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.

Nerul-Uran Rail line project may get rolling by year-end: says CIDCO MD Bhushan Gagrani

MUMBAI: The Nerul-Belapur-Uran link railway project is likely to see the light of the day by December-end. CIDCO MD Bhushan Gagrani has fast-tracked the ongoing project and directed the Central Railway to complete the work.

Both CIDCO and Central Railway have agreed to a 67:33 cost-sharing formula.

“We have laid one track along the stretch to Kharpokar and work is on to complete the other track,” a CIDCO official said.

Central Railways also needs to complete the signalling and electrification work and do the trial runs for obtaining the safety certificate, the official added.

CIDCO chief engineer Sanjay Chotaliya said, “We are responsible for building four new stations on the new Uran link corridor and we have asked the railways to complete the work.”

With a view to providing a new link, that is already delayed by several years, CIDCO has decided to complete the work on two of the four stations on the new link corridor.

The town planning body has kept the work of one station under abeyance while the fourth one is in the tendering stage to finalise the bidder.

The first four stations are Sagarsangam, Targhar, Bamandongri and Kharpokar. Since Sagarsangam is close to Seawoods and Belapur and there is not much traffic in the area, CIDCO has kept the construction of this station in abeyance while Targhar is in the tendering stage, Chotaliya said.

The work on the other railway stations—Bamandongri and Kharpokar is underway. The new stations on the Uran link corridor are Sagarsangam, Targhar, Bamandongri, Kharpokar, Gavan, Ranjanpada, Nhava Sheva, Dronagri and Uran.

Nerul–Uran line to become important link of Mumbai Suburban Rail system

Nerul–Uran rail line – an under construction railway line in Mumbai is part of the Mumbai Suburban Railway. The 27-kilometer line connects Nerul with Uran and has 11 stations. The first phase of the line, a 12-km section from Seawoods to Kharkopar, is scheduled to be completed by December 2017. The remaining section of the line is expected to be completed by June 2019.

The City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO) was appointed as a New Town Development Authority in 1970. Government acquired the land from 95 villages and handed over to CIDCO for development of towns. To decongest the mother city, Mumbai, CIDCO developed 14 nodes in Navi Mumbai. The development of Navi Mumbai International Airport and 6 railway corridors in Navi Mumbai were meant for increasing connectivity between the towns, nodes and mega establishments.The major features of the rail corridor are direct access from residential to railway station by foot, convenient interchange facility from one corridor to another, double discharge platforms at every station, easy to follow routes and comfortable and pleasant journeys form the key features of the commuter railway system in Navi Mumbai. The proposed Nerul / Belapur – Uran railway line will help to accelerate the growth of Navi Mumbai by providing direct access between Uran town, Jawaharlal Nehru Port, and the Newly developed areas of Mumbai. The Railway line will cater to the passenger traffic demands generated by Jawaharlal Nehru Port, port based industries, ONGC, Defence establishment at Uran and other residential, industrial, and warehousing complexes in Uran taluka.

The Nerul/Belapur-Uran Railway corridor is attached to the Mumbai CST-Panvel Harbour line (Mumbai Suburban Railway). The railway Project between Nerul and Belapur- Seawood-Uran was approved by Ministry of Railways and CIDCO Board. The work on the project began in July 1997. However, due to various unforeseen reasons, the work was delayed and hence stalled, until recently when the project was revived after the tripartite agreement between Railways, CIDCO and Govt. of Maharashtra was executed on 29.07.2011.

The original estimate cost for the project was ₹495 crore in 1997, which escalated to ₹1,782 crore. The cost is being shared by CIDCO and the Indian Railways (67:33).

Construction on the Kharkopar, Bamnadongri and Targhar stations began in the first week of March 2017. CIDCO chose to postpone construction of the Sangarsangam station in order to complete the rest of the first phase by the December 2017 deadline.

The total length of the corridor is 27 km and consists of 10 stations; 4 major bridges; 5 Road Over Bridges,15 Road under bridges, 1 track under bridge. The 270 mt platforms for four Broad gauge (B.G.) tracks to cater 12-car electric multiple unit rakes with double discharge. The railway track structure shall comprise 60Kg/m I-class rails, laid on mono block prestressed concrete sleepers to 16660/Km sleeper density.The bridges will be built to Modified Broad gauge (MBG) standard of loading. Stone ballast 65mm gauge with ballast cushion of 300mm below the underside of sleepers will be provided.The 10 stations on the proposed railway line are Seawoods, Sagar Sangam, Targhar, Bamandongari, Kharkopar, Gavhan, Ranjanpada, Nava-Sheva, Dronagiri and Uran. Provisions are made for one arm of the railway line to go to CBD Belapur station from Sagarsangam station.The project is to be completed in two phases Nerul-Seawood to Kharkopar and Kharkopar to Uran. The deadline for the first phase of the project till Kharkopar is December 2017.

After nine years’ lull, Goods Train chugs along Podanur-Pollachi track

COIMBATORE: Much to the delight of industrialists in the Pollachi-belt, goods train services were relaunched on the Podanur-Pollachi route on Wednesday.The services had been suspended for the past nine years as the route was closed for broad guage conversion work. After nine years lull, the first goods train, carrying 3,714 tonnes of maize to a private company in Negamum from Kapurtala in Punjab, chugged along the route on Wednesday morning.”The train, with two locomotives and 42 compartments, arrived at Podanur on Tuesday around 9.50pm but could not proceed further as it was an electric locomotive. On Wednesday morning, we got a diesel locomotive from Erode station and the train reached Pollachi at 10.45am,” said a Salem division spokesperson.Special care was taken to ensure the smooth arrival of the train, which had to cross five level crossings between Podanur and Pollachi.

“Usually, these level crossings are unmanned. But on Wednesday, they were manned as it was the first run of a goods train on the route after the guage conversion work,” the spokesperson said.The resumption of goods train services on the route is expected to bring a lot of cheer to the fodder, coir and food grain producers, exporters and processing units in the area. Pollachi already has a full-fledged goods shed equipped with a freight operations information system enabled goods booking facility, waiting and rest rooms for traders, among others.”The successful run of the goods train through the newly-opened broad guage track is encouraging and the zonal railways department may allow more goods trains to pass through the route,” said the spokesperson.

Radhakrishnan, an Industrialist from the region says they badly need a goods train to Kochi so that containers don’t have to go by road, which is expensive because of the toll,” said. “The successful run of the goods train through the newly-opened broad guage track is encouraging and the zonal railways department may allow more goods trains to pass through the route,” said the spokesperson. After nine years lull, the first goods train, carrying 3,714 tonnes of maize to a private company in Negamum from Kapurtala in Punjab, chugged along the route on Wednesday morning. The railway board is mulling the option of combining goods and passenger trains, so goods trains to and from Coimbatore will be introduced in due time.

Chinese firm FSDI Chiang appointed as Consultant for Nepal’s East-West Railway project

Detailed Project Report of Nepal’s East-West Railway project in 15 months!

KHATMANDU: The government of Nepal has started to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) of Butwal-Gaddachauki section of East-West Electric Railway Project.

With the target of completing the DPR of the project within 15 months, the Department of Railways (DoRW) has started the work from the beginning of this fiscal year.

According to Prakash Upadhyaya, spokesperson for DoRW, Chinese firm FSDI Chiang has been appointed as the consultant of the project.

The government has initiated the study of 420 kilometre section of the mega project and the study of the eastern part of the project has already been completed.

“We are aiming to finalise the DPR within 15 months, and if everything runs smoothly, we should be able to meet the deadline,” Upadhyaya said.

According to DoRW, the process of preparing DPR of the first section of the project is in final stage. Preparing DPR of Kakadvitta-Bardibash section of the project will be completed within this September. “The study of this section will be completed within this Dashain,” said Upadhyaya.

According to DoRW, 70 per cent of track opening of the 30-kilometre Bardibash-Lalbandi sector of Bardibash-Simara section of the project was completed in last fiscal year 2016-17. DoRW plans to complete the track opening of the entire section within this fiscal.

“Land acquisition and issues regarding forest area are the major hurdles at the moment,” Upadhyaya added. He also said that land acquisition policy of government is also hindering progress of the project.

The mega project also includes the 22-kilometre Itahari-Biratnagar section. The government had mentioned in the budget of last fiscal year that the construction works of the mega project would be started after preparation of DPR within that year. However, it now appears that the DPR of the project would be completed only around mid-way through fiscal 2018-19.

Meanwhile, officials at DoRW said that resource limitations had also interrupted the works. “We have limited budget but multiple mega projects in the pipeline. This is the biggest challenge,” they said.

Government has allocated Rs four billion for railway development, which includes land compensation and development budget. “To complete the planned projects without any financial constraints, we need at least Rs 20 billion per year,” the officials said, requesting anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Indian Railways to soon introduce speedy Wi-Fi Access for passengers onboard the train

In Aug 2016, RDSO approved C-DOT gears for Wi-Fi services. Soon, you’ll be able to access Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and other apps onboard your train. Currently, Wi-Fi services access across the trains and Railway stations is being provided by the RailTel Corporation of India Ltd.

NEW DELHI: After the successful stint of installing Wi-Fi across 125 stations, Indian Railways is now looking forward to providing Wi-Fi internet access for all its onboard passengers for the entire duration of their train journeys, says a report in The Financial Express.

Indian Railways has already been giving Internet services on its premier trains such as the Tejas, Gatimaan, Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani Express and other luxury trains for quite some time now.

The internet services provided until have been through a satellite which makes them very expensive.

Under the new system, the Wi-Fi devices will be installed on a track-side equipment basis at periodic intervals for uninterrupted Internet access.

Research for the project is being carried out by IIT Chennai and Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT).

IIT has already developed a concept and C-DOT is working on an existing equipment which requires some modifications before it can be implemented for the trains. Indian Railways is also on the lookout for partners for the project.

As per a statement from an official, a pilot project will be started in the Chennai-Bangalore line soon.

The development comes at a time when Indian Railways is trying hard to get an image makeover and boost its present state of services especially in light of recent accusations made by the CAG and its efforts to match up to the aviation sector to which it is fast losing passengers.

Currently, Wi-Fi access across trains is being provided by the RailTel Corporation of India in association with Google.

The Indian Railways has also started providing onboard entertainment in selected trains and it also launched RailCloud – a virtual server with an inbuilt security system that will enable faster connectivity at a reduced cost.

Wi-Fi technology of state-run Centre for Development of Telematics (CDOT) has been approved by Indian Railways. Most of the equipment installed in Indian telecom network were imported earlier. Approval of C-DoT Wi-Fi equipment will help deployment of indigenously made gears.  The company is in the advanced stages of developing of 5G technology.

Introduction of New Train between Rameswaram-Faizabad-Rameswaram (via.Vijayawada, Itarsi, Allahabad)

NEW DELHI: Ministry of Railways has introduced a new train between Rameswaram-Faizabad-Rameswaram.  The new train was flagged off by Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on 27th July, 2017 through video conferencing at Mandapam at 12:30 hrs. The Regular services between Rameswaram-Faizabad-Rameswaram will commence from 6th August 2017.

Inaugural Service:

Accordingly, Train No.06793 Rameswaram-Faizabad Inaugural Express will depart Rameswaram at 12:30 hrs on 27th July, 2017 (Thursday) and arrive Faizabad at 23:00 hrs on the second day(Saturday).

In the return direction, Train No. 06794 Faizabad-Rameswaram Inaugural Express will depart Faizabad at 12:30 hrs on 30th July, 2017 (Sunday) and arrive Rameswaram at 23:00 hrs on the second day.

Enroute this train will stop at Ayodhya, Allahabad, Itarsi, Balharshah, Gudur and Chennai Egmore stations in both the directions.

This train consists of 18 coaches viz., one AC II Tier, two AC III Tier, eight sleeper, two General second class, one Pantry Car and two Luggage cum Brakevan Coaches.

Regular Services:

Train No. 16793 Rameswaram-Faizabad weekly Express will depart Rameswaram at 23:50 hrs on Sundays and arrive Faizabad at 08:30 hrs on Wednesdays with effect from 6th August, 2017.

In the return direction, Train No. 16794 Faizabad-Rameswaram weekly Express will depart Faizabad at 23:55 hrs on Wednesdays and arrive Rameswaram at 08:50 hrs on Saturdays with effect from 9th August, 2017.

Enroute, these trains will stop at Manamadurai, Thiruchirapalli, Thanjavur, Kumbakonam, Villupuram, Chennai Egmore, Gudur, Vijayawada, Warangal, Ballarshah, Nagpur, Itarsi, Jabalpur, Satna, Allahabad, Jaunpur, Ayodhya stations in both the directions.

These trains consist of 18 coaches viz., one AC II Tier, two AC III Tier, eight Sleeper Class, four General Second Class, one Pantry Car and two Luggage cum Brakevan Coaches.

Reliability & Safety of Locomotive is of paramount importance: says Member Traction, Railway Board

Ghanshyam Singh, Member-Traction, Railway Board, New Delhi and Vinod Kumar Yadav,GM/SCR at MSG Meeting

SECUNDERABAD: Ghanshyam Singh, Member Traction, Railway Board, New Delhi made a  visit to South Central Railway and participated in the 38th Electric Loco Maintenance Study Group meeting held at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad today i.e., 28th July, 2017. Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, SCR, V.K.Agarwal, Addl.Member, Railway Board, New Delhi were also present in the meeting.

Speaking on the occassion Ghanshyam Singh stated that revolutionary changes can be brought in Locomotive power by leveraging technological advancements. He advised the Chief Electrical Loco Engineers of all the Zones on Indian Railways to focus on adoption of good management techniques to achieve reliability and safety of locomotives for hassle free train operations.

He stressed upon better management of maintenance facilities, spare parts and technological systems. The staff engaged in maintenance of the locomotives should be properly trained and updated about the new technologies being inducted.

Indian Railways has embarked upon huge electrification of tracks to improve the speed and haulage capacity, he stated and added that the machinery also needs to gear up to meet the demands of the future.

Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, SCR stated that South Central Railway is having 3,000 route kilometre electrified track and holding 600 Electric Locomotives which are serving the needs of the Zone. The Zone is planning for electrifying another 700 route kilometres by the end of current financial year. The Zone is also working upon the idea to develop loco sheds which can maintain both diesel and electrical locomotives under one roof. He stressed upon achieving the status of zero loco failure during running of trains.

John Thomas, Additional General Manager, A.A.Phadke, Chief Electrical Engineer, SCR besides Chief Electrical Loco Engineers from all other Zonal Railways, Senior Engineers from Research Designs and Standards Organization (RDSO), Lucknow  participated in the day long  Electric Loco Maintenance Study Group meeting.

Jamalpur-Bhagalpur section to get another Railway tunnel soon

MUNGER: The Eastern Railway (ER) will soon start construction of another tunnel cutting through Bariakol hill near Jamalpur railway station on Jamalpur-Bhagalpur section, parallel to the existing one, said GM Harendra Rao in Jamalpur on Thursday evening.

The old tunnel has become rather risky and the new one will facilitate fast movement of trains both on up and down tracks.

Rao was interacting with mediapersons at Jamalpur railway station after he alighted from the special inspection train from Howrah along with DRM/Malda Mr.Mohit Sinha.

Talking on the issue of alleged theft of railway wagons from the Jamalpur railway workshop in the past few years, he said the matter was being investigated and the ER was committed to bring the culprits to book.

Easter Railway sources added even the recent audit report indicates that over 100 railway wagons sent to Jamalpur rail workshop for repairing from different rail divisions have not been sent back to respective divisions. There is no record whether they were sold or auctioned.

Rao also said another project of Rail Relay Interlocking (RRI) system will soon start at Jamalpur railway station and the project is under the active consideration of the railway board. Once completed, it will facilitate smooth movement of trains without any hassle and use of man power.

The GM also said that all mail and express trains passing through the Sahebganj-Kiul section will henceforth be equipped with LHB coaches, as railways have discontinued manufacturing of existing ICF coaches.

The ER official also received more than a dozen representations by different organisations and associations. Their main demands included declaring Jamalpur railway workshop as a manufacturing workshop, introducing express trains via Munger on the newly-opened rail bridge across the Ganga between south and north Munger and introducing a train between Bhagalpur and Tatanagar. The demands also include opening a railway university on the campus of the ERMI at Jamalpur.

Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran Railway to help Caspian region’s development

TEHRAN: The Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway will give a strong impetus to the development of the Caspian region, including expansion of its transport, production and social infrastructure, the Turkmen Ministry of Railways said in a message July 28.

The total length of the railway reaches 900 kilometers.

“From the economic point of view, the whole railway represents the shortest way for delivering cargo, including transit cargoes, and passenger transportation in the future,” reads the message.

The Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway is part of the International North-South Transport Corridor.

FSSAI working in tandem with Railways to ensure Food Security, says Pawan Agarwal

NEW DELHI: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Agarwal said his organization and the Railways are working in the most systematic manner to ensure absolute food safety for passengers.

“We have appointed executive directors of health, along with additional food safety commissioners to work as per the railway eco-system,” said Agarwal while commenting on complaints filed by passengers over staple pins being found in eatables.

Agarwal further stated that food safety officers have been designated and are being trained to ensure robust functioning of the railways.

“Our standards for food supplements have been collectively assembled by our panels in two to three years and it is a continuously evolving process. If they feel it needs to be changed, the scientific panel is examining. The new standards will be applied from January 1. However, we are hoping before that, all the discussion materialises and we can bring the required changes,” he added.

“Doping substances have been under stress. We are working in tandem with the National Anti-Doping Agency, wherein we have advised them to collect samples for testing for NADA to evaluate,” he added while commenting over collection of drug samples in various states.

The FSSAI has banned the use of staple pins in tea bags from January next year as it can cause serious health hazards, Agarwal said.

As per the FSSAI order, at present, there are two types of tea bags available in the market, namely stapled tea bags and knotted tea bags.

AIMS and IPAS Application is one of the important Catalyst for IR’s One-ICT Policy: Rohita Mishra, Sr.EDPM/Delhi

Rohita Mishra IRAS, Sr.EDPM/NR

The Indian Railways embarked on a speed work of switching over to IT/ICT driven administration of functions and have implemented various IT Applications in the last few years viz. FOIS, PRS, UTS, Control Office Applications, Crew Management System, Integrated Coaching Management System, e-Procurement System, Real Time Train Information System, AIMS and IPAS etc.  The Finance & Accounts Department in the Railways plays an Integral Role in rendering timely advise, proper maintenance of accounts in terms of earnings and expenditure and providing in time management information, reporting for decision making with proper budgeting, keeping the Accounts and compilation thereof at the end of each financial period, internal checks of all transactions, scrutiny of investment proposals and MIS Reporting.

Among many IT initiatives of Indian Railways, the Accounting Information Management System (AIMS) is one of the vital Application that not only covers the establishment, payroll, leave account, PF, pension and other vital modules but also facilitates internal checks, bill passing, cheque printing, monthly and annual account compilation, budget and financial review and forecast – thus immensely contributes for best of the breed administrative standards with benchmarked practices.

In an interview with the Editor-in-Chief of RailNews, Ms.Rohita Mishra IRAS, Sr.EDPM of NR’s Delhi Division says that today almost all the Zonal Rail systems have adopted AIMS and IPAS and the role of IT has changed completely now on IR. Ms.Rohita says that the Application has been highly customized over a period of time and will continue to further betterment. “AIMS and IPAS are set to immensely reduce the TCO due to economy in support and licencing costs,” she adds. She asserts that with the industry scale Security Server Applications running, the complete architecture is highly secure, scalable and more agile. Here are the excerpts from the interview with Ms.Rohita Mishra.

Q: Can you give a brief of IPAS Application software being extensively used by Indian Railways?

Rohita Mishra: IPAS Application software (the software for AIMS) was developed by CRIS on web based 3-tier centralized architecture using Java and Oracle. It brings a common Application to all Railways on a centralized platform so that similar processes are followed across Railways in terms of accounting practices. A key benefit of such centralization is a faster change management and integration of effort along with automation of processes. IPAS application is undergoing a continuous up-gradation to achieve better efficiency, security and safety. IPAS will provide real time access to financial transaction data across IR and will also bring financial and fiscal discipline.

Q: When did you implement the IPAS developed by CRIS, and when it was actually conceptualized?

Rohita Mishra: AIMS was conceptualized in the year 2010-11 and the modalities for implementing the project were initiated in the year 2011. Delhi division pioneered IPAS implementation in June-2015.

Q: Can you brief us technical features of IPAS Application Software?

Rohita Mishra: CRIS is now in the advanced stages of developing the integrated IT based system for all 3 modules of Accounting. Although core design of IPAS Application is same as design of PRIME/AFRES, following improvements are there in the system.

Technology Level:

  • Centralized Architecture
  • Web based Application. It doesn’t require any client software on end-users’ PCs.
  • Designed and developed using state of the art open Java technology can run on any OS, any Application Server. Java is futuristic technology instead of existing Oracle Forms based technology.
  • High Availability (24*7) as all the servers has been clustered to run in fail-over mode. Thus, if there is failure of any server, the load will be shifted to cluster server immediately and under no circumstances work will be interrupted. The users would not know the breakdown.
  • Centralized maintenance and management of Infrastructure.

Security Level:

  • Secured Socket Layer (SSL) software has been enabled to encrypt the data to keep safe from hackers.
  • Role based access to the end users which can be administered by Administrators nominated at each unit.
  • Audit trails to monitor the changes made by any user including Administrators.
  • Credentials of users are stored in encrypted way, which cannot be decrypted by any algorithm.
  • No access of database has been given to anyone for security reasons. For running adhoc queries, a utility has been provided by CRIS to extract the data, as per requirement, by writing Oracle SQL queries.

