, but under him, freight loading fell further and operating ratio jumped over 100 per cent. He did take some measures such as decentralisation of tendering powers to check corruption, setting up of non-fare revenue directorate, planning high speed and semi-high-speed trains, dynamic fare pricing, merger of the railway budget with the general budget and formation of an independent tariff authority to take a call on fare hike, among others.

New railway minister Piyush Goyal has his work cut out for him as he has to prioritise safety and restore confidence since the railways is going through a rough patch due to successive derailments.

Goyal’s appointment has come just ahead of the visit of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe to lay the foundation of high speed bullet train in Ahmedabad on September 13.

Railway board members are geared up to meet ambitious targets and challenges ahead of the Indian Railways, particularly safe operations, better freight and passenger revenue, doubling of tracks and electrification.

Considering the fact that Goyal is having the charge of coal as well, there are hopes of having better synergy between the two ministries. Coal is the major source of revenue for the railways.

The biggest challenge in front of Goyal would be to ensure making railways safer, fill vacancies in the safety wing and hasten procurement of safety related equipment.

Average vacancy in safety positions during 2009-10 to 2013-14 was 18.65 percent of the total sanctioned strength which has dropped to mere 16.86 percent in 2017.

The railways recruited 37,510 people in different safety categories, taking the total staff strength to 6,35,940 as on April 1, 2017.

General secretary, All India Railwaymen’s Federation, Shiv Gopal Mishra told Governance Now that despite the railways recruiting people, over one lakh safety vacancies are still lying vacant.

A railway ministry data revealed as many as 421 people were killed in 857 derailments over the past 11 years between 2005-06 and 2015-16.

Derailments of the three express trains – Kalinga Utkal express, Kaifiyat express, Nagpur-Mumbai Duranto express – in the past 15 days in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra forced Suresh Prabhu to offer his resignation to prime minister Narendra Modi on August 23. Prabhu was asked to wait for the few days as the cabinet reshuffle was in the offing.

Piyush Goyal replaces Suresh Prabhu as Railway Minister

NEW DELHI: After three train accidents in 10 days, Suresh Prabhu offered to quit. Prime Minister Modi asked him to wait. Now, Piyush Goyal as the Minister for Railways has a tough task at hand.

Suresh Prabhu was made the Railway Minister by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the first reshuffle of the Cabinet in November 2014. PM Modi expected him to turn around the Railways. There were talks about high-speed trains, safety, high quality services in trains and a world quality operation of the Railways.

More than two-and-a-half years later, on August 4 this year, Suresh Prabhu informed the Rajya Sabha that 333 people lost their lives in the last three years in 206 train derailments. Fifteen days later, on August 19, another train derailed in western Uttar Pradesh (Kalinga Utkal Express) killing 22 more.

In fact, three train accidents happened in a space of 10 days. On August 23, the Delhi-bound Kaifiyat Express derailed in Uttar Pradesh’s Auraiya district. More than 80 people were injured in the mishap. On August 29, another train (Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express) derailed at Kalyan in Maharashtra. Several people were injured.  However no casualty reported.

Suresh Prabhu took moral responsibility and offered his resignation in a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who asked him to wait for few more days. It had, by then, become clear that Suresh Prabhu will move out of the Railways. After the Cabinet reshuffle today, Piyush Goyal got the Railways portfolio, a promotion for him.

The state of Railways makes Piyush Goyal’s job unenviable. The Railways have been a troublesome portfolio for the ministers. Of the 39 Railway ministers till date, only Jagjivan Ram (father of Meira Kumar) and Lalu Prasad Yadav have completed their full tenure of five years.

Very few Railways ministers have survived a major train accident. The list of casualties includes Lal Bahadur Shastri, who resigned after Ariyalur train accident in Tamil Nadu, where 142 people died in 1956 mishap.

BJP’s new-old ally Nitish Kumar had to resign following a train accident in Assam where nearly 300 people were killed in 1999. Nitish Kumar’s successor, Mamata Banerjee tendered resignation after twin train accidents in 2000.

Now, Suresh Prabhu has been shifted or demoted after three train accidents in 10 days.

Piyush Goyal takes over the Railways on the basis of his performance in the power ministry, where he turned out to be a strict task master. But, the Railways, being the largest job provider under the government, may need a different handling as its problems are different from the energy sector.

In a recent survey conducted by the citizen’s engagement platform LocalCircles, which has a tie-up with the consumer affairs department in the area of public grievances, people expressed concerns about safety, fares and quality of services offered by the Railways.

Why 77% of India believes Indian Railways improved under Suresh Prabhu?

Though, Suresh Prabhu offered to resign in light of recent train accidents, in his two years of tenure, the Rail Minister was seen bringing various innovative reforms in IR which were passenger-friendly, cost-effective, innovative and progressive! Here is a Review why he deserves full scoring!
Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of Railways

According to a survey in the form of opinion polls done by RailNews on its most popular globally recognised online news portal, 77% of India believes Suresh Prabhu did a decent job with Railways.

Despite having offered to resign recently in light of the increasing number of train accidents, in his tenure of two years Prabhu was seen to have brought passenger friendly reforms in the country’s largest public sector enterprise. He has brought in multiple reforms in the Indian Railway in various sectors which were passenger-friendly, cost-effective, innovative and progressive in nature. The kind of transformation he has brought in the Indian Railways is too far sighted and the benefits of the same will be reaped by the generations to come. A review on his reforms:

  1. Merging of Railway Budget with the Union Budget: The Railway Budget was presented every year, a few days before the Union budget of India, till 2016. The Government on 21 September 2016 approved merger of the Rail and General budgets from succeeding years, ending a 92-year-old practice of a separate budget for the nation’s largest transporter. The last Railway Budget was presented on 25 February 2016 by Mr. Suresh Prabhu.
  2. Initiatives for Introduction of High Speed Trains in India: India’s prime minister Narendra Modi approved the choice of Japan to build India’s first high-speed railway. Suresh Prabhu has done remarkable effort in fulfilling the task of initiative the process of rolling out of Bullet Train in India and accordingly the related administrative works have been shaped up during his tenure. The planned rail would run some 500 km (310 mi) between Mumbai and the Ahmedabad, at a top minimum speed of 320 km/h (200 mph). Under the proposal, construction is expected to begin in 2017 and be completed in 2023. It would cost about ₹980 billion (US$15 billion) and be financed by a low-interest loan from Japan. India will use the wheel-based 300 km/hr HSR technology, instead of new maglev 600 km/hr technology of the Japan used in Chūō Shinkansen. India is expected to have its HSR line operational from 2025 onwards.
  3. Introduction of Accrual Accounting System on Indian Railways: The worldwide trend of shifting from Cash based Accounting to Accrual based Accounting is a key building block in progress towards the broader context of public sector Accounting Reform. Being a Government undertaking, IR does not follow practices in accounting which aid detailed assessment of unit costs. Government accounting system in India, in all three tiers of Governance, i.e., the Union, States and Local bodies including Autonomous or Statutory Bodies, is pre-dominantly on Cash based Accounting system. The basic principles of government accounting are enunciated in the General Financial Rules and other related legislations, manuals, etc. In recent times, there has been a paradigm shift in the priorities of public finance management from identifying resources of public finance management to fiscal prudence, efficiency and transparency in public spending. These shifts in priorities have been reflected in initiatives such as the Fiscal Responsibility & Budget Management Act and Outcome Budget. It is felt that there is a need for Financial Reporting to be in sync with the shift in priorities of Public Finance. In order to achieve this, Accounting systems the world over are being revisited with an emphasis on transition from rules to standards based Accounting and migration from Cash to Accrual based system of Accounting. Accrual Accounting provides meaningful information both for accountability and decision-making. Ministry of Railways have periodically examined the existing Accounting System of Indian Railways with a view to improve the quality of financial reporting. However, a decisive thrust towards Accrual Accountinghas been provided by the Hon’ble MR, articulated through his Budgets in 2015-16 and 2016-17. As a result, transition to Accrual Accounting has been adopted as one of the Mission areas aimed at transforming the financial and operating landscape of IR. The central theme in Accrual Accounting involves recording financial transactions in the accounting period in which they accrue and arise, whether or not a receipt or payment occurs. In contrast, Cash basis of accounting records revenue and expenditure only when the money is received or paid out. Thus the main difference between Accrual and Cash basis of Accounting is the timing of the recognition of revenue and expenses.
  4. Ending Dependence on State DISCOMs for Electricity and status at par with DISCOMs: Railways aims to reduce its energy bill by Rs 3,000 crore through the plan. Suresh Prabhu worked aggressively towards saving its annual Energy Bill and ending dependence on state DISCOMs; and have planned to expand its own power transmission lines by an additional 8,500 km through Public Private Partnership (PPP) along with investment through railways’ Capex. According to a document titled “IR’s Energy Policy and Management”, which was released on 3 November 2016, the Railways 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. IR 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. 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. The Railways also plans to set up additional 500 km of transmission lines along South East Central Railway Zone. Towards realisation of this objective, Suresh Prabhu initiated setting up 400 km of Railways own transmission lines from Dadri to Kanpur, and additional 200 Km from Kanpur to Allahabad. Transmission lines from Sonnagar to Mughalsarai will be another 360 km in the pipeline. Another 500 km of lines are also be set up under SER by RVNL. The transporter is also working on a mega 41,000 crore energy saving plan over the next decade.
  5. High-speed WiFi Internet in 400 highest Revenue yielding Railway Stations: Suresh Prabhu has introduced High speed WiFi Internet in 400 highest revenue yielding Railway Stations of India. The project called RailWire, was launched in collaboration with Google and RailTel (a Telecom PSU under Ministry of Railways). The project had already been rolled out successfully in approximately 150 Stations and by end of 2018, Ministry of Railways will cover the target of 400 Railway Stations.
  6. Laying of new Railway Lines, Doubling Works and ElectrificationLaying of new railway tracks has doubled in the past three years if compared to the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government at the Centre. Since 2014-15, Railways had commissioned 1,983 km in 2014-15 and a 2,828 km in 2015-16 by way of new lines, gauge conversion and doubling of tracks. Notably, Suresh Prabhu has adopted a new metric. Since 2014-15, Railways has been measuring its achievements on the basis of how many kilometres of lines were “commissioned”. Earlier, it used to be how many kilometres were physically constructed during a particular financial year. While the Commissioner of Railway Safety would have given a safety certificate for passenger trains to run on the line, the running of freight trains does not require any such safety certificate. All our broad gauge lines will be electrified which will help in reducing emissions. Suresh Prabhu led Rail Ministry had fast-tracked the electrification of rail lines works and in fact, doubled the pace. Suresh Prabhu asserted that the Railways reached a new record in terms of “electrification, laying of new lines, track-doubling works. Prabhu also underlined the importance of sanctioning the work of track-doubling aggressively and in the last two-and-a-half years, sanctioned a 12,500 km of track-doubling work (in the last 75 years, the Congress led government covered only 15,000 km). This is crystal clear indication of the stand Suresh Prabhu has taken while improving the track network.
  7. Cleanliness in Railways:  Suresh Prabhu led Indian Railways gave Special Focus on Cleanliness at Railway Stations and in trains throughout the ‘Swachhta Pakhwada’, through out the nation every year between August 16 to 31. He has also directed that officers and staff of all departments should be made aware of this campaign and should be substantially involved in various activities during ‘Swachhta Pakhwada’.
  8. Integrated Mobile App: Suresh Prabhu pioneered for launch of an integrated mobile application to cater to various passenger requirements, including ticket booking, inquiry, on-board cleaning and ordering meal on a single platform code named as “Rail SAARTHI” (synergised advanced application rail travel help and information). This App will also cater for various other needs such as safety for women, complaint facility and suggestion for improvement.
  9. One-ICT and IT Revolution in Indian Railways: Suresh Prabhu initiated ambitious “Big Data” convergence plan called “One-ICT” to enhance and modernise services and operations. The One-ICT program will enable the Indian Railways to meet global benchmarks. Global bids inviting participation from transportation and IT companies. Prior to One-ICT the various applications have mostly functioned as silos and have not added enough value to the business of running trains. One-ICT, besides bringing about vast improvements in operational efficiency, will work as a one-stop-solution IT platform to unlock the business potentials of the Indian Railways by optimising freight and passenger operations too. As part of the same, Railways’ launched various IT enabled Services – one among them is the “Digital Contract” – a system of Digitisation of Railways’ supply chain across all Zones, to ensure greater transparency and ease of doing business. The system digitises processes like bill submission, inspection, dispatches, receipt, bill passing, payments and warranty monitoring and enables use of analytics for increasing supply chain efficiency in real time. With 100 percent e-tenders and e-auctions already assimilated into the system, railways is taking these initiatives to achieve seamless flow of material, finances and information. Self-aware” trains – or the “super-brain” concept for locomotive management – are among the new rail technologies being experimented under One-ICT.
  10. Cashless Railway Transactions: As on date, 58 per cent of rail travellers are practising the usage of IT to book train tickets. There are 23 million passengers who travel by Railways every day and the Cashless Railway transaction has been highly successful during Suresh Prabhu’s tenure. A large number of POS Devices were deployed all over the Railway Stations in the country during his tenure. This has facilitated the passengers to move with less cash during the train journeys.
  11. Mulling the proposal to link Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal: Suresh Prabhu led Indian Railways initiated the proposal to link Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal with Rail network as India has very cordial relations with those countries and helping to connect those countries with railway lines will not only increase interaction, tourism, trade, employment and connectivity for those countries with India, but also empower the region with greater connectivity. Suresh Prabhu said that sectors like Horticulture, Floriculture, Handicraft, Industry, Agriculture, Goods and other allied markets in those countries will get benefited in the region and importantly gets financial empowerment while quickly selling their products in a bigger market like India. The Railway lines will enhance the bilateral relationships between those countries too for a peace and stable region, he said, further adding that cement, fertilisers, steel industries in those countries are also more likely to be benefitted from this policy.
  12. Launching of Vistadome Coaches: India’s first train with glass-domed ceiling, 360 degrees reclining passenger seats were also launched successfully by Suresh Prabhu for giving more delightful travelling experience to Railway passengers and to promote tourism.
  13. Book-now-Pay-later-Service for TATKAL Bookings: The latest reform introduced by Suresh Prabhu was that of the book-now-pay-later service for tatkal bookings offered by IRCTC. The traffic on the portal, which was earlier plagued by a multitude of issues, was seen growing as a result of the reform.
  14. IRCTC onboard catering: Yeah, this is one serious affair, where government need to look into. For a trial basis catering is made optional on selected premium trains. The four premium pairs of trains where the trial is to be conducted are Nizamuddin-Mumbai Central (12953-12954) August Kranti Rajdhani, New Delhi-Patna Rajdhani (12309-12310), Pune-Secunderabad Shatabdi Express (12025-26) and Howrah-Puri Shatabdi Express (12277-12278). IRCTC also plans to serve local cuisines to passengers onboard (Will be a big relief from undercooked chapatis!)
  15. Introduction of New Trains series: 4 New trains series were introduced to run on various Zonal Rail systems – one for unreserved passengers and three for reserved ones – they are:- Humsafar Express: A fully AC train with optional service for meals; Tejas Express: It will showcase the future of train travel in India with operating speeds of 130 kmph; Uday Express: Overnight double-decker train, which will run on the busiest of routes. It will have 40% more passenger capacity and Antyodaya Express: A superfast train for those travelling on long routes. Will be fully unreserved.
  16. Varied Food Options: Passengers would be able to order pizzas and burgers on the Indian Railways website. Dominos, KFC would be setting up their restaurants at stations.
  17. Social Media Connect: I am sure, if you are reading this, you must have heard the heroic deeds of our Railway Minister, addressing problems of passengers in real time using twitter handle RailMinIndia. Issues ranging from overcharging of Rail Neer to cleaning of dirty coaches have been taken care of just by a small tweet. So folks, keep tweeting, you never know Prabhu tumhari bhi sun le!
  18. Booking Capacity: Booking tatkal e-tickets is no longer a dream. No more woes of “paise kat gaye lekin ticket book nahi hua”. IRCTC has increased its e-ticket booking capacity many folds. The IRCTC’s website is now capable of booking 7200 e-tickets per minute. Yes, with all that jazz during booking timings you need to believe me on this!
  19. Dedicated freight corridor: Railways have started building railways tracks dedicated to goods trains. This will speed up the delivery time taken by railway transport. I guess we can safely assume now that passenger trains won’t be stopped now to make way for goods trains.
  20. Personal Mail to All IRCTC Users: It’s rare that a Union Minister of Cabinet Rank sends an email to citizens of a Country listing their achievements towards a sense of responsibility to keen the citizen informed of the actions taken to improve the services. That’s exactly what Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Railways has done! Since he took over as the Railway Minister, Indian Railways has seen numerous changes and it is quite evident from hundreds and thousands of Social Media updates that we see. The mail sent to all IRCTC users, first talks about the challenges the ministry faced with overstretched infrastructure, inadequate carrying capacity and huge unmet passenger demand. However, over a two-and-half year period they seem to have turned things around to a large extent.
  21. Infrastructure Boost: A capital expenditure of Rs.94,000 Cr in 2015-16 against 2009-14 annual average of Rs.46,000 Cr. has been spent. a 2,828 kms of broad gauge lines were commissioned in 2015-16 against 2009-14 annual average of 1,528 kms. Also, 1,730 kms of electrification completed in 2015-16 against 2009-14 annual average of 1184 kms and 545 kms broad gauge lines commissioned in North Eastern India in 2015-16 against 2009-14 annual average of 110 kms.
  22. Energy Efficiency measures, Clean Fuel and one-third Reduction in Emissions by 2030: Even though Indian Railways is 12 times more energy efficient in freight traffic and three times more in passenger traffic compared to roadways, use of renewable sources of energy have been aggressively pursued and promoted by Suresh Prabhu for which a big target has been set to achieve 1000 Mw of solar power and 170 Mw of wind power installed capacities so as to reduce carbon footprint, and hence a low carbon growth strategy has been adopted to reduce emission intensity by 33 per cent by the year 2030 with 2025 as the base year by improving traction fuel and energy efficiency.
  23. Water Conservation: On the water front, the Indian Railways has decided to recycle water, promote rain water harvesting systems and revive of water bodies in Railway areas across the country. Towards this objective, various water bodies were recharged on the Indian Railways (example: Ancient Water Well built during Kakatiya Dynasty which was lying dry in 2016 in the Railway area at Moula-Ali in Secunderabad was revived and recharged by SCR). The Indian Railways will be saving Rs 300 crore a year through a concerted effort to conserve water and restore water bodies on rail land across the country, said Suresh Prabhu. It has set a target to recycle 20 crore litres per day. The installed capacity of recycling 1 crore liters per day is being enhanced to 3.5 crore litres per day by the end of 2017 through a concerted effort. Once the recycling potential of 20 crore litres per day is achieved, the Railways shall save Rs 300 crore per year only on its water bill, apart from saving precious water resources. Water recycling plants provided already at 30 locations saving 12 million litres of water per day. Water audit is underway at the major water consumption centres and rainwater harvesting systems already provided at more than 2200 locations and are being extended further.
  24. Backup Signalling System at various strategically important Stations: There are backup systems for each function like electrical interlocking, power supply, panels, signals and others at the station. But there was no backup for the entire train management system at the stations. To provide an alternate to the Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) System that operates rail points and signals, the IR will soon introduce a Backup Signaling System (BBS) for smooth train operations. The move comes after a major fire broke out at the Route Relay Interlocking panel at Itarsi Railway Station in June, 2015 which led to major disruptions in rail traffic with over 2,000 trains cancelled. The new system operates through fibre optics which helps prevent disruptions in train services. This will provide a backup for the entire train route at the railway station. The system is designed in such a way that it may be easy to transfer data to a laptop or a similar equipment and allow trains to pass through. Suresh Prabhu said that the introduction of this system will ensure that at least 90 per cent of trains can be operated when a signal cabin is disabled. The new backup system was developed by the RDSO which will be introduced in all railway stations since the trials conducted at Nishatpura Railway station under West Central Railway was proved to be successful following which the CRS has also approved this newly introduced system. The move is also part of automatic safety systems like protection of trains and warning systems.
  25. Installation of Bio-toilets in Coaches: There are 55,000 coaches in service on Indian Railways and there is a need to ensure clean and healthy environment by Railways. Suresh Prabhu said that to meet the objective, 2,20,000 bio-toilets were required to be installed in the coaches operating across the country. Under the leadership of Suresh Prabhu around 54,188 bio-toilets had already been fitted in the coaches by 2016 end, and taking into consideration the remaining coaches and resources available with the Railways, Suresh Prabhu said that it would be possible to install bio-toilets in all coaches by 2021-22.
  26. Jan Aushadhi Stores at 1000 Railway Stations: Indian Railways plans are afoot to open Jan Aushadhi stores at around 1,000 major railway stations across India as part of drive to make quality medicines available at low cost to the public. Efforts were put in place to ensure prescription of generic medicines by doctors for the benefit of patients, poor people in smaller towns and villages.
  27. Plan to increase Rail Revenue to Rs.2 lakh Crore in next 2 years: Suresh Prabhu has put in place a short-term plan to increase rail revenue to Rs.2 lakh crore in next two years. He said the national carrier is targeting to earn USD 6-7 billion in none-fare revenue in the next few years. The target looks like a tall order given that currently railways has an annual revenue of Rs 1.7 lakh crore and growth in passenger and freight segments have been tepid. However, the minister was hopeful that it could be achieved by detailed planning and a more focused market approach. If achieved, the increased revenue will bring down the railway operation ratio to healthier levels of 90-91%.  As per the roadmap, the Railways will launch more super premium trains on high traction routes with fares of these trains are going to be more than those of Rajdhani and Shatabdi. The target is to take the passenger revenue to Rs 56,000 crore from Rs 50,000 crore in the next two years. The railways also plans to increase the number of air-conditioned coaches on existing trains as the demand for the third AC class is rising. Railway wants its trains to be profitable sector wise, just like airlines, and hence is focusing on ramping up capacity in sectors where there is demand and where passengers are willing to pay surge prices during the peak season, the official said. The Railways also wants to wipe out the huge passenger subsidy burden gradually and has been pushing for more funds from the finance ministry. Another target that minister Prabhu has set is to boost non-fare revenues that basically include revenues from advertising and monetisation of rail assets. The target is to get more than 10% of total revenue from this segment, the official said. With its newly launched non fare policy, which includes private brands and e-Commerce firms tying up to use railways’ assets for advertising and other commercial exploitation, railways expects to get more than Rs 20,000 crore annually. It also plans to expand its freight basket to boost revenues. The focus will be to reduce reliance on coal, which is currently almost 45% of total revenue. IR designed new rakes for auto sector which would improve our service and capacity. The demand for iron ore and steel is picking up. I think for the next two years, we’ll see a lot of revenue from these segments. IR is also banking on the two dedicated freight corridors — eastern and western — being built at an investment of Rs 80,000-crore, which will add 3,300 km of fresh capacity to the rail network and will take away almost 70% of freight traffic from the existing network. These freight corridors will decongest the existing network, after which we’ll be able to run semi-high speed trains on corridors such as Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah,” an official from railway traffic services said. “It could lead to a huge boost in passenger revenue,” he added.
  28. Listing of five PSUs under the Railway MinistryThe Cabinet has approved listing of five PSUs under the railway ministry on stock exchanges. The PSUs under the Ministry of Railways that launched initial public offerings (IPO) were Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd, IRCON International Ltd, Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) Ltd, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and RITES Ltd.
  29. IR’s Long Term Tariff Contracts with discount scheme to boost Freight: Under the Long Term Tariff Contracts (LTTC) policy, customers gets discounts in the range of 1.5-35 per cent based on the incremental growth in volume of cargo. Customers are required to offer at least 1 mt of traffic per annum. The discounts will be based on the gross freight revenue in return for commitment to provide guaranteed traffic by a customer. India Inc is upbeat about the Suresh Prabhu’s plan to have LTTC with consumers in cement, steel and fertiliser sectors, with many companies now willing to bring in more freight traffic to the national transporter. The new plan is likely to bring back the traffic the railways lost in the recent years. It is expecting an increase of six per cent in its freight traffic to 1,165 million tonne (mt) in 2017-18, compared with 1,093.5 mt in FY17. Over a period of 60 years, the share of railways on total freight traffic has declined from 89 per cent to 30 per cent, with the majority of the traffic moving towards the road sector. Pushed by long-term contracts, the segments in which the railways is expecting a major rise in traffic in FY18 include container services (9.9 per cent), pig iron and finished steel (7.52 per cent), coal (6.7 per cent) and iron ore (6.7 per cent). “This (the discount scheme) is a clear effort from the railways to bring back its lost traffic. As of now, about 65 per cent of cement sector traffic is through road and 30 per cent is through rail route, while the remaining five per cent is by water. The new incentives offered may help the cement sector and will bring in additional traffic to railways. The railways is targeting 113 mt traffic from the cement sector following the new scheme. The national carrier had set a target of 110 mt for FY17, but due to decline in infrastructure activities because of demonetisation till recently, it was in the range of only 90-100 mt. While coal constitutes 45 per cent of the railways’ freight traffic share, cement makes up eight per cent, while foodgrain and steel constitute seven per cent each. According to the Revised Estimates for 2016-17, revenue from freight traffic will be Rs 1,08,900 crore. The railways expects it to rise by 8.5 per cent to Rs 1,18,157 crore in FY18, primarily through an increase in cargo volumes. Freight loading is expected to fall marginally to 1,093.5 mt in FY17 from 1,095 mt in FY16. Any such new commitments for cargo movement should not be at the cost of the availability of covered rakes for evacuation of fertiliser from fertiliser plants, which operate round the clock. Of late, fertiliser plants have been facing constraints in timely availability of rakes. About 80 per cent of fertiliser movement take place through the railways, which rakes in revenue of about Rs 7,000 crore annually. For FY18, total coal traffic is expected to be 555 mt, compared to a revised target of 520 mt in FY17. The target from raw materials for steel, pig iron and finished steel for the next financial year comes to around 72 mt, iron ore at 142.75 mt, fertilisers at 54 mt and petroleum products at 45 mt. The railways transports nearly 75-80 per cent of the steel produced in the country. Since the movement of iron ore and steel depend on the quantity of the commodity and the distance covered, it varies from company to company, an expert said. SAIL has had a long-lasting relationship with IR, being both a freight customer and supplier for them. We expect to benefit as and when the guidelines are implemented. SAIL is currently moving 50-60 mt of steel, iron ore and coal through the railways. As we ramp up our production from the current level of 15 mt to 20 mt in the coming years, we expect to add more traffic to the rail network of the country.
  30. Joint Venture MOUs with State Governments: Indian Railways, under the leadership of Suresh Prabhu as the Railway Minister had entered into Joint Ventures established with state Governments to multiply the Railway infrastructure creation and development across the country on cost sharing basis. As on date 21 states have singed the pacts with Railways and other states are about to ink the same shortly.

