IR revenue rises by 7.7%, touches Rs.11559 Crore in Feb 2014

New Delhi: The revenue of Indian Railway (IR) increased 7.7%, on yoy basis, to Rs 11558.61 crore in February 2014. The goods revenue, accounting for 69% of the total revenue, increased 9.1% to Rs 7954.01 crore, while the passenger revenue rose 2.2% to Rs 3029.7 crore in February 2014 over February 2013. However, the revenue from other sources surged 20.4% to Rs 574.9 crore in February 2014. Among the other sources of revenue, the revenue from other coaching increased 16.5% to Rs 298.2 crore, while the sundry revenue improved 25% to Rs 276.7 crore in February 2014.

Passenger traffic declines

The total approximate number of passengers booked declined 0.8% to 647.31 million in February 2014, in addition to 3.4% decline recorded in February 2013. The passenger traffic has declined 1% to 7710.11 million in April-February FY2014, against 2.7% increase in April-February FY2013.

On track to achieve revised revenue estimates

Railways in its Interim Budget 2014-15, has revised the freight earnings target to Rs 94000 crore for 2013-14 from Rs 93554 crore earlier, while scaled down passenger earnings target to Rs 37500 crore from Rs 42210 crore.

Railway passenger revenue has touched 90% of the target, while freight revenue has increased to 91% of 2013-14 targets in the eleven months ended February 2014. Thus, the passengers, freight and overall revenue targets of Railways for 2013-14 would be met in March 2014.

Kejriwal journey in Mumbal Locals creates Chaos at Stations

Mumbai:  AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal today kicked off his Lok Sabha campaign in Maharashtra with a ride on a suburban train here that was marked by chaos and vandalism amid multiple complaints of discomfort to commuters.
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Workers of Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) were accused of vandalising station property after metal detectors were damaged during the chaos at the Churchgate station where Kejriwal rode by train from Andheri.

There was chaos at Churchgate station on Kejriwal’s arrival. The AAP leader earlier took an auto-rickshaw ride.

Welcomed by a crowd of AAP activists, the former Delhi Chief Minister stepped out of the airport and hailed an auto rickshaw along with two other senior party leaders. There was a large media contingent and a significant police presence at the airport.

A contingent of police personnel, media persons and party activists trailed the auto rickshaw over the entire five-km distance till Kejriwal alighted near Andheri station.

The AAP Chief then boarded the city’s lifeline Mumbai local, to travel to Churchgate station in south Mumbai.

As he alighted, a crowd greeted, cheered and virtually mobbed Kejriwal, who was clad in a skyblue shirt with sleeves partly rolled up, his trademark AAP cap and dark trousers. Kejriwal acknowledged their greetings by raising his hands.

Metal detectors at the Churchgate station were toppled in the heavy rush as AAP workers made their way out.

Among the crowd was also a group of youths who showed black flags to Kejriwal as he was leaving the station.

They said they did not belong to any organisation but were students who were protesting against Kejriwal’s alleged “media management” as seen in a leaked video of him on YouTube in which he appears to tell a news anchor to highlight parts of his interview.

Reacting on the damage to property during Kejriwal’s arrival, Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil said the state government will assess whether the damage done today is accidental or purposely done and take action accordingly.

“Wherever law has been flouted action will be taken. Political parties should think while organising such march(es). In a city like Mumbai, it causes immense discomfort to commuters,” Patil said.

Patil also said there is law in Maharashtra which says that cost of damage done to public property shall be recovered from those who are responsible.

Meanwhile, passengers trying to board the slow local from suburban Andheri to Churchgate faced inconvenience as Kejriwal got into the train along with his senior party colleagues and AAP workers.

Later, Kejriwal took out a ‘Jhaadu Chalao Yatra’ through Mumbai streets along with AAP Lok Sabha nominees Medha Patkar and Meera Sanyal.

Kejriwal also attended a private fund-raising meeting, after which he began another road show traversing south Mumbai.

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Delay in Lucknow Metro project will not be tolerated: UP Govt to Officials

Government fears that due to delay, the project cost would scale up and increase the burden on the people as it is ultimately borne by common man

Lucknow (LKO):  A senior UP government official today warned the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) against adopting dilly-dallying tactics towards the project.  Adviser, Uttar Pradesh government’s External aided Projects Department, Madhukar Jetley, said, “No laxity or dilly-dallying on the part of officials will be tolerated in the project. Action will be taken against those found guilty of unnecessary delay”. “The implementation of suggestions given by LMRC Principal Adviser E Sreedharan, during his recent visit should be followed in letter and spirit”, Jetley told reporters here.

He said that due to delay, the project cost would raised and it was ultimately borne by people.

The procedure for selection of experienced professionals should be done as suggested by Sreedharan without any delay to make LMRC successful, Jetley added.

Delhi Metro to fill up 1194 Vacant Posts in 2014

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is recruiting for the post of Station Controller, Customer, Relation Assistant, Junior Engineer and Maintainer. Interested and eligible candidates should send in their job applications before April 15, 2014.

Vacancy details:
Station Controller / Train Operator (SC/TO): 98 Posts
Customer Relations Assistant (CRA): 234 Posts
Junior Engineer / Electrical: 89 Posts
Junior Engineer / Electronics: 136 Posts
Junior Engineer / Mechanical: 35 Posts
Junior Engineer / Civil: 32 Posts
Maintainer: 570 Posts

Discipline-wise Distribution of Maintainer Vacancy
Electrician: 199 Posts
Fitter: 152 Posts
Electronic Mechanic: 175 Posts
Ref and AC Mechanic: 44 Posts

Total Number of Post: 1194 Posts

Eligibility criteria:

  • Station Controller/ Train Operator (SC/TO): Applicant should have done a three year Engineering Diploma in Electrical/ Electronics or equivalent or BSC Hons (Physics/Chemistry/Maths) or BSc (Physics/Chemistry/Maths) from a government recognized University/Institute.
  • Customer Relations Assistant (CRA): Applicant should have completed a graduation course in any discipline, from a government recognised University, and computer literacy (Certificate in Computer Application Course of a minimum 6 weeks duration)
  •  Jr. Engineer/ Electrical: Candidate should have a three year Engineering Diploma in Electrical or equivalent from a government recognised University/Institute.
  • Jr. Engineer/ Electronics: The candidate should have a three year Engineering Diploma in Electronics or equivalent from a government recognised University/Institute.
  • Jr. Engineer/ Mechanical: The applicants should have a three year Engineering Diploma in Mechanical or equivalent from a government recognised University/Institute.
  • Jr. Engineer/ Civil: The applicants should have a three year Engineering Diploma in Civil or equivalent from a government recognised University/Institute.

How to apply: Eligible candidates should apply online through the DMRC official website: http://www.delhimetrorail.com/

Once the candidate has submitted the duly filled online application, he/she is required to mail (by ordinary post only) none copy of the ‘Registration Slip’ along with the necessary documents to: DMRC Limited, Post Bag No. 9, Lodhi Road Post Office, New Delhi- 110003

Important dates:

  • Opening Date for Registration: March 11, 2014
  • Last Date for Submitting Online Application: April 15, 2014
  • Last date of Receipt of Printed Registration Slip along with Documents: April 22, 2014

IL&FS Engg Services bags INR 300 Crore Kolkata Metro project

Company to build Elevated Metro Stations in Kolkata as part of the Award of the Contract on IL&FS

ILFS IndiaGurgaon (GGN): Infrastructure firm IL&FS Engineering and Construction today said it has won a Rs 300- crore contract for elevated metro stations in Kolkata Metro Line in West Bengal by Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL).

“IL&FS Engineering and Construction company has been awarded a contract by RVNL, Kolkata for a value of Rs 299.76 crore towards construction of seven elevated metro stations from sub CBD-1 to Titumir in New Garia-Airport Metro Corridor of Kolkata Metro Line in state of West Bengal,” the company said in a BSE filing.

The project has to be completed in three years from the date of issue of letter of acceptance.

The company is already executing two railway contracts for RVNL worth more than Rs 500 crore – one involving construction of a new broad gauge railway line in Kadapa and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh.

It said it is executing the other project in Maharashtra which involves doubling of Bhigwan-Mohol section part of Daund-Gulbarga doubling in Solapur district.

The engineering company said it is also executing Rapid Metro Project Phase II in Gurgaon involving construction of 6.7 km of elevated viaduct, and five elevated stations worth approx. Rs.350 Crore value.  Earlier, IL&FS Engineering Services successfully executed the phase I contract worth Rs. 259.30 crore that involved construction of single and double track elevated viaduct including six station buildings. 

Earlier the company has executed Rapid Metro’s phase I contract worth Rs 259 crore that involved construction of single and double track elevated viaduct, including six station buildings.

Shares of the company closed at Rs 39.80 apiece, up 5.99% from the previous close on the BSE today.

AAP fields women candidate against Mallikarjun Kharge in Gulbarga

B.T. Lalitha Naik, former Minister, is in the fray against political heavyweight and Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge

LalithanaikGulbarga (GR): The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has sprung a surprise in the Gulbarga Lok Sabha (SC) constituency by fielding a relative outsider B.T.Lalitha Naik, former Minister, as its candidate against political heavyweight and Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge.

With this, two candidates belonging to the Banjara community — Dr. Naik and BJP candidate and former Minister Revu Naik Belamagi — will test their luck against Mr.Kharge here.

The Janata Dal (Secular), however, is yet to announce its candidate for the seat. The name of State convener of the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti D.G. Sagar, who unsuccessfully contested the Assembly election in the Gulbarga Rural (SC) constituency in 2013, is on top in the list of probable JD(S) candidates. Sixty-nine-year-old Dr. Naik hails from Thangali tanda in Chikmagalur district and is now a Bangalore resident.

A former Minister in the erstwhile Janata Dal government, Dr. Naik started her political career as a member of the Upper House in 1986. She was elected to the Legislative Assembly from Deodurga in Raichur district in 1994.

For a brief period she was the president of the women’s wing of the JD(S) and also national executive member of the party. She, however, failed in her subsequent attempts to enter the Assembly from different constituencies.

Dr. Naik is a relatively new face to the voters of Gulbarga. Her candidature has come as a surprise even to AAP activists in the constituency.

Books to her credit

Dr. Naik has written at least 16 books, including a collection of children’s stories, dramas and novels. Considering her contributions to the fields of literature and social service, Kuvempu University, Shimoga, conferred an honorary doctorate on her in 2009-10.

Dr. Naik has also acted in films such as Zadero Pankheru (Forest Bird) in Banjara dialect, Priya-O-Priya and Ashanti; telefilm Ondu Hennina Kathe, and popular teleserial Mukta Mukta.

Works on East Central Railway projects to be affected due to Polls

Hajipur (HJP): The ongoing railway projects, including those which were cleared during Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad’s tenure as railway ministers, worth over several crores in Bihar are likely to be affected due to ensuing Lok Sabha elections. The projects cleared during Nitish and Lalu regime are already delayed in the state for one reason or the others.

Railways is working hard to complete Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge project within the stipulated time of March 2015 to ease the huge traffic flow on the Gandhi Setu. But the construction work is likely to face a great setback due to Holi and elections. Besides, the flow of fund is also likely to hit the construction work.

Fate of two locomotive manufacturing factories (diesel) at Marhaura (Rs 2,052 crore) and ‘electric’ at Madhepura (Rs 1,293 crore) will also hang in balance as railway ministry cannot take any decision in this regard due to elections. Any decision on the two factories, to be set up in Bihar on public private partnership (PPP) mode, is possible only after the installation of a new government at the Centre.

Besides, the row over newly built Patliputra station in Patna could not be resolved so far. Even this row is not likely to be resolved before Lok Sabha elections, sources said.

ECR CPRO Amitabh Prabhakar, however, rejected the notion of any delay in various railways projects. The fund flow for the sanctioned ongoing projects will continue and railways is hopeful of completing most of them, he said.

Earlier, railways had decided to develop north Bihar on the pattern of Bangalore, Hardwar and Bhopal as most of railway projects are located there. An avenue of employment opportunities would emerge for people in the state. Railways have major factories at Jamalpur, Chittranjan (Bengal) and Varanasi. Barring Varanasi, other two factories have no ancillary support. Incidentally all these proposed factories in Bihar, will have full ancillary support, sources said, adding there is no place across the globe where such major factories have been set up within a radius of 300km only. Thus Bihar would be a state on the map of developed railways in the country, a former technical experts of railways G N Sahay said.

Karnataka going slow on Land Acquisition for Railway line projects

Land acquisition for Tumkur–Davangere line yet to get Cabinet approval

Bangalore (SBC):  The State government is said to be lukewarm to new railway lines sanctioned on cost-sharing basis as it is going slow on land acquisition for such projects.

One of the classic cases is the 199.7-km Tumkur–Davangere line, which was announced in the 2011–12 Railway Budget and sanctioned by the Railway Board in October 2013.

The cost of the project is Rs.1837 crore. The Railway’s share is Rs.856 crore and the State government’s share is Rs.980 crore, including the land acquisition cost of Rs.124 crore.

Though the new line will provide connectivity to the proposed National Investment Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) near Tumkur, which is expected to provide jobs to over 1.6 lakh people, the State Cabinet is yet to approve land acquisition for the project.

The NIMZ is proposed on 14,091 acres of land in Tumkur and Sira taluks abutting National Highway 4 and is expected to attract an investment of over Rs. 35,000 crore with an anticipated annual turnover of about Rs.80,000 crore.

The proposed railway line passes through the NIMZ. The station is proposed at Thimmarajanahalli.

A series of letters has been exchanged between the South Western Railways, special land acquisition officers in Tumkur and Davangere districts, and the Infrastructure Development Department to hasten land acquisition. However, land is yet to be handed over to the South Western Railways, though it sent the first proposal for acquisition of 324 acres of land in Tumkur district to the government in December 2012.

While the government is yet to appoint special land acquisition officers for the project, land acquisition officers in charge of other projects were given additional responsibility. Letters by these officers seeking release of funds for land acquisition too have not received any response from the government, sources in the South Western Railways told.

Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee told that the government’s priority was to complete the doubling of the Bangalore–Mysore line. The other projects would be attended to on the basis of their economic viability, industrial improvement and employment generation. Karnataka was the first State in the country to opt for cost-sharing in projects to augment the railway network.

Kharge to inaugurate new Hampinagar Railway Station on 15th March

Bangalore (SBC): Soon, residents of Jayanagar, Vijayanagar and Mysore Road need not go to the Nayandahalli railway station to catch a train. The South Western Railway has constructed a small station at Hampinagar in Vijayanagar (near RPC Layout) and it will be thrown open in a couple of days.

Union Minister for Railways Mr.Mallikarjun Kharge had announced that the Hampinagar station would be ready by March 15 and the station is likely to be inaugurated the same day without much fanfare, owing to the model code of conduct.

Most of the work on the station is already over and ticketing services are also likely to start on March 15.

A relatively smaller station, it is spread over five kilometres and passengers have to get in and out through the level crossing, due to congestion around the station. Officials are yet to decide on trains that will stop at the station.

Sources said that to begin with one or two passenger trains will stop here in the morning and evening for the convenience of those working in nearby places.

Divisional Railway Manager Anil Kumar Aggarwal said, “It’s a small station to start with. Later, depending on the requirement, it will be expanded. So far, it has not been decided on the trains which will have stoppages. We are waiting for an approval on this from our headquarters.”

It is being renamed as the Vijayanagar Krishnadevaraya station. Since the station is located in a busy area and is surrounded by encroachments, it will be quite a task for passengers to approach the station. Railway officials said that they may seek the BBMP’s help whenever required to clear the area of encroachments.

The railways has managed to get the station constructed without seeking financial aid from any agency.

When questioned why the station was not mentioned in the railway budget, officials said that this is a very small station and does not need to be mentioned in the budget.

Kochi Metro: Move to relocate Metro station from railway land invites criticism

Kochi: The Kochi Metro Rail Ltd’s (KMRL) move to build a Metro station at the Kochi corporation-owned land near Government girls higher secondary school, Ernakulam, instead of having it on Southern railway premises has invited severe criticism as it could upset plans for seamless integration of public transport in the city.

Commuters will be forced to depend on other modes of transport to shuttle between Ernakulam south railway station and Kochi Metro’s station.

Terming it a self-defeating move, a senior official with Kochi Metro said, “The public expects Kochi Metro authorities to provide a hassle-free transportation facility. Across the world there is a practice of linking Metro systems with existing airports, railway stations, bus terminals and even ports. The new decision will force passengers either to walk between the two points or depend on other vehicles.”

The Ernakulam south (junction) is one of the major points on Kochi Metro’s route, and it is a point where the road, railway and Metro network meet. Even there exists a possibility of developing south railway station to international standards.

As KMRL announced the move to relocate Metro station after the declaration of Lok Sabha polls, neither the Centre nor state government could take a “political decision in favour of Kochi Metro”. It could also lead to a situation where various other agencies which acquired land for development works denying land for Kochi Metro.

Expressing concern over the development P Rajeev, MP, said, “This is a serious situation. KMRL is a joint venture of both central and state governments. And it was the state government which helped in acquiring land for railway. Other agencies which have received similar benefit from the state could cite the example of railway and deny land for the prestigious project.”