Database Level:

  • PRIME and AFRES databases have been merged into single database and all the redundant tables have been dropped.

Application Level:

  • Inter-related data capturing screens have been merged into single screen to reduce navigations.
  • No Pay Rates form for entry of Basic Pay, DA, HRA and Transport Allow. While processing of salary, data for Basic Pay, HRA, and Transport Allowance are fetched from Employees’ Bio-data.
  • Steps for salary processing have been merged to reduce the work of end-users.
  • Salary Bill passing screen has enriched functionality in IPAS. The screen compares allowances/recoveries/allocations with that of previous month for individual employee to check. In addition, variations are shown in red color. Moreover, the user has been provided all the information required for passing the salary bill.

Interface with Other Applications:

  • IPAS has integration with Material Management Information System (MMIS).
  • Design of Works Register is compatible with IRPSM (Indian Railways Projects Sanctions and Management). Once implemented on Centralized architecture, expenditure as available in Works Register of IPAS against each work will be reflected in IRPSM. Similarly, Budget Outlay allotted through IRPSM will be linked to Works Register.
  • Design of Budget Module is compatible with RBCS (Rail Budget Compilation System) of Budget Directorate. IPAS once implemented in Centralized architecture, RBCS can be linked with Budget Module of IPAS for August Review, RE/BE & FM. Similarly, Budget allotted under Revenue Demands through RBCS will be linked to Budget Module.
  • IPAS is being integrated with Crew Management System (CMS) for allowances of running staff.

Others:

  • As application is based on Centralized Architecture, Real Time Information of IR level can be provided to Railway Board at all times.
  • Being a uniform application similar to any other IR applications (e.g. PRS, FOIS etc.), all the business rules and report formats are uniform over IR. Compliance of any rules/circular of Board (such as DA Arrear, Bonus etc.) can be made speedily.

Q: What are the Functional Modules in IPAS?

Rohita Mishra: There are two types of modules in IPAS

A.    Payroll Employee Profile, Payroll, Salary, Allowances & Recoveries, Annual Increments, Income Tax, Bonus, Cash Compensation, DA Arrear, Supplementary Bills, Traveling Allowance, Leave, Settlement, Leave Salary, GIS, DCRG, Quarters, Electricity, Cadre (Book of Sanction),       Workshop Incentive, Loans & Advances are the working parts of payroll.
B.    Accounts Internal Check, Books, PF, NPS, Pension, Cash & Pay, Suspense & Budget are the working parts of accounts.

Q: Was it fully rolled out on the Zonal Railway as on date?

Rohita Mishra: Key modules of IPAS have been rolled out in all Zones of Indian Railways. Other modules are in the final stages of implementation.

Q: Have you had a seamless implementation of IPAS Application during the transformative stages?

Rohita Mishra: Although there were few challenges, yes, the project is successfully running and few more milestones are in the process of accomplishment shortly.

Q: Do you have any Service Provider/Agency helped in implementation of the IPAS and related Systems Integration?

Rohita Mishra: Most of the development part is handled by CRIS. However the services of few System Integrator are also being availed in certain areas.

Q: How do you consider the implementation of IPAS has advantaged you in your day to day functions when compared to previous Application?

Rohita Mishra: Integrated Payroll and Accounting System (IPAS) has eliminated various hassles of manual working and the system is federated and is brought into a centralized platform and architecture.

Q: About Data Migration, what major challenge do you foresee while in the stages of the implementation of the IPAS?

Rohita Mishra: Any project of this gigantic nature may encounter issues like integration, interoperability, compatibility, structural syncing, configuration management of information systems and device integration and compatibility for various systems, while porting multiple data from conventional systems to single Application Platform which goes to the fundamental need to do more than move data to information systems, but to proactively use it in ways that can have immediate results. IR and CRIS have foreseen such aspects in the initial stages itself, have had taken precautionary measures and successfully come out of those challenges which served as the fastest and easiest means to establish a platform that has the intelligence and awareness.

Q: What major role the Personnel Branch will play in the implementation/execution and operation of the IPAS?

Rohita Mishra: With over 13.6 Lakh employees, Indian Railways is one of the largest employer not only in India, but also in the world. The workforce of IR is a varied mass of people from the Gangman/Khalasi at one end to Chairman, Railway Board at the Apex level. The task of the personnel department of Railways is to manage and look after the welfare of this large mass of employees and their families. Hence IPAS being the centralized web-based platform met efficiently the requirements of not only Personnel Branch but the Accounts & Finance Department and eased out the management of various human resources related matters, from the stages of induction to superannuation. The major modules includes Recruitment, Training & Development, Placements, Transfers, Service Record and Appraisals, Promotions, Court Cases, D&AR matters, Wage and Salary administrations, Settling Industrial Disputes, Staff Grievances and Redressal, Incentives and Financial aids, Settlement and Pension, retirement benefits, employees welfare, Dak and File, Industrial Relations etc. The project has been developed and implemented at Northern Railway and is under maintenance.

In Indian Railways, the complexities of Personnel Management arise from large size of its labour force, the number of categories and trades into which it is divided and the wide geographical spread of staff. All personnel functions for staff of Accounts Department are handled by Accounts Department. Service Records of all Gazetted Officers are maintained by Accounts Department through Password functions are done by Personal Branch. All personnel functions for staff of RPF department by RPF department. All personnel functions of Group-D staff of Civil Engineering Department are handled by Civil Engineering. However all these comes under the IPAS now thus removing various hassles of administration and thus had immensely contributed for better management of personnel department.

Q: What are the major challenges you have encountered in the Administration of IPAS and how did you plan to overcome those challenges?

Rohita Mishra: Employee training, assimilation of course content, trainers availability, time duration and milestones achievements are few of the challenges while implementing the IPAS and we could overcome them in a planned and phased manner over a period of time.

Q: Give a brief on Accounting Information Management System (AIMS)

Rohita Mishra: AIMS has benefited the Finance & Accounts Department of Indian Railways in a bigger way. The Finance and Accounts Department plays an Integral Role in rendering timely financial advices, proper maintenance of accounts of the Railway in terms of earnings and expenditure and providing in time management information, reporting for decision making etc with functions categorized as follows:

  • Proper Budgeting of earnings and expenditure, pertaining to Rail operations.
  • Keeping the Accounts and compilation thereof at the end of each financial period according to well established procedures and formats.
  • Internal check of all transactions, both receipts and expenditure.
  • Scrutiny of investment proposals
  • MIS Reporting.

AIMS has been the catalyst for meeting the above challenges for the Finance and Accounts Department and the efforts of CRIS and the Electronic Data Processing wings of Indian Railways spread across all the Zonal Rail systems are impeccable and noteworthy.

Q: How are the HR and Finance Modules are co-related in fine-tuning the Application? Which are the areas that were covered under IPAS?

Rohita Mishra: The HR and Finance Modules in the AIMS Software have helped in a great way for an Integrated Payroll and Accounting System for IR on Centralized architecture. The Online modern J2EE open technology, Web based & Browser based, 3-Tier architecture helped us to achieve Real time information. The centralized maintenance of Application & Change Management has also greatly helped the department to achieve the uniform processes / reporting, speedy compliance of rules / circulars etc. Also, by way of linking AIMS with all other centralized applications viz.PRS, FOIS, MMIS, CMS, TMS etc has immensely help the Railways to achieve informed real-time status that which has become a base for Accounting Reforms. The HR and Finance modules that were catered under AIMS is as under:

Personnel Department (HR) Finance and Accounts
Employee Profile Payroll, Service Record, Seniority, Leave, Settlement, Travelling Allowance, Quarters, Electricity, Cadre, Loans and Advances Internal Check, Books, PF, Pension, Cash & Pay, Suspense, Budget

Q: Where is the Centralized Architecture and the Data Centre living currently for IPAS and AIMS? Do you have any DC-DR kind of environment?

Rohita Mishra: CRIS is centrally managing the entire Software and Application.

Q: Do you think that the One-ICT Policy that is being debated in Railways for implementation has any role in IPAS and AIMS in future? May please explain. 

Rohita Mishra: Obviously. AIMS and IPAS application is one of the catalyst for One-ICT Policy of Indian Railways that is being formulated currently and the credit goes to CRIS immensely which is equipped with more than 800 employees – majority being the competent IT Professionals, whose skill sets in Systems Architecture, System Analysis, Design, Program Development etc, whose Technical administering skillsets are complemented by an experienced group of serving and former Railway Officials with domain knowledge, expertise and systems implementation. The initiatives of CRIS in various IT space for Railways since last 2 decades is quite larger that is helping to frame a new One ICT Policy.

IPRCL to build Indore-Manmad Rail line to ease Container Shipment to JNPT: says Nitin Gadkari

MUMBAI: Indian Port Rail Corporation Ltd (IPRCL), which is executing projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore, will build Indore-Manmad rail line for shipments of containers to JNPT, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.

IPRCL is a first-of-its-kind Joint Venture Company (JVC), between the Major Ports under the Ministry of Shipping, and Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL).

“From Indore and Dewas 47,000 containers go to JNPT (Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust). They go via Ahmedabad and Delhi. It takes eight days for containers to reach JNPT. We (IPRCL) are constructing a railway line between Indore and Manmad which can carry shipments in just 24 hours,” Shipping, Road Trnasport and Highways Minsiter Gadkari told reporters on the sidelines of India PPP Summit organised by FICCI.

He said the detailed project report for about 339 km-long project is ready which is aimed at cutting down Indore-Mumbai distance by 200 km and would offer a corridor for despatching export containers from Indore region directly to JNPT. The minister said that 50 per cent of the about Rs 4,000 crore project would be funded by the Railways while the remaining will be offered by JNPT.

“Earlier, Railway Minister has said that 50 per cent of the cost will be contributed by the states and the rest 50 per cent by the Railways. Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra had expressed their inability to do so. I said JNPT will provide 50 per cent and the rest 50 per cent will be provided by the Railways,” Gadkari said.

The discussions on the project are on and the land will be provided free of cost by Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments, which will be converted into equity. State governments have also agreed to exempt taxes, he said. Likewise, the minister said that a Rs 1,000 crore rail line is bieng built to carry coal from Talcher to Paradip where Coal India plans to augment its output from the present 60 MT to 300 MT. “Coal can easily be transported to Kandla and Mumbai from Paradip after the project,” he said.

A FICCI-EY study titled, ‘Revival of PPP momentum in the transport sector’, highlighted the need to resolve multiple issues dampening the private sector interest and slowing the rate of private investment in the sector. It calls for key interventions to remove the roadblocks to PPP and accelerate the implementation of PPP projects. These interventions would include policy actions, regulatory changes and push the reforms agenda, which will create conducive environment for bringing investments into the sector.

The study was released today by Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Government of India; Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog; Junaid Kamal Ahmad, India Country Director, South Asia, The World Bank, and other dignitaries at the inaugural session of the India PPP Summit, orgainsed by FICCI in association with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) India.

The main recommendations of the study include strengthening of lending institutions, greater participation of insurance and pension funds, establishment of Infrastructure PPP Project Review Committee (IPRC) and the Infrastructure PPP Adjudicatory Tribunal (IPAT), setting up of 3P India as proposed in the Union Budget for 2014-15, mechanism to keep a check on aggressive bidding , need for independent regulators, passing and enactment of pending bills, strong emphasis on performance-based contracts, better preparation of DPR and revisiting the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Scheme.

Siemens, Bombardier Train Manufacturing Talks Advance

German conglomerate Siemens and Canadian aerospace company Bombardier are reportedly close to forming joint ventures focused on train production.

Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the matter, reported last month that the companies were in talks that would combine their existing train operations into two ventures.

Bombardier would control the train manufacturing business while Siemens would run a venture that would make train signaling equipment.

Both companies are currently cutting jobs amid pressure in the train manufacturing market from China’s CRRC Corp., which formed when that country’s two largest train producers merged in 2015.

One analyst told Bloomberg that Siemens, in particular, could benefit from controlling the signaling equipment businesses, which features higher profit margins.

In addition, Siemens and Bombardier currently operate in many of the same areas in Europe.

A deal is expected to be finalized soon, but key obstacles remain in the companies’ discussions, and Bloomberg notes that any agreement would need support from elected officials, antitrust authorities and unions — particularly in Germany.

CRRC Electric Locomotive to run in Eurasia following Safety Certification

China-Belarus No. 2 electric freight locomotive has obtained the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) vehicle safety standard certification. Credit: CRRC

CRRC’s China-Belarus No.2 electric locomotive has been given the go-ahead to operate on the Eurasian railway network.

The freight train has been granted the necessary Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) vehicle safety standard certification – a first for a Chinese high-power AC drive locomotive, according to the rolling stock manufacturer – meaning it can run in the likes of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The EEU certification tested 52 train parts, 348 functions as well as the locomotive’s radiation, ecological safety as well as electromagnetic compatibility.

The train was built by CRRC Datong, a subsidiary of CRRC, and is equipped to operate on AC 25kV 50Hz. It has a maxiumum speed of 120km/h.

Integrated Ticketing: Now 1 Ticket for Train, Metro, Bus, Auto & Taxi in Mumbai

Mumbai has been chosen to be the 1st Indian city to test and run integrated ticketing platform. Officials from Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) and Central and Western Railway officials are devising strategies to make it work in the city.

MUMBAI: Indian Railways’ one of the most ambitious projects have been the concept of Integrated Ticketing Platform, wherein only one ticket is enough for anyone to travel in a train, metro, bus, auto or a taxi.

Now, this project will be finally started, and Mumbai has been chosen to be the first city to experience this, under the pilot project.

Passengers will, no doubt, get extremely benefitted by this initiative. But the question is, how will this get implemented?

As per reports coming in, Mumbai has been chosen to be the 1st Indian city to test and run integrated ticketing platform.

Within Mumbai, this would be a project managed by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), and they will now integrate all public transports: BEST buses, local trains, metros, black-and-yellow taxis and auto rickshaws within this system.

Right now, officials from Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) and Central and Western Railway officials are devising strategies to make it work in the city.

In fact, The Brihamumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), which spearheads bus services in Mumbai and Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL), which manages the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro have agreed to work together, and implement the integrated system.

Prabhat Sahai, chairman and MD, MRVC said, “MRVC will present the railways’ perspective to the MMRDA, which is the primary organisation for the integrated ticketing system,”

As per reports coming in, the whole exercise has been divided into two stages:

Stage 1: A special software will be integrated with the existing ticketing system at railway stations and metro.

Stage 2: Special entry and exit gates would be installed for making the integrated system of ticketing

According to insider information, MMRDA will float a tender for executing single ticketing platform in October. Based on the results, the same would be implemented pan-India.

NFR in the Dark over Meghalaya State’s stand on Tetelia-Byrnihat Rail Line project

SHILLONG: The Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) has not received any communication from Meghalaya State Government about its decision to shelve the railway project till a comprehensive mechanism to check influx is put in place.

When asked, an official from the NFR said on Wednesday that it is news for them that Meghalaya Government has put the project on hold.

Replying to a query, the official said that with such decision, the agency which was assigned the construction work will definitely pull out of the project and even the Railway Ministry will take back the fund which was sanctioned for the projects.

According to NFR officials, the Railway Ministry had sanctioned Rs 150 crore this year for the Tetelia-Byrnihat railway project, while Rs 200 crore was sanctioned for Byrnihat- Shillong project. The NFR officials also added that though the target to complete the project is March 2019, now the project is certain to be delayed.

Earlier, after days of standoff, the State Government had bowed to the anti-railway groups’ demands and decided to shelve the railway project till adequate measures are taken to check influx.

Construction work of 5 railway over-bridges in South Goa to start soon

PANAJI: Minister for Public Works Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar on Wednesday informed the state legislative assembly that the work for five railway over-bridges would be taken up soon in South Goa.

“We have already received NOCs from the South Western Railway for four out of the 5 over-bridges,” he maintained while replying to a related question from the Cuncolim MLA Clafasio Dias, during the Question Hour at the state legislative assembly, adding that all efforts are being made to obtain an NOC for the fifth railway over-bridge coming up at Chandor.

“The total estimate for all these projects is Rs 500 crore,” Dhavalikar maintained, stating that once the NOC is obtained for the railway over-bridge at Chandor, its work would be completed after 12 months from the date of issue of work order to the contractor. “We will issue work order for the same following appointment of a consultant and completion of the tendering process,” he added.

It was also informed that the state government and the South Western Railway would complete all the over-bridges, including the Chandor over-bridge by sharing their 50 per cent costs each.

The Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the alignment for the approach roads to the Chandor over-bridge needs to be taken up and finalised first, as there is always some opposition to such alignments. “In fact, the South Western Railway is going to share only the Rs 3 crore cost of construction of this over-bridge, and not that of the approach roads,” he observed, maintaining that the land acquisition for approach roads is not an easy process.

Parrikar also offered to call a meeting of the Minister for Public Works, MLAs concerned about the particular over-bridge and the public works department officials on July 27, to discuss the alignment and other aspects linked to the over-bridge.

Tejas train running without Safety Clearance

Launched by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in May, Tejas runs between Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Karmali in Goa. Tejas has the highest ticket fare per kilometre for trains in the country, with an executive chair-car seat costing around Rs 2,940 with food for the 552-km trip.

NEW DELHI:  The Railways has been running the newly launched Mumbai-Goa luxury train Tejas Express, billed as the “future of train travel” in India, without the mandatory safety clearance from the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS).

Last week, the CRS, which is a statutory body under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, wrote to Central Railway and the Rail Ministry asking why the new train was launched and continues to run without the CRS having inspected it and given a safety nod. In its reply, the Railways’ R&D wing has claimed that the train is currently running without many of its special features and did not include any “new rolling stock” that needed fresh clearance.

In its letter, the CRS pointed out that the move to run the train without its clearance violates Section 27 of the Railways Act, 1989, which mandates that any new rolling stock can be introduced only after prior inspection by it. The move also goes against the Railway Ministry’s Policy Circular No 6, which stipulates that any new rolling stock with higher speed must get a new safety certificate from the CRS.

Sources in the civil engineering wing of Railways said that the policy circular is significant because any new rolling stock potentially alters rail-wheel interaction and needs a fresh safety mandate by the regulator.

Launched by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in May, Tejas runs between Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Karmali in Goa. One of the new products introduced in the last Rail Budget by Prabhu, Tejas has the highest ticket fare per kilometre for trains in the country, with an executive chair-car seat costing around Rs 2,940 with food for the 552-km trip.

The CRS has contended that Tejas is a new product with automatic doors and a new braking system, and capable of running at a top speed of 200 kmph — its coaches, including the toilets, are also different from existing products.

On behalf of the Railway Ministry, the Research Design and Standards Organisation replied to the CRS notice, claiming that Tejas was “not a new rolling stock”, and that although the train has many new features, they are not being currently used, including the new electro-pneumatic braking system.

It also pointed out that although Tejas can run at a top speed of 200 kmph, it is currently running at a speed of 110 kmph — like any other ordinary superfast train. Besides, even though there are automatic doors, it does not change the behaviour of the rolling stock, it 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.

Prime Minister to flag off Train linking Rameswaram and Ayodhya

This was one of the trains proposed in Railway Budget 2014

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Thursday flag off a train, Rameswaram-Faizabad weekly express, that would connect the two pilgrimage centres of Rameswaram and Ayodhya.

This was one of the trains proposed in Railway Budget 2014 to connect Rameswaram with tourist and pilgrimage centres like Bengaluru, Chennai, Ayodhya, Varanasi and Haridwar. Rameswaram-Varanasi train has already been introduced.

Mr. Modi will be in Rameswaram to inaugurate the memorial of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on his second death anniversary.

He will flag off the inaugural train through video-conferencing.

The train would connect six States – Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

The inaugural train of the weekly express would leave Rameswaram at 12.30 p.m. and reach Faizabad at 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Regular service

However, the regular service of Train No. 16793/16794 Rameswaram-Faizabad-Rameswaram will commence on August 2 (Wednesday) from Faizabad and on August 8 (Sunday) from Rameswaram.

It would run with a diesel locomotive between Rameswaram and Chennai Egmore and run on electric traction from Chennai to Faizabad.

The new train will connect south Tamil Nadu with important stations like Vijayawada, Jabalpur and Allahabad.

“Though it is run as a train to connect pilgrimage centres, it would get better patronage if it is run through Madurai. Already, Rameswaram- Varanasi train is run on the same route without touching Madurai,” senior president of Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industries S. Rethnivelu said.

Madurai was also an important destination for people from the north, he said.

“They can visit Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, and three of the six abodes of Lord Muruga, including Palani in Dindigul district and Tirupparankundram in Madurai district, if the train was run through Madurai,” Mr. Rethnivelu said.

Besides, it would help more passengers from the south get direct connectivity to Ayodhya and also help businessmen go to Vijayawada, Jabalpur and Allahabad, he said.

SAIL supplies 6.2 Lakh Tonnes of Rails in FY17 to Indian Railways

SAIL has carried out modernisation and expansion programme at all the five major steel plants

NEW DELHI: Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has supplied 6.20 lakh tonnes of rails to the Indian Railways in 2016-17, Parliament was informed today.

“Initially for 2016-17, Railway Board placed a bulk indent on SAIL for supply of 6,24,516 tonnes of rails, which was met by SAIL and it supplied 6,20,049 tonnes of rails during 2016-17 to Indian Railways,” Minister of State for Steel Vishnu Deo Sai said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.

“However, the enhanced requirement of Railways i.e; supply of 8.2 lakh tonnes of rails during the year could not be met due to capacity constraints,” the minister informed.