Apart from the above, various efforts were made by Suresh Prabhu as Union Minister of Railways. like Introduction of Deendayalu Coaches for general class passengers, Single person accountability for all facilities on a train, One of the world’s cheapest travel insurance for our passengers. At a cost of only 92 paise one can get insurance of up to Rs. 10 Lakh, Water vending machines at stations, Reserved accommodation capacity increased to 44.7 Cr from 37.1 Cr, Launch of Janani Sewa: Provision of baby foods at stations, Clean my Coach service for on board housekeeping service, Community partnership for beautifying stations, Complaint resolution through social media, dedicated helpline numbers, New train products : Tejas, Hamsafar, UDAY, Antyoday catering to different requirements of our passengers, largest ever online recruitment exam conducted with over 94 lakh applications, 100% E-procurement of goods implemented to ensure transparency, India’s fastest train Gatimaan Express launched, Trials of Talgo trains capable of running at 200 kmph successfully completed, Key result areas defined for ensuring accountability, objective performance appraisal, Transparent process in key appointments, transfers, promotions, HR audit done for right sizing, Online portal ‘Nivaran’ for employee grievance redressal, Mass mobilisation programs like Swachhta Saptah conducted, Collaboration between India and Japan on Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed Rail project, Collaboration with global players to co-create best-in-class technology and effect modernization of Indian Railways, High speed Wi-Fi at 70+ railway stations across India in partnership with Google, Best-in-class technological solutions for project management and monitoring, Collaboration with premier educational institutes for technology diffusion in Indian Railways, Leveraging technology to ease passengers by providing services like E-catering, E-wheelchair etc, Upgrading IRCTC website handling capacity to 1,20,000 number of simultaneous users, Sale of tickets through ticket vending machines, Ticket booking through international debit/credit cards, Cancellation of PRS tickets through cell phones, Port congestion charges and busy season surcharge dropped, Dual pricing policy of iron ore withdrawn, Siding policy liberalised, Time tabled freight services introduced, Container sector opened up for more commodities, The mail also listed many other initiatives which are currently in process of getting implemented:, Redevelopment of stations into world class modern terminals, A five year investment plan of Rs. 8.56 Lakh Cr for infrastructure augmentation, More structural reforms and creation of new organizations to keep pace with the changing requirements, a big push on enhancing non fare revenue through advertisings, leasing out of spaces etcm Mission ‘Zero Accident’ to further improve safety on Indian Railways, Improved port connectivity to stimulate trade, Two Dedicated Freight Corridors to be commissioned by 2019, All capital cities of North Eastern states to be connected with broad gauge line by 2020, Making Railway tracks 100% human waste discharge free through use of Bio-Toilets, working on the target of 1000 MW solar power generation in next 5 years, Establishment of Rail University as a holistic knowledge centre for Railways, Sale of UTS tickets through handheld terminals and bar coded tickets, LED luminaries at all stations and many more, Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister of Railways stands top among all the erstwhile Railway Ministers of India.

Nitin Gadkari may get Railway Ministry even as Narendra Modi reserves decision on Suresh Prabhu

File Pic: Union Shipping and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari during the inauguration of Bio-Diesel Dispenser for Rail Engines at Haldia in West Bengal on June 24, 2015. Mr.S.Chaturvedi, President of Bio-Diesel Association also seen in the picture.

NEW DELHI: Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari may get the additional charge of the Ministry of Railways if Union railways minister Suresh Prabhu’s resignation is accepted.

Prabhu had offered to resign on Wednesday taking moral responsibility for train mishaps, the most recent being the Kaifiyat Express which derailed on Wednesday, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reserved his decision and asked him to wait. Finance minister Arun Jaitley had also reiterated that Modi will take a stand on the resignation later.

Gadkari has emerged as a top favourite with several media reports claiming that he may be asked to take charge of the railway ministry.

And with a cabinet reshuffle already on the cards, a decision could be announced anytime soon. With Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) now part of the NDA alliance, a cabinet expansion is likely with several new faces finding space in the Narendra Modi cabinet.

According to party insiders, talks of a joint infrastructure ministry has re-emerged as well. The new ministry, it is being said, might be created combining shipping, highways, and railways or civil aviation and railways.

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The possibility of the latter taking place seems higher, especially since Gadkari is part of the five-member ministerial panel, headed by Jaitley, that was tasked with deciding on the process of privatising Air India. But then Gadkari also holds a special interest for transport. So, it can swing either way.

Earlier today, Air India chief Ashwani Lohani was appointed as the new Railway Board chairman following the ouster of AK Mittal. If it’s indeed a joint civil aviation-railways ministry, irrespective of which other ministries that fall into Gadkari’s laps, the BJP leader will have a familiar face to start with.

File Pic: Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari with Union Food & Consumer Affairs Minister Ramvilas Paswan and Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu during the inauguration of India Integrated Transport and Logistics Summit 2017 in New Delhi.

Although Prabhu was tasked with the modernisation of Indian Railways since he took over in 2014, however, his tenure has been marred with accidents, nearly 347 of them so far. The Kaifiyat Express derailment on Wednesday came within just five days of the Utkal Express which derailed near Khatauli on 19 August in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district claiming 22 lives.

A two-day long statutory inquiry into the rail accident began on Tuesday in the divisional railway manager’s office in Delhi, however, initial reports claimed negligence from railway officials.

The Railways had on Sunday sent on leave three senior officials, suspended four officials and transferred one official following the train tragedy.

File Pic: Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu and Minister for Road Transpost Nitin Gadkari flagged-off the inaugural run of Ajni-Pune AC Superfast Express from Nagpur on May 9, 2017

Prime Minister may accept Suresh Prabhu’s resignation ahead of Cabinet reshuffle

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi may accept Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s resignation, who earlier today offered to quit over recent rail accidents in Uttar Pradesh.

Sources in the government said Prabhu’s resignation may be accepted ahead of the reshuffle of the Union Cabinet that the government is planning to announce shortly. Suresh Prabhu, taking moral responsibility of a series of mishaps, in a series of tweets, said he met the Prime Minister, but was asked to wait before putting in papers. If sources are to be believed, Modi may accept Prabhu’s resignation just before the Cabinet reshuffle.

“I met the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking full moral responsibility. Hon’ble PM has asked me to wait. I am extremely pained by the unfortunate accidents, injuries to passengers and loss of precious lives. It has caused me deep anguish,” Suresh Prabhu said in tweet.

“In less than three years as minister, I have devoted my blood and sweat for the betterment of the Railways. New India envisioned by PM deserves a railways which is efficient and modern. I promise that is the path, on which railways is progressing now,” Prabhu said on Twitter. “Under leadership of PM, tried to overcome decades of neglect through systemic reforms in all areas leading to unprecedented investment and milestones,” the minister added.

The development came hours after Railway Board chairman Ashok Mittal submitted his resignation to Suresh Prabhu on a day when Indian Railways witnessed yet another accident in Uttar Pradesh.

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Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu offers to quit Cabinet taking full responsibility of Accidents. PM ask Prabhu to Wait

Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Union Minister of Railways

NEW DELHI: Suresh Prabhu offers to quit for 2 accidents in 4 days. He tweeted that he met the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra odi taking full moral responsibility. He also said that he is extremely pained to the losses of lives due to train accidents. He said he took moral responsibility for the accidents that have caused him deep anguish over the loss of lives. He said he met PM Narendra Modi, who asked him to wait.

This is what the minister tweeted over the last 10 minutes. “In less than three years as Minister, I have devoted my blood and sweat for the betterment of the Railways. Under the leadership of PM, tried 2 overcome decades of neglect thru systemic reforms in all areas leading 2 unprecedented investment & milestones.

New India envisioned by the Prime Minister deserves a Railways which is efficient, modern and accident-free. I promise that is the path, on which Indian Railways is progressing now. I am extremely pained by the unfortunate accidents, injuries to passengers and loss of precious lives. It has caused me deep anguish. I met the Hon’ble Prime Minister @narendramodi taking full moral responsibility. Hon’ble PM has asked me to wait.”

In back-to-back rail accidents, As many as 74 passengers were injured as nine bogies of the Kaifiyat Express derailed in UP’s Auraiya district early today after dashing against a dumper carrying construction material for railway work, officials here said. Yesterday, 14 coaches of Utkal Express derailed in Uttar Pradesh’s Katauli in which 23 people were killed.

While the entire country is in deep anguish at the current juncture and importantly the Indian Railways, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has begun its investigation into the derailment of Kalinga Utkal Express with its personnel visiting the accident site and recording statements of locals in Khatauli, an official said today.

Investigating officer (IO) of the GRP, Deputy Superintendent of Police Randhir Singh met shopkeepers, house owners and others for their account of the what had happened on the evening of August 19.

“We will file our report against those found guilty for the derailment as soon as we will finish our probe,” Singh said.

Thirteen bogies of the train derailed on Saturday in Khatauli near here, killing 22 people and injuring 156, 26 grievously. The GRP had registered a case of death by rash and negligent act in connection with Utkal Express train accident under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and The Railway Act.

MoS Manoj Sinha Inaugurates 3 Rail Projects In Odisha

BHUBANESWAR: Union Minister of state for Railways, Manoj Sinha inaugurated three rail projects through video conferencing from Rail Sadan in Bhubaneswar today.

Sinha inaugurated an electrified section between Sambalpur-Jharsuguda and flagged off a special passenger train no 05311 in the Sambalpur-Jharsuguda line. Another passenger train no 58135/58136 is supposed to be run by electric loco between Sambalpur-Jharsuguda from August 24 onwards.

The minister also laid the foundation stone for a railway over bridge in lieu of the Khetrarajpur level crossing gate between Sambalpur-Hirakud and commissioned Wi-Fi operations in Khurda Road junction.

Sinha is also supposed to attend a review meeting between the Railway department and BSNL later in the day.

Assam Rail Passengers’ Association (ARPA) urge Centre to speed up Rail Projects in Assam; rues at MOSR

GUWAHATI: Lambasting the Central government and the Railway Board over their failure to speed up the double-tracking projects in the State, the Assam Rail Passengers’ Association (ARPA) has said that delay in execution of the same in the New Bongaigaon-Agyathuri section will mean that the actual benefits of the Bogibeel Bridge will not soon be received by the State in general and its people in particular.

Dipankar Sharma, ARPA secretary, said that though utilisation percentage of the main rail lines in Assam has reached as high as 170 per cent, no step has been taken by the Centre to undertake double-tracking works, while similar projects have been sanctioned in states like Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, even when tracks in those places have only a utilisation percentage of around 100-110 per cent.

“In the 2013 Railway Budget, sanction was given for doubling of tracks in the New Bongaigaon-Agyathuri section, but since then the files have been lying with the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). This is the main rail line of our State and officially its utility was mentioned as being 167 per cent six months ago,” he said.

Sharma added, “While people of our State are being made to wait for CCEA nod for so many years, earlier this year, sanction was given for doubling of tracks at some sections in Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Kerala where the utilisation of tracks is currently only around 100-110 per cent. This shows that despite tall claims and promises, the NDA regime has not done anything to remove infrastructure bottlenecks in the railway sector in Assam and the Northeast.”

He rued that despite the Minister of State for Railways hailing from Assam, the State in particular and the Northeastern region in general have not been able to reap the benefits in actual terms as far as the development of railway infrastructure is concerned.

“Even our State government and the MPs elected from Assam are mum on such sensitive issues. Our Chief Minister visits New Delhi at least twice a week but he never bothers to raise such issues of vital economic, infrastructural as well as strategic importance with the Centre,” said the ARPA secretary.

Sharma said such discriminatory attitude by New Delhi is what forces the people of Assam to resort to agitations.

Foundation Stone laid for Track Doubling from Netravathi Cabin to Mangalore Central

MANGALORE: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu laid the foundation stone for the railway track doubling work between Netravathi Cabin and Mangaluru Central Railway Station through video conference from Delhi on Friday.

According to Naresh Lalwani, Divisional Railway Manager, Palakkad, Southern Railway, the Railway Ministry sanctioned the project to double the 1.5-km stretch in 2016-17.

The detailed project report for it has been submitted to the Railway Board. It involved modification of two road overbridges (RoBs). The project is expected to cost Rs. 28.03 crore. The Minister also laid the foundation for building a foot overbridge at the Mangaluru Central Station on the occasion.

The 25-metre-long and three-metre-wide bridge would cost Rs. 90 lakh. It would have a fully covered structure giving protection from the Sun and rain. When the fourth platform at the station would be ready, this bridge could be extended from platforms two and three to the second entry at the station.

The station now had two foot overbridges. The new bridge to be built would connect platform No 1 with two other platforms. The foot overbridge on the east side of the station has been provided with two escalators and two lifts to ease passenger movements.

The Central station handled about 31,000 passengers daily. It handled 46 trains daily with 44 trains originating from the station.

Addressing the gathering MP Nalin Kumar Kateel said, “We have laid the foundation for Doubling of the Netravati – Mangaluru Central Section and Foot Over Bridge today. After Independence, the development of the Railways was moving at the speed of a tortoise. But now the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Prime Minister Modi have given it the speed of a horse. From many years I had kept a number of demands with Kharge and the Railway minister when Yeddyurappa was the CM. They had decided to upgrade the Karnataka Railway similar to Goa and Kerala.”

MP Nalin further said, “Under Modi’s government from the past 3 years funds of Rs1500 crore have been sanctioned to the Dakshina Kannada District Railway. Mangaluru is included in the smart city list and under the Amrit Yojana Rs 163 crore have been sanctioned. Mangaluru city has been taken seriously and included in the medical tourism. Under the MCC limits, there are always protests against the Padil Railway bridge. If we strengthen the relationship between the PWD, Railway department, Highway and the MCC problems can be solved. Because of miscommunication between the departments, there are problems. Now the Padil Railway bridge has been completed.”

MP Nalin also said, “To upgrade the Mangalru Railway to International standard we need funds. The Railway department is not a profitable department. We need to work on a PPP model to upgrade the Mangaluru Railway. We have done the survey and got 60 acres of land from the Railway department. If we get another 40 acres of land from the state government or the MCC we can start the up gradation of Mangaluru Railway to International Standards. Mangaluru is a heaven compared to other cities in the country. In Mangaluru we have the highest temples, churches, mosques, education Institutions, Medical institutions, port, airport, and beaches. If we forget politics and work together hand in hand, we can upgrade the Mangaluru Railway to International standards.”

MP Nalin said, “In order to improve the efficiency of freight and passenger train operations in Mangaluru area and to equip the section for future, Southern Railway took up the doubling work between Panambur and Mangaluru junction. The total estimate for the 19 km long project was Rs 238.04 crores. A new crossing station between Padil and Thokur was proposed at Jokatte, as a modification of doubling, to overcome the operational constraints and increase line capacity”.

Suresh Prabhu launches Doubling of Manapparai-Kalpattichatram Track Section

The Ramanathapuram MP A. Anwhar Raajha, Dindigul MP Udayakumar, Southern Railway General Manager Vashishta Johri, Divisional Railway Manager (Madurai) Neenu Itteyrah, Additional Divisional Railway Manager P.V. Murali Krishna, Madurai Collector Veera Raghava Rao and others witnessing the launch of development works by Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu through video-conferencing on Saturday.

MUMBAI/MADURAI: Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu on Saturday launched a number of development works benefitting Madurai division from Mumbai through video-conferencing.

