Colaba Metro wont affect the Atashbehrams at Princess Street: MMRDA

मुंबई Mumbai:  There is a possibility of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) not disturbing the century-old Parsi fire temple at Princess Street near Dhobi Talao during the construction of the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz metro rail.

According to a senior development authority official, Kalbadevi, as well as south Mumbai as a whole, will remain a challenging area to carry out construction of the underground metro rail due to the density of the structures as well as number of heritage buildings in the area from where the metro rail will pass.

“We will not do anything to the fire temple in Kalbadevi,” said an official. When informed that the detailed project report prepared by RITES mentions that a portion of fire temple will have to be acquired to have ancillary facilities, such as chiller plant and ventilation shaft, the official replied, “We are yet to finalise the plan. It will be done after the general consultants submit their report, that is why there is scope to make changes.”

The acquisition of the land is required for the underground metro rail to create entry and exit as well as for ancillary facilities at the metro stations.

The Parsi community has been upset with the MMRDA ever since finding out that the detailed project report prepared in November 2011 states acquiring part of the property of the Atash Behram.  At the moment, MMRDA officials have been scrutinising pre-qualification bids they received on March 10. The plan is to issue tenders for the Rs23,136-crore project in July this year followed by commencement of construction in early 2015.

Goods Train derails at Ukshi; several trains cancelled, diverted

उक्शी Ukshi (UKC):  Major disruption on Konkan Railway route after five wagons out of 41 wagons of an empty Goods train between Ukshi and Sangameshwar stations derailed at 08.10 am today.

KR officials said it could take about 10 to 12 hours to get the route up and running again. Several trains will be diverted and some will  be cancelled said officials.

The derailed goods train near Ukashi in Maharashtra this morning has disrupted the entire traffic on the Konkan Railway route.

The goods train derailed in the morning and the work to clear it has been going on at a war footing, a spokesman of the Konkan Railway Corporation Limited said.

Four bogies have derailed and it may take more than 10 hours to restore the traffic on this route, he said. The restoration work has become difficult as the goods train derailed in the tunnel between Sangameshwar and Nivsar, he said.

Ukashi, situated 19 kms away from Ratnagiri, is the only railway station in India to have part of its platform in the tunnel.

Trains like Dadar Sawantwadi passenger, Janashatabdi Mail, Duronto Express and Rajdhani Express have been regulated at different stations, he said.

Earlier this month, tremors measuring 3.2 on Richter scale were recorded on the same sector, officials said.

DERAIL15229The quake was reported to the station masters of Kamathe, Savarda, Ukashi and Sangameshwar stations.

The officials had inspected all the engineering structures in the concerned stations including track, cuttings, tunnels and bridges and certified it to be safe.

The following passenger carrying trains have been cancelled / short terminated / diverted following the derailment. “Refund will be given to passengers for cancelled / terminated trains. Trans-shipment is being arranged for passengers for a few trains,” they inform.

Following trains are short terminated:   

1. 50105 DIVA-Sawantwadi Passenger on 14/04/2014 at CHIPLUN.

2. 50106 Sawantwadi-DIVA Passenger on14/04/2014 at Kudal

3. 01004 Sawantwadi-Dadar Summer Special on 14/04/2014 at Adavali.

4. 50103 Dadar-Ratnagiri on 14/04/2014 at Sangameshwar.

Following Trains will be diverted:  

Down Trains:  

1. 16345 LTT-Trivandrum ‘Netravati’ Express leaving LTT on 14/04/2014

2. 12432 Nizamuddin-Trivandrum ‘Rajdhani’ Express left Nizamuddin on 13/04/2014

3. 12201 LTT-Kochuveli ‘Garib Rath’ Express on 14/04/2014

4. 12133 CSTM-Mangalore Jn Express leaving CSTM on 14/04/2014

UP Trains:  

1. 12224 Ernakulam-LTT ‘AC Duranto’ Express left Ernakulam on 13/04/2014

2. 12977 Ernakulam-Ajmer ‘Marusagar’ Express left Ernakulam on 13/04/2014

3. 12134 Mangalore Jn-CSTM Express Leaving on 14/04/2014

4. 22114 Kochuveli-LTT Express left on 14/04/2014

5. 19577 Tirunelveli-HAPA Express left  on 14/04/2014

6.12217 Kochuveli-Chandigarh ‘Kerala Sampark Kranti’ Express left KCVL on 14/04/2014

Following trains shall remain cancelled:

1. 10104 Madgaon-CSTM ‘Mandovi’ Express on 14/04/2014.

2. 12619 /12620 LTT-Mangalore-LTT ‘Matsygandha’ Express leaving on 14/04/2014.

3. 10112 Madgaon-CSTM ‘Konkan Kanya’ Express leaving on 14/04/2014.

Following transhipment will be done between Sangameshwar and Ratnagiri stations:

1. 16346 Trivandrum-LTT ‘Netravati’ Express of 13/04/2014 with 10103 CSTM-Madgaon‘Mandovi’ Express on 14/04/2014.

2. 12617 Ernakulam-Nizamuddin ‘Mangala’ Express of 13/04/2014 with 12618 Nizamuddin-Ernakulam’Mangala’ Express of 13/04/2014

3. 12484 Amritsar-Kochuveli of 13/04/2014 with 19261 Kochuveli-Porbandar of 13/04/2014.

Following trains shall remain partially cancelled:  

1. 50105/ 50106 DIVA-Sawantwadi-DIVA  passenger between Chiplun-Kudal-Chiplun on 14/04/2014

2. 12051 / 12052 Dadar-Madgaon-Dadar ‘Janshatabdi’ Express between Chiplun-Madgaon-Chiplun on 14/04/2014.

Passengers can call on 022- 27561721 / 3/ 4 for their journey related enquiries.

National Book Trust to open Stores at 2 more Delhi Metro Stations

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Buoyed by the response of bibliophiles to their existing bookstores at two metro stations, the National Book Trust is planning to open two additional stores at Karol Bagh and Central Secretariat metro stations as a number of government employees and youngsters studying professional courses travel in trains crossing the stations.

NBT Director M. A. Sikandar said as the reading public, particularly the Delhi University students and teachers, have been purchasing economically-priced books in bulk at Delhi Vishwavidyalaya and Kashmere Gate stations, a thought was given to taking it forward.

“However, since we cannot pay rent at the current market rate, we will soon be negotiating with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation on opening the bookstores at Karol Bagh and Central Secretariat. We recently conducted a survey which indicated that a number of youngsters were using the metro and travelling to these stations. Most of them are undertaking courses at various professional institutions and need to read academic books,” said Dr. Sikandar, an academic administrator at Delhi University on deputation to NBT.

NBT-Metro-Book-ShopSimilarly, the NBT is also in touch with Delhi University as the student community wants to have a bookstore in the proximity.

“In the last edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair in the Capital, Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh agreed in-principle to give us the go-ahead to open a bookstore. The bookstore will be beneficial to not only students but also teachers. Apart from academic and fiction books, we would also be inviting authors to give a talk on how to write lucid and informative books. This would encourage students and the teaching fraternity to become authors.”

Railway Employee goes missing at Dudhsagar Waterfalls

लोंडा Londa (LD): Hanumant Anantpur, a 24-year-old railway employee working on South Western Railway is feared to have drowned at the Dudhsagar waterfalls on Sunday afternoon. The Collem police said that he went missing in the waterfalls and his body wasn’t found until late Sunday evening.

Collem PI Jivba Dalvi said that Anantpur was working at the S.W.Railway/Hubli’s PWD wing and had come with his brother Venkatesh Anantpur and four other friends: Devendra Kudlur, Ashok GK, Nagraj Bhandari and Santosh (full name not known) for a picnic at Dudhsagar on late Sunday morning.

After alighting at Dudhsagar station from a Karnataka-Goa bound train, they walked down to the waterfalls site and were swimming below the railway bridge when Anantpur went missing, police said quoting the statements of his friends.

“His brother and friends searched for him soon after they noticed him missing. After their attempts to find him were in vain, they informed the matter to Collem police who also tried to search for him in the water, but he was not found,” Dalvi said.

Dalvi added that they would continue the search operation on Monday morning. They have registered a case of a missing person at the police station.

A source from Collem added that the waterfall site where the water actually falls from a height is much deeper than the Dudhsagar Lake at Sonaulin. “Besides it is risky to swim near the falls as several washed off pieces of metallic girders that were supporting the railway bridge have been deposited in the water basin. The water basin also consists of many sharp-edged rocks,” the source said.

Himachal got only 44 kms of Railway lines in the last 66 years of Independence

Shimla शिमला (SML): Despite the claims about ensuring development in the state, expansion of railway line has been missing from the agenda of various political parties. Railway network has hardly got any tangible expansion in the last 66 years of independence in Himachal Pradesh, as the state has got minimal extension of 44 kms of railway line here. Announced with much fanfare, even the strategically-important Bilaspur-Manali-Leh railway line has remained buried in files so far.

It is not that residents of Bilaspur, Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul Spiti are the only ones eagerly awaiting construction of Manali-Leh rail project. The Rs 414-crore Greater Leh master plan has also identified land in different areas for construction of railway stations and tracks for the proposed rail line.

The existing network of heritage-status Kalka-Shimla railway line and the Joginder Nagar-Pathankot line are a legacy of the British, which were constructed a century ago. Construction and expansion of new tracks has been consistently missing from the respective railway budgets each year, though the demand for Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri, Ghanauli-Baddi, Nangal-Talwara and Bilaspur-Manali-Leh lines have been cropping up since past many years, they said.

Rohit Sharma, a resident of Kullu, said that expansion of railway network in the state should be a prime issue for the authorities since destinations of Himachal Pradesh including Shimla, Manali and Dharmshala are increasingly being visited by tourists from the world over every year. Tourists want to explore the interiors of the state including Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur and other areas for which they have to rely on road transport, which is quite arduous, he said.

Himalaya Niti Abhiyan national convener Guman Singh said that due to lack of air connectivity since past few months and lack of proper rail facilities throughout the state, the tourist potential is going untapped. “It is unfortunate that the state has not seen much expansion of railway lines since independence. The issue of expanding rail network in Himachal is now missing from the poll agenda of political parties,” he added.

Rigzin Dwa, a resident of Darcha village in Lahaul-Spiti, said that when China can create good rail infrastructure on its side by expanding railway line upto Lhasa, then it is not understood why Manali-Leh railway line is not seeing the light of the day. “Expansion of rail network would not only boost local economy by nurturing tourism, industries and horticulture sector, but would also be of immense help to defence forces,” he said.

Tara Singh, a Manali resident, said that a railway line, besides being of strategic importance, would also result in a tourism boom along the Manali-Leh corridor as tourists could enjoy the scenic beauty on the pattern of Lhasa railway line of Tibet. “Lack of political commitment is delaying the execution of this project. No political party is ready to take responsibility and are maintaining silence on the issue,” he rued.

Cancel Season Pass if Holder commits crime: Allahabad HC to Railways

Allahabad अल्लाहाबाद (ALD):  The recommendation of the Allahabad high court to the railway board asking all zonal railways to take down the residential address of the passengers buying season passes might be a logistical nightmare for the railways – with over 45-lakh season passes in Mumbai’s suburban systems alone, but it is also a big security boost.

It will provide the railways with the residential addresses of millions of Mumbaikars and as one official puts it, more than 60 per cent of all 75 lakh-odd daily commuters travel on season passes.

The Allahabad HC has recommended that the railway authorities share this data with the railway police as well as the RPF to allow both the security agencies to keep a tab on trouble-makers.

In what is a recommendation that would go a long way in making rail travel safe, the Allahabad high court has recommended the railway board that the format for applying for a season ticket should have a declaration that in the event of the pass-holder’s involvement in any offence under the IPC or the Railways Act, on platform or trains, the ‘seasonal ticket will be cancelled and will not be reissued’. The high court recommendation in this regard clearly states that ‘people enjoying concession under the railway rules are not supposed to violate the Railways Act’.

For years now, the sore point among security agencies was that while the railways issued identity cards to season pass-holders, which were valid for seven years, the railways, despite its massive computer network, did nothing to create a database of the pass-holders.

While officials say that the need to take down the address of people will hugely impact the ticketing queues in the city, they agree that it will help in the long run. Currently the booking clerks manage to give out around three normal tickets every minute and a season pass in a minute-and-a-half.”

Having everyone to give addresses, feeding them into the computer in a particular format will take some time. But yes, the ground reality is that the railways gets a database of millions of Mumbaikars, which can be used by security agencies to nab criminals,” said a senior railway official.

Training to RPF Constables, Inspectors on Behaviour, Gender Sensitisation & Human Rights

An initiative to sensitise staff towards commuters

मुंबई Mumbai:  In an effort to improve passenger experience and enhance the image of railway officials, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has initiated a first-of-its-kind training programme for constables and inspectors on behaviour, gender sensitisation and human rights. The programme, according to officials, aims to change the attitude of the staff towards commuters and make them more people-friendly.

The training, a 7-day programme that works in rotation, was launched as a pilot project recently at the RPF zonal training centre in Nashik. It plans to train more than 3,700 railway officials across Maharashtra, including constables, head constables, sub-inspectors, assistant sub-inspectors and inspectors in a span of six months. The officials will be trained by senior assistant commandants of the RPF and behaviour experts.

AK Singh, Inspector General, RPF, Central Railways, said, “The image of railway security personnel among the commuters has not been very good. There are complaints of rude and arrogant behaviour. We want our officers to be sensitive and understanding, especially towards women, children, senior citizens and handicapped persons. Our focus is to improve communication, interactions and also motivate them to be polite and understanding to those who are in trouble.”

The training will involve case studies, videos and giving different situations to officers and helping them deal with each situation. “We want passengers in the platforms and trains to have a smooth journey and experience. Currently, we have 50 cases every month where the officials have helped the commuters. We want the numbers to triple. With this programme, we hope the commuter satisfaction index is raised.”

Apart from the training programme, several seminars are also being launched, in association with NGOs to train and supervise the officials on the field.

Alok Bohra, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner of the RPF of Central Railway, said, “This is a holistic exercise by the RPF to improve the conditions of passengers. We hope this will go a long way in restoring the trust between commuters and cops and also ensure that their problems are dealt with in a smooth and friendly way.”

Facts and Figures

The training, a 7-day programme that works in rotation, was launched as a pilot project recently at the RPF zonal training centre in Nashik. It plans to train more than 3,700 railway officials across Maharashtra, including constables, head constables, sub-inspectors, assistant sub-inspectors and inspectors in a span of six months. The officials will be trained by senior assistant commandants of the RPF and behaviour experts.

18 mugging bids on CR network in last 3 months

मुंबई Mumbai:  As many as 18 mugging attempts by stick-wielding robbers on Central Railway (CR) have been logged on the Railway Protection Force (RPF) helpline in the first quarter of 2014.

The perpetrators were picked up in two cases. There have been 18 other reports of harassment by eunuchs, four stone pelting incidents and three instances of “misbehaviour with women”.

The RPF has been using their ‘Mahila Vahini’ to attend to complaints on CR. “Our patrol teams have solved a few mugging cases,” said senior divisional security commissioner Alok Bohra RPF (CR).

In 2013, Aarti Gholapkar (43) was struck with a hooked stick near Ghansoli. Gholapkar, who was aboard a trans-Harbour local, fell off. Her assailant stripped her of her valuables and left her to die.

Security agencies have had their share of hurdles; the biggest one being inadequate infrastructure. Areas where fencing is incomplete or there are gaps in boundary walls can easily be used as entry/exits by offenders.

Meanwhile, officials managing the CR helpline have managed to return 43 bags of valuables left behind on trains by their owners.

While the CR helpline received 216 calls between January and March, the WR helpline fielded 1,012 calls in the same period. Out of these, 38% calls were not related to train security, 19% calls were wrong numbers and 6% calls pertained to train enquiries.

Inspection at Dhanbad Railway Station – ECR authorities express anger over Uncleanliness

14Dhan-railway-1Dhanbad धनबाद (DHN): Dhanbad Railway station which is one of the Category-A Railway Stations on ECR has drawn flak from East Central Railway (ECR) authorities for its failure to maintain cleanliness.

The rap came from Chief Commercial Manager of ECR Mehboob Rab who inspected the station on Sunday and also found it wanting in basic passenger amenities.

The inspection lasted for two hours, starting from 11.00A.M.

On what promoted the exercise, Rab said: “It is a routine inspection aimed at suggesting measures to increase revenue during the current financial year.”

He refused to elaborate on what made him unhappy.

Sources, however, said that Rab was extremely angry with the littering around the reservation and general booking counters.

Rab, who was accompanied by Dhanbad senior divisional commercial manager Dayanand and divisional commercial manager S.K. Lal, expressed dissatisfaction over garbage lying near the counters and foul stench coming from it. He further pointed out to the layer of dust enveloping the computer monitor and issued instructions to the staff for regular wiping.

When he saw dust and filth on the granite sheet of the counters, Rab said: “What is the advantage of installing such slabs when cleaning is not carried out?”

He had an advice for officials. “You should act like a bania (trader) who worships his customers and not like a government officer.”

Railway Employee honoured for averting major fire in train

Hajipur हाजीपुर (HJP): General Manager, East Central Railway, Hazipur Mr.Madhuresh Kumar conferred honour and a cash prize to a railway employee Mr.Santosh Kumar posted at Koderma railway station who informed promptly using his walkie talkie after he noticed a fire in a three tier bogey of Purushottam Express on February 17.

On his information, the bogey was detached from the train and then it moved onward.  A major fire accident was averted and Santosh Kumar was feeling elevated to receive certificate of appreciation and two thousand rupees as prize. A visibly moved Santosh said it would remind him to remain committed. Sumendra Kumar posted at Gujhandi station also got recognition for showing sincerity in abiding the safety norms of railway.

Delhi Metro become a Den for Criminals

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Delhi Metro premises are home to a variety of crimes from as small as theft of wallets to rape and molestation. This year so far, 739 incidents of crime have been recorded across the NCR and the most common crime is the theft inside the train or on the station premises. Almost 25 lakh people use the services of Delhi Metro daily and on an average around eight of them lose their wallets or any other valuable,

In 2014 until now, there 684 incidents of theft across NCR and majority of them are wallet theft mainly stolen inside the station premise whereas in the same period of time in 2013, there were only 95 incidents of theft.

“The problem of pickpockets is increasing in Delhi metro. Now these thieves even buy tickets to travel and search there prey. We daily get six to seven such complaints,” said senior police official at Kashmiri Gate police station.

In 2013, there was a murder inside the jurisdiction of a metro police station and this year there has been an attempt of murder. Police believes that paucity of force is main reason why such crime are on a rise. There are only 200 police officials in eight police station dedicated to metro across NCR. “Once an individual enters into station premises, CISF looks after the security of station as well as the individual but outside Delhi Police is responsible for it. We have 200 official for such a huge metro network which is expending rapidly,” added the officer.

The main problem for police is the cases of sexual assault that take place inside the train and station. Another challenge for police the theft of vehicles either from the parking itself or from the nearby areas. “This year we already have recorded 12 cases of vehicle theft both from parking and from surrounding areas. Last year this number of 5 for same period. Again inadequate strength is staff is one of the reasons behind increase in this sort of crimes,” added the officer.

Commuters too believe that places like Rajiv Chowk and Kashmiri Gate are bound bereft people of their valuables because the volume of crowd is extremely thick in these two places.

“See this crowd on the flat at Rajiv Chowk and Kashmiri Gate, crime like pickpocket are bound to happen. Crowd in such a volume in such a limited is fodder for criminals like pickpockets. Certainly the separate compartments of women have curbed the chances of assault and eve teasing,” said Priyanka Mittal, a student of IP university.