But, with the ramping up of the new 1.2 million tonne Universal Rail Mill at Bhilai Steel Plant, SAIL has now capacity to meet additional demand of Indian Railways, he added.

Sai further said: “The cumulative expenditure incurred by SAIL towards modernisation and expansion, mines and related sustenance schemes, till June 2017 is Rs 65,822 crore.” In a separate reply, the minister said, “SAIL has carried out modernisation and expansion programme at all the five major plants viz Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), Bokaro (Jharkhand), Rourkela (Odisha), Durgapur and Burnpur (West Bengal) and special steel plant at Salem (Tamil Nadu).” However, the Salem Steel Plant in Tamil Nadu, despite investment of Rs 1,902 crore has been incurring losses, he added.

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.

IRCTC to take over Catering Services in all Trains by year end

NEW DELHI: Catering services in all trains with pantry cars will be handed over to IRCTC by the year-end in order to improve onboard food quality, according to Railways.

Besides passengers in seven Rajdhani and six Shatabdi trains will have an option for e-catering facility.

IRCTC will be given responsibility of managing catering services in all trains with pantry cars be December end, Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohd Jamshed said here today.

Till now, the zonal railways were managing catering services in majority trains as per the catering policy 2010.

There are about 350 trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto which are equipped with pantry cars.

With a view to improve catering services at rail premises, Railways will also conduct third party audit at pantry cars, base kitchens and food stalls to ensure best practice.

“We have hired two reputed companies to do the third party audits at food stalls and pantry cars,” Jamshed said.

Railways has also undertaken a three-week drive to inspect food quality and hygienic condition at base kitchens.

The Railways formulated catering policy in 2005 and according to the policy, IRCTC, the tourism and catering wing of the Railways, was given catering responsibility for all trains.

In 2010, the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee announced the policy in which catering responsibility was taken away from the IRCTC and zonal railways were asked to look food services.

However, since complaints against food quality were increasing constantly, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu decided to go for a new catering policy aiming to improve food services at rail premises.

The new catering policy was announced in February under which IRCTC was given catering responsibility with stringent guidelines.

The new policy envisages separation of cooking and distribution of food.

Jamshed said now options have been given to passengers in a few Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Duronto trains to opt out of the catering services while booking tickets.

Catering services are mandatory in premier services like Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains and the catering cost is included in the ticket.

Seeking to explore the possibility of making mandatory catering services optional on trains, Railways had earlier announced in June last year to undertake the scheme on Nizamuddin-Mumbai August Kranti Rajdhani Express and Pune- Secunderabad Shatabdi Express.

Passengers have to specifically opt out from the mandatory food option and catering charges will be excluded from the ticket fare.

Catering charges ranging from Rs 175 to Rs 340 will be deducted from the total fare if the passenger opts out from the mandatory food options.

First part of Track Doubling works in Tiruchchirappalli-Thanjavur section over

Section ready for Statutory Inspection by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), Bengaluru, on August 2. Remaining work to be completed before December; project cost is Rs.400 crore

TIRUCHCHIRAPALLI: The first portion of the track doubling project being executed from Ponmalai in Tiruchi to Thanjavur has been completed.

With the second railway line in the 19-km stretch from Ponmalai station to Solagampatti station having been laid along with completion of other works, this section is ready for statutory inspection by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), Bengaluru, on August 2.

Five major bridges and 38 minor bridges have been constructed as part of the project.

The Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) has been entrusted with the task of executing the track doubling project in the 47-km stretch from Ponmalai to Thanjavur at an estimated cost of Rs. 400 crore.

The work which was initially done by the construction organisation of the Southern Railway was handed over to the RVNL which is executing the doubling project from Villupuram to Dindigul via Tiruchi.

A senior official said works in the remaining portion from Solagampatti to Thanjavur Railway Junction (28 km) were apace and would be completed before December. New station buildings have been constructed at Tiruverambur and Tondamanpatti.

Foot over bridges have been constructed at Tiruverambur besides at Solagampatti station.

A bypass railway line has been laid for a distance of nearly four km ahead of Ponmalai railway station to enable freight trains proceeding towards Ariyalur side from stations in the delta region without touching Ponmalai railway station.

The second railway line between Ponmalai and Thanjavur was cleared by the Railway Board, New Delhi, in view of the steady movement of freight trains from Karaikal and other stations in the delta region and headed to different destinations besides rise in the number of passenger trains in the Tiruchi-Thanjavur-Tiruvarur-Nagapattinmam-Karaikal section and Tiruchi-Thanjavur-Kumbakonam and Mayiladuthurai section.

Some of the express trains that runs in the Thanjavur-Tiruchi section include the Tiruchi – Chennai Cholan Express, Mysore – Mayiladuthurai, Karaikal-Ernakulam Tea Garden and Coimbatore-Mayiladuthurai Jan Shatabdhi expresses every day.

Indian Railways Station Redevelopment Scheme to offer over 144 Acres of Land to Developers

The Indian Railways, under its massive station redevelopment programme, is set to offer more than 144 acres of land with its 23 stations for commercial development.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways, under its massive station redevelopment programme, is set to offer more than 144 acres of land with its 23 stations for commercial development. The developers would be selected via competitive bidding, marking the first phase of the scheme under which surplus/vacant land with over 400 stations are to be redeveloped. As many as 18 of the 23 projects will come go under the hammer in the current financial year. “The tenders will be opened gradually over July onwards which will be finalised by April-May 2018,” said a railway official requesting not to be named.

While there are some stations that will offer as little as 1.6 acres (Chennai Central) for commercial redevelopment, there are others including Yesvantpur (20 acres), Udaipur City (10.7 acres) and Howrah (10 acres) that will offer huge plots for commercial use. Large infrastructure companies such as Tata Realty and Infrastructure, GMR, Essel Infra, IL&FS and a few Malaysian companies are actively looking to participate in the programme and some of them are already working on-ground to prepare bids. Last week, the secretary general (works), government of Malaysia, Dato Sri Zohari Haji Akob — who is also the nodal officer for projects investment in India — led a delegation along with the Malaysian high commissioner in India and held a meeting with railway officials regarding station redevelopment.

The meeting was to reinforce the commitment of the government of Malaysia to ensure a visible participation of experienced Malaysian developers in railway station redevelopment projects to enhance bilateral trade and stronger cooperation on both sides for sustainable infrastructure development.

According to the official quoted above, all 25 tenders (23 being planned plus Anand Vihar and Brijwasan which have been delayed due to land issues), would be opened by September. While work on the Habibganj and Gandhinagar projects has already started, the Indian Railways awarded the contract for Jammu Tawi railway station last week and that for Kozhikode has been just awarded. In addition, the request for proposal for Surat railway station is expected to be floated within a week.

In terms of stations that will be redeveloped, a total of 2,700 acre will be reconstructed for the 400 stations that have been identified and more than 200 acres will be redeveloped in the first phase comprising 23 stations. Under the scheme, a developer needs to create a concept proposal which takes six-eight weeks and an investment of Rs 1.5-2 crore.

For stations receiving multiple bids, one will be chosen taking into account technical as well financial proposals under the Swiss challenge method. There are two railway committees which will evaluate proposals which will be evaluated on a scale of 100. Separately, an independent committee will look at the scores given to each proposal. Subsequently, the general managers of the zone concerned will look at the recommendations of all the three committees and select one concept for DPR purpose.

“Even if no developers comes in at the challenge stage, the railways will be at least be assured of the premium mentioned in the DPR,” added the official. The railways is expecting that the total cost of commercial development for 400 stations will be Rs 68,000 crore while that for station redevelopment will be Rs 28,000 crore, and in addition it is likely to get Rs 11,000 crore as premium.

Railways ready to give its Land for Metro Station at Cantonment in Bangalore

Cantonment Metro & Railway Stations to be 700 meters apart!

BANGALORE: Opposition to the location of Namma Metro’s Cantonment station in a playground used by Abdul Bari’s High School, instead of near the Cantonment Railway Station itself, is likely to increase in the coming days with the Railways on Monday clarifying that they had no problems with allocating land to Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL).

BMRCL had last week published the alignment for the underground section of Reach 6 in Phase II, which had the new location of the Cantonment station within the playground at a distance of almost 1 kilometer from the entrance of the Cantonment Railway Station. At the time, BMRCL had justified the move by stating that land acquisition would be easier.

With the new station located around 250 meters from the end of the railway platform, BMRCL officials had said that they would ensure that easy connectivity was not affected. However, the move still earned the ire of several commuters and groups who said that the station location must not change.

The clarification issued by railways on Monday showed that the South Western Railway had been asked in May 2017 for 16,000 Sq Mtrs of land for a period of four years and permanent licensing of 2500 sq meters near the railway station. “In this connection joint site survey has been proposed in order to identify the exact requirement of land, possibility of its sparing and taking up process for transfer of land there after. The issue is under discussion and will be finalized after feasibility study and mutual dialogue between South Western Railway and BMRCL,” a statement by Indian Railways said.

According to the railways, it was open to considering any proposal of sparing land for BMRCL to facilitate metro work in a way to make it beneficial to everybody.

Puducherry seeks Feasibility Report on Monorail Project

PUDUCHERRY: After qualifying to avail funds under the Smart City project, the territorial administration had begun identifying ways to materialise one of its key components – mass transportation.

Representatives from a Delhi-based firm having a tie-up with a Chinese-based auto major, on Tuesday held discussions with Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy, Minister for Local Administration Department A. Namassivayam and senior officials on introducing monorail in the town.

Monorail, operating on a single rail, was widely considered to be a viable mode of public transport in bigger cities.

During their presentation, the representatives listed the advantages the monorail had over other mode of transports including the tram and the metro rail.

Mr. Namassivayam told that after the presentation, the government had asked the representatives to prepare a feasibility report. .

He said mass transport was one of the most important component in the Smart City project. However, the Central government would not provide funds for bigger schemes .

On the setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle, the Minister said the government had initiated the process and it would be constituted at the earliest, adding that the Chief Secretary and other secretaries would form part of the SPV.

As per the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Urban Affairs, the respective governments had to constitute a SPV for implementing the project from planning to execution. The entity, which had to be registered under the Companies Act, would plan, apprise, approve, release funds and evaluate the Smart City projects.

“We have expedited the process to constitute SPV so that works could commence at the earliest,” Mr. Namassivayam added.

Inter Divisional RPF Sports and Games Championship 2017 concluded at Secunderabad


SECUNDERABAD: The 27th Inter Divisional RPF Sports and Games Championship 2017 concluded today i.e., 25th July, 2017 at Railway Sports Complex, Secunderabad. Head Quarters Team won the title in Volleyball by beating Vijayawada Division in the concluding match of the Championship.

The results of the Championship are

  1. Basketball: Winner-Vijayawada – Runner-Guntur
  2. Football: Winner-Secunderabad – Runner-Hyderabad
  3. Kabaddi: Winner-Vijayawada – Runner-Secunderabad
  4. Athletic: Winner-Secunderabad – Runner-Hyderabad
  5. Volleyball: Winner-Head Quarters – Runner-Vijayawada

The 27th Inter Divisional RPF Sports and Games Championship-2017 was organized by the Hyderabad Division at Railway Sports Complex Grounds, Secunderabad from 21st to 25th July, 2017. Six Divisions including the host Hyderabad Division and Head Quarters took part in the Championship which was held for Athletics, Football, Volleyball, Basketball and Kabaddi. The games were held in knockout basis following the rules and regulations of the respective federations. The purpose of conducting the Championship was to select probables for the ensuing Inter Railway RPF Championship.

Shri Arun Kumar Jain, Divisional Railway Manager, Hyderabad Division presented the Championships to the winners and Shri Sanjay Sankrityayan, IG-Chief Security Commissioner, SCR and Shri Eshwarrao, Addl. CSC were present on the occassion.

GST to raise Metro Rail construction cost of Kolkata’s East-West Metro

The Goods and Services Tax (GST), which subsumed all indirect taxes and was implemented from July one this year, is likely to raise the construction cost of East-West Metro being constructed by Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC).

KOLKATA: The Goods and Services Tax (GST), which subsumed all indirect taxes and was implemented from July one this year, is likely to raise the construction cost of East-West Metro being constructed by Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC). KMRC Managing Director, Satish Kumar said “GST will definitely raise the construction cost. But the exact amount of the rise is yet to be ascertained.”

Briefing reporters in Kolkata on Saturday, he said that tunneling work under Brabourne Road in the city has been completed and work on the Esplanade station already started. There will be five levels at Esplanade station and function as a confluence of the three metro railways – the East-West Metro, North-South Metro and the Joka-BBD Bag Metro.

Work on the Mahakaran metro station will start soon, he said, adding that the first phase of the project from Salt Lake to Phool Bagan have been targetted to go operational from June 2018. Kumar said that entire stretch from Howrah Maidan to Salt Lake was expected to be operational from December 2020.

Efforts have been made to keep settlement of the soil within 30 mm which, according to him, would not do much damage to the buildings falling on the tunneled route.

Once the construction was complete, the operations of the East-West metro would be transferred to the North-South Metro authorities. Total cost of the 16.55-km project had been pegged at Rs 4874 crore so far, he added.

ECR RPF cracked 62 cases of Encroachment on Railway property

DHANBAD: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) under the East Central Railway (ECR) has cracked 62 cases of encroachment of railway property in June and arrested 38 people in this connection.

Stolen railway items worth Rs 97,970 was recovered during an intensive drive launched during June, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) Rajesh Kumar said in a statement today.

ECR comprises Danapur, Sonepur, Samastipur, Mughalsarai, Hajipur and Dhanbad divisions.

The CPRO said seven reservation agents were caught during the period and a total of 124 children either missing or victims of human trafficking were saved and handed over to their families.

He further said on June 3, cosmetics worth Rs 3.45 lakh smuggled from Nepal were seized at Muzaffarpur.

On June 14, a man was caught at Gaya illegally carrying 3.9 kg silver in Train number 12321, the CPRO said.

Railway Board ask RVNL to carry out the Feasibility Study for 2 more Bullet Train corridors

NEW DELHI: Following Rail Vikash Nigam Limited’s submission of the final feasibility report of a bullet train in the Delhi-Kolkata corridor, the Railway Board has now entrusted it with the feasibility study of two more alignments from Kolkata.

The Kolkata-Mumbai (1,968km) and Kolkata-Chennai (2,182km) corridors will be part of the high-speed railway network called Diamond Quadrilateral.

In fact, the Mumbai-Nagpur alignment will be the first phase of the proposed Mumbai-Kolkata corridor. The feasibility study is being done under government-to-government cooperation with Spain by Adif-Ineco.

Similarly, the feasibility study for Kolkata-Chennai corridor is to be decided by the ministry of railways. According to officials, this is quite similar to the Golden Quadrilateral highway project of the NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

At present, the travel time by train from Kolkata to Mumbai varies from 26 to 40 hours. Duranta takes 26 hours to reach Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus while Jnaneswari Express takes 30 hours to reach Lomanyatilak Terminus (Kurla). The high-speed bullet train can reduce the travel time to less than 10 hours, said a Railways official.

However, the biggest challenges to these projects are land acquisition and capital investment. Like in Bengal, acquiring land will be a major issue all along these corridors. Land requirement for these is, however, smaller compared to a six-lane highway. A wide double-line high-speed corridor requires land that is 15-m wide while a six-lane high-speed road requires land that is 35-m wide. But a high-speed railway corridor allows more passengers per hour, said an RVNL officer.

High-speed railway (HSR) involves high capital cost and high demand risk due to higher tariff as compared to conventional rail. This is why the tracks will be dedicated and mostly elevated. The emphasis will be on alternative revenue sources like real estate, carbon credits and cross-subsidy from road/air travellers.

But there is hardly any alternative to high-speed rail. A double-track train is equivalent to a three-lane motorway. Twelve trains per hour per direction can only be replaced by 4,000 cars per hour per direction. While HSR can carry 14,400 passengers per hour, a motorway can carry only 8,000 passengers per hour. So, HSR facilitates decongestion to a great extent, explained Railways officials.

Each HSR corridor will have a long gestation period and will be highly capital intensive. The project will require seamless coordination among central government ministries, government agencies and state governments, as well as strategic thinking.

Molinari Rail to set up manufacturing unit in India

Molinari Rail AG has entered into a strategic pact to design, manufacture and deliver the auxiliary power units (APUs) for 1,000 diesel locomotives to be built in India for Indian Railways.

NEW DELHI: Swiss major, Molinari Rail will set up a manufacturing and assembly centre for auxiliary power units for diesel locomotives in India by next year.

Molinari Rail AG has entered into a strategic pact to design, manufacture and deliver the auxiliary power units (APUs) for 1,000 diesel locomotives to be built in India for Indian Railways.

Michele Molinari, CEO Molinari Rail

“We have a project for Indian Railways and we will manufacture and assemble auxiliary power units here in India for the 1,000 diesel locomotive programme.

“With this component we are contributing highly to greener rail operations in India. By this, Molinari Rail is following the ‘Make in India’ strategy of creating new jobs and local expertise,” Michele Molinari, president and CEO of the Molinari Rail Group, told PTI here.

However, he declined to share details about the investment needed for the project.

Molinari, who is also the board member of SwissRail Industry Association, said the group will form a Lucknow-based company that will manufacture 100 auxiliary power units per annum, which can be ramped up later.

“We will have a company here in India which we will set up together with Prag Group of Industries at Lucknow and there we will combine long standing Indian and Swiss rail expertise as a new player in the Indian rail industry,” he said.

“We are already assembling the first prototypes this year in Lucknow in collaboration with Prag. It will be a Molinari managed company” he added.
He said the company is eying some other projects in the railways sector as well.

“We are looking at Railways sector which is our speciality. There are interesting projects coming up that is where our focus is. We are looking at tenders of Indian Railways and other companies in the sector so that we can participate with our knowledge and expertise leveraging the new local set up in Lucknow,” he said.

Molinari also said the SwissRail Industry Association is keen to invest in India. The association has 110 members and most of them are SMEs and family-owned companies.

“The members are all very innovative, competitive and delivering world class Swiss quality. Most of them are into exports and of course India is a natural place to work for us. Swiss industry and especially Swiss rail industry has always collaborated with India for a long time,” he said.

“With the modernisation programme of Indian Railways and based on the Make in India policy, there are huge opportunities for us and for the Swiss industry,” he said.

Headquartered in Switzerland and having major sites in Austria and Germany, Molinari Rail delivers customised solutions for the rail industry worldwide.

NIA Chargesheet in Rail Accidents points to Pakistan’s ISI role – a plot bigger than expected on cards

The NIA has blamed ISI for roping in a Nepalese citizen to arrange for men to plant pressure cooker bombs on rail tracks to blow up passenger trains.

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday filed the first chargesheet in cases of alleged conspiracy behind rail accidents before a Patna court. Nine people, including two Nepalese citizens, have been charged with conspiracy to blow up rail tracks and a train near Bihar’s Ghorasahan railway station in October 2016.

The NIA is also investigating railway accidents near Kanpur and Kuneru in Andhra Pradesh last year that killed over 180 people. One of the accused in Bihar conspiracy had also owned up the Kanpur accident. His claim has not been corroborated with evidence yet.

The NIA has blamed ISI for roping in a Nepalese citizen to arrange for men to plant pressure cooker bombs on rail tracks to blow up passenger trains. The chargesheeted accused have been identified as Umashankar Patel, Gajendra Sharma, Rakesh Kumar Yadav, Ranjay Sah, Mukesh Yadav, Motilal Paswan and Arun Ram, Brij Kishore Giri and Samsul Hoda. Hoda, who along with Giri is from Nepal, has been identified as the main accused. He is alleged to have organised men in Bihar with Giri’s help to execute the attacks on ISI agent Mohammed Shafi Sheikh’s instructions.

NIA sources said that Hoda was in the business of providing manpower and had earlier worked in Malaysia. He later shifted to Dubai, where he came in touch with Sheikh. Hoda contacted Giri, who arranged for three Bihar men to allegedly execute the attack.

The chargesheet alleged that Hoda visited Pakistan in July 2016 along with Shafi. “The conspiracy hatched was to carry out IED explosions on railway tracks and bridges, to blow up passenger trains to cause loss to public life, disrupt essential lines of communication and to thereby cause threat to security and integrity of India.’’

The NIA said that six of the chargesheeted accused are in jail. Giri and Hoda are in custody in Nepal for their role in a murder. Ram was murdered in December. It was during the investigations into Ram’s murder that Bihar police stumbled upon the conspiracy and arrested two people, including Motilal Paswan who owned up the Kanpur accident.

Shafi Shaik by that time fled to Pakistan via. UAE and is expected to reside either in Karachi or Islamabad.

The chargesheet alleged that Hoda had transferred money into Giri’s account to allegedly recruit bomb-makers and planters and for arranging logistics. Giri allegedly recruited Sharma, Rakesh Yadav, Patel, Mukesh Yadav, Paswan, Sah and Ram to allegedly carry out terrorist acts.

The NIA alleged that the accused fabricated and planted another IED on a railway track near Adapur and Nakardei railway stations on December 3. An audio clip has been attached to the chargesheet. Giri is purportedly telling Patel in the clip that another group had been successful in its sabotage activity in Kanpur while he has failed to cause an accident despite placing bombs.