The Ramanathapuram MP A. Anwhar Raajha, Dindigul MP Udayakumar, Southern Railway General Manager Vashishta Johri, Divisional Railway Manager (Madurai) Neenu Itteyrah, Additional Divisional Railway Manager P.V.Murali Krishna, Madurai Collector Veera Raghava Rao and others witnessed the event through the video-conferencing at Madurai Railway Junction.

The officials said that as part of the Villupuram and Dindigul doubling project, 23-km stretch of doubling between Manapparai and Kalpattichatram section was completed and commissioned for traffic.

With the idea of decongesting traffic and to minimise trespass accidents, five limited use sub-ways in lieu of level-crossing gates were dedicated.

The Minister also launched three foot-overbridges at Sholavandan, Ambathurai and Samayanallur railway stations respectively thus enabling passengers to reach the respective platforms as well as the entry and exit points easily, a press release said.

Suresh Prabhu inaugurates/Launches various initiatives pertaining to TN/Kerala

Indian Railways is heralding in a new era vying for a turnaround in the system. To cater to the diverse rail needs of the burgeoning populace, an array of modern facilities and services are being inducted into the system progressively. With focus on key areas such as infrastructural development, cleanliness, safety and security, Indian Railways has embarked on a journey of transformation. In this direction, Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu Dedicated/ Inaugurated following initiatives pertaining to Tamil Nadu and Kerala through video-conferencing from Rail Bhawan today i.e. 19-08-17.

Initiatives taken in Tamil Nadu

1. Inauguration of additional rest room at new concourse at Chennai Central station (at Chennai Central Railway Station).
2. Dedication to the Nation-LED lighting at Chennai Central (at Chennai Central Railway Station).
3. Inauguration of new foot over bridge at Tiruvottiyur station (at Chennai Central Railway Station).
4. Inauguration of new booking office at western side of Guindy station (at Chennai Central Railway Station).
5. Inauguration of two escalators at Chepauk station on Platform no. 1 & 2 (at Chennai Central Railway Station).
6. Dedication to the nation-Hi speed Wi-fi facility at Chengalpattu Junction (at Chennai Central Railway Station).
7. Dedication to the Nation-Hi speed Wi-fi facility, Information Centre & CCTV Cameras at Katpadi Station. (at Chennai Central Railway Station).
8. Dedication to the Nation-food plaza at Arakkonam (at Chennai Central Railway Station).
9. Dedication to the Nation-App based cab service for passengers at Tiruchichirapalli junction station (at Tiruchchirappalli Junction Railway Station).
10.Dedication to the Nation-new parking facility for passengers at stations of Tiruchchirappalli Division (Papanasam, Mannargudi, Tiruchchirappalli Fort & Tiruchchirappalli Junction) (at Tiruchchirappalli Junction Railway Station).
11. Dedication to the Nation-doubling of Manapparai – Kalpattichatram Section (at Madurai Junction Railway Station).
12. Dedication to the Nation- 5 Limited Use Sub-ways in lieu of LC Gates no. 406, 491, 496, 536 & 14 in Madurai Division (at Madurai Junction Railway Station).
13. Dedication to the Nation-3 Foot Over Bridges at Sholavandan, Ambaturai and Samayanallur stations of Madurai Division (at Madurai Junction Railway Station).
14. Dedication to the Nation-New VIP Lounge at Salem Junction station (at Salem Junction Railway Station).
15. Dedication to the Nation-Extension of foot over bridge to the second entry of Salem Junction station (at Salem Junction Railway Station).
16. Dedication to the Nation- foot over bridge at Samalpatti station (at Salem Junction Railway Station).

Initiatives taken in Kerala

1. Inauguration of AC paid waiting hall at 2 stations Thiruvananthapuram and Quilon in association with Kudumbasree (at Thiruvananthapuram Railway Station).
2. Dedication to the Nation-foot over bridge at Kochuveli connecting both entry (at Thiruvananthapuram Railway Station).
3. Dedication to the Nation-10 concrete benches at Quilon Junction station funded by Hon’ble MP Shri Suresh Gopi through MPLAD (at Thiruvananthapuram Railway Station).
4. Dedication to the Nation-doubling of Tiruvalla-Chenganasseri section (at Ernakulam Junction Railway Station).
5. Inauguration of passenger lift at Chengannur Junction on Platform no. 1 (at Ernakulam Junction Railway Station).
6. Inauguration of one passenger lift at Ernakulam Junction on Platform no. 1 & 2 / 3 (at Ernakulam Junction Railway Station).
7. Dedication to the Nation-4 Water Vending Machines at 3 stations of Thiruvananthapuram Division (Ernakulam Junction-1, Ernakulam Town-2 and Aluva-1) (at Ernakulam Junction Railway Station).
8. Inauguration of 2 lifts at Kannur station on Platform no. 1, 2 / 3 (at Kannur Railway Station).

Mohd Jamshed, Member Traffic, Railway Board, other Railway Board Members and senior officials were also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said, “Indian Railways has been focussing on providing better passenger amenities & augmenting capacity. There has been tremendous increase in the budget allocation for building Railway Infrastructure in states of Tamil Nadu & Kerala. Indian Railways is aiming at building better Railways for everyone by participation of all.”

Salient Features of Projects launched today

At Chennai Central Railway Station (Tamil Nadu)

1) Inauguration of Additional Rest Room at New concourse at Chennai Central Station – The Pay & Use Toilet in new concourse of Chennai Central has been renovated at cost of Rs. 60 Lakhs with state-of-the art amenities. The concept wall in the frontage gives a pleasing ambience to the facility.

2) Dedication to the Nation – LED Lighting at Chennai Central Station – A total of 2388 nos. of conventional lights of various wattages have been replaced with 2402 nos. of energy efficient LED lights of various wattages. Facilitated at a cost of Rs.50 lakh, these energy efficient lighting will result in reduction in carbon emission of 262 MT per year, savings to the tune of 60 lakh units and Rs.60 lakh per month.

3) Inauguration of New Foot Over Bridge at Tiruvottiyur Station (Tamil Nadu) – The new Foot Over Bridge will provide access to the travelling public from both East side and West side of the station yard to reach platform Nos. 1 & 2/3 at Tiruvottiyur station. The project has been commissioned at a cost of Rs. 1.44 lakh.

4) Inauguration of new Booking Office at Western side of Guindy Station(Tamil Nadu) – The Reservation cum booking office is newly constructed on the Western side of the Guindy Railway Station facing GST Road. The building has been constructed in an area 195 sq.mtr at the cost of Rs. 48.75 lakhs. Equipped with 7 ticket counters, both UTS and PRS tickets can be booked here.

5) Inauguration of 2 Escalators at Chepauk station (Tamil Nadu) on PF No.1 & 2 – Two nos. of passenger escalators have been commissioned at Chepauk Railway station in place of old defective escalators to platform no.1 and platform no.2. The cost of the Project isRs. 1.36 Crore. Being elevated stations in MRTS section, these escalators facilitate the easy movement of passengers especially senior citizens.

6) Dedication to the Nation – Hi-Speed Wi-Fi facility at Chengalpattu Jn station (Tamil Nadu) – High speed Wi-Fi commissioned by RCIL in collaboration with Google will cover all the 6 platforms, circulating area and VIP lounge at Chengalpattu Jn. Each access point has the capacity to cater about 200 – 250 subscribers at a time.

7) Dedication to the Nation – Hi-speed Wi-Fi facility, Information Centre and CCTV Cameras at Katpadi Jn station (Tamil Nadu).

8) CCTV surveillance camera at Katpadi Railway station – Surveillance camera system has been installed at Katpadiwith total 42 No of IP based digital cameras monitored centrally in the control room manned by RPF personnel. Installed at a cost of Rs.1.2cr, these cameras will help check the crimes against passengers in the station premises.

9)  Information Centre at Katpadi Railway Station – Information centre at Katpadi station brings all the different type of passenger information facilities under one roofthrough which data can be fed to all the information boards. It is setup with one number of PC based announcement and information display system and NTES terminal. The centre is provided at a cost of Rs. 33.6 lakh.

10) Wi-Fi system at Katpadi Railway Station – High speed Wi-Fi commissioned by RCIL in collaboration with Google covers all the 5 platforms of Katpadi station. Each access point has the capacity to cater about 200 – 250 subscribers at a time.

11) Dedication to the Nation -Food Plaza at Arakkonam Jn station (Tamil Nadu) – To tickle the taste buds of customers with choicest delicacies, IRCTC has set up a Food Plaza at Arakkonam Jn in an area of 1752 sq.ft.

II. Tiruchchirappalli Junction (Tamil Nadu)

12) Dedication of App based Cab Services: App based Cab Services have been facilitated at Tiruchchirappalli first Entry in Unit II & III with an area coverage of 210 sq.mt. with a total capacity of 20 cabs. Introduction of these services will give positive impact on Non Fare Revenue and will boost the image of Railways among travelling public.

13) A. Dedication of Parking Spaces at Tiruchchirappalli Junction (Tamil Nadu)

14) TPJ II Entry Premium Car Parking:  An Exclusive area for car parking with an area coverage of 855 sq.mt. at Tiruchchirappalli Junction II Entry with 50 cars parking capacity has been provided.

15) TPJ I Entry Premium Two Wheeler Parking:  A New Premium Two Wheeler Parking with a huge area coverage of 9000 sq.mt. at Tiruchchirappalli Junction I Entry, exclusively earmarked for Two Wheeler Parking with a total capacity of 5000 Two Wheelers has been facilitated.

16) TPJ I Entry Car Parking:  The New Car Parking at Tiruchchirappalli I Entry with an area coverage of 895.5 sq.mt. with the total car parking capacity of 58 cars has been provided.

B. Dedication of Parking Spaces at Tiruchchirappalli Fort Railway Station (Tamil Nadu) – A new parking space with an area coverage of 1965 sq.mt.for exclusive purpose of parking of four wheelers with a total capacity of 100 cars has been provided. A new vast 9000 sq.mt. area for the purpose of parking of Two Wheelers and Four Wheelers with total capacity of 2500 Two Wheelers and 250 cars has also been facilitated.

C. Dedication of Parking Space at Mannargudi Railway Station (Tamil Nadu) – A New parking area for the purpose of parking of Two Wheelers and Four Wheelers with an area coverage of 4292 sq.mt. with total parking capacity of 1500 Two Wheelers and 125 Cars has been provided.

D. Dedication of Parking Space at Papanasam Railway Station (Tamil Nadu) – A New Parking area for the purpose of parking of Two Wheelers and Four Wheelers with an area coverage of 2500 sq.mt.with total parking capacity of 750 Two Wheelers and 50 cars has been facilitated.

III. Madurai Junction Railway Station (Tamil Nadu)

18) Dedication of doubling between Manapparai-Kalpattichatram section (23km)

As part of Villupuram – Dindigul doubling project, doubling between Manapparai-Kalpattichatram section (23km) has been completed and commissioned for traffic.

19) Dedication of 5 Limited use Subways in lieu of LC gates

To ease traffic congestion and to minimise trespassing accidents, 5 Limited Use Subways were constructed in lieu of LC gates in Madurai Division. This will provide safer access to railway stations also.

20) Dedication of 3 Foot Over Bridges at Sholavandan, Ambaturai and Samayanallur stations

Foot Over Bridges constructed at Sholavandan, Ambaturai and Samayanallur stations will immensely benefit commuters as they can reach their Platforms and entry/exit points easily.

IV. Salem Junction Railway Station (Tamil Nadu)

21) Dedication of New VIP Lounge at Salem Jn

To receive and host the VIPs visiting Salem Junction, the new VIP Lounge is being located at PF No.1 near the main concourse area. This air conditioned VIP Lounge will serve the VIPs/Dignitaries arriving at/departing from Salem Junction, round the clock. This lounge has a seating capacity of 12 persons and has been provided with an attached toilet facility.

22) Dedication of extension of Foot Over Bridge to the second entry of Salem Junction

The western side of the Salem Junction is being developed to decongest the junction premises, by shifting major functions there, since sufficient space is available on the other side. With a view to facilitate passengers reach the second entry, the present FOB that was so far connecting PF No. 1, 3/4, and 5 has been extended to the second entry of Salem Junction, at a cost of Rs.1 crore (approximately). This will assist development of second entry to Salem Junction.

23) Dedication of Footover Bridge at Samalpatti Station :

Samalpatti Station in the Jolarpet-Salem Section is one of the important stations in Salem Division, with stoppage of 5 express trains and 6 passenger trains. Earlier, passengers were using the trolley path at the end to reach PF No.2, from PF 1 and vice versa. With a view to assist passengers reach PF No.2 safely and comfortably, a new FOB has been constructed in Samalpatti, at a cost of Rs.1 crore (approximately).

V. Trivandrum Central Railway Station (Kerala)

24) Dedication of AC Paid waiting Rooms with Kudumbasree

AC Paid waiting room at Trivandrum Central with seating capacity of 48 passengers has been set up in association with Kudumbashree, an all women Self Help Group under Govt. of Kerala. At Kollam station also the facility is manned by Kudumbashree and the hall has a seating capacity of 40. A mini library, TV, washrooms and a kids play zone are additional features of these AC waiting hall. A reasonable entry fee of Rs.25/hour is charged

25) Dedication of FOB at Kochuveli (Kerala)

A Foot Over Bridge at Kochuveli would alleviate the difficulty of commuters as they can access Platforms as well as both entries of the station. The FOB, constructed at a cost Rs-2.5 crore, is the longest one in Kerala.

26) Dedication of 10 Concrete Benches at Kollam Funded By Shri Suresh Gopi, MP(RS) through MPLAD at a cost of Rs-1 Lakh, 10 concrete benches are provided at Kollam Jn.

VI. Ernakulam Junction Railway Station (Kerala)

27) Dedication of Double Line between Tiruvalla – Changansseri- Work on double line between Tiruvalla-Changanasseri section of 7.94 km length completed and Line commissioned on 28-03-17. Two additional Lines with full rake unloading facility and a platform with 26 coach capacity was also commissioned along with the work at Tiruvalla.

28) Inauguration of Passenger lifts at Chengannur – Lifts are provided to assist the people with disability, the elderly, the women and the children among others. In addition, installation of Lifts at Railway Stations, Platforms will help to boost the image of Railways in public eye and Railways commitment to valuable Rail users.

28) Inauguration of Passenger lifts at Ernakulam Jn- A lift has been commissioned at PF No.1 and at Ernakulam Jn, 2 lifts have been commissioned, at PF1 and PF2/3. Ernakulam and Chengannur lisfts are commissioned at estimated cost of 37 lakhs.

29) Dedication of Water Vending Machines at Tiruvananthapuram Division- Taking forward the Railways’ mission to provide clean drinking water at stations IRCTCis installing water vending machines at Aluva, Ernakulam Jn, Ernakulam Town.

VII. Kannur Railway Station (Kerala)

30) Dedication of 2 Passenger Lifts at Kannur Railway station

To facilitate easy access to Platform No.1 and 2/3 at Kannur station, 2 passenger lifts have been installed. This will benefit differently-abled, sick and senior citizens.

Bangalore Whitefield to get another Train to deal with peak hour rush

The Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) train to run exclusively between Baiyappanahalli and Whitefield was launched on Friday by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

BANGALORE: The city’s tech hub Whitefield is all set to get the 15th suburban train from Friday . This translates to a frequency of 15 to 60 minutes during peak hours. A train to run exclusively between Baiyappanahalli and Whitefield, to cater to the thousands of commuters from the busy IT hub during peak hours, was launched on Friday.

The Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) train will leave Baiyappanahalli at 8.25 a.m. and arrive at Whitefield at 8.50 a.m. – a timing that could help office-goers beat the morning traffic rush that clogs K.R. Puram and Outer Ring Road. The train will stop at K.R. Puram and Hoodi in a route that covers 15km in less than half an hour. In the return, the train will leave at 6.15 p.m. Eight coaches of the DEMU train can carry upto 2,412 passengers.

Of the total 94 suburban services operated by the South Western Railway , 15 pairs are for Whitefield. With each train having a passenger capacity of 2,000, they can carry up to 60,000 passengers a day . Five trains arrive at Whitefield from Bengaluru City and Baiyappanahalli railway stations from 7.45 am to 10.30 am. As many as six trains arrive here during the evening peak hour (5.45 pm to 9 pm). From Whitefield to the three railway stations of central Bengaluru, six trains operate from 7 am to 9.45 am. From 4 pm to 7.20 pm, there are as many as seven services.

“This is an old demand of those in Bengaluru… Chief Minister (Siddaramaiah) has been meeting with us on the joint ventures for a number of projects and we are working on it,” said Suresh Prabhu, Railway Minister, who flagged the train remotely.

Commuter routes taking shape

With this, the line now hosts more than 15 trains that can be used by local commuters, while the DEMU is the second such exclusive short-distance train. From K.S.R. Bengaluru, there are five trains between 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., while the evening rush between 4 p.m. and 7p.m., sees six trains departing Whitefield. “While this is a good move, we need two or three more such services to ease the traffic situation and get people to start using suburban rail,” said P.C. Mohan, area MP.

In all, the South Western Railways says there are 95 commuter services in and around Bengaluru, connecting various stations to Ramanagaram, Chikkaballapur, Tumakuru among others.

“We want the Railways Ministry to expedite the proposal for a 54-km line doubling and electrification of the Baiyappanahalli and Hosur as well as 27-km betwen Yesvanthpur and Channasandra which can be the suburban line to the airport,” said H.N. Ananth Kumar, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers.

He said the suburban system can take off the ground in a big way if the state government allots 40 acres from the now-vacant NGEF land in Baiyappanahalli for maintenance workshops and another 9.6 acres from the erstwhile Binny Mills land for an operations centre.

It is in line with this demand that SWR is starting the new service exclusively between Baiyappanahalli and Whitefield from Friday .

Urban affairs expert RK Mishra said reliability and an increase in the frequency of train services is necessary to change the travelling pattern of people. “The railways should provide a suburban train every fifteen minutes in the morning and evening peak hours,“ he said.

Mishra said about four lakh people travel from different parts of Bengaluru to Whitefield. “ As the Baiyappanahalli railway station is integrated with the Metro, people from north and south Bengaluru will definitely move to the train commute if services are reliable,“ he said.

Ajith Sequeira from Whitefield Rising suggested that the new train stop at the satellite goods terminal as well. “Corporate firms should increase shuttle bus services for the benefit of employees. The BMTC should deploy more buses to ensure train usage becomes popular,“ he said. A foot overbridge from the Whitefield railway station to the Kadugodi bus terminus would help attain this, he pointed out.

Commuter railway activist Sanjeev Dyamannavar said the railways should increase the number of coaches on these trains to about 12-15 from the present nine.

BMTC operates 332 buses to Whitefield which make 2,358 trips from different parts of the city . It caters to about 90,000 passengers a day .

Suresh Prabhu dedicates Madhupur-Giridih Green Corridor on Asansol Division

KOLKATA/NEW DELHI: Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister for Railways dedicated Madhupur-Giridih Green Corridor by video conferencing from Rail Bhavan, New Delhi, today.

With this dedication of Madhupur-Giridih Green Corridor by Rail Minister all the five pairs of trains running in this section of Eastern Railway’s Asansol Division have been fitted with bio-toilets which ensure zero discharge of human waste on the rail tracks thereby improving cleanliness and hygiene.

The Green Corridor is a commitment to clean environment under the “Swachh Rail-Swachh Bharat’ initiative.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Prabhu said that Indian Railways launching such Green Corridor in different sections of different Zonal Railways for effective contribution towards “Swachh Bharat Mission” launched by Prime Minister.

He mentioned that such Green Corridor will stop discharging human waste from running trains. It is a commitment to clean the environment under the Swachh Rail-Swachh Bharat initiative. The trains running in the Green corridor have been fitted with bio toilets, which insure zero discharge of human waste on the rail track for better environment.

The 38 km long Madhupur-Giridih Green Corridor stretch of Asansol Division became 2nd Green corridor of Eastern Railway, while 1st one i.e. Bhagalpur-Banka Green Corridor in Malda Division has already been dedicated by the Railway Minister on 16 August, 2017 on the inaugural day of Swachhta Pakhwada to be observed all over Indian Railway system from 16 to 31 August, 2017.

Railway Minister launches various Services and Facilities on a massive scale in Karnataka through VC

NEW DELHI/BANGALORE: Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has launched various railway related facilities and services for the benefit of different regions and the people there in Karnataka on South Western Railway. Speaking on this occasion Minister said “Karnataka is an important state for Indian Railways, we have allocated highest ever funds in the Budget for Karnataka for developing Railway infrastructure, almost quadrupling budget grant from that of 2013-14. Indian Railways is in transformation mode & is focusing on improving Rail Infrastructure & passenger amenities like never before. Cleanliness & Make in India programme have been successfully implemented in Indian Railways. High speed Railway network is being worked upon and soon we will operate trains at 200 Kmph on trunk routes. We are trying to make passengers comfortable in their journey and provide better quality of service; we are directing all efforts towards this.”

The following table indicates the work, venues of local function and dignitaries attended.