2013 : 2014
Murder 1 : 0
Rape 0 : 1
Robbery 1 : 1
Attempt of murder 0 : 1
Vehicle theft 5 : 12
Other theft 96 : 684
Miscellaneous 31 : 40
Total 133 : 739

SCR Guntur Division celebrates 59th Railway Week

DRM Prasad says Guntur division has performed well in all key areas

गुंटूर Guntur (GNT):  South Central Railway (SCR), Guntur Railway Division, celebrated 59th Railway Week at Rail Mahal in Arundelpet on Saturday. Railway Week is being celebrated in Indian Railways from April 10 to 16, to mark the anniversary of the run of first train in India on April 16, 1853.

Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) N.K. Prasad, Additional DRM V Chandrasekhara Rao, Senior divisional commercial manager C. Ramakrishna and heads of various departments attended the celebrations.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Prasad said that Indian Railways started with a single train 160 years ago is a mammoth organisation now with over 14 lakh employees, 64,000 route kilometres, carrying 2.3 crores of passengers daily and transporting over 1 billion tonnes of freight annually. In 2013-14 financial year, Guntur Division has performed well in all key areas like goods traffic, punctuality of trains, diesel utilisation, wagon turn round and speed of goods trains.

Two new crossing stations Bommaipalli between Nagireddipalli and Pagidipalli and Nandipalli between Nandyal and Gazulapalli have been opened. Originating earnings of 2013-14 at Rs.452.26 crores were increased by 3% compared to that of last year. As a result of intensified ticket checking drives, passenger earnings have gone up to 25% over last year which is highest in the zone.

New express trains (Narsapur to Nagarsol and Kakinada Town to Lokmanya Tilak Terminus) and one passenger train (Nandyal-Kurnool Town) have been introduced while one passenger train service was extended (Kachiguda-Miryalaguda to Piduguralla) this year. Regular run of the double-decker train (Guntur – Kacheguda) is going to take place shortly, the DRM added.

Earlier, cultural programmes were organised by staff and family members of the employees.

Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro line expected to be operational shortly

Mumbai मुंबई: With the much-awaited Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro line expected to start in a few weeks, RailNews takes a look at various aspects of this transportation. CCTVs, automated ticketing system and air-conditioning coaches will soon change the way you travel.

The long wait for a ride in the 11.04-km Versova Andheri Ghatkopar (VAG) Metro is almost over, as Metro rail officials promise to start services in a few weeks from now.

Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) PS Baghel said, “By Tuesday we will decide on the inspection date. I will check the civil works and rolling stock. The certification process is expected to be completed in 10 days.”

The trains leave from the second floor, and ticket counters, ATM machines and food stalls are on the first floor.  Every station has a public toilets and various other passenger amenities.

Passenger trains more useful than MEMU trains on Ernakulam-Kollam route

Thirivananthanpuram Division withdrawn the Ernakulam-Kollam MEMU Train MEMU services owing to Loco pilots problems

Ernakulam एर्नाकुलम (ERS): The much-touted Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) train service connecting the busy stretch between Ernakulam and Kollam, which was launched on March 26, hit a dead end, following complaint by loco pilots about the long working hours. The MEMU rakes have been handed over to the Palakkad Division, in exchange of passenger rakes.

MEMU services, with their high speed and low fares, were helpful to daily commuters travelling on the Ernakulam-Kollam (Via Alappuzha and  Kottayam) route. Besides, the safety for women passengers travelling in MEMU trains is far better than in normal passenger trains.

According to a Railway official, the MEMU services were withdrawn owing to the problems faced by the loco pilots.

“Normally, a MEMU train is operated by only one loco pilot. In big cities like Mumbai and New Delhi, MEMU trains travel a maximum of  60-70 kms, which can be handled by a single loco pilot. Meanwhile, the distance between Kollam and Ernakulam is around 150 kms. It takes 5-6 hours to complete the journey, which cannot be covered by a single loco pilot,” the official said.

“Moreover, one of the services, which was scheduled at midnight, from Kollam to Ernakulam via Alappuzha, added to the woes of the pilots. So, on humanitarian grounds, the Railways has decided to withdraw the MEMU services. However, the substitute passenger trains, with more coaches and toilet facilities, are more useful to the passengers than the MEMU,” official added.

Admitting that women are not safe in normal passenger trains, he said that the withdrawal of the MEMU rakes is an interim measure taken by Railway authorities. On being asked about the the prospects of rescheduling the services to seven days from six days, he said the MEMU could not be operated on all days as the rakes have to be serviced once in a week.

All-Kerala Railway Passengers Association President K J Paul Manvettam said that though the passengers are happy with the replacement of MEMU with passenger trains their service should by extended to seven days.

“The withdrawal of the train, that too on the election day, was unfortunate, and the association had already protested against this. But, the launch of the new trains is a breather to all passengers,” he said.

Raji, a daily commuter travelling all the way  from Thiruvalla to Kochi, and working in a private firm, said, “though the replaced passenger trains are a relief to some, the  safety of women passengers is a concern now. As a woman passenger, I request the authorities to remove the shutters between the compartments.

Kochi MRTS rail corridor project report awaits state government nod

Service also on Ernakulam-Shoranur route mooted

Fully air-conditioned rakes will ply up to 80 kmph in the Thiruvananthapuram-Chengannur suburban rail corridor in three years time if State government gives its go-ahead for the Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS).

A draft detailed project report (DPR) prepared by Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation was submitted to the government and the State Cabinet’s approval is awaited. A bilateral agreement can be signed once the Railway formally accords its approval to the proposal under which six-coach AC rakes will operate services in the sector. The total project cost is likely to be around Rs. 3,000 crore, sources said. The 125-km-long stretch was selected since it has a double track. The corridor can be extended up to Ernakulam once the track through Kottayam is doubled. Suburban services can also be introduced in Ernakulam-Shoranur route, based on the success of the Thiruvananthapuram-Chengannur corridor, the sources said. A key component of the suburban system is introduction of automatic signals. Once this is ready, trains will not have to wait or be detained till those going in front reach the next station. Trains can go one after the other, as in Mumbai suburban rail. This will also speed up express and other trains in the sector, considerably improving track utilisation. The desired speed can be achieved if overbridges are built at level crossings, they said.

Raising platforms at stations will help since this will help fast boarding and alighting from trains. Planners have envisaged MEMU-type rakes with vestibule, since MEMU trains accelerate and decelerate faster than trains with conventional rakes. Doors will close automatically as in metro trains.

“Expecting the State government’s nod, we hope to do speed up paper works for Central clearances from June,” the sources said.

Clean and Eco-Friendly travel to Train Passengers: 2096 biotoilets installed in rail coaches

The bio-toilet not only helps in maintaining cleanliness by preventing discharge of human waste on tracks, but in turn also protects the railway lines from corrosion

Continuing its efforts to provide a clean and eco-friendly travel to train passengers, Railways has expedited the work of fitting bio-toilets in coaches with over 2,000 of them already installed so far.

“We have completed installing a total of 2,096 bio-toilets in coaches at the Rail Coach Factory (RCF) at Kapurthala till March this year,” a senior RCF official said.

The bio-toilet not only helps in maintaining cleanliness by preventing discharge of human waste on tracks, but in turn also protects the railway lines from corrosion, he said.

Manual scavenging will also be be nullified in due course, he added.

Corrosion costs railways over Rs 350 crore every year, the official said, adding, these toilets have been fitted in Sleeper and AC coaches of premier and mail/express trains.

The new-age green toilets have been designed by Railways along with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) keeping in mind the requirements of Indian trains.

The bio-toilets are fitted below the coach floor underneath the lavatories and the human waste discharged into them is acted upon by a particular kind of bacteria that converts human waste into non-corrosive neutral water.

“Gradually, all coaches will be fitted with bio-toilets as per the plan,” the official said.

Meanwhile, touching a new high, the RCF at Kapurthala has created a record production of over 1,700 coaches for premier and other mail/express trains in the financial year 2013-14.

The RCF has produced 1,701 coaches including 389 LHB coaches in the fiscal 2013-14, which is highest ever production in the unit so far, said the official.

The coaches will be used mostly in Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Double Decker and mail/express trains.

CR envisage to build Skywalk between Parel and Dadar stations

Dadar दादर (DR): The Central Railway (CR) is to build a skywalk in order to curb the extensive trespassing that takes place between Dadar and Parel.

CR General Manager Sunil Kumar Sood said, “We were discussing amongst ourselves about connecting points between Kurla and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus when someone said that we need one between Dadar and Parel as well due to tresspassing.”

“I have seen myself that people walk on the tracks as if it’s a road. This is a very serious issue and a skywalk here would really help,” he added.

Many commuters who travel by fast trains alight at Dadar and walk until Parel and then to Western Railway’s Lower Parel station via the railway tracks between Dadar and Parel.

When asked as to why the CR couldn’t stop fast trains at Parel as a platform on the fast line already exists, Mr Sood said, “During peak hour we have an interval of three minutes between two trains, if we stop at Parel this interval will run into three minutes and 40 seconds, thereby affecting the punctuality of the train.”

Regarding the skywalk, Mr Sood said that it is still in the planning stages and will hopefully get the required nod.

A CR official said on condition of anonymity, “There are a lot of colleges and shops along the length of the proposed skywalk. So we are planning to have parts of it on the road itself and a part of it elevated so that there can be optimum use of the skywalk for us by commercially utilising it and not allowing it to lie vacant and unused like most skywalks.”

In crisis, a train ride may be prescription for disaster

Chennai चेन्नाई (MAS): The railway police helpline received a frantic call last week from a man on a train heading to the city. A fellow-passenger, a middle-aged man, had developed chest pain. Railway policemen alerted the Perambur railway station and staff there immediately summoned a 108 ambulance ready. When the train pulled into Perambur station, an ambulance was waiting to rush the patient to the Ayanavaram railway hospital, where doctors provided him emergency treatment.

The patient was one of the few passengers for whom the railways’ disjointed and barebones medical emergency system came together in circumstances owing more to fortune than design. For others, the wait is often too long.

A woman passenger who slipped and fell from a train at Chennai Central in May 2012 died because she could not be taken in time to Government General Hospital, just across the road from the railway station. Chennai Central, the busiest railway station in the south of the country, did not have an emergency medical centre at the time.

Under fire from the Madras high court, the railways tied up with SRM Institute of Medical Sciences to open a three-bed emergency centre in Chennai Central at a cost of Rs 70 lakh in April 2012. Four months later the railways set up a similar facility at Egmore Railway Station. They remain the only two stations in the city and in towns along railway routes that are equipped to provide emergency medical care.

No other suburban station has an emergency medical facility, even those that are used by a large number of the 10lakh-plus commuters who travel on the network’s 600 trains every day. Railway officials depend on the 108 ambulance service to take a passenger to a railway hospital whenever a medical crisis occurs.

Regular commuters say the railways should at least deploy paramedics at main stations on each of the four suburban lines to administer immediate care when a passenger takes ill instead of losing time waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

The railways has railway hospitals or medical units at Perambur, Avadi and Arakonam on Chennai-Arakonam line, and in Thiruvottiyur and Gummidipoondi on Chennai-Gummidipoondi line.

“Doctors are summoned from these centres to treat passengers who fall sick,” a senior railway official said. “All suburban stations have a stretcher and a first aid box.” He said treatment is free if the medical problem was caused or exacerbated by the railways. Otherwise the passenger pays a nominal fee.

But consumer rights activist T Sadagopan, who frequently uses suburban trains in the city, says medical facilities are a must at larger stations.

“Railway officials should also put up signs at every station to indicate where the stretcher and first aid boxes are kept, which is usually the station master’s cabin,” he says. “Few people know where to go or what to do in an emergency.”

A railway official said major stations that cater to large volumes like at St Thomas Mount could have a full-fledged medical unit because it will become a hub after metro rail and MRTS are linked to the suburban station. The Mambalam and Tambaram stations should also have an emergency centre, he said.

59th Railway Week Award Function of Railway Board Celebrated

New Delhi नयी दिल्ली:  Railway Board celebrated the 59th Railway Week Award function-2014 here today. Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar has praised the untiring efforts and dedication of railwaymen in achieving important goals and targets set for and by the Indian Railways. Speaking on the occasion, Chairman, Railway Board Shri Arunendra Kumar said that it was due to the untiring efforts and dedication of the railwaymen that today Indian Railways has made remarkable progress in achieving important goals and targets.

Shri Arunendra Kumar presented Running Efficiency Shield, to two sections jointly viz. ERB-VI and Health, selected as ‘Best Kept Sections’ for maintaining high standard of efficiency, prompt disposal of cases and excellent up-keep of records. Besides this, Merit Certificates and Cash Awards were presented to four other well maintained sections. In addition, 118 officers/staff of Railway Board received Merit Certificates and Cash Awards for their outstanding performance during the year 2013-14. A total number of 34 sportspersons and 7 artists were felicitated with Appreciation Letters and Cash Awards for their outstanding performance in the Inter-Ministry, All India Civil Services and Inter-Railway Competitions. Five awards were presented to Horticulture staff of Rail Bhawan and National Rail Museum for their excellent work.
Shri Arunendra Kumar congratulated the award winners for putting in their best performance and hoped that they would rededicate themselves to produce better results in the future.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Railway Board, Shri P.C.Gajbhiya said that Railway Week is celebrated every year to encourage and felicitate railwaymen for their outstanding performance during the year. Congratulating the award winners, Shri Gajbhiya said that their performances were encouraging and a total number of 170 officers/staff of Railway Board have received the awards in various categories for their excellent performance during the year 2013-14.

Battery Vehicle operated at Bhubaneswar Station for Disabled, Old aged & Sick Passengers

Khurda Road खुर्दा रोड (KUR): East Coast Railway, Khurda Road Division has added a new passenger amenity item at Bhubaneswar station for the benefit of Disabled, Old Aged and Sick Passengers by providing a battery operated vehicle for them. The vehicle will operate round the clock. Disabled, Old Aged and Sick Passengers can avail the service free of cost. For availing the service, the needy passengers can contact over cell no. 88951-80738 which is available round the clock with the drivers.

The vehicle is sponsored by AapnoParivar, Bhubaneswar a social welfare organisation.

The vehicle was dedicated to the travelling passengers at Bhubaneswar station o­n date 31.03.2014 by Shri S. K. Singh, Divisional Railway Manager, Khurda Road in presence of Shri H. L. Luwang, Sr. Divisional Commercial Manager, Khurda Road and members of AapnoParivar. The general public has appreciated such noble effort that is designed to serve the Disabled, Old Aged and Sick Passengers.

ECOR conducts Mock Drills on Railway Accident

Raghunathpur रघुनाथपुर (RPR): With a view to alerting Railway Emergency staff, a Mock Accident Drill was organized at Raghunathpur station in Cuttack-Paradeep railway section under Khurda Road Division of East Coast Railway yesterday. As per the instructions of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) & High Power Committee of Railways to check the preparedness for Rescue operation during untoward incidents in Railway premises, the mock drill was organized without the knowledge of Railway emergency staff.

An alarm was sounded o­n the morning of 26thMarch that two coaches of a Summer Pilgrim Special have derailed at Raghunathpur Railway station in which many passengers were affected & there was loss of life & property to the passengers. More than 200 Railway staff & officers immediately rushed to the site and conducted the Rescue operation within a short span of time with the help of National Disaster Response Force of Mundali, Local Villagers, GRP, NGOs, etc.

The mock drill of rescue operation was directly monitored by Shri S. K. Singh, Divisional Railway Manager, Khurda Road. Sri J. Nagesh Babu, Sr. Divisional Safety Officer of Khurda Road Division coordinated the programme.

Sr. Divisional Commercial Manager Shri H.L.Luwang and other officers of Railways along with Shri M. K. Yadav, Commandant of National Disaster Response Force at Mundali also participated in the mock drill.

SC allows Railways to complete tender process for catering contracts

New Delhi नयी दिल्ली:  With a view to improving the quality of food and service to passengers, the Supreme Court on Friday allowed the Railways to complete the tender process for award of catering contracts in railway stations as per the 2010 catering policy.

A Bench of Justices K.S.Radhakrishnan and Vikramjit Sen, after hearing Additional Solicitor-General Mohan Jain for the Railways and senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi and senior counsel V. Giri for the caterers, stayed an order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court and allowed the Railways to complete the tender process.

In its brief order the Bench said: “The petitioners [Railways] are permitted to continue with the tender process. However, we make it clear that the respondents [caterers] shall not be displaced for the present, so also the interveners.”

Mr. Jain argued that the Railway administration had invited sealed bids/tenders as per the 2010 policy for grant of licences for establishment of catering stalls/fruit and fruit juice stalls in small minor units in various categories of railway stations. He said the existing licencees, who were granted licence on nomination basis more than 40 years ago had challenged the tender documents before the AP High Court.

Upon consideration, the High Court directed the Railways to consider their applications for renewal and also held that they were entitled for renewal subject to satisfactory performance. The present appeal is against this order. Mr. Jain submitted that the existing licences could not be renewed under the 2010 catering policy as they were not granted licences under it .

Mr. Jain explained to the court the objectives of the Catering Policy, 2010, saying that it was intended to provide hygienic food facilities for railway passengers at railway stations. On the contention of the counsel for caterers that their licences ought to be renewed, he said that in some cases, the Railways had granted renewal as a stop-gap arrangement to ensure uninterrupted services to passengers and by that it could not be construed that licence of existing licencees had been renewed.

Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala gets prestigious ‘Greentech Management Award’

RCF BAGS GREEN TECH AWARDKapurthala Rail Coach Factory रेल कोच फैक्‍टरी, कपूरथला (RCF): Strengthening its commitment towards sustainable development in the field of environment conservation, RCF has been awarded Greentech Enviroment Management Award – 2013 in the engineering sector for excellent management of environment during 2013-14. This award was presented by Sh. K. Sharan, President of Greentech Foundation, New Delhi & Dr. Bhaskar Chatterjee, Retd. IAS and DG & CEO, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Govt. of India at 14th Annual Greentech Environment and CSR Conference held at Chandigarh. This award was received by Sh. G.C.Agrawal, Chief Mechanical Engineer and Sh. B.Munduia, Chief Quality Manager of RCF, Kapurthala.

RCF is making all endeavors for maintaining clean & environment friendly technology, machinery and plants in RCF. Mass tree plantation, rain water harvesting, paperless working, automatic switching for lighting system, solar water heaters & zero discharge unit are the major achievements in environment management system in RCF.

With the continued mass tree plantation programmes in residential and workshop areas, RCFhas now attained a green cover of more than 50%. Every year thousand of saplings are planted making the campus lush green. For proper utilization of rain water, 75 rain water harvesting bore wells are functioning in the campus area. Recycling of waste water to residential area is done and the capacity of sewerage treatment plant has been increased from 7000 Kilolitre per day to 10,500 Kilolitre per day. RCF Hospital, Rest Houses, Training Centre & RPF Barrack are endowed with Solar water heating system . Besides, solar powered lights are provided in the workshop and in the lake complex. To optimize functioning of street lighting , Astro timers are provided. Incandescent bulbs have been replaced by10,000 CFLs of 14 & 20 Watts.

To keep railway tracks clean RCF has developed bio-toilets which are being fitted in conventional and LHB coaches. Use of hardwood has been eliminated in coaches. CNC machines of modern technology are working in RCF workshop which are exemplary in making optimum use of clean and environment friendly technology.

It is worth mentioning that in the past also RCF has been awarded several awards on its endeavors on Energy Conservation.

SCR and ECOR Womens Welfare Organisations conduct ‘Well Baby Shows’

Lallaguda लालागुडा (LGD): South Central Railway Womens Welfare Organisation (SCRWWO) organised a ‘Well Baby Show’ at Central Railway Hospital, Lallaguda, Secunderabad today i.e., 12th April 2014. Smt. B. Jayanthi Mallya, Secretary, Smt. Renu Gupta, Joint Treasurer, Smt. Arunima Gupta and Smt. Vidya Sahu, Executive Committee Members, SCRWWO were present.
47 Toddlers took part in the “Well Baby Show” which saw a keen competition. Baby Kushi, daughter of Shri Kranti Singh was adjudged first in 6 months to 1 year category, Baby N.S. Sujajwala, daughter of Shri Sriraman was adjudged first in 1 year to 2 year category and Baby Mithali, daughter of Shri K. Manoj was adjudged first in 2 year to 3 year category.
A team of two child specialists (Pediatricians) examined the babies according to age group for their nutritional status, general health growth pattern, immunisation status and family welfare status of parents to decide upon the first, second and third winners. Apart from these, prizes were given in different group for ‘well dressed’ and ‘social active’ babies.