He also demanded that Union minister K V Thomas “should own up the responsibility of Kochi Metro not getting land from railway”.

IRCTC launches Special Train to cover all Panj Takhts

panj thakt darshanChandigarh (CDG): Providing an opportunity for devotees to cover all the Pank Sikh Takths at one stretch, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has lunched Pank Takht special train from March 21 to 31.

The special train can be boarded from Jammu, Khatua, Bharoli, Gurdaspur, Batala, Amrtisar, Beas, Kartarpur, Jallandhar, Phagwada Ludhiana, Dhuri, Bhatinda and Delhi, said IRCTC’s Regional Manager R.K.Sondh here at the regional office in Sector 34, Chandigarh.

He added that the train would reach Hazoor Sahib on March 23 followed by day-long halt at Bidar on March 25, night halt at Patna Saheb on March 27 and another night halt at Bhatinda on March 29 before reaching Amritsar via Anandpur Sahib on March 31.

Sondh also said, on return journey, the train would leave for Jammu via Batala, Gurdaspur, Bhaoli, and Khatua. But those who would board the train from Beas, Kartarpur, Jallandhar, Phagwada Ludhiana, Dhuri, Bhatinda and Delhi, would be given separate tickets of different trains from Amritsar.

According to him, the journey would be in sleeper-class coaches and the passengers would be given both on-board and off-board catering services, including morning tea, breakfast, lunch, evening tea and dinner. Arrangements shall also be made for accommodation of all the passengers at respective Takht Sahibs.

Transportation, security and housekeeping aspects will also be taken care off. “The package cost for the trip is Rs. 9,072 per person inclusive of all taxes, which is very economical looking at the services,”he said.

Booking could be done through our online booking portal www.railtourismindia.com. Counter booking options were also available at Jammu Tawi, Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Ludhiana railway stations and also through our regional office in Sector 34, Chandigarh. Similar special train would run from Chandigarh on April 18, he informed.

Electrification of Freight Corridors make Ambitious Project more Expensive: Yoshiyui Kasai

Even USA and Australia haul freight trains by diesel locomotives – Yoshiyui Kasai, Chairman, Japanese Railway Co.,

Yoshiyuki-Kasai-Chairman-Japan-Rail-in-IndiaNew Delhi: Electrifying the dedicated freight corridor would make the project more expensive, the chief of the Japanese rail company which runs the famed bullet train has said while finding fault with the condition set by his country’s global funding agency for clearing loans for work on the route.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had suggested that the proposed Western Dedicated Freight Corridor connecting Dadri with Navi Mumbai be electrified.

But Yoshiyuki Kasai, the Chairman and Representative Director of the Central Japan Railway Company, fears that electrification of the route would escalate its cost and force end-users to pay more.

To buttress his point, he gave the examples of the USA and Australia where freight trains are hauled by diesel locomotives.

“In case of freight trains, you do not have to travel very fast… What is important for freight trains is that they have to move at a cost per ton. Electrification is expensive,” Kasai told PTI today.

Known as an authority on high-speed train services, Kasai manages the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train system, which links the major Japanese cities of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

His remarks assume significance in light of the condition set by JICA that the western corridor of the Dedicated Freight Corridor project be electrified in order to receive financial support.

DFC Corporation, a SPV for executing the project, is securing a loan worth 677 billion yen from JICA for developing the Western DFC.

The 1,483-km Western Dedicated Freight Corridor will join Dadri (near Delhi) with the Jawaharlal Nehru Port (near Mumbai).

Kasai though favoured electrification of high-speed train routes and said such a service could run in India between cities which have a major potential for growth.

He also stressed that such projects should be funded by the government as costs involved were high which, however, would be largely offset by the benefits accruing to the people.

“For high-speed trains, an electrified route is the requirement but, for freight movement, electrification is not required,” Kasai said.

High Speed Rail Transport Essential for India’s Growth: Chairman, Japan Rail Co.

“High Speed Trains can push India’s Growth.  It will not be very profitable area of business for private companies, but for Government it will be very beneficial as it will push economic growth” – Yoshiyuki Kasai, Chairman, Japanese Railway

Yoshiyuki-Kasai-Chairman-Japan-Rail-in-IndiaIf India aims to have high speed railways, then Government will have to be ready to bear large part of the required investments. This is what Yoshiyuki Kasai, Chairman of Central Railway Japan Company, a firm famous for operating the famous high speed train Tokaido Shinkasen in Japan — also popularly known as bullet trains — said here today.

Calling for larger government investment in Rail infrastructure, Yoshiyuki Kasai, Chairman of Central Japan Railway Company-that runs bullet trains in Japan, says that not just bullet trains but development of high speed rail transport in India between major cities is fundamental to the overall economic growth. Speaking to press-persons at a media interaction, he says high speed rail cannot be run through subsidies and the consumer should be ready to pay the cost.

Considering that the limited capacity of an average rail passenger to pay, do you think bullet trains is a viable option in India?

Although the per capita income is low in India compared to Japan and it is widely believed that Indian passengers are not ready to pay higher tariffs, one must consider the overall economic impact of the high speed rail. It boosts growth of related urban infrastructure projects, creates jobs and brings in overall efficiency to the system. But it is true that projects like bullet trains are very expensive at stages of construction and operation. It costs about $130 million per kilometre at the construction stage. These costs are will be comparatively lower in India because of cheap labour. But the process of industrialization demands an efficient and quick transport system.

Are you working with Indian Railways on any key project or giving any monetary assistance?

The governments of India and Japan have been working together and sharing knowledge. But we are not into giving any monetary assistance to Indian Railways.

Do you think privatisation or corporatisation of Indian Railways is the way forward for further reform?

One must be careful while taking these steps. The situation of Indian Railways needs to be analysed and the reform should be a gradual process. It is true that the bureaucracy does make things difficult. The options are nationally owned public corporation or part privatisation. But look at the international examples like privatisation of British Rail even Euro Rail has its own issues. So the answer would be specific to the issues of Indian Railways.

Building high speed rail system is an expensive affair and it further gets difficult when the private players have not shown interest in investing in rail infrastructure.

The construction of high speed rail infrastructure and bullet train in Japan has been done by the aid of government through a loan which was paid back as the system was operationally profitable. These are not the kind of projects in which private players will be much interested but public private partnerships is the way forward. There is a local high speed Railway we are building in Japan between Tokyo to Nagoia and the major portion of the spending comes from the government. But the system has to be operationally viable and the consumers should be ready to pay for the services. It cannot run on subsidies.

Election Commission questions Railways’ FDI proposal

Election-Commission-Of-India-logoNew Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) has raised certain questions on the government’s proposal to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in the construction and maintenance segments of the railways. The department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), under the ministry of commerce and industry, had sought permission from the EC for passing the proposal in the Cabinet, since the model code of conduct became effective from March 5. The general elections are going to be held from April 7 to May 12.

Apparently, the EC had asked DIPP to send a brief note on the proposal, since it was asked by the Cabinet Secretariat to seek permission from the poll panel.

The EC has now raised some “procedural” queries based on the note, officials in the ministry of commerce and industry told. They said the EC has asked how the policy will be floated, what is the procedure to be followed, its general impact and, most important, whether the decision will tantamount to favouring the ruling party.

DIPP is yet to send a formal reply to the queries.

The proposal to allow 100% FDI in the construction and maintenance segments of the railway network was floated in August last year.

While private participation based on the public-private-partnership (PPP) model was already allowed by the railways in limited areas, there was a need to sync it with the country’s FDI policy and Industrial Development and Regulation Act. DIPP has proposed that up to 100% FDI be allowed in dedicated freight corridors and high-speed railway networks falling under the fixed-line category.

Currently, FDI is prohibited in railway transport other than mass rapid transport system and component manufacturing. The railways has various models of participation under its policy on participative models for rail connectivity and capacity augmentation projects. This policy was approved in December 2012, where it stated that a foreign direct investor can participate in expansion and modernization work of the railway network only after prior permission from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

The railways proposes to earn around Rs 1 lakh crore through public-private partnership (PPP) projects, which include construction of factories for making locomotives and coaches. Several countries such as China, Japan and Germany have shown keenness to invest heavily in the world’s fifth largest rail network.

FDI in Railways – Specific Areas in which the Funding will Help

New Delhi: It is never too late to buy the latest and most modern equipment available, to get the job done in the Railways and the funding through FDI can help in this.  On the prospects of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Indian Railways, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion had felt that the Railway Ministry’s response to the draft cabinet note was confusing and therefore, it needed some more clarifications before further action could be taken. This is likely to take some more time, but in the meanwhile, it would help matters to review and consider what areas FDI participation would truly help India.

According to information available, rail wagons are designed to carry a load of pre-defined capacity plus nine tonnes with leeway to load one more tonne without any overload penalty across the entire railway network, as per the interim budget, presented recently.

The average load carried per wagon is about 62 tonnes though some wagons carry about 67 tonnes. As per a railway official, as reported in the press, a capacity creation of 15 million tonnes (mt) will account for about 30% of the 50 mt incremental loading that the railways aim to move during 2014-15. They have set a target to achieve 1,101 mt of cargo to be moved in this fiscal year.

However, in order to carry higher load per wagon, the Railways need to invest in wagons, improve rail tracks and bridges. For this purpose, Railways propose a market borrowing of Rs.12,800 crore against Rs.14,000 crore last year, to procure rolling stocks, including wagons, locomotives and coaches. Should the need arise, they will revise the target and borrowing accordingly.

One of the biggest problems that Railways have faced continuously is the issue relating to extension of rail-track laying, for which there are no indigenous technology or capacity. In fact, worldwide, there are only a few companies who can do this job meticulously and who are in great demand. The three principal companies are reported to be Harsco Corporation of the US, ETF of France and China Railway Shanghai Design Institute Group Company. The railway track laying machines are manufactured by the above three major companies, who, on obtaining overseas contracts, bring in their equipment, lay the track, complete their job on schedule, and take back the equipment, to another location for a new assignment!

Readers may recall that for the Eastern Railway Freight Corridor, according to information available, there are 16 bidders, both Indian and foreign, but most of whom have taken supporting bids from two of the above named specialists in the field. This corridor is likely to be completed in four years’ time after the award.

According to an official of the Railways, as reported in the media, there are 35,000 route Kms that cover 70% of rail lines engaged in carrying freight allow for higher carrying capacity. The load per wagon will increase only by about 2 tonnes, as the routes currently permit 2 tonnes less loads per wagon. But to do so, Railways will have to make an incremental investment of Rs.2,000 crore to replace old tracks and engage in upgrades in some areas.

With these data in the background, it is hoped, that when the final directives are outlined for the FDI in Railways, the following factors will also play a vital role in the development:

  1. to engage in serious joint venture discussions to actually start manufacturing the track laying machinery in India itself – need and scope for continuous exists for a few decades to come.
  2. to have a separate joint venture with the same FDI (or the second company) to take contracts for fresh track laying and to renew the old and worn out ones that need to be replaced for improvement and safety.
  3. to have a separate organisation only for maintenance and repairs of all railway tracks in the country.
  4. current passenger coaches are mostly (almost 95-98%) in single decks only; double-decker passenger coaches area novelty; since in many areas the traffic is high, double-deckers would help faster movement.
  5. if Railways do not have a separate division for procurement of land in the proposed areas for laying tracks and stations, this should be established as a separate entity

All these and more and innovative ideas will take at least a decade or more to accomplish, but it is time we set the goals right and focus to reach those objectives. Just in passing reference may be made that a few years ago, these track laying machines cost between Rs.10 crore and Rs.30 crore, and why these were not purchased by the Ministry of Railways is a serious issue that they can only answer, since these would be more expensive now. But it is never too late to buy the latest and most modern equipment available, to get the job done!

(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the Ministry of Commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)

MMRDA to reimburse railways for its land near Ghatkopar Metro Station

Metropolitan Commissioner at MMRDA, UPS Madan claims the issue over the ownership of 1400 sq mtrs of Central Railway land on which the Ghatkopar metro station has been constructed has been solved with the MMRDA being ready to pay Central Railway Rs.18 crore to solve the issue. However, based on the current real estate market rates in Ghatkopar, the cost of this plot may be around Rs 160-180 crore.
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While the 11.04 km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) metro line one is only awaiting safety certificate from Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety(CMRS) , the controversy had knocked the door of MMRDA before the actual operations begun. According to the MMRDA sources, the Central Railway had written a letter to MMRDA informing them that the 1400 meters of land near the Ghatkopar Railway station and LBS Marg belongs to Central Railways and on this land the MMRDA-MMOPL has constructed the Ghatkopar Metro Rail Station.

In a letter sent to MMRDA in January, CR had asserted that the land belonged to them. MMRDA had refuted the railway claim and stated that the land on which Ghatkopar metro station was constructed belonged to the BMC, but had to make a u-turn after the railways submitted documents related to the plot which clarified the land ownership issue.

In order that the metro gets off to a smooth operational start, the authorities have informed the railways that MMRDA would reimbur CR the land cost.

Confirming the same, MMRDA Commissioner UPS Madan said, “Earlier, we thought that it was BMC land, but after going through the documents submitted by CR, it came to light that it was CR’s land and so we have decided to pay them the amount they have demanded.”

The railways had demanded Rs 18 crore from MMRDA and the planning authority will pay the amount soon. Sources from MMRDA told this newspaper that the CR will be having a meeting with their Finance Department on this issue soon after which the decision will be taken.

Pune-Lonavala Suburban Train Commuters celebrate 36th Anniversay of Local Trains

Pune: Suburban railway commuters travelling on the Pune-Lonavla route celebrated the 36th anniversary of the local trains on Tuesday. It was on the same day in 1978 that the first electrical multiple unit (EMU) train was introduced on this section.

Commuters cut a cake to mark the anniversary at the Chinchwad railway station. Railway officials and the loco pilot also joined in the celebrations. The introduction of EMUs, helped bring down the traveling time for commuters. While the locomotive driven trains took 2.15 hours to cover the distance between Pune and Lonavla, EMU trains cover the same distance in 90 minutes. Initially, only two EMU trains were available which resulted in reduction in the number of trips.

At present, four EMUs ferry over 60,000 commuters on the route with four trips. Earlier, only nine-car trains were running on the route. Since last five years, the railways have been running 12-car trains.

Chinchwad Pravasi Sangh’s executive president Gulamali Bhaldar said the Central Railways should consider increasing the frequency of trains during peak morning and evening hours. “There should be a train every 20 minutes during peak hours. The population has increased and so has the number of commuters,” he said.

Dhanbad: A1 category station on a makeover spree

Dhanbad (DHN): Dhanbad railway station, having won the A1 status in August last year, is now going through an image makeover process to become passenger-friendly.

One of the prominent junctions under the East Central Railway, Dhanbad, which records an average footfall of around 20,000 daily, will soon boast a deluxe toilet complex, a food plaza, an executive lounge, lifts and a large parking lot.

Dhanbadstation3135All these facilities are coming up in addition to the recently introduced amenities, like an escalator on the platform No. 2-3, a fast food unit on the platform No. 1, apart from a new complex on the southern part of the station.

Elaborating on the facelift plan, senior divisional commercial manager, Dhanbad, Dayanand said the toilets were being built in the circulating area near the passenger reservation station complex. Developed by a Bhopal-based private firm, Vasundhara Group, the toilets, work on which started a month ago, will be ready by the end of April.

Sources said it would be a pay-and-use facility and comprise 12 blocks, including two urinals, four separate latrines each for men and women, one for handicapped person and one European style lavatory. Besides, there will be bathing showers with provisions for hot and cold water, adequate number of wash basins and mirrors.

On the parking facility, Dayanand said site-levelling work had begun in front of the newly constructed complex on the southern part of the station.“Tender will be issued for the construction,” the senior divisional officer said.

Brindavan Fast Food Products has been roped in to develop the food plaza in the concourse area of the station. Work has already started.

The executive lounge will be developed in the PPP mode. The lounge, which will come up on 1,000 sqmt area, will have a dormitory, wash and change facility, TV, Internet connection, and meet and greet facility.

For the lifts, which will be installed on the platform No. 1 and in between platform No. 3 and 4, tenders will be floated by the railway board soon.

Jumbo Deaths: Slow train speeds in Upper Assam forests mooted

Jorhat (JTTN): The Assam forest department has decided to request NF Railway to briefly stop all trains running to and from Upper Assam districts at Meleng, adjacent to Gibbon wildlife sanctuary off Mariani town in Jorhat district. This will help reduce their speed inside the forest and its adjacent areas.

The forest department hopes that the reduction in speed would prevent trains from hitting wild animals, especially elephants, while passing through the area. Six elephants have died in train-hits since 2010, the last being the death of two jumbos just outside the sanctuary on February 27.

Sources in the forest department said though the speed of trains had been “considerably reduced” (from over 100kmph to about 50kmph) while passing through the sanctuary and its peripheral areas, a further reduction was needed to ensure safety of wild animals.

The forest department has made repeated requests to NF Railway in the past few years to reduce the speed of trains within the sanctuary and its adjacent areas.

The sanctuary is located between Mariani and Nakachari stations, a distance of 11km. The length of rail tracks within the sanctuary is 1.5km.

The herd of jumbos in the sanctuary, whose population has increased to about 40 from 20 in the past nine years, often cross the tracks to move from one area of the sanctuary to another. At times, they also stray out of the forest to nearby villages and tea estates in search of food.