Sl. No Function Hon’ble Union Minister/Ministers/MLA/MLC
1. Flagging of new DEMU service between Baiyyappanahalli-Whitefield Baiyyappanahalli

1.   Ananth Kumar, Hon’ble Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers

2.   K J George, Hon’ble Minister for Bengaluru Development & Town Planning & Minister In Charge Of Bengaluru Urban District,

3.   P.C.  Mohan, Hon’ble MP, Bengaluru Central.

4.   M V Rajeev Gowda, Hon’ble MP Rajya Sabha

5.   S Raghu, Hon’ble MLA, C V Raman Nagar

6.   B A Basavaraja, Hon’ble MLA, K R Pura

7.   M Narayana Swamy, Hon’ble MLC

2. 1.   Commencement of  work of Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag doubling (248 Km)

2.   Inauguration of PF shelter on PF2 at Gadag

Gadag

1.   H.K. Patil,  Hon’ble Minister for Rural Development & Panchayat Raj Development  & Minister in – Charge of Gadag District, GoK

2.   Shivkumar Udasi, Hon’ble MP  Haveri

3.   Basangouda Patil Yatnal, Hon’ble MLC

3. 1.    Commencement of work of Gadag-Wadi new line (257 Km)

2.    Dedication to the nation- Doubling of Bhanapur-Koppal section

3.    Construction of  new PF 2&3  at Koppal station

Bhanapur

1.      Basavaraj Raya Reddi, Minister of Higher Education and Minister in-Charge of Koppal District

2.      Karadi Sanganna Amarappa, Hon’ble MP, Koppal

3.      K Raghavendra  B Hitnal, Hon’ble MLA,Koppal

4. 1.    Inauguration   of new station building  and extension  of platform shelter at Chikkodi Road Station

2.    Dedication to the nation – Doubling of Londa-Shivthan section.

3.    Extension of Platform shelter at Raybag station

4.    Commencement of work of ROB in lieu of LC No. 438.

Chikkodi

1.      Prakash Babanna Hukkeri, Hon’ble MP, Chikkodi

2.      Aravind C Patil, Hon’ble MLA

3.      Ganesh Prakash Hukkeri, Hon’ble MLA, Chikkodi

4.      Aihole Duryodhan Mahalingappa, Hon’ble MLA, Raybag

5. Inauguration of VIP lounge at Shivamogga town station Shivamogga

1.   D.H.Shankar Murthy,Chairman of Leg.assembly

2.   Bhanu Prakash, Hon’ble MLC

6. 1.    500 Kwp  Solar  Roof Top  System  at Mysuru Work shop

2.    Provision of  water conversation and  recycling plant at Mysuru Station

3.    Inauguration of FOB at Holenarsipur station.

Holenarasipur

1.   A. Manju  Hon’ble Minister for Animal Husbandry & Sericulture and Minister In-charge Hassan District

2.   H  D Revanna, Hon’ble MLA Holenarsipur

 

Details of works are as under:

WORKS AT GADAGGadag-Hotgi–Wadi-doubling – SALIENT FEATURES

Salient features Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag DL project
Cost of the project Rs.1615 cr.
Total length 284 km
Number of Stations 41
Major Bridges 23
Minor Bridges 145
Road over Bridges 2
Road Under Bridges 13
Manned Level Crossings 42

This is a major project for which work is commenced today .This project is being taken up in partnership with NTPC. It will increase the line capacity and strengthen Rail Infrastructure to connect Bengaluru/Hubballi to Mumbai.

  • At present, Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag route is a single line rail link between Guntakal-Pune-Mumbai and Hospet-Hubli-Goa rail routes.
  • A number of Integrated Steel Plants/Power Plants/Cement Plants are coming up along the Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag route. This doubling work will provide the necessary line capacity for introduction of additional trains and smooth movement of rakes to/from the industries/power plants.
  • Part length for this Doubling project, i.e. from Hotgi-Kudgi (134 km) has been taken up under “Customer Funding Model” with National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC). NTPC HAS DEPOSITED Rs. 946 Cr. Towards this doubling. Thermal Plant at Kudgi station of 4000 MW capacity is coming up and doubling of this line will greatly help movement of freight to this plant .
  • Gadag-Hotgi section passes through Gadag, Bagalkot, Bijapur Districts of Karnataka and Solapur district of Maharashtra State.
  • The entire project is targeted for completion by 2020-21.

Inauguration Of Platform shelter on PF2 at Gadag

Gadag is a ‘B’ Category railway station. It receives an footfall of about 3950 passengers per day. About 31 express/passenger trains halt at Gadag railway station daily. For the convenience of passengers, the existing platform shelter on platform no.2 & 3 has been extended for additional length of 60 M at a cost of Rs.11.50 lakhs. 15 numbers of three-seater concrete benches have been provided as seating arrangements for the convenience of passengers at a cost of Rs.1.50 lakhs. This extended shelter is helpful to passengers who wish to board/alight trains during extreme weather conditions.

WORKS AT BHANAPURGADAG (TALKAL)-WADI NEW RAILWAY LINE PROJECT – SALIENT FEATURES

1. Length of the Line 257Kms
2. No. of Stations 27 (Exclding  Wadi)
3. Total requirement of Land 3472 Acres
District Land in Acres
Koppal 967
Raichur 1116
Yadgir 1170
Kalaburagi 219
5. Total Number of Bridges 373
a)     Important Bridges: 02
b)     Major Bridges : 84
c)     Minor Bridges: 169
d)     Road Uner Bridges : 76
e)     Road Over Bridges : 42
6. Number of Level crossings Nil
7. Major rivers Krishna & Bheema

There will be no level crossing gate in the entire 257 KM route length of this line.

The 257 KM long Gadag-Wadi railway line is a prestigious project of Railways.

This line passes through Koppal, Raichur, Yadgir and Kalaburagi districts and covers important places like Yelburga, Kushtagi, Mudgal, Lingasugur, Shorapur & Shahpur enroute.

Once commissioned, this line will provide a short route between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, thus significantly reducing the travel time between the two states. The railway line between Gadag- Wadi will play a pivotal role in boosting economic growth in the region as it will also facilitate transportation of raw materials and finished goods of the industries in this region, besides catering to travel needs of public.

This project has been taken up under 50:50 cost sharing basis with Government of Karnataka (GoK).

Total land requirement for this project is 3472 Acres which will be provided by GoK free of cost to Railways.

Presently, 550 acres out of 750 Acres of land required between Talkal-Kushtagi (57 KM) has been handed over by GoK.

Tenders for execution of earthwork, minor bridges in this stretch costing Rs.85 Crores have been awarded by Railways.

Inauguration of New Platform No. 2/3 at Koppal Station

Koppal is one of the important districts of North Karnataka and being the district headquarters, a number of developmental activities have been taken up by Railways at Koppal for the convenience of passengers. Koppal railway station gets a foot-fall of approximately 2300 passengers per day and it is classified as a ‘B’ Category station. About 18 passenger/express trains arrive/depart Koppal daily. This Railway Station has been provided with all prescribed passenger amenities as per extant guidelines.

Newly constructed platform No.2/3 at Koppal railway station.

Along with the doubling of Hosapete- Tinaighat railway line, Koppal railway station was provided with an additional platform No. 2/3.

This is a high level island platform having length of 540 meters which has been constructed within a time span of 2 months, and at a cost of Rs.60 lakhs.

To have an access to this platform, one Foot-Over-Bridge(FOB) has also been provided to enable passenger have easy access to all the platforms.

Platform shelter for a length of 128 m/1024 Sq.m-8 bays of 16 m at cost of Rs.15 lakhs.

This new platform has 10 water booths to take care of drinking water requirements of passengers.

Adequate seating arrangement i.e. 20 three-seater concrete benches (at a cost of Rs.2.50 lakhs) has been provided for the convenience of passengers.

Total cost of improvement to passenger amenities is Rs. 1.66 Crores.

In addition, 3 New lines and one rail level goods unloading platform (650 m long x 21m width) have also been provided.

DOUBLING OF BHANAPUR-KOPPAL SECTION

Bhanapur-Koppal section is a part of Hosapete – Tinaighat doubling project. The doubling of this  section (12 Km) was commissioned recently . This doubling has been completed at a cost of Rs. 35 Cr.

The midsection includes 03 New Major Bridges & 05  minor bridges.

This doubling is in continuation with earlier doubling commissioned from Harlapur-Sompur-Banikoppa-Bhanapur commissioned in year 2016.

NEW STATION BULDING AT CHIKKODI ROAD STATION.

Chikkodi road is an important railway station situated in Chikkodi taluk of Belagavi district in the Londa – Miraj section of Hubballi division, South Western Railway. About 12 trains halt at Chikkodi road Railway station daily and the station receives a footfall of 600 passengers daily.

A new station building with built up area of 275 Sq. Meter has been constructed at Chikkoddi Road Station.

Improvement to circulating area is done by providing paver blocks for area of 500 Sq.M. to improve the aesthetics of this station.

For convenience of passengers, platform at Chikkodi Road railway station has been extended by 320 meter with cement concrete flooring.

New platform shelter has been provided for a length of 64 meter with seating arrangements.

Since freight traffic is also dealt at Chikkodi Road station, platform of length  700 meter has also been provided to facilitate ease in goods loading/unloading at Chikkodi Road railway station.

EXTENDED PLATFORM SHELTER AT RAYBAG RAILWAY STATION:

Raybag railway station is located Londa-Miraj section of Hubballi division (South Western Railway).

 About 20 trains (including passenger and express) halt at this station and it receives a footfall of around 1800 passengers daily.

In addition to passenger traffic, Raybag station also deals with freight traffic.

 The station has regular inward traffic of maize and fertilizers, and sugar is transported from Raybag.

 This station had an existing platform shelter of 20 m.

Since many important express trains have stoppage at this station, additional platform shelter of 64 m  at a cost of Rs.15 lakhs has been provided at Raybag for the convenience of passengers.

LAUNCHING OF SHIVATHAN–LONDA–TINAIGHAT DOUBLE LINE SECTION TO THE NATION

Shivathan – Londa – Tinaighat is a part of Hospet – Tinaighat doubling project, passing through semi-ghat terrain of Western Ghats.

The doubling of 16.5km long section was commissioned recently.

As a part of this work, yard re-modeling of Londa Junction was done by increasing loop to 750m and yard is also provided with new shunting neck of 550m, track machine siding and siding for Rail Grinding machine. At Tinaighat a medium level passenger platform of 375m length and platform shelter is provided.

All the newly laid Points & Crossings are Thick web switches which improves safety. This doubling eases the congestion around Londa junction.

This doubling has been completed at a cost of Rs. 38.5 Crores.

AT SHIVAMOGGAProvision of VIP lounge at Shivamogga Town 

Shivamogga town is an important A category station of Mysore Division which is attracting large number of tourists in the Malnad area of Karnataka.

 The upgradation of passenger amenities in this important and famous station has been done by  upgrading  of station building, improvements to approach road with proper paved parking facility and paving of circulating area, Digital Reservation Chart, platform shelter Electro – Chlorination Plant etc.

Being tourist destination of Malnad region of Karnataka, the station has been further upgraded by providing majestic VIP lounge.

The VIP lounge was sanctioned in the year 2015-16 and the facility is provided with proper ambience with granite flooring and cladding, air-conditioned seating arrangement with Sofa set, Luggage rack and improved bath-cum toilet facilities with hot and cold water.

 This facility to a great extent will grant better waiting experience to the travelling passengers visiting Shivamogga Town Railway station.

AT HOLENARASIPURA: Dedication of Foot over bridge at Holenarasipura

Holenarasipura is important station of Mysuru Division which is a famous for important an ancient Narasimha Temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha and river Hemavati, one of the many tributaries of the Kaveri.

Being the important tourist destination, the station was identified for upgradation as Adarsh station during year 2015-16.The important Passenger Amenity works listed below to the tune of Rs.2.85 crores are added to upgrade the station as per norms of Adarsh station.

Sl.No Name of Work Cost (in Lacs)
1 Improvement to façade of station building,  Improvement to PF surface of PF No.1 including seating arrangement and water pedestal, 34
2 Improvement to circulating area and approach road. 48
3 Provision of pay & use toilets, 5
4 Provision of IRS type PF shelter for a length of 96 mtrs at PF NO.1 54
6 Extension of PF No.1 to accommodated 24 coaches 12
7 Provision of second PF (No.2) rail level with lighting facilities. 47
8 Provision of low cost PF shelter PF NO.2 26
9 Provision of  Foot over bridge 59

Foot over bridge has been completed in the month July-17. On commissioning of foot over bridge at Holenarsipura all required facilities as per Adarsh station norms are provided.

AT BAIYYAPPANAHALLIDEMU train from Baiyyappanahalli (BYPL) to Whitefield (WFD)

A new special DEMU train starting from BYPL to WFD in the morning and WFD to BYPL in the evening peak hours is being planned to cater to the demand of daily passengers working in and around WFD area. BMRCL is taking up extension of Metro services from BYPL to WFD. In this regard several construction works are being taken up which has led to traffic congestion for road users. To facilitate commuters in this stretch, Railway has planned for introduction a new DEMU trains in addition to the existing services.

 

Suresh Prabhu lays Foundation Stone for Doubling Work at Mangaluru Central station

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today laid the foundation stone for doubling of the railway line in the Nethravati-Mangaluru section and the foot over bridge at Mangaluru Central railway station here. Prabhu said several projects were being launched at eight different railway stations across Karnataka. 

MANGALURU: Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today laid the foundation stone for doubling of the railway line in the Nethravati-Mangaluru section and the foot over bridge at Mangaluru Central railway station here through video conference from New Delhi. Nalin Kumar Kateel MP, city mayor Kavita Sanil and other dignitaries inaugurated the programme at the Mangaluru Central railway station by lighting a lamp. Addressing the audience through video conference, Prabhu said several projects were being launched at eight different railway stations across Karnataka. Only Rs 835 crore was allotted to railways for the state earlier. The grant was increased to Rs 2,200 crore during 2014-17 period, an increase of 163 per cent from the previous government’s budget.

During 2017-18, the budget had been increased to Rs 3,174 crore. This was the highest-ever allocation to the state and the government had now sanctioned Rs 60 crore for 10 doubling works, an electrification scheme and other new projects being taken up. Mayor Kavita Sanil, who also spoke, congratulated the Railways for the initiative taken to launch two new projects in Mangaluru Central railway station. She also demanded that Mangaluru be made a separate railway division.

Kateel said Dakshina Kannada district had received Rs 1,500 crore in the last three years. Mangaluru was set to become a Smart City and several development projects were being initiated by the Centre. Five railway stations, including Mangaluru had been identified under PPP model to be developed into world-class railway stations, he said. The proposed foot overbridge will connect platforms one with two and three and measure 25 metre in length and 3 metre in width. The total cost had been estimated at Rs 90 lakh.

The project of doubling the 1.5 km stretch of Nethravati to Mangaluru Central was sanctioned by the Railway ministry in 2016-17. The detailed project report had been submitted to the railway board. The project, expected to cost Rs 28.03 crore, also envisages modification of two road overbridges.

Suresh Prabhu commissions Rail Bogie Karkhana at Yadgir, lays Foundation Stone for Bypass Rail Line at Wadi

The Rail Bogie Karkhana at Yadgir was completed at a cost of Rs.80.92 Crore and has come up on 150 Acres of Land contributed by the State Government for free of cost to Railways to uplift the region in terms of employment and economy push.

NEW DELHI: The Districts of Yadgir and Kalaburagi in North Karnataka saw a fresh momentum to rail developmental activities when Suresh Prabhkar Prahu, Minister for Railways Commissioned the first ever Production Unit on South Central Railway i.e., Rail Bogie Karkhana at Badiyal Village near Yadgir and laid foundation stone for Bypass Railway Line at Wadi in Kalaburgi District of Karnataka State today i.e., 18th August, 2017 through Video Remote Link from New Delhi.

B.V.Naik, Member of Parliament, Raichur; Amarnath N Patil, Member of Legislative Council; B.G.Patil, Member of Legislative Assembly; Smt Sashikala Bheemannagouda Kyatnal, Member, Zilla Panchayat, Saidapur; Bashu S Rathod, President, Taluk Panchayat, Yadgir; Bassappagouda Belgundi, Member, Taluk Panchayat, Badiyal; Smt Shamiya Begam Gousuddin, Member, Taluk Panchayat, Kadaychur; Bheerappa, President, Gram Panchayat, Kadechur; Smt Gowramma, President, Gram Panchayat, Badiyal were the dignitaries present on the Occasion.

Addressing the large gathering, Suresh Prabhu, who inaugurated several other Rail Development Initiatives in Karnataka State simultaneously, said that the Railways is focused in undertaking development of rail network in Karnataka State. He stated that people should travel in comfort on Indian Railways, towards which the Organisation is committed to upgrade the Passenger Amenities to best standards. The Minister also highlighted that Indian Railways is focusing on energy efficient technology by imbibing green power such as solar energy. Indian Railways is on track in commissioning of Dedicated Freight Corridor and other initiatives as Modernisation of Network, Electrification etc., the Minister added.

Speaking on the inauguration of the Rail Bogie Karkhana at Yadgir, the Rail Minister said that – “Yadgir mein Rail Bogie Karkhana Ka Udghatan, Yaadgar Rahega”. The Occasion is a memorable moment because of the fact that the Unit will be manufacturing Rail Bogies needed for the new LHB Coaches on Indian Railways, there by strengthening the capacity of the organisation itself, in transporting more and more people.

Earlier, in his welcome address, John Thomas, Additional General Manager, SCR highlighted the fact that the Zone is committed in developing the rail infrastructure on its network. He said that the Rail Bogie Karkhana, is a very modern manufacturing facility with State of the Art Production Machinery including robotic welding machine etc. It has been set up at a cost of Rs. 80 Cr to manufacture 600 FIAT Bogie Frames per annum. On the Bypass line near Wadi, he stated that this will help in easing train moments at this important junction, in all the directions.

B.V.Naik; Amarnath N Patil and B.G.Patil also spoke on the occasion and expressed their happiness with the rail developmental initiatives that took off today.

MOS (Rlys) inspects Secunderabad Railway Station, takes part in Swachhta Pakhwada, Reviews SCR Performance

SECUNDERABAD: Rajen Gohain, Minister of State for Railways visited South Central Railway on 17th August, 2017 and inspected Secunderabad Railway Station and took part in the ongoing Swachhta Pakhwada – Mission Cleanliness Program of Indian Railways. Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, SCR, Amit Varadan, Division Railway Manager, Secunderabad Division and other senior officials accompanied the Minister.

Rajen Gohain was briefed in detail on the working system of high standard Mechanized Cleaning equipments being put to use for the upkeep of station cleanliness at Secunderabad. The Minister inspected various Passenger Amenities such as Waiting Halls, Security Surveillance System, Toilet facilities etc. The General Manager, SCR detailed Rajen Gohain on the activities being taken up by the Zone during “Swachh Rail – Swachh Bharat” Swachhta Pakhwada fortnight campaign which commenced on 16th August, 2017.

The Minister of State for Railways interacted with the Media, Representatives of Passenger Association and SCR Employees as a part of “Swachh Samvad Day” of the ongoing Swachhta Pakhwada and briefed them on Swachh Bharat Mission taken up by Railways to fulfill the vision of Prime Minister of India. He also focused on taking up “Sankalp Se Siddhi” to strive for building a new India by 2022. He stated that the Dedicated Freight Corridor, High Speed rail project, running of Bullet Train in India are issues of aspiration to the people of the country and Indian Railways will fulfill them. He also stated that projects on Indian Railways such as laying of New Railway Line, Doubling, Tripling, Electrification are progressing fast and high priority is being accorded to complete the projects in stipulated target time.

Later, Rajen Gohain inaugurated a revived Heritage Well at the 1105 Railway Engineers’ Regiment (Territorial Army), located at Moula-ali, Hyderabad through Remote Video Link from SCR Headquarters, Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad where he also held a review meeting with Senior Railway Officials of the Zone. Interacting with the Railway Officials, Rajen Gohain stressed that South Central Railway transports a host of different freight commodities unlike several other Zones and hence shall make every effort to better its freight business. He advised the Officials to utilize the schemes from the Railway Ministry for encouraging freight traffic. Rajen Gohain keenly analyzed the status of ongoing Railway projects being taken up Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) & Construction Organization on SCR and sought to know the plans for early completion of the same. The Minister also reviewed various important subjects as passenger traffic, employee welfare measures etc.

Earlier, Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, SCR welcomed the Minister of State for Railways and made a power point presentation on the performance and achievements of the Zone, various initiatives taken up by SCR for Water & Energy Conservation and Green Initiatives. The General Manager detailed the measures taken up by SCR concerning key areas of Safety, Security, Punctuality as well as status of rail projects on the Zone. John Thomas, Additional General Manager, SCR; Principal Heads of Departments; Divisional Railway Managers of Secunderabad and Hyderabad Division and the Chief Project Manager, RVNL were also present.

BJP State President urges MOSR to fast track Rail projects in the State

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State unit president K Laxman on Thursday urged the Union Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain to speed up the ongoing works of railway projects in Telangana.

The BJP president submitted a memorandum to the Railway Minister Rajen Gohain in this regard on Thursday. He said there were some projects which need to be cleared and require proper attention for development and faster growth of Telangana.

Laxman said some of the projects in the State were going on at a snail’s pace including Maulali – Sanathnagar, Secunderabad – Medchal, Secunderabad – Ghatkesar, Falaknuma – Umdanagar (Shamshabad), Ghatkesar – Raigiri (Yadadri).