Smt Surya Kumari, mother of Shri P.K.Srivastava, General Manager, South Central Railway distributed the prizes. Smt. Arunima Gupta, Executive Committee Member said that the show was organised with an aim to educate the parents about proper health, nutrition habits for the children and adoption of family planning.

On East Coast Railway too

Bhubaneshwar भुबनेश्वर  (BBS):  A “Healthy Baby Contest” was organized by Medical Department of East Coast Railway in co-ordination with the East Coast Railway Women’s Welfare Organisation (ECoRWWO). The aim of the programme was to create awareness amongst parents regarding Health & Hygiene of Children, immunization, prevention of childhood diseases and family planning among Railway employees.
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An audio-visual show o­n health issues in children was greatly appreciated as it was very educative in nature. Also, an interactive Quiz show was organized among parents. Babies were evaluated by an expert team and prizes were given away by Smt. Shalini Vishnoi, President, East Coast Railway Women’s Welfare Organisation.

Dr. P. Khapre, Chief Medical Director & Dr. D. K. Sendha, Medical Director attended the programme which was co-ordinated by Dr. R. K. Mahapatra, Paediatrics Specialist.
ECoR ORGANISES HEALTHY BABY CONTEST

Bomb Scare fails to derail Southern Railway’s “59th Railway Week Celebrations”

Chennai चेन्‍नई (MAS):  Information about a bomb inside the Rajah Annamalai Mandram premises created tense moments, as the 59th Railway Week Celebrations of the Southern Railway was scheduled to take place.

Information about a bomb inside the Rajah Annamalai Mandram premises created tense moments on Friday, as the 59th Railway Week Celebrations of the Southern Railway was scheduled to take place at the venue. A bomb detection squad was pressed into service.

According to a police official, sniffer dogs were deployed and the venue was thoroughly checked after a caller informed that a bomb was planted at the venue. However, it was later found to be a hoax and the event began as scheduled

At the event, Rakesh Misra, General Manager, Southern Railway, said, the Southern Railway registered its best ever-performance in the financial year 2013-14, surpassing targets. He said, the passenger segment achieved a growth of 16 per cent over last year.

CIDCO drive at Vashi railway station fails, encroachers return next day

Vashi वशी (VSH):City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) authorities were left red-faced after the failure of its marathon anti-encroachment drive on Thursday against leaseholders, who have kiosks selling food on the ground floor of the Vashi railway station.

The kiosks, which had their furniture seized during the drive, had lined up more chairs and tables to host customers on Friday.

Asked how some of the eateries could have procured more furniture, a CIDCO official said, “We had seized the items which were on the premises outside the kiosks. They may have taken these out from inside their shops.”

The five-and-a-half hour drive had little impact on the leaseholders and has embarrassed CIDCO.

Initially surprised over the prompt return of the illegal encroachments within the station premises, CIDCO officials were in a combative mood and said, “We will carry out another drive. How long will they defy the stipulated norms?”

The security staff posted on the premises also expressed surprise and said that they had no way to know if the kiosk owners had obtained the necessary permission for setting shop again.

Southern Railway freight volume crosses 40 million tonnes

Chennai चेन्नई (MAS):  Southern Railway’s freight loading has for the first time crossed the 40 million tonne mark, Rakesh Misra, Southern Railway General Manager, said on Friday.

Addressing the 59th Railway Week celebrations organised by Southern Railway, Mr. Misra said during 2013-14, the zonal railway had recorded loading of 42.403 million tonnes of freight. The good originating loading has boosted freight earnings to Rs.2,746 crore during the year compared to the earnings of Rs.2,421 crore in 2012-13 – representing a growth of nearly 13.4 per cent.

Southern Railway had also achieved its best-ever performance in the passenger segment last year with its earnings of Rs.3787 crore registering a growth of 16 per cent over the previous year.  The zone maintained a punctuality record of 94 per cent despite the introduction of so many new trains, he said.

GM SCR inaugurate Second Pitline in Guntur

guntur pitline gm scrGuntur गुंटूर (GNT): General Manager of South Central Railway P.K Srivastava on Thursday inaugurated a second pit line of 560 metres for accommodating 24 coaches on the premises of Guntur yard.

Railway coaches pass through the pit line, where they are thoroughly examined before they set out.

Guntur Division has one pit line of 18 coaches, where two express trains and one passenger train undergo maintenance.

The second pit line was taken up with a cost of Rs 6.73 crore.

CMS opened

Mr. Srivastava also opened a crew management system (CMS) at Nallapadu station, where inter-change of loco and the crews take place. The CMS allows signing on and signing off facility at Nallapadu.

Efficiency Shield

Vijayawada Division of South Central Railway (SCR) has won 19 out of 58 shields which will be presented by SCR General Manager P.K. Srivastava to officers and staff of various departments for their performance in the year 2013, during the Railway Week celebrations on April 15 at Secunderabad. The shields won by Vijayawada Division include the General Manager’s Efficiency shield for overall performance.

Maintenance Works at Ernakulam Town station leads to cancellation of Trains

Ernakulam Town एर्नाकुलम टाउन (ERN): Train numbers 66307 and 66308, Ernakulam– Kollam MEMU service leaving Ernakulam at 5.15 am and its return trip leaving Kollam at 11.15 am will be cancelled from April 12 (Saturday) to April 17 (Thursday), because of track and signal maintenance at Ernakulam Town station and on tracks towards Kottayam direction.

The works will conclude on April 29. Here is the list of trains partly cancelled. Train No. 56365/56366, fast passenger service between Guruvayur and Punalur will be cancelled between Edappally and Punalur on April 11 (Friday).

Train No. 56392 Kollam – Ernakulam Passenger via Kottayam leaving Kollam at 4.20 am will terminate at Tripunithura from April 11 (Friday) to April 17 (Thursday).

To be detained

Train No. 16302, Venad Express towards Shoranur is likely to be detained at Tripunithura station for 30 minutes on April 11 (Friday). Train No. 56365, Guruvayur- Punalur fast passenger is likely to be detained at Ernakulam Town station for 30 minutes from April 12 (Saturday) to April 17 (Thursday).

ECR earned Rs.11500 Crore during 2013-14, GM says

Patna पटना (PNBE): East Central Railway (ECR) celebrated the 59th Railway Week at a function at Sri Krishna Memorial hall where 348 railway officials and employees from its five divisions were awarded for their outstanding services on Friday.

Speaking on the occasion, ECR GM Madhuresh Kumar lauded the railway officials and employees for their contribution to the development of railways in the zone since its inception in 2002. “It is due to their hard work that ECR could earn about Rs 11,500 crore during 2013-2014, a record in the zone,” he said, adding ECR joined the club of Rs 10,000 crore-earning zones of Indian Railways in 2012-13 itself.

Kumar said ECR made a record earning in the passenger segment while it loaded about 106 million tonne freight during 2013-2014 fiscal year. “The railways has improved punctuality, particularly of mail and express trains, this year. Besides, railways has installed escalators and built foot overbridges at different stations of ECR to further improve passenger amenities under the zone,” he said.

According to the GM, the railways carried out massive passenger amenities work under all the five divisions of the ECR. As many as 18 new trains were introduced under the zone during 2013-2014 while 19 passenger trains were given extended run. About 436 extra coaches were attached to long-distance passenger trains and 46 special trains run from different divisions of ECR to clear rush of passengers, he said.

He said the railways has been carrying out various projects in the ECR. While work on the ambitious rail- cum- road bridge over the Ganga at Digha-Sonepur site has been going on in full swing, 123km new lines were laid by railways in ECR during 2013-2014. Similarly, about 46km gauge conversion work was carried out under the zone. The railways also completed 80km new line work between Koderma and Hazaribagh in Jharkhand despite odds, he said.

The GM distributed shields, awards and certificates to railway officials and employees for their outstanding work. While Dhanbad division was declared overall champion, Mughalsarai division lifted the runner-up shield. Dhanbad division was also given cleanliness trophy in the major station category while Sonepur division was given cleanliness trophy in the middle station category.

The signal and telecom shield was also bagged by Dhanbad division for better maintenance while operating category award was jointly bagged by Dhanbad and Mughalsarai divisions. In the health and better medical upkeep category, Patna railway super specialty hospital bagged the trophy. The power conservation trophy was given to Sonepur division while ticket checking shield was bagged by Samastipur division.

Spark in Delhi Metro coach causes panic, no fire reported

New Delhi नयी दिल्ली: A spark in a Delhi Metro coach on Friday caused panic and passengers were deboarded on the track between two Metro stations, an official said, but clarified no fire was reported. Passengers were deboarded between the Ghitorni and Arjangarh stations when the train was on its way from Jehangirpuri towards the Huda City Centre station. “Some passengers deboarded a Metro train at 1.04 p.m. (Friday) between Ghitorni and Arjangarh stations. Prima facie, as per reports received, some sparking/flashing had taken place in the rear car which caused panic among passengers,” a Delhi Metro statement read. “On checking, it was confirmed that there was no fire,” added the statement. Metro officials confirmed the train has been withdrawn from service until further checking. “The Metro has started functioning normally from 1.35 p.m.,” added the statement. Pictures of people standing on the tracks were uploaded on the micro blogging site Twitter. Officials said five fire tenders were rushed to the spot.

L&T Hyderabad Metro: First Metro Rail rolls out of Hyundai-Rotem Factory in Korea

Hyderabad हैदराबाद (HYB): The first metro rail from Hyundai-Rotem factory in Korea has rolled out for the L&T Hyderabad metro rail project and is expected to be shipped and moved to Hyderabad by next month.

At a ceremony held at Hyundai-Rotem Factory–Changwon, Korea, in the presence Y.M. Deosthalee, Chairman, LTMRHL and V.B. Gadgil, CE & MD, LTMRHL the first metro train rolled out from Korea to Hyderabad.

The train was run on test track at the Hyundai Rotem Factory. Representatives from Hyundai Rotem, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO), Japan, Knorr-Bremse, Germany, Hankuk Fibre, Korea travelled in the train during the roll out ceremony at Changwon factory, according to a statement. The train was run on test track at the the company’s Changwon factory in South Korea in the presence of LTMRHL chairman YM Deosthalee and chief executive and managing director VB Gadgil. L&T officials and representatives of Hyundai Rotem, Mitsubhishi Electric Corporation, Knorr-Bremse, Germany, and Hankuk Fibre, Korea, travelled in the train during the test run, it said.
YM-DesothaleeDeosthalee in a statement said, “It is a historic moment and the train (Rolling Stock) is coming to Hyderabad ahead of the scheduled date, which is a benchmark and a trendsetter.”

Gadgil said, “We are committed to making it the best metro project in India. In this endeavour all our partners are delivering their best in terms of quality and workmanship. L&T is steadfast in abiding by the timelines. The people of Hyderabad will have a glimpse of their dream train on tracks in June 2014.”

The trail run for commercial operations will commence in June this year and people can see the trains plying from Nagole to Mettuguda, a stretch of 8-km in the first phase, on the viaduct.

The shipment of the first train (Three Cars) from Hyundai-Rotem Factory will reach HMR Uppal Depot in Hyderabad by May third week. A model rail coach is on display in Hyderabad.

The Rs 16,000-crore elevated metro rail project, being developed in a public-private partnership mode, spans a stretch of 72-km along three dense corridors.

Train services suspended after passengers protest in South Kashmir

protests anantnagAnantnag अनंटनाग (ANT): Hundreds of people from South Kashmir’ Anantnag district Thursday staged a protest against Rail Authorities demanding additional bogies to be attached with the train so that overloading menace could be eliminated. The protestors halted Passenger train near Bijbehara and raised slogans against Rail Authorities.

Eyewitnesses said the protestors blocked railway track for all but four hours due to which passengers faced great inconvenience.

“Overloading in trains has become the order of the day and it has become difficult for passengers especially female travellers to travel in train. We demand that either more bogies to be added to the train or another train service should be started,” a protester Nazir Ahmed said.

A Railway official said that they would look into the demand of the people and if possible more bogies would be added to the train. He said that the process will time and the job cannot be done within days.

Protesters accused that the train services were started in valley with much hype but at the end of the day, the tall claims of the authorities turned out to be a mere ‘hoax’. People also stated that since the train was started from south Kashmir’s Banihal area, the capacity has not been increased, though several routes have been added.  Protesters stated that the passengers have to face many hardships due to the huge rush of trains and that the space in the train must be extended at an earliest.

Later, the police and district administration reached the spot and tried to pacify the mob. It was assured to the protesters that the matter will be taken to the railway authorities.

RCF Kapurthala sets New Record, rolls out 1701 coaches against installed capacity of 1500

Kapurthala कपूर्थाला (RCF):  Rail Coach Factory (RCF) Kapurthala has produced record number of coaches in the just closed financial year as it reached the mark of 1701 coaches against installed capacity of 1500 coaches per annum. During the year, RCF produced 23 different variants of coaches for high-speed trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Double Decker and other trains.

Besides its own production, 150 unfurnished coaches were also turned out for RCF Rae Bareli, which is a new production unit of Indian Railways where production activity has just commenced.

Senior RCF spokesperson Virendra Kumar Vij told “this year we have produced 200 more rail coaches than the required capacity of 1500 coaches. We have produced 1701 coaches in financial year end March 31, 2014.”

Vij said the RCF had targetted production of 1,600 coaches till year end, but it has exceeded the expectations.

“Last year, RCF had produced 22 different variants of 1680 coaches of high-speed trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Double Decker and other trains,” he said.

Besides its own production, 150 unfurnished coaches were also turned out for RCF Rae Bareli, which is a new production unit of Indian Railways where production activity has recently started, Vij added.

The RCF spokesperson said that the factory in association with DRDE, also developed a highly cost-effective indigenous technology for treatment of faecal waste in coaches.

“We have started fitting these bio toilets in all new coaches. Total 2096 biotoilets have been fitted in 2013-14. This will help in providing an almost maintenance free and a low cost solution to the problem of open defecation on the railway tracks,” Vij said.

In order to provide timely alarm to the passengers and crew in case of any fire incidence in the train has also been provided on stainless steel coaches.

Konkan Railway plans to lay Second Line in plains

Mumbai:  In what should be good news for lakhs of travellers on the Konkan Railway, an initial study has concluded that it would be feasible to lay a second line on sections of the route that run on the plains.

“We are planning to go for patch doubling (railway lingo for laying new tracks on sections where it is possible) and the initial estimate for the work is being worked out,” said Vaishali Patange, chief spokesperson of the Konkan Railway.

The 741 km single-line Konkan Railway route was opened in 1998 and has become one of the busiest in the country within a decade and a half, compelling the authorities to consider augmenting the track capacity. But the geographical aspect and the huge cost this would entail have restricted any progress so far.

According to a study conducted over the past few months, doubling the track is possible on about 300 km that runs on the plains. For example, the 47km from the starting point at Roha to Veer. The 60km stretch between Udupi and Mangalore is another stretch. There are several other patches in between, officials said.

The route is very popular among those headed to Goa or Mangalore and even further south to Kerala.

According to the officials, the other stretches, particularly between Veer and Udupi have cuttings and tunnels through hills and this poses a big technical and ecological challenge.

But they believe that even the part track doubling would considerably help to increase track capacity which would allow for more trains on the route.

The Konkan Railway operates 78 trains daily which carry about 35 million passengers annually. But there is always a long waiting list of passengers hoping to travel on these trains and it is almost impossible to run any more services with the existing track capacity.

Between January and December 2013, 844 special trains were operated on the route to clear the rush, up from the 537 trains run in the corresponding period in 2012. The Konkan Railway also added a whopping 1,734 coaches to existing trains to manage the demand.

“All these extra trains carried 1,2 million people, but it still couldn’t satisfy the demand. It is this lack of capacity that is allowing the private bus operators on the route make a killing year after year,” a senior official said.

In October, officials estimated the cost of laying a new line in the region at Rs.15,000 crore which would require financing from an institution like the World Bank. This is mainly because the Konkan Railway balance sheet is not too good.

At the end of September 2013, Konkan Railway had a revenue of Rs.1,085 crore and expenditure of Rs.1,066 crore, leaving it with almost nothing to plough back.

“All the participant states in the Konkan Railway, namely Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, should act quickly to finish the doubling of the route so people can get relief,” the official said.

Numbers matter
Route length : 
741 km
Feasibility of track doubling : 300 km
Number of trains daily : 78 services up and down
Special trains between Apr and Dec 2013 : 844
Extra coaches coupled to regular trains between Apr and Dec 2013 : 1,724

New Govt to decide on MCI’s proposal to relax FDI Policy in Railways

New Delhi न्यू डेल्ही: The commerce and industry ministry’s proposal to relax foreign direct investment policy in railways will be decided by the new government as the Election Commission is yet to respond on the two matters.

“It looks like, that now both the proposals will be considered by the new government only,” official sources said.

The new government is scheduled to be formed next month as the nine-phase general elections for the 16th Lok Sabha has started from 7 April and counting will be held on 16 May.

The ministry of commerce and industry had sought approval of the Election Commission to move ahead with its proposal to liberalise the overseas investment policy in railways.

“As the model code of conduct was in force on account of the upcoming general elections, the ministry had sought the Election Commission’s approval on the matters,” sources added.

The DIPP proposes to allow 100 per cent FDI in high-speed train systems, suburban corridors, high-speed tracks and freight lines connecting ports and mines.

Further, in construction development projects, the department had proposed easy conditions for exit for developers before the three-year lock-in period and a change in the current requirement of having a minimum built-up area of 50,000 sq meters to 20,000 sq meters of carpet area.

WR to pull out 13 ‘Tortoise Trains’ on suburban network to improve traffic efficiency

Mumbai मुंबई:  The Western Railway (WR) has said that the 13 old trains causing delays on its suburban network will be pulled out and sent for refitting to improve speed.  The WR control room staffers have blamed the problem on 13 old rakes, which are also being used as fast trains but are unable to crank up speeds beyond 60 kmph, thereby delaying all 1,305 daily trips on the Churchgate-Virar-Dahanu stretch.

On both WR and CR suburban networks, fast trains run at around 80 kmph between the halts, but shortage of trains is forcing the WR to continue with the 13 ‘tortoise trains’ on its fast network.

A senior WR official said on Thursday that the railway top brass has decided to upgrade the 13 trains and they will be reintroduced only after clearing speed trials.

“The trains will be pulled out in phases and sent to the Mahalaxmi yard for refurbishing. The trains will then be tested for speed on the Kalyan-Karjat stretch,” a senior WR official said.

The railway officials refused to come on record citing the election model code of conduct, but a WR source said that the railway top brass decided there cannot be a compromise on punctuality.

The WR has a fleet of 84 trains for 1,305 trips on the Churchgate-Virar-Dahanu route every day. Of the 84 trains, 68 are the new-age Siemens rakes and six have been manufactured by France-headquartered Alstom Transport.

The 13 tortoise trains, manufactured by ICF, Chennai and Jessop, Kolkata, are at least 20 years old and were refitted and upgraded barely a few months ago.

“Once these trains are upgraded, they will be able to crank up speeds up to 80 kmph and will last at least another 15 years,” a WR official said.

Chennai Railway Hub to be a reality soon: TN HC clears way for MRTS Phase-II extension

Chennai चेन्नाई (MAS):  Last-mile connectivity issues delaying completion of an integrated railway station at St Thomas Mount, where MRTS, Metro Rail, Beach-Tambram suburban rail lines and long distance trains would converge, is closer to reality now.  Clearing the decks for the extension of MRTS phase-II from Velachery to St. Thomas Mount, the Madras High Court dismissed petitions and an appeal challenging the acquisition of lands for the project.