Sources said the train driver had told forest officials after the February 27 accident that he was moving at a low speed — about 50km/hour — but the elephants appeared suddenly before the locomotive and though he blew the horn, the animals did not get time to react.

Mariani range officer D. Medhi told this correspondent that a proposal would be sent to the divisional authorities of NF Railway at Tinsukia in Upper Assam through the authorities of Mariani junction to make a brief stopover at Meleng station, which falls between Mariani and Nakachari stations.

Medhi said he has been in touch with officials of Mariani junction and the proposal would be submitted this week. He said a one or two-minute stop at Meleng station would lead to lowering of train speed to about 20kmph in and just outside the sanctuary which would further ensure the safety of jumbos and other animals.

He said the proposal would also include repeated blowing of horns while passing within the forest and areas adjacent to the sanctuary to warn the animals to clear the tracks.

Jorhat divisional forest officer N.K. Malakar, in his report submitted to Jorhat deputy commissioner Solanki Vishal Vasant on the February 27 tragedy, urged the deputy commissioner to seek further reduction of speed of trains passing within the sanctuary and its adjacent areas with the NF Railway.

Mumbai Metro: 14 Consortia keen to bid for Underground Metro Line

Mumbai:  As many as 14 consortia, including those of  L&T, IL&FS and HCC, have expressed interest in the new underground section of metro. Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra), which developed the first line of transport system in the city, has stayed away.

The proposed Rs.23,000-crore underground line will link Colaba in the south to Seepz area in the north of Mumbai.

The 14 consortia are: Afcons-KMB, CEC-ITDCEM-TPL, CTCEG-PIIPL, Dogus- Soma, IL&FS-CR25G, JKumar-CRTG, L&T-STEC, Mos-metrostroy-Hindustan Construction, OHL-SKE&C, Pratibha Industries-GDYT consortium, Sacyr- CMC-Essar, Salin Impregilo- Gammon, Strabag-AG- Patel and Unity-IVRCL-CTG.

Tiruchirapalli STC to train newly recruited ‘Maintenance Supervisors’

The first batch of 68 undergoing one-year training at STC

Tiruchirapalli (TPJ):  Southern Railway has created a Supervisors Training Centre (STC) at Diesel Traction Training cCentre (DTTC) on the Diesel Loco Shed premises here to impart theoretical and hands-on training to directly-recruited railway maintenance supervisors.

The first batch of the 68 supervisors, including 43 directly recruited by the Railway Recruitment Board, is presently undergoing one year-long training at the STC here on a host of aspects, including maintenance of rolling stock. Hitherto, the new recruits were trained at the STCs in Bangalore, Kharagpur, and Hyderabad.

In addition to the four instructors, guest faculty from railway workshops, diesel sheds, and carriage maintenance of Southern Railway have been engaged to impart training on areas like basic functions of rolling stock and maintenance and inspection procedures.

As part of their training, the trainees are being taken to the diesel loco shed, which houses different types of diesel locomotives for practical exposure on functioning of locomotives and aspects connected with them.

Upon completion of training, the supervisors would be posted to different railway divisions, loco sheds, and workshops falling within the Southern Railway zone.

Although a STC is functioning in Bangalore, it came under the South Western Railway zone, which was created by bifurcating the Southern Railway zone.

Consequently, Southern Railway did not have a dedicated STC facility for long and newly-recruited maintenance supervisors were sent to other centres for training.

The newly-created STC in Tiruchi is the first such establishment in Southern Railway zone, a senior railway official told The Hindu.A proposal has now been forwarded to the Railway Board, New Delhi, to make the maintenance supervisors training at the Tiruchi STC a permanent arrangement.

The DTTC conducts refresher courses at periodic intervals for loco pilots and assistant loco pilots besides organising training in diesel loco simulator established on its premises to enhance the driving skills of loco pilots.

The over 40-year-old diesel loco shed houses 55 high horse power EMD type diesel locomotives, over 50 ‘Alco’ diesel locos, and 23 Diesel Electric Multiple Units besides a few metre gauge diesel engines.

The Tiruchi shed is the largest and lone shed in the Southern Railway zone to house the 4,500 horse power EMD locos which are slightly longer than the conventional diesel locos and are capable of running at a maximum speed of 120 to 140 kilometres per hour.

Senior Railway Staff do ribbon-cutting as a Mark of Honour

Madurai (MDU) (Courtesy TOI): When the Madurai-Chennai Egmore Pandian Express was operated on electric traction on February 12 for the first time after electrification, the senior employees of the technical wing had the privilege of flagging off the train. P Palanisamy, a loco pilot, and K Kasinathan, a technician, were selected by the railway authorities to do the honours, though without any fanfare.

The Indian Railways chooses the senior-most staff of a department or station to preside over internal functions. This gestured is aimed at honouring the railway personnel who put in several years of service. The senior most staff with good track record and who may be retiring in a few days will be chosen by senior officials to inaugurate trains, sections or projects if the railways is not organising any major function for the occasion, said railway sources.

Madurai Divisional Railway Manager A K Rastogi said such acts help to honour the railwaymen and make them feel proud about their tireless service. “We will invite elected representatives for public functions, but the internal ones are normally presided over by the senior most staff of the concerned department,” he mentioned.

R Sankaranarayanan, the divisional secretary of Dakshin Railway Employee Union (DREU), said the custom was in vogue during Jawaharlal Nehru’s rule. “It will be the proudest moment for any railway employee if he or she gets such an opportunity,” he commented. He recalled the inauguration of Vaigai Express in 1977 at the hands of veteran railwaymen. This train was the first superfast train on the meter gauge section of Southern Railway.

P Edward Jeni, secretary of Kanyakumari District Rail Users Association (KKDRUA), said the practice of politicians inaugurating trains amidst much fanfare is a decade-old phenomenon. “New trains or sections used to be inaugurated without much celebration, but after the 1990s, it turned out to be major events with MPs and MLAs taking all the limelight,” he said.

Jeni also noted that the public railway functions organised of late are turning chaotic. AIADMK and Congress workers made a big scene during the recent inauguration of Palani-Tiruchendhur Passenger in their bid to take credit, a railway source said. “Now, inaugural functions are turning into a pain. Recently, a minister wanted the entire 1-km stretch up to the station illuminated for a function,” a railway employee seeking anonymity said.

It is fitting that the railway employees get their due honour. “Our train journeys are safer because of hundreds of unknown railwaymen who carry out their duties tirelessly,” commented S Ramalingam, a regular train passenger. Jeni suggested that railway staff can be even roped in for bigger functions also. “A senior most employee can be asked to flag off or inaugurate in the presence or presidency of MPs or MLAs. Why should political parties take all the credit instead of railwaymen? He reasoned.

Pune Division ready to shift to its New DRM Office-cum-Administrative Complex in a month

Pune: The Administrative Offices of Pune Railway Division, including its commercial office which handles applications of group booking, coach booking and adding of coaches, will soon shift to a new building on Raja Bahadur Mill Road. Around 90% work at the new building is complete and the administration plans to shift operations by next month.

At present, the departmental offices of the Pune division are in three different locations. These offices host more than 500 visitors every day. The commercial department office is located near the Maldhakka chowk, while the offices of the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) and Additional Divisional Railway Manager (ADRM) are located in the premises of Pune station. Scattered locations of these offices often lead to difficulties for citizens as well as staff.

“Visitors and staff will no longer be inconvenienced as all offices will now operate from one building”, an official from the Pune railway division said.

“The construction work has been completed and we are expecting to complete the electric fittings and related works in the next one month”, the official said.

The official added that the three-storey structure, built at a cost of Rs 20 crore, has all the principle provisions of a green building, including maximum use of natural light and ventilation. A separate parking has been provided inside as well as outside the premises for visitors.

The proposal for the new administrative building was initiated a few years back, but was delayed because of financial constraints. The work gathered momentum in the last couple of years after the funds were received.

Sources said that the administration is working on a proposal to provide additional waiting rooms at the station once these offices are shifted in April.

Will scrap all projects led by Kharge in Hyderabad Karnataka: Kejriwal

New Delhi:  Former Chief Minister of Delhi Mr.Arvind Kejriwal mentioned that he will scrap all the all projects being executed by the Railway Minister Mr.Mallikarjun Kharge in the Hyderabad Karnataka region if Aam Aadmi Party comes to power in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. “We will establish a Railway Task Force to conduct a probe against the officials and politicians who are hand-in-glove with the Railway projects, particularly mentioning the names of Kharge and Pawan Kumar Bansal”, Kejriwal told his close associates here on Monday.  “Congress has failed to complete projects even after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government 19 years ago.  What it is going to do now with the big ticket projects with meager budgets?  asked Kejriwal.  The AAP government, which will come to power promising a clean administration, will take over Railway projects immediately. “I will not rest till the issue is taken to a logical end,” he said.

“When Railway Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge sets out seeking votes this time, he is likely to do so in the entire Hyderabad-Karnataka region rather than limit himself to his own constituency of Gulbarga. This is because the 72-year-old Congress veteran has poured the Centre’s money on big-ticket projects the influence of which extends beyond Gulbarga, and well into the Lok Sabha constituencies of Bidar, Raichur and Koppal. He, along with his comrade-in-arm and Bidar MP Dharam Singh also got the Constitution amended to get the region “special status”, Kejriwal said further stating that Kharge betrayed Dalits of the north Karnataka region.

Kejriwal also highlighted that Kharge got AICC president Sonia Gandhi lay the foundation stone laying for a 30-acre mind-blowing healthcare township of ESI Corporation in Gulbarga last year. The Labour Ministry spent Rs.1400 crore on this project alone. AAP Party will probe into all allegations leveled against Kharge in this big ticket project and will initiate CBI enquiry. Kejriwal also stated saying that “one of the reasons why the Gulbarga region saw fewer developments is because of people like Kharge.  He also said he will dig out the corruptions in the Central University, new railway lines, trains and roads and the motto in announcing a separate railway division for Gulbarga, too. Kejriwal also said that one of the reasons why Kharge went into a development over-drive was the defeat voters handed down to his son, Priyank Kharge, in the 2009 by-polls to Chittapur, the Assembly seat that Kharge vacated on being elected to the Lok Sabha.

Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) expresses interest in Lucknow Metro

Lucknow (LKO): After renowned financial agencies like JICA and World Bank expressing interest in financing the city’s metro-rail project, it is now the turn of French financing institution Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) to explore funding opportunities for the project.

AFD’s Director for India and Regional Director for South Asia, Aude Slogny visited the city on Monday to get a preliminary idea about the project. Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) officials apprised her of the project including proposed sites of the two corridors- North-South and East-West, and their technical and financial aspects.

LMRC officials said, “The French development financing agency will send a mission on March 24 again to the city to survey the construction sites and prepare a report on the project. Once the team is satisfied with our project, we can look forward to the project’s funding by the foreign agency.” LMRC said AFD has already funded some key metro projects of the country like in Kochi, Bangalore and Chennai.

Apart from AFD, other prominent foreign loaning agencies are also being considered by the Department of Economic Affairs, Finance Ministry, GOI to extend loan to the city’s metro project. The prominent agencies like World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), KfW Development Bank of Germany, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development carry rich experience in giving technical and financial assistance to development projects across many countries.

State government of UP needs almost 60% of the project’s funding through some external loaning agency. The project’s cost would be borne by the Centre, state government and foreign agency in 20:20:60 ratio. Officials said the loan from foreign loaning agency will be repaid over next 30 years, hence it is very important that the project gets completed in a time-bound manner.

Singareni Chief seek development of Railway Network in SCCL area to boost Coal Biz

1394459424290-1photo.jpgSecunderabad (SC): Sutheertha Bhattacharya, Chairman and Managing Director, Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL), met P.K.Srivastava, General Manager, South Central Railway, at Rail Nilayam today i.e. 10thMarch, 2014. The CMD discussed with the GM o­n the current status of various Railway developmental works like provision of coal loading sidings and construction of new Railway lines etc. being undertaken by SCR in the SCCL area. The CMD also requested the General Manager to allot the requisite number of rakes to scale up the volumes of coal being transported by Rail from SCCL.

1394459343344-photo.jpgSutheertha Bhattacharya, while discussing o­n the current requirement of rakes for coal loading, informed Srivastava that the SCCL would be requiring allotment of around 22 to 25 rakes per day to cater to the needs at various coal loading points such as Yellandu, Godavarikhani, Kothagudem, Manuguru, Srirampur and Ramakrishnapur etc. during the residual period of the current financial year to maximise the coal off take by Rail. The GM informed that necessary action will be taken in this regard within the availability of rakes o­n SCR system o­n a day-to-day basis. The allotment of rakes will also be subject to the progress of loading and advance placement of indents for rakes at various sidings by SCCL, he stated.

The General Manager and CMD have jointly reviewed the progress o­n various Railway infrastructural works being taken up in SCCL area such as provision of coal loading siding at Asifabad; finalisation of alignment plan o­n the Bhadrachalam – Sathupalli new Railway line; approval of detailed project report o­n Bethampudi to Koyagudem line and strengthening of the track at Manuguru siding etc. Completion of the works o­n these key projects would facilitate enhanced loading of coal by Rail from SCCL, diverting the traffic from road, which in turn would help in reducing the pollution and traffic congestion etc. in the concerned areas.

P.K.Srivastava, General Manager/SCR instructed the officials concerned to closely monitor the progress o­n these works for their expeditious completion as it would benefit both the Railways and SCCL. J.N.Jha, Chief Operations Manager, South Central Railway and Nagya, Executive Director (Coal Movement), SCCL were also present during the deliberations.

WCR Engineer caught red-handed accepting bribe

Bhopal (BPL): A railway engineer has been caught red-handed while accepting Rs.7,000 bribe by a vigilance team of the railways here on Monday.

Assistant Electrical Engineer A P Shrivastava who is posted in the power department at divisional railway manager (DRM) office was asking for commission for passing a bill of around Rs.4.5 lakh of an electrical company which supplied CFL lamps to the railways, said senior inspector of vigilance department of West Central Railways (WCR) Sunil Shrivastava.

“Complaints were received about him many times in the past. Hence to catch him red-handed, a team was constituted. Posing as representative of a CFL company, the team met the engineer. Shrivastava asked for 2% commission. The deal was fixed at Rs.7,000,” he added.

दक्षिण मध्य रेलवे राजभाषा ट्रॉफी से सम्मानित

विजयवाडा (BZA):  भारतीय रेल के “ग” क्षेत्र में स्थित ज़ोनों में से दक्षिण मध्य रेलवे को राजभाषा हिंदी में उत्तम कार्य करने के लिए रेल मंत्री राजभाषा ट्रॉफी से सम्मानित किया गया है. यह ट्रॉफी रलवे बोर्ड के अध्यक्ष श्री अरुणेन्द्र कुमार के कर-कमलों से नई दिल्ली में आयोजित एक बैठक में दक्षिण मध्य रेलवे के मुख्य राजभाषा अधिकारी एवं भंडार नियंत्रक श्री महेशचंद्र के साथ वरिष्ठ राजभाषा अधिकारी, श्री लक्ष्मण शिवहरे को दी गयी.
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साथ ही विजयवाडा मंडल को आदर्श मंडल की आचार्य रघुवीर चल वैजयन्ती से पुरस्कृत किया गया, जिसे विजयवाडा मंडल के मंडल रेल प्रबंधक श्री प्रदीप कुमार एवं राजभाषा अधिकारी श्री एस.चिरंजीवी ने प्राप्त की.

इस कार्यक्रम में श्री ए.के.मित्तल,सदस्य कार्मिक, श्री डी.पी.पांडेय, सदस्य यातायात, श्री पी.सी.गजभिये, सचिव रेलवे बोर्ड, श्री राजेन्द्र कश्यप, वित्त आयुक्त, श्री आलोक जौहरी,  सदस्य यांत्रिक, श्री कुल भूषण, सदस्य बिजली, श्रीमती रागिनी येचूरी, सलाहकार औद्योगिक संबंध एवं श्री के.पी.सत्यानंदन, निदेशक,राजभाषा निदेशालय आदि बोर्ड के उच्च अधिकारप उपस्थित थे.

इन सम्मानों के लिए दक्षिण मध्य रेलवे के महाप्रबंधक श्री पी.के. श्रीवास्तव ने अधिकारियों और कर्मचारियों को अपनी शुभकामनाएं एवं बधाई दी.

मुख्य राजभाषा अधिकारी, श्री महेशचंद्र ने कहा कि दक्षिण मध्य रेलवे के लिए यह गर्व की बात है और हम सभी का दायित्व है कि इस सम्मान को कायम रखने के लिए हम अपना कार्य राजभाषा में करें तथा राजभाषा की विभिन्न योजनाओं का लाभ उठाएं.

Four Logistics Parks coming up in Andhra Pradesh

Secunderabad: Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR) Chairman and Managing Director, New Delhi, Mr. Anil Kumar Gupta has said, 4 Multimodal Logistics Parks (one stop logistic solutions) are coming up at Visakhapatnam, Karimnagar, Nagulapalle and Krishnapatnam.

Participating in the silver jubilee celebrations of CONCOR, South Central Region, Hyderabad and Customer Day celebrations at Railway Officers’ Club, Secunderabad, on Friday, Gupta said that the export cargo which met a slump for a while is now picking up.