Regarding the proposed Circular Railway Line along the existing Outer Ring Road (ORR), Laxman said the land for circular railway line was acquired but, a new line would be useful for people of Hyderabad to ease out the traffic congestion and reach different destinations in and around Hyderabad city, he added.

He said two new terminals have been proposed to ease out traffic congestion at Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Kacheguda railway stations by establishing passenger terminals at Cherlapally / Moula Ali and Lingampally.
He said the electrification of Secunderabad – Mudkhed, Kache guda- Guntakal and Bibinagar – Nadikudi railway lines was also pending.

He also brought to the notice of the Minister that workshop at Kazipet with an estimated cost of Rs 270 crore was also pending. He said the State government had to provide 160 acres of land for this purpose. This was proposed in 2016-17 Railway budget. The BJP leader wanted Uday Trains from Secunderabad/Hyderabad as there is not even a single Uday train from Secunderabad.

He also wanted the Minister to take steps for starting the works pertaining to upgradation of Secunderabad Railway Station into international standards. The BJP leader wanted the Minister to take up the new lines proposed including Macharla-Nalgonda (81.6 km), Bhadrachalam Road- Sattupally (56.25 km), Bhadrachalam Road-Kovvur (151 km), Akkannapet -Medak (17.20 km), Kondapally-Kothagudem (125 km), Manuguru -Ramagundam (200 km).

He asked the Minister to take personal attention for completing these projects.

Talking to reporters later, Rajen Gohain said the Centre allocated Rs 1,789 crore for the railway projects this year to Telangana, which was more than double compared to 2016-17, which was projects worth Rs 601 crore. He said that as of now Rs 17,475 crore worth projects were going on in the State.

Suresh Prabhu launches various Services/Facilities/Initiatives through video-conferencing

NEW DELHIIn order to make the rail journey more comfortable and remarkable, Indian Railways has been launching various services and projects. In this direction,  Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu in a programme held today at Rail Bhawan, through video-conferencing launched and dedicated following services to the nation : –

1.    Laying of foundation stone for Gaya Byepass (At Gaya, Bihar).

2.    Electrification of Bakhtiarpur-Rajgir Section (at Bakhtiarpur, Bihar).

3.    Electrification of Meralgram-Renukut Section (at Renukut, Jharkhand & UP).

4.      Inauguration of following facilities at Bihta Station(Bihar): –

         a)   Extension of Platforms Nos. 1 & 2 for accommodation of 24 coaches, extension of Platforms shed-4 nos.

         b)   Provision of benches-12 nos.

         c)    Provision of water booth-1 no.

         d)   Improvement of circulating area (south side).

5.  Inauguration/Dedication of following facilities at Chhapra(Bihar):

         a)     ISS at Chhapra station.

         b)      Inauguration of works of escalators (02 nos) and improvements to platforms of Chhapra station.

         c)      Laying of foundation stone for second entry gate of Chhapra station.

         d)      Inauguration of Water Vending Machines (02 nos.) at Chhapra.

         e)      Wi-fi at Chhapra station.

6.      Newly constructed Goods Sheds and 6 lines station at Chhapra Gramin Station.

7.      Green Corridor in Bhagalpur- Banka section (Bihar) of Malda Division.

Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain was specially present to grace the occasion. Chairman, Railway Board, Shri A. K. Mital, other Railway Board Members, several other dignitaries and senior officials were among those present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that the unfortunate floods in Bihar & Assam has caused distress. Indian Railways is extending all possible help to the victims. Inaugurations of various passenger amenities in different parts of Bihar will help the people of Bihar for comfortable journey experience.  

SERVICES LAUNCHED : –

1)      Laying of Foundation Stone for Gaya Bypass

Benefits:

●       Provides Direct Connectivity from 3rd Line between Gaya & Manpur(for movement to Kiul) to Gaya Patna Line.

●       Avoids Reversal at Gaya Station and will improve the movement of COAL,STEEL,CEMENT & FOOD GRAINS to Patna.

    2)   Electrification of Bakhtiarpur-Rajgir

            Benefits

  • Manpur – Tilaiya – Bakhtiyarpur is a missing link between two electrified corridors of Mughalsarai – Patna – Bakhtiyarpur –Sitarampur – Howrah (Delhi-Howrah main line) and Mughalsarai-Gaya-Dhanbad-Sitarampur-Howrah (Grand Chord).
  • The proposed section is a shorter route for transportation of coal to National  Thermal Power Corporation’s Barh thermal power plant.
  • Coal will be fed through this route from Tori-Shivpuri collieries of Central Collieries.
  • Apart from Coal, this section also carries Fertilizers, Food Grains, Cement , Salt etc.
  • After electrification of entire section, there will be seamless flow of electric trains in this section as traction changes/detentions at Manpur and Bakhtiyarpur ends would be eliminated.

3) Electrification of Meralgram-Renukut section.

        Benefits:

●       Garwa Road-Chopan-Singrauli including Karaila Road-Shaktinagar single line section of East Central Railway covering 257 route kilometers passes through the states of Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

●       Electrification of Garwa Road-Chopan-Singrauli with a view to ultimately connect    Eastern and Central parts of India seamlessly through Garwa Road – Chopan – Singrauli – Katni– Bina – Kota.

●       The electrification of the mentioned route of ECR is necessary from strategic perspective for increase in traffic, operational flexibility and better utilization of assets in electrified section.

●       Electrification of this route will also avoid traction change at Garwa Road.

4) Inauguration of Passenger Amenities at Bihta Station

●       Extension of PF Sheds (4 Nos.).

●       Benches (12 Nos.), Water Booth (1 No.).

●       Improvement of Circulating Area (South Side).

●       Extension of PF Nos. 1 & 2 for accommodation of 24 coaches.

5)            Inauguration of Passenger amenities at Chhapra Station

●         Foundation stone for second entry gate- Estimated cost for Second Entry Gate is Rs. 24.62 Crores.

●       Wi Fi Facility at Chhapra Station- The facility for the visitors & rail users of Chhapra Railway Station is being provided by RailTel in partnership with Google with no cost to Railway for providing high speed state of the art world class internet experience to the commuters. The Railwire wi-fi service is currently available at 127 stations.

●       The facility will offer high-speed broadband like experience to users Wi-Fi facility is being provided at A1 & A category Railway station.

●       Provision of escalators and modification of platforms at Chhapra station.

●       Chhapra station is an ‘A-1’ category station on Gorakhpur cantt. and Chhapra Katcheri section of Varanasi Division, NER.

●       The estimated cost of provision of escalators at Chhapra station is     Rs. 7277052/-  each escalator (total Rs.7277052X2= Rs. 14554104/-).

6) Inauguration of New Goods Shed at Chhapra Gramin Station

●       Chhapra Gramin is a crossing station having 6 running lines. 2 lines are electrified and rest are in progress.

●       New goods shed opened from Feb. 16.

●       Mainly I/W traffic of cement, fertilizer and food grain. Average 23 rakes per month.

●       Good sheds has one full rake replacement capacity, pucca platform, adequate light arrangement and round the clock working.

Suresh Prabhu to launch host of Rail Projects on South Western Railway in Karnataka

HUBLI: Railway infrastructure in north Karnataka will take a boost with Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu launching several initiatives, including commencement of new line work between Gadag and Wadi (257 km) and doubling of Gadag-Kudgi-Hotgi line (284 km).

The initiatives, falling under Hubballi-headquartered South Western Railway (SWR), is not only expected to enhance rail connectivity in north Karnataka, but also likely to boost the economy of the region. Gadag-Wadi new line, which has been pending for several years, is also expected to reduce rail-road distance between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The launch will be through videoconferencing from Goa on August 18.

Gadag-Wadi line

The 257 km-long Gadag-Wadi line passing through Koppal, Raichur, Yadgir and Kalaburagi districts and covering Yelburga, Kushtagi, Mudgal, Lingasugur, Shorapur and Shahpur is a prestigious project for the Railways.

The SWR said the line will help boost economy in the region and also play a key role in transportation of raw material and finished goods, besides serving travel needs of the public. Sanctioned in 2013-14, it is being undertaken at a cost of ₹2,841 crore under 50:50 cost sharing basis with Government of Karnataka. The government is also providing 3,472 acres of land required free of cost while 550 acres has already been handed over. The SWR has awarded contract for earthwork and minor bridges for 57 km between Talkal-Kushtagi at a cost of ₹85 crore. Acquisition of 640 acres of land between Shahapur-Wadi for 47 km line is in the advance stages.

Gadag-Hotgi doubling

Sanctioned in 2014-15, the 285 km Gadag-Kudgi-Hotgi line doubling will enhance the line capacity improving average speed. The National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd., which is executing the 4,000 MW thermal power plant at Kudgi, is funding part of the (134 km) project under “Customer Funding Model” by investing ₹946 crore. The Railways will reimburse the investment through freight rebate once the project gets completed in 2019-20. The entire project is targeted for completion by 2020-21.

Other initiatives include dedication of new platform shelters at Gadag Railway Station; inauguration of new building for Chikkodi Road Station in Belagavi district; inauguration of newly constructed platforms 2/3 at Koppal Railway Station; and inauguration of platform shelters at Raibag Railway Station.

Indian Railways on the fast track to undertake 70 Capacity Augmentation projects

NEW DELHI: Suresh Prabhu, the minister of railways, is a man in a tearing hurry. For he has to make up for the lack of any significant addition over the last two decades to the infrastructure of this 65,000-km-long network. Successive railway ministers, given to populism, have announced hundreds of new trains at the annual Rail Budgets, unmindful of whether there was adequate track capacity to run them or not. Resultantly, over the last two decades, no less than 5,000 such new trains have been added, taking the total tally of passenger trains to nearly 9,000, whereas the addition to freight during this period has been less than 1,000 trains.

Moreover, most of the new passenger trains have been the superfast variety, on the lines of those started by the late Madhavrao Scindia, who introduced the concept of fast intercity trains such as the Shatabdi Express in the 1980s. Nitish Kumar as the railway minister introduced a slew of Sampark Kranti Express trains, Lalu Prasad Yadav had his brand of Garib Rath, while Mamata Banerjee did one better with the Duronto Express trains which ran non-stop from source to destination.

The overcrowded tracks, 60% of which now carry over 100% and some even 150% of their designed capacity, have resulted in the freight trains taking a severe hit, with the average speeds dropping to an abysmal 25kph, since the passenger trains are always accorded precedence over freight.

Simultaneously, the reluctance of ministers over the last two decades to announce any meaningful hike in passenger tariff to keep up with inflation has resulted in the passenger business being subsidised at the cost of freight, whose tariff was hiked regularly to keep the Indian Railways from going in the red.

The double whammy of low average speeds and the hike in tariff each year adversely impacted Indian Railways’ freight business. It has not been able to attract any significant volumes of new business and merrily carried on with annual increments in bulk commodities such as coal, iron ore, limestone, cement, food grains, petroleum products, etc.

The absence of assured timetable in the running of special parcel express trains, comparatively high tariff, and rigidity in rules and regulations have resulted in the lucrative parcel business eluding the railways and continuing to prefer road sector.

With financing of infrastructure projects being assured by insurance giant LIC, whom minister Prabhu persuaded to provide a Rs 1.5 lakh crore loan, the Indian Railways has now been on the fast track to undertake 70 capacity augmentation projects.

Mostly for converting single lines to double or double to triple wherever the volume of traffic has gone beyond 100% of designed capacity, projects sanctioned so far with a total length of 7,663.93-km and costing Rs 75,700.28 crore range from a short 1.82-km bypass line at Khurda Road in Odisha costing Rs 25.72 crore to doubling of the 467-km track of the Pune-Miraj-Londa section costing Rs 3,627 crore. Chhattisgarh government and South Eastern Coalfields have been roped in for a JV with Ircon to finance a 122-km-long new line from Gevra Road to Pendra Road costing Rs 4,949.28 crore for movement of coal.

The world over, for railways, freight is the breadwinner, with passenger services restricted mostly to fast intercity or commuter services. However, India has the unique distinction of having two-thirds of its trains carrying passengers which earn just one-third of its total revenue. Prabhu aims to correct this aberration by creating adequate infrastructure, offering fast, safe and cost-effective rail transport for freight, regaining Indian Railways’ role as the nation’s economic lifeline.

Two new corridors, dedicated to carry freight, have also been in the works for almost a decade. The Eastern Corridor, a 1,278-km-long Ludhiana-Son Nagar alignment parallel to the existing grand trunk route, would meet the growing demand for coal by thermal power plants in the North from collieries in the East.

The Western Corridor—1,504-km-long from Delhi (Dadri) to Mumbai (JNPT)—will help export-import trade and also cater to the proposed DMIC. Expected to be commissioned sometime by end-2020, it will offer assured timetable running of freight trains, typically completing the Dadri to JNPT run in 24 hours.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launches Antyodaya, Humsafar Express via Video

Railways minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday inaugurated Antyodaya Express and Humsafar Express at Bandra Terminus here via video conferencing.

MUMBAI: Railways minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday inaugurated Antyodaya Express and Humsafar Express at Bandra Terminus here via video conferencing.

While Antyodaya Express is a fully unreserved service, Humsafar Express is touted as an affordable luxury train by the Railways.

“These express trains and host of other services for Mumbai suburban stations were launched by the railways minister through video conferencing,” a Western Railway release said.

While Antyodaya Express will run between Bandra (T) and Gorakhpur stations, Humsafar Express between Bandra (T) and Patna.

“Antyodaya Express will leave Bandra terminus every Sunday at 5:10am and will reach Gorakhpur at 5:35pm the next day. It will leave Gorakhpur every Tuesday at 3:15am and reach Bandra (T) at 4.15pm the next day,” it said.

Humsafar Express is fully air-conditioned train fitted with a GPS-based passenger information display system.

“It also has a passenger announcement system, a fire and smoke detection and suppression system, CCTVs, comfortable seats, mobile and laptop charging points. It also has integrated Braille display,” the release said.

This is the second Humsafar service to become operational on the Western Railway.

“The first such train was launched recently between Ahmedabad and Chennai,” it said.

The train will depart from Bandra (T) every Sunday at 12.55pm and will reach Patna at 10.15pm the next day.

“Similarly, the train will leave Patna at 11.10pm every Tuesday and will reach Bandra (T) at 7.35pm on Thursday,” as per the release.

The regular services of both the trains from Bandra will commence from August 20.

Prabhu also inaugurated a lift facility at suburban Borivali station to facilitate the movement of specially-abled and senior citizens. He also inaugurated the wi-fi facility at suburban Vasai Road and Virar stations.

16% Network carries 60% Traffic: says Suresh Prabhu in Parliament in response to a query

NEW DELHI: As much as 16 per cent of the railway network carries 60 per cent of the traffic, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

He said a signalling system of a “very high value” is being prepared so that trains can run properly.

Responding to a query as to why Rajdhani and Duronto trains are getting delayed, Prabhu said a major reason for train delays is heavy congestion as there has been a significant increase in traffic compared to the railway infrastructure.

Assuring that work is being done to address the issues, he said punctuality is being handled every day.

“Some networks are operating at 160 per cent to 170 per cent of the capacity,” he said, adding that doubling and tripling of 16,500 kilometres of rail network has been sanctioned.

“Age-old problems with which the railway was suffering and which have caused serious challenge to run the trains on time today will be properly addressed,” he said during Question Hour.

The minister said the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail project has been sanctioned for implementation with technical and financial assistance of the Japanese government.

“Procurement of high speed rolling stock is an integral part of the project that envisages promoting ‘Make-in-India’ of high speed rolling stock in a phased manner,” he added.

Around 85 per cent of the funding for the project would come from the Japanese and that too on “very soft terms”.

“This is the best soft term under the Overseas Development Assistance,” he added.

Indian Railways executing atleast 15 Railway projects in the North-East: MOSR

Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally monitoring the progress of the projects on weekly basis!

NEW DELHI: The Railways has taken up at least 15 major projects of new lines in the northeastern states, including in Assam, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said in Rajya Sabha today.

The Indian Railways has laid great emphasis on improvement and development of railway infrastructure in Assam and the northeastern states, said the minister in reply to a question by Santius Kujur.

The projects include Bogibeel bridge with linking lines between Dibrugarh and the North Bank (73 km). The anticipated cost of the bridge project is Rs 4,996 crore and expenditure incurred up to March this year was Rs 4,102 crore. The total outlay for the project this fiscal is Rs 300 crore.

Gohain said final location survey for new lines included in the budget has been taken up by the Northeast Frontier Railway. Asked about the estimated time-line to complete the railway lines for commencement of operations, Gohain said the Railways has huge throw-forward of ongoing projects with limited resources.

He said completion of projects also depends on land acquisition and forestry clearance, law and order, NOC in road, canal and electrical crossings from different Central and state government authorities.

MoU signed between RLDA & IRCON International for Redevelopment of Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station

1st phase of Redevelopment of Safdarjung Railway Station by 2019.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu witnessed signing of MoU between RLDA and IRCON for Re-development of Delhi Safdarjung Station

NEW DELHI: Ministry of Railways has entrusted the work of redevelopment of Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station to IRCON along with RLDA by leveraging the commercial potential of the railway land around the station including RLDA’s office as well as air space above the railway station.

In the gracious presence of Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of Railways, Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), a Statutory Authority under Ministry of Railways, Government of India signed an MoU for this purpose with IRCON International Limited, a Public Sector Undertaking under Ministry of Railways.

Shri Rakesh Goyal, Vice Chairman RLDA and Shri S. K. Chaudhary, CMD IRCON signed the MOU. Delhi Safdarjung station is proposed to be developed on self-financing model for which finance will be raised through marketing of the commercial built-up area that will be developed on the surplus railway land and air space as part of the Station development project. The land and the constructed buildings will continue to remain under the ownership and control of RLDA and only the commercial built-up area will be leased for upto 45 years by RLDA, the statement said.

IRCON will carry out design, construction and marketing of the project. The Phase-I of the project will come up on the Moti Bagh side of the Station and is targeted for completion by January 2019.

They are expected to leverage the commercial potential of the railway land around the station as well as the air space above it. The station is proposed to be developed on a self- financing model for which finance will be raised through marketing of the commercial built-up area that will be developed on the surplus railway land and air space as part of the station development project.

Railway sanctions Solar Systems on 24 DEMU Trains, provisions for 250 more

NEW DELHI: Ministry of Railways has sanctioned Solar Power System on 24 Coaches of DEMU trains and has approved similar provisions with flexible solar panels on 250 more coaches.

Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain stated this on 2 August in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

He said that the Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) Broad Gauge Train with Solar Power generation on roof top of its coaches has been dedicated to the nation by the Minister of Railways on  14 July 2017. This train has been inducted in the link of Train Number 740033 between Delhi Sarai Rohilla-Garhi Harsaru-Farukhnagar in Northern Railway.

The details of reduction in Carbon Emission and fuel saving shall be known after running this train for a period of one year, Minister said in his reply.

Replying to one another question, the Minister stated that during the last three years, a total of 62,773 candidates have been empanelled for various categories of Group ‘C’ posts by all the 21 RRBs.

Indian Railways, an organization having pan India character, presently has 21 Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) across the country for catering to the recruitment requirements of various categories of Group ‘C’ posts of Zonal Railway(s)/ Production Unit(s).

Replying to the questions the Minister Gahain said that, “No preference/relaxation is given to candidates belonging to any region. The RRBs have been established based on territorial jurisdiction of the Indian railways and not on the basis of State(s), Zone(s) / Region(s). Candidates are free to apply to any RRB throughout the country in response to the advertisements; RRBs do not make any distinction on the basis of State(s), Region(s) / Area(s) / Locality, Caste(s), Gender(s) or Creed(s).”

CONCOR to set up Cold Storage at Lasalgaon near Nashik for storage of Onions and other Perishable Produce

Foundation Stone for the Cold Storage will be laid jointly by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on July 30.

NASHIK: Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) plans to set up a cold storage unit at Lasalgaon near Nashik for storage of onions and other perishable produce.

The foundation stone for the cold storage will be laid jointly by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on July 30, said Central Railway chief PRO Sunil Udasi in a release here tonight.

The cold storage will benefit farmers and reduce spoilages by 35 per cent, he said.

The cold storage unit will have a total capacity of 2500 MT, of which 1500 MT will be exclusively utilised for onion storage and remaining for other perishable commodities such as fruits and vegetables.

“This cold storage will be a boon for the farmers of the area, especially the onion growers,” Udasi said.

WRs chief PRO Ravinder Bhakar said the cold storage is being set up as a CSR project by CONCOR, a Railway undertaking, at a cost of Rs 5 crore.

“The facility will be maintained by Lasalgaon, Vibhag Cooperative Purchase and Sale Union Ltd,” Bhakar said.

Railways is a major transporter of onions and plays a key role in timely transportation of the commodity to various consumer market from producer states.

To reduce the spoilages, Indian Railways allots the rakes/wagons on priority basis wherever possible for carriage of onion, he said.

17% Rail Tickets in 2017-18 booked via. Digital Payment: MOSR

NEW DELHI: About 17 per cent of railway tickets were booked through cashless modes of payment during the financial year 2017-2018, the government said today.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Railways, Rajen Gohain said passengers are using different e-payment modes like credit/debit cards and net banking to pay for their tickets.