The matter pertains to Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) Phase-II extension from Velachery to St Thomas Mount. Between 2008 and 2011, authorities had completed works on 3.7km out of 5km of MRTS line. Works remain to be done only for about 500 metres in the final 1.3-km stretch.

However, for about six years, residents welfare associations, individual land owners, a church and others from the 500 metres along the project area, stood in the way of completing the project on two grounds: First, authorities amended the original alignment thereby prejudicing the interests of landowners; Second, they invoked emergency land acquisition clause which did not require the usual proceedings such as issuing notice and hearing objections.

In its common judgement, a Division Bench comprising Justices N. Paul Vasanthakumar and M. Sathyanarayanan said the counter affidavits filed by the government and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority made it clear that after the proposed alignment and extension of MRTS phase-II in 2008, between 2008 and 2011, the authorities had completed work on 3.7 km of the total five km of MRTS line. Work on only around 1.3 km remained.  On Wednesday, a division bench of Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice M Sathyanarayanan, acceding to the submissions of Tamil Nadu advocate-general A L Somayaji, dismissed the entire batch of writ petitions and appeals, saying: “Deviation in alignment was necessitated and integration among rail transit systems (MRTS, CMRL, Chennai suburban and long distance trains) would clearly benefit the commuters who are residing in Chennai Metropolitan Area. It would result in reduction of traffic congestion in the metropolis as a whole. Therefore, it cannot be said that no public interest is involved.”

The area belonging to the petitioners and appellants was only 500 metres of the 1.3 km. The project is to be completed expeditiously for the benefit of the public. Therefore, a conscious decision had been taken to invoke the urgency clause.

Counsel said there was no urgent need or necessity to invoke the urgency clause and to dispense with the enquiry, citing delays in the project and deviation in alignment.

Noting that allegations of malafides by some officials, who allegedly acted for extraneous considerations, had been inquired into and also closed, the judges said: “Therefore, it cannot be said that the decision was actuated by malafides.” Citing the exhaustive meetings, discussions and analyses conducted by officials and experts, the bench said, “it cannot be said that without proper application of mind, deviation in alignment was mooted. The decision was also taken in public interest by taking into consideration ground realities and facts and circumstances. Expert opinion in this regard cannot be lightly interfered with.”

Earlier, Somayaji said the original alignment had to be changed because Chennai Metro Rail Project came into being on September 2, 2008. Also, a decision has been taken to integrate MRTS, CMRL rail lines with Chennai Beach to Tambaram suburban line at St Thomas Mount railway station and a further decision was also taken to terminate long distance trains there, so that the city traffic may get reduced.

Advocate-general further said that as per the old alignment 35 structures had to be demolished, whereas the new alignment required only 28 structures to be razed. The new alignment would ultimately result in optimal integration of four rail systems at St Thomas Mount, he said, adding that the emergency clause dispensing with usual acquisition proceedings had to be invoked, because all works, except those lying in the 500-metre stretch had been completed by the railways.

Before parting with the case, the judges gave a piece of their mind to the MRTS administration in maintaining its existing facilities up to Velachery. They said that huge space and buildings constructed at huge cost at existing MRTS railway stations from Chinthadripet to Velachery had not been put to good use. “There is no proper upkeep and maintenance of MRTS railway stations and Southern Railways and MRTS shall take emergent steps to maintain the railway stations cleanly, properly and keep them user-friendly.

“Dismissing the appeal and writ petitions, the Bench observed that a public purpose required invocation of the urgency clause. As for the deviation, it had been done with due application of mind, the Bench stated.  It also observed that there was no proper upkeep and maintenance of MRTS railway stations. The huge spaces in the stations meant to be used for a commercial purpose had not been put to use, it pointed out.

Ticket Checking staff go on flash strike at LTT after hawkers beat up colleague

Mumbai मुंबई : The ticket checking staff attached with Central Railways went on a flash strike at the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT), Kurla, demanding immediate action after one of them was beaten up by some hawkers during a special drive.

The TC, who is part of the anti-hawking squad, was trying to evict hawkers from a nohawking zone in a train when the incident occurred. The railway authorities have been conducting such drives the LTT station ever since the mysterious murder case of Esther Anuhya came to light.

“We had organised a drive to evict unauthorised hawkers from Godan Express. We got hold of a few of them and assembled them at one place. But soon they tried to resist and assaulted me in the process, RK Nair, the assaulted ticket checker told.  Nair is now admitted at the Byculla Railway Hospital.

Another TC said, “Nair was so scared that he ran into one of the train loos to save himself. Some of the hawkers even tried to break the washroom door but Nair was rescued.”

The ticket checkers have also alleged that a Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable had sided with the hawkers and helped them beat Nair up. The RPF, however, said the constable who is alleged to have been involved is on leave and that they will inquire into the case.

“The role of the RPF constable is being investigated. Meanwhile, we will seek help from the Government Railway Police (GRP) to remove hawkers from stations and trains,” said Atul Rane, chief spokesperson, Central Railways.

TTE on anti-hawking duty chased and beaten up by Hawkers in front of RPF

RK NairMumbai मुंबई: After the Esther Anuhya case, one expected that the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) at Kurla would become a safer place, but an incident of Wednesday shows that the law of the jungle still prevails here. A ticket-checker on anti-hawking duty was chased and beaten up in full public by hawkers in the presence of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) which remained an onlooker.

The Central Railway Mazdoor Sangh (CRMS) has alleged that the hawkers were instigated by the RPF. It is a common knowledge that bribes from hawkers form a substantial part of the cops’ earnings.

According to railway officials, the incident happened at 10.30 am when a team of seven ticket-checkers from Kalyan, who are part of the anti-hawking team of the commercial department, were taking 19 hawkers to court. They had been rounded up from LTT as clearing the place of hawkers was one of the measures suggested in the wake of the Esther Anuhya murder.

According to the CRMS, one of the ticket-checkers was left alone with the 19 hawkers while the others were busy rounding up more hawkers. RPF constable Sanap then instigated the hawkers to beat up the ticket-checker and run away. The ticket-checker, R K Nair, fled and hid in the toilet of a train. The hawkers broke up the hardboard door of the toilet and dragged him out. It was only after he had been severely thrashed that the RPF rescued him. Nair suffered head injuries and is admitted to Rajawadi Hospital. All the hawkers fled. No arrests have been made so far.

The Government Railway Police (GRP), which is in charge of law-and-order in railway premises, said that they would look at the CCTV recording to come to a conclusion. “At the moment, we are looking at both sides. The hawker said he was beaten up by the ticket-checker.’’

S S Barve, senior inspector of the RPF at LTT, said, “The man being held responsible for beating up the ticket-checker was not on duty and had just some to drop off his family. He was only trying to rescue the ticket-checker.’’

“The matter will be investigated and those found guilty will be prosecuted,’’ said Atul Rane, chief PRO of Central Railway.

Railway Week Celebrations Commence on SCR

Secunderabad सिकंदराबाद (SC): South Central Railway will celebrate the 59th Railway Week from 10thto 16th April , 2014 all over its network. The week long celebration is in commemoration of the first train run o­n Indian soil from Boribander to Thane o­n 16th April, 1853. The Railway Week, celebrated every year affords an opportunity for the Railways to review and analyze its performance during the previous financial year, take stock of the present situation and chart out suitable course of action for the new fiscal to further improve its services. Also, Railway Week Awards / Shields will be presented during this historic week to recognize and reward the exemplary services rendered by meritorious staff at the National, Zonal and Divisional levels.

During the last financial year, SCR has achieved a freight loading of 107.5 million tones and carried 386 million originating passengers o­n its system, generating gross earnings of Rs.10616 Crs. During this period, around Rs.100 Crs were spent to upgrade passenger amenities at various stations o­n the Zone.

On South Central Railway, the main Zonal level function of Railway Week Celebrations will be held at 15:00 hrs o­n Tuesday, 15th April, 2014 at Rail Kalarang, New Bhoiguda, Secunderabad. Shri P.K. Srivastava, General Manager, South Central Railway will be the Chief Guest and will give away 58 Efficiency Shields to various Divisions / Workshops / Departments in appreciation of their commendable achievements in the year 2013-14. He will also present Individual / Group Awards and Medals to meritorious Staff and Officers o­n the occasion. All the Principal Heads of Departments, Divisional Railway Managers, Chief Workshop Managers will participate in these celebrations.

Railway Week functions will also be held at all the six Divisional Head Quarters of SCR viz., Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntur, Guntakal and Nanded; and at all the Workshops o­n the Zone viz., Carriage Workshop, Lallaguda; Wagon Workshop, Rayanpadu; and Carriage Repair Shop, Tirupati during this week.

On the occasion of Railway Week, Shri P.K.Srivastava, General Manager, SCR conveyed his greetings to Rail users and to all the staff of SCR. He expressed confidence that the growth momentum o­n the Zone will be kept up in the new financial year also. He stated that ‘Customer’ should be the focus of the activities o­n SCR and called upon the employees to continuously strive to bring in systemic improvements and innovations towards meeting the expectations of the Public.

Automatic doors need of the hour

Mumbai: Non-air-conditioned trains with automatic doors are the need of the hour, not air-conditioned locals, said Central Railway GM Sunil Kumar Sood on Wednesday.

Citing the example of Kolkata Metro, Mr Sood said, “It is being done there, so it is not impossible.” When asked how the volume of passengers between Kolkata and Mumbai can be compared, Mr Sood said, “You must have noticed that the passengers in Mumbai too shut the doors of the local for most of the monsoon and travel in peak hours as well.”

He added, “These rakes will not be the ordinary rakes as they will have forced ventilation, which will be the key to running them. They will be ventilators of high quality and the windows will be open as well,” said Mr Sood, allaying fears that it would be too stuffy inside the compartment.

This comes after the railway board had only last week given an in-principle nod to two non-air conditioned automatic door rakes after Mr Sood had written to them stating that the CR would refuse to take their share of the 72 Bombardier rakes slated to come this year, if they are not fitted with the automatic doors.

Lata Argade, vice-president of federation of suburban railway passengers said, “If the general manager is planning to go for automated door rakes then I think he should call all the railway associations and discuss it before taking the decision. Maybe we will be able to make him realise that it is not a possibility and if they go ahead with this, they should be ready for the consequences that might occur.” Her contention is that the automated doors will be a safety hazard as people may get injured while trying to board the train while the door shuts.

Suburban Railway Users Consultative Committee (SRUCC) member Subhash Gutpa said, “I think this is the first time that any general manager has thought of doing something out of the box, so we need to give him a chance. If we are able to save some of the 3.5 lakh commuters who die on the tracks, then I welcome the different approach.

Anil Tiwari, a railway expert said that the forced ventilation plan would not work out. “They exist even in the newer rakes, but they hardly ever work,” he said.

GM’s shield for Vijayawada Railway Division

Vijayawada विजयावाडा (BZA):  Vijayawada Division of South Central Railway (SCR) won 19 out of the 58 shields which will be presented by SCR General Manager P.K. Srivastava to officers and staff of various departments for their performance in the year 2013, during the Railway Week celebrations on April 15 at Secunderabad.

The shields won by Vijayawada Division include the General Manager’s Efficiency shield for overall performance. It will be received by Divisional Railway Manager Pradeep Kumar.

CIDCO team clears Vashi Railway Station of encroachments

Vashi वशी (VSH): The chief controller of unauthorized construction (CUC) department of City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) undertook a marathon anti-encroachment drive at the Vashi railway station premises on Thursday. A demolition team of 12 from the department and 30 security personnel swooped down on the station premises from noon to clear the forecourt area that has a large number of eateries. Six truckloads of chairs and tables were seized during the drive that lasted five-and-a-half-hours.

“I directed the demolition team to undertake a surprise check at the Vashi railway station commercial complex (VRSCCL) and the forecourt area. Often, news about the previous drives got leaked and the hawkers would remove their kiosks only to return later. We had complaints from several people and the company that had asked us to take action. The VRSCCL had earlier served notices to the encroachers too,” said CIDCO chief controller of unauthorised construction department, Anil Patil.

The demolition team had cleared nine to 10 kiosks in the station premises and another 10-12 eateries in the forecourt area. “We will keep visiting the site for further inspections,” said Manoharan Menon, OSD to the chief controller.

CIDCO has been criticized for being slow to take action on encroachments. The current VRSCCL chairman, Rajendra Pawar, had meetings with the CIDCO MD Sanjay Bhatia and had announced that the new committee would ensure a clean and encroachment-free premises to the station.

Matheran’s first ever Locomotive up for sale, family wants Indian Govt to bid..

The vintage Engine was gifted by Government of India to the United Kingdom and the same is now being put up for sale in the UK

Mumbai मुंबई :  The family of Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy, who built the Neral-Matheran railway route over a century ago, have said that they want the inaugural engine, which is in the UK, back. The present-day generation of Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy, who built the Neral-Matheran railway route over a century ago, want the Indian Railways and the government to make an effort to bring back an original locomotive that operated on the heritage Matheran Light Railway.

The steam locomotive – one of the original four – has been in the UK for the past 30 years, and has now been put up for sale by the Railworld Museum at Peterborough, England.

While no reserve price has been set for the loco, the sale will be executed via informal tenders, the deadline for submission of which is June 30. Railworld Museum says the sale will be to a new owner who has the resources and the commitment to restore and operate the Berlin-built locomotive and provide access to the public. The sale is being managed on behalf of the trustees by The International Railway Preservation Society.

Sources said there were four novel steam locomotives that the Peerbhoy family had bought specially for the mountainous stretch from Messrs Orienstein & Koppel, Germany. These were specifically built for the narrow curves and steep climbs of the Matheran hills. Of the original four engines — MLR 738 is stationed at Neral and is still used occasionally on the route for special tours, MLR 739 is at National Railway Museum in New Delhi, MLR 741 stands outside Matheran station, while MLR 740 is the one in UK.

Built in 1907, the 19.97-km stretch between Neral and Matheran in Raigad district of Maharashtra has been included by UNESCO in its tentative heritage list among mountain railways of India.

“The Neral-Matheran railway is our family’s creation and we would like the government to honour Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy by getting this original locomotive back to India,” said Ali Akbar Adamjee Peerbhoy, a great-grandson of the Peerbhoy family, who shuttle between Matheran and Clare Road at Byculla where they live.

Comprising two sisters, Fatima and Zainab, and three sons, Husain, Ali Akbar and Ali Asgar, the family own the Khatija Resorts at Matheran, run a charity in Saurashtra, and a school near Neral.

They also resent the attitude of the authorities towards the quaint railway and its founder. “Even the locomotive that stands outside Matheran station today does not bear the Peerbhoy name. The Railways should at least install an adequate plaque at the site,” Ali Akbar added.

When contacted, Indian Railways Executive Director (Heritage) Manu Goel said he was yet to hear about the upcoming sale, and would have to inquire about it before commenting.

Meanwhile, Phil Marshall of the International Railway Preservation Society, said, The locomotive is currently dismantled and in secure storage following a comprehensive condition survey by a third party. The boiler report and basic mechanical assessment are available to interested parties, and inspections of the locomotive can be arranged.”

Asked about the expected price, Marshall said, “As the sale evoked considerable interest, we decided not to set a reserve price. We want to ensure that the loco is restored and that the public will have access to it. As such, we will also take into consideration the future uses of the loco.”

Echoing the Peerbhoy family’s sentiments is Prof Dr Balkrishna Bhosale of the sociology department of Mumbai University, who is writing a book on the history of Matheran and its railway. “This is the chance…. we should buy the locomotive and restore it. It’s a matter of shame that the locomotive is outside India. The Indian Railways must make a bid for it,” Prof Bhosale said.

Built in 1907, the locos were very successful and the fleet of four worked the line exclusively until the introduction of diesel engines in 1965. Thereafter, the steam locomotives continued in service for some time, until they were withdrawn in 1982.

The MLR 740 was donated to Britain by the Government of India in 1985 in recognition of services towards the establishment of India’s National Railway Museum. The engine was acquired by the Amberley Chalk Pits Museum and arrived in UK on November 28, 1986. It was donated to Railworld Museum, Peterborough, in 1991. (Courtesy: Rajendra B Aklekar, Mumbai Mirror)

State Govt orders Lucknow Metro to appoint Officials with Tech Experience

Lucknow लखनऊ (LKO): State government has issued orders to Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) for publishing advertisements in print media for recruitment of the Managing Director and three board directors in the corporation. Government is seeking applications from qualified experts with rich experience in the sector.

LMRC would be seeking permission from the Election Commission for publication of recruitment advertisement in the newspapers. Currently, LMRC has two notable officials on board, Metro man, E. Sreedharan as Principal Advisor and Housing Secretary Rajiv Agarwal as the Managing Director of the Corporation.

Speculations regarding appointment of officials in LMRC, the special purpose vehicle formed to execute the ambitious metro-rail project of city, have been rife ever since the corporation was instituted. While a section of bureaucrats were in favour of appointing an IAS official as LMRC’s MD, others supported recruitment of a technical official as metro’s head.

After a series of deliberations with departments concerned and Sreedharan’s advice, the state government has issued GO on April 7 asking the LMRC to invite applications from technical experts who carry at least 10 years of experience in successful delivery of metro projects across country.

Insiders to the development said the decision comes in the wake of past experiences that show how metro projects headed by professionals completed successfully within deadline rather than those which have been spearheaded by senior state officers.

Moreover, the state government wants to develop LMRC into a full-fledged, self-sufficient team of professionals who have the ability to execute and monitor metro-project single-handedly without having to depend on other consultants like DMRC.

Madhukar Jetley, advisor, externally aided projects department said, “the decision will help recruit the finest brains and expertise from across the country which would make LMRC self-sufficient to handle the proposed metro and mono-rail projects in other districts of the state too.”

Railway Cops in Thane to videograph passengers boarding outstation trains

Thane थाने (TNA): The Thane Railway Protection Force (RPF) has decided to videograph passengers boarding outstation trains, especially North-bound ones. The move will be intensified in the coming days on every outstation train.

Cops said that passengers often carry cash and valuables while visiting their native places and fall prey to conman. This move will ensure that cops have a visual record of passengers taking the trains.

The RPF has initiated this activity following repeated cases of conmen boarding outstation trains and looting commuters on the way by either spiking their drinks or threatening them with arms.

Cops said such robberies are reported during summer when migrants return home with their yearly earnings. The cops have started recording images of those boarding unreserved coaches at Thane and seated inside.

Videos will be recorded on handycams and later download it on their systems. The cops seemed hopeful that the move will deter miscreants and even if a mischief is reported during the journey, cops will have a database of those who have boarded the coaches. This can be of help during later investigations.

“For now, we have been videographing passengers of select trains that leave at night. But with summer season, we will intensify this drive to all trains that halt at Thane. It is during this season when most migrants from Mumbai travel back home to their respective states. These passengers usually carry their year-long savings and valuables and are most easy targets for robbers,” said a senior police official.

Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli-Vaijnath line on hold – Munde still confident about Beed

2HCBeed बीड: The project for a 250-km line has seen only a-20 km stretch getting completed in the past two decades, says Omprakash Varma, head of Marathwada Railway Vikas Samiti, an advocacy group. Voters in Beed are still waiting for their ticket to progress — a railway line that was promised to them during the Rail Budget of 1995-96. “I have grown old waiting for the railway line to reach here, and I am sure my son and grandson will have to continue waiting for it,” says septuagenarian voter Prabhakar Washikar.

“MPs and so-called heavyweight politicians, who hail from Beed, have failed to lobby for budgetary provisions for the Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli-Vaijnath line. The cost of the proposed line through Beed has increased at least five times in two decades. The Centre had agreed to share cost with the state 50:50. The railway, if it comes, will boost industrial growth, tourism and business,” he says.

Gopinath Munde, who is prominent local leader from Beed has to tackle rebel nephew Dhanajay Munde who has joined the NCP. However, Munde has managed to get back prominent local leaders such as former MLAs Bhimrao Dhonde and Sahebrao Darekar along with Phulchand Karad into the party fold. Maratha leader Vinayak Mete, who hails from Beed, has announced a decision to join the BJP-Shiv Sena-RPI alliance, making Munde confident of victory.