CONCOR registered a turnover of INR 47.43 crore in 2012-13 by moving 2.58 millions containers having high value export, import and domestic cargo.

Gupta added that in South Central Region, CONCOR operates four inland container depots (ICD) at Sanathnagar, Visakhapatnam, Guntur and Desur near Belgaum and a domestic container depot at Nagalapalli.

Representatives of export firms, import firms, shipping liners, business associates, freight forwarders, major corporate customers and domestic customers from all over the state who use the multi-model logistics services of CONCOR, participated in the customer day celebrations.

SCR general manager PK Srivastava lauded the growth of CONCOR in the previous 25 years and wished the CONCOR to scale to greater heights given the potentials available in the exim and domestic market.

Chief Commissioner, Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax, Hyderabad BB Prasad extolled CONCOR for its matchless service by safely moving high value finished products in containers in a specific time frame immensely contributing to the growth of business and trade and economy as a whole.

DFCC (Western Corridor) Project feared to be a threat to Ancient Chandravati site

chandrawati-excavation4Ajmer (AII): Dedicated Freight Corridor Project, an infrastructure initiative by the Ministry of Railways, is feared to get entangled with ruins of an ancient civilization, which has led to a tiff between the Ministry of Railways and the Department of Archaeology and Museums, Rajasthan.

The ancient site of Chandrawati, a land spread over 45 hectares in Abu Road of Sirohi district, has some its portion falling in the acquisition of the railway department, where a rail line has been proposed as a part of an industrial corridor. The railway ministry has taken a huge loan from the Japan for this project.

While on one side the archaeology department and Janardhan Rai Nagar, Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Udaipur are half way done with the excavation and exploration work at the historical site, on the other hand the railway department is eager to commence construction of a rail line there. The said area located to the east of NH27 is presently under the protection of archaeology department, who are not willing to give that land to the railways.

However, railway officials express their inability to change the rail alignment since the land has already been mutated years ago, contracts have been finalized with a deadline of four years. “The highway was made by destroying the ancient site. Remains of a very large fort are located to the west of the highway and now we have come to know that the southern corner of the fort, which falls in khasra number 7854/89 and 786/209, will be destroyed while constructing the proposed railway line,” said Dr Jeevan Singh Kharakwal, director of Chandravati Archaeological Research Project.

The fort is a part of ancient Chandravati township, which probably may have been the residence of the erstwhile rulers. It’s surely a very precious monument of our heritage, which will be destroyed, said Kharakwal. Jeetendra Soni, ADM, had also written a letter to the railway department asking them not to mess up with the land falling under the excavation site to save the heritage site from being destroyed further.

In a recent letter to Hridesh Sharma, Director of Archaeology and Museums, R K Jain, Chief Project Manager of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd has expressed inability in changing the rail alignment since it would require new land acquisition for a stretch of 4-5 kms through a complicated process which would further delay the project for another three years. “We stand committed to respect and obey all the statutory provisions for ancient archaeological sites and have instructed to stop all activities in its vicinity till a clearance is granted by the archaeological department,” Jain wrote in his letter.

Sharma has been asked to collect and shift the remains from the area falling under railway ownership and issue a clearance letter at earliest to help them carry on the construction work.

About Chandravati site:

Chandravati (Hindi: चन्द्रावती) is a village situated near Abu Road on the bank of the West Banas River in the Indian state of Rajasthan. In ancient times it was an extensive town, and present villages such as Dattani, Kiverli, Kharadi and Santpura were its suburbs. The old ruins, such as temples, torans and images scattered over the large area, bear testimony to its past glory.

History

Chandravati was ruled by the Paramaras of Abu. The first Paramar ruler of the area was Sindhuraja in the early tenth century. The Ugrasena Panwar founded the Panwar rule at Abu. Raja Bhoja (1010-1050 AD) was an illustrious rulers of this dynasty.

In 1024 AD, Chandravati was attacked and plundered by Mahmud Ghazni when he passed through Rajasthan to attack Anahilavada. After defeating Prithviraja III in 1192 AD the Muslim army also attacked Chandravati. In 1197 AD Qutubuddin general Khusrav defeated then ruler of Chandravati Dharavarsha near the foot of Mount Abu.

In about 1315 AD Chandravati passed into the hands of Deora Chauhans. Sahasamala Devada shifted his capital to Sirohi around 1450 AD, and from then on Chandravati lost its glory. It is now a small village.

Arts and Literature

There were a large number of temples in Chandravati. They were mainly Shiva temples and Jain temples.

Many European scholars who visited this area in the nineteenth century have written about surviving artistic specimens. James Tod has given pictures of some of these temples in his Travels in Western India. In 1824 Charles Colville and his party visited Chandravati and found twenty marble edifices of different sizes. One temple to Brahma was adorned with rich and finely executed sculptured figures and ornaments in high relief. Another scholar, Ferguson, found the pillars so highly ornamented in details and varieties that no two pillars are exactly alike.

At present not a single temple is in order. The pieces of old temples were removed and used in temples in distant cities. The many monuments were destroyed by contractors of Rajputana Malwa Railway before independence. The remaining were stolen or were destroyed when Abu Road industrial area was extended.

Rulers of Chandravati patronized literature too. Jain saints wrote some literary works here.

Senior Section Engineer on Central Railway trapped by CBI

Nagpur (NGP): Senior section engineer of Central Railway Ravindra Gulhane and trolleyman Ashok Sur were arrested on March 8 by Central Bureau of Investigation’s anti-corruption wing for allegedly accepting bribe of Rs.13,000 at Walni.

It’s learnt that complainant Rashtrapal Tagde was being harassed by senior engineer Gulhane for monetary favours to release the monthly log books from November last year onwards. Tagde approached the CBI, who laid a trap for Sur and nabbed him while accepting the amount.

The CBI team later took Sur to Gulhane’s official quarters, where the senior official accepted Rs.11,500 from Sur as per their plan. Gulhane was immediately taken into custody from his official residence.

CBI later procured four days custody of Gulhane and Sur after producing them before a court at Kelapur in Walni.

Indian Railways need for Preventive Crime Vigilance at Railway Stations

China, the third biggest railway network in the world, has a Ministry of Railway Police for the entire railway network to handle preventive crimes in Railway areas!

Mumbai: The case of Esther Anuhya is a classic example of the neglect of police-operating-procedures. Anuhya, a young software engineer from Hyderabad, was induced by a “history-sheeter” to accompany him from Mumbai’s Kurla railway station in the early hours of 5 January, then raped and killed. The smart detection subsequently by the Mumbai Crime Branch in apprehending a habitual offender from Nashik, despite some wrong turns in the investigation, does not wash off the initial neglect by Kurla Railway Police. This is now being heard by the Bombay High Court. A history-sheeter is supposed to be kept under surveillance all the time. How was he able to operate from an important railway station without being checked? Such incidents of neglect in preventive crime vigilance on railway stations are reported from all over the country. No doubt, the railway administration, which has slackened its own security system, is clever in passing the buck to the state railway police, quoting legal jurisdiction. The hapless passengers are caught in the crossfire.

Our railways, the fourth largest in the world, are an integral part of the nation’s security system. For any security system to be adequate, the means to protect it have to be centrally directed and not dispersed through 28 different commands, as is the case in India now. The policing of the 65,000 km long railway track, thousands of railway stations and passengers is the legal responsibility of 28 (now 29) different states. As a result of this thoughtless provision, passengers are tossed between the police stations of different states if they have to report crimes. Many crimes go unreported. A disjointed policing of railway tracks and stations is the biggest threat to national security. Our rulers since 1947 have not realised this.

Writing on 18 March 2012, I called for drastic reforms in our Railway Police system, as 7,651 million passengers using the railways every year are greatly inconvenienced. Our callous system fails to take notice of this, quoting constitutional provisions. Our systemic error on policing was when our founding fathers, while drafting the Constitution, blindly copied some provisions from the colonial Government of India Act 1935, especially their Seventh Schedule, which was incorporated as the Seventh Schedule of our Constitution. They forgot that the 1935 Act was enacted by the British to “appease the diehards”, as Oxford professor David Steinberg had described. The diehards did not want a strong centre and hence put “public order” and “police” under the state list. The 1935 Act was passed when the Congress had become weaker after the Second Round Table Conference. Our colonial rulers wanted to divide and weaken the Independence movement. I had written about this several times, asking our constitutional pundits why this error had occurred. Till today no one has answered.

Why did the British government place the railway and village police under the “Provincial Government” while keeping “Federal Railways” on the “Federal list”? The reason was because the railways, which became a British government owned company in 1900, had to traverse through various princely states, who also owned railways. This was not the case after the integration of the Indian states. So why didn’t our rulers set up a composite railway police system all over the country like several other countries?

We also forget that the RPF predates our regular police. The RPF owes its origin to the “Railway Police” established in 1854 by the privately owned East Indian Railways. Our police was created only by the 1861 Police Act. Similarly, the British Stockton & Darlington Railway Police was set up in 1826, while their regular police was established in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel. The British Transport Police (BTP), under BTPA, has the sole responsibility of policing their 16,093 km railway track and 3,000 stations, besides investigating all railway crimes except in Northern Ireland. They have legal authority going beyond their jurisdiction for investigation. China, the third biggest railway network in the world, has a Ministry of Railway Police for the entire railway network. Sometimes their jurisdiction overlaps with the local police. Why cannot we think of having a similar system here? Please do not quote the Constitution, which has been amended 98 times, as Professor Dipankar Gupta remarked recently.

– V. Balachandran is a former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat

Demands for Broad Gauge lines on NFR intensifies

Golakganj (GKJ): A new broad gauge (BG) railway line connecting New Maynaguri, Mathabbanga, Chengrabandha, Coochbehar, to Jogighopa via Boxirhat-Dhubri-Gauripur and other places has been a long-standing demand of the people in the backward districts of Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar of North Bengal and Dhubri, Bongaigaon, Goalpara and parts of Kokrajhar districts in Assam, besides the districts of East Garo Hills and West Garo Hills in Meghalaya.

Around 80 % of the population of these areas belong to poor strata of the society. There has been no industrial development of the region mainly for want of adequate infrastructural facilities, including railway network. However, the demand has been overlooked by the railway authorities since the past 50 years.

The transportation facilities available before the Independence were also stopped. This part of the country was connected before Independence with the mainland India through then undivided Bengal (now Bangladesh). Besides this rail link, the region was connected with Kolkata through the river Brahmaputra, Dhubri town being then the biggest inland river port of Assam. Further, the two airports – at Rupshi that was constructed during World War II and at Coochbehar constructed much earlier– remain unutilised even today.

The new Mainaguri-Jogighopa Railway Demand Committee’s joint convenor Tazmul Hoque said all the transport links had been snapped after independence and that the people of the area had been virtually cut off from the mainstream of the national life.

All the districts of Assam, North Bengal and Meghalaya yearning for the proposed railway are very rich in forest wealth. Sal, Teak, Sishu, Segun, Bonsom, Gamari, and numerous other varieties of valuable trees grow in abundance in the forests of the area. Moreover, bamboo, cane, pati bet (a variety of cane used in making mats), medicinal plants and herbs, orchids, resins and other varieties of plants and trees and other forest products are abundantly available in the forests of this region.

The region is rich in mineral resources also. Dolomite, an essential raw material for production of cement and coal are abundantly available in the said two districts of Meghalaya. Dolomite is also available in the Jalpaiguri district of North Bengal.

The proposed railway line from New Mainaguri to Jogighopa and other places covers a distance of 270 km approximately. Thus, earth work for construction of rail route is likely to cost much less as compared to other places. This proposed railway line will help optimal utilisation of the Naranarayan Setu over the river Brahmaputra at Jogighopa, which is a road-cum-railway bridge. The total cost for construction of the proposed line is estimated to be Rs 1400 crore.

The proposed railway line passing through the districts of West Bengal and Assam bordering Bangladesh, now a friendly country will be strategically important from the defence point of view also. The demand is justified in view of the fact that the per capita railway line in this region is very negligible and much below the national average.

The demand for expansion of railway network in this region was raised at conventions in Tufanganj (Coochbehar district) and Bijni (erstwhile Goalpara district) in 1961. Then Northeast Frontier Railway general manager late BC Ganguly took some initiative in this regard, but subsequently the matter was abandoned by the railway authorities for reasons best known to them. Recently, the joint convenor of New Mayanaguri-New Coochbehar-Dhubri-Jogigopha-Railway extension Demand Committee submitted a memorandum to the Railway Minister to complete the construction works of the BG line immediately.

South Central Railway-Vijayawada Division awarded with Rajbhasha Trophy

Secunderabad (SC):  South Central Railway, the zone situated in “C” region of Indian Railways has been awarded with Rail Mantri Rajbhasha Trophy for meritorious work in Official Language Hindi.

In a meeting held at Railway Board, Shri Arunendra Kumar, Chairman, Railway Board, New Delhi has awarded the trophy to Shri Mahesh Chandra, Mukkya Rajbhasha Adhikari & Controller of Stores and Shri Laxman Shivhare, Senior Rajbhasha Adhikari, South Central Railway received the trophy.

Vijayawada Division of South Central Railway was awarded with Acharya Raghuveer Chal Vyjayanti Shield for Best Division, which was received by Shri Pradeep Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager, Vijayawada Division, SCR and Shri S.Chiranjivi, Rajbhasha Adhikari, Vijayawada Division, SCR.

He received the award from Railway board chairman Arunendra Kumar in Delhi. The Vijayawada Division was adjudged as the best division among the divisions falling under the “C’ region” for propagation and use of Raj Bhasha Hindi in dealing official correspondence, notings, conducting technical seminars, workshops, celebrations of Jayanthis of noted Hindi poets, literary personalities and observation of Hindi week.

Shri P.K.Srivastava, General Manager, South Central Railway, has congragulated the staff and officers of Hindi Section for the honour.

Shri Mahesh Chandra, Mukhya Rajbhasha Adhikari, SCR expressed that this is an honour for South Central Railway and should take it as a responsibility to maintain the honour by doing work in Rajbhasha and avail the benefits of various schemes.

According Pradeep Kumar, Vijayawada Division won the shield in the years 2004, 2010 and 2012. DRM Pradeep Kumar and additional DRM Seetharam Prasad commended the work done by Rajabhasha official S Chiranjeevi in getting the shield to the division. Pradeep Kumar urged the staff and officers to continue best work in the coming days and won many awards in the future.

To curb theft by minors on locals, GRP will book parents

Last month, cops caught five teenagers with 40 high-end cellphones stolen from commuters, trail led them to their adult handlers

Mumbai:  Unable to stop minors committing thefts on crowded local trains, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has decided to make parents accountable for their wards’ misdeeds. The GRP Crime Branch has decided to slap criminal charges, of receiving stolen property, against parents of such children, said officers.

Last month, the crime branch had caught five teenagers with 40 high-end cell phones stolen from commuters during rush hour. The boys led them to five men who were paying them to commit the crimes. The police said that the cellphones were sold outside the country. The boys, aged between 9 and 15 years, had been sent to a shelter home. The railway police, however, said that most boys soon return to a life of crime.

The GRP is convinced that cracking down on the parents of such juvenile offenders is the only deterrent to stop such crimes. “From now on, we will charge parents of thieving children under Section 413 of the Indian Penal Code,” senior inspector, GRP Crime Branch, D D Wadmare told Newsline.

Section 413 of the IPC attracts a prison sentence ranging from ten years to life for habitually receiving or dealing in property believed to be stolen.

“They (juvenile offenders) never stay in shelter homes for too long. Once they are out, they return to thievery. Already this year, we have caught eight boys for stealing. We want to break this cycle,” said Wadmare.

The boys caught last month, Wadmare added, committed the thefts with the full knowledge and support of their parents. “They are from very poor families and engage in petty crime. They study for only a few years and then drop out of the school to make easy money. Their parents also do not object, since they aid the family’s livelihood,” he said.

The boys had been allegedly told by the accused to steal as many cell phones as they could in a day. “Each boy stole as much as he could, depending on his capabilities. They would receive around Rs. 200 for each phone that they stole. They were given no instructions to go about their job. Each boy went about it as it suited him best. Being short, they could easily move through crowded men’s compartments, pick a target and come away with a cell phone,” he said.

Former railway police chiefs have, however, disapproved of the move to book parents for crimes perpetrated by their children. “All parents want their children to be law abiding citizens. You cannot punish parents unless they are found to be promoting the crime,” said K P Raghuvanshi, former Additional Director General of Police (Railways), who is currently Director General (Maharashtra State Security Corporation) Former Additional Director General (Railways) Raj Khilnani said in families living in slums near railway stations, parents know about their children committing crimes, even if they do not actively support them. However, he criticised the latest move by the GRP. “It is not legal. It is desperation on part of the police, which has led them to think of all sorts of means to curb theft. You can only charge the parents if they are found possessing the stolen goods,” he said.

No CCTV cameras at sensitive Jalandhar City railway station – safety goes for a toss

Jalandhar City Rly stnJalandhar City (JUC): There are no adequate security measures in place at the Jalandhar railway station here as no closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed for years.

The station handles more than 10,000 passengers every day. In the wake of an increasing passenger load, the need for proper security arrangements is felt to keep tabs on the movement of people to find clues if any untoward incident takes place.