“Rail users have been provided the option to book tickets by making payments through various banks/payment providers including Paytm as an aggregator. During the financial year 2017-2018 (up to June 2017), approximately 17 per cent of total tickets, both reserved and unreserved, were booked through various cashless modes of payment,” he said.

The national transporter has been promoting different modes of cashless transactions like PayTM, Mobikwik, mRupee, IRCTC eWallet, PayU, Freecharge, JIO Money, Ola money etc, he said.

The government had waived off service charges on railway tickets after demonetisation in November last, in a bid to encourage digital payments. The service charges ranged from Rs 20 to Rs 40 per ticket.

IRSDC and Govt of Gujarat forms SPV for development of Gandhinagar Railway Station

The initiative to redevelop Gandhinagar Railway Station in the international standards, duly reflecting the essence of thoughts and historical events pertaining to father of the Nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

A special purpose vehicle (SPV) has been formed by Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Ltd. (IRSDC) with Government of Gujarat (GoG) with equity contribution as 24% that of IRSDC and 76% of GoG. The SPV is developing Gandhinagar station having architecture in harmony with adjoining Mahatma Mandir and Gandhi Kuteer. The SPV shall be responsible for operation & maintenance of station, hotel and will have revenue streams from Mahatma Mandir and Gandhi Kuteer as well.

A works contract for approximately ₹147 Crore for redevelopment of Gandhinagar station along with construction of a 300 room-hotel on the air space of the station has been awarded and ground-breaking done. Pile foundation is going on at site. Also, agreement for Project Management Consultant (PMC) has been signed between Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC) and Gandhinagar Railway and Urban Development Corporation Limited (GARUD) on 14.07.2017. A work of cost ₹ 243.6 Crore is sanctioned by Railway for this and ₹ 40 Crore have been allocated this year.

This Press Release is based on the information given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 26.07.2017 (Wednesday).

Integrated Security System at 202 Stations based on High Level Committee recommendations: MOSR

NEW DELHI: Based on the report of a High Level Committee and in consultation with the Zonal Railways, 202 stations have been identified as sensitive for the purpose of installation of an Integrated Security System (ISS) to strengthen surveillance mechanism at these stations. ISS comprises of Close Circuit Television (CCTV) Cameras, Access Control, Personal and Baggage Screening System and Bomb Detection and Disposal System. 102 Railway stations have already been covered with CCTV surveillance system under ISS. In addition, 151 Baggage Scanners, 32 Under Vehicle Scanning System (UVSS) and 88 Bomb Detection & Disposal items have also been provided under ISS. Issues concerning availability of eligible vendors, inspection of items, availability of budget, etc. were initially raised by Zonal Railways. These issues have since been addressed and all the Zonal Railways have been advised to ensure speedy implementation of ISS at all the identified sensitive stations.

Prevention of crime, registration of cases, their investigation and maintenance of law and order in Railway station premises is the statutory responsibility of the concerned States, which is being discharged by them through Government Railway Police (GRP). Railways through Railway Protection Force (RPF) are supplementing the efforts of the Government Railway Police to strengthen security over Railways. To redress security related complaints of passengers, Security Helpline numbers 182 and 1800-111-322 have been made functional over Indian Railways. A total of 29906 security related complaints were received at Security Helplines since the year 2014 upto June, 2017 and follow up action was initiated accordingly.

No suggestions have been received. It is pertinent to mention that strengthening and upgradation of security infrastructure is an ongoing process. All out efforts are being made by Railways to supplement efforts of States to improve security at railway station premises, including stations identified as sensitive under Integrated Security System (ISS). Measures initiated to strengthen security includes provision of CCTV cameras for round the clock surveillance at important stations, operationlisation of Security Helplines Number 182 and 1800-111-322, networking of RPF posts and Security Control Rooms, etc.

Anticipated cost of Imphal-Jiribam Rail line pegged at Rs.9658 Crores

IMPHAL/NEW DELHI: Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain informed the Rajya Sabha yesterday that the Imphal-Jiribam rail line has been taken up at the anticipated cost of Rs 9658 crore while an expenditure of Rs 5278 crore has been incurred till March this year.

An outlay of Rs 1400 crore has been provided for 2017-2018 for the project, said Gohain and added that Imphal to Jiribam railway line is part of the Trans-Asian railway network.

Replying to questions raised by Rajya Sabha MP K Bhabananda, Gohain further said that the completion of the project depends on many factors such as land acquisition, forestry and wild life clearances, shifting of services, construction of road over and under bridges, law and order etc.

The proposed railway stations that will come up along the new line are Jiribam, Vangaichingpo, Kaimai, Kambiron Thingao, Khonsang, Awangkhul, Noney, Tupul, Haochong and Imphal, informed the Minister.

To other posers raised by K Bhabananda, MoS for Electronics and Information Technology, PP Chaudhury said that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is implementing Digital India programme to transform India to a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy and added that State Wide Area Networks (SWANs), State Date Centres (SDCs), Common Service Centres (CSCs), State Service Delivery Gateways (SSDGs), e-District Mission Mode Project (MMP) have been implemented to help the Government Departments in the States and Centre.

NITI Aayog approves Rs.18000 Crore investment for Railways

NEW DELHI: NITI Aayog on Friday approved investments worth Rs. 18,000 crore for high-speed rail projects for major routes of Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata, Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said at an ASSOCHAM event here today.

“We are working on Gatiman Express which is India?s fastest train at 180 km per hour and trying for Mumbai-Delhi and Delhi-Kolkata which are major routes with a speed of maximum 200 km per hour (kmph) and that will be an investment of Rs. 18,000 crore which has already been approved by the NITI Aayog,” said Prabhu while inaugurating an ASSOCHAM International Conference RAILTECH 2017.

“When we proposed it, they were apprehensive but now everybody realises importance of it as it is a least-cost option, so we are trying to do that, you can imagine the trains can go at that speed from Delhi to Mumbai and how much travel time will be reduced,” added Prabhu.

He also said that Railways Ministry is working with many countries to increase the speed of operations, including France.

“There are a lot of studies which are going on and they are in a very advanced stage, so we will start implementing that in the next few months” time,? added the minister.

He added that the Government is working towards introducing cutting-edge technology of future in all aspects of railways with it not only being imported but being co-developed in India.

“We already had about six to eight months ago, a programme in which we called all the major technology developers who had not yet fully developed, commercialized the technology which can take the speed of railways to more than 600 kmph and we are already working with them, companies like Hyperloop,” added Prabhu.

Talking about the use of high-end technology on safety front, he said that self-propelled detection of tracks together with use of ultrasonic machines and geo-spatial technology to alert about unmanned railway crossings are underway.

On laying of railway tracks, he said that automatic track laying machines which are already being used on Dedicated Freight Corridor will now be tried all over the country.

“This has already resulted in increasing the speed of putting the track which was only three kms. per day to almost eight kms. per day and the target is to take it to 20 kms per day in the next three years and definitely we are on track for doing that,” added Prabhu.

He said considering that capital expenditure needed for optimal technology has gone from Rs. 30,000 crore a year to almost Rs. 2,75,000 crore in the last 2.5 years shows the commitment of the Government.

On the rolling stock, he said that two major locomotives are already in use with one from French transport giant Alstom. “It is going to bring in the best cutting edge technology, environment friendly, speed will be good, least fuel consumption and that will available in the next month?s time and that is going to be manufactured in India.”

He said that another locomotive factory would be set up in West Bengal, “We are yet to finalise the bid, but it will already be happening. That again will begin the best technology in fact, all the top global players are vying for it.”

Highlighting that the Government is taking all these steps in a very transparent manner, the Union Minister said that companies like Siemens have made a consortium in this regard. “So you can imagine how serious they are because otherwise they would have come on their own.”

Prabhu also informed that Railway Ministry has started working on revamping, refurbishing and retrofitting of 40,000 outdated coaches.

?We have already stopped manufacturing non-LHB coaches from April 1, next year and all the LHB coaches will be manufactured, so you can imagine the technological up-gradation that is happening at all levels,? he said.

He said that Railway Ministry has also completely revamped the ticket-booking mobile application with many services being made available on one single application. “This is going to bring in a completely different experience for the traveller because he can book it completely on his palm literally, not only booking but anything to do with railways.”

Talking about the recently held huge roundtable conference on technology, he said that Railway Ministry was engaging with all the top global players that had participated in the same.

?I think we have already taken very serious steps, to modernise and optimise the capacity of railway operations and the biggest other technology tool that we will be using and we have already started work on is rail cloud,? said Prabhu.

He said that Railway Ministry has also started working on enterprise resource planning (ERP) which has the potential to save up to Rs. 70,000 crore.

?We are also using technology for each and every aspect of railways, including managerial practices which includes our internal processes to ensure that efficiency is allowed and in fact we will try to plug every possible area where there is a leakage, hoodwinking possible and the system will be made foolproof,? said the Union Railway Minister.

Apple to collaborate with Indian Railways to increase train speeds over 600 km per hour

NEW DELHI: Eyeing trains speeds of 600 km per hour, the government is working with global technology firms like Apple to help take Indian railways to the next level, Union minister Suresh Prabhu said on Friday. Speaking at a conference attendended by senior rail officials, Prabhu said that as part of modernisation and maintenance of railways, the ministry has lauched several initiatives over the past three years like RailCloud Server and Rail Saarthi App and is working on a enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.

The railway minister also said the government’s premier think tank NITI Aayog had approved the ministry’s Rs.18,000 crore proposal to increase speeds of the Gatiman Express on the two busiest corridors, Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata.

With this approval, the speed of the Gatiman Express would increase to 200 km per hour, the minister said at an event organised by industry chamber ASSOCHAM.

“You can yourself imagine how much travelling time this will save.” Sharing plans for the future, Prabhu said the government had six-eight months ago called major technology developers working on increasing train speeds to more than 600 km per hour.

“We are already working with companies like Apple… technology will not only be imported in India but will be co- developed in India,” Prabhu said.

Safety was also an important concern and Indian railways was planning to use self-propelled coaches that can detect rail fractures through ultrasonic technology, the minister added.

Ensuring cyber security in day to day operations is one of the priorities for railways which is moving in a big way towards technology driven operations, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said today.

“We are working on a complete transformation of the railways through investment of huge amounts of money and transformation of each and every aspect of operations to make them better. We are using high-end technology for maintenance and detecting defects in tracks through one application,” said Prabhu

“So if we are doing all this and using the cyber space for digital transactions, obviously, the vulnerability of that transaction becomes very critical.

“When we do everything manually, the challenge is manual error and if we are shifting from manual to technology oriented operations, then the flaws in technology or someone who can potentially hoodwink it is as high and sometimes even dangerous. So cyber security is one of the top priorities,” the minister added.

The meet on ensuring cyber security in Indian Railways, attended by Chairman, Railway Board, A K Mittal and other railway board members and senior officials, saw discussions on cyber threats, security incidents and advanced solutions.

Computerisation in railways started about three decades ago and major activities like ticketing, freight operations, train operations and asset management now rely heavily on IT systems.

Railways launched RailCloud this month, a virtual server with an inbuilt security system that will enable faster connectivity at a reduced cost.

RailCloud technology enables maximising the usage of available server and storage resulting in accommodation of bigger data and more applications within same server space.

Till now all IT applications had separate servers which increased the cost of operations and purchases.

Cyber Security has now been identified as the focus area by the railways. Auditing of IT Systems by Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) and close coordination with Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) are some of the steps taken by Indian railways.

Suresh Prabhu releases the Business Plan of Engineering Department of Indian Railways at IPWE Seminar

Suresh Prabhu inaugurates International Technical Seminar on Global Trends in Track Technologies & fast paced construction organised by IPWE (India). On the occasion, IPWE also arranged a Technical Exhibition participated by Industry involved in the field of Railways Technology. Railway Minister stressed on the necessity of catching up with changing technology for faster Goals.

NEW DELHIMinister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu Inaugurated an International Technical Seminar of the Institution of Permanent Way Engineers (I.P.W.E India) today i.e. 20th July, at New Delhi. The topic of the seminar was Global Trends in Track Technologies and Fast Paced Construction. Chairman, Railway Board, Shri A. K. Mital, Member Engineering, Railway Board Shri Aditya Kumar Mital and other Railway Board Members and senior officials were also present on the occasion.

15 speakers including International experts spoke on systems of High Speed Rail viz. Japanese “Shinkansen”, SNCF (France) and Spain High Speed Rails(HSR) besides history of  track managements systems, track components, rail fasteners etc.  and technological standards adopted on HSR.  The seminar was organised in four sessions viz. Global Trends in Track Technologies Session I & Session II, Fast Paced Construction Session III & IV. The Technical Session also covered Technologies for Fast Paced Construction, Project Delivery Methods in countries like Japan, Austria, USA besides the methods being adopted by track engineers in the on-going Dedicated Freight Corridor besides mechanised track laying machines. Shri Prabhu also released the Business Plan of Engineering Department of Indian Railway, a RDSO handbook on Construction of Earthquake resistant engineering besides launching Diploma in Engineering by IPWE in keeping with Skill Development Mission of Indian Railways.

Addressing the inaugural session, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of Railways stated that the Indian Railways is a very professional organisation carrying out both policy and implementation successfully but emphasised that there is a greater necessity to catch up with the changing technology for better outcomes especially with regard to increasing necessity for enhancing speed of implementation of projects and towards faster goals in building new tracks. Holding that the track remains the backbone of Indian Railways, he exhorted that a corridor approach in construction of new tracks would lead to consolidation of gains with regard to new railway projects.

Delivering the keynote address, Member Engineer, Railway Board Shri Aditya Kumar Mittal  highlighted recent initiatives viz. web enabled ‘Track management system’(TMS) to manage all track maintenance  related activities which enables planning of  the maintenance activities on real time basis  besides Bridge Management  “Track Machines Monitoring and Maintenance System”, “Project Management and Information System”, “CRS Sanctions Monitoring Application”, Building and Structures Information System, GIS and GPs mapping of IR assets and use of items and CC cameras for monitoring of major projects.  In keeping with the global trends trials of being carried out to adopt wider and heavier PSC sleeper which will enhance the track frame resistance.  Other new technological trends being adopted includes under sleeper pads, Trials of Ballastless Track in identified sections besides new technology in detecting Rail/Weld flaws through USFD testing.

In this seminar delegates from all over India and overseas belonging to Permanent Way fraternity participated in the seminar. Institution of Permanent Way Engineers (India) have  Members, Additional Members of Railway Board, former Chairman, Railway Board, General Managers and Principal Chief Engineers of Railways, Chief Commissioner and Commissioners of Railway Safety, Managing Directors and Directors of our Public Sector Undertakings, Director and Professors from Indian Railway Institute of Civil Engineering,  Executive Directors and Directors from Railway Board, Executive Directors and Directors from Research Design and Standards Organisation, senior serving as well as retired officers from Railways and other Government and Public sector undertakings, Delegates and representatives from various Zonal Railways, other organizations and firms.

Deliberations on global trends in Track Technology and fast paced construction took place and thought provoking papers supported by extensive field data were presented. At the end of the seminar, Director, Indian Railway Institute of Civil Engineering made a summary of deliberations for further action.

Indian Railways is witnessing unprecedented transformation and paradigm shift due to massive thrust on expansion of Network. The network is being upgraded for raising of speeds and heavier axle load operation. High Speed Rail Network has been envisaged and is taking shape. This scenario, necessitates identification and adoption of best Global Technologies in the area of Modern Track Technology, High Speed Rail and Fast Paced Construction methodologies.

The purpose of this seminar was to attract participation of leading international track and construction experts to share their domain knowledge and deliberate on latest trends and practices in track technologies and construction methodologies. Special reference was given to High Speed and Semi High Speed Rail Construction. 

There were 11 papers presented in the seminar from International experts from Japan, Spain, UK, Belgium, France and so on. 

Institution Of Permanent Way Engineers:

This is the Golden Jubilee year of establishment of the Institution. The Institution was set up 50 years ago in Pune.

The Institution of Permanent Way Engineers (India) is a technical body set up under the auspices of Railway Ministry for sharing knowledge and experience of various Railway Engineers connected with Permanent Way (Railway track), bridges and other structures. The Institution was formed on May 18, 1967 with its Headquarters at Pune and was subsequently registered as a Public Trust Office at Pune on 28.7.1972.

The Institution has been playing a vital role in disseminating knowledge of permanent way, bridges and other structures amongst various Railwaymen.

Aims of Institution:

The aim of the Institution is to facilitate dissemination and sharing of technical knowledge relating to design, construction and maintenance of Permanent Way, bridges and other structures amongst the persons associated with it. To this end, the Institution promotes and arranges seminars, lectures, discussions, exhibitions for the information and benefit of the members of the Institution and also publishes and circulates Technical information to facilitate interchange and sharing of ideas.

The institution is administered by the Governing Council. The Secretarial Office is headed by the Executive Director of the Institution with necessary infrastructure under his charge. This Secretarial office is in Rail Bhawan in New Delhi. The president of the institution is Member Engineering Railway Board and the Vice President is Additional Member Civil Engineering.

The activities of Institution are spread over Indian Railways. There are 16 centres with their jurisdiction over the respective Zonal Railways. In addition, there are also Centres at the RDSO, Lucknow and Indian Railway Institute of Civil Engineering, Pune with Jurisdiction over these respective organisations. Each zonal centre is subdivided into sub-centres, located at the Divisional Headquarters of all the Zonal Railways. The  Principal Chief Engineer of each Zonal Railway is Ex Officio Chairman of the Zonal Centre.

The Chief Administrative Officer (Construction) of each zonal railway is the Ex-Officio Co-Chairman of the zonal centre.

The Institution arranges seminars, lectures, discussions and exhibitions to disseminate the knowledge of Permanent Way, bridges and other structures amongst all railwaymen, members of the institution as well as amongst suppliers and manufacturers of track components and other consulting firms associated with design, construction and maintenance of permanent way, bridges and other structures.

The Institution publishes a quarterly Journal containing technical articles to share the knowledge among the Railway men. The institute runs a Diploma course on “Railway Engineering” through distance learning.

Indian Railways carries out certain Social Service Obligations in the larger interest of the Society: MOSR

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways carries out certain transport activities which are uneconomic in nature but carried out in the larger interest of the society. Losses incurred on this account are termed as Social Service Obligation on Indian Railways.

Details of Social Service Obligation borne by Railways for the year 2015-16 are as under:

S.NO. Items Rs.in Crore
1. Loss on essential commodities carried below cost of operation 41.20
2. Loss on Coaching Services-
(i) Suburban Service 5200.28
(ii) Non-Suburban Services 30718.11
(iii) Total 2(i) + 2(ii) 35918.39
3. Total loss (1) + (2) 35959.59

This Press Release is based on the information given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 19.07.2017 (Wednesday).

Station Redevelopment on ‘as-is-where-is’ basis by leveraging Real Estate space at A1/A Category Stations: MOSR

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways has advertised its plan to offer ‘A-1’ and ‘A’ category stations on ‘as is where is’ basis for redevelopment by inviting proposals from interested parties with their designs and business ideas. The entire cost of station redevelopment is to be met by leveraging commercial development of land and air space in and around the station.

A large number of Foreign Railways have shown keen interest in the stations redevelopment program and an agreement has been signed with the French Railway (SNCF) for joint study on Renovation Concept Design of Ambala and Ludhiana stations. Korean railway has also expressed interest in the redevelopment of New Delhi Station. Governments of Belgium, Germany, China and UK have also expressed interest in the program of station redevelopment.

No, Madam. Since Railways is taking up Station Redevelopment in a big way (about 400 ‘A-1’ & ‘A’ category stations), cooperation with foreign countries/companies does not pose any problem to indigenous companies/firms. The companies/firms can also partner with foreign companies for adapting best International practices and technology transfer. All the station redevelopment is through open bidding process only.

The facilities proposed in a redeveloped station include congestion-free non-conflicting entry/exit to the station premises, segregation of arrival/departure of passengers, adequate concourse without overcrowding, integration of both sides of the city wherever feasible, integration with other modes of transport systems e.g. Bus, Metro, etc., user friendly international signage, well illuminated circulating area and sufficient provision for drop off, pick up and parking etc.

The cost of station redevelopment is to be met by leveraging commercial development of vacant land/air space in and around the station. Therefore, railway funds are not required for station redevelopment projects. Such projects shall generally be cost neutral to Railways.

This Press Release is based on the information given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 19.07.2017 (Wednesday).

PETS is pre-requisite for consideration of any new investment proposal for new projects: Rajen Gohain

NEW DELHI: Reconnaissance / Preliminary Engineering cum Traffic Survey is pre-requisite for consideration of any new investment proposal for new projects to assess the likely investment, traffic potential and return from the same. Zone-wise details of Preliminary Engineering cum Traffic Surveys (PETS) conducted during the Five Year Plan Period 2012-17 for new line projects are as tabulated below:-

Railways No. of new line surveys conducted between 2012-17
Central 12
East Coast 18
East Central 5
Eastern 2
North Central 14
North Eastern 5
Northeast Frontier 16
Northern 39
North Western 24
South Central 14
South East Central 27
South Eastern 6
Southern 29
South Western 13
West Central 7
Western 13

Out of the above, 3 Nos. new line projects have been sanctioned.