In 2009, Munde had got 52 per cent of the vote and won by more than 1.4 lakh votes against his nearest rival, NCP’s Ramesh Adaskar. This time he hopes to stretch his lead past two lakh. “I will register a win with perhaps the highest margin in the country, more than Sonia Gandhi’s,” says Munde.

This time, the fight is between Munde and NCP leader and former minister Suresh Dhus, with actor-turned-AAP candidate Nandu Madhav challenging the established political equations.

“Voters and even his party workers have no faith in Munde. Voters are with the NCP,” Dhus says. Nandu Madhav recalls the promise made by Munde in 2009 that he would come for campaigning here in 2014 only in a train. “It turned out to be another hollow promise from Munde. The work of laying down a railway line is not going to be complete even in the next 15 years, given the vested interests of established leaders,” he says.

Munde says, “During my tenure as an MP, I expedited work on the railway line. It was due to my consistent efforts that the project got a budgetary allocation of more than Rs 400 crore. Unfortunately, our party was not in power in either the Centre of the state, and attempts were made by my rivals to arrest the progress of the project.  Even in such a situation, I am able to ensure work commence on the Rs 2,800-crore Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli Vaijnath railway line in Maharashtra last September.”

Meanwhile, land acquisition is on for the 290-km Wardha-Nanded new rail line, via Pusad. This project is estimated at Rs 2,500 crore.

The broad gauge conversion between Nagpur and Nagbhir, where a narrow gauge rail line exists is being taken up for survey, he said.

Other rail projects in Maharashtra which are being taken up for implementation include the Pune-Nasik, Karad-Chiplun, Wadsa-Desaiganj- Gadchiroli, Gadchandur-Adilabad and Manmad-Indore lines.

To improve connectivity between district and State headquarters in states, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have agreed to fund all new railway lines on a cost sharing or PPP mode.

Pakistan heightens Security for trains carrying Sikh Pilgrims

Rawalpindi रावलपिंडी (RWP): The Punjab Home Department in Pakistan has directed the Regional Police Officer of Rawalpindi to ensure foolproof security of three special trains carrying Sikh pilgrims, who will arrive at Gurdwara Punja Sahib in Hasanabdal on Thursday.

The police sources said more than 500 police personnel will be deployed at the railway stations, and along the tracks located in Rawalpindi district to ensure safety of the pilgrims.

A large number of pilgrims will also arrive in Lahore from India by special trains. During their stay in Pakistan, they will attend the Baisakhi festival, visit their holy shrines and perform their rituals in Lahore, Hasanabdal and Nankana Sahib.

In line with the home department’s directives, the Rawalpindi police have prepared a security plan for Sikh pilgrims, who will reach Gurdwara Punja Sahib by three special trains on Thursday. The pilgrims will return to Nankana Sahib on April 13.

As part of the security protocol, extra police will be deployed along the rail track, starting from Gujar Khan to Rawalpindi. Besides, police pickets will be established after every five kilometres along the track.

When Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Operations Mohammad Maqbool was contacted, he said a comprehensive security plan had been chalked out to ensure safety of Sikh pilgrims.

“No extra police is being brought from other districts; however, more than 500 personnel will be deployed for the security of the Sikh pilgrims’ special trains,” the SSP said.

IRCTC serves food to troops travelling on poll duty

New Delhi नयी दिल्ली: In past elections, CISF constable J Singh had to make long train journeys for poll duty. Food and water were big problems on these journeys. “Earlier, we stopped the train and went looking for food,” said a CRPF jawan.

While some jawans would scout for food, some cooked meals for about 1,000 troops before the train resumed its journey. “There was never enough food. In scorching summers, water would be scarce,” said the jawan. This time, the troops were pleasantly surprised. For the first time – following an Election Commission directive – the IRCTC is serving meals to troops on election-special trains.

CRPF director-general Dilip Trivedi said, “We told the EC about problems troops face. We suggested the Railway serve meals like on passenger trains and include the cost in the ticket.” The CRPF is the nodal agency for troop movement and deployment in the 2014 polls. Between March 13 and April 2, IRCTC served 1,80,000 food packets on 48 trains carrying 48,000 troops, said Robin Kalita, director, catering, IRCTC. With each 650gm food packet, every personnel gets bottled water.

“This is the first time that we have undertaken such a mammoth exercise,” said Kalita, adding, “Our coordination with the CRPF has been exemplary.” Besides, the IRCTC control room monitors the entire poll exercise.

In another first, election specials are being booked through a single-window system. Earlier, each paramilitary force booked trains separately. This time, the CRPF is booking around 200 trains through the IRCTC to transport about two lakh troops. This is the largest force mobilization ever, a home ministry official said.

Now, Rail Neer in 500-ml bottles

IRCTC is also ramping up its packaged drinking water production by establishing more plants

RailNeerPalur पालुर (PALR): Rail Neer, the packaged drinking water supplied for users of Indian Railways, will soon be brought out in smaller 500-ml bottles targeted at short distance travellers.

At present, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of Railways, is producing and distributing Rail Neer in 1-litre PET bottles in major stations and trains in Southern Railway.

The packaged drinking water for the southern region is produced at a state-of-the-art plant in Palur near Chennai with a production capacity of about 1.8 lakh litres a day.

While Rail Neer is the exclusive packaged drinking water supplied on trains and major stations in the zonal railways, only a handful of private brands are allowed inside smaller stations.

“We have plans to make available a 500 ml variant targeted at short distance travellers,” said an IRCTC official.

The 500 ml bottles, that can also avoid wastage of drinking water, are currently being supplied on Shatabdi trains in Delhi. They are priced at Rs. 10 per bottle.

IRCTC is also ramping up its packaged drinking water production by establishing more plants across the country to meet the projected demand of approximately 30 lakh litres a day in Indian Railways. To add to the existing plants at Nangloi, Danapur and Palur, units are proposed

Parassala near Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Vijayawada, Nashik and Farakka.

“We are hopeful of launching the Parassala unit by year-end,” an official said.

On whether ‘Amma Neer’, a brand of packaged water being marketed by State-run transport corporations, would be allowed at railway stations, both railway and Government officials said such a proposal has not been discussed as yet.

A senior official of the State Express Transport Corporation says that as of now, the mandate is to sell the product to commuters of buses of the Corporation. On an average, two lakh bottles are being sold throughout the State every day.

R Velan, an IT executive who hails from Madurai, says that as a person who frequently travels both by train and bus, says he prefers ‘Amma Neer’ to ‘Rail Neer’ and feels that the public would benefit if an alternative is provided at rail outlets.

Chennai Metro’s mock run at CMBT

Chennai चेन्नई (MAS): City residents can get to watch a Chennai Metro Rail mock-up at the Chennai Moffusil Bus Terminus  (CMBT) in the next three to four days.

The mock-up, which arrived at the shores of Chennai on November 2012 has been kept under wraps.  Now, with the venue being chosen, Metro Rail officials feel that this would generate interest and awareness among Chennaiites about Metro Rail.The trial runs have already generated much enthusiasm among the people.

Ashok Nagar to Koyambedu stretch to be electrified soon

The 7km elevated stretch between Koyambedu and Ashok Nagar of the Chennai Metro Rail will be fully electrified early next week.

With this both the up and down stretch of the line will be ready for commute after the trials on the tracks are complete, say Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL) officials who estimate the stretch to be operational by early 2015.

Currently, the first train that reached Chennai in July from Sao Paulo in Brazil is being tested on the elevated stretch. This train is now being tested on the up line as it has been supplied with 25 KV (kilovolt) traction power; the down line will be electrified next week and the trials will, subsequently, commence on that track as well, CMRL officials said.

The trials for the first train on the elevated track that started in February will continue till the end of April after which, the trials for other trains will be taken up, officials said.

While the trains, two and three, are being tested on the 800 metre test track located in the depot, the fourth and fifth trains are going through static tests that includes air-conditioning, lighting, air compressors and electrical systems.

Meanwhile, the sixth and seventh trains have arrived from Sao Paulo.

With this, CMRL has received nine trains in the last nine months.

Of the nine, seven were manufactured in Brazil and the remaining two in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, the final batch of two trains will leave Brazil by the end of April and reach Chennai in May, officials said.

Bhatinda Railway station becomes a ‘Hub of Criminal Activities’

Bhatinda Jn बाठिंडा (BTI): Deficient security staff at Bhatinda Railway Station has made the dark zones a perfect breeding ground for the criminal activities. A naked woman, bleeding profusely, was found today at platform number one of the railway station and two elderly persons were also looted after being drugged by unidentified persons.

The woman was admitted in the emergency ward of the Civil Hospital by volunteers of NGO Sahara Jan Sewa along with the two elderly persons.

While the woman was rescued after the midnight, the two elderly persons were found lying unconscious in the morning today.

The condition of the woman got stable in the evening but one of the two elderly persons is critical. The woman said she was robbed and beaten up by unidentified persons and the elderly too said that they were looted of Rs 12,000.

“The woman is yet to come out of the trauma. She is crying with pain in lower abdomen. The relatives of the patients undergoing treatment in the surgical ward of the Civil Hospital are taking care of her along with the staff on duty,” said Vijay Goyal, president, NGO Sahara Jan Sewa.

Goyal said their volunteers have offered food to the woman along with medical assistance, medicines and blanket. The woman fails to express anything clearly but murmurs her name and place from where she came. She identified herself as Sheela, a resident of Debriya area of Bihar.

The doctors at the Civil Hospital did not confirm that the woman was raped. The medical staff revealed that the woman got aggressive as they tried to examine her and even refused to injections or blood transfusion.

The doctors attending the woman said that she was not allowing them to conduct her internal examination. The woman was very aggressive and restored to using violence to deter the health staff from examining her. There were no visible external injury marks on her body.

“Being found naked and bleeding does not mean that she has been sexually abused. She might be bleeding because of her menstrual cycle too. She is being taken care of,” the doctors said.

They added that within the frame of law they are not allowed to examine a victim forcefully unless and until the police or victim’s relatives insist. The victim is also mentally unstable for which psychiatrist help would be required to ascertain whether she is mentally retarded or is unstable.

Government Railway Police (GRP) SHO Bant Singh said that he is yet to look into the case of the two elderly drugged at the railway station. Bant said that he tried to record woman’s statement but failed in view of her unclear declaration.

“We are short of the security personnel in view of 45 home guard jawans shifted to Uttar Pradesh. Earlier we used to deploy six to seven personnel at one point of time which has now reduced to mere three personnel to keep a check at all the seven platforms and the Musafirkhana (waiting area for passengers)”, Bant said.

When asked if he sought intervention from his seniors about the sorry state of affairs about security, Bant replied that it is a matter which could be discussed only at the high level and his seniors are well aware of the ground situation.

Cleanliness campaign at Tiruchi railway junction

Tiruchirappalli तिरुचिराप्पल्ली (TPJ): The Medical Department of Tiruchi Railway Division conducted a cleanliness campaign at Tiruchi Junction on Tuesday.

Pamphlets containing various awareness messages were distributed to passengers.

Manjula Rangarajan, Divisional Railway Manager, Tiruchi inaugurated the campaign in the presence of Sugumaran, Additional Chief Medical Superintendent, Health Unit, Tiruchi.

Chief Health Inspectors, Health Inspectors and railway employees besides volunteers took part in the campaign, a Southern Railway press release here said.

RVB Babu takes charge as New ADRM, Madurai Division

rvb-babuMadurai मदुरै (MDU):  R.V.B. Babu, belonging to the Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers, is the new Additional Divisional Railway Manager of Madurai Division.

He took charge from V. Ajith Kumar, who was transferred to Southern Railway, Chennai, on Tuesday.

Prior to this posting, Mr. Babu was Chief Signal and Telecommunication Engineer/Project and Planning, Southern Railway, Chennai.

He worked in various zones of Indian Railways, including South Central Railway and North East Frontier Railway, and as General Manager, RailTel Corporation.

He also worked in Railway Construction and Maintenance, and the period included his stint as Senior Divisional Signal and Telecommunication Engineer, Vijayawada, during which time he was awarded Minister of Railways Award in 2006 for an innovation in traffic improvement, a note said.

Chennai Metro to tap Solar power for stations

Chennai चेन्नई (MAS): In its bid to reduce the burden on the power grid, Chennai Metro Rail is exploring the option of solar power for five of its stations on its elevated corridor, according to officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL).

“We may have a production capacity of 200 kilo-watt peak (kWp) in these stations that may be able to take about 10 per cent of our load. As of now, there would be provisions only in the five stations. We are considering installing solar panels on the terraces of those stations,” V. Somasundaram, chief general manager (construction), CMRL, said.

The trains of Chennai Metro Rail have regenerative braking that has the ability to recover 30-35 per cent of energy during braking.

Dr. K. Srinivas Reddy, professor, department of mechanical engineering, IIT Madras, said, “Having solar power is very effective due to their high conversion efficiency. They could consider tapping solar power along the rail tracks of the elevated corridor, too.”

There is a precedent to the use of solar power in Metro Rail projects. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had signed a Power Purchase Agreement with a multinational firm for installing and producing solar power in its stations, and, only in February, a 500 kWp ‘Roof Top Solar Power Plant’ was installed at Dwarka station.

Also, in 2011, United Nations (UN) certified DMRC as the first Metro Rail and rail-based system in the world to receive carbon credits for reducing green house gas emissions and for its attempt to reduce pollution levels in Delhi.

Rahul Gandhi promotes unity on Delhi Metro

Delhi:  The Congress is catching up with the Bharatiya Janata Party with pictures of vice-president Rahul Gandhi now making its way into the Delhi Metro trains. Taking a dig at the BJP’s “divisive” politics, Mr. Gandhi is seen alongside slogans promoting a culture that promotes unity in diversity.

Earlier it was only the BJP that had aggressively marketed itself on the transport system making sure its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi rides on 30 trains asking people to choose a government led by him. While previously there was no mention of the printer and publisher of the BJP posters, stickers have now been pasted on all of them with the required information so it does not violate model code of conduct rules.

Vijayawada station in SCR Mobile App soon

HYLITES app shows time-table of trains, a helpline that connects to providers of emergency services and gives a list of hotels and hospitals

Vijayawada विजयवाड़ा (BZA): Vijayawada railway station will figure in the South Central Railway (SCR)’s mobile application that shows live train arrival and departure (TAD) status, in about a month from now. It will then be a lot easier to know the status of trains and platform numbers on a real-time basis in three languages (English, Hindi and Telugu) by just tapping on the screen of any GPRS-enabled phone.

The mobile app named HYLITES, to be downloaded from Google Play Store, currently displays arrival and departure timings of trains at Secunderabad, Hyderabad and Kacheguda stations. Divisional Railway Manager Pradeep Kumar said, “This list is set to grow longer with the addition of Vijayawada station followed by other important stations in the next few months”.

This App was developed by Hyderabad based Software company M/s Techgene Solutions.

30% of Phone Nos.given by Passengers during Online Ticket Booking found to be wrong

The fact came to light during a check conducted by Western Railway in January this year to gauge the efficacy of an SMS campaign that was initiated to counter catering malpractices

In what is hindering the railways from using technology to reach out to passengers, it has been found that 30 per cent of the mobile numbers provided by passengers during online ticket booking are wrong.

The fact came to light during a check conducted by Western Railway (WR) in January this year to gauge the efficacy of an SMS campaign that was initiated to counter catering malpractices.

“We found that 30 per cent of the numbers provided by passengers were wrong. While we initially thought the numbers belonged to people who might have booked tickets on behalf of the passengers, we later found this was also not true in many cases,” said a senior railway officer.

The officer said that the administration was now investigating if there were any irregularities in the online booking systems.

In a bid to warn passengers about catering malpractices and grievance redressal mechanism, the WR began an extensive campaign titled “Know your rights” in five trains of which three are from Mumbai.

As a pilot project, mobile numbers of passengers of five trains were collected from the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) soon after booking was made. An SMS was sent five minutes after the passenger boarded the train.

The idea was to ensure that catering-related messages were sent to passengers while they were travelling for greater impact, and not at the time of booking when the messages are unlikely to be read.

At least 10 complaints related to overcharging and unavailability of rate cards are being registered every day.

Of the three trains in Mumbai, most complaints are coming from passengers of Paschim Express and least from Avadh Express, which goes from Bandra Terminus to Muzzaffarpur junction in Bihar.

Railway officers are of the view that passengers of Avadh Express are not using technology to give a feedback on catering due to lack of literacy.

As a part of the project, an SMS stating the standard vegetarian and non-veg meal rates along with the helpline number and email id for complaints is sent to passengers during the journey.

Stickers informing passengers about the ongoing campaign have also been pasted inside coaches.

Retired railway men’s federation hold meeting

Jalandhar जालंधर (JUC): All India Retired Railway Men’s Federation (Accounts), Jalandhar, held an annual meeting here today where they discussed the strategies to get their long-pending demands fulfilled. More than 250 members participated in the meeting today. The meeting was presided over by Parkash Chand.

Speaking on the occasion Parkash Chand said, despite earnest efforts, their long-pending demands had not been fulfilled by the administration.

He said their demands are including merger of 50 per cent dearness relief with the basic pension, restoration of commuted pension after 12 years instead of 15 years, increase in fixed medical allowance to Rs 2,000 without any condition. Pensions should be declared tax free, interim relief should be granted to pensioners, five per cent upward enhancement in pension may be granted every five years after the age of 60 years as done by the state government, granting of facilities of travelling the companion in the same class to which the Railway Pensioner is entitled, allotment of office accommodation should be made in Jalandhar for meetings and official work and separate window should be provided to pensioners and staffers for reservation of seats.

Speaking about the activities of the federation DR Saini, General Secretary, said the efforts were being made to restore pensions of the widows for past three years. Meanwhile, the assurance has been given by the administration to do the same as soon as possible.

Take preventive steps on vector borne diseases: DRM/Hubli

Vector borne diseases need to be checked: DRM

Hubli हुबली (UBL): Divisional Railway Manager of Hubli Division of South Western Railway Sanjeev Mittal has stressed the need to take preventive steps to check spread of vector-borne diseases.

Inaugurating the ‘World Health Day’ programme organised by Railway Central Hospital here on Tuesday, Mr. Mittal suggested more awareness programmes through various media outlets to sensitise the public especially the railway community on adapting preventive measures.

Medical Director of the Railway Central Hospital Dr. D. Jaykumar and Additional Chief Health Director Dr. G.H. Shivayogi spoke how malaria, dengue, japanese encephalitis, filarial and other such diseases would spread and threw light on the preventive measures.

Vector Born Disease affected about half the world population, which could be prevented through preventive measures like vaccination, installation of sleeping nets etc.

Nadikudi Railway station considered as ‘Hub for Robbers’ does not have a GRP Station

Short-staffed GRP rues, robbers rule – Though Divisional Railway authorities, Guntur Division are facing flak for the robbery on train, they attribute it to severe shortage of staff

 

GNTGRPGuntur गुंटूर (GNT): The recent robbery in the Chennai Express near Piduguralla railway station in which a dacoit gang escaped with gold ornaments and other valuables, valued about Rs.5 lakh, from the passengers has brought the security lapse on moving trains to the fore.

Though the authorities of the Guntur Rail Division were in for a criticism for the lapse, they attribute to the severe shortage of staff at various railway station. Even a cursory glance at the staff strength at various railway police stations under the newly created division says it all.

Nadikudi railway station which is considered as a hub for robbers does not even have a government railway police (GRP) station.

Security proposals gather dust

Authorities say though a requisition has been sent to allot 24 policemen, including one sub-inspector, three head constables and 20 police constables to the station, the proposal is gathering

dust. Similar is the case of Bapatla railway station. The proposal seeking sanction of one sub-inspector, two head constables and eight constables is still carrying the ‘pending’ tag. Likewise, the passengers’ safety at Dhonakonda and Repalle stations have been entrusted to one constable each, while the sanctioned strength is five for each station.

Tenali railway station is also running with police station marred by severe staff shortage.