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Railways expected to save at least 21000 liters of Diesel per annum from a single Solar DEMU

The Indian Railways spends a huge amount of money on diesel to power its trains each year which, apart from the monetary impact, also takes an environmental toll. With the introduction of environment-friendly Solar DEMU Trains, IR to contribute towards clean air and is expected to cut down diesel consumption and carbon footprint drastically

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways’ newly launched solar diesel multiple unit trains (DEMU) are expected to save hundreds of crores for the government in fuel bills as well as reduce the carbon emissions. The Indian Railways spends a huge amount of money on diesel to power its trains each year which, apart from the monetary impact, also takes an environmental toll. To address the issue, the Railways is looking seriously at solar and flagged off a solar DEMU rake recently. The department has already increased the speed of installing rooftop solar in railway stations and railway crossings. The solar DEMUs will take the energy saving plan of the department a step further.

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has set a target of saving the Railways Rs 41,000 crore in energy expenditure over the next 10 years. For that, the solar power project is crucial. In the 2016-17 budget, Prabhu targeted setting up 1,000 MW solar power generation capacity to reduce the reliance on diesel.

According to an energy policy report published by the Indian Railways in November 2016, the cost of energy consumed by the Railways is 24.16 per cent of its ordinary working expense which breaks into 14.72% diesel expenditure and 9.44% on electricity. The diesel bill of the Railways increased from Rs 7,297 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 22,716 crore in 2014-15. It is one of the largest consumers of diesel fuel in India. In 2013-14, the diesel consumption of Indian Railways was around 2.6 billion litres, as per official data.

According to the Railways, the solar DEMU system helps reduce carbon footprint of these commuter trains and cuts carbon dioxide emission by 9 tonnes per coach per annum. It projects a saving of 21,000 litres of diesel per DEMU train with six trailer coaches and that will translate into savings of Rs 12 lakh per year. The proportional rise will be seen as coaches increase to 10 coach rake with eight trailer coaches. The Indian Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai has manufactured the new train which will run on a 1,600 hydraulic horsepower (HHP) DEMU unit.

The Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore conducted a research and trial runs of such DEMU rakes and projected an ideal return on investment period of about 7.5 years. However, it said that the period could go up to as much as 10.6 years if the annual rate of depreciation of the solar photovoltaic system is considered. The coach has a life of 25 years. Considering the fact that Indian Railways operates over 63,500 coaches and most of them are exposed to sunlight of at least 300 days on average according to the Railways, this system could be expanded to save hundreds of crores of rupees for the department.

The newly built coaches have a passenger capacity of 89 people for one coach. In each train, two coaches are motor coaches on each end of the train. The passenger coaches in between are called trailer coaches. Each passenger coach costs Rs 1 crore and the motor coaches cost Rs 2.5 crore. Each solar panel that is installed on the rooftops of the trains cost Rs 9 lakh. A total of 16 solar panels are installed on each coach on the train and each generates 300 watts of power. The power that is generated through these panels, will be used in the train for non-daylight operating hours.

For now, the train has been flagged off between Sarai Rohilla station in Delhi to Haryana’s Garhi Harsaru Junction. The train will operate in place of the non-solar powered rake on the route.

The fare of the coach will remain the same and with reduced operational costs, it means increased returns for the Railways. Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu estimates the return to be as much as 20 per cent.

The IISc estimated that the annual power yield in a solar rail coach will be between 6,820 and 7,452 kWh. This would result in an annual saving of 1,862 litre of reduction in diesel consumption per coach per annum. It would also decrease CO2 emission of around 4.5-4.9 tonnes. The study estimated that if all the 63,511 coaches under operation are accounted for and considering the Railways employ 20 coaches on average in a train, the solar rail coaches could generate 433,145,020 kWh of electricity per year. This would save 108,476,788 litres of diesel in a year. The total CO2 emission reduction would then stand at 2,88,339 tons. The move would save the Railways a lot of money and help in achieve its climate and energy goals.

Financial Bids for Mumbai Metro Line-3 rolling-stock by Aug-end

MUMBAI: Having already received six pre- qualification bids for the rolling stocks, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) is hopeful of opening financial bids for the same by the end of next month for the Line 3 that connects the city’s southern tip to the airport and beyond.

The Rs 23,136-crore, 33.5-km-long Line 3 connects Colaba in the southern tip of the island city with Bandra- Seepz in the north via the international airport and is the biggest infra project that the city has ever seen.

Also, on completion by 2022, the Line 3 will be the fifth largest underground metro in the world.

“We are hopeful of opening the financial bids for rolling stock for the Line 3 by the end of August. We’ve already received good pre-qualification bids from as many as six domestic and global consortia,” said MMRC managing director Ashwini Bhide.

The consortia are Alstom Transport India-Alstom Transport France; CRRC Nanjing-CRRC Changchun-CRRC International Corp of China, Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan; CAF of Spain, Hitachi from Japan, and a consortium of Bhel-Mitsubishi Corp, she said.

Of these, CAF, Hitachi and Mitsubishi are independent bids, Bhide.

After evaluating these bids, MMRC will invite financial tenders from shortlisted companies in consultation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is funding 57.2 per cent of the project cost at a soft loan for 30 years.

Bhide said the winning consortium will have to manufacture 75 per cent of coaches locally though not necessarily in Maharashtra itself.

The state-of-the-art eight-coach cars will be driver- less trains, said MMRC director (projects) S K Gupta.

MMRC will procure 31 cars of eight coaches each, or 248 coaches in total, in the first phase. Each car will be 22.6-metre-long and 3.2-metre-wide with four gates per car.

The contract will include design, manufacture, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of the rolling stock.

Describing the Line 3 as the biggest infra project in the megapolis, Bhide said the thus far the biggest such venture here, the Bandra-Worli Sea Link – has cost only Rs 1,600 crore, while the Line 3 is 14 times larger.

The other key infra projects – the Eastern Freeway (Rs 1,200 crore) and monorail (Rs 2,600 crore) all pale in front of the Colaba-Seepz metro line. The 11.8-km Metro One (being operated by the Anil Ambani group) has cost only Rs 2,400 crore, she noted.

The Line 3, on completion by FY22, will reduce daily fuel demand by around 4 lakh liters, or close to 10,000 tonne of green house gas emissions per year, as it will take at least 4.5 lakh vehicles off road daily.

The city is building five more metro lines of which civil work on the Line 2A and Line 7 have already started.

These six line new metro lines will cost close to Rs 1 trillion and are being implemented by the nodal development agency MMRDA.

Executive director (planning) at MMRC R Ramana said the Line 3 will need 17 tunnel boring machines (TBMs) which will arrive by end-August and the tunnelling will start from October from the proposed Naya Nagar station in the Dharavi slum area in central Mumbai.

Gupta said the Line 3, which will have just one of the 27 stations on-ground, needs 78.67 hectares land, of which only 3.45 hectares are private land.

Of the total government land of 74.22 hectares, 64 hectares have already been acquired and of this 30 hectares are at the Arey Colony where the metro will have the casting yard and depot. Out of the 30, 5 hectares will be untouched and will remain a natural green cover, Bhide said.

She ruled out building commercial space at the stations, saying it isn’t commercially viable to build large space at the stations, though each of them may have some urgent utilities like ATM and snacks bars.

“Out of the total project cost of Rs 23,136 crore, over Rs 18,000 crore are only for tunnelling and stations.

Effectively, cost works out to be Rs 2 lakh per sq ft and we cannot charge so much from a tenant. Each station will have a built up space of 240-250 sq meter space only,” she said.

Asked whether the project is on time despite many legal hassles it had to face, Bhide said, “very much”.

No there is no uncertainty over the project. The metro will be a reality on time, and that is by 2022, she concluded.

Texmaco reported a loss of Rs.8.65 Crore for June quarter against a profit of Rs 6.56 Crore a year ago

KOLKATA: Beneath the grandiose plans to spend Rs 8.5 lakh crore to beef up Indian Railways, the wagon makers, a key component of the department’s freight revenue generation, are bleeding profusely primarily due to lack of adequate orders.

“Performance during the quarter was adversely affected due to poor wagon orders and other consequential-related issues,” Texmaco executive director said in a statement post reporting a dismal first quarter for the country’s largest wagon maker.

Texmaco on Monday plunged into losses, reporting a negative bottomline of Rs 8.65 crore for June quarter against a profit of Rs 6.56 crore a year ago and Rs 5.93 crore profit during the previous quarter.

Texmaco is not suffering alone. Titagarh Wagons, the second-largest wagon maker, which is yet to announce its quarterly earnings, is apprehensive about the sustainability of erratic government orders.

“Wagons procurement order by Indian Railways for the current year is yet to be announced and uncertainty in this area has become a norm,” said executive chairman J P Chowdhary in his report to shareholders prior to the forthcoming annual general meeting of the company.

“Financial performance for the past three years had been impacted mainly due to successive lack of orders for procurement of wagons from Indian Railways during the past 3-4 years, the largest customer, compounded by predatory pricing resorted to by some of the manufacturers aimed at securing larger allocation in the tender rendering the wagons business unremunerative,” Titagarh said in its annual report.

The predicament contrasts with the statistics handed out by the government and the plans announced by it.

Spending by the Railways has risen from a low of Rs 58,718 crore in FY15 to Rs 121,000 crore in FY17, the highest so far while the railway ministry plans to invest Rs 8.56 lakh crore in the next five years, including Rs 1.02 lakh crore towards improving supplies of locomotives, coaches and wagons, things that are outsourced to the private sectors.

But before that materialises, wagon makers are banking on diversification and eagerly waiting for a tender to procure 9,500 wagons to be opened by month-end, according to Texmaco sources.

“Diversification in various segments is expected to contribute from the second half of the year and order from the upcoming wagon order scheduled to be opened on July 31,” Texmaco finance head and executive director A K Vijay said.

Titagarh, too, is looking at diversification, raising supplies to private sector wagon users like cement and coal mining companies, making metro coaches by acquiring the coach-making business of Firema Trasporti of Italy and also making components and naval barges for the defence sector.

The export market is being aggressively eyed and efforts are on to secure order for limestone carrying wagons in Malaysian railway, sources said.

THE RED LINE

  • Texmaco reported a loss of Rs 8.65 crore for June quarter against a profit of Rs 6.56 crore a year ago
  • Titagarh Wagons is apprehensive about the sustainability of erratic government orders

Air Travel will be No.1 Choice by 2020, says Blue Print on Indian Railways

Railways blueprint confirms its fears. The blueprint analyses government statistics to show that 25 per cent of domestic air travel happens over inter-city distances within 500 km — a segment where the Railways was always believed to enjoy a monopoly — contrary to popular perception that air travel is chosen only for 800-1,000-km distances.

NEW DELHI: Domestic airlines can rejoice as the Indian Railways in a blueprint found that in the next three years, mostly upper-class passengers would prefer to travel by air. The Ministry of Railways has prepared a detailed blueprint of the projection for 2019-2020 which shows future trends to expect in the future. Railways may lose a huge chunk of its upper class clientele to the airlines. “within the next three years, domestic airlines will overtake it as India’s most preferred mode of long-distance travel for upper-class passengers,” it says!

The blueprint says that while airlines has an edge over railways due to high speed and lesser time travel but the railways have more competitive prices. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu commissioned an internal assessment report. The blueprint prepared by the Railway board is a part of this report. While railways have always come first in the inter-city travel of a distance within 500 km. The blueprint cites government data showing that about 25 per cent of the domestic air travel occurs in this segment. This is a fairly large percentage considering the misconception air travel is only for 800-1000 km distances.

The projection for 2019-2020 is detailed in a blueprint on the future business scenario prepared by the Railway Ministry, raising the first official red flag over the national transporter losing its upper-class clientele to the booming domestic airlines sector.

IE quoted the document saying, “With the proliferation of airports into small towns and massive thrust of low-cost airlines to Tier-II and III cities, there is a clear pattern emerging of air being preferred for even shorter hauls by passengers.” To top that, government schemes like UDAAN which provides air travel of less than an hour for Rs 2,500 will boost the aviation sector.

NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy told IE that for shorter distances, road sector has been taking over the railways, and the long-distance travel is being claimed by the aviation sector. The Railways had earlier said that they have been losing passengers in 100-km segment due to better road connectivity and more two-wheelers. Ajay Shukla, former Railway Board Member (Traffic) said that in most developed nations, Railways generally do not cater to long-distance travel, leaving that to the airlines. Giving the example of Delhi to Chennai, a distance of 2,000 km, Shukla told IE that railways should leave such a long commute to the airlines. He said that railways should focus on more freight trains instead.

While speed has traditionally provided the edge for airlines, “price” has now given them a complementary advantage, says the blueprint, which warns that these two factors need to be taken up on an urgent basis.

The blueprint analyses government statistics to show that 25 per cent of domestic air travel happens over inter-city distances within 500 km — a segment where the Railways was always believed to enjoy a monopoly — contrary to popular perception that air travel is chosen only for 800-1,000-km distances.

”It is essential that Indian Railways addresses the two key value propositions of airlines passenger business — price and speed — immediately to sustain its core business in the passenger segment in the future,” it says.

This should serve as a “wake up call”, and require clear cut strategies on pricing and capacity augmentation, it says.
The blueprint is part of an internal assessment report commissioned by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and prepared by the Railway Board to map a comprehensive overhaul and possible course correction.

”With the proliferation of airports into small towns and massive thrust of low-cost airlines to Tier-II and III cities, there is a clear pattern emerging of air being preferred for even shorter hauls by passengers,” it says.

Apart from airfares coming closer to rail fares, proactive government policies like UDAAN, which provides for air travel of less than an hour for Rs 2,500 will also provide impetus to the civil aviation sector, the blueprint concludes.

”This should be viewed as an overall healthy trend for the economy,” NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy told. “For shorter distances, the Railways had started losing share to the road sector, and now for long-distance travel, civil aviation sector has been claiming its share. Eventually, multimodal transport development will happen seamlessly, and it will not be viewed as an either-or binary of road and air travel,” he says.

The number of total passengers carried by domestic airlines has been spiking towards the 100-million mark for the last few years. They carried around 97.8 million between December 2015 and November 2016, the report notes. The comparable classes on Indian Railways — First AC, AC-II, III and First Class — carry on an average 145 million passengers every year.

For Railways, this segment has been either shrinking or plateaued. From a growth of 9.5 per cent in 2014-15, it shrunk to 5.01 per cent in 2015-16, the report notes. ”The 20 per cent year-on-year growth of the civil aviation sector is likely to sustain in the short run-up to five years and then taper out to a 10 per cent average annual growth rate,” it says.

The report says that till Dedicated Freight Corridors are commissioned in full, the average growth rate of the upper class segment will remain a tepid five per cent. “…the number of passengers by air would exceed the upper class rail passenger numbers by FY 2019-20,” it says.

The Railways has been losing passengers in the up-to 100-km segment over the years prompting the Parliamentary Standing Committee to question it a couple of years ago. At the time, the Railways had attributed it to the proliferation of two-wheelers and improvement in rural road connectivity.

“For years, we have refused to see the writing on the wall. This is the global trend in developed economies, wherein the Railways do not serve long-distance passenger travel. That load is rightly taken by air,” says Ajay Shukla, former Railway Board Member (Traffic).

”Railways should ideally cede the market of long-distance services, like Delhi-Chennai and others to air and free up its own capacity for more freight trains, which will be a real contribution to the economy,” says Shukla.

 

CAG urges Railways to improve Parcel Service

NEW DELHI: Highlighting the lapses in parcel services, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has urged the Railways to improve the quality of services being provided so as to minimise complaints from customers.

The CAG in its report, which was tabled in Parliament on Friday, said the Indian Railways should recognise the need to augment its parcel business and reposition it as a separate line of business rather than an extension of its passenger transportation services.

“However, they did not undertake adequate steps to put in place the infrastructure and other institutional arrangements for improvement in parcel services,” the CAG said.

It also noted that parcel services continued to be a non-core activity without any specific emphasis on augmentation and improvement in the capacity of infrastructure or the quality of service.

The auditor also rapped the Railways, saying that the “computerisation of parcel services, which was started in 2005-06, was still not complete on a large number of locations”.

The CAG said that adequate measures for security monitoring and screening of the parcels were not available as seen at the selected parcel depots.

The auditor in its report also said that adequate weightment (weighing bridge) arrangements were not made or ensured by the railways for weightment of leased parcel traffic.

“On the other hand, rules were framed for termination of contracts after default of overloading. These were, however, not a deterrent as weightment was not being done as a regular measure to check overloading despite laid down norms,” the CAG said.

The auditor pointed out that response for booking of leased parcel traffic through SLRs (seating-cum-luggage rake) as well as parcel vans was inadequate. “The offers received were far less than space offered for lease… The railways did not allot parcel vans in 65 per cent of cases,” it said.

According to the report, for leasing of parcel space, there were delays of up to 240 days in finalisation of tenders by zonal railways.

“Customers had to cancel indents for VPs due to non-supply by the railway administration and in many cases parcel vans were declared sick after being loaded,” the CAG said.

“For non-leased traffic, zonal railways carried parcels beyond intended destination in a significant number of cases,” the CAG said.

“In the two-month test, the railways carried 13,565 over carried parcels back to their original destinations, thus resulting hardship to customers and created operational problems,” it said.

IRCTC to install 1,100 water vending machines at Railway Stations

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) plans to install 1,100 water vending machines at 450 stations in 2017-2018 as part of its efforts to ensure clean drinking water at low cost in rail premises across the country.

A glass of 300 ml water dispensed through these machines will cost just Re 1.

The railway ministry in a series of tweets today said these water vending machines (WVMs) will provide clean drinking water at low cost, and that the initiative will help in generating employment for around 2,000 people.

At present, there are 1,106 WVMs at 345 stations in the country, the ministry said.

The project of setting up WVMs was initiated in 2015 with an objective of providing potable water at nominal rates.

Water is dispensed through the provision of Reverse Osmosis (RO) in these machines. The WVMs are operated round-the-clock either manually or via automatic mode.

The water dispensed through these machines will be much cheaper than bottled mineral water, the ministry said.

While a glass of half a litre water will cost Rs 3, a litre will be available Rs 5, two litres for Rs 8 and a can for Rs 20.

Indian Railways’ “Rail Saarthi” shows why the Government should not be building Apps

NEW DELHI: Yesterday, the Indian Railways announced the integration of all of its app based services into a single app called Rail Saarthi. At present the Indian Railways has 8 apps for different functions:

  1. IRCTC Rail Connect for train ticketing, which is used for booking around 100,000 tickets daily, generating a revenue of Rs 9.65 crores.
  2. IRCTC Air for air ticketing
  3. IRCTC Tourism for booking packages
  4. IRCTC Food-On-Track for meal booking
  5. UTS for unreserved ticketing, which is used for around 14,400 tickets daily, and revenue of Rs 6.8 lakhs.
  6. COMS for complaint management
  7. Coach Mitra for “clean my coach”.
  8. NTES for Passenger enquiry system, with “nearly” real-time data on the status of trains.

Now you would imagine that creating a consolidated application would be about integrating all of these services into a single app. It makes no sense to have a different application for each service, especially since people with low cost phones tend to limit the number of applications they download.

Here’s the thing: we checked, and Rail Saarthi is NOT an application with all of these services in a single app. It’s just a menu that redirects users to each of these eight applications, and then adds a few things like integrating the Railways’ social media handles, so that you can tweet complaints to them. On trying to register for the application, we were redirected to the Google Play store to download either of two apps: UTS for Rail Saarthi and IRCTC Rail Connect for Rail Saarthi. These are two completely new apps, different from UTS and Rail Connect. Incidentally, registration for the Rail Connect for Rail Saarthi app did not work: the app crashed.

So we’re left with a situation where, instead of having one App for 8 services, we now have 8 apps, one Rail Saarthi App, and then individual apps for different services that are linked to Rail Saarthi.

The point of doing this: I don’t know. The cost of all of this? Rs 7 crores.

Some user comments (on the Google Play Store):

 

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.

SCR conducts Magisterial Checks against Ticketless Travel

SECUNDERABAD: Hyderabad Division of SCR conducted a  Magisterial Check on 19th July, 2017 to curb Ticketless Travel, unauthorized hawkers and other offences. These  Checks were carried out on advice of Chief Commercial Manager, C&PS, South Central Railway. The  Magisterial Check was conducted under the overall supervision of Shri  B.D. Christopher, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager / Hydearabad Division.

A total of  424 persons were apprehended out of which 313 persons travelling without ticket, 07 cases of Irregular travel , 104  cases of un-booked luggage were detected. An amount of Rs.1,22,185/- (One Lakh Twenty Two Thousand and One Hundred and Eighty Five Rupees) was realised towards penalty during the check.

During the  check conducted in total 14 trains at Level Crossing Gate No.182, near Basara station from 05.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs in a large scale by Senior Divisional Commercial Manager/ Hyderabad, Divisional Commercial Manager/Hydearabad, Assistant Security Commisioner/Hyderabad, 47 Ticket Checking Squad, 07 Ministerial Staff, 07 commercial inspectors, 22 Railway Protection Force (RPF) and 08 Government Railway Police (GRP) Personnel of Kacheguda and Mahabubnagar Sections of Hyderabad Division, SCR. Passengers without ticket were prosecuted with the help of the Hon’ble  Magistrate  for Railways, Nizamabad who attended a camp court conducted at Basara Railway Station.

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.

Bastar Railway Private Ltd & IRCON ink MoU for laying Jagdalpur-Rawghat Rail Line in Chattisgarh: NMDC

NMDC JV to construct Rs 2,538 Crore rail corridor project with IRCON

RAIPUR: State-owned NMDC Ltd today said that Bastar Railway Private Ltd (BRPL) and IRCON have signed a project execution agreement, under which the latter will construct a 140-km long railway line between Jagdalpur to Rawghat in Chattisgarh.