The CCTV cameras installed earlier at the railway station were removed about four years back after they developed some technical snag. They were removed by the signal and telecommunication wing of the railway station.

Sources said the Government Railway Police had installed four cameras at the station, of which only one is in working condition and that too does not have proper recording system.

Station superintendent Shamsher Singh Walia said he was not aware of the CCTV cameras— whether they were installed at the station or not.

“Security of the station is handled by the Railway Police Force. You can ask them. I am not responsible for this,” said Walia.

RPF inspector AK Sharma said he had never seen any CCTV cameras at the station since he joined here two-and-a-half years back.

“As far as I know, CCTV cameras were sent for repair to Delhi five or six years back. The higher authorities said they would install new cameras at the station,” he said.

Divisional Signal and Telecommunication Engineer (DSTE) AP Singh said their work is to install the equipment whenever it comes to us.

Central Railway to run 128 Summer Specials to Uttar Pradesh

Mumbai: Mumbai Central Railway has decided to run 128 summer special trains to various destinations in Uttar Pradesh from Mumbai and Pune during 2014 summer vacation period. The reservation for these trains will open from March 12.

There will be 24 weekly special trains between LTT and Agra between April 7 and June 24.

Train No. 01015 Dn will leave LTT at 13.20 hours on every Monday and will arrive at Agra Cantt at 12.55 hours next day.

In return direction, train No. 01016 Up will leave Agra Cantt at 14.45 hours on every Tuesday and will arrive at LTT at 15.00 hours next day.

Another 24 weekly special train will run between CST and Varanasi from April 2 to June 25.

Train No. 01027 Dn will leave CST Mumbai at 12.25 hours on every Wednesday and will arrive at Varanasi at 16.00 hours next day.

Train No. 01028 Up will leave Varanasi at 17.45 hours on every Thursday and will arrive at CST Mumbai at 23.30 hours next day.

Moreover, 26 more weekly air-conditioned trains will also run between LTT and Lucknow between April 4 and June 28.

Train No. 02111 AC special will leave LTT at 11.20 hrs on every Friday andwill arrive Lucknow (NR) at 11.40 hrs next day.

Train No. 02112 AC special will leave Lucknow (NR) at 12.50 hrs on every Saturday and arrive LTT at 16.25 hrs next day.

There will be 26 weekly special trains between Pune and Lucknow between April 1 and June 26.

Train No. 01451 Dn will leave Pune at 22.00 hours on every Tuesday and will arrive at Lucknow Jn. at 02.20 hours on third day.

Train No. 01452 Up will leave Lucknow Jn. at 06.55 hours on every Thursday and will arrive at Pune at 11.05 hours next day.

Besides, 26 weekly special trains will run between LTT and Gorakhpur from April 2 to June 27.

Train No. 01047 Dn will leave LTT at 13.20 hours on every Wednesday and will arrive at Gorakhpur at 21.30 hours next day.

Train No. 01048 Up will leave Gorakhpur at 08.00 hours on every Friday and will arrive at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus at 00.50 hours on third day.

A statement from the Mumbai Central Railway said, “Reservation for summer special trains 01015, 01027, 02111, 01451 and 01047 will open from March 12.”

IRFC extends closing date for tax-free bonds

New Delhi: The Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) on Friday said it is extending the closing date for its public issue of tax-free bonds to March 14. IRFC is seeking to raise Rs.2916.87 crore through the issue, which was supposed to close on Friday. “We wanted the entire issue to be subscribed; hence, we have extended the date of closing,” said DC Arya, director of finance, IRFC.

Arya said investor demand was diverted to National Housing Bank’s (NHB) second tranche of tax-free bonds, which offers a higher coupon rate. NHB’s public issue of tax-free bonds worth Rs 1,000 crore offers a maximum coupon rate of 8.93% for a tenure of 15 years, while IRFC’s bond issue offers a maximum coupon rate 8.88% for a 15-year tenure. At the end of Friday’s close, NHB’s public issue had received bids worth Rs.1,251 crore while IRFC’s issue got bids worth Rs.774.65 crore.

Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and NHB were, earlier in the month, allowed to increase the shelf limits on their tax-free bond issues. While REC and NHB came out with a second public issue of tax-free bonds worth Rs.1000 crore each, NTPC raised Rs.500 crore via private placement.

In 2013-14, tax-free bonds saw a much better performance than the tepid demand seen last year as interest rates being offered are higher. This is partly because government bonds have risen sharply during the course of the year. The 10-year benchmark yield closed at 8.813% as on Friday.

Investors are also looking at tax-free bonds as an attractive long-term investment as there were media reports that suggested that they would be discontinued by the government. Finance Minister P.Chidambaram did not allot tax-free bonds for state-owned companies in his interim budget speech earlier this month.

Staff of Mancheswar Workshop caught in Illegal scrap trade

Mancheswar (MCS): The Vigilance department of the Railways which is probing the illegal sale of scraps from the East Coast Railways carriage workshop at Mancheswar here said on Sunday that in the course of inquiry they have found four persons involved in the scam and that action will be taken against them after due process.

Acting on a tip-off, Railways Vigilance sleuths caught four persons red-handed while they were trying to supply GI pipes, ply pieces, 8mm rods, iron angles and other scraps in a truck.

Some persons, who are reportedly Grade-IV railway employees, were trying to help the vehicles loaded with scraps get exit permission through workshop gate during the ’free hours’, in defiance of all rules and regulations, Government Railways Police (GRP) sources said.

How this illegal activity had been happening inspite of the presence of a team of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) led by an inspector is something that the railways authorities need to explain, GRP sources said.

Reliable sources in the Railway Vigilance said they were interrogating a few RPF officials involved in the matter. They have also interrogated the driver of the truck used for the supply of scraps, the sources said.

“We will submit the probe report within a couple of days and then the authorities of the Railways will take action against the culprits,” said an officer of the Railway Vigilance department .

MHA to hire 100 trains for Polls

New Delhi:  The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will use the services of more than 100 trains to transport paramilitary forces for deployment during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In this mammoth exercise, the trains will be used for the speedy movement of forces from one State to another according to election schedule and security considerations.

Nearly, two lakh central paramilitary personnel, in addition to State Police Forces, are expected to be deployed for the multi-phased Lok Sabha polls which begin on April 7.

Official sources said Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami has already written a letter to the Chairman of Railway Board to provide special trains whenever necessary and special coaches in some trains for smooth movement of security forces.

The request has been made following various issues raised by the central paramilitary forces.
Besides, CRPF has requested the ministry to issue instructions to Member (Traffic), Railway Board, to open a single window system in New Delhi for booking of special trains or splinter coaches for the entire movement which would stretch nearly two months.

CRPF has also requested for two sleeper coaches for each company (around 100 personnel) and two coaches with special trains instead of general coaches for smooth mobilisation and comfortable journey of troops.

Sources said the hired trains will be used for long distance transportation of forces while for the shorter distance, the security personnel will travel by roads.

CRPF will contribute the highest number of personnel to be deployed in Lok Sabha elections which could be half of the entire paramilitary component.

The BSF is expected to contribute around 28,000 personnel while rest of the forces will come from SSB, ITBP and Assam Rifles among others.

The high-stake Lok Sabha elections will be held between April 7 and May 12 on nine days, the highest number of phases so far. Counting of votes in all the 543 constituencies involving an electorate of 81.4 crore will be done on May 16.

Assembly elections will also be held simultaneously in Andhra Pradesh, including Telangana region, Odisha and Sikkim.

Allocation of more halts for trains kicks up row in Kerala

Kochi:  Allocation of more stoppages for trains in the Thiruvananthapuram division of the Southern Railways has kicked up a row in the wake of the Lok Sabha Elections as most of the stops were allocated in the constituencies of the ruling front.

In January alone, more than 10 stops were allocated for several long distance trains in the stations which come under the constituencies of the members of the UDF. Such a move has raised eyebrows as such initiatives are not very common at this time of the year and allegations are rife that it has been taken eying the upcoming elections.

Sources with the railways say that the stops which were granted to the long distance trains did not figure in the list submitted by the Thiruvananthapuram division officials to the Railway board. In fact, the request made by the officials were ignored and instead a slew of stops as recommended by the Members of Parliament has come into effect through the Railway board.

“If we look at the total number of stops that have been allocated over the past three months, it is obvious that it has been allotted due to some higher pressure. Usually, a maximum of two or three stops are sanctioned in three or four months, especially in Kerala. However, this year, we have received orders to allot several stops to trains in a short span of two months. And almost all the stops have been allotted in railway stations in the constituencies under the ruling front,” a top-level source said. Recently, trains like the Vishakapatnam-Kollam (Weekly) express with train numbers 18567/18568 were provided a permanent stoppage at Karunagapally in effect from January 30.

Train no 18567 Vishakapatnam-Kollam Weekly express running on Fridays were also provided with additional stoppages at Changanassery,  Mavelikkara and Sasthamkotta and the return direction train No 18568 Kollam-Vishakapatnam express of Friday were given stops at Sasthamkotta, Mavelikkara and Changanassery. These stoppages come under Kollam and Alappuzha where the UDF MPs belong and this is clear cut evidence that the stoppages are allotted aiming votes, sources said. Even though there are repeated requests to allocate stop at Palakkad for Superfast Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram Express, there has been no positive move, they said.

The other train stops include stoppage at Ollur station for the Punalur-Guruvayur Fast Passenger, Irinjalakkuda station stop for the Ernakulam-Kannur Intercity Express, Punkunnam station stop for the Guruvayoor-Thiruvananthapuram Intercity Express. The Fast passenger train between Guruvayur and Punalur which were given stops at Karukutty, the Ernad express between Nagercoil and Mangalore which were given stops at Chalakkudy and the Vanchinad Express which have been given stoppage at Paravur are some of the other examples.

The Guruvayur- Punalur-Guruvayur Fast Passenger has also been given an additional stop at Koratti Angadi and Chowara stations for a period of six months with effect from 10th February. P Rajeeve MP said the allocation of stops at these railway stations are done with the upcoming elections in mind. “It is only a gimmick by the ruling front to show that they know the pulse of the people. The stops that have been allocated are unscientific. After the elections, most of the stops will be cancelled citing lack of patronage,” he said.

MMOPL trains 63 Metro Loco Pilots for Mumbai Metro

mmpolMumbai: Mumbai metro rail has formed a team of 63 trained pilots after a long and rigorous selection process. These pilots have been training for the past one-year over the tracks and each pilot has been trained to perform eight hours duty as per the government guidelines.

“We have not left a single stone unturned to train these pilots perfectly. We made sure that these pilots could drive the machine worth Rs.40 crore each and handle the precious lives of the passengers, safely,” said a spokesperson from the Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL).

Skill sets of these metro pilots have been developed in multi-dimensional ways. “Handling the passengers’ problem is equally critical. Who will take care of the passengers in case of any medical emergency in the middle of two stations? Are the pilots equipped enough to remain calm in alarming situations like terrorist acts? In a nutshell, are the trains and the passengers really safe while traveling in metro trains which would be running in the city in a few months from now,” said the spokesperson.

According to Priyanka Balid, one of the women metro pilots who is getting trained says, “Training to be a pilot is definitely interesting and is a lot of hard work too. The training comprises 40 per cent of theory and rest 60 per cent of practical. Our training includes various challenges faced by train pilots during train operations, such as train malfunctioning and passenger emergencies.”

“At the end of every training programme, each train pilot is evaluated through a written and a practical examination,” she added.

SSM seeks views of Political Parties on renaming of Silchar Railway Station

65653883fSilchar (SCL):  At a time when the political parties are gearing up for the Lok Sabha elections, Sammilitho Sanskritik Mancha, an umbrella of 25 social and cultural organizations, has demanded all political parties to clarify their views on renaming of Silchar railway station as Bhasa Sahid Station in the memory of eleven martyrs who laid down their lives for the sake of their mother tongue, Bengali on May 19, 1961 in the station premises.

The Mancha has sent letters to all the political parties here recently, requesting them to bring their stand on the issue to light so that people could come to know about the stands of the parties ahead of upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The letter signed by the secretary of Sammilitho Sanskritik Mancha Ajoy Roy mentioned that several political parties during 2009 election campaign promised that they would do their best for the renaming of Silchar railway station. Some of the parties also had included the issue in their election manifesto, but, as the Mancha said, in the last five years not even a single political party showed its interest for the cause.

It can be mentioned here that it was a historic mass movement launched in 1961 across the valley joined in by different linguistic and cultural groups which succeeded in foiling the evil machination to throttle the democratic and fundamental right of people to read and write in their own mother tongue as guaranteed under clauses 39 and 40 of the Indian Constitution.

Various organizations joined the movement in order to assert the right and to press the State Government of the time to recognize Bengali as the medium of instruction and also as official language of Barak Valley as stipulated in the three–language formula mooted by the Shastri Committee. English was to be retained along with that. It was most unfortunate that the State Government through the district administration was determined to suppress the mass awakening and it was on May 19, 1961 that the agitationists or satyagrahis who were holding protest rally at Silchar railway station and blocked the movement of trains peacefully were subjected to unprovoked firing by police in which eleven demonstrators lost their lives.

Since then their sacrifices are recollected on May 19 every year as ‘Bhasa Sahid Divas’ across Barak Valley. Their supreme sacrifices as martyrs continue to inspire the people to fight for the protection of their language, culture and identity. In order to pay respect to these brave hearts and to perpetuate their memory, the Mancha has been carrying on the movement with the involvement of people cutting across caste, creed and community for renaming the railway station as Bhasa Sahid Station.

The Mancha expressed its disappointment at the role of the MLAs and MPs in particular of Barak Valley when the former Home Minister, P Chidambaram, ignoring the “legitimate” demand of the Mancha dubbed the 1961 language movement as ‘regional patriotism’. In the letter, the Mancha clearly said that the political parties have to make their stand clear on this vital issue ahead of Lok Sabha polls.

CONCOR celebrates Customer Day – top most Customers awarded

Secunderabad (SC): As a part of its silver Jubilee Celebrations, the Container Corporation of India Ltd (CONCOR), South Central Region, Hyderabad (under the Ministry of Railways) celebrated its Customer Day o­n 7th March, 2014 at Railway Officers’ Club, Secunderabad. CONCOR celebrates its Customer Day with a view to provide a meeting point its officials and all the its customers over south central region and also to recognise the premier customers with excellence awards. Officials from CONCOR and representatives of export firms, import firms, shipping liners, business associates, freight forwarders, major corporate customers and domestic customers from all over AP who use the multi-model logistics services of CONCOR, participated in the CONCOR’s Customer Day in a large number.

P.K.Srivastava, General Manager, SCR was the Chief Guest whereas B.B.Prasad, Chief Commissioner of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax, Hyderabad, Anil Kumar Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director, CONCOR and V. Kalyana Rama, Executive Director, CONCOR, South Central Region have participated as Guests of Honour and gave away as many as 89 annual excellence awards and certificates to the achievers for movement of freight in containers for export, import and domestic needs.

Srivastava, GM/SCR, lauded the tremendous growth of CONCOR in the last 25 years and wished the CONCOR to scale greater heights given the potentials available in the exim. and domestic market. B.B. Prasad, Chief Commissioner, Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax, Hyderabad extolled CONCOR, South Central Region, for its matchless service by safely moving high value finished products in containers in a specific time frame immensely contributing to the growth of business and trade and economy as a whole.

Anil Kumar Gupta, Chairman & Managing Director, CONCOR, New Delhi, in his address, said that the export cargo which met a slump for a while is now picking up. All over India, CONCORregistered a turnover of Rs.4743 Cr. in 2012-13 by moving 2.58 millions containers having high value export / import and domestic cargo. In south central region, CONCOR operates four Inland Container Depots Viz., Sanathnagar, Visakhapatnam, Guntur and Desur near Belgaum and a Domestic Container Depot at Nagalapalli. Setting up of four Multi-Modal Logistics Parks (one stop logistics solution) at Vizag, Karimnagar, Nagalapalli and Krishnapatnam are under process, added the Managing Director. Kalyana Rama, Executive Director, CONCOR, South Central Region, Hyderabad also spoke o­n the occasion.

M/s. Kamala International, M/s. AGI Glasspac, M/s. Maersk Line Pvt. Ltd. were among the top loaders of export / export cargo at Sanathnagar Inland Container Depot and received the excellence awards at the Customer Day Celebrations. M/s. Vedanta Aluminium Ltd, M/s. Jindal Stainless Ltd., and M/s. Hemadri Chemicals and Industries Ltd. were the awardees as the top loaders of export / import cargo at Container Freight Station, Visakhapatnam.

Call to activate Tezpur Jahajghat Railway Station

Tezpur (TZTB): A citizens’ meet was held recently at the Sahitya Sabha Bhawan here demanding conversion of Tezpur’s Jahajghat Railway Station into a broadgauge rail station.

It may be mentioned here that the metregauge railway station constructed during the British regime had fallen into a state of disrepair after the railway service was curtailed. The citizens’ meet, presided over by noted lawyer Iskey Alom was attended by more than 200 people from across the district.