Speaking to ‘The Hindu’, Superintendent of Railway Police, Vijayawada Division, Ch. Syam Prasad says the dacoit gangs from the neighbouring States are taking advantage of the poor police strength in the division.

Vacancies

“Guntur Railway Division has around 90 vacancies and we badly need staff. As of now, we are deputing police from Vijayawada Division. We request the SPs of the districts under the division to allot us staff from Civil wing,” he says.

Special force sought

With many trains passing the division between 1 a.m. to 4 a.m., robbers are targeting the passengers in night services. Recently, we asked the South Central Railway to create a special force with 100 home guards to assist the existing Government Railway Police, which is yet to be cleared, the SP says.

Students create Android Suburban Ticketing App to solve longer queues at Ticket counters

Mumbai मुंबई:  While waiting in the long ticket lines at the train station, haven’t you always wished that they could go faster? Every Mumbaikar can relate to the amount of time spent waiting to get a ticket. Well, a bunch of college students may just have the solution for our woes!

Four college students have taken advantage of the user-friendly nature of Android apps, and created an app that will help us avoid the dreaded lines.

The students behind this ingenious app are Rajesh Vaishnav, Vaibhav Mirashi, Sushil Shinde and Vaibhav Tamkhede – from the KJ Somaiya Polytechnic College in Mumbai. Eight months of hard work resulted in the conception and creation of the Android Suburban Ticketing App, or ASTA.

The application is specifically created to target the city’s local train travellers, so that they would avoid the time-consuming effort of being in a queue during peak hours, just to get a ticket. The most striking aspect of the app, however, is that users will be able to get their tickets in just a minute. And they will be able to do so without any internet connection.

So how exactly does the ticketing app work? Well, the four students have created a box that connects to an Android phone through Bluetooth. This box would be placed at any railway station. When passengers enter that station, they would simply have to connect their phones to the box using Bluetooth.

The connecting link between the two devices would be the app, ASTA.

When the connection is established, the user will have to type the name of the station they are currently at, and the name of the one they wish to go to. The user will promptly receive a message, which will contain the details of their journey, ticket price and the number of passengers.

The message will also contain a barcode, which will enable the ticket checkers to verify if the ticket is real or not.

The key positive aspect of this app was the time factor. It would take a second for the phone to connect with the box. This means that even if a large crowd attempted to connect at a single time, the speed of the delivery of the message to each passenger would not decrease or lag.

What did those creating the app have to say about their work?

Well, for starters, the students spent nearly three hours after college, every day, working on the project. They had to do this, since some of the team members did not have access to an internet connection at their homes. They were guided by their professor, Dr. S G Kolte, and their lecturer Nikhil Parmar.

When they were done, they even showed their result to the railway authorities. The authorities told them that any company that desired to introduce the technology made by these students would have to provide monetary support to the railways, so that the installation process could begin. However, the work was appreciated by the authorities, who liked the app.

As of now, the team was working on securing the app, as well as other security-related aspects.

One of them said, “Despite having ATVMs and CVMs, people still stand in queues to get tickets. Also, we’ll ensure that our project isn’t copied by anyone.”

Despite this achievement, there were some definite shortcomings. The app was merely a college project, and it lacked a method of generating revenue. Though the technology was very useful, the team did not specify who would take the initiative to invest in the ticketing model – and hence the project did not have a commercial angle as of now. There was also the need to improve on the fraud-detecting mechanisms as well as the security aspect.

All in all, everyone who has travelled by train is hoping that this app will be implemented soon.

N.C.Sinha takes over as Additional General Manager, Central Railway

NC SinhaMumbai मुंबई:  Naveen Chandra Sinha took over as Additional General Manager, Central Railway. Prior to this, he was as Chief Operations Manager, South Western Railway, Hubli.

Sinha, an Officer of Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) of 1975 Batch has rich and varied experience in Operations and Commercial branches and has held several important managerial posts o­n Indian Railways.

Sinha has handled several key posts like Chief Vigilance Officer, Western Railway, Divisional Railway Manager, Nagpur, Central Railway, Chief Passenger Transportation Manager, Central Railway, Chief Commercial Manager, Western Railway.

Sinha has also undergone training in Freight Operations Information System, C.N.Railway, Canada and Commuter Rail System, Tokyo.

DMRC test ‘Tata Marcopolo’ Starbus Ultra CNG bus for its Feeder Service

New Delhi नई दिल्ली:  Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is all set to expand its fleet of feeder buses and it looks like Tata Marcopolo has sealed the deal.

DMRC is currently maintaining a sizable fleet of minibuses to be used as last mile transport solution for the people who commute by Delhi Metro rails. The feeder service plies on number of STA approved routes, each one not exceeding 10 km.

DMRC has earlier announced that it will induct 400 more buses across 80 routes by the end of 2013 but the project has been delayed. However, the testing of the mini buses has commenced. What you see here is a Tata Marcopolo Starbus Ultra 25 seater minibus which is built according to the DMRC requirements.

According to DMRC’s announcement the new fleet will consist of 300 low-floor (650 mm) 25 seater buses and 100 regular (900 mm)25 seater buses. Seen here is the test mule of a low floor bus based on Tata Marcopolo’s Ultra platform.

Tata Marcopolo’s product portfolio neither has a Starbus Ultra in 25 seat configuration nor a CNG version but it seems the company has made an exception for DMRC because of the number of orders. Going by the seating capacity of the DMRC bus, we suspect that Tata could use the same powerplant which powers the Starbus CNG range.

The engine in question is a 3.8-litre direct gas injection watercooled CNG unit which produces an adequate 85 PS of power and 270 Nm of torque. The engine is likely to be mated to a 5-speed manual transmission.

According to our sources, the vehicle specially built for DMRC comes with plastic moulded seats and a wide door in the middle. The vehicle can seat 25 passengers apart from 2 staff and can accommodate around 10 standing passengers. The non-AC CNG bus is cooled by fans and it’s also fitted with first-aid box and fire extinguisher.

Given that DMRC has commenced pilot-testing the buses, we can expect the entire fleet of 400 vehicles to be delivered in a few months time.

World’s First Hospital on Wheels ‘Lifeline Express’ at CSTM from 9th April

lifeline03Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus छत्रपति शिवाजी टर्मिनस (CSTM): Lifeline Express, the world’s first hospital o­n a train, will be inaugurated at 3.00 pm o­n 9.4.2014 by Shri Sunil Kumar Sood, General Manager, Central Railway at Platform No.10, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai (main line). . It will remain open till 5 pm o­n 9.4.2014 and o­n 10th, 11th & 12thApril 2014 from 10 am to 5 pm for public viewing.

This train is run by Impact India Foundation (IIF), an International Initiative against Avoidable Disablement in coordination with Indian Railways.

IIF is soon to launch a Cancer Detection and Control programme through its Lifeline Express.  This exemplary project has since 1991 provided medical services to nearly 900,000 disabled poor in remote rural locations across India. The services include surgeries for the restoration of sight, movement, hearing, correction of facial deformities and, prevention and treatment of epilepsy and dental problems – all free of cost, made possible by the ‘donated’ services of about 150,000 medical professionals from India and abroad.

The Lifeline Express is a recipient of numerous accolades including the United Nations’ Grand Award for Excellence in Public Service, and has been honoured by the Government of India with the release of a National Postage stamp.
IMPACT_lifeline_expressThis project has been replicated by four Lifeline Express trains in China, two in South Africa and Riverboat hospitals in Bangladesh and Cambodia. BBC’s film “The Magic Train of India”, shown worldwide, has attracted extensive media attention.             

Impact India’s major preventive project is the Community Health Initiative (CHI) – a sustainable, replicable model in partnership with the Government covering two million Tribals in rural Maharashtra – has achieved 72% reduction in disability in the area.

Its focus, in line with the Government’s National Rural Health Mission and the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals – 2015, is o­n preventive health care generating community health for long-term impact o­n disability reduction.

Vadodara Division: Growth Engine of WR riding high on Freight Traffic

Vadodara वड़ोदरा (BRC): Riding high on growth from freight traffic, the Vadodara railway division has generated Rs 2,444.32 crore revenue between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. This is an increase of 15.46 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year when it had clocked Rs.2,116.97 crore revenue.

Interestingly, in terms of growth, the Vadodara railway division has surpassed Ahmedabad railway division this year.

The total earnings of Vadodara division have increased by Rs.317.78 crore which amounts to 27.46 per cent of the total growth of Western Railway (WR).  Although Ahmedabad railway division’s total revenue in 2013-14 has touched Rs.4,423 crore, in terms of growth, it has clocked only Rs.183.02 crore.

The largest contributor of this earning is freight traffic. The goods earning of Vadodara railway division for 2013-14 is Rs.2,090.12 crore – an increase of 15.51 per cent compared to the same period last year when it had made earnings worth Rs.1,809.53 crore. In terms of absolute earnings from freight traffic, Vadodara division is second biggest contributor to Western Railway’s earnings which stands at Rs.9,488 crore. Ahmedabad division’s earnings from freight traffic stand at around Rs.3,605 crore. But in terms of growth in these earnings, Vadodara railway division has contributed 44.36 per cent growth in the total growth of goods earning of WR. This growth is largely due to the growth of the Dahej corridor and development of railway infrastructure there for freight operations.

“The division’s growth was possible due to contribution from Adani Petronet at Dahej, which contributed Rs.999.61 crore in the freight earnings apart form fertilizer units and petroleum sidings of the division,” Pradeep Banerjee, senior divisional commercial manager of Vadodara railway division said. In other words of the Rs 270.88 crore growth in earnings from freight that Vadodara division has registered, Rs.217 crore are from Adani Petronet. In terms of passenger earnings, the division has witnessed an increase of 16.56 per cent. From Rs.277.22 crore it had registered last year, the division has now earned Rs.323.13 crore.

“Our division has contributed 9.95 per cent towards the growth of passenger earnings of Western Railway,” said Banerjee.

Rs.16000 crore Son Nagar-Dankuni project back on track on the Eastern Corridor

Son Nagar Jn  सोन नगर (SEB):  Stuck for over two years due to lack of investor interest, the Rs.16,000 Crore Son Nagar-Dankuni section of the eastern freight corridor is finally set to take off with the railways planning a request for qualification (RFQ) document by June.

The 530-km stretch to be built on public-private partnership (PPP) has been marred by delays. After holding several investor meetings and adding initiatives like flexible viability gap funding (VGF), the railways is now hoping for a good response to the RFQ. The project is expected to be awarded by the end of the year.

“We’ll be coming out with the RFQ document by June. The contours of the documents are being finalised,” Railway Board chairman Arunendra Kumar told.

A new traffic forecast report for the project, which is encouraging for the potential investors, has been prepared by CRIS and the financial planning of the corridor, which has been broken into two slices — Dankuni-Gomoh (276 km) and Gomoh-Son Nagar (264 km) —has been done by the UK-based consultant Grant Thornton. The report gives capital structure, revenue model and the financial viability of the project.

The route would primarily be carrying coal and iron ore traffic in the Dhanbad, Raniganj and Jharia regions. The stretch is a part of the 1,839-km eastern freight corridor, which runs from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni in West Bengal.

The Son Nagar-Dankuni project is directly being monitored by the PMO and despite several deadlines, the railways have failed to find an investor for the project, which could delay the completion of the R80,000-crore dedicated freight corridors (3,300 km), running on the eastern and western flanks of the country.

Yellandu voters demand Restoration of Railway Station, Trains

Karepalli करेपल्ली (KRA): Restoration of the railway line and station to Karepalli from Yellandu, construction of the the Rajiv Sagar project (Dummugudem lift Scheme) proposed on the Godavari river to meet the drinking as well as irrigation requirement are two main issues that will have an impact on the elections for the Yellandu Assembly constituency.

The Betampudi irrigation project, which was proposed at Tekulapalli mandal to provide irrigation water to 1,000 acres in the mandal, is also pending and another project, Tularam, which was proposed at Bayyaram mandal also is far from completion. “Sitting MLA Vooke Abbaiah promised to bring Rajiv Sagar project water from Dummagudem to Yellandu and solve drinking and irrigation water problems but he failed to fulfil his word,” said K Pandu, a government employee, from Yellandu town.

The main demand of the people in the constituency is the restarting of the railway station which was closed six years ago citing financial loss. The railway line and station were constructed by British colonialists in the pre-independence era for the coal transportation. Later, a passenger train was introduced from Yellandu to Karepalli to Ramagudam but railway authorities stopped the services stating that they were not generating good revenues.

The works of the 50-km long Yellandu-Gundala two lane road are progressing at a snail’s pace. The people of the constituency are also angry on their representative for not preventing the shifting of the Forest Training College from Yellandu to Secunderabad. The government had constructed concrete buildings at a cost of Rupees three crore for the  Forest training college but six months after the construction, the government shifted the college, K Chandrasekar of Yellandu said.

The government took up works of a central lighting system in Yellandu town at a cost of `70 lakh but the system lies dysfunctional due to unknown reasons. AP Transco officials say that the municipality had failed to clear the arrears of power bills.

Sitting MLA: Abbaiah Vooke
Party: TDP
Votes polled: 41,605
Margin of victory:  2,946
Runner-up: Kanakaiah Koram
Party: Congress
Votes polled: 38,659
Total electors: 1,72,021
Men: 84,703
Women: 87,318
Poll percentage: 79.30
Total votes polled: 1,36,415
No of contestants: 14
Men: 14
Women: 0
No of polling stations: 193
Avg per polling station: 891

Western Railway empanel 13 Ad Agencies for 2014-15

Western Railway has empanelled 13 advertising agencies to handle its creative and media duties for 2014-15. The account will be effective starting April 15

Mumbai मुंबई: More than 60 agencies participated in a multi-agency pitch process organised to award the account of Western Railway. The two-month long pitch process required the participating agencies to present artworks on one of the three topics related to railways. The shortlisted agencies were required to present their ideas through short films or Powerpoint presentations. The pitch ended in Mumbai last week.

For the Mumbai region, the empanelled agencies include Inter Publicity, Newfields Advertising, Prabhatam Advertising, Ratan Batra, Sai Advertisers and Snappers Advertising & Mktg. The standby agencies for the region are Adwit (India), Akar Advertising & Marketing and Concept Communication.

The agencies selected for the Ahmedabad region are Apex Advertising, Goldmine Advertising, Navnitlal & Co and Pamm Advertising & Marketing. The standby agencies are Interads Advertising and Sobhagya Advertising Service.

For the Indore region, the empanelled agencies are Deepak Advertising Agency, Headliners Advertising Services and Ventures Advertising. The standby agencies for the region include Anil Publicity Bureau and Vigilance Publicity.

Arunachal finally on Indian Railway Map as First Train chugs in Itanagar

Itanagar ईटानगर:  The train with 10 passengers and two goods compartments, towed by a diesel engine, left Dekargaon at 7 am and arrived in Itanagar at 12:30 pm, covering a distance of 181 kilometers.

“It is a great day for Arunachal Pradesh,” CD Sharma, who had bought the first ticket for Naharlagun at Dekargaon railway station for Rs 35, said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced introducing train service in his package for the state on January 31, 2008.

Informing about the arrival of the train, Chief Minister Nabam Tuki during an election rally in Itanagar on Sunday announced that Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express would be introduced soon to link Arunachal Pradesh to the national capital.

The ambitious 20-km railway line project had missed its target of December, 2011.

The engine made its maiden trial run from Harmutty to Naharlagun terminus on January 14 last while a high-level team led by Planning Commission member (North East and Power) BK Chaturvedi had inspected the Harmutty-Naharlagun on January

BJP’s Election Manifesto promises Bullet Trains, 100 new cities, introduces Rail Corridors

“India should no longer be limited by its infrastructure. In fact, we have to create robust infrastructure, which drives growth,” the manifesto says

New Delhi:  BJP today promised to introduce high-speed bullet trains, build 100 new modern cities and expedite freight and industrial corridors to improve the country’s infrastructure and create employment.

In its election manifesto, the party said if elected the government will launch diamond quadrilateral project of high speed train network (bullet train).

“Work on the Freight Corridors and attendant Industrial Corridors will be expedited. This will result in the faster movement of people and goods. PPP would be encouraged to tap into private sector resources as well as expertise,” the manifesto said.

It said that its government will look at urbanisation as an opportunity rather than a threat and steps would be undertaken in transport and housing for ‘Urban Upliftment’ in India.

“We will initiate building 100 new cities; enabled with the latest in technology and infrastructure – adhering to concepts like sustainability, walk to work, etc, and focused on specialised domains. The approach to urban development will be based on integrated habitat development – building on concepts like Twin cities and Satellite towns,” it said.

To enhance Internet penetration, the party said Wi-Fi facilities will be made available in public places and commercial centres.

The manifesto also emphasised on the need to build infrastructure in a futuristic way.

“Growth of this sector means the growth of cement, steel, electricity and many other associated industries and directly leads to massive job creation… We shall modernise existing and operational airports, and build new ones,” it added.

For next generation infrastructure, “we will set up Gas Grids to make gas available to households and industry and set up a National Optical-Fibre Network up to the village level”.

It also promised to launch an Integrated Public transport project and develop national logistics network for faster movement of goods.

Elevated Rail Corridor only till Bandra will be ‘Unviable’ – RITES

Bandra बांद्रा (BA):  The state government’s suggestion that the Western Railway (WR) elevated corridor be terminated at Bandra may make the project unviable because of low commuter volume.

After a meeting of the chief minister and the PM in November last year about the elevated corridor project, which was stuck because of differences among the railways, the Planning Commission and the state government, a study on passenger projections was commissioned. The reason was that Metro III was to partially run on the same alignment as the initially planned elevated corridor.

“The study was of passenger volume projections if the elevated corridor was allowed to operate only between Virar and Bandra,” said a state government official. “WR commissioned Rail India Technical And Economic Services (RITES), a consultancy arm of the railways, to carry out the study. RITES was also asked to ascertain the drop in passenger numbers owing to the elevated corridor running alongside Metro III (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) and Metro II (Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd).”  The existing WR corridor has a ridership (passenger volume) of 35 lakh people per day. The study estimates the ridership of the Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor as 9 lakh passengers per day at 2013 levels.

“This figure was arrived at after it was estimated that around 50% of first-class passengers and 20% of second-class passengers will shift to the elevated corridor. Effectively, this translates into a 23% commuter shift from the existing WR corridor,” said an official.

But the ridership figure for a Virar-Bandra elevated corridor at 2013 levels is estimated at 5.50 lakh passengers per day, said a source. “The loss in ridership is estimated to be 40%, which will make the project financially unviable.”

Next Govt should view Indian Rlys as a Strategic Tool, not Legacy Problem: Sanjeev Sanyal

sanjeev_sanyalSince the mid-nineties, the experience of travelling around India has changed dramatically. One by one, the old, creaky, paan spit-smeared airports have been replaced by gleaming modern infrastructure. Travellers can now choose from among a number of full-service airlines and budget carriers. The major highways, too, have become much better – and there are some segments that can now be considered to be of international quality. The quality of cars, buses and hotelshas also slowly upgraded itself.

One may still complain that highway expansion has not kept up with the expansion of traffic or that the creation of the infrastructure involved corrupt practices, but one cannot deny the change. There is one area, however, in which there has been almost no change – the Railways. Travelling in today’s trains reminds me of my childhood in the early eighties. The same chaotic stations, the same bogies leisurely clattering along, the same blue rexine bunks in air-conditioned two-tier, and the same coolies in red shirts carrying luggage on top of their heads. Indeed, in many cases, the infrastructure was built in the 19th century.

Indian Railways may be great for nostalgia, but it is failing as the country’s infrastructure backbone. Before Independence in 1947, undivided British India had a railway network of around 69,000 kilometres, of which 55,000 km was inherited by India. Today the network stands at around 65,000 km – an expansion of a mere 18.5 per cent over 66 years!

Contrast this with China, which had a network of just 27,000 km in 1949 (half of it in Manchuria) but now has 110,000 km – a tenth of which is capable of supporting high-speed trains running at 250 km an hour, and some segments up to 350 km an hour.