BRPL is a joint venture company formed by the NMDC Ltd, SAIL, IRCON and CMDC Ltd, with NMDC being the major shareholder with 43 per cent equity stake.

According to a press release issued by the miner, the railway line will have 13 new Railway stations and the estimated project cost of this Rail corridor is Rs 2,538 crore approximately.

The company said the first phase of land acquisition for the said project has already started.

“The details of proposed land of 101 km fall under Bastar and Kondegaon have already been sent to Ministry of Railways for publication in the Gazette,” the statement said.

Chhattisgarh Raman Singh has advised the concerned officials to complete the process of land acquisition and diversion of forest land within three months and to start the construction works by January 2018, it said.

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.

Consortia of Alstom, Siemens and Stadler Bussnang eye Rs.2000 Crore Electric Rail Coach Factory project in WB

The government will own 26% in the joint venture. The final bidding will take place in December 2017

NEW DELHI: Three consortia led by multinational transportation giants Alstom, Siemensand Stadler Bussnang AG are in the race to set up an electric rail coach factory in West Bengal. 

The proposed rail coach factory that would produce coaches with aircraft-type interiors is expected to come up on railway land in Kanchrapara near Kolkata on a public-private partnership basis and will involve a total investment of Rs 2,000 crore. 

This is the second-largest tranche of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the rail sector under the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. The first major FDI in railways came in 2015 when projects to set up two locomotive factories were awarded at a total cost of Rs 3,300 crore. 

The three consortia – Siemens-Bombardier Transportation, CRRC Corporation of China-Alstom Transport and Stadler Bussang AG (Switzerland)-Medha Servo Drives – have already been shortlisted by the Indian Railways, a top railway official said. 

The government will own 26% in the joint venture. The final bidding will take place in December, the official said. 

The selected bidder would be required to manufacture and supply train sets comprising of nearly 5,000 electric rail cars over a period of 12 years and undertake their maintenance for another 13 years. 

The trains, fully made of stainless steel, would have automatic door closing facilities, CCTV cameras and LED lighting. 

“These trains would have a new generation propulsion system that would regenerate almost 40% of the power leading to savings in energy bills,” the official said. “Seating arrangements of the coaches that would be fully air-conditioned would be modified to increase passenger carrying capacity.” 

According to the railways, the factory would produce rolling stock worth Rs 50,000 crore in 12 years and would help railways save almost Rs 10,000 crore, compared to the imported value of these coaches. 

The project is part of the modernisation drive of Indian Railways.The modernisation of the railways brooks no delay. A revamped transport network would better deliver the goods going forward, as India picks up economic speed and the demand for logistics grows. In tandem, we need a change of track on populist rail tariffs. Passenger fares need to be reasonable, to cover costs and payback. And the railways’ social obligations need to be paid for by the three tiers of government. It would require transparency in rail accounting and reporting, as in any commercial setup.

Indian Railways serving food unfit for Humans: says CAG Report

CAG blames Railways for poor quality food, low hygiene!

NEW DELHI: A Comptroller and Auditor General audit report on the catering services in the Indian Railways, to be tabled in Parliament on Friday, has observed that food articles unsuitable for human consumption, contaminated foodstuff, recycled foodstuff, packaged and bottled items past their shelf life and unauthorised brands of water bottles were offered for sale at stations.

The audit has found fault with frequent changes in catering policy of the railways that have created a state of uncertainty in management of catering services provided to the passengers. An inspection has revealed cleanliness and hygiene are not being maintained, bills are not being given for the food items served in mobile units in trains, besides several deficiencies in food quality.

During the joint inspection of the CAG team and the railways at selected 74 stations and 80 trains, the audit noticed that cleanliness and hygiene were not being maintained at catering units at stations and in trains.

“Unpurified water straight from tap was used in preparation of beverages, waste bins were not found covered, not emptied regularly and not washed, food stuff were not covered to protect them from flies, insects and dust, rats and cockroaches were found in trains etc,” the audit observed.

Neither were bills provided to passengers for food items served in trains, nor printed menu cards with tariff for the list of items sold in the mobile units were available with waiters and catering managers in any of the trains inspected.

“Food stuff served was less than the prescribed quantity, unapproved packaged drinking water was sold,” the report has said and pointed out that prices of food articles sold in railway premises was significantly higher than the open market.

“Articles unsuitable for human consumption, contaminated foodstuff, recycled foodstuff, shelf life expired packaged and bottled items, unauthorised brands of water bottles, etc., were offered for sale on stations,” CAG noted.

The report says the mess has been created due to frequent policy changes and the failure of the Indian Railways to take effective steps to bridge the gap to provide necessary infrastructure in terms of base kitchens, static catering units, and automatic vending machines etc.

“Blueprint for provision of catering services was not prepared in seven Zonal Railways. The policy of progressive switch over from gas burners to electric power equipment in pantry cars to avoid the occurrence of fire accidents in trains was not followed while manufacturing the pantry cars in Integral Coach Factory, Perambur,” the report said.

Rail Fraternity congratulates Shri Ram Nath Kovind on his election as the 14th President of India

Shri Ram Nath Kovind is next President of India, to take oath on July 25, 2017. In his first comments after his election, Shri Ram Nath Kovind asserted that Protecting the Constitution and Maintaining its Dignity would be his first and foremost Duty.
File Pic: Hon’ble President of India new elect ‘Shri Ram Nath Kovind’ seen alongwith the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi at the inauguration-foundation stone laying ceremony of various Railway projects at Hajipur in Bihar on March 12, 2016. The Union Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, the Chief Minister of Bihar, Shri Nitish Kumar and other dignitaries are also seen taking part of the inauguration-foundation stone laying function.

NEW DELHI: In his first comments after his election, Kovind, 71, who will be only the second Dalit to occupy the highest constitutional position, asserted that protecting the Constitution and maintaining its dignity would be his duty.

He said he never thought or aspired to be the president but his ‘tireless service’ to his society and country had brought him to this position. This sense of tireless service was an ‘Indian tradition’ and his election as the president was a symbol of the greatness of Indian democracy, Kovind told reporters at his Akbar Road residence.

Shri Ram Nath Kovind

“It is a very emotional moment for me personally. It is raining a lot in Delhi today and it reminds me of days when I would stay in my paternal village. It was a kachcha home of mud walls. The straw roof would not be able to stop water during rains. We all brothers and sisters would huddle around a wall, waiting for the rains to stop,” he said.

“There would be so many Ram Nath Kovinds in the country today, getting drenched in rains, doing farm work, labour and sweating it out so that they can get their evening meals. I want to tell them that this Ram Nath Kovind of Paraunkh village is going to Rashtrapati Bhavan as their representative,” the president-elect continued.

His election to a position held by distinguished personalities like Rajendra Prasad, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, A P J Abdul Kalam and Pranab Mukherjee had given him a sense of huge responsibility, he said.

An emotional but poised Kovind said his election was a message to all those who were discharging their duties with honesty and integrity.

Citing a Sanskrit proverb, he said he would assure every citizen of the country that he would work relentlessly to serve the country and make everyone happy.

The former Bihar governor and two-term Rajya Sabha member thanked the people of India and elected representatives for showing their confidence in him.

He also sent his good wishes to Meira Kumar, his rival in the election and the Opposition’s candidate.

The 71-year-old Kovind defeated joint opposition candidate Meira Kumar, a former Lok Sabha speaker, after garnering 65.65 per cent of the votes in the electoral college.

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has congratulated Shri Ram Nath Kovind on his election as the 14th President of the Republic of India. In his message, the President has said, “I extend to you my heartiest congratulations on your election as the 14th President of the Republic of India. I also offer my best wishes to you for a successful tenure. May you lead India to the path of democracy, stability and prosperity”.

Expressing happiness over the ‘extensive’ support Kovind got from the electoral college, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, ‘Congratulations to Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji on being elected the President of India! Best wishes for a fruitful & inspiring tenure.’

‘Gladdened by the extensive support for Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji among MPs & across various parties. I thank members of the electoral college,’ Modi added in another tweet.

Modi also congratulated opposition nominee Meira Kumar for her campaign, saying it was ‘in the spirit of democratic ethos and values we all are proud of’.

A former Bihar governor, Kovind received 2,930 votes with a value of 7,02,044, said election Returning Officer Anoop Mishra. Kumar got 1,844 votes with a value of 3,67,314. The winning margin was not as big as forecast by the BJP, which had projected a 70 per cent vote for Kovind. Outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee had received votes valued at 7,13,763.

Kovind will be the first Bharatiya Janata Party member to be elected president. A total of 768 out of 771 eligible MPs cast votes. Likewise, 4,083 out of 4,109 eligible MLAs cast their votes, registering a turnout of nearly 100 per cent. While 522 MPs voted for Kovind, Mira Kumar secured support of 225 parliamentarians. While the value of an MLA’s vote depends on the population of his or her state, the value of an MP’s vote remains the same at 708.

Kovind is the first BJP member to be elected president. He will take oath of office on July 25 for a five-year term.

Kovind’s victory is partly due to the BJP’s massive victory in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections earlier this year. This gave the party a big boost in the electoral college numbers.

Even after the UP victory, the BJP-led NDA was slightly short of majority and had to rely on the support of non-NDA parties such as Telangana Rashtra Samiti in Telangana, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam factions and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu, the Janata Dal-United in Bihar, and the Biju Janata Dal in Odisha.

But the party played a masterstroke by fielding a Dalit candidate as part of its outreach to woo the backward communities, which several opposition parties found difficult to oppose given the political sensitivities. This forced the opposition to follow suit and put up Kumar, a diplomat-turned-politician, in a Dalit vs Dalit fight.

Among those who congratulated Kovind were Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, a host of chief ministers and other politician. Soon after, the president-elect met with Modi, who put a piece of sweet in his mouth after putting a stole around his neck, as BJP President Amit Shah looked on. Hailing as ‘historic’ Kovind’s election, Shah said it is a ‘victory for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised and their aspirations’.

State Ram Nath Kovind Meira Kumar
Andhra Pradesh 171 0
Arunachal Pradesh 56 3
Assam 91 35
Bihar 130 109
Chhattisgarh 52 35
Delhi 6 55
Goa 25 11
Gujarat 132 49
Haryana 73 16
Himachal Pradesh 30 37
Jammu and Kashmir 56 13
Jharkhand 51 26
Kerala 1 138
Maharashtra 208 77
Nagaland 56 1
Sikkim 28 1
Tripura 7 53
Uttar Pradesh 335 65
West Bengal 11

273

About Shri Ram Nath Kovind

Ram Nath Kovind (born 1 October 1945) is the 14th President of India elected on 20th July 2017. He was the Governor of Bihar from 2015 to 2017. He had also served as the Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from 1994 to 2006.

Early life and education

Kovind was born in Kanpur Dehat, Uttar Pradesh. His father was a farmer. He holds a Bachelors degree in commerce and a LLB from DAV College, (affiliated with Kanpur University).

Career as Advocate

After graduating in law from a Kanpur college, Kovind went to Delhi to prepare for the civil services examination. He passed this exam on his third attempt, but he did not join as he was selected for an allied service instead of IAS and thus started practicing law. He was Central Government Advocate in the Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979 and served as a Central Government standing counsel in the Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993. In 1978, he became an advocate-on-record of the Supreme Court of India. He practiced in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court for about 16 years until 1993. He was also enrolled as an advocate in 1971 with the bar council of Delhi. As an advocate he provided free legal aid to weaker sections of society, women and the poor under the Free Legal Aid Society in New Delhi. He also served as the personal assistant of Prime Minister of India Morarji Desai in 1977-1978.

BJP Member

Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi attending the family function of Shri Ram Nath Kovind

Shri Ram Nath Kovind joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1991. He was President of the BJP Dalit Morcha between 1998 and 2002 and President of the All-India Koli Samaj.

He also served as national spokesperson of the BJP party. He donated his ancestral home in Derapur to the RSS. He contested from Ghatampur and Bhognipur (both in Uttar Pradesh) assembly constituencies on the Bharatiya Janata Party ticket but lost both elections.

Rajya Sabha

Shri Ram Nath Kovind was elected and became a Rajya Sabha MP from the state of Uttar Pradesh in April 1994. He served a total of twelve years, two consecutive terms, until March 2006. As a member of parliament he served on the Parliamentary Committee for Welfare of Scheduled Castes/Tribes, Home Affairs, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Social Justice and Empowerment, Law and Justice. He also served as the chairman of the Rajya Sabha House Committee. During his career as a parliamentarian, under M.P. L.A.D. Scheme, he focused on education in rural areas by helping in construction of school buildings in Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand. As a member of parliament, he visited Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom and the United States on study tours.

Other appointments

He has served on the Board of management of Dr. B.R Ambedkar University, Lucknow and as on the Board of Governors of IIM Calcutta. He has also represented India at the UN and addressed the United Nations General Assembly in October 2002.

Governor of Bihar

File Pic: His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Shri Ram Nath Kovind at Gaden Phelgeling Namgyal Monastery on 9 January 2017 – a day after concluding the Kalachakra Preliminary Holy teachings. His Holiness the Dalai Lama presided over the inaugural and consecration ceremony of the Battsagaan Buddhist Temple in Bodh Gaya. The Batsagaan temple is a branch of the Gandan Tegchenling Monastery, the main centre of Mongolian Buddhists in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The picture was taken after the inauguration of Battsagaan Temple, His Holiness The Dalai Lama had a brief meeting with Governor Shri Ram Nath Kovind at His Holiness’ residence in Gaden Phelgeling Namgyal Monastery, Bodh Gaya.

On 8 August 2015, the President of India appointed Kovind as Governor of Bihar. On 16 August 2015, the acting Chief Justice of Patna High Court, Iqbal Ahmad Ansari, administered the oath to Kovind as the 36th Governor of Bihar. The function took place at Raj Bhawan, Patna.

As Governor, he was praised for constituting a judicial commission to investigate irregularities in promotion of undeserving teachers, mis-management of funds and appointment of undeserving candidates in universities.

2017 Presidential Campaign

After nomination for the post of 14th President of India, he resigned from his post as Governor of Bihar, and President of India Pranab Mukherjee accepted his resignation on 20 June 2017. He won election on 20 July 2017.

Personal Life

Kovind married Savita Kovind on 30 May 1974. They have a married son, Prashant Kumar, and a daughter, Swati.

 

NHAI Ok’s Delhi-Panipat, Delhi-Alwar Rail Tracks along National Highway

NEW DELHI: In a move to reduce road traffic congestion in the National Capital Region and to facilitate early completion of the Delhi-Sonipat-Panipat and Delhi-Gurugram-Rewari-Alwar Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) projects at reduced costs, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has in principle agreed to allow construction of railway tracks along NH-1 and NH-8.

The NHAI also in principle agreed to take up the Urban Extension Road-2 which would help in easing traffic congestion in Delhi.  Earlier, the NHAI was not willing to allow laying out railway tracks along the NH-1 and NH-8. The multi-crore projects will address the problem of shrinking spaces for creating new roads and highways.

This was decided during a meeting between NHAI Chairman Deepak Kumar and Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra. DDA Vice-Chairman Udai Pratap Singh and Managing Director of National Capital Regional Transport Corporation (NCRTC) VK Singh and senior officials of the Ministry also attended the hour-long meeting.

As per the preliminary estimates, the 111-km Delhi-Sonipat-Panipat RRTS rail project would cost nearly Rs 16,500 crore and the 180 km Delhi-Gurugram-Rewari-Alwar line would cost about Rs 37,000 crore.

The Delhi-Sonipat-Panipat rapid rail corridor is expected to see a daily ridership of nearly four lakh. The Delhi-Gurugram-Rewari-Alwar stretch is estimated to cater to seven lakh people. The project is expected to be completed within three years after award of contracts.

On the Urban Extension Road-II project aimed at decongesting Delhi, the NHAI Chairman conveyed that the feasibility report in this regard would be prepared in a month’s time for further discussions. He suggested that the Ministry would have to share part of the costs involved. This will connect NH-1, 8 and 10 and a major portion of this road has already been completed by the DDA.

According to officials, the RRTS has several benefits — it will reduce accidents and congestion on roads, bring down pollution by reducing the number of private vehicles and for commuters it will offer safe, efficient and fast transport in the NCR. It will also bring about a dramatic shift in the share of public transport on the roads. “The RRTS will have tangible savings in terms of fuel consumption and time. It is the long-term impact that it will have on the environment that has earned the approval of environmentalists as well as urban planners,” said officials.

Of the 180.50-km-long Delhi-Gurugram-Rewari-Alwar corridor, 124 km will be elevated and 56 km will be underground. There will be 19 stations, the first nine of which will be underground and the rest elevated. The design speed of the rail corridor is 180 kmph while operational speed is 160 kmph. The average speed will be 100 kmph. On the lines of the Delhi Metro, the RRTS trains will have comfortable air-conditioned cars having business and economy class. This train will be available every 5 to 10 minutes. Sources said there will be no land acquisition issues since the entire corridor is underground and elevated.

The RRTS system has borrowed from the London, Paris and New York model, where the underground tubes are seamlessly merged with high-speed rails networks. In Paris for instance, the metro is integrated with its Réseau Express Régional, a hybrid RRTS ensuring comfortable and efficient travel system.

According to sources, Mishra explained at the meeting that a ground survey for aligning the two RRTS projects has been already done by NCRTC and building them along National Highways will reduce construction time by over three years. It will also bring down costs substantially since land acquisition would not be required.

VK Singh made a detailed presentation on the proposed new alignment and the associated advantages and stated that Right of Way over a width of over 60  metres along NH-1 and NH-8 will be used either beyond service lane or between four lane main carriageway, so that minimum land is affected for building the RRTS projects on a Viaduct.

RLDA and NBCC sign MoU on Redevelopment of identified Railway Stations on Indian Railways

Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), an institution under Ministry of Railways and National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), a PSU of Ministry of Urban Development sign an MoU regarding redevelopment of identified Railway Stations on Indian Railways
File Photo: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said that Indian Railways has adopted multi pronged strategy to accomplish the mammoth task.

NEW DELHI: An MoU was signed today i.e. 30th June,2017 between Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), an institution under Ministry of Railways and National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), a PSU of Ministry of Urban Development for implementation of station redevelopment projects for 10 identified stations in partnership with respective Smart Cities in the gracious presence of Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of Railways & Shri M Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Urban Development, Minister of Housing & Poverty Alleviation and Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Shri Rajen Gohain, Minister of State for Railways in New Delhi. Member Engineering, Railway Board & Ex Officio Chairman, RLDA, Sh Aditya Kumar Mittal was also present. Signatories to the MoU were Shri Rakesh Goyal, Vice Chairman, RLDA & Anoop Kumar Mittal, Chairman cum MD, NBCC. These 10 stations are – Tirupati, Delhi Sarai Rohilla, Nellore, Madgaon, Lucknow, Gomtinagar, Kota, Thane New and Ernakulam Jn.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Urban Development, Minister of Housing & Poverty Alleviation and Minister of Information & Broadcasting said that the people of the country are looking for new facilities and new changes, they expect transformations to be done expeditiously in all spheres of life. It is a very good idea to develop smart stations along with the smart cities. He said that the PSUs of his ministry will undertake stations redevelopment in a professional way.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of Railways said that Indian Railways has taken up this ambitious program of station redevelopment in a big way and have adopted multi pronged strategy to accomplish this mammoth task. He said we have chosen PPP model and are roping in varied agencies to execute the project namely Railways’ own PSUs, other Central Government PSUs, foreign countries through Government to Government cooperation and state governments. He said that once the stations are redeveloped, the passengers will get facilities of world standard. He said that NBCC has now been given 10 stations in first phase for redevelopment and more stations would be given to them in subsequent phases.

File Photo: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in discussions with RLDA Officials at Railway Board.

RLDA and NBCC shall form a SPV in the form of a JV Company to execute the station redevelopment project. The JV shall redevelop the stations on a self-financing model. NBCC shall use its expertise in preparing DPR of the Project and business model. RLDA shall extend necessary help to NBCC in arranging all requisite data pertaining to the stations and get the vacant land entrusted from Ministry of Railway as per approved master plan of the station. The JV of NBCC and RLDA shall also enter into city support agreement with the respective Smart City Authorities and local bodies to obtain support relating to development of approach infrastructure and favorable Development Control Norms for the project.

Background 

Earlier in October 2016, the MoU was entered into between Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Urban Development for mutual cooperation between the two Ministries for integrated planning of redevelopment of railway stations in the cities included in the ‘SMART Cities’ and AMRUT schemes.The proposal was to plan the redevelopment of stations in partnership with the smart city SPVs and Urban Local Bodies so that the planning and redevelopment of the station and the city areas near the station is done in an integrated manner. This MoU between Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Urban Development

provided for formation of a JV company between NBCC and RLDA to take up the station redevelopment projects as NBCC has very wide and varied business experience in and expertise in the field of construction & real estate development and RLDA has expertise in monetization of Railway land by way of long term leasing of land.

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).

Kolkata Metro to get 40 new AC Rakes from China

Kolkata Metro to get 40 new AC rakes. The first lot of air-conditioned rakes has been delivered to Kolkata Metro

KOLKATA: Kolkata Metro will get 40 new air-conditioned rakes, the first of which has been delivered to the public carrier, Metro Railway sources said here.

“Kolkata Metro has ordered new rakes from Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Perambur, Dalian and CRRC Zhuzhou of China,” Metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee told PTI here.

The ICF Perambur-manufactured new air-conditioned rake with state-of-the-art features that has arrived in the city, will undergo trial runs before it embarks on passenger service before Durga Pujas in September, Banerjee said.

The country’s first metro railway system will get another new rake from ICF in September, which will be followed by phased arrivals of 38 more rakes.