The meeting, among other things, demanded re-opening of the Tezpur Jahajghat metregauge railway station after being converted into a BG rail station, besides adopting a number of resolutions. A committee comprising 23 senior citizens of the town was constituted to press the authorities on the matter. The members of the committee are Iskey Alom, Jiten Chundi, Jamini Kumar Baisya, Dulumoni Sinha, Bipin Kotoki, Tarnath Gujrel, Ashok Kumar Sharma, ex-MLA Jiban Bora, advocate Ananta Goswami, social worker Pulin Bhattacharya, reputed businessman, Abdul Munnaf and Subarmal Baidya.

Moreover, there were demands for a Tezpur-Silghat train service, flyover at Tezpur Mission Chariali, regular flight from Tezpur-Salonibari airport to other parts of the country, etc. To put pressure on the authorities, another committee titled Rajahua Sartha Surakshya Samiti with Iskey Alom, as adviser, Jiten Chundi as president, Dr Jaisankar Hazarika and Rijawl Haque as vice-presidents and Pulin Bhattacharya as general secretary was also formed in the meeting.

It may be mentioned here that the Tezpur Jahajghat Railway Station was constructed in 1895 and had a narrow-gauge railway line constructed by TBR (Tezpur-Bindukuri-Rangapara) company. With the passage of time, and surface communication gaining importance, including railway service, and water transport facilities becoming less important following the highly braided Brahmaputra river becoming shallow due to the devastating earthquake of 1950, the narrow gauge railway line gradually gained priority in various spheres, including providing easy means of transportation to the common people of the northern belt of the State.

Obviously, tea leaves which were once exported through the waterways had to accept this narrow-lane railway line for transporting the same to Kolkata. However, as a result of this the narrow-lane railway was converted into a metregauge line. But till the recent past, the metregauge railway service continued with the running of only two regular passenger trains and monthly 2 to 3 rack goods carrying trains. At the same time, a section has alleged that the Railway Department’s properties like quarter and land have been encroached upon.

At this juncture, under the initiative of the then commissioner of north Assam, an important meeting was held on June 13, 2004 at the DC’s conference hall in the presence of socially active people of the town and officials of the departments concerned. Based on resolutions adopted at this meet, a project of widening of this stretch of the road from Dekargaon to Tezpur Jahajghat was taken up. In later years, a local body christened Sonitpur Zila Nagarik Mancha submitted a representation to the then Railway Minister, Mamata Banerjee.

At the same time, a PIL was filed at the Gauhati High Court in reply to which the NFR informed that every measure to remove the railway line in the interest of widening of the road and close the station at Dekargaon will be taken. Interestingly, another PIL was filed on October 4, 2013, at the Gauhati High Court regarding resuming of the Tezpur Railway Station, which has remained defunct.

Mumbai’s ‘superfast’ Metros to run only at 50 kmph for now

Mumbai:  Authorities reject Mumbai Metro One claim that the new trains will run at 90 kmph, say tracks may not be able to handle such speed. Short distances between stations is another reason — they say trains will not be able to pick up speed. Total journey time will now take at least seven minutes more than expected initially

It may look as swanky as the London underground and claim to be better than its Delhi counterpart, but the Mumbai metro won’t run any faster than 50 kilometres per hour. While travelling by Metro might still be a more convenient way for Mumbaiites to reach their destination — it won’t necessarily always be the fastest.

With the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) route of the metro set to open soon, it has now emerged that there is a clear difference of opinion between the railway authorities and metro rail officials over the quality of tracks and the speed of the trains.

The crux of the matter – Recently the Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) of the Indian Railways inspected the Mumbai Metro tracks for several technical parametres. This is the same agency that sets standards and approves the quality of tracks, platform heights and even the kind of rakes that are to ply on the tracks. While the Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL), had said 90kmph would be the maximum speed for their metro trains, the RDSO has given permission for a maximum speed of only 50kmph for these trains. “We have permitted speeds of 50kmph for the time being,” said a RDSO official.

Sources said the organisation would monitor metro service for at least three months from the day it begins operations, before sanctioning a higher speed.

No speeding – The reason for curtailing the speed is due to the steel tracks and supporting infrastructure that have been constructed. “These tracks have been constructed based on European standards but we follow Indian Railway standards. The two have differences on several technical parameters, including the tolerance limit of tracks and even curves,” said a railway official.
Sources said that the tracks have been manufactured following the European norms, which is said to follow higher standards. While certifying the Metro rail, the officials are bit unsure whether these European Standards would actually be workable in Indian conditions.

Other side – A Mumbai Metro One spokesperson says, “RDSO is an Indian Railway organisation, which is familiar with our domestic standards and codes. Since MMOPL has constructed the tracks following global standards, therefore, RDSO is taking little more time in examining the same.”

A let down – According to metro rail officials, the difference of 40kmph on this 11-km route would make a huge difference to commuters. At 50kmph, commuters would lose a good seven minutes each way. The average distance between two Metro stations is just about 800meters to 1 km — another reason why the trains may not be able to pick up speed to the extent of 90kmph.

90kmph – Maximum speed for metro trains promised by Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd

100kmph – Maximum speed at which trains can ply on European standard tracks

>> Metro lines were laid keeping European standards in mind
>> Indian tracks not geared to tackle high speeds
>> Experts to monitor services for three months

Formation of new MMRCL Board to take time, Phase-III construction to start next year

Mumbai:  Although the state has cleared the decks for a new board to construct the Colaba–Bandra–SEEPZ underground metro rail, the new board is yet to be formed, which means construction of the new corridor will commence only sometime next year.

As the approval came from the state cabinet only on February 26, the state is yet to appoint five directors in the financially restructured Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL). MMRCL is a state government undertaking governed by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

“But that doesn’t mean that no work will be done in the coming days. A decision on General Consultancy services will be taken sometime between the general and assembly elections,” said UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner of the MMRDA.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has shortlisted four consortia that have bid for consultancy services for the underground metro corridor. These four consortia are led by AECOM Asia (Hong Kong), DB International (Germany), Geodata (Italy) and Oriental Consulting (Japan).

The consortium that will be entrusted with the consultancy will supervise the implementation, beginning from the evaluation of bids for the construction work and proof checking of designs, to environmental management, programme preparation and commissioning the rail corridor.

“Bids for the different types of construction work will be finalised after the assembly elections, by around November this year,” added Madan. Last September, pre-qualification bids were floated to shortlist firms for the design and construction of underground stations and tunnels for the project. This corridor will be Mumbai’s first underground metro with an estimated ridership of 16.99 lakh by 2031.

As per the plan, the project will be completed only in 2020. The estimated project cost for the 33.5km-long underground metro rail between Colaba to SEEPZ via Bandra has been pegged at Rs23,136 crore, which will be shared by the central government, the state government and MMRDA, with a loan from Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA), debts from state and central government institutions, the Mumbai International Airport Limited and through taxation on property development.

The construction of the metro line will result in 1,74,632 square meters of land (government and private plots, including 20,000 sq mts of open spaces) being used for the corridor permanently. An additional 19,033 sq mts will be used temporarily, only during the construction phase.

India offers support to Sri Lanka

Colombo:  India said it is prepared to extend its fullest support to Sri Lanka in fulfilling its aspirations for peace, harmony, national reconciliation and development.  The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Y. K. Sinha said so at a ceremony held at Pallai last week to mark the inauguration of the reconstructed railway track between Kilinochchi and Pallai, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.

The 27.5 km long Kilinochchi-Pallai railway line has been reconstructed under the concessionary credit line amounting to about US$ 800 million provided by the Government of India to the Government of Sri Lanka to undertake the Northern railway reconstruction project.

This commitment was recorded in the India-Sri Lanka Joint Declaration issued on June 9, 2010 in New Delhi during the visit of the President of Sri Lanka. Under this project, the segments already completed include the Medawachchiya-Madhu Road segment, inaugurated on May 14, 2013 and the Omanthai-Kilinochchi segment, inaugurated by the President of Sri Lanka on September 14, 2013.

High Commissioner in his address termed the inauguration of the Kilinochchi-Pallai railway line as another milestone in the historic partnership between India and Sri Lanka. He said that the reconstruction of Northern line would assist in restoration of normal life, generate and support livelihood-related activities, assist in restoring connectivity, not only within the Northern Province, but also with the rest of the country. The High Commissioner commended IRCON International on timely completion of this section of the Northern Railway line and noted that the project was proceeding on schedule.

Erode Junction gets Medical booth

Erode Jn (ED):  Little did K. Ganesan, a shunting master on the verge of retirement with the Railways here, ever imagine he would don the mantle of a chief guest for a unique event at the Erode Junction on Friday.

The honour of inaugurating a Medical Assistance Booth, established by Sudha Hospitals with a service orientation, was bestowed on Mr. Ganesan by the Divisional Railway Manager of Salem Division, Subhranshu who was initially approached by the hospital authorities to launch the medical service.

The DRM thought it fit to let Mr.Ganesan to do the honours in recognition of his 37 years of service and conveyed his gesture formally through the Station Manager Sivanandam.

“l was wondering how an employee at my level could be considered a chief guest. Only after coming to the function spot, I am able to realise the significance of the role assigned to me. I joined the Railways in 1977 as a traffic porter. It is quite motivating,” said Mr. Ganesan trying to shake-off his sleep since he had headed to the venue after night shift duty.

Clad in a shirt and dhoti, Mr. Ganesan who will be retiring from service this month-end inaugurated the medical assistance booth in the presence of D. Kandasamy, Chairman, Sudha Institute of Medical Sciences; his son and Managing Director K. Sudhakar; C. S. Gowthaman, Member, Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee, and Balasubramanian, Member, Divisional Railway Users’ Consultative Committee.

The hospital authorities invited a staff member to light the traditional lamp at the booth. The medical booth would have a doctor, a nurse and a driver for an ambulance parked nearby, Dr. Kandasamy said.

Those requiring specialised treatment could be transported to the hospital, located less than two km away, Dr. Kandasamy said.

N.F.Railway all set to boost Parcel Traffic

Guwahati (GWH): Buoyed by the success of the first ‘Parcel Cargo Express Train’ (PCET) which was introduced between Guwahati and Delhi (via Kolkata) from November, 2013, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has drawn up ambitious plans to increase the number as well as the frequency of such trains in the immediate future.

The PCET between Guwahati and Kolkata / Delhi has completed 11 round trips so far earning revenue of more than Rs 4 crore for the railway. The frequency of this train will be increased to bi-weekly by the end of this month and further to tri-weekly by the end of April, 2014, according to NFR chief public relations officer S Lahiri.

Two more PCETs – one in the New Guwahati–Kolkata–Vijaywada–Chennai–Bangalore circuit and the other in the Guwahati–Kolkata–Itarsi–Ahmedabad–Kalyan circuit are expected to be started by the end of May, 2014 and June, 2014 respectively.

Both these trains are expected to earn about Rs 50 lakh per trip. NF Railway plans to run about 20 round trips of these trains per month from June, 2014 onwards.

The NF Railway has been the pioneer among the Zonal Railways in developing the concept of the PCETs as a business tool and this has been done without any additional strain on the resources of the railways as the Parcel Vans being utilised were earlier being returned as empties after bringing commodities into this region.

This has enabled farmers from the far-flung areas of this land-locked region to market their products (like tea, betel nuts, pineapple, jute, horticultural products, cane furniture etc.) at the retail points in Metros like Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Chennai without any restrictions on minimum size and weight of the shipment packets. Acknowledging this commendable effort, the Railway Board has now instructed the other Zonal Railways to replicate this model.

Kochi Metro: Land for Metro will be ready in 3 months

Meet resolves issues hindering Pachalam overbridge work – Relief package soon; land for acquisition to be demarcated

Test piling under way at Pachalam where an overbridge is proposed. Photo: Vipin ChandranKochi: Amid concerns regarding the possible delay in commissioning the Kochi Metro rail due to unavailability of land, district collector M G Rajamanickam has said that the entire land for the project would be handed over to Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) in three months.

Last week, DMRC chief adviser E Sreedharan had expressed concerns over delay in land acquisition along the Vyttila-Pettah stretch and said that the Metro rail along the stretch won’t be completed within the stipulated time. Rajamanickam said that around 70% of the land required for the project is in revenue department’s possession. “But we are yet to complete the procedures. Objection from a few persons poses a hindrance to land acquisition. If negotiations under fast-track scheme do not yield the desired results by the end of April, we will invoke Land Acquisition Act and take possession of the land,” said the collector.

“Though there was staff shortage, we have filled up the vacancies. A special team has been formed to ensure that the entire land is acquired in three months,” he said.

According to revenue officials, the major hurdle for completing the land acquisition along the Vyttila-Pettah stretch is the stiff opposition from some religious organizations to part with their land.

The land is acquired for widening the road which is a pre-requisite for starting the work on Metro rail. The collector said that he is yet to look into the issue.

On shopowners’ opposition stalling the works on Pachalam railway overbridge (ROB), he said the issue would be sorted out soon. “Officials have been given instructions to demarcate the land which is required for the project,” he said.

The test piling for the Pachalam ROB has already begun.  The 46 cents of land that will be acquired for building the Pachalam overbridge will be demarcated within three days. A relief and rehabilitation package too will be announced shortly. These decisions were taken at a meeting convened in Kochi on Thursday by District Collector M.G. Rajamanickam in which representatives of traders, residents, DMRC and KMRL participated. This followed stiff opposition from traders and residents to the take-over of their land for the bridge and service road even before a compensation package was announced and demarcation stones were laid.

KMRL sources said that State government would shortly release funds to compensate land owners. In the meantime, test piling for the bridge continued on Thursday.

This will be followed by shifting of utilities and subsequently piling will begin, said DMRC sources. The level crossing has been closed, following which motorists have been advised to take alternative routes. Land acquisition for the bridge is minimal and is confined to Vaduthala side of the bridge. A major chunk of land that would be acquired will be for constructing a 4.5-metre service road on the bridge’s eastern side, where one-way traffic will be in place. The bridge’s carriageway will be 7.5 metres wide. There will be a 1.5- metre-wide footpath on the western side.

Closure opposed

In another development, a section of the traders of the Pachalam market obstructed the attempts to close down the trade centre by the Revenue officials of the Kochi Corporation on Thursday.

The officials made the attempt following the orders from the Sate Human Rights Commission and the Kerala State Pollution Control Board. It was on a petition from one of the residents of the area citing the unhygienic conditions of the market that the commission issued the order.

Delina Pinheiro, the councillor representing the area in the Kochi Corporation Council, said the market cannot be closed down without rehabilitating the traders.

Currently, there is no need for closing down the market as the situation has improved there. If the local body was keen on closing it down, it could be done only after providing alternative space for the 27 traders of the market, she said.

Incidentally, the Kochi Corporation had not renewed the licence of the traders this year as it had decided to pull down the shutters.

Unions’ interference slows metro work

Civil works at a few Kochi Metro work sites and at the Kalamassery casting yard have slowed down because of alleged interference by trade unions.

Metro sources said work at Palarivattom station was affected this week since a few trade unions were demanding that more workers with union membership be deployed there: “Already, three union workers have been deployed at the site and their productivity is low compared to that of the trained workforce deployed by contractors. Despite this, contractors are paying them on par or more wages than that is given to trained workers. Now, unions are demanding that contractors deploy more of their workers.”

The Regional Joint Labour Commissioner was expected to visit the site shortly, they said.

Pachalam bridge

The demarcation of boundaries of land that would be acquired for Pachalam bridge has been completed. Locating and shifting cables and pipelines from piling sites will begin this week. Vehicles will be diverted according to the plan charted out by the traffic police.

No elevated corridor in Chennai Metro Phase-II

Chennai (MAS): All the three corridors planned in phase-II of Chennai Metro Rail, covering 76 km, will be underground.

“It will be underground, entirely. Since the elevated corridor of phase I has already exhausted all the arterial roads like Anna Salai and Poonamallee High Road, there is no further scope for construction of elevated corridors in the city.  Also First phase has exhausted city’s arterial roads” said a senior official of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL).

While the construction of every kilometre of an elevated corridor costs about Rs.150 crore, the underground network may cost about Rs. 500 crore per km, officials said.

The State government announced its decision in January to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for phase-II.

After the government approves the alignment and grants clearance, it would take a year to complete the DPR and at least another 10 years to finish the entire project, an official said.

N.S.Srinivasan, former Director, National Transportation Planning and Research Centre, said, “Whenever a work is taken up, there should be continuity. The study should have been taken up much earlier. Phase-II has been delayed already. There should not be a gap at all between two phases of Metro Rail.”

Phase-II of Chennai Metro to take 10 years

Even as the phase-I of Chennai Metro Railway marches ahead, plans are afoot to launch phase II – to be built entirely underground, over 76 km of the city, and may take at least another 10 years for completion, according to official sources.

Corridors

The corridors for phase-II, which include Madhavaram to Light House (17 km), Koyambedu to Injambakkam (27 km) and Madhavaram to Perumbakkam (32 km), built at a cost of Rs. 36,000 crore covers most parts of the city, the sources said.

The suggested alignment will cover suburbs like Madhavaram, Kolathur, Injambakkam, Keelkattalai and Perumbakkam in second phase passes, officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) said.

Luz will serve as the connecting junction for the corridor from Madhavaram to Light House and from Koyambedu to Injambakkam, an official said.

This apart, the phase-II of Metro Railway will meet Monorail at Valasaravakkam, Vadapalani, Kathipara, and Chennai Trade Centre in Nandambakkam.