Forget 21st-century China, India’s post-Independence performance is poor compared to what Victorian engineers were capable of 150 years ago. In the 1870s, they added an average of 749 km of lines per year, with 1,440 km being added in a single year, 1878. And they were not just adding tracks; they also built Victoria Terminus in Bombay (completed in 1887) and Howrah station in Calcutta (completed in 1905) – both extraordinary pieces of architecture. It must be accepted that we have added nothing comparable and, with a few exceptions, continue to use the same crumbling stations that the British left us three generations ago.

Not surprisingly, people are avoiding travelling by Indian Railways wherever other alternatives are available – passenger bookings, excluding the suburban sector, declined by four per cent during April-December 2014. This is quite shocking for a country in which demand for all other infrastructure grows naturally from population and purchasing power growth.

In the last few years, the success of the Delhi Metro has sparked interest in rail as part of the public transport mix of major cities; but there is a need for a much broader relook at Indian Railways as the infrastructure backbone for India as a whole. It is not just that rail transport remains the most efficient way of moving goods in bulk around a big country (only water transport is more efficient); the Railways can play an active role in guiding the way the country urbanises.

It is now widely recognised that India is urbanising rapidly and that it will be an urban majority country within a generation. Around 325 million extra people will have to be accommodated in Indian cities by 2040. This means that existing cities will expand and many new cities will be built. If this transition is done purely on the back of highway-based transport infrastructure, we will end up with urbanisation taking place in ribbons along these highway corridors. This is a very inefficient urban form that uses up a lot of land and smears development in a way that makes it very difficult and expensive to supply urban services to a diffuse population. Moreover, the process is self-defeating; the highway soon gets clogged with local traffic and can no longer function as a long-distance artery.

In contrast, urbanisation based on a railway backbone has the advantage that it forces dense urban clusters around designated hubs. The authorities have far greater control over these hubs and can guide urban expansion as well as supply urban services in a more concentrated way. In other words, the railway network can have a big impact on the evolution of India’s rapidly evolving urban geography.

So what needs to be done? For a start, the next government should treat Indian Railways as a strategic tool for supporting next-generation growth rather than as a legacy system that just needs to be kept going somehow. This means that the authorities will have to think about upgrading everything – the designs of the trains, the signalling system, the stations and so on.

Luckily, a lot of this can be made to pay for itself. It is not merely that it is much easier to get people to buy train tickets than to pay road tolls. Indian Railways sits on huge urban land banks that can be monetised in a variety of imaginative ways. Moreover, the government can leverage revenues from other urban amenities/utilities in densely clustered urban hubs much more easily that a dispersed ribbon along a highway. Hopefully, the government that comes to power in May will focus on these issues.

DMRC Interview 2014 results for various posts out

Delhi:  Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Ltd has declared Interview results for recruitment to the posts of Assistant Manager (Finance) and Account Assistant (Finance) on Direct Recruitment basis, and for the post of Legal Assistant.

The Interviews for the post of Assistant Manager (Finance) were held on February 25 and 26, 2014, for the post of Account Assistant (Finance) from March 12 to 14, 2014 and for the contractual post of Legal Assistant the Interview were held on March 11, 2014 in DMRC office.

Based on the performance in the screening tests including Interviews, 37 candidates – 13 for Assistant Manager (Finance) in the pay scale of Rs 20600- 46500 on direct recruitment basis, 21 for Account Assistant (Finance) in the pay scale of Rs 10170 – 18500 on direct recruitment basis and 3 for Legal Assistant (Legal) in the pay scale of Rs 13500-25520 on contract basis for a period of one year; have been provisionally empanelled for selection in DMRC.

The final selection will be done after candidates clear the medical test.

The selected candidates are requested to report at DMRC Office ‘Metro Bhawan, Fire Brigade Lane, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi-110001’ on April 16, 2014 with 6 recent passport size photographs and all origional documents for medical examination.

Click on below links to access the list of candidates selected for various posts: 

Legal Asst Results

Accounts Asst Finance

Results Asst Manager Finance

Country Club allege irregularities in land allotment to Hyderabad Metro Rail

Hyderabad हैदराबाद (HYB):  The Country Club of India Limited (CCIL) on Thursday said it would move the high court seeking a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in land allotment to the Hyderabad Metro Rail project.

CCIL was responding to a notice by Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) to partially demolish their corporate office in Begumpet. Addressing the media, club chairman Rajeev Reddy said the move was illegal as the HMRL had given a no-objection certificate (NOC) for the office. HMRL was going ahead with the demolition process despite the high court staying the construction on the premises of the CCIL, he said.

“The CCIL had spared over 1700 sq yards for the Metro Rail project in 2006, following which the HMRL issued an NOC to build the corporate office. We built the office only after receiving the NOC. But now the HMRL has issued a notice to partially demolish the building,” Rajeev Reddy said.

Apart from CCIL, buildings including White House, Lifestyle and Varun Motors face the threat of demolition .

Charging HMRL with deviating from norms and changing the alignment of the project to save properties of some vested interests at the cost of the traders in Begumpet, Reddy said there were irregularities in the land acquisition and allotment. “

I see vested interests of real estate sector behind the move.

We will request the High Court to order a CBI probe into it,” Rajeev said.

Titlagarh Railway Institute organises Blood Donation camp

blood-donationTitlagarh (TIG): Railway Institute, Titlagarh organized a three-day voluntary Blood donation camp at Railway Institute, Titilagarh that was concluded on Sunday.

A total of 41 male and four female railway staff and their family members donated blood.

The camp was coordinated by the oranising secretary of Railway Institute, Titilagarh and assistant engineer Rajesh Kumar, secretary Satyanarayan Sethi, Sarat Nag and members of organising committee.

Among others, ADMO, Titilagarh Dr BS Behera, Dr KC Paul and Gajendranath Rout of the District Blood Bank also visited the camp.

ECR to run weekly Premium Special Train between Patna-Bangalore

Patna पटना (PNBE): East Central Railway (ECR) has decided to run a weekly premium special train (02353-02354) between Patna Junction and Bangalore Cantt from April 17 to clear rush of passengers. The idea of premium special trains was announced in the interim rail budget this year in Lok Sabha.

This particular train is being introduced on the directive of ECR GM Madhuresh Kumar following requests by various organizations. Its fare will be dynamically charged, similar to air fare from passengers seeking berths at the last hour.

According to ECR CPRO Arvind Rajak, this train will have a load combination of 20 coaches. It will leave Patna Junction every Thursday at 11.30pm and reach Bangalore Cantt on Saturday at 6.55pm. The train will have only five stoppages at Mughalsarai, Jabalpur, Nagpur, Vijaywada and Chennai Central, he said, adding it will be accorded the status of Rajdhani Express.

On return journey, the train will leave Bangalore Cantt every Sunday at 3.30pm and reach Patna Junction on Tuesday at 9.45am. The special train will run on April 17, 24, May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and June 5, 12, 19 and 26 from Patna end while it will run on April 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 25 and June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 from Bangalore Cantt end. There will be 11 trips of the train from both ends, he said.

According to Rajak, ticket booking for this train started from April 7 on the IRCTC site. There will be no waiting list for this train and no quota of berths from railway headquarters or defence quota either. In case of availability of berths even after preparation of chart, passengers could procure tickets from PRS and current reservation counters at Patna Junction or from Bangalore Cantt, he said.

The CPRO said in this train, 573 berths are available in sleeper class, 382 in 3AC and 88 berths in 2AC.

Indian Railways: Silent steps to reform

Several committees suggested a thorough reform of Indian Railways especially that of the Railway Board: Ms.Anusha Soni, Business Standard Correspondent, reports.. (Courtesy: Business Standard)

A friend once told me, if you wish to break a wall, there are two ways to it. Take a bulldozer and crush it in one go. If you can’t afford a bulldozer, buy a small hammer and start hitting on the cement that joins the bricks. One day the wall will fall by a mere push.

By analogy, Indian Railways seems to be hammering its way on the path to reform since it can’t bulldoze due to political compulsions. It is soon expected that train tickets could be expensive by few rupees at the physical counters much like the air tickets. And this development is not just about the expansion of internet and e-commerce but is also indicative of a larger silent process of reform that is underway in Indian Railways.

A variety of expert committees including the White Paper on Indian Railways have suggested a thorough reform of Indian Railways-especially that of the Railway Board. Key recommendations from across committees have been asking for diluting powers of the Railway Board, corporatizing the Railways under the Company’s Act like China, setting up a tariff board for rationalizing freight and passenger fares. But the fundamental question of ‘how’ remains to be answered.

But one can’t expect a revolution. Some Railway Minister will stand up to ‘revolutionise’ the functioning of the ministry and the Cabinet will oblige him. Political compulsions have rallied against reform in Indian Railways and will continue to do so. There is no rational for justifying the separate Rail budget other than the fact that we are following a British convention. The colonial power laid special emphasis on the Railway and network expansion for tapping the resources of the country. And like many others, the tradition has persisted without questions.

The tradition has been exploited for political advantages-Announcing unfeasible projects in home state of the Railway Minister, without checking on the fund reserve laying ambitious plans for new lines and trains. And the result is that Indian Railways currently has a backlog of projects over Rs one lakh crore.

But the silver lining is that there is a silent bureaucracy at work that is pushing step by step reform of the country’s largest employer. Passenger fare hike has moved out the Rail budget, making the procedure more rational and immune from electoral populism. The introduction of fuel adjustment component that would hedge the fuel price hike with freight rate was for the first time applied for passenger fares, though Railways is still absorbing majority of the losses on passenger side.

Premium trains introduced this year whose fares start with base tatkal fare and move along the demand curve is another reform step that boldly attempts to serve the demand and is not shy to earn few extra bucks, quite contrary to Railways traditional thinking of ‘social responsibility’.

And soon Railway ticketing would move largely online and special cess would be introduced at the physical counters and that is an indirect way of increasing fares. And all of this happened when the Railways had no uniform political leadership for four years. The Ministry had six Railway Ministers in the span of six years, indicative of the bureaucracy that is pushing the reforms.

But the resistance is not unfound. After much tiff between the Planning Commission and Indian Railways, the proposal of Plan Com found its way and the Rail Tariff Authority, pending an amendment in the Railways Act, 1989- will be a regulatory one armed with full powers to decide freight and passenger fares. An interim advisory body should be constituted by the year end.

Recently, a high level committee under Rakesh Mohan suggested that without the development of Indian Railways the required to boost to manufacturing sector and economy is impossible. Various experts have forecasted that the next big revolution is waiting to happen in the Indian Railways. And it wouldn’t be an Arab Spring but rather an tiring bureaucratic process full of resistance and drudgery.

Passengers in Chirayinkeezhu may use NOTA option in Polls as a mark of protest

Chirayinkil (CRY): The railway passengers in Chirayinkeezhu may use the NOTA option this time in the Lok Sabha election as a mark of protest against the failure of all major political fronts to persuade the Railway authorities to allot stops for certain trains passing through the Chirayinkeezhu railway station.

According to commuters, Chirayinkeezhu railway station is well ahead of many other railway stations under Thiruvananthapuram Railway Division in terms of collection and number of passengers.

However, the passengers complain that the station had not got its fair share in terms of development and train stops. They blamed the MPs of both LDF and UDF who represented the constituency over the years, for the neglect.

The commuters have erected two flex boards on the platforms of Chirayinkezhu station.

“Why should the railway passengers from Chirayinkeezhu vote?” is the question on one flex board. Another flex board says that no development had taken place in the station for the last 15 years. The flex board claims that during this period though the total number of train services in Kerala had tripled only one train stop was allotted to Chirayinkeezhu.

According to commuters, in the last three months more than 50 new train stops were sanctioned in Kerala, but Chirayinkeezhu was ignored by the railway authorities.

Other long-pending demands of Chirayinkeezhu like overbridge are remaining a dream.

Even the temporary stops to trains which were sanctioned during the ‘Kaliyoot’ festival at Sarkara temple were withdrawn. As the Chirayinkeezhu- Kaniyapuram road has been included in the nationalised category, private buses are not allowed to operate on the route adding to the travails of commuters. According to the commuters, one-third of the more than 10,000 passengers depend on Chirayinkeezhu station for travelling between Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam and other far-off places.

The commuters who have erected the flex boards do believe in democracy and so insist that every passenger should vote.

Their message to the voters of Chirayinkeezhu is that they should press the NOTA button to cast their votes in protest.

However, the response from the political parties was quick.

The flex board on the first platform disappeared overnight and the second was destroyed the other day.

But the photographs of the flex boards are already a hit on social networks adding to the heartbeats of the candidates.

First Passenger Train service to ‘chug chug’ into Arunachal Pradesh today

Harmuti (HMY): A passenger train would roll down from Tezpur to Naharlagun through the newly built Harmuti-Naharlagun railway line today to put landlocked Arunachal Pradesh on the railway map of India, informed Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki.

The ambitious railway line project estimated to cost Rs 156 crore (re-estimated at Rs 371.33 crore by the Railway Board on July 7, 2009), missed its target of December 2011 repeatedly.  Sarma, who is the project incharge, attributed the inordinate delay due to existence of five high tension power line poles along the tracks, forest clearance at Gumto area obtained only January 8 last.

As state’s power department has now removed the high tension power line, the formal train service began with clearance by Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), Sarma said, adding only passenger trains would run, not goods trains.

Railway connectivity would be a gift of government of India for the land-locked people of this Himalayan state, said Chief Minister Nabam Tuki.

The construction of 20-km Harmutty-Itanagar railway line was announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on January 31, 2008 but former Rajya Sabha member Nabam Rebia armed with a memorandum of Arunachal Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) had pursued then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, who in 2007 Railway Budget had ordered surveys for gauge conversion of Rangia-Murkongselek and Tezpur-Bhalukpong link lines besides updating of the surveys of the Harmutty-Itanagar railway line.

Highlighting the historical and mythological relevance of the state including the famous Parsuram Kund, Malinithan and tallest Shiva Linga of Ziro during a one to one interaction with the then Union MoS for Trade and Commerce Jairam Ramesh at Pasighat on January 15, 2007, an ACCI delegation led by president Techi Lala, general secretary Tarak Nachung and chief advisor B K Ghosh Dostidar had also demanded construction of 161-km Tinsukia-Parsuram Kund rail line to help tourists from all over India to put the holy place in global tourism map.

As the trade and commerce minister had assured to look into our demands, “your (Mr Yadav) personal attention, particularly as a descendant of Lord Krishna, would materialize the railway project and boost the high potential tourism sector of this Himalayan state, known as the last Sangri-La on the earth”, red the memorandum.

Subsequently, the ACCI had also written to the PMO and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi besides forwarding copy to both MPs for follow up action, Nachung recalled today, and added that the rail link would boost the socio-economic development of this land-locked state. His reaction came after witnessing the engine running on the track.

Aimed at breaking the sense of isolation of the North East India, the Planning Commission had approved several projects for the NE during the 11th Five Year Plan.

The completion of ambitious 4.315-km Bogibeel road, 198-km Lumding-Silchar-Jiribam gauge conversion, 100-km Ziribam-Imphal extension project to link Manipur, the 108-km Kumarghat-Agartala, Jiribhum-Tulpul; Dimapur-Zuzba; Azra-Byrnihat the gauge conversion of Rangiya-Murkongsele, 84-km Badarpur-Bhairabi section for gauge link to Mizoram, and the 15-km Amguri-Tuli line would expand the rail network in the region.

It is commonly believed that the British rulers during 1858 to 1947 did more good to India than the Indian rulers did since then. For the British came as traders and undertook development work intended to flourish their trade. This was cited by Yadav, who in his 2007 Railway Budget speech had said: “Even the foreign government of the British had understood this fact and from 1833 to 1900, they built 40,000 km of rail track whereas we constructed only 8,000 km of rail track between 1947 to 1995”.

Though the average rail density of India is 19.13 and the NE is one of the poorest, Assam stands at 31.9 while the ratio of other states (in descending order) is Delhi (138.2) followed by West Bengal (43.4), Punjab (41.6), Haryana (36.1), Bihar (35.9), Uttar Pradesh (35.8) and Tamil Nadu (32.1).

Gogoi woos Barak Valley voters with Rail link to Kolkata

Silchar सिलचर (SCL): Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday wooed voters in the Barak Valley by promising to link Karimganj with Kolkata by laying railway tracks via Bangladesh.

Addressing an election rally in Karimganj in southern Assam, Gogoi said Silchar is a major business hub and an important town of the state near Bangladesh. The railway project would facilitate expansion of trade between the two countries and also reduce the distance between the Barak Valley and Kolkata.

The Chief Minister said he will take up the issue with the Centre so that it can take it up with Dhaka.

A railway track from Mahishashan, India’s last railway station in Karimganj, stretches up to Sylhet in Bangladesh. However, the track has remained abandoned for the last four decades for diplomatic reasons, a source said.

Addressing the rally organized in support of Congress nominee Lalit Mohan Shuklabaidya for Karimganj Lok Sabha seat, Gogoi said he had promised a package of Rs 1,000 crore before the last assembly election, if most of the seats in the Barak Valley were won by Congress and had kept his promise after coming to power in 2011. “Now, I promise another package for the Barak Valley if Congress wins both Karimganj and Silchar Lok Sabha seats,” said the chief minister.

Addressing a 3000-strong crowd on the Public School ground in the border town, Gogoi said there was no ‘Modi wave’ in Assam. It was only ‘Gogoi wave’ across the state, he claimed.

“I will continue to remain the Chief Minister of Assam and Rahul Gandhi will be the Prime Minister after the general elections,” said Gogoi. He said AIUDF is the ‘B-Team’ of BJP in Assam. “Narendra Modi never spoke a word against AIUDF during his visits to the state. Both Modi and Badaruddin Ajmal have made it a habit to criticize me and Congress. Don’t vote for both the parties. They are two sides of the same coin,” said the Chief Minister.

However, Minister for Cooperation and Border Area Development Siddeq Ahmed didn’t attend the rally. A source said he was unhappy that Public Health Engineering Minister Gautom Roy was accompanying the Chief Minister at the meeting.

East Central Railway GM inspects work on Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge

rail-cum-road-bridgePatna पटना (PNBE): East Central Railway (ECR) GM Madhuresh Kumar on Saturday inspected the ongoing work on the Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge in Patna and directed officials concerned to maintain a close coordination with district officials of Patna and Saran to remove all encroachments on roads for smooth construction of the bridge. The bridge is to be commissioned on March 31, 2015.

Giving this information, ECR CPRO Arvind Rajak said the GM also directed officials to float tenders for the leftover work.

The GM asked the agencies engaged in the work to complete girder erection work fast and complete road deck also. Out of 36 spans, railways has almost completed 24 spans of the bridge, 13 from the south end and 11 from the north end, sources said.

According to ECR GM, railways has adopted a calculated strategy to complete the project in time and dedicate the bridge to the nation by the end of March 2015. Technical experts of railways are supervising the quality of work of the bridge.

Besides, railways is carrying out fabrication and erection work on the rail bridge which is going on in full swing. The distance between two spans is about 131 metre.

According to sources, the whole project is likely to be completed at an estimated cost of about Rs 2,921 crore which includes cost of road construction work on the bridge. This is going to be the longest rail-cum-road bridge of Indian Railways having a length of about 4.5km.

This bridge will connect south and north ends to the state capital. Railways is building two stations Pataliputra in the south and Pahelja in the north end to cope with traffic flow after commissioning of the bridge. While Pataliputra station is almost complete, work on Pahelja railway station is going on, sources said.

According to Rajak, while width of the road on the bridge will be about 9.075 metre, the path for the convenience of the pedestrians will have 1.5 metre width.

Montek for Railways as a Public Sector Enterprise

MontekShahpur शाहपुर: The Railways should be converted into a public sector corporation. It is running like a government department and not performing as per expectations. The Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia stated this while interacting with students of the Central University Himachal Pradesh here today.

Ahluwalia said a few decades ago, the infrastructure of the Railways was on a par with that of China. The latter is now far ahead of India in terms of railway network infrastructure. The basic reason for that is that China has refurbished its railways ministry whereas in India, it is just like any other government department.