Apart from the air-conditioned rake that has already arrived and the other which is scheduled to come by September, another 14 have been ordered from ICF, Perambur, the spokesperson said.

“The city metro will also start getting delivery of 14 new rakes manufactured by Dalian of China by the year-end,” Banerjee said.

The rest 10 rakes have been ordered from CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Company of China, she said.

The Kolkata Metro at present runs between Kavi Subhash in the southern end of the city to Noapara in the northern outskirts over a route length of 27.22 km.

Work is on for the extension of the Metro services to Dakshineswar in the west via Baranagar from Noapara and to Barrackpore in the north from Baranagar, Banerjee said.

The new rakes from ICF will have regenerative braking system in which the energy generated during braking will be directly fed into the third rail, carrying the power mains.

“This will lead to power savings of 20 per cent,” Banerjee said.

At present, heat is expelled into the tunnel making it hot, she said adding, the new rakes will have wider vestibules for better air circulation in all coaches, as well as AC ducting along the seat for uniform cooling.

The new coaches will also have roof mounted package unit (RMPU) so that there is no water leakage from the roof of the train, which is a frequent complaint of commuters travelling in the existing air-conditioned coaches.

Kolkata Metro at present has 26 rakes, of which 13 are air-conditioned, while the rest are non-AC, which will be phased out after arrival of the new rakes.

The new rakes from ICF will have primary and secondary suspension with rubber springs to ensure jerk free comfortable rides. The present coaches have metal primary suspension and rubber-made secondary suspension.

The new trains will also have communication-based train controlling system where the motorman or driver will control all train operations from his cabin, including any problems related to doors, braking or cooling in coaches.

In the existing coaches, the motorman has to go down to the coach physically and find out the problems, which causes delay in running of trains, the spokesperson said.

“There will be four emergency talk-back systems in each coach where a passenger can talk to the motorman by pressing a button in case of any emergency,” Banerjee said adding, at present there are two such systems in each coach.

Science Express Special Train at CSTM gets 19K Visitors on First Day

Officials from Indian Railways said that this was the best way to create awareness about climate change and its effects

MUMBAI: The Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS) which is a mobile science exhibition mounted on an air-conditioned train, on its inaugural day in Mumbai on Wednesday saw 19,000 visitors walking through its 16 coaches.

The train was inaugurated by Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Railway, via video conferencing from New Delhi. Officials from Indian Railways said that this was the best way to create awareness about climate change and its effects, as school and college students can visit the train and gain knowledge on the issue.

Out of the 16 coaches, eight have been put up by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and are exclusively devoted to information, case studies and material related to various aspects 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.

“It was very interesting and I also got to learn a lot about climate change,” said Aman Dandekar, a Ghatkopar resident who just cleared SSC.

A CR spokesperson informed that coach 12 is a kids zone set up for children from class five, with activities, games and puzzles on science, mathematics and environment while coach 13 features a hands-on lab where students can perform experiments and activities to understand concepts in environment and science. Seema Rane, a teacher from Thane who came along with her two sons, said that the displays were very interactive and she was glad that there was a section dedicated for kids aged five.

Even as 5,807 students visited the train, some students complained about rain water leaking from the vestibules between the two coaches. Central Railway (CR) denied that the children were inconvenienced and said that there could have been small leakage and water might have entered since it was raining.

The train will be on display at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus’ platform number 10 till July 22, from 10 am to 5 pm and the entry is free.

KfW expert begins work on alternatives to Amaravati Metro Rail

VIJAYAWADA: The exploring of possible alternatives to the proposed metro rail in Vijayawada city gathered pace with a team of the German development bank, KfW, led by urban transport planner Edward Datson from Australia, taking stock of the original plans in a meeting with Amaravati Metro Rail Corporation (AMRC) managing director N.P. Ramakrishna Reddy here on Wednesday.

Mr. Reddy told that Mr. Datson would make a detailed analysis of various transport systems studied by Municipal Administration Minister P. Narayana and Principal Secretary R. Karikal Valaven and other officials in a fortnight.

The KfW will then submit its findings on the feasibility of the metro rail planned in two corridors — Pandit Nehru Bus Station and Nidamanur and PNBS and Penamalur, and suggest an alternative that is cost-effective and best suits the local conditions, especially the norm related to passengers per hour in a direction.

Vijayawada metro falls short on two counts — financial internal rate of return and the number of passengers likely to use the system at a given point of time.

In fact, these are the shortcomings that are holding back the NITI Aayog from giving its nod to the metro rail, forcing the State government to look for alternatives.

There has also been an inordinate delay on the part of the Public Investment Board (Ministry of Finance) in giving clearance.

As a consequence, Mr. Narayana and others visited China, Malaysia and other countries, where they studied various modes of public transport, including the expensive Maglev (magnetic levitation) trains and electric bus-ways.

It was only a couple of days ago Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu instructed the officials to check whether a light rail would be enough to meet the short-term requirements and whether it is scalable in future while waiting for the finalisation of the Central government’s new metro rail policy.

Deliberations on the whole picture with government’s adviser E. Sreedharan are due for quite some time.

Coimbatore to get Metro Rail, DPR to be prepared: CM

CHENNAI: Metro Rail project will be implemented in Coimbatore and a detailed feasibility and project report will be prepared by the Chennai Metro Rail Limited for the purpose, Chief Minister K Palaniswami announced in Assembly today. In addition, the CM also announced that the project proposal for Chennai Metro’s Phase II has been given an in-principle approval and sent to the Centre for approval and disbursal of funds. The budget for Phase II has been set at Rs. 85,047 crore.

For this project, funding will be obtained from the German funding agency KFW through the Centre, he said adding the proposal would address traffic congestion in the textile city of Tamil Nadu.

As regards the second phase of Chennai Metro Rail covering 107.55 km in three corridors at a cost of Rs 85,047 crore, Tamil Nadu government’s policy approval has been accorded and the project has been sent to Centre for its sanction and financial assistance, he announced.

One of the proposed corridors in the Chennai Metro Rail’s second phase between Light House and Vadapalani will be extended upto Poonamalle via Vadapalani and Porur, he said adding it would entail an additional expenditure of about Rs 3,850 crore.

This was in view of increasing traffic on Arcot Road spread over Virgambakkam and Valasaravakkam areas here, he said. For this proposed extension, a supplementary detailed project report will be prepared by Chennai Metro Rail, he said.

Palaniswami also announced setting up of a Tamils Culture and Heritage Museum featuring the hoary cultural tradition of the Tamil people at a total cost of Rs 50 crore at Madurai Ulaga Tamizh Sangam and Rs 15 crore will be allotted for the purpose this year.

He also announced institution of an annual award in the name of “Sinthanai Sirpi” Singaravelar (1860-1946), a veteran Left leader who laid the foundation for the Communist movement.

The leader was also a scholar in scientific Tamil and also a pioneering trade unionist.

The award will be given to those who write books on science in Tamil, work for development of society, egalaitarian principles and for welfare of labourers.

Cash of Rs one lakh, one sovereign gold medallion, citation and shawl will be presented along with other awards during Tamil New year.

World Bank to help Indian Railways transform Digitally

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways has collaborated with the World Bank to help it transform completely in terms of digitisation, technology development and investment and planning.

The Bank will help in the integration of architecture and database management for Railways.

The World Bank will also help in establishing a Railway University and the Rail Tariff Authority.

Indian Railways, 164-year-old railroad network which is the world’s fourth longest will overhaul its entire operations in the next two-to-three years.

“We needed this arrangement to build our capacity and deliver projects on a mission mode. World Bank’s expertise would be a great gain,” a rail ministry official said.

The Railways has decided to invest  Rs 5 lakh crore in the next four years.This year, it is spending  Rs 1.31 lakh crore to augment capacity.

The World Bank has also proposed to set up an organisation for creating detailed forecasting models, traffic optimisation and planning.

“Further, an infrastructure plan for the next 10-15 years, after a detailed analysis on freight and passenger growth expected in India, is also envisaged to be created. The bank would be drawing that up as well,” the official said.

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.

Bangalore Metro Phase-2: Tenders invited for hardened Rails

BANGALORE: Setting things in motion for taking up Namma Metro’s Phase 2 works, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) has invited tenders to procure 20,000 tonnes of hardened rails required for track and other works.

The 72-km long Phase 2 includes extension of all the four reaches in the first phase besides two additional lines: RV Road-Bommasandra and Gottigere-Nagawara lines. BMRCL has also decided to include the Nagawara-KIA line in Phase 2.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah recently told BMRCL authorities to finish the project by 2020. Companies interested in participating in the tender process should submit the technical and financial bids by August 14.

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).

Karnataka High Court issues Notice to Railway Board on plea to restore Konkan Railway its original jurisdiction

While KRCL was created and its jurisdiction was fixed by Parliament, the Railway Board, without any authority of law or parliamentary nod or the approval of the Union Cabinet, unilaterally decided to exclude the 24-km line between Thokur and Mangaluru from its jurisdiction and bring it under Southern Railway’s jurisdiction – terming it fraud played on investors of KRCL Bonds. The petitioners sought the Court’s direction to restore KRCL’s original jurisdiction stating that Railway Board has no authority to change Parliament’s decision.

BANGALORE: The issue of getting Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd. (KRCL) its original jurisdiction, up to Mangaluru Junction (Kankanady), gained momentum after the High Court of Karnataka recently ordered issue of notices to the Union government and others in a public interest writ petition.

A Division Bench comprising Raghavendra Chauhan and K.S. Dinesh Kumar passed the order in a review petition filed by Rajeev Gaonkar of Kumta and Hanumanth Kamath of Mangaluru, according to petitioners’ advocate R.G. Kolle. The petitioners have sought to revive an earlier writ petition which was disposed of by the court in 2014 on technical grounds.

While KRCL was created and its jurisdiction was fixed by Parliament, the Railway Board, without any authority of law or parliamentary nod or the approval of the Union Cabinet, unilaterally decided to exclude the 24-km line between Thokur and Mangaluru from its jurisdiction and bring it under Southern Railway’s jurisdiction, the petitioners said. Terming it fraud played on investors of KRCL bonds, the petitioners sought the court’s direction to restore KRCL’s original jurisdiction. The copies of the notice issued by the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka were sent to Railway Board, PMO, Public Sector Enterprises Board, NITI Aayog and Konkan Railway.

Affected finances

The Railway Board’s decision to exclude the 24-km has severely affected KRCL’s financial health, which has been incurring huge losses every year. New Mangalore Port (NMP), a huge revenue generating centre, falls within the excluded portion, from which the Southern Railway is getting huge income at present. Had NMP been under KRCL, the corporation would have repaid all its debts and been in a healthy position to provide a host of passenger amenities, they said. The petitioners pointed out that during the November 16, 1993 public issue of KRCL bonds, the Railway Ministry had clearly stated that KRCL would build and operate a 760-km broadgauge line between Roha (excluding) in Maharashtra and Kankanady (including) in Karnataka.

Earlier, the Railway Board had said that KRCL’s jurisdiction would end near Mangaluru Central Railway Station and in 1993, it had stated that KRCL would built and operate the Mangaluru bypass line, from Netravathi Cabin to Kankanady. Participating State governments and the general public believed in these statements, they said.

Things being so, the Railway Board unilaterally on December 20, 1995 excluded the 24-km stretch from Thokur to Kankanady from KRCL’s jurisdiction and brought it under Southern Railway. Ever since the commissioning of the line in January 1998, the corporation is incurring losses.

The petitioners sought directions to bring the 24-km of excluded line under KRCL, make Mangaluru the corporation’s headquarters and reimburse KRCL Rs. 4,000 crore that it lost to Southern Railway all these years.

World Bank to draw up a Blueprint for Indian Railways’ Rs.5 lakh Crore makeover

NEW DELHI: The World Bank will help draw up a granular makeover blueprint for the Indian Railways, which is investing Rs 5 lakh crore to transform itself from a colonial-era mass transporter into a strategic platform underpinning growth in Asia’s third-biggest economy.

The multilateral lending agency would partner the 164-year-old railroad network, the world’s fourth longest, to help the state transporter with investment and planning, digitisation and technology development, besides establishing a Railway University and the Rail Tariff Authority.

The bank, which has earlier worked with the Railways for financing the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor Project, will provide advisory services and programme management consultancy for this transformation exercise for 2-3 years.

“We needed this arrangement to build our capacity and deliver projects on a mission mode. World Bank’s expertise would be a great gain,” a top rail ministry official said.

Rail minister Suresh Prabhu has drawn up an ambitious plan to transform Railways with an investment of Rs 5 lakh crore in the next four years. For this year, the Railways would spend Rs 1.31 lakh crore to augment capacity.

On the planning front, the World Bank has proposed to set up an organisation for creating detailed forecasting models, traffic optimization and planning.

“Further, an infrastructure plan for the next 10-15 years, after a detailed analysis on freight and passenger growth expected in India, is also envisaged to be created. The bank would be drawing that up as well,” the official said.

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India programme, the Railways wants to roll out a ‘digital enterprise’ for which the bank will help integrate architecture and database management across its IT applications.

It would be sensible for Railways to tap multilateral funding. Resources should be leveraged from National Investment and Infrastructure Fund. The way ahead is to plan modular projects, which can generate cash reasonably quickly. IR need to keep a close tab on borrowings, given that operating ratio is in high nineties (over 90% of revenue earmarked for routine expenses). So, resource allocation and prioritising expenditure is important. Hence the rationale to access global expertise for programme management and attendant advisory services. It would optimise resource usage.

SR identifies RCDs where the cost of Diesel is lower than the rest, to refuel Diesel Locomotives

CHENNAI: It is not uncommon for people living near Union territories to go there and fill their vehicles’ petrol or diesel tanks, given that it costs less. Indian Railways has planned to do something similar.

The Railways has identified a set of Railway Consumer Depots (RCDs), where the cost of diesel is lower than the rest, to refuel diesel locomotives.

Zonal railways have been directed to ensure that maximum re-fuelling is done at these depots. This is part of an exercise to optimise their expenditure on fuel, officials said.

The average price paid by IR on diesel is Rs 57.87 per litre. However, the maximum cost of diesel at an RCD is Rs 62.56 and the minimum at another RCD is Rs 49.57, which is a difference of Rs 13. In April 2017, Railways used up 256 million litres of diesel, statistics show.

This essentially means that if Railways prioritises its re-fuelling at RCDs where the diesel cost is less, it can save crores of rupees. “A saving of even Rs 1 per litre can save Rs 294 crore for Indian Railways,” a recent directive sent to zonal railways shows.

For instance, in Southern Railway, the diesel cost at Basin Bridge Junction and Tondiarpet RCD is Rs 57.4 per litre. However, in Dindigul, it is Rs 58.22 and in Villupuram it is Rs 58.42. The price drops to Rs 55.5 and Rs 56.9 in Kannur and Palakkad in Kerala, respectively. Trains starting from Chennai would be re-fuelled at Basin Bridge and Tondiarpet as the fuel cost in Vijayawada RCD is Rs 60.73.

The price variation across states is due to the local taxes, said railway officials. Within states also it would differ due to transportation costs from the distribution point of the oil marketing company (OMC).

Based on these statistics, a four-point charter has been sent to zonal railways, asking them to immediately implement these to cut down on costs.

Zonal railways should ensure that refuelling at cheapest RCDs is maximised and costliest RCDs must be avoided. All the full tank refuelling should be done at RCDs where the diesel price is the lowest. A set of four or five RCDs, which is to be utilised for maximum refuelling should be prepared based on traffic pattern including fuelling when the train is in transit.

World’s largest Railway Station Redevelopment Program of IR aimed at Redeveloping 400 Stations through PPP Model

NEW DELHI: Railway Board has devised an innovative Indian Railways Station Redevelopment Program and the plan is to provide various improved world-class amenities to Railway passengers at all the nominated 400 Railway Stations through PPP model by leveraging the real estate available at the railway stations. With an overall size of 1 lakh crore, the program is one of the largest PPP program undertaken in the country. The program will provide approximately 2,200 acres of prime land to the private developers across top 100 cities of the country.

The redeveloped stations will provide amenities and services to the passengers in line with best in class railway stations. The stations will be redeveloped through public-private-partnership (PPP) model without straining Railways’ finances. The redeveloped stations will improve passenger experience by providing amenities like digital signage, escalators / elevators, self ticketing counters, executive lounges, luggage screening machines, walkways, holding areas for passengers, grand and distinctive roofing and flooring, free and paid Wi-Fi etc. The program will benefit more than 100 cities and 16 million passengers per day across the country. Moreover, the commercial development undertaken near the stations will become nerve centers of the city and provide quality retail, commercial and hospitality development.

A committee of eminent experts would be formulated to provide suggestions to Zonal Railways on proposals submitted by bidders in addition to the technical and financial committee recommendations. Commercial potential of this vacant Railway land at/near stations will be leveraged to develop world class stations with no additional funding required from the Railways. The program is expected to generate a surplus in excess of ₹ 10,000 Crore for the Indian Railways which can be invested in other modernization projects. Select high potential stations will be made as iconic stations and will be developed as per highest global standards and design norms.

To maximize commercial potential of the public assets, Indian Railways plans to bid out the projects through a transparent and competitive method. Taking cue from global best practices, Indian Railways has adopted the so called “modified Swiss challenge” methodology for the bidding process.

Indian Railways has reached out to the private developers and investors through road shows in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Abu Dhabi to gauge market interest and receive feedback on the bidding process. Railway Board has also engaged with the zonal railways through multiple workshops to accurately assess land availability.

After the first phase, 100+ stations are expected to be launched in Phase 2 and the remaining A1 and A stations will be launched in Phase 3 of this program.

Railways will provide approximately 140 acres of encroachment free land at these stations to the developers on a 45 year lease. Indian Railways has also appointed nodal officers in each zone to ensure smooth interactions with the developers. The phase is expected to be of approximately ₹ 6000 -9,000 Crore in size. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is the strategic advisor for this program and based on the commercial assessment conducted by them and several rounds of discussions held with the developers and zonal railways, Indian Railways team is confident that the round will generate sufficient market interest.

Malaysian Delegation expresses interest in India’s Station Redevelopment Program 

In connection with Station Redevelopment Program, Malaysian Delegation visited Rail Bhavan today i.e. 18th July, 2017 and had a meeting with the senior officials of Railway Board. In the meeting, Malaysian Delegation has shown their interest in redeveloping 07 stations out of 23 stations which are Udaipur City, Indore, Howrah, Faridabad, Secunderabad, Bandra and Pune open for bidding. In the first phase, 23 stations will be bid out some of which includes Chennai Central, Ranchi, Udaipur City, Indore, Yesvantpur, Bangalore Cantt., Visakhapatnam, Howrah, Kamakhya, Faridabad, Jammu Tawi, Secunderabad, Vijayawada, Kozhikode and Bhopal.

The Secretary General Works Government of Malaysia Dato Sri Zohari Haji Akob, who is also Nodal Officer for Projects investment in India, led delegation along with High Commissioner of Malaysia in India attended meeting at Rail Bhawan.

10 Rail-over-Bridges identified in Rajasthan under Setu Bharatam: Minister

New Delhi: The government has identified 10 rail over bridges (ROBs) for construction in Rajasthan under Setu Bharatam programme, which aims to make all national highways free of railway level crossings by 2019, parliament was told on Tuesday.

These ROBs are targeted for construction by 2019, Minster of State for Road Transport and Highways Mansukh Lal Mandaviya told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

One ROB amounting to Rs 25.74 crore has been sanctioned in the current financial year, he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in March last year launched the programme to ensure safe and seamless travel on national highways.

ISRO-made Chip System to alert Users at unmanned Level Crossings

A hooter will be activated through the satellite chip, developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), about 500 metres before unmanned level crossings. This will be of great help to passengers as currently train movements are tracked manually.

BANGALORE: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed a satellite-based chip systems to alert road users at unmanned level crossings about approaching trains and also help in tracking train movement on a real-time basis. About 500 metres before the level crossings, the hooter will be activated through the integrated circuit (IC) chip, warning road users as well as the train driver near the crossing.

The hooter will be louder as the level crossing nears, and finally it will be silent after the train passes by.

On a pilot basis, the Mumbai and Guwahati Rajdhani trains will be equipped with this system.

Road users will be warned by hooters once a train approaches an unmanned level crossing as railways are installing ISRO-developed integrated circuit (IC) chips on locomotives of trains.

There will be hooters at 20 unmanned level crossings on Rajdhani routes for Guwahati and Mumbai, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project.

More trains will be equipped with such technology in a phase-wise manner, according to the plan.

About 500 metres before the level crossings, the hooter will be activated through the IC chip, warning road users as well as the train driver near the crossing.

The hooter will be louder as the level crossing nears, and finally it will be silent after the train passes by.

Besides alerting road users, the satellite-based system will also be used for tracking trains for disseminating information about their movement on real time basis.

This will be of great help to passengers as currently train movements are tracked manually.

Safety at unmanned level crossings is a cause of serious concern for railways and the public transporter is exploring various ways to address the issue.

There are about 10,000 unmanned railway crossings in the country which account for around 40 per cent of accidents involving the railways.

While the Railways have eliminated 1,148 unmanned crossings in 2014-15 and 1,253 in 2015-16, it has scaled up its target and now plans to eliminate all such crossings in the next 2 to 3 years, the official said.

The satellite-based system will also help railways in mapping the area and the technology will come in handy at the time of accidents when it can be used to ascertain the exact location of trains and topography.