This needs to be approved by the State Government, officials added.

Metro station at Chakala may be renamed JB Nagar

Mumbai: In a victory for residents of J B Nagar, Andheri, the MMRDA has recommended changing the name of the local Metro station from Chakala to Chakala (J B Nagar).

The Metro station is actually located about 1.5km from Chakala. But there is no hope for residents of Andheri West who similarly complain that the Metro Rail stations named D N Nagar and Versova are actually 1-3 km away from the actual location. D N Nagar is located at Indian Oil Junction while Versova is located at Seven Bungalows.

Locals had approached legislator Krishna Hegde who took up the matter. “I met MMRDA commissioner UPS Madan but due to computerized mapping routes, ticketing and various central government procedures, we could not change the name entirely. I then suggested that the station be called Chakala (J B Nagar) to tide over these issues,” Hegde said on Friday. MMRDA commissioner Madan has sent the alternative name to the Centre for approval. “The Chakala issue is being processed. It requires an amendment in the notification by the Union ministry of urban development. No corrections are required in case of other stations,” Madan said.

Meanwhile, officials of Reliance Metro (MMOPL) were in the dark about this development. A spokesperson said, “The naming of the station has been done as per the concession agreement. We have not received any communication from MMRDA regarding the change of name.

Railway engineer arrested while accepting bribe from contractor in Chennai

Chennai (MAS): The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of the CBI arrested a railway officer for demanding and accepting Rs.15,000 as bribe from a railway contractor to release bills.

Based on a complaint filed by railway contractor Ravi, ACB officials laid a trap and arrested Senior Section Engineer Thotta Sivakumar. Sivakumar was caught red-handed while he was accepting the money.

Sivakumar, who worked as a senior officer at Southern Railway’s construction department, was in-charge of recording the measurement of the contract work finished and releasing the bills.

He demanded Rs.25,000 as bribe from Ravi to carry out the process. Ravi negotiated with Sivakumar and finally agreed to give Rs.15,000 to complete the work.

Sivakumar was produced before the principal special court for the CBI cases that remanded him in judicial custody.

Cardiac catheterization Lab inaugurated at Southern Railway Hq Hospital in Chennai

Chennai:  A cardiac catheterization laboratory was inaugurated at the cardiac unit of the Southern Railway Headquarters Hospital in Perambur.

Cardiac catheterization is a medical procedure used to diagnose and treat some heart conditions. It involves inserting a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter into a blood vessel. The catheter is moved towards the heart. Doctors can do diagnostic tests with the help of the catheter.

The unit was inaugurated by Dr PS Prasad, director general, Railway Health Services. The lab was set up at a cost of Rs 3.88 crore.

Kharge hopes to fight Modi wave with big-ticket projects in Hyderabad-Karnataka

Gulbarga (GR):  When Railway Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge sets out seeking votes this time, he is likely to do so in the entire Hyderabad-Karnataka region rather than limit himself to his own constituency of Gulbarga.

This is because the 72-year-old Congress veteran has poured the Centre’s money on big-ticket projects the influence of which extends beyond Gulbarga, and well into the Lok Sabha constituencies of Bidar, Raichur and Koppal. He, along with his comrade-in-arm and Bidar MP Dharam Singh also got the Constitution amended to get the region `special status’. “People here will get benefits for the next 100 years.

It will help them with reservation in education and employment,” said Vijay Singh, son of Dharam Singh, also a former CM. An influential Dalit leader of the north Karnataka region, and a Gandhi family loyalist, Kharge got AICC president Sonia Gandhi open a 30-acre mind-blowing healthcare township of ESI Corporation in Gulbarga last year. The Labour Ministry spent Rs 1400 crore on this project alone. “His development works strike people in their eye,” said Jagannath, a 24-year CA student of Gulbarga.

One of the reasons why the Gulbarga region saw fewer developments is the place itself is about 600 km from Bangalore, and it has no cultural connect with southern Karnataka. Once part of Nizam kingdom, Gulbarga where people speak Urdu, Hindi and Kannada is 4 hours away from Hyderabad by train, and people are more at ease with Telangana rather than southern Karnataka.

The Congress and the BJP hold two seats each in the region. In fact, 2009 was the first Lok Sabha election that Kharge contested. Earlier, he had won from Gurmitkal in the district nine times in a row. He has never tasted defeat in his political career of about 45 years. Except in 1996 and 1998, Gulbarga always voted for the Congress, and even stood by Indira Gandhi once. In 1980, when Kerala’s Congress leader C.M.Stephen lost Lok Sabha elections, and Gandhi wanted him as MP, Gulbarga member Dharam Singh resigned his seat to pave way for Stephen’s election.

In the last five years, first as Labour and later as Railway Minister, Kharge met many demands, some of which were several decades old. The region now has a permanent High Court bench, a Central University, and new lines, trains and roads. Last month, he announced a separate railway division for Gulbarga, too. In fact, when the Congress announced Siddaramaiah as the new Chief Minister after the Assembly polls last year, the region erupted in protest.

One Gulbarga analyst, however, said one of the reasons why Kharge went into a development over-drive was the defeat voters handed down to his son, Priyank Kharge, in the 2009 by-polls to Chittapur, the Assembly seat that Kharge vacated on being elected to the Lok Sabha.

The only time the BJP won in Gulbarga was in 1998, but ever since the party has positioned itself as the principal challenger to the Congress. In 2009 elections, BJP candidate Revunaik Belamgi gave tough fight, and lost to Kharge by just about 14,000 votes. The 75-year Belamgi is tipped to be the BJP candidate this time too. “We will fight the Congress, not so much on local issues, but focussing the failure of the UPA government.

We will ask for votes to make Narendra Modi our Prime Minister,” said Rajkumar Patil Telkur, President of Gulbarga district BJP.

Railways Scam: Court orders framing of charges against 10 accused

The court, in its order, said that corruption in India has reached “unimaginable proportions” and the case revealed a “novel way” of payment of bribe to achieve the aim

New Delhi:  A special court here has ordered framing of charges against former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla and nine others for their alleged roles in the Rs 10 crore cash-for-post railway bribery case.

Bansal, who had to resign from his post after the case had came into light, has been arrayed as a prosecution witness by the CBI.

Special CBI judge Swarana Kanta Sharma ordered framing of charges under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against all the accused, including the then Member (Staff) of Railway Board Mahesh Kumar.

The court, in its order, said that corruption in India has reached “unimaginable proportions” and the case revealed a “novel way” of payment of bribe to achieve the aim.

“As I had observed earlier in my order, the culture of ‘Sifarish’ and right contacts with powerful persons are the only thing which matter today for earning quick money.

“Needless to say, with each changing day, the modus operandi of such corrupt person is also not only changing but the corrupt are becoming more cautious and secretive taking lessons from the previous instances of cases where corrupt officers have been caught and sent up for trial,” the judge said, adding, “The present case in hand reveals a novel way of payment of bribe to achieve one’s aim.”

The court, which fixed the case for March 11 for formally framing charges against the accused, also observed that prima facie there was enough evidence to proceed with the trial in the case against the accused.

CBI had filed charge sheet on May 2 last year against 10 accused — Kumar, Singla, Managing Director of Bangalore-based G G Tronics India Pvt Limited N R Manjunath, middlemen Ajay Garg and Sandeep Goyal, Rahul Yadav, Sameer Sandhir, Sushil Daga, C V Venugopal and M V Murali Krishan.

The probe agency had alleged that Singla had demanded Rs 10 crore from Kumar for his appointment to the post of Member (Electrical) and it was decided between the accused that Rs 5 crore will be paid before the appointment and the rest will be paid after the job was done.

It had claimed that first tranche of around Rs 90 lakh was given to Singla who was apprehended while accepting the money.

CREDAI sees prospect in Realty sector in and around Namma Metro surroundings

Bangalore (SBC): The Namma Metro project launched in 2011 is for a 6.5 km stretch from M.G. Road to Byappanhalli. The recently inaugurated line covers the stretch between Sampige Road and Peenya Industrial area. It navigates across 10 km and will have 10 stations when completely operational. Of course, one of the sectors that will see direct impact is that of real estate albeit in a gradual manner.

Regarding Reach 1, from M.G. Road to Byappanahalli, in terms of infrastructure, it worked to decongest M.G. Road, Ulsoor and Indiranagar. Consequently real estate prices along the stretch began to soar. Areas on Old Madras Road saw an appreciation of 25 to 30 per cent in residential pricing. Commercial real estate received a huge impetus in the region. In addition, FAR was increased to 4 from 3.2, providing a boost to further development and opening up avenues for revenue and investment.

A little known development was the change in resale value of homes in the vicinity of Reach 1. The resale value of homes in the Indiranagar region reached the Rs. 12,000 per sq. ft mark.

Connectivity is the key to development of any area in a city. The Sampige Road-Peenya stretch of the Metro will decongest the traffic and provide low cost, fast moving travel options.

Areas in and around the Metro stations are already witnessing transformation. This stretch (Reach 3 and 3A) are part of the “green line” of the Metro stretching across a 10.3 km track line. It will connect the north-western suburb of Peenya to Sampige Road in Malleswaram. Currently only four of the 10 stations are open for business.

These stations are designed keeping in mind the growth in the number of users over a 30-year period. Existing infrastructure therefore is sufficient to handle present-day commuters. A stretch of 2.5 km from Peenya to Nagasandra as well as 4 km of underground tunneling from Sampige Road to National College are slated for completion by October this year. One station after Sampige Road is where the green and purple lines of the Metro are going to connect.

Huge fillip

Once the green and purple lines of the Metro intersect at the station after Sampige Road, rest assured that real estate along the entire stretch will receive a huge fillip. An increasing number of people will invest in homes close to the Metro line. No longer will it be necessary to live close to your place of work. With the Metro gaining pace, areas around popular residential spaces will also gain prominence, thereby easing the difference in pricing brackets within a region.

We hear of people working in the CBD buying their homes now close to the vicinity of Namma Metro lines as travel time will reduce. With the FAR around Metro stations is now up to 4, it will provide an impetus to commercial development as well.

There is a lot more that needs to go into completing the operational requirements of the Sampige Road-Peenya stretch, but its impact on realty has already begun. The Metro is an infrastructural addition to the city’s landscape and this may only be viewed from a positive perspective.

From the real estate point of view, in the long run there will be changes in pricing and benefits to reap as well. The actual benefit of the Metro for real estate will be seen when all main reaches are connected.

C.N. Govindaraju, President, CREDAI, Bangalore Chapter

Trained women to fight offenders in Local Trains

Mumbai: Starting March 8, this Women’s Day, you can reach out to the red-and-brown clad ‘Me Mukti Marshalls’ who’ll help you fend off miscreants.

Smita Thackeray’s ‘Me Mukti Marshalls’ initiative was launched on Friday at the Bandstand Amphitheatre.

Other than the ‘Me Mukti Marshalls’ themselves, Smita Thackeray’s family members including her son Rahul Thackeray, sister Swati Thanawala, Jivika Shah, celebrities of the likes of Divya Khosla Kumar, Neeta Lulla, Leena Mogre, Shibani Kashyap, Vaishali Samant, Megha, Yogesh Lakhani, Dimple Nahar and many others were also part of the event.

The ‘Me Mukti Marshall’ is your new friend-on-the-train who promises to be a strong companion until you alight. The team of 13 well trained women will travel on the Western Railway trains between 9.30 pm and 12.30 am between Andheri and Borivali and Mumbai Central and Churchgate to ensure you’re never alone.

The women, trained in self defense, will be armed with a baton and pepper spray to protect you from trouble.

The Mumbai local railway, once the city’s safe travel lifeline, has witnessed a steady rise in crimes against women.

Statistics by the Mumbai Government Railway Police for 2013 state that there’s been a 80 per cent increase in cases of sexual harassment of women in the trains.

Last year’s data shows that there were 76 cases of crimes against women, including rape, molestation and kidnapping, registered between January 1 and November 30.

“The police and authorities are doing their best to protect women in the railway premises. The Mukti Foundation appreciates their work and our Me Mukti Marshall is an effort to assist the authorities in curbing crimes and attempt to make women commuters feel safe during non-peak hours.

“Lakhs of women take the local train every day. Working women often return home late at night and at such times, the families are worried about the safety of their daughters and wives. Our Marshalls will be a friend and companion until the women get off the train,” explains Smita Thackeray, Founder-Chairperson, Mukti Foundation.

For the first few months, as a pilot project, the Marshalls will travel between 9.30 pm and 12.30 am on the Andheri-Borivali section and the Mumbai Central to Churchgate sections on the Western Line before expanding their presence on the Harbour and Central Lines of Western Railways as well.

Metro man E Sreedharan endorses Modi

Principal Advisor to the DMRC E. Sreedharan with former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit inNew DelhiNew Delhi: ‘Metro man’ E Sreedharan came out in support of BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, saying he hoped bold decisions under his leadership will fasten government’s decision-making process.

“Our problem is basically delay in taking government decisions and bureaucracy is responsible for it. We don’t have self confidence to take bold decisions,” Sreedharan, former Managing Director of Delhi Metro, said.

Although he did not blame either central or the state government, Sreedharan said he hoped that Modi will fasten the decision making process in the country.

“I think there will be a change in decision making process. From what I have seen, the decisions he (Modi) has taken till now were very fast,” Sreedharan said.

Giving an example of good work done by Modi’s administration in Gujarat, he said, “the factory in Salvi in Vadodra district of Gujarat for producing metro trains was set up in record time of 18 months.”

Sreedharan was speaking to reporters before an event organised by the Japan Embassy to felicitate him for his contribution in “strengthening Japan’s presence in India and to promoting friendly relations between Japan and India through the Delhi Metro project.”

Also present at the event was former Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit besides parliamentarians N K Singh, Ashwini Kumar, and Tarun Vijay.

Sreedharan, who received “the Order of Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star” by the Government of Japan on November 3 last year, thanked Japan for its financial and technical support in the construction of Delhi Metro.

“Metro became resounding success because of two things – soft loan from the Japanese government and the unstinting support we received from the Delhi and Central government”, he said.

When asked about the controversies regarding a tiff between Centre and DMRC, Sreedharan said, “after I left, there is a general feeling that DMRC is not getting the same support it used to get from the Centre”.

He, however, said the relationship with the state administration is “fine”

Badli Metro line to go over rail tracks

New Delhi:  The extension of the Yellow line to Badli, on the Jehangirpuri to HUDA City Centre corridor, will be one of the few Metro lines going over a railway line in the capital. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation will construct a special steel bridge to span the Northern Railway tracks on the Delhi-Ambala route. It will also construct two separate elevated tracks for this corridor.

“The challenging part of is that the elevated viaduct of the line will cross the Northern Railway tracks between Adarsh Nagar and Badli stations of the Northern Railway. The DMRC alignment will cross the Northern Railway tracks just before Badli Mor Metro station,” said DMRC spokesman, Anuj Dayal. Thus, there will be two separate viaducts for the “up” and “down” line on this stretch.

A 45m span steel bridge will be constructed to allow crossing of railway and Metro tracks. This bridge will be on RCC piers for which piling work has been completed and pier construction is underway. The bottom level of this steel bridge (called soffit) will be more than 12m above the railway track. The girders have been fabricated and received.

“After clearance from authorities, these steel girders will be launched by push method by means of winch machine. Temporary supports in the form of steel trestles have been erected between piers. Rails are fixed over these trestles and piers,” said a DMRC official. The girder is lifted and placed over the pier, before the spans where it is to be erected. “The girder is then moved over the rails on rollers, using winch machines, till it is in position. It is then lowered over the piers and the RCC deck slab is casted,” said the official. DMRC’s spokesman said the bridge work is expected to be completed by June.

The Badli Mor station, which will be designed keeping Phase-IV in mind, will connect the Yellow line with the proposed RK Ashram-Mukundpur-Janakpuri (west) section. This section will connect the current Yellow line with line 7 (Mukundpur-Yamuna Vihar) and line 8 (Janakpuri West-Botanical Garden).

“The structures of the station are designed in a way that they will be able to take the load of two platforms which will cater to Phase-III and IV,” said Dayal. The first two floors of the station, which are lower than the level of Outer Ring Road, will be used for property development. The Outer Ring Road will run parallel to the station. The third floor, which will have a direct link with the road through a foot-overbridge, will be the concourse and the platform will be above it. “The Phase-IV platform will come up above the Phase-III one,” said Dayal, while adding that almost 45% of the structure is ready.

International Women’s Day: ‘Know Your Delhi Metro’ campaign launched

E9DLIMT_E1805New Delhi: A group of 25 women commuters were on Saturday invited by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to the Central Secretariat metro station and taken on a tour of the station.

They were shown important components of the metro system, like the station control and technical rooms, as part of its “Know Your Metro” campaign.

For women commuters

The programme, launched on the International Women’s Day, intends to make women commuters aware of the basic functioning and emergency services of the Delhi Metro.

The women were also told about the Automatic Fare Collection, CCTVs, public address systems and tunnel ventilation. Inside a train, they were told about the functioning of the Passenger Emergency Alarms inside the coaches.

The Delhi Metro has decided to continue this campaign, as part of which it will invite a group of women commuters once a month.