He said the total subsidy on passenger freight in India is around Rs.20000 crores annually. In China, the passenger fare in railways is more than commercial freight rates. In India, it is the reverse. In case the commercial and passenger freights in Indian railways were rationalised, it could help in the industry’s growth, Ahluwalia said.

Earlier, while delivering a lecture on Indian Economic Objectives and Prospects, Montek said in the last two years, the annual growth rate of the Indian economy had gone down from 8 per cent to 5 per cent. Two-third of the reasons for the slowdown in the Indian economy were domestic while one-third of these were linked to the global slowdown, he said.

The basic domestic reasons responsible for slowdown in the Indian economy were environmental clearances and increasing non-performing assets of the banks and non-availability of finances in the market, he added. In the last one decade, there has been a huge increase in investments in India.

The systems in India for environmental clearances were unable to cope with increase in investment proposals, he said. Another reason for the economic slowdown was uncertainty in policy in view of the polls, he added. Whichever government is voted to power in India after May, the economy would achieve a growth rate of about 5.5 per cent this year and about 7 per cent next year, he said.

The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission claimed there had been reduction in poverty in India in the last 10 years. About 140 million people in India had come out of the poverty line in the last 10 years, he said, quoting a poverty measure whose authenticity has been doubted of late.

About the allegation that the poor were getting poorer due to the policies of the present government, he said it was not true. He said though there was no data on income to substantiate the fact that poor were getting poorer in the country, in terms of consumption index, there has been a small increase in inequality in the Indian society. He said the view regarding increasing inequality in the Indian society has been created by media.

In many foreign countries, products meant for the middle class are advertised. In the Indian media, the products meant for the high end society are largely advertised. This has created an impression that the gap between rich and poor is increasing, claimed Ahluwalia.

Highlights of Ahluwalia’s speech

  • Ahluwalia said China was far ahead of India in terms of railway network infrastructure
  • China had refurbished its railways ministry whereas in India, it is just like any other government department, he said
  • About 140 million people in India had come out of the poverty line in the last 10 years, the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman said, quoting a poverty measure whose authenticity has been doubted of late.

Mookambika Railway Yatri Sangha urge KRCL to extend Bhatkal train till Madgaon

Mookambika Road (BYNR): The Mookambika Railway Yatri Sangha, Byndoor has appealed the Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) to extend the Mangalore Central – Bhatkal Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) service up to Madgaon.

Issuing a press release, president of the Sangha, K. Venkatesh Kini said that the present schedule of the DEMU service was not convenient for the passengers as the DEMU service from Bhatkal often arrived late to Mangalore Centre resulting in lack of the expected public response. Hence, he said, it was necessary to extend the service up to Madgaon.

It may be noted that during the last Konkan Railway Users Consultative Committee meeting, a similar demand was made But the KRCL officers has responded that running of DEMU service between Karwar and Mangalore would be considered after successful installation of bio-toilets.

As the Mangalore-Bhatkal DEMU service already had toilet and water facility, it is possible to extend it to Madgaon.

Lucknow Residents blame Railways of encroaching LDA land

Lucknow लखनऊ (LKO): Northern Railway’s decision to build a boundary wall in the fully developed Lucknow Development Authority colony of Vineet Khand-5, Gomtinagar has left around 50 families in jeopardy as their properties come within the wall’s ambit. They bought plots from LDA years ago and some even built houses.

After inhabiting the area for almost 13 years, locals found their plots occupied by Northern Railways. Since the area is close to railway land, there has been a decade-old disagreement between railways and LDA on land-sharing. The matter once again came to the fore this week when residents found a railway contractor digging their plots on the main Nagar Nigam road and blocking entry to the park of the area.

Railways want to build a memu-train shed, hence digging land to erect boundary wall around it. Allotees of the plot complain the contractor has ruined most underground infrastructures of the colony during land cutting. The locals said LDA and railways had already done a demarcation survey jointly in 2003 and had installed division poles on the land.

LDA developed facilities like sewerage, drainage, water supply and electricity infrastructure in the colony by 2002 and allotted it to owners a year later. The colony was transferred to Municipal Corporation in 2008. The sudden land cutting led to huge public resentment forcing the contractor to leave the spot. On Sunday, all affected families gathered on the disputed land to oppose construction and plan future course.

Property owner Ajay Shrivastav said “we have complained to LDA and LMC several times and both agencies have written strong letters to railway authorities for restoration of the road and for action against the railway contractor. After repeated reminders, railway authorities finally turned up on Saturday and agreed to conduct a joint survey again for demarcating the land.”

Meanwhile, railways’ action has caused resentment among allottees who say they expected clear ownership of land when buying it from LDA. They are now demanding that LDA must set up a boundary wall demarcating its land, to check any future attempt by the railways. LDA had acquired this land from Husedia village farmers to develop the colony in late 1990s.

LDA’s stand

LDA has not only allotted plots but also constructed roads, parks, laid down sewer and electricity lines years ago. Railways had then not expressed any objection. Their attempt to react after such a long time and claim the LDA land is unfair.

Railway’s stand

A railway land will always remain railway’s, irrespective of when we want to build a facility there. As per revenue records, map shows the land belongs to us. We want to build memu-train shed for maintenance. It is LDA’s mistake to allott them plots in our land knowingly. Earlier, during demarcation survey of 2003 too, LDA had made such folly for which it had ended up cancelling around 40 odd plots.

Namma Metro: Precious space gone waste

svroadmetroBangalore बंगलौर (SBC): The concrete marvel, that is the Metro Rail, is as inconvenient as it is convenient. Though its world-class infrastructure makes people reach their destination in a jiffy, sometimes the huge stretches that are used to make a station leave one wondering if so much space is required for it.

One such example is the Swami Vivekananda Metro Station.  The entrance to the station (from the Baiyappanahalli side back to MG Road) is on a massive road that could take a huge load of traffic.

Yet the irony is that vehicles aren’t allowed to move in here and there is a huge pile-up of traffic on the main road outside.

Metrolife interacts with the authorities and citizens using this stretch to find out the solution.

Pallavi, a lecturer at East Point of Higher Education who stays in Pai Layout near Gopalan Mall, feels that the stretch is wasted.

“We have to wait for 20 minutes on the road outside to clear the signal. The least the authorities can do is provide parking here,” she laments.

Dinesh, a second-PUC student, notes that the traffic is really bad during peak hours.

“I often travel between Baiyappanahalli and Ulsoor and in the evenings, it takes at least 15 minutes to clear this stretch. This space could be made more useful,” he notes.

A second-PUC student of Indiranagar Composite PU College, Chaitra points out certain good things about the clear space.

“When it rains, one can take shelter here. Even when it’s too sunny, it’s a cool stretch to be at. In the mornings, one can see people enjoying their walks while children play and cycle here even though it’s not allowed,” she says.

Jayashree, an accountant, feels that if the stretch is used better, the Bengaluru Santhe could be given more visibility.

The authorities, who are slowly but tastefully using the space at the stations to build cultural spaces like Rangoli Metro Art Centre and Bengaluru Santhe, which is currently at this station, have more plans.

Explaining why traffic isn’t allowed to move here at present, UA Vasanth Rao, general manager (finance), Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, says, “If we allow the traffic coming from MG Road through this stretch, it will get choked at the end of this stretch near the other half of Bengaluru Santhe, which will make the situation worse. That’s why we are planning to come up with three flyovers near Suranjandas Road,” he says.

The BDA, BBMP and BMRCL will be discussing this with the State Government, he informs.

“Once these flyovers come up, we will open one half of the stretch for vehicles. The original idea was for people using the Metro Rail to use this space as a pick-up and drop point,” he notes.

On the other half of the stretch towards the footpath and station, the authorities plan to open a world-class food court.

“Since this road leads to the IT corridor, we plan to open a grand food court that will have the most well-known food outlets, which will maintain hygiene and keep the surroundings clean. It will be open till 1 am. We will spruce up the place so that people can sit and enjoy or take away as they drive through. So while one half of the road will be for people using the food court, the other half will be open to regular traffic. And people can always park at the existing parking facility at the station,” he sums up.

Ahmedabad-Mumbai High-speed railway project talks put on fast track

530-odd kilometres between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will be covered in just 2 hours

Ahmedabad अहमदाबाद (ADI): The ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed railway project had its first full-fledged meeting at the Railway Ministry earlier this week. Representatives from Maharashtra, Gujarat, the Japanese Industrial Cooperation Agency (JICA), and railway board officials attended it.

According to sources, the meeting was held to bring about a broad consensus on the project, especially between the governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

The project, among the most ambitious ones the railways has on its plate, will see trains running between Mumbai and Ahmedabad at more than 300 kilometres per hour and try to complete the
530-odd kilometres between the two cities in around two hours.

According to officials, one of the things agreed upon was to start the line from Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and then take it to Thane and onward to Virar. While the state government is keen that the line also touches Belapur to bring Navi Mumbai in the ambit, railway officials said the Bealpur detour is best avoided.

Another issue that was discussed, said sources, was to ensure that the terminal to come up at BKC have a connection to the BKC metro station envisaged as part of the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz metro line III. “That will allow people from the southern part of Mumbai to reach BKC and board the train. With the train taking around the same time as a flight, we do believe that a lot of people will be patronising it. And south Mumbai has a sizeable chunk of people who travel frequently to Gujarat,” said the official.

According to officials, there is still some ambiguity over where the terminal at Ahmedabad would be. “The railways is of the view that it should be a little away from the present Ahmedabad station,” said an official.

With its price ranging between Rs.35,000 to Rs.60,000 crore, officials said the project will require a major push from the Gujarat government if it has to be successful. “More than Mumbai, it will be a game-changer for Gujarat since several of its big cities will be part of the network,” said an official.

The project was to start from Pune but the Mumbai-Pune leg had to be dropped due to the massive cost involved in laying a high-speed network in the mountainous terrain around Pune.

Alert Railway Staff avert major train mishap: Rajdhani Express escapes train fire

Smoke seen in New Delhi-Ahmedabad Rajdhani Express, major mishap averted

Sojat Road सोजत रोड (SOD):  An alert railway staff on Sunday averted what would have been a major mishap by stopping the New Delhi-Ahmedabad Rajdhani train near Sojat Road station and putting out the smoke coming out of an SLR coach.

A pointman at Sojat Road station, which falls along Ajmer-Marwar Junction route, observed the smoke emerging from the SLR coach of the New Delhi-Ahmedabad Swaran Jayanti Rajdhani Express train at around 4 am, and informed the station master who immediately contacted the train guard who stopped the train in between Sojat-road and Bhaisna where the crew members put out the smoke, chief PRO and DGM of NWR Tarun Jain said.

The train was stopped between Sojat-road and Bhaisna railway station, and the affected SLR coach was removed at Bhaisna railway station, Jain said.

NWR General Manager, R C Agarwal announced awards for the railway employees who averted the mishap, he said.

In another incident, the engine of Marudhar train (Jodhpur-Delhi) developed a technical snag in between Bandikui and Dausa railway station early on Sunday, an RPF inspector said.

The train was halted till the new engine was shuttled with it, he said, adding the train was halted for about half hour.

JD Seelam to pursue Railway Zone for AP

Headquarters may be located at either Vijayawada or Vizag, he says

Visakhapatnam विशाखापट्टनम (VSKP):  Union Minister of State for Revenue JD Seelam has said the Congress rule has not been exemplary, but then all the benefits that the poor are enjoying are a result of schemes that have been formulated and implemented by different Congress regimes. Addressing a media conference here on Sunday before leaving for Paderu the Union Minister said the sporadic incidents of violence against Dalits and tribal people cannot take away the credit from the Congress as it was the only party which was committed to serving the poor.

He lashed out at non-Congress political leaders of the State for trying to push the blame of bifurcation on the Congress and said AICC president Sonia Gandhi with a painful heart took the decision to divide the State and in the same breath welcomed bifurcation terming it as beneficial to the people of AP.

He came down heavily on the political leaders who quit the Congress after the bifurcation and were now trying to paint the party with a tar brush.

Referring to reports that the Railway Board had turned down the decision on formation of a new Railway Zone in AP, he said he would call for the file and study the grounds on which the officials of the Railway Board had reached a conclusion. There was no way the officials can turn down the directive of the government, he said and added that he would send a letter to the board along with the relevant provisions in the Reorganisation of AP Act 2014, which would have to be honoured.

The headquarters of the new Railway Zone could be either Vijayawada or Visakhapatnam, he said.

No Railway Zone for Residual Andhra; No Coach Factory for Telangana: Railway Board

Hyderabad हैदराबाद (HYB):The railway ministry has dashed the hopes of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh by informing the state government that it is not possible to establish a new railway zone exclusively for AP and that “it is not needed to set up a rail coach factory in Telangana”. A communication to this effect was also submitted to the Union home ministry, which is overseeing the division process and compliance of the promises made during the passage of the AP Reorganisation Act in Parliament.

In the 13th schedule of the Act, it was assured that the Centre will examine the proposal of a new railway zone in residuary Andhra Pradesh and the feasibility of a rail coach factory in Telangana. But the railway ministry, four days ago, made it clear that a rail coach factory in Telangana is “not needed as the existing capacity and planned capacity is sufficient to meet future needs”. With regard to the new railway zone, the ministry said “the proposal is not justified due to financial, geographical and other reasons.” People had hoped that the railway zone would boost transport facilities and exports.

The ministry’s stance has taken the state government aback. “It is mere reiteration of their old stance on both the issues. A separate railway zone and inclusion of Waltair division in the South Central Railway zone are pending for long. The railway ministry has refused to meet the demand based on a financial viability report,” said a source in the government.

Meanwhile, in more bad news for Telangana, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) informed the state government and the Centre that it has no new coal linkage to take up the 4,000 MW thermal power plant for the state. NTPC also informed the Centre that without new coal linkage, it could not take up such a massive thermal project.

“NTPC has been asked to re-prioritize its present coal allocations. However, it has not shown interest and has instead asked the state government to provide land and water first,” said a source.

With no coal, power sector officials said it is next to impossible to set up the thermal unit, which needs more than 10 lakh tonnes of high calorie coal supply every month.

Chief secretary PK Mohanty held talks with the cabinet secretary and officials of 18 ministries in New Delhi on Thursday to update them on the progress made on the division process.

RLDA floats EOI for commercial development of 4.3 hectares of Prime Land in Bandra (E)

INR 2500 Crore is what Railways will get by leasing one land parcel in Bandra

 

Bandra बांद्रा (BA):  The Indian Railways has floated tenders seeking interest from real estate developers for commercial development of 4.3 hectares of a prime land parcel in Bandra (East). The land, which will be given to successful bidders on a 45-year lease, is expected to fetch railways Rs.2,500-3,000 crore, said sources in know of the development.

Railway Land Development Authority (RLDA) is undertaking the task of commercial exploitation of this land, which will have a floor space index (FSI) of 4.

The Maharashtra government had increased the FSI limit of this land from 2 to 4 in 2008. Of the additional FSI, nearly 60% of the proceeds will be utilised for funding the Rs.5,300 crore Phase II of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) by Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC).

MRVC is a public sector undertaking incorporated in 1999 and primarily carries out capacity augmentation works for the sub-urban railway system in the Greater Mumbai area.

Since the centrally located land abutting Western Express Highway has 16% area under coastal regulation zone (CRZ), the effective FSI on the plot will be 3.68, according to the bid document.

“This is a contiguous parcel of land in a prime location and should attract a lot of interest from developers. If executed well, this commercial development could be good competition to the financial centre of Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC),” says Sanjiv Chaudhary, Director for valuation and advisory (Western Region), Colliers International – a global real estate consultants.

However, being a new development and given the approval and development risks involved, the property may command a slightly low capital value and rentals initially as compared to BKC.

“The expected capital value should be in the range of Rs.20,000 to Rs.25,000 per square feet for this new development. Rentals would be around Rs.200 per square feet per month,” he said. BKC capital values range between Rs.26,000 per square feet to Rs.35,000 per square feet for ready properties, while rentals range in Rs.220-350 per square feet per month.

The much-delayed process of putting the land for commercial development first started in 2008. However, the proposal was met with opposition from some citizens who disputed the ownership of the land, when RLDA first invited bids six years back. It was in 2012 that Maharashtra’s revenue department vacated the stay on the said land and directed the Mumbai suburban district collector to carry out measurement and demarcation.

“There were some legal issues that needed to be sorted even after that, which are over now and so the tenders for the land have been floated. We hope that the process goes on smoothly as a substantial amount of earning from development of this land will be utilised for the ongoing MUTP-Phase II,” says Rakesh Saksena, Managing Director, MRVC.

The bidder will be selected based on the amount quoted for payments to be made to RLDA as a combination of one or more of the following — lease premium, annual lease rent and percentage share from project revenues.

The selected bidder shall deposit commitment security of Rs.60 crore within 15 days of issue of ‘letter of demand’ from RLDA after opening of the financial bid. The project has to be implemented through a special purpose company (SPC) to be set up by the selected bidder.

The paid up and subscribed share capital of the SPC at the time of signing of the lease agreement with RLDA should not be less than Rs.175 crore.

The SPC created will also be required to open and operate an escrow account in which 75% of project revenue shall mandatory be set aside towards payment of outstanding installments of lease premium to RLDA.

In case of lease premium, the selected bidder will be required to pay 15% of the lease premium amount within 60 days from the date of issue of letter of acceptance (LOA) by RLDA. The total lease premium is to be paid within five years from the date of payment of the first installment. As for annual lease, rent shall be revised upwards by 15% every three years (compounded) during the entire term.

Grant Thornton is the consultant on the project and the bids will be evaluated by the consultant along with RLDA. The last date for submission of bids is June 3, 2014.

Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation positive on talks with French financing agency

Lucknow लखनऊ (LKO): Officials from Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation on Friday had a meeting with French financial institution Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) regarding funding of the metro project.

The meeting was organized by the Union Finance Ministry’s Department of Economic Affairs for various Indian projects which the agency is considering for funding.

The French agency has shown interest to extend a loan to the Lucknow metro rail project. LMRC Managing Director Rajeev Agarwal said, “The discussions with the French agency have been positive so far”.

The final decision would come after a series of negotiations, deliberations and loan formalities.

According to LMRC, the conference was for projects already funded by the international bank and those in the pipeline. The fact that DEA invited LMRC for discussions with the bank is a signal that the department is positive about its association with the bank, said an official. A team of experts from AFD has visited the proposed site for the corridor construction.

The cost of the project would be shared between the state government, the Centre and the external agency in the ratio of 20:20:60. LMRC would need around 450 million euros from the agency.

The corporation said it had the required budget to start the project. The state government is expected to allocate some funds towards the metro project in June.

LMRC also said since the loan amount was heavy, DEA might consider more than one international bank for financing. Agarwal said DEA would organize a meeting with the European Investment Bank and a team from there might visit Lucknow soon.

Mott MacDonald provides Engineering & Architectural services for Bangalore Metro Phase-II

Mott Mc DonaldBangalore बेंगलूर (SBC): The civil-engineering group Mott MacDonald is providing detailed engineering and architectural services for the second phase of the Bangalore metro rail project in India. The London-based consultancy is providing the detailed design of the east-west corridor extension from Byappanahalli to Whitefield via the International Tech Park.

This is made up of 16 km of viaduct, 13 elevated stations and a new inter-modal transit hub at Baiyappanhalli. Mott MacDonald is also designing the 6.3km elevated viaduct in the extension of the north-south corridor from Puttenahalli Cross to Anjanapura Township, including five elevated stations.

S Pramod Kumar, Mott MacDonald’s project director, said: “Our work on the second phase of this project builds on our phase-one role as a detailed design consultant. We’re designing five underground stations, as well as providing mechanical, electrical and public-health engineering services for a sixth underground station. When the transport system is finished, it will be capable of carrying 1.5 million passengers per day and will reduce journey times across the city. It is also expected to cut traffic congestion and fuel use, minimising both carbon emissions and road accidents.”

The second-phase work should be completed in 2017.