Reconnaissance / Preliminary Engineering cum Traffic Survey is pre-requisite for consideration of any new investment proposal for new projects to assess the likely investment, traffic potential and return from the same. Based on the outcome of Reconnaissance / Preliminary Engineering cum Traffic Survey, projects are sanctioned / included in Budget Document(Pink Book) on the basis of remunerativeness, last mile connectivity, missing links and alternate routes, augmentation of congested/saturated lines, socio-economic considerations etc. depending upon throwforward of ongoing project, overall availability of funds and competing demands. Zone-wise details of new line surveys shelved after examination are given below.

Railways No. of new line surveys conducted between 2012-17
Central 5
East Coast 4
East Central 0
Eastern 1
North Central 6
North Eastern 2
Northeast Frontier 3
Northern 19
North Western 13
South Central 8
South East Central 12
South Eastern 3
Southern 22
South Western 8
West Central 1
Western 5

These projects could not be taken forward due to their unremunerative nature and large shelf of ongoing projects. An expenditure of ` 68.84 cr has been incurred on these surveys.

This Press Release is based on the information given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 19.07.2017 (Wednesday).

Centre to set up more Private Ticket Reservation Counters for the benefit of Unemployed Youth: MOSR

NEW DELHI: The government today informed Parliament that around 188 authorised private ticket reservation counters are functioning in the country, adding that it is looking to increase the number of such centres.

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said that the government is seeking more applications for running such centres (Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendras) from authorised ticketing agents with five years of experience.

To expand facilities for issue of tickets (both reserved and unreserved), the ministry has allowed public private partnership in establishment and operation of computerised passenger reservation system-cum unreserved ticketing system terminals at these centres.

“As per the scheme, all the authorised ticketing agents, who have worked for at least five years in providing Railway ticketing (reserved/ unreserved) services for passengers of Indian Railways are eligible to become YTSK licensee,” Gohain said.

He also described that the initiative will not only enhance the passenger traffic towards Railways but also benefit the unemployed youth thus contribute for the social empowerment too.

Under the YTSK policy, agents have to pay a one-time, non-refundable registration fee of Rs 5 lakh. Additionally, the licensees have to pay accessing charges at Rs 1.6 lakh a terminal every year to the passenger reservation system.

This also involves a refundable security deposit or bank guarantee of Rs 2-5 lakh, which varies according to the number of terminals.

40 Elephants killed between 2014-17 on Rail Tracks: MOSR in Parliament

NEW DELHI: Forty elephants have been killed on railway tracks between 2014 and July 2017, the government informed Lok Sabha today.

Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain, in a written reply to a question asked by MP Ramcharan Bohara, said the ministry had taken a number of measures in coordination with the ministry of environment and forest to avoid such deaths.

Imposition of speed restrictions in identified locations, provision of sign boards, sensitisation of rail staff, clearance of vegetation on sides of the tracks within railway land, construction of underpasses and ramps for the movement of elephants at identified locations and fencing were some of the measures being used to control deaths of wild animals on rail tracks, the minister said.

“Elephant corridors have been identified by the Indian Railways in coordination with ministry of environment and forest. Speed restrictions on vulnerable sections, signage boards to pre-warn train drivers and whistle continuously to warn the elephants have also been provided wherever required,” Gohain said.

“35 elephants have been killed on railway tracks during last three years i.e. during 2014 to 2016 and five elephants have been killed during the current year up to July 2017,” the minister said.

Nearly 53 per cent Rail Accidents due to Derailments: MOSR

NEW DELHI: The government today said that of a total of 586 rail accidents in last five years, nearly 53 per cent were due to derailments.

Quoting a report by the NITI Ayog, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain informed Lok Sabha that in last five years (2012-13 to 2016-17) out of a total of 1,011 casualties, 347 occurred due to derailments, 67 in MLC accidents and 449 in UMLC accidents.

These together amounted to 85 per cent of the total casualties.

He said out of a total of 586 accidents, 308 were due to derailments, 21 occurred on Manned Level Crossings (MLCs) and 199 on Unmanned Level Crossings (UMLCs). They together accounted for 90 per cent of the total accidents.

The total number of those injured in the said period were 1,634. As many as 944 were injured in derailments, 58 in MLC accidents and 342 in UMLC accidents which amount to 82 per cent of those injured.

The minister also made a reference to the High Level Safety Review Committee (HLSRC) headed by Anil Kakodkar that had suggested various measures for improving rail safety, including setting up of a Railway Safety Authority (RSA).

“A majority of the practical measures suggested by the Kakodkar committee have been implemented. However, there is no decision to create a railway safety authority.

“An independent institution namely the Commission of Railway Safety already functions under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. It discharges the functions of review/approval of safety aspects in railways independently,” Gohain said.

Objective underlying formation of Rail Development Authority is to make informed decisions: MOSR

NEW DELHI: Government has approved formation of a Rail Development Authority (RDA) comprising Chairman and three Members. The objective underlying RDA is to get expert advice/make informed decision on :

(i) Pricing of services commensurate with costs.

(ii) Suggest measures for enhancement of Non Fare Revenue.

(iii) Protection of consumer interests, by ensuring quality of service and cost optimization.

(iv) Promoting competition, efficiency and economy.

(v) Encouraging market development and participation of stakeholders in the rail sector and for ensuring a fair deal to the stakeholders and customers.

(vi) Creating positive environment for investment.

(vii) Promoting efficient allocation of resources in the Sector.

(viii) Benchmarking of service standards against international norms and specify and enforce standards with respect to the quality, continuity and reliability of services provided by them.

(ix) Providing framework for non-discriminatory open access to the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) infrastructure and others in future.

(x) Suggesting measures to absorb new technologies for achieving desired efficiency and performance standards.

(xi) Suggesting measures for human resource development to achieve any of its stated objectives.

This Press Release is based on the information given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 19.07.2017 (Wednesday).

Indian Railways takes several steps to promote use of Clean Fuels and reduce Carbon emissions

NEW DELHI: Railways are taking the following several steps to promote use of clean fuels and reduce carbon emissions:

I. Use of B5 (5% Bio-Diesel) blends of bio diesel in the diesel locomotives.

II. Development of Common Rail electronic Direct Injection (CReDI) system.

III. Use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) based dual fuel system on DEMU trains to achieve 20% substitution of Diesel with gas.

IV. Development of Miller cycle based turbochargers for Diesel Locomotives.

V. Development of Variable Turbine Geometry (VTG) Turbochargers for Diesel Locomotives.

VI. Development of High Effectiveness large after cooler for Diesel Locomotives.

VII. Development of CNG based dual fuel system with 40% substitution of diesel for high economy and environmental benefit.

VIII. Process to establish two bio diesel manufacturing plants with 30 Ton Per Day (TPD) capacity owned by Railways.

IX. Started Exploring for use of Methanol on Railways locomotives.

X. Promote use of LNG/CNG as environment friendly industrial gas in place of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Acetylene in Railway workshops.

XI. Promote and install roof top based solar power generation system in railways workshops and production units.

XII. Solar panel based hotel load system for powering light and fans on 250 trailer coaches of Diesel Electric Multiple unit (DEMU) trains.

   This Press Release is based on the information given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 19.07.2017 (Wednesday).

Centre working to transform IR into real Engine of Growth: says Suresh Prabhu at Symbiosis Institute

Hon’ble Union Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhu speaking at the “Festival of Thinkers” series organised by Symbiosis Institute of Management, Pune

PUNE: Union Minister for Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu visited the Symbiosis Institute of Management, Pune and addressed students. This was a part of “Festival of Thinkers” series organised by Symbiosis.

During the occasion, The government is working to transform the railways into a “real engine of growth”, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said today, stressing that managing the transporter was complex.

Speaking at the silver jubilee function of Symbiosis Institute of International Business (SIIB), Prabhu said a lot of people give advice on railways.

“Some say, why are you not making a profit out of the railways. Another person will complain of charging so much.

In picture Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu , Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar Principal Director Symbiosis and Ramanathan Narayan- MD and CEO

Somebody will ask why the food is not as good as the food we get in five-star hotels and at the same time, the next person will ask why are you charging Rs 100 for a meal,” he said.

“If there is any educational institute, which is going to teach how to manage the railways, it should really be qualified to get a Noble Prize, because managing the railways is so complex,” quipped Prabhu.

The minister said there is always a comparison of the Indian Railways with the Chinese and Japanese railways.

“We can do better than them, provided we do everything, Chinese and Japanese did 30-40 years ago. China invested 140 billion dollars year after year,” he said.

Prabhu said the Modi government has stepped up investment in the railways.

“Our target is to make Rs 8,56,000 crore investment in the railways in next few years time. We will double it once the first cycle of investment is over,” said Prabhu.

“We will make it a real engine of growth as every rupee we invest in the railways will create six times more output and GDP growth,” he claimed.

India’s Rail network will be transformed in five years: Suresh Prabhu

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said the Railways is in an overhauling phase and its network will be transformed completely in next five years.

“With the stress on ‘Rail Badhhega- Desh Badhhega’, we launched several reformative and passengers friendly initiatives including an ambitious plan to induct about 40,000 coaches with improved interiors and upgraded facilities,” Prabhu said.

“We are confident that the entire network of Indian Railways is going to be transformed in the next five year,” the Minister said addressing a gathering organised by ‘Rajasthan Meter Guage Pravasi Sangh’, an association of rail enthusiasts belonging to Rajasthan, living here.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu released a souvenir on completion of 40 years of Rajasthan Meter Gauge Pravasi Sangh. A.K.Gupta, GM/Western Railway was also present on the occasion

“Our effort to retrofit 40,000 odd coached is going to be a game changer as it will not only transform the entire rail network, but it will also generate jobs,” said the minister.

“Railways has prepared a clear cut roadmap under which Rs 8.5 lakh crore of investment has been planned in the next five years to make the network one of the best in the world,” Prabhu said, adding setting up of Rail Coach Factories is a part of it.

He also said his ministry was working to upgrade the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata corridor which will increase the speed of trains.

General Manager of Western Railway A K Gupta, MLAs Mangal Prabhat Lodha and Raj Purohit, president of the association Champat Mutta, among others were present at the occasion.

Passenger train with prototype solar-based hotel load system inaugurated

NEW DELHI: Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday flagged-off the first 1600 HP Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) coach of the Indian Railways from Safdarjung Railway Station here, equipped with solar-powered hotel load system, installed and commissioned by Jakson Engineers Limited.

The installed solar rooftop system will generate 7200 KW of energy per year per system, which will be used for powering internal lights, fans and other electrical systems of the coach.

The project will help offset carbon emissions by nine tonnes per coach per year and also save about 21,000 litres of diesel for a solar-powered DEMU with six trailer coaches, thereby saving Rs. 12 lakh every year.

However, Jakson was awarded this project by the Indian Railways Organisation for Alternate Fuels (IROAF), a unit of the Indian Railways that works to promote bio-diesels and other environmentally benign alternative fuels for India’s rail network.

A total of 16 solar panels of 300 Wp, manufactured by Jakson at its state-of-the-art solar module manufacturing plant in Greater Noida have been installed on the roof of the coach to generate the requisite power.

“With our past experience in executing other challenging solar EPC rooftop projects, we were able to develop an innovative solution that helped us execute this project suitably” said Sundeep Gupta, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Jakson Engineers Limited.

This is the first instance of a diesel-run passenger train fitted with solar rooftop system with battery backup.

The system is capable of developing up to 20 kWh per day throughout the year. Surplus power generated during peak hours will be stored in a 120 AH battery system. It will help in generating useful data for research for adapting the system for future rollout on all trains of the Indian Railways.

The solar system has been fitted with anti-theft mechanism, which can withstand trains running with a speed of more than 100 km/hr.

Doubling, Tripling of 16500 km Railway lines in a few years: Suresh Prabhu

NEW DELHI: To fast-track creation of a robust infrastructure, the government has sanctioned plans for doubling and tripling of 16,500 km of railway tracks in few years as against only 22,000 km in last 70 years, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Thursday.

“We have decided to create an infrastructure at a much faster pace…16,500 km of doubling and tripling will happen in the next few years as opposed to what 22,000 km was sanctioned in 70 years,” Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said on the sidelines of a ASSOCHAM event here yesterday.

Prabhu said Railways is investing in infrastructure to create seamless movement of traffic so that GST becomes a gamechanger wherein goods are moved without hassle.

“Only 42 per cent of electrification has been made so far which will double in next five years,” the minister said addressing the conference on ‘India – on the Cusp of a Logistics Revolution.’

He said, “We are already creating about 100 private freight terminals with private participation so that more and more traffic can come to the railways”.

The Railways plans to save about Rs 41,000 crore in energy bills of which it has already saved about 10 per cent, he said.

“So, all of this will result in creating a good logistic backbone for India which will help it do much better business as logistics is key to success of industrialisation,” he said.

On low consumer price inflation, Prabhu said it is the result of sound fiscal monetary policies in India.

“Our prime minister already said that people at large are suffering because of inflation being very high and the growth rate being low. So, it was double whammy. We actually reversed it, inflation is low and growth is high means the common people don’t have to spend too much money on their daily necessities and they will have more savings,” he said.

Prabhu writes to Telecom Minister on poor connectivity in Konkan Region

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has drawn the attention of Telecommunication Minister Manoj Sinha to the problem of poor telephone connectivity in Konkan region, including Sindhudurg district.

A native of Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra, Prabhu currently represents Andhra Pradesh in the Rajya Sabha.

In a recent letter to Sinha, the railway minister has highlighted the “poor infrastructural facilities, shortage of staff and frequent disruptions in services after every rainfall and storm” in the region.

“I would like to bring your attention towards the problems faced by the residents of Konkan region, including district Sindhudurg, with regard to the telephone connectivity,” Prabhu has said.

Sinha is also the minister of state for railways. He has said the problems are “related to shortage of staff, need to upgrade infrastructure facilities, including national optical fibre network (NOFN) and base transceiver stations (BTS)”.

Restoration of services becomes a major challenge owing to shortage of staff, he has said in the letter.

Describing the topography of Sindhudurg as “unique”, Prabhu has said, “As a matter of fact, the mobile coverage is very poor in difficult and hilly areas of Sindhudurg district.”

Seeking a permanent solution to the problem, he has demanded additional infrastructure and upgradation of the existing facilities in the region.

Fast track implementation of national optical fibre network (NOFN) would complement the overall efforts of improving connectivity in the region, the letter said.

“I request you to pay personal attention in the above matter and instruct officials to take necesary steps for extending the telecom services to the last mile in the district of Sindhdurg and Konkan region effectively,” Prabhu has said.

RailCloud Launched – Indian Railways to harness the Power of Cloud Computing in a big way

NEW DELHI:  In a significant IT initiative, the Indian Railways today launched RailCloud – a virtual server with an inbuilt security system to optimise server usage and faster connectivity.

Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu launched the RailCloud Project in the august presence of Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain. Member Staff, A.K.Mital, other Railway Board Members and senior officials who were all present to grace the occasion.

Ministry of Railways has launched the RailCloud project in association with its Telecom PSU, RailTel Corporation of India Limited.

Cloud computing is the emerging technology for faster and on-demand commensurate deployment of server resources which result in reduced costs.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said, “Efforts are being made to bring entire Railway system on Integrated Digital Platform. RailCloud is another step towards Digitization of Railways. RailCloud works on popular Cloud Computing system. Most Important works are done through Cloud Computing. Also, this is going to reduce the cost & data may be safely ensured on the servers.

Salient Features of the RailCloud

Indian Railway has started a strategic IT initiative, christened IR-OneICT, for enterprise wide digital single platform with an aim to improve customer satisfaction, improve revenue and effective, efficient and safe operations. To achieve the goal of single digital platform for IR a few foundational projects need to be implemented first, establishment of RailCloud is one such project.  Cloud Computing is the emerging technology for faster and on demand commensurate deployment of Server resources which result in reduced cost. Accordingly, RailCloud Phase-I has been sanctioned at the cost of Rs.53.55 Crore under PH-17, DF(3) in FY 17-18. Potential benefits to Railways after implementation of RailCloud are:

  • Faster and on-demand deployment of application- RailCloud will pave the way for swifter deployment of application (within 24 hrs as compared to conventional time running into weeks and months). At the same time the cloud hardware and environment will be available for rigorous testing of the new applications.
  • Optimum use of Servers and storage- The technology enables maximising the usage of the available server and storage resulting in accommodation of bigger data and more applications within same server space.
  • Utilization of existing infrastructure as part of Cloud- The existing resources available with railway will be subsumed in RailCloud thereby ensuring that expenditure is minimized in acquiring new resources.
  • Rapid scalability and elasticity- Server and storage space will scale up and down as per the demand. This makes the system suitable to meet the higher demand at peak hours with less expenditure.
  • IT Security enhancement and Standardization: The cloud shall be equipped with security features as per the latest GOI guidelines, the security features can be updated in one go for all the applications hosted on the cloud, resulting in enhanced security and stability with less expenditure and effort.
  • Cost reduction: The server and storage infrastructure will be deployed as per the requirement, resulting in substantial savings to railway as expenditure will be incurred as and when required instead of upfront shelling out money on procurement of expensive servers.
  • Better User Experience: In Cloud, the server resources are constantly scaled up or down as per the no. of users logged on to the system. This ensures a better user experience to the customer.

The Managed Network and Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) services are also being planned, in near future, for providing faster and more efficient work environment to each rail worker.

NIVARAN – a Grievance Portal launched on RailCloud (first IT Application)

‘NIVARAN-Grievance Portal’ is the first IT application to be launched on the RailCloud. It is the platform for resolution of service related grievances of serving and former railway employees. The existing application was hosted on a conventional server; it has been made cloud-ready and being migrated as the first cloud application of Indian Railways. It will save significant revenue and at the same time user experience will also improve.

Suresh Prabhu inaugurates Madgaon leg of the Science Express

NEW DELHI: The Railway Ministry has decided to run ‘Science Express,’ an exhibition special train managed by the Union government’s Department of Science and Technology (DST). The IX Phase of the prestigious Science Express exhibition train  which is on a Nationwide tour since 17 February 2017 reached Madgaon in Goa on 11 July 2017.

This phase of train is being referred as ‘Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS)’ highlighting  the global challenge of climate change.  Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu Inaugurated this Madgaon leg of Science Express today through Video Conferencing from Delhi.

The Science Express is an innovative science exhibition of DST, mounted on a 16-coach air conditioned train, with the objective of arousing interest of young people in the field of science and technology, a Konkan Railway release here said.

The exhibition on wheels, a mega outreach programme of the DST, was launched on October 30, 2007.  The programme is maintained by Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC). The exhibition will be open at Madgaon station from July 11 to 13 and at Ratnagiri station from July 14 to 17 from10 am to 5 pm. The Konkan Railway has appealed to the people to avail the benefit from the service.

SECAS is focusing on Climate Change and Science & Technology. The exhibition conveys message about Climate Change and is also a good opportunity to generate dialogue and discussion. This exhibition train will be available for public viewing at Madgaon from 11 to 13 July 2017, then the train will move forward to next destinations as per its itinerary.

BACKGROUNDER

Science Express is a flagship programme of the Dept. of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India. It is an innovative mobile science exhibition mounted on a 16 coach AC train, traveling across India since October 2007. Since then, it has made eight tours of the country, traveling about 1,53,000 km and exhibiting at 495 locations. Over its 1712 exhibition days, Science Express received an overwhelming response and 1.64 crore visitors. Science Express has become the largest, the longest running and the most visited mobile science exhibition and has twelve entries in the Limca Book of Records.

Science Express Phase I to IV showcased cutting-edge research in Science and Technology being carried out worldwide. Phase V to VII was based on the theme of biodiversity and as ‘Science Express Biodiversity Special (SEBS)’, it showcased the rich biodiversity of India and its conservation measures. Phase VIII as ‘Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS)’ highlighted the global challenge of climate change.

The current ninth phase of the Science Express as SECAS II was flagged off on 17 Feb 2017 from Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station by Shri Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Railways; Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences; and Late Shri Anil Madhav Dave, Minister of State (I/C) for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Govt. of India. The current tour of SECAS is scheduled from 17 Feb to 8 Sept 2017, during which it will be exhibited at 68 stations across India, covering 19000 km. SECAS is focusing on Climate Change and Science & Technology. The exhibition conveys message about Climate Change and is also a good opportunity to generate dialogue and discussion.

The SECAS II is a unique collaborative initiative of Dept. of Science & Technology (DST), Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC), Dept. of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Railways, Govt of India; Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC).

Climate Change is an important environmental issue, with many short term and long term impacts. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are not just global in scope and unprecedented in scale but they also more severely affect the poor and marginalized people. However, there is very little understanding about climate change and its impacts. The state-of-the-art exhibition on board the SECAS aims to create awareness among various sections of society as to how climate change can be combated through mitigation and adaptation.

The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 Nov 2016. The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. The first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1) took place in Marrakech in November 2016. The Conference successfully demonstrated to the world that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is underway and the constructive spirit of multilateral cooperation on climate change continues. Science Express, redesigned as SECAS, intends to contribute towards increasing understanding of the science of climate change, the observed and anticipated impacts, and different possible responses. The previous 3 phases of Science Express were rolled out as a joint initiative of DST and MoEFCC as Biodiversity Special and showcased the myriad biodiversity of India. Thus it was rational to shift the focus to the theme ‘Climate Change’ as it will affect the biodiversity of not just India but the entire globe as well.