7th PC Update: Railway jobs get more Lucrative with revised Pay Scale and Appraisal Cycle

NEW DELHI: 7th Pay Commission is proving to more lucrative for the Central Government Employees and importantly Railways. As per Central Government, 7th Pay Commission will be the final Commission and the salaries of the Central Government Employees will be enhanced and revised on the yearly basis. Sources suggested that the salary revision will be done on the basis of inflation in the economy. The government will make the adjustment in the allowance every year for making balance in the price. The pay commission has now released 58 important concordance tables, which will act as an instant estimator for the Central Government Employees whose salary will be revised in July. After getting the recommendation from the Cabinet on the 7th Pay Commission, It has been communicated that revised allowance and the HRA would be applicable from July onwards. All the central government employees are not glad as they wanted that all the arrears need to paid from July 2016 onwards. Employee unions are trying hard and continuously discussing the issue with the government. Here is the complete List of Allowances, which have been doubles and more than the doubles in the special cases.

House Rent Allowance: Central Government employees importantly Railway employees will get the increase in the House Rent Allowances HRA in the range of 106 per cent and 157 per cent from their July salaries. The employees who come under the highest pay matrix, then their HRA will be enhanced from Rs 27,000 to Rs 60,000, thus resulting in a 122 per cent hike. The HRA of these employees will be revised upwards to Rs 67,500 and Rs 75,000 when Dearness Allowance crosses 25 per cent and 50 per cent respectively. The revision will translate into a 148 per cent and 176 per cent hike, respectively.

Medical Allowance: For Railway pensioners, fixed medical allowance has been increased from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000. For central government employees with 100 per cent disability, constant attendance allowance has been increased from Rs 4,500 and Rs 6,750 per month. The nursing amount has been hiked to Rs 7,200 per month, as against the earlier amount of Rs 48,00.

Education Allowance: The Union Cabinet has increased Children Education Allowance (CEA) from Rs 1,500 per month per child to Rs 2,250 per month. Hostel subsidy has also gone up by Rs 4,500 per month to Rs 6,750 per month.

Cycling Allowance: The cycling allowance speaks volumes of the legendary reach of the Indian post office-from narrow to remote locations. While the pay panel recommends abolishing it, the Union Government retained it and doubled the rate to Rs 180 per month from the existing rates of Rs 90 per month for Department of Posts and Railways.

Coal Pilot Allowance: The coal pilot allowance is paid to Shuntmen and other Group-D staff of Indian Railways who accompany pilots in the collieries for shunting and similar other duties.

The breakdown allowance is granted to non-gazetted Railway officers who are earmarked for attending to breakdown duties. While the panel recommended abolishing it, the government retained it and enhanced the existing rates by 2.25 per cent. The government revised the rates from Rs 120 to Rs 300 per month to Rs 270 to Rs 675 per month.

Allowances of Armes Forces personnel: Armed Forces personnel who have been posted in difficult terrains including hilly areas. Rates of Siachen Allowance for soldiers have been increased from Rs 14,000 to Rs 30,000 on a monthly basis and from Rs 21,000 to Rs 42,500 for officers for extreme risk and hardship.

Modifications in any form is not permitted in Tatkal Ticket: IRCTC

NEW DELHI: IRCTC through its website offers online Tatkal reservation facility for the benefit of passengers. Tatkal facility helps passengers plan their journey at the last moment. Under the Tatkal online booking facility, customers can go to IRCTC website and book tickets on ‘first come first served’ basis by paying Tatkal charges. After reports on social media and some websites that Tatkal booking and cancellation rules will change from July 1, 2017, Indian Railways has issued a clarification, saying that there has been no changes. “It has been noticed that a news item is in circulation in various social media platforms, WhatsApp groups, and some websites which mentions that Indian Railways is introducing several changes and new facilities with effect from 1st July, 2017. This news is totally incorrect and baseless,” the Railways said in a statement on June 30.

In this context, the Railways also reiterated the existing Tatkal reservation and cancellation rules.

The booking timings for Tatkal tickets were changed in 2015 with booking for AC classes opening at 10:00 AM and for Non-AC classes at 11:00 AM (one day in advance of actual date of journey excluding date of journey). There has no change in these timings and the same arrangement is continuing, the Railways said.

Again, there is no change in the refund rules of Tatkal tickets, the Railways said. Under the existing rule, no refund is granted on cancellation of confirmed Tatkal tickets/duplicate Tatkal tickets. This rule continues to be in operation.

Here are other things to know about the Tatkal reservation rules:

A maximum of four passengers per PNR can be booked on Tatkal e-tickets.

Tatkal charges per passenger are in addition to normal tickets.

Premium Tatkal Facility: From October 2014, in select trains, a premium tatkal facility was introduced and tickets are sold on dynamic pricing. Fares go up depending on percentage of berths sold subject to a maximum cap.

No concession is allowed in Tatkal booking.

Modification of ticket in any form is not permitted in Tatkal ticket.

The Tatkal charges have been fixed as a percentage of fare at the rate of 10 per cent of basic fare for second class and 30 per cent of basic fare for all other classes subject to minimum and maximum as given here below, according to the IRCTC website.

Class of Travel Minimum Tatkal charges (in Rs.) Maximum Tatkal charges (in Rs.) Minimum distance for charge (in km)
Second (sitting) 10 15 100
Sleeper 100 200 500
AC Chair Car 125 225 250
AC 3 Tier 300 400 500
AC 2 Tier 400 500 500
Executive 400 500 250

Real Estate to gain up to Rs.90,000 Crore from Metro Rail projects: ICRA

Overall expenses in expanding Metro Rail projects in various states stands at Rs 2.5 lakh crore

MUMBAI: The construction sector in the country is expected to witness a boost in its order book due to the strong traction seen in the Metro rail sector, according to rating agency ICRA.

The rating agency expects orders from the Metro rail sector to help boost the order book of the construction industry by Rs.75,000 to Rs 90,000 crore over the next three to five years. “The overall cost of expansion of operational and under-implementation Metro projects is over Rs 2.5 lakh crore. This would support the order books of construction contractors.Further, Metro Rail projects (MRP) worth another Rs 2 lakh crore are at various stages of approval and are likely to come up for bidding within the next five years,” ICRA said in its note.

“Roads and urban infrastructure, including Metro Rails are two key segments that have witnessed robust order inflows for the construction companies. Further, with a sizeable pipeline of projects in these segments, the sector is expected to have sufficient order inflows and companies with a strong track record and a healthy balance sheet are expected to exhibit strong growth, going forward, “said K Ravichandran, Senior Vice-President and Group-Head, Corporate Ratings, ICRA.

Among the companies that are likely to benefit for the fresh flow of orders are ITD Cementation, L&T, Afcons, NCC, and IL&FS Group. All these firms have an exposure to the Metro rail sector.

According to the ratings agency, development of the Metro Rail is being planned in over 30 Indian cities. Currently, the Metro rail network (MRN) is operational or partly operational in nine cities. Another five cities have under-implementation Metro projects. In addition to the extension of the MRN in these cities, a new Metro rail network is to be developed in another 15-20 cities.

ICRA also pointed out that private public partnerships (PPPs) in the Metro rail sector has been limited so far. “The PPP participation in Metro rail projects has been limited so far. In order to encourage PPPs, adequate risk allocation would be required in the form of concession agreements, availability of the low-cost debt funding, and the presence of a robust dispute resolution mechanism,” said Shubham Jain, Vice-President and Sector-Head, Corporate Ratings, ICRA.

ICRA Limited (ICRA) is an Indian independent and professional investment information and credit rating agency. It was established in 1991, and was originally named Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency of India Limited (IICRA India). It was a joint-venture between Moody’s and various Indian commercial banks and financial services companies. The company changed its name to ICRA Limited, and went public on 13 April 2007, with a listing on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange.

Siemens to provide state-of-the-art IGBT Technology to Indian Railways

Siemens to design AC Traction Systems for Dual Cab High Horsepower Diesel Engine Locomotive

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways contributes to the enduring success of the nation’s growth story through its pivotal role in ensuring reliable, safe and secure transportation of people, goods and services. With a focus  on modernization, expansion of rail networks and energy efficiency, Siemens has been a trusted partner of the Indian Railways for the last six decades.

Automations solutions provider Siemens Limited today said it has bagged the contract to install state-of-the-art IGBT technology for Indian Railways. Siemens will be designing, supplying and installing Alternating Current (AC) Traction Systems for Dual Cab High Horsepower Diesel Engine Locomotive for Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW/Varanasi), the company said in a statement.

“The systems have been developed based on the state-of-the-art insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT) technology. The AC traction systems will be produced at its factory at Nashik, Maharashtra,” the company said. The Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs) are state-of-the-art power electronics for the traction system of electric and diesel-electric rail vehicles. The main benefit of IGBT is that it reduces the requirement for current, minimising heat and traction noise while also making the acceleration process efficient. IGBT is a three-terminal power semiconductor carrier device with high input impedance and large bipolar current-carrying capability. Many designers view IGBT as a device with MOS input characteristics and bipolar output characteristic that is a voltage-controlled bipolar device. IGBTs are today’s state-of-the-art power electronics for the traction system of electric (and diesel-electric) rail vehicles. They replace the previous inverter generation represented by GTO (gate turn-off thyristors).

“The advent of IGBTs has yielded strong efficiency gains in electric drive technology. The project showcases Siemens’ partnership with the Indian Railways as it combines innovation with the responsibility to bring together the combined expertise of its teams, that is committed to delivering reliable, safe and efficient technologies,” its Executive Vice-President and Head, Mobility Tilak Raj Seth said.

In the Metro Rail segment, last week, ICF flagged off its new train-set for Kolkata Metro which was propelled by 3-phase insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) based electric propulsion system, which was indigenously manufactured. However neither the ICF nor the Siemens had replied to emails as to whether the same is part of the arrangement with Indian Railways by Siemens.

The Siemens factory in Nashik, India, has been serving customers in India since 1987. Originally focusing on manufacturing electronic products such as programmable logic controllers, uninterruptible power supplies, and AC/DC variable-frequency drives, the Nashik Works have evolved over time and today it manufactures signaling products for railways and tailor-made engineered cabinets for automation systems and variable-frequency drives etc.

HC issues notice to Railways on Andhra Cargo Service’s plea

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Railways on a petition alleging that the weighing of goods transported by rail to Karnataka was not proper.

The petition alleged that the ‘in-motion weigh bridge’, by which the Railways weigh the consignments loaded on a wagon, was not properly functioning and indicated overload on many occasions, forcing the transporters to pay a penalty, besides delaying the consignment.

“The overload goods were unloaded and again reweighed at the destination where it was found that the overload as claimed by the railways was false,” the petition, filed by leasing firm Andhra Cargo Service, alleged.

It also said that it becomes “very difficult for the transporter to recover the amount deposited as penalty”.

Advocate Amit Sahni, who appeared for the petitioner, submitted that on earlier occasions, a transporter was allowed to reweigh the consignment only after depositing penalty charges and other dues.

“Issue notice. Counter affidavit be filed within four weeks. Rejoinder, if any, be filed within three weeks thereafter,” a bench of Justice A K Chawla said and posted the matter for hearing on October 11.

GM/SWR inaugurates Renovated Sports Ground at Hubballi

HUBBALLI: Ashok Kumar Gupta, General Manager, South Western Railway inaugurated Renovated Railway Sports Ground, Club Road, Hubballi yesterday i.e., on 17th July, 2017. A.K. Jain, Divisional Railway Manger, Hubballi; K.J. Kalra, Principal Chief Engineer  and other Officers and staff were present.

On this occasion A.K. Gupta said that South Western Railway accords importance and encouragement to sports activities in Railways. The renovated Sport Ground caters to the needs of various sports viz, Athletics, Cricket, Basket Ball and Volley Ball. The Athletics track consisting of 8 lanes of 1.22 meter each has been provided. Central Cricket pitch of size 3.66×22.6 meter for the play and net for cricket practice have also been provided.

Basketball Court with cement concrete floor of size 20.20×36.65 meter and Volley Ball court of size 9.14×18.28 meter have also been provided. A walking path around the full circumference of the ground has been constructed. The covered pavilion is provided with a total seating capacity of 600 Nos.

The total area of sports ground is 65000 sqm. Rain water harvesting pit of size 6×2 meter has been provided for recharging of underground water level.  On this occasion tree plantation was also done in the premises. Railway Officials said that around the cricket ground saplings will be planted as a step towards green planet and also beautify the ground.

Land acquisition for Indo-Bangla Rail project begins in Tripura

7 years on, land acquisition begins for India-Bangladesh rail line in both countries!

AGARTALA: Land acquisition for a 15 km India-Bangladesh railway line has finally begun in both countries – more than seven-and-a-half-years after the Rs 963 crore ($145 million) project was finalised and a year after the ground-breaking ceremony was performed, an official said here.

The Agartala (India)-Akhaura (Bangladesh) railway line would facilitate carriage of goods to and from both the countries and greatly benefit India’s land-locked northeastern states. Also, the journey time between Agartala and Kolkata, via Bangladesh, would be reduced by a third, from 1,613-km through mountainous terrain to a mere 514 km.

“We have started the land acquisition process this week for the railway project. We have targeted to hand over the required land to the railways by August 31,” West Tripura District Magistrate and Collector Milind Ramteke told.

Notice has been served on 257 families to acquire 66 acres of land, five acres of which belongs to the government and the remaining is privately-owned.

The process is being conducted under The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, which was enacted by the Congress-led UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government during its second stint in office.

State Government of Tripura has issued a notification for acquisition of land for the proposed Indo-Bangla railway project, official sources said here on Friday. “As per preliminary reports, altogether 257 land owners are supposed to get compensation against the land acquisition”, said an official of District Magistrate (DM), West Tripura office. The entire process is scheduled to be completed by August 15.

The Centre has already released Rs 97.63 crore for land acquisition for the proposed rail project connecting Agartala railway station to Bangladesh’s Gangasagar station.

The project was finalised in January 2010 when Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met her then Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, in New Delhi.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and his Bangladeshi counterpart, Majibul Haque, jointly laid its foundation stone here on July 31 last year.
“After the Revenue Department of the Tripura government issued a notification last week, our officials have quickly started the actual work of land acquisition,” the District Magistrate said.

Ramteke said that the Union government had released Rs 97.63 crore to acquire the land for the project, for which the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) is the nodal agency. An NFR official said that the Bangladesh government also started acquiring around 70 acres of land for the project.

“After the actual work starts, the project would be completed within 30 months,” the NFR official told IANS, preferring anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The government-owned Indian Railway Construction Company (IRCON) would lay the five km track on the Indian side while the remaining 10 km would be laid by the Bangladesh railways.

However, IRCON would be the project management consultant of the Bangladesh Railway Board.

The Indian government would bear the entire cost of the project, which also figured during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Sheikh Hasina during his visit to Dhaka in June 2015.

The Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Ministry would bear the cost of the project on the Indian side while the External Affairs Ministry would bear the cost of the project on the Bangladesh side.

The Agartala-Akhaura project, which was sanctioned in the 2012-13 railway budget, would be part of the Trans-Asian Railway Network and provide much shorter connectivity from northeastern states to Kolkata via Bangladesh.

The existing railway line from Guwahati passes through Lumding in Nagaon district (in central Assam) and southern Assam connecting Agartala and parts of Manipur and Mizoram with the rest of the country.

In October 2008, with the extension of the metre gauge track up to Agartala through southern Assam, Tripura became the first state capital in the northeast to be brought on India’s rail map after the country’s independence. Subsequently, the metre gauge was converted into broad gauge.

Currently, India and Bangladesh have four rail links with West Bengal.

Reports from across the border indicate, land acquisition process has already begun in Bangladesh side. Of the total 15-km length railway project, around 10 km rail track will fall in Bangladesh side while remaining part falls in Indian side.

In Indian side, a major portion will be elevated corridor to save land and this has reduced the land acquisition process for the railway project.

The IRCON has been tasked to execute the 15 km ambitious project amounting to Rs 967.85 crore. IRCON is expected to start the work at the earliest.

 

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.

250 kms of Railway lines pose threat to Tigers: NTCA

NEW DELHI: Nearly 250kms of railway lines, spread across different regions, have been been identified to be posing a high degree of threat to tigers and other wildlife in the country, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) informed the railway ministry last month. In addition to this, 86 km of railway lines are also posing a threat to tiger corridors that connect and sustain tiger population between two or more national parks, the NTCA stressed.

NTCA’s meeting with the Railway Ministry comes in the backdrop of steady instances of tiger and wildlife fatalities on railway tracks. Besides tigers, elephants, leopards, bears and even crocodiles get killed on railway tracks.

Most tiger deaths on railway tracks were largely concentrated in Madhya Pradesh, where at least four tigers have been run over by trains till now since December 2016. In fact, two of them were killed in the same section between Budhni and Mid-Ghat area of Sehore district, passing through the Ratapani sanctuary near Bhopal, that is soon slated to be a tiger reserve. A 12 km section of the Itarsi-Betul railway passes through the sanctuary.

In Madhya Pradesh, 34 km long section of the Katni-Singrauli line passes through the Sanjay Dubri national park, which is also sensitive for wildlife. Besides Madhya Pradesh, the NTCA informed railway officials that the 29 km line inside Rajaji National Park, 47 km line inside Dudhwa national park; 12.5 km line cutting through Buxa tiger reserve in Bengal and 27 km line passing through Bhadra tiger reserve in Karnataka are some of the most sensitive routes for wildlife.

Even as the NTCA briefed the railway officials about the threats to wildlife, the environment ministry recently cleared the conversion of the 176 km Akola-Khandwa railway line from metre gauge to broad gauge, of which 18 km passes through the heart of Melghat tiger reserve. The NTCA had opposed the route passing through the core of Melghat and suggested that an alternate route be taken, but the National Board for Wildlife under former environment minister late Anil Dave, cleared it.

“The tiger corridors are getting fragmented by the day, especially because of linear infrastructure such as railway tracks, highways and power lines. If we cannot avoid the projects, we have to take measures to ensure their safe passage,” said an NTCA official on the condition of anonymity.

DNA had reported last month that railway minister Suresh Prabhu had called a meeting of top officials from environment ministry in April and sought identification of such spots to prevent wildlife deaths on railway tracks.

Subsequently, the environment ministry had shot off a letter to all state forest departments, seeking their co-operation in identifying the most vulnerable spots on railway tracks for wildlife.

Tata Steel inks Long-term Tariff Contract with Indian Railways

LTTC has been introduced by Indian Railways to establish long-term contracts with customers.
The contract can be for a duration of 3-5 years. The main objectives of LTTC include long-term revenue commitment from customers, preferential treatment to customer for supply of wagons, generation of additional traffic volumes and revenues for Railways, freight escalation protection i.e freight increase mid-year will not be passed on to the customer and freight concession on retention of traffic as well as on incremental traffic.

NEW DELHI: Tata Steel on Friday said it has entered into long-term tariff contract with railways, becoming the first company in the steel sector to sign such pact.

“Tata Steel became the first steel company to enter into a long-term tariff contract (LTTC) with Indian railways here today,” the company said in a statement.

LTTC has been introduced by Indian Railways to establish long-term contracts with customers with guaranteed incremental revenue for Indian Railways, the statement said, adding that the contract can be for a duration of three to five years.

The main objectives of LTTC includes long-term revenue commitment from customers, preferential treatment to customer for supply of wagons, generation of additional traffic volumes and revenues for railways and freight concession on retention of traffic as well as on incremental traffic.

The long-term contract also aims at freight escalation protection i.e. Freight increase mid-year will not be passed on to the customer.

The steel maker which is the first steel company to sign the contract claimed that it has invested heavily in improving its rail infrastructure and material handling system. This has helped in reducing detention of railway rakes and bringing down the wagon turnaround time.

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, senior officials of the Railway Board and the company’s Vice President, Steel Manufacturing, Sudhansu Pathak among others were present at the contract signing ceremony held at the Rail Bhawan in New Delhi.

Rail Saarthi App: From booking Flight Tickets to ordering Food

Developed by CRIS – the prestigious IT Arm of IR, Railways launches Mobile App that now does more than just booking!

NEW DELHI: The Railways launched an integrated mobile application to cater to various passenger requirements, including ticket booking, inquiry, on-board cleaning and ordering meal on a single platform.

The App — Rail SAARTHI — was launched by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

Currently there are multiple mobile app by the Railways. To use different services, users need to search and download each application separately.

In order to provide better customer experience, there was a need for an integrated application which could give a single window interface for these services, Prabhu said after launching the app.

The Rail SAARTHI (Synergised Advanced Application Rail Travel Help and Information) such as safety for women, complaint facility and suggestion for improvement, he said.

One can also book air ticket through the app and give feedback.

Prabhu also announced a quota facility for differently- abled people in 3AC coach and extending the advance booking period for foreigners to 365 days from present 120 days.

Now a lower berth in a 3AC coach will be reserved for physically-challenged people and the middle for the individual accompanying them.

However, there will be only one such berth in the 3AC coach of a train.

Until now, the quota provision was only in the sleeper class — 2 berths — which has now been extended to the 3AC as well.

Railways approve two more MEMU Passenger Train Services within Bengaluru by March 2018

BENGALURU: An agreement was signed between Ministry of Railways and Government of Karnataka on 16th January, 2017 for development of a Suburban Rail System in Bengaluru. It has now been decided by Ministry of Railways that the following works will be under taken in this regard.

  1. 15 pairs of short distance passenger trains that are presently running will be converted with 12 Car MEMU (Mainline Electric Multiple Unit) extended rakes. Estimated cost of this conversion is Rs. 327.79 Crores
  2. Enhancement of maintenance facilities for MEMU services at Banasawadi shed at cost of Rs. 29.45 Crores.