Of the 16 coaches of SECAS, exhibition in 8 coaches put up by MoEFCC, is exclusively devoted to information, case studies and material related to various aspect of Climate change, the underlying science, impacts, adaptation activities, mitigation solutions and policy approaches in a manner that is easy to understand and interesting for not just school students but also the masses. In rest of the rake, there are exhibits and activities put up by DBT and DST.

The broad theme covered in each exhibition coach is as follows:

  • Coach 1: Understanding Climate Change – Insights in the climate as a system, the greenhouse gas effect and the underlying reasons for climate change with key message that the current change in the climate is due to human activities.
  • Coach 2: Impact of Climate Change – How temperature rise, monsoon variations, sea level rise are predicted to affect vital sectors like water, agriculture, forests and biodiversity, and human health and ways to reduce these.
  • Coach 3 & 4: Adaptation – Concepts of adaptation and examples from day to day life, adaptation strategies and stories from field. Adaptation options in urban and rural contexts and the adaptation actions India is taking.
  • Coach 5 & 6: Mitigation – Concept and definition with examples, emphasis on restoring balance, enhancing sinks and reducing emission through Renewable Energy (RE) technologies. Various programmes implemented by India and low carbon strategies and ambitious goal to increase RE footprint.
  • Coach 7: International Negotiations for Climate Change – Introduction to UNFCCC, IPCC and internationally agreed action & targets. Explaining concept of equity and common but differential responsibility, Kyoto protocol & other key outcomes of major COP, Paris Agreement, etc.
  • Coach 8: Positive Actions – What can one do at school, on roads, at home and in offices and focus on concept of lifestyle choices with the key message ‘Increase your Handprint. Decrease your Footprint’.
  • Coach 9 & 10: Exhibition put up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Govt of India, covering themes like Biotechnology for bioresources and nature conservation with emphasis on Tiger Conservation and Chemical Ecology and India’s research and development initiatives in field of Biotechnology.
  • Coach 11: Exhibition put up by the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) showcasing select innovations, demonstrating the ingenuity of common people and an innovative project which uses augmented reality techniques. Also, exhibition on themes like Innovations in S&T, Science Education, Technological solutions for societal development, etc.
  • Coach 12: A Kids Zone is set up for children from Std. 5 and below to participate in fun-filled activities, games and puzzles in science, mathematics and environment.
  • Coach 13: The Joy of Science (JOS) Hands-on Lab in this coach is a space where students from Std. 6-10 can perform experiments and activities to understand concepts in environment, science and mathematics in an interesting manner. A training facility is also set up for orientation of teachers here.
  • Solar panels have been installed on the rooftop of Science Express coaches 11-13, as a collaborative effort of DST and CEL, for harnessing solar energy.

At each halt of SECAS, activities are planned to engage visitors across different age groups to reinforce its message. An exciting and much sought-after Outreach Programme is also conducted in local schools/institutions along with activities on the railway platforms. In addition, informative take-away material is made available for wider distribution amongst schools and visitors.

DST has entrusted Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC), Ahmedabad with the task of managing the SECAS across India. VASCSC’s team of qualified, trained and highly motivated Science Communicators travelling with the train explain and interpret the exhibition, answers queries, facilitate the visitors and conduct complementary activities.

The exhibition is open to all but primarily targets students and teachers. More information is available on the website www.sciencexpress.in. For visit to the exhibition or any queries, please send an email to sciencexpress@gmail.com or contact the team aboard the train on 09428405407. School students can participate in the JOS Lab in small batches of up to 20 students, by prior registration.

Team-SECAS solicits cooperation from all the concerned departments, media, institutions and individuals in giving wider publicity to this prestigious exhibition-on-wheels, so that a large number of visitors are benefited.

Please Note:

  • The exhibition is open to all.
  • There is no entry fee for visiting the exhibition.
  • Not allowed on the Science Express: Items like mobiles, cameras, bags, match-boxes, cigarettes, beedis, tobacco, water bottles, any liquid, and any sharp/ pointed objects.
  • Venue: Railway station of the respective city
  • Timing: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Refer schedule for the dates at respective halts.

Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS II) Schedule

17 February – 8 September 2017

SNo.

Station

Exhibition Dates

1

Delhi Safdarjung(Flag off)

17 Feb 2017

2

Delhi Cantt

18- 19 Feb 2017

3

Hisar

20- 23 Feb 2017

4

Dhuri

24- 26 Feb 2017

5

Taran Taran

27- 28 Feb 2017

6

Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra

1- 02 Mar 2017

7

Udhampur

3- 04 Mar 2017

8

Nangal Dam

6- 07 Mar 2017

9

Sirhind

8- 10 Mar 2017

10

Chandigarh

12& 14 Mar 2017

11

Rampur

15- 17 Mar 2017

12

Kasganj City

18- 20 Mar 2017

13

Khalilabad

22- 25 Mar 2017

14

Mau

26- 29 Mar 2017

15

Gaya

30- 31 Mar 2017

16

Patna

1- 02 Apr 2017

17

Kiul

3- 04 Apr 2017

18

Sitamarhi

05 Apr 2017

19

Samastipur

06 Apr 2017

20

Salmari

7- 08 Apr 2017

21

Fakiragram

9- 10 Apr 2017

22

Lumding

11- 12 Apr 2017

23

Agartala

13-14 Apr 2017

24

Badarpur

15- 17 Apr 2017

25

North Lakhimpur

19- 21 Apr 2017

26

Rangpara North

22- 24 Apr 2017

27

Bagdogra

25- 26 Apr 2017

28

Dhanbad

28- 30 Apr 2017

29

Barrackpore

1- 02 May 2017

30

Kalyani

3- 05 May 2017

31

Chandil

6- 08 May 2017

32

Bhadrak

09, 11 & 12 May 2017

33

Puri

13- 16 May 2017

34

Chatrapur

17- 19 May 2017

35

Kottavalasa

20- 23 May 2017

36

Gudivada

24- 26 May 2017

37

Mirylaguda

27- 30 May 2017

38

Gulberga

31 May – 2 Jun 2017

39

Kalluru

3- 05 Jun 2017

40

Whitefield

6- 08 Jun 2017

41

Kengeri

9- 11 Jun 2017

42

Koduru

12- 14 Jun 2017

43

Puducherry

15- 16 Jun 2017

44

Attur

17- 19 Jun 2017

45

Karur

20- 22 Jun 2017

46

Kodaikanal Road

24 June, 2017

47

Virudhunagar

25- 27 Jun 2017

48

Arumuganeri

28- 30 Jun 2017

49

Kayankulam

1- 04 Jul 2017

50

Guruvayur

5- 07 Jul 2017

51

Kannur

8- 10 Jul 2017

52

Madgaon

11- 13 Jul 2017

53

Ratnagiri

14- 17 Jul 2017

54

Mumbai CST

19- 22 Jul 2017

55

Nasik Road

24- 26 Jul 2017

56

Murtajapur

27- 29 Jul 2017

57

Nagpur

30 Jul – 02 Aug 2017

58

Amla

3- 06 Aug 2017

59

Habibganj

7- 09 Aug 2017

60

Bina

10- 12 Aug 2017

61

Khajuraho

13- 14 Aug 2017

62

Marwar

17- 18 Aug 2017

63

Balotra

19- 21 Aug 2017

64

Deesa

22- 24 Aug 2017

65

Bhuj

25- 27 Aug 2017

66

Bhaktinagar

28- 31 Aug 2017

67

Gondal

1- 04 Sep 2017

68

Gandhinagar Capital

5- 08 Sep 2017

 

Bogibeel Rail Bridge to be completed during 2017-18: Suresh Prabhu

GUWAHATI: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has assured that construction of the Bogibeel Bridge would be completed during 2017-18. Prabhu informed about this to Governor Banwarilal Purohit in a letter.

The Governor had earlier written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting the PMO’s intervention in expediting the construction of the Bogibeel Bridge.

Prabhu mentioned that all the 42 well foundations and piers of the main bridge have been completed. Work of both north and south guide bunds, of rail link from Chaulkhowa to Moranhat, along with connectivity on North and South banks have also been completed, he said. Presently, the work of main bridge superstructure is in progress and 35 girders out of 41 have already been launched.

Moreover deck slab concreting has commenced from North bank which is in the process of connecting the South soon, Prabhu informed Purohit. The Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge project was a part of the Assam Accord. The bridge project was sanctioned in the year 1997 and was declared as a National Project in 2007.

The total project cost is estimated at around Rs 5,000 crore. The bridge site is 17 km downstream of Dibrugarh. It connects Silapathar in Dhemaji district on the north bank of Brahmaputra and Bogibeel in Dibrugarh district on the south bank.

The design of Bogibeel bridge has 39 Nos.of 125 metres (410 ft) spans and a superstructure of composite welded steel truss and reinforced concrete. It is designed to carry a double line broad gauge railway on the lower deck and a 3-lane road on the upper deck. Upon completion it will be the longest bridge over the Brahmaputra and the longest combined rail and road bridge in India. However, due to late completion this bridge may be overtaken as longest bridge over Brahmaputra by Dhola-Sadiya Bridge which is a road bridge of length 9.15 km.

Bogibeel bridge will provide a connection between the Rangia-Murkongselek section of the North East Frontier Railwayon the north bank of Brahmaputra and Lumding–Dibrugarh section that lies to the south of the Brahmaputra. A New Dibrugarh Railway Station, expected to be the largest in the region, has been proposed and is to be linked to the Rangia – Murkongselek line via Chaulkhowa and Moranhat. The Railways have initiated the gauge conversion of the Dhamalgaon to Sisiborgaon rail line to the north of the bridge and commissioned the 44-kilometre-long (27 mi) Chalkhowa – Moranhat line to the south.

Annual investment in Railways has doubled since 2014, says Suresh Prabhu

“Indian Railways has been actively pursuing modernisation and expansion, and it has taken a number of reforms to improve transparency and efficiency, and the annual investment in Railways has doubled since 2014,” Union Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu said in an interview to media, while also briefing at length on a number of topics including investments in the sector, private sector participation, various projects undertaken and the response Railways has received under the Make-in-India campaign.

When questioned about the status of the investments proposed in Indian Railways during 2016-2017, Railway Minister said that while Indian Railways has suffered because of under-investment which led to poor infrastructure growth in the rail sector for many decades, NDA government focused on improving investment in Railways with a view to create infrastructure and augment capacity. He said that Rs 1.5 lakh crore funding facility with LIC is secured and for projects, Railways have also taken loans from the World Bank, JICA and ADB. Railways also propose to set up a fund which will be structured with the assistance of the World Bank, wherein investments will be pooled from various investors for financing projects in the sector.

He said in mid-2015, Railways had finalised a medium-term investment plan of Rs 8.56 lakh crore and have considerably ramped up the investment made annually in Railways. The average investment between 2009 and 2014 was only about Rs 48,000 crore. As against the same, we achieved investments of Rs 93,000 crore and Rs 1.1 lakh crore in 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively. In the current year, we propose to spend Rs 1.3 lakh crore, he added.

When asked about the key areas in which both private and public sector investment is expected, he said that Railways is very keen to engage with the private sector because of the efficiency of service delivery that they can bring into the Railways. A lot of work is outsourced, but Railways would like the private sector to come in and develop IR stations, goods sheds, logistic parks. Two loco factories are already being developed in the PPP (public-private partnership) mode and Railways hope to award one coach factory also through a similar process to the private sector. Railways have good success in the private freight terminals with 45 terminals having already been commissioned and now it has a target to take this number to 100.

“Indian Railways has taken up station redevelopment in a big way in PPP model. In fact, it launched one of the largest transit-oriented development programmes across the world worth Rs 100,000 crore,” he said. We have created a dedicated organisation for this purpose, namely Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC). Redevelopment of 400 stations will be done on e-bidding on “as is where is basis”; 12 stations have been handed over to IRSDC for redevelopment. Habibganj railway station in Bhopal has become the first railway station to be entrusted to a developer by a transparent bidding process. This station is under the management of the developer from March 1 this year. The work of redevelopment of Gandhinagar (Gujarat) railway station has started from January 9, 2017.

“Tenders for Anand Vihar, Bijwasan (Delhi) and Surat have been opened. 23 stations are to be bid out by this year. Out of these 23, 6 are in Maharashtra – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Pune, Thane, Mumbai Central, Bandra Terminus and Borivali. In the case of Pune, Bandra, Malaysian companies have expressed interest in bidding. It must be appreciated that station redevelopment process is a complex activity as it is to be undertaken even while the station is functional. Foreign countries have also expressed interest in the redevelopment of railway stations,” he said.

As regards the response from the global investors, especially under the Make-in-India campaign, he said that two loco factories are already being developed in Bihar under Make-in-India initiative. Electric and diesel locomotive factories at Madhepura and Marhowra have been awarded to Alstom and GE, respectively. These two projects would be one of the highest foreign direct investments in India amounting to order book of almost Rs 40,000 crore. The entire bid process has been conducted in a fair, transparent and competitive manner which has drawn international attention. Construction of both the factories and maintenance depots has been started and prototype locomotives are expected in 2018,” said Suresh Prabhu.

Under these two projects, some limited number of locomotives will be imported and a majority of locomotives will be manufactured in India itself. The contract provides suitable economic drivers which would ensure complete indigenisation of the manufacturing, which, in turn, will lead to a substantial development of ancillary manufacturing units and indigenisation of the locomotives, making it a true ‘Make in India’ proposition. The projects would also lead to the development of the region where the factory would be set up and also those where the maintenance facilities would be set up. In sum, the projects would bring in substantial development in these areas and also lead to the generation of direct and indirect employment.

With regard to engagement with state governments for their participation on Joint Venture model in the expansion of railways in different geographies, he said that Ministry of Railways (MoR) signed joint venture (JV) agreement for the formation of companies with nine state governments including Odisha, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. So far, companies have been formed with four states, namely, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala and Odisha. The formation of a company with Maharashtra is at advanced stages and will be concluded by next month. JVs would undertake project development works for an identified basket of projects, which will inter-alia include surveys, preparation of detailed project report (DPR) and getting requisite approvals, processing for sanctioning of identified projects and monitoring.

Union Minister for Railways said that the reforms being implemented in Indian Railways are unique and are being taken up for the first time after the independence. Powers were delegated and decentralised for improvement of efficiency and transparency with the effective implementation of e-tendering, e-auctioning, e-ticketing, e-governance, e-freight demand, e-catering, e-wheelchair, e-concierge.

Rail Development Authority (RDA) is being set up and it will act within the parameters of the Railway Act, 1989. RDA will determine tariff, ensure fair play and level playing field for stakeholder investment in railways, set up efficiency and performance standards and disseminate information on global best practices and benchmarking.

Besides, a web-enabled grievance redressal machinery (Nivaran) for both serving as well as retired railwaymen has been developed. An ERP (enterprise resource planning)-based human resource management system is proposed to be implemented all over Indian Railways and Rs 339.72 crore has been sanctioned for this purpose.

Indian Railways also commissioned 2,855 km of broad gauge (BG) lines, highest ever in 2016-17, which is 7.82 km per day. Our target is to increase BG line commissioning to 3,500 km in 2017-18 which means 9.6 km per day. He said that Railways intend to further increase the pace of rail line commissioning by keeping the target of 15 km a day in 2018-19 and then 20 km a day in 2019-20. “With state JVs coming into being, this pace will further accelerate substantially,” he added.

In case of DFCs, they are expected to be commissioned by 2019, he said, while elaborating that for both eastern and western DFCs, implementation schedules have been drawn up and are being monitored on a regular basis. These DFCs entail an investment of Rs 81,459 crore including land cost approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in June 2015. The cost for the project will be funded by a combination of debt from bilateral/multilateral agencies, equity from Ministry of Railways and public-private partnerships. The capital structure of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) will entail a debt-equity ratio of 3:1.

He further added that in his Budget Speech 2016-2017, he announced 3 new DFCs (i) East-West Corridor (2,328 km) (Kolkata-Mumbai), (ii) North-South Corridor (2,343 km) (Delhi-Chennai), and (iii) East Coast Corridor (1,114 km) (Kharagpur-Vijayawada) for which the studies are on.

Railway to diversify its Freight basket, eyeing for smaller Cargo

PANAJI: With the policy to encourage private freight terminals in place, the union railway ministry is now eyeing for smaller cargo which will help the ministry diversify its freight basket.

“Railways traditionally have been doing business in bulk commodities that too in ten major commodities like ore, cement and others,” Prabhu said addressing the third conference on logistic organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

The minister further said, “What is important now is that over a period, we will have to diversify the freight basket and to do that, we need smaller quantities of freight.”

Prabhu suggested that the public-private partnership initiatives can go a long way in achieving the aim of accommodating smaller cargo.

“Some players can bring in cargo to the railway point, and there are private freight terminals which can keep them and then it can go on the rail,” Prabhu said.

He stated that the vision document to make Indian Railways the best in the world by 2030 was ready, and that ground work had started. The minister said that the railways are working on a structured plan which will encourage multi-model transportation process.

“The multi-model transportation will help to connect ports and also contribute to bringing in even urban transportation into reality,” he said mentioning about the announcement to promote private freight terminals. He said adding his ministry is working with other ministries to make all these things a reality.

Referring to the new GST regime, Prabhu said, “many things have happened in India, and this is the right time to take those things ahead.”   “Five days ago, we created a unified market by bringing in a path-breaking legislation. Now we can move goods from one place to another without any hindrance,” he said.

Prabhu said the railway ministry was working with “All other colleague ministries to make multi-modal transportation model a reality.”

Prabhu also said that this is right time to think about logistics as a new destination for investment.

Railways announces Vistadome Trains in Kashmir Valley

“The chief minister and I have talked about how to increase tourism by virtue of Railways. So, we will soon start a Vistadome train because I do not think there is any other place in the whole world like Kashmir,” Suresh Prabhu said.

Aiming to provide a delightful travelling experience to the picturesque Kashmir Valley here, the Railways on Thursday announced a Vistadome train which would also serve Kashmiri Wazwan cuisine to tourists.

“Tourists need to enjoy the beauty of the Valley,” Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said. He said Kashmiri cuisine would make it to the catering list of the railways.

“The chief minister and I have talked about how to increase tourism by virtue of Railways. So, we will soon start a Vistadome train because I do not think there is any other place in the whole world like Kashmir,” he said. “We have placed an order with our coach factories for the Vistadome train.”

Vistadome trains have glass roofs and walls so that tourists can take in the view.

Railways to develop routes dedicated to Freight Trains in South India: Suresh Prabhu

COIMBATORE: Indian Railways is in the process of developing a Southern Freight Corridor (SFC), which would be connected to one of three corridors, Union minister Suresh Prabhu said today.

The three Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC) planned by the Railways will provide logistics support to the ‘Make in India’ campaign and one of the corridors will be connected with the Southern corridor for the benefit of smooth movement of freight from Southern states, Prabhu told reporters here.

“The southern states will significantly benefit from the DFC as it will be connected to southern part of the country,” he said.

Stating that freight corridors will completely criss-cross the country boosting freight movement, Prabhu said, “We will have to develop a huge backbone of infrastructure for the logistics, if Make in India has to succeed.”

He said that 10 products were the mainstay of Railway’s income and two-third of the revenue came from the freight.

However the income from freight was on a declining trend in the last couple of years, despite increase in tonnage, and in order to augment revenue, freight rates will be reduced soon, Prabhu said.

To a query on plans to help farmers in distress, Prabhu said that the Railways has operated additional freight trains to lift onions from Maharashtra to help the farmers.

Noting that transportation of the produce was the biggest problem being faced by the farmers, the minister assured that Railways will extend any support required for them and asked Container Corporation of India to look into the issue.

Stating that the farmers, who are in difficulty, are of the top priority of the Government, Prabhu said that if required necessary cold chains and storage facilities can be extended to them.

To another question on GST implementation, he said “It is good for economy.”

Railway Minister sets up Experts Group to study GST impact on Railways

NEW DELHI: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu today said the Railways has set up a group to study the impact of the recently launched Goods and Services Tax (GST) on its operations.

“Inevitably all sectors will be affected (with the GST rollout). Not to say that the Railways will be immune from this. We are studying the impact. In any case it is the law of the land so we will adopt it. We have already set up a group to look into the implications of GST on all our operations,” Prabhu told reporters on sidelines of IMC annual general meeting here.

The immediate impact of GST will see a 50 bps increase in AC and First Class train fares to 5 per cent from July 1.

But he was quick to add that in the long-run the new tax regime will be a great boost to overall growth which will help the economy clip at double-digits.

On the impact of GST on the transport sector which will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the single taxation regime as border check-posts will be a thing of the past, he said this, in turn, should help the Railways get better.

Increased movement of goods will help create lots of ancillary activities around the transportation sector, he added.

Hailing GST as a game-changer, he said the move would widen the tax to GDP ratio as it has the potential to add at least 2 percentage points to GDP going by the global experience.

Prabhu urged the states to implement the new tax reform in the right spirit. “I hope all the states will now join hands to implement it in the right spirit and make it a great opportunity for faster economic growth that will help address social problems.”

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.