Above two projects will be taken up on 80:20 cost sharing basis between Government of Karnataka and Ministry of Railways and these projects will be implemented by Railways.

These 15 pairs of trains are operating between KSR Bengaluru – Bangarapet/Marikuppam, Bengaluru – Jolarpettai, Bengaluru Cantt. – Bangarapet, Bengaluru – Mysuru and Bengaluru – Hindupur.

The MEMU electric traction increases the passenger carrying capacity, results in better utilisation of line capacity, fuel efficiency with enhanced performance. 15 short distance passenger trains are equivalent to 9 rakes. Out of the 15 approved, Two MEMU rakes shall be provided during the current financial year and remaining 7 MEMU rakes shall be provided in 2018-19 from manufacturing units of Indian Railways.

The project of enhancement of maintenance facilities for MEMU services at Banasawadi shall be taken up after approval of the work in supplementary budget, 2017-18 of Central Government.

In the last three years, many inputs have been given by Railways to cater for the needs of passengers for travelling around Bengaluru. 8 pairs of new services have been introduced and following services have been extended.

New Trains:

Train No. From -To Date of Introduction
56925/ 56926 KSR Bengaluru-Tumakuru-KSR Bengaluru Daily Passenger 01.11.2014
76521/ 76522 Yesvantpur–Nelamangala–Yesvantpur DEMU 01.11.2014
76523/ 76524 Yesvantpur–Hosur–Yesvantpur DEMU 01.11.2014
66535/ 66536 KSR Bengaluru–Ramanagram–KSR Bengaluru MEMU 16.01.2017
66537/ 66538 KSR Bengaluru–Ramanagram–KSR Bengaluru MEMU 16.01.2017
66539/ 66540 KSR Bengaluru–Ramanagram–KSR Bengaluru MEMU 16.01.2017
66542/ 66541 KSR Bengaluru–Whitefield–KSR Bengaluru MEMU 16.01.2017
66544/ 66543 KSR Bengaluru–Kuppam–KSR Bengaluru MEMU 16.01.2017

Extension of Trains:

Train No. From -To Extended upto
66533 Marikuppam-Krishnarajapuram Baiyyappanahalli
66534 Krishnarajapuram-Kuppam Baiyyappanahalli
66514/66515 Marikuppam-Bangarapet Baiyyappanahalli
76525/76526 KSR Bengaluru-Kolar

Channapatna

 

SCR’s RPF Team cracks down on Chain Snatchers

SECUNDERABAD: Crime Prevention and Detection Squad (CPDS) team of Railway Protection Force (RPF) of Secunderabad Railway Station cracked down chain snatchers during the confidential watch in the night at Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) cabin near Secunderabad Railway Station. Youth from different areas of twin cities involved in chain snatching incidents, Accused Nalla Rakesh, age: 21 yrs, S/o Surender, R/o Near safari function Hall, water worker quarters, sallemnagar, Malakpet, Hyderabad and accused Gajula Rajesh, Age: 17 yrs, S/o Pochaiah, R/o Balaji Nagar, Pragathi Nagar, Dammaiaguda were involved in snatching incident occurred on 14th June, 2017 in Train No. 12710 Simhapuri Express and recovered 36 grams of gold worth Rs. 1,00,000/- and registered a case against them. Accused Surram Sravan Kumar @ chintu, S/o Raju, Age: 21 yrs, Caste- SC Madiga, Occupation-Electricin, R/o H. No.3-717-99, Lalbazar, Trimulgiri, Secunderabad and accused Korodu Mahesh @ Ganga Baba, age: 18 yrs, S/o Suresh Kumar, R/o Perumal temple Lalbazar were involved in snatching incident on 24th June, 2017 in Train No. 07471 Special and recovered 45 grams of Gold worth Rs.1,25,000/- and registered a case against them.

Electronic Surveillance helps nab Notorious Criminal – Leads to recovery of Valuables over Rs. 20 Lakhs

WARANGAL/VIJAYAWADA/SECUNDERABAD: The third eye of Railway Security, CCTV surveillance came to the fore in nabbing a notorious criminal whose occupation is to travel as a passenger in air conditioned coaches of express trains and de-camp enroute with the co-passengers luggage.

The culprit , Harish Kumar Jain , aged 34 years and a resident of Vijayawada was identified by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP) on the basis of CCTV footage and nabbed today i.e. 13th July 2017.

Going into the details of a sensational incident reported at Warangal Railway Station, the RPF received information from their escorting counter-part RPF staff of Train No.12737 Kakinada-Secunderabad Gautami Express of 2nd July 2017, through the Divisional RPF Security Control Room that one lady passenger by name Smt A.S.Radhika, travelling from Kakinada to Secunderabad in AC First class coach lost her trolley bag containing gold weighing around 44 gms  and silver ornaments weighing around 700 gms. The RPF swung into action immediately and verified the CCTV footage and zeroed in on a person moving on the foot over bridge at Vijayawada suspiciously with 2 trolley bags. The victim identified the person as the one who travelled along with her in the train. The information was immediately flashed to all RPF and GRP stations.

This led to the arrest of the criminal by the GRP at Warangal today, which enabled recovery of 534.5 gms of Gold Ornaments and 1.5 Kgs of Silver Ornaments besides some electronic items, totally valued at Rs. 20.10 Lakhs. 13 cases are registered against the criminal at various GRP stations.

Efforts on to expand Railway Network to China border

GUWAHATI: With China already launching its mega One Belt One Road (OBOR) project to connect Asia and Africa and Beijing’s rapid efforts to develop infrastructure, including railway network in Tibet, which can have serious geo-strategic repercussions for India, efforts have gained momentum from New Delhi to expand the railway network to areas near the China border in Arunachal Pradesh.

Senior officials told that ‘Reconnaissance Engineering cum Traffic Surveys’ for a number of new lines to connect various places in Arunachal Pradesh are progressing at a fast pace and we are in much advanced stages in various milestones.

One such survey for construction of a new line to extend the linkage with Chittagong and Belonia, in order to connect with the Bangladesh railway network with that of India in Tripura, is also going ahead, in which 20 per cent progress has so far been achieved.

“The Indian government is taking China’s plan to expand its railway and road infrastructure very seriously. As compared to the efforts taken by Beijing on its side of the border, New Delhi’s efforts over the years have been considerably lackadaisical. Now that has changed and surveys are on at a fast pace to reconnoitre areas through which the railway network can be extended to the Chinese frontier in Arunachal Pradesh,” said a source.

Meanwhile, the Northeast Frontier Railway (Construction) is currently undertaking a total of 10 surveys, including eight Reconnaissance Engineering cum Traffic Surveys and two Final Location Surveys, in Arunachal Pradesh and for connecting certain places in Arunachal Pradesh from Assam.

The sections where the surveys for new lines are on include – from Dangari to Roing (60 km), Margherita-Deomali (31 km), Lekhapani-Kharsang (25 km), Lekhapani-Nampong-New Khamlang-Deban (75 km), Naharkatia-Deomali (20 km), Tinsukia (Longpatia)-Pasighat via Kanubari, Deomali, Lekhapani, Jairampur, Kharsang, Miao, Diyun, Tezu, Bhismaknagar, Roing and Dambuk (300 km), Doomdooma-Wakro via Simulguri, Namsai and Chowkham (96 km), Pasighat-Tezu-Rupai (227 km), Misamari (Bhalukpong)-Tenga-Tawang (378 km), and North Lakhimpur-Bame (Along)-Silapathar (249 km).

The rate of progress so far is between eight per cent to 19 per cent, said Pranav Jyoti Sharma, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of NF Railway.

Experts as well as railway officials observe that the expansion of railway network to the Chinese border and augmenting the railway connectivity with Bangladesh is not only sound from the strategic point of view, but it will also boost trade, commerce and investment in the Northeast.

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.

Indian Railways biggest government litigant with over 66,000 cases: Law Ministry

NEW DELHI: The railway ministry is the biggest litigant among the government departments as it is a party to over 66,000 cases pending in courts across the country, the law ministry says.

Government litigation includes service matters, disputes with private entities as well as disputes between two government departments and two PSUs, according to a law ministry document of June 2017.

Citing data available on the LIMBS — Legal Information Management and Briefing System — website, the document states that as on June 12, 1,35,060 government cases and 369 contempt cases against government or its officials were pending in courts.

Railways with 66,685 cases pending has the highest number of pending cases. Out of the total, 10,464 cases are pending for more than 10 years.

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj with three pending cases has the least number of pendency among government departments.

The document clarifies that as the LIMBS is a dynamic website, the data is constantly changing.

The finance ministry follows the Railways with 15,646 cases. The Ministry of Communication has 12,621 cases pending in courts.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is the fourth biggest litigant with 11,600 cases, the document states.

In a letter addressed to his cabinet colleagues heading various ministries, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had recently said that the “government must cease to be a compulsive litigant…the judiciary has to spend its maximum time in tackling cases where the government is a party, and the burden on the judiciary can only be reduced if the cases are filed after taking a careful and considered view.” The law minister’s letter to his cabinet colleagues and the chief ministers came at a time when the Centre is working to bring out a national litigation policy since 2010. Several states have already adopted their separate litigation policies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in October termed the government as the “biggest litigant” and had pushed for a need to lessen the load on the judiciary which spends its maximum time in tackling cases where the government is a party.

Bullet train journey between Delhi-Varanasi to take just 2 hours and 37 minutes between two cities!

Come 2031, a bullet train may well zip from Delhi to Varanasi (presently PM Modi’s constituency) in less than 3 hours! The very same high-speed train will help you complete a journey between Delhi to Lucknow within 2 hours.

VARANASI: Indian Railways, in its move to reduce the train journey time on the Golden Quadrilateral, has asked for various high-speed rail feasibility studies to be undertaken. The draft final report of one such study for the Delhi-Kolkata stretch is ready and proposes that with a bullet train, people will be able to travel between Delhi-Varanasi in 2 hours and 37 minutes, and between Delhi-Lucknow in 1 hour and 38 minutes. That’s a distance of 720 km and 440 km respectively! The Delhi-Kolkata high-speed corridor will cover a distance of 1474.5 km.

Talking about the study, Anil Saxena the Spokesperson of Indian Railways said, “This study is being done by three Messrs – Spain’s INECO, TYPSA and ICT. Right now the draft final report has been submitted to Railways. Various divisions will now study and give their inputs, which in turn will be incorporated by these firms in their final report.” “The final report will be submitted to the Railway Board in 2 months time and after that, a decision on the project will be taken,” he added.

According to the report details shared by Indian Railways, the entire project will cost around Rs 1.21 lakh crore, with the Delhi-Varanasi stretch estimated to be at Rs 52,680 crore. The report states that if the project were to commence in 2021, then the Delhi to Varanasi stretch should be ready in ten years time. The Delhi to Lucknow high-speed train corridor should be complete in 8 years time, that is by 2029, says the report. A station for the train is proposed near the Akshardham Temple in Delhi. Some of the stops of the train would include Greater Noida, Aligarh and Jaunpur. A maximum operational speed of 300 km/hr has been considered, with a commercial speed of 250 km/hr.

How much would a train ticket cost? The report assumes a base fare of Rs 4.5 per kilometre. This would mean that for travelling between Delhi to Varanasi you will have to shell out at least Rs 3,240 (720*4.5) and for Delhi to Lucknow the minimum fare would work out to be Rs 1,980 (440*4.5).

High-Speed Rail Corporation is the nodal agency for these feasibility studies. Delhi-Mumbai and Mumbai-Chennai bullet train corridors are also under the High-Speed Rail Corporation. Feasibility studies are also being undertaken for the Delhi-Chandigarh and Delhi-Amritsar corridors. The construction for Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project – India’s first bullet train project – will start in September this year and is expected to be ready by 2023. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has said that the cost of travelling in a bullet train will be less than air fares. Meanwhile, Indian Railways is also working on Mission Raftaar to double the average speeds of freights trains and increase the average speed of superfast mail/express trains by 25 km/hr in the next 5 years.

Coimbatore-Pollachi passenger train begins maiden journey on BG line

The track was converted for a distance of 40 km at a cost of Rs.340 crore
National Secretary of the BJP and Chairman of Passengers’ Amenities Committee H. Raja flagging off the first run of the Coimbatore – Pollachi passenger special train on the new broad gauge line on Saturday.

COIMBATORE: After nearly a wait for eight years, the first passenger special train commenced its maiden journey from Coimbatore Junction (SR’s Salem Division in Tamil Nadu) to Pollachi (SR’s Palakkad Division in Kerala) on the new BG line.

Train services on the Coimbatore – Pollachi – Udumalpet – Palani – Madurai meter gauge section was suspended in 2009 and the works for converting the same into broad gauge line commenced in 2010. This marked the serving of rail connectivity for the Western Tamil Nadu with Southern Tamil Nadu. Very few services were ran through Erode – Karur – Tiruchi/Dindigul – Madurai section.

The gauge conversion work first suffered fund constraints and then litigations relating to land acquisition and it went on for nearly six years, after which the works suffered a jolt when the railways had to cut through a rocky terrain for four km stretch. Finally, the works were completed early this year and the Commissioner Rail Safety inspection was also done and the track was declared fit for resumption of services.

The track between Pollachi and Podanur has been converted from MG to BG for a distance of 40 km at a cost of Rs. 340 crore. 110 bridges, both Road Over Bridge (ROB) and Limited Use Subway (LUS) have been constructed in the new line. There were 37 level crossing gates, both manned and unmanned, in the erstwhile meter gauge section that has been brought down to 14 level crossings now, by construction of ROB and LUS. Of these 14 level crossings, three more are planned to be closed along with single unmanned level crossings within three months, railway sources said.

While the expectations remained high for resumption of the earlier services operated under meter gauge section to begin with the railways using the lie over idle rakes (coaches) and locomotive of the Shoranur – Coimbatore – Thrissur Passenger has now come forward to operate a passenger special train which will leave Coimbatore at 01.35 pm to reach Pollachi at 2.45 pm and in the return direction it would leave Pollachi at 03.05 p.m. and reach Coimbatore at 4.15 pm.

Though the timings are very odd and there is no service during the morning and evening peak hours, this service will be of immense use at a time when the Coimbatore – Pollachi Road is in a very bad shape as a result of the ongoing works to widen and strengthen the Highway.

The new BG line will provide vital rail link from Coimbatore to Southern cities, such as Palani, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Rameswaram and Nagercoil, that will reduce the travelling time to a great extent between Coimbatore and these places.

Between Coimbatore and Pollachi, the train would have stoppages only at Podanur and Kinathukkadavu, while the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Youth Wing Convenor V. Easwaran had been persistently representing for opening of new and revival of erstwhile defunct railway stations en route namely at Chettipalayam, Nallatipalayam, Koilpalayam and Tamaraikulam.

Regular passengers, who are now relying on bus services, pointed out that such a long awaited project could serve more people, if there were trains in the mornings and evenings besides a late night service on either direction. In addition, to connect the pilgrim town, there should be a train from Coimbatore to Palani both in the early mornings and evenings and railways should come forward to operate inter city train service between Coimbatore and Madurai besides an over night train service to Rameswaram.

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.

Eight oil tankers catch fire in Siliguri, blaze spreads to nearby slum

The fire broke out in the parking lot for the tankers close to the New Jalpaiguri railway station

SILIGURI: Eight tankers in the vicinity of the Indian Oil Corporation terminal here were charred in a fire on Saturday night, triggering panic. There were no casualties or injuries.

The leaping flames, that were first noticed at 8 p.m., were doused after a two-hour fight, police and IOC sources said.

The fire broke out in the parking lot for the tankers close to the New Jalpaiguri railway station, and spread fast engulfing one tanker after another,

In all eight tankers – some carrying combustible fuels like kerosene, diesel and petrol – caught fire, as senior police and fire brigade officials rushed to the spot.

The fire even spread to a nearby slum, from where the dwellers rushed out.

There was tension, as people feared the consequences of the possibility of the terminal catching fire.

However, IOC personnel sprayed foam and brought the situation under control.

Five fire engines were rushed to the area to control the blaze.

Police and IOC officials were ascertaining the cause of the incident, amid suspicion that the tankers could have caught fire while miscreants were pilfering oil.

Railways launches first DEMU train with Solar-powered Coaches

Railways moves to cleaner fuels, first solar-powered DEMU local train launched in New Delhi.

NEW DELHI: The railways on last Friday launched its first solar-powered local train here with a battery bank facility which ensures sufficient power even in the absence of sunlight.

The country’s first solar-powered local train is equipped with battery bank facility that ensures sufficient power even in the absence of sunlight. The entire electrical need of the coaches, which includes lights, fans and information display system, will be met by the energy produced by solar panels fitted atop the coaches of DEMU (diesel electric multiple unit) train.

Launching the train, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said it was a “path-breaking leap” towards making Indian trains more environment friendly.

Normally, DEMU trains – a multiple-unit train powered by on-board engines without a separate locomotive – provide power for its passenger comfort system i.E lights and fans from a diesel-driven generator.

The train was launched at the Safdarjung railway station here and the first rake will be put in commercial service over the suburban railway system of Delhi division shortly. Route will be decided soon, rail officials said.

Battery bank in First 1600 hp Solar DEMU Train ,Solar PV system on Demu train

While the 1,600 horsepower train has been manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, its solar system and panels have been developed and fitted by the Indian Railways Organisation of Alternative Fuel (IROAF).

Twenty-four more coaches will be fitted with this system within six months.

Referring to the Railways commitment to using cleaner fuels, Prabhu said it was trying to increase the use of non- conventional sources of energy.

The carrier is taking several other environment friendly measures like using bio-toilet, water-recycling, waste disposal, bio-fuel CNG and LNG, and harnessing wind energy.

The IROAF has developed this system with a smart inverter which optimises power generation on a moving train to cater to full load even during night hours with the help of a battery bank which ensures sufficient electricity.

The system reduces diesel consumption and the carbon signature of these commuter trains by reducing CO2 generation by 9 tonnes per coach per year.

A solar power DEMU train with six trailer coaches will save about 21,000 litres of diesel and thereby save costs of Rs 12 lakh every year, the railways said.

Role of IROAF: While the train has been manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai what makes it special are the solar panels. The panels have been developed and fitted by the Indian Railways Organization of Alternative Fuel.

The railways hope to fit solar panels on 24 more coaches within the next six months. The routes for the train that was launched yesterday is yet to be decided.

The country’s first solar-powered local train is equipped with battery bank facility that ensures sufficient power even in the absence of sunlight. The entire electrical need of the coaches, which includes lights, fans and information display system, will be met by the energy produced by solar panels fitted atop the coaches.

CRB inspects development works in progress at Tirupati Railway Station South Side Entry

Shri A.K.Mital,CRB inaugurating Sub-divisional Hospital at CRS, Tirupati. Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav, GM SCR is also present

TIRUPATI: A.K.Mital, Chairman, Railway Board, New Delhi inspected development works in progress at Tirupati Railway Station South side entry today i.e., 14th July, 2017. He reviewed the plans and progress of works initiated by the Railways. He indicated that priority should be accorded for the convenience of pilgrims in providing the best possible Passenger amenities and facilities. He was accompanied by Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway, Vijay Pratap Singh, Divisional Railway Manager and other Officials of Guntakal Division.

Shri A.K.Mital,CRB inaugurating Sub-divisional Hospital at CRS, Tirupati.Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav, GM SCR is also present

CRB undertook a detailed inspection of Tirupati Railway Station, covering the entire south side station premises and reviewed plans for the expansion of the station to reduce the congestion of the Tirupati station. During the inspection the CRB interacted with Media and informed that development of Tirupati Railway Station will be completed with all passenger amenities within stipulated period. During the course of the inspection, the General Manager appraised the Chairman, Railway Board on the developmental plans of Tirupati Railway Station including development of west side. The CRB stressed upon the long term perspective for the development programs with anticipation of growth in pilgrim traffic at Tirupati.

Shri A.K.Mital,CRB inaugurating Sub-divisional Hospital at CRS, Tirupati.Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav, GM SCR is also present

A separate entry from south side of Tirupati railway station has been sanctioned for development at a cost of Rs.77.29 crs. The facilities to be provided as a part of the works are Passenger platform with full length cover over platform(535 Mtrs), New Station Building with facilities like Booking office, Concourse, General Waiting Hall, VIP lounge, AC and Non AC Waiting Halls, Retiring Rooms etc, Extension of two Foot Over Bridges to new Platform,  two Lifts, two Escalators, Entries from Rayalacheruvu Road and from DR Mahal Road.

Shri A.K.Mital,CRB inaugurating Sub-divisional Hospital at CRS, Tirupati.Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav, GM SCR is also present

Sub-Divisional Hospital inaugurated:

Later, A.K.Mital inaugurated Sub-Divisional Hospital at Carriage Repair Shop(CRS), Tirupati. The New Hospital will cater to the emergency medical needs of the CRS, Tirupati and Guntakal Division employees and their families. This hospital includes the facilities like Emergency ward, Intensive Cardiac Care Unit, Male and Female wards, X-Ray, Ultra Sound and Lab facilities etc. The hospital will serve the medical needs of around 34,000 including staff and their family members. K.H.K.Dora, Chief Medical Director, South Central Railway also participated.

Shri A.K.Mital,CRB inspecting Tirupati south side Rly stn.Shri Vinod Kumar yadav, GMSCR is also present
Shri A.K.Mital,CRB inspecting Tirupati south side Rly stn.Shri Vinod Kumar yadav, GMSCR is also present
Shri A.K.Mital,CRB inspecting Tirupati south side Rly stn.Shri Vinod Kumar yadav, GMSCR is also present