In addition, it will also invite participants for the “Know Your Metro” campaign through its website.

The DMRC will urge the government, private offices, schools, colleges, non-government organisations and residents’ welfare associations to send their employees or members for the same.

“The main purpose of the programme was to sensitise women commuters about the various facilities available inside the Metro premises and trains for their safety. To inspire women, we also made them meet known women achievers like Income Tax Commissioner and acclaimed artist Sangeeta Gupta and former athlete Sunita Godara,” said a DMRC official.

Six Muzaffarnagar residents arrested at Attari Rly station for carrying Sophisticated Weapons

Atari (ATT):  Six persons, including two women, hailing from Muzaffarnagar in U.P. and travelling on the Samjhauta Express were arrested after 11 pistols were seized from them. They were their way back from Pakistan.

The pistols were found concealed in 11 meat cutter machines during customs check at the Attari Railway Station on Friday, Gurdev Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Customs said. “Suspicion arose after the machines were subjected to X-ray. They were cut by cutters and the pistols were found.” The six are now being interrogated, he said.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi claimed in October last that Pakistan’s ISI was trying to recruit riot-affected youngsters of Muzaffarnagar.

Muzaffarnagar residents were “Acting as Couriers”

Preliminary investigations into the arms seizure by customs authorities at the Attari railway station revealed that Muzaffarnagar residents were acting as couriers. They were to hand over the consignment to one Rashid in Delhi. Rashid is also a resident of Muzaffarnagar area in UP).

Earlier, Custom authorities handed them over to the Government Railway Police (GRP) at Attari in the morning while top intelligence agencies were interrogating the six accused, including two women.

The probe conducted by custom and GRP police so far revealed that the accused brought the consignment from one Hamida Begum, a resident of Lahore, and these were to be handed over to Rashid in Delhi.

“The juicer and meat mincing machines were handed over to them by Hamida Begum from Lahore. She had asked them to hand over the machines to Rashid,” said Rashpal Singh Ghuman, SP, GRP.

He said it appeared from preliminary investigations that they did not know about the presence of pistols in the machines. However, he added that further investigations were under progress in this connection.

“The foreign and Pakistan-made weapons seized from them are very sophisticated in nature, said Ghuman. The officials also did not rule out the possibility of these arms to be used in the riot-hit Muzaffarnagar area in order to disrupt the peace during the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, all six Muzaffarnagar residents today remanded them in three-day police custody. They were produced before the duty magistrate in the evening. They would be presented in the court on March 10.

UP ATS arrives to probe arms smuggling from Pakistan

Amritsar (ASR): A team of Uttar Pardesh’s anti-terrorism squad (ATS) arrived here on Saturday to interrogate six Muzaffarnagar residents who were apprehended at Attari international railway station with 11 revolvers and 22 empty magazines brought from Lahore on Samjhauta Express on March 6.

According to sources, given the sensitivity of Muzaffarnagar’s recent riots, the ATS team from Noida, led by an official of SP rank, had arrived here to probe whether the arms were to be distributed to riot victims or to be used in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections or for accomplishing any other terrorist mission in the country.

Sources associated with the probe told on Saturday that the sleuths of various agencies were interrogating the six persons, including two women. “We need to know who was behind supplying arms to them in Lahore. Is there any ISI module operating in Muzaffarnagar, who were the targets, whom they were to supply arms. It is very sensitive time in India so we can’t leave anything to chances,” sources said.

Government Railway Police Force SHO Dharmander Kalyan said Shehnaz Begum, Anees Ahmad, Razia Begum, Raeez, Arif and Nasir were members of two families who had brought the weapons from Pakistan.

During interrogation they revealed that a person, Rashid, from Muzaffarnagar had given them embroidery material for one Lahore-based Hameeda who lived near Lahori Darwaza. “Rashid had given Rs 5,000 each and asked them to bring the material given to them by Hameeda, which they agreed,” they said.

They also had gone to the house of Hameeda near Lahori Darwaza and when they were to return to India she gave them 11 juicers and meat-mincing machines in which the revolvers and empty magazines were welded. It was not clear whether they had earlier been involved in smuggling arms from Pakistan or it was their first attempt. “For now we can presume they were used as couriers but their exact involvement will be known after investigation,” Dharmander said.

Dharmander said the smugglers revealed that Rashid was to take delivery of the material in Delhi. Sources said Amritsar police were in touch with Muzaffarnagar police and had tightened noose around Rashid. One of the arrested person, Raeez, had earlier been to Pakistan to sell Indian goods.

Railway Police take new measures on Women’s day

Mumbai:  On the occasion of Women’s day on Saturday, March 8, police commissioner Rakesh Maria will launch a web registration service, through SMS, for women traveling in taxis and autorickshaws. The launch will take place at 11.15am at Prerna Hall of the Police Club.

The commissioner will also be releasing a handbook on empowering women to fight crime. 5000 copies of the book will be rolled out in the first phase and they will be distributed in police stations and NGOs. It is in English as well as Marathi.

The GRP has arranged a separate program for Women’s day at the RPF quarters, located behind Swaminarayan temple in Dadar East. Speakers will address the audience on women commuters’ issues and using martial arts for self defence.

International Women’s Day: Women in Railways

Passion finds tracks to roll on – On International Women’s Day, RailNews pays tribute to Railway women

Swagatika Priyadarshini, an assistant loco pilot. find out how she has given shape to her dream of a life of adventure

8rLC1222About 30 female assistant loco pilots working in the Khurda Division of the East Coast Railway have successfully smashed the stereotypical notion that some professions are strictly a male arena.

Swagatika Priyadarshini, 25, along with her female colleagues, has proved their mettle in the arduous profession and become the lesser-known role models of our society.

Since her childhood, Swagatika had been well acquainted with the sound of trains as her home in Jajpur was a little away from the railway station. Consequently, she developed a fascination of this popular mode of communication. Speaking in fluent English, Swagatika said she was the first from her family to be working for the Indian Railways.

In 2010, after Swagatika graduated in mechanical engineering, she decided to take the exam for the railway post. Her passion became tangible as she passed the exams with flying colours clearing several stages. “I always had this burning desire of not doing what every girl loves to do. I wanted my career to be full of adventures,” she said.

The loco pilots are given three months training, so that they get accustomed with the rules and duties. They have to be attentive of the signals on the routes and also control the speed of the train.

For Swagatika, who is also married, her day starts early in the morning. Besides, she also has to look after her household.

“My family has a few members, but there are so many families on a train. Alertness is of utmost importance in our profession,” she said.

“In pursuit of such a career, your family has to support you. Luckily, my in-laws, too, have been hugely supportive. The outlook of the society would change with time and education,” she said.

“I am sure that earlier things were not much easy for women. But today, one can find co-operative colleagues and a conducive ambience to work almost in every field. Moreover, there are men, who do encourage women to take up a job,” she said about a sea change in today’s work culture.

“I have never felt any gender discrimination. At the end of the day, if there is a job that has been assigned to you, you do it properly irrespective of which gender you belong to. Our objective is to give a comfortable ride to the passengers,” she said.

Swagatika is a dedicated professional and does not get flustered by the news of head-on collisions and derailment.

“Train accidents are very rare. As a human being, you feel very sad, but that is the occupational hazard we have to deal with. For that matter, all professions have their own risks,” she quipped.

Woman Guard chugs into Male Bastion

Pune: Radha Chalwadi had a career plan, albeit a tad unusual. She wanted to stand in the train’s guard cabin one day and wave the red or the green flag and she had been working towards it.

Chalwadi joined the Railways 16 years ago as a pointswoman, an outdoor job which required her to flag signal trains at stations and even perform minor repairs of tracks and also take empty rakes out of stations. But two years ago, she decided she wanted a more challenging profile and appeared for the inter-departmental examination in 2013. She cleared it to become Pune division’s first woman guard.

Six months ago, Chalwadi (40) started work as a goods train guard, conventionally a male domain given the strenuous field work and odd work hours.

Radha, who is currently in Punjab on work, now travels in goods trains and undertakes all the work that the job entails. She says she enjoys every moment of her work as she had always dreamt of becoming a guard.

“A guard’s job is not conventional, which cannot be done sitting in a cabin with fixed hours. There are no weekends and fixed holidays. But I decided to take up the challenge. It was one of the happiest moments in my life when I passed the examination to become a goods train guard,” said Chalwadi.

Radha’s duty hours range between five and eight hours, stretching to 10 hours at times. She usually opts for goods trains travelling on Pune-Lonavla and Pune-Daund sections.

Her work begins a couple of hours before the train’s departure and includes checking the air pressure in the train, alignment of wagons, locks, doors and brakes. She monitors the train when it moves on tracks, generates reports and checks if there is anything amiss.

“My job is not to simply sit in the guard’s cabin. It needs concentration. Sometimes the job becomes really challenging especially when I have to take a round of long goods train having 40-odd wagons and check locks of doors and air pressure in every wagon. Initially, I found it difficult, but no longer so. I feel proud that women can take up challenging jobs like men,” said Radha.

Radha said her family and colleagues supported her. “My family accepted my odd-working hours, and this helped me to pursue my job,” she said.

Her journey has only begun. “After a goods train guard, she can become a passenger train guard and then an express train guard. There is also an option of opting for the post of a section controller and then chief controller,” said an official from the Pune division.

Engineer awarded for negotiating deal

Vaishali PateriaVaishali Pateria (42) a civil engineer was given a Special Achievement Award by the Central Railway (CR) for single-handedly negotiating with people who had encroached on the fifth and sixth line between Vikhroli and Kanjurmarg and resolving the deadlock.

Ms Pateria, who had joined the Railways back in 1991, said that she took the decision to apply, as the advertisement put out by Railways was very unusual and interesting. “Women should consider and be aware that the job involves a lot of field work and is physically demanding,” she elaborated.

Ms Pateria was posted to look after the Rawli Flyover, and later on in 2009 to 2010, she was to overlook the construction of the new fifth and sixth line between Kurla and Thane. The project had hit a dead end, as the land — although handed over by the BMC — housed a political party’s office.

Ms Pateira said, “Whenever a male engineer would try to talk to the party people, they would just plant a woman leader to press their case, because of which the engineers got scared when dealing with them.”

Ms Pateria then took the initiative and talked to the women. “I told them that the work was meant to help lakhs of commuters and after a few meetings, they got our point and allowed us to demolish the office,” she said.

Ms Pateria, who is currently at the post of deputy chief engineer (construction), oversees new construction between Thakurli and Mulund.

“I know this is cliché, but I truly wouldn’t have been able to do what I do without the support of my husband Dhirendra and my colleagues,” she said.

A woman achiever who overcame disability

JYSE_727Coimbatore (CBE):  The achievements of S.D. Jayasree, a 29-year-old employee of India Posts’ Railway Mail Service, are quite a few.

Since she joined a non-governmental organisation in 2008, Jayasree has been training scores of differently abled persons in multi-media software, and artificial jewellery making and beautician course.

In 2009, she formed Calliper Women, an NGO, by bringing together a group of women with hearing disabilities. The NGO works towards making women with hearing impairment employable. It also offers counselling for differently abled women. She was a full time worker for three years at a computer centre run by UDIS Forum for differently abled persons.

An academically brilliant student, she stood State first in the commerce stream in Class XII public examination. She is also a qualified typist in both English and Tamil and has had a year’s training in computer engineering besides beautician course.

An impressive list for any person, but Jayasree’s achievements shine all the more brightly for she has managed to achieve all this overcoming her own disability of hearing impairment.

Her contribution to the cause of helping differently abled persons was recognised with a ‘Women Achiever’ award by the Avinashilingam Women Study Centre on the occasion of International Women’s Day (March 8). She received the award from J. Mohanasundari, Managing Director of Sharp Industries, during a function. Sheela Ramachandran, vice-chancellor of Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women, presided over the event.

The society, Ms. Jayasree said, was now waking up to the needs of differently abled persons. Educational institutions, particularly the universities, have a major role to play. She said that sign language must be included in the school curriculum.

Others who received the award were Sherin Philip, District Social Welfare Officer, P. Uma Makeshwari, social worker, K. Aruna, Protection Officer of the Social Welfare Department, and U. Elizabeth, Women Development worker, Good Shepherd Health Education Centre and Dispensary.

Indian Railways introduces quota for Pregnant Women

Gorakhpur:  Railways has made it mandatory to reserve the lower berth for pregnant women and for female passengers above the age of 45 years in a bid to make train journey more comfortable for them.

The Railways has also changed the format of application forms and the new ones will be soon available on reservation counters across the country. In the new application form, an individual will be required to fill phone number at two different places.

One mobile number will be filled with address and the other number will be used for SMS alert which will be mandatory to be filled along with other details like train number, class and date of boarding. The passenger will immediately get an alert once the ticket gets confirmed or if there is any other updates.

Deputy Director, Traffic Commercial, Railway Board Sanjay Manocha has informed all the zonal officers regarding the changes.

The Railways has also made some changes in the application form. These forms will now have five columns, instead of three. There will be one column for pregnant women. Women applying for this quota will have to produce medical certificate based on which the berth will be reserved.

IRCTC tour package

Coimbatore (CBE): Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation is offering a special train tour during summer vacation “West Coast Serene and Antiquity of India” from Madurai to Goa and a number of other places from March 30. The train will pass through Kerala on March 31.

According to a release, the tourist train “Bharat Darshan” will pass through Kochuveli, Kollam, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Shoranur, Calicut, Kannur, and Kasargod. The train will cover places such as Goa, Mumbai, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Khajuraho.

The package tour tariff is Rs. 7,920 for non-AC sleeper class train journey, non-AC hall accommodation for night stay, non-AC buses for local sightseeing and vegetarian food.

The features of this package is that the train carries only Bharat Darshan tourists, tour escorts and security guard for each coach, 10 coaches including pantry car, each coach is fixed with audio system for important announcements and music besides on board and off-board catering service (vegetarian – breakfast, lunch and dinner).

For details, IRCTC area office at Coimbatore could be contacted at 9003140680 or visit www.railtourismindia.com

Search on for site to build Lucknow Metro Yard

Lucknow (LKO): Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) is finding it hard to find a land to establish metro-rail project’s construction yard. This yard would be used for building precast structures for the project.

LMRC requires a huge piece of land preferably near the metro route of North South (N-S) Corridor from Amausi Airport to Munshipulia to set up its metro yard. Finding a suitable piece of land near route alignment is integral as all kinds of civil construction would take place inside the yard.

Officials had written to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) around one and a half months ago to give about 15 acres of land strip on the Kanpur Road near the second entry-gate of Amausi airport. This land was perfect for setting up construction yard as its location was along the proposed N-S route. It was a huge land strip near the metro depot.

But AAI refused to give that land and instead offered area near the air strip. The authority later realised that the land was coming in between the funnel zone of the airport and has now suggested two alternative sites to LMRC for construction of yard. While one of the sites is near Shaheed Path, the other one is on the rear side of colony near airport.

LMRC officials said the land on Shaheed Path is too small, about 4 acres, and is highly uneven for construction of yard. The corporation has rejected the first site as there are some families living on it. The corporation feels it would be difficult for them to relocate families living on that land for years. LMRC is currently zeroing in on the second option which is a huge piece of land, about 40 acres at the back of the colony.

Though the land is sufficient, its approach is slightly constricted. Officials fear once construction begins, the approach road will be too narrow for movement of bigger vehicles carrying precast structures. An official said “we have to study the suitability of land as the approach road is too narrow. The suitability of land would be surveyed by DMRC ( Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) team when it comes to Lucknow. Based on their report, we would finalise the site.”

DMRC team would be travelling to the city on Friday to survey the alternative link routes namely Ring metro line, Mill Road link and Gomtinagar link route. It is likely that during the visit, DMRC team may also survey sites proposed for the yard’s construction. Principal advisor of LMRC E. Sreedharan will also be travelling to Lucknow on Saturday to decide on the future course of the project.

LMRC officials, however, maintain selecting a site for the yard was never that difficult as there are many vacant lands around the city. But since they wanted to build a yard near the corridor route, they are evaluating options to increase the road-width near the airport colony.

E Sreedharan in Lucknow to take stock of Lucknow Metro in the project review

Lucknow: A week after he accepted Uttar Pradesh government’s offer to be the chief advisor of the Lucknow Metro project, E. Sreedharan will be visiting the state capital Saturday, officials said.

Sreedharan, who is accredited with the successful launch of Delhi Metro, will meet Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, senior government and Lucknow Metro officials.

He is likely to discuss alignment and finalization of routes for the metro, an official said.

Senior metro officials for the past one week have been scouting for the route trajectory in the state capital.

Rajeev Agarwal, the managing director of Lucknow Metro, said surveys were being done to map new routes.

China brings its rail network closer to the Indian border

The new extension line will take travelers from Lhasa to Xigaze, also known as Shigatse, in about two hours. The 253-km Lhasa-Xigaze railway line will be open before October

China Xigaze Railway lineBeijing: China is extending the world’s highest Qinghai-Tibet railway line to Panchen Lama hometown of Xigaze as well as taking it closer to the Indian border.

Observers said Chinese authorities are trying to kill two birds with one stone to meet both political and military goals with the move. It is expected to bring more tourists to the China-backed Panchen Lama’s hometown in Tibet and enhance his world image.

China has desperately been preparing for 24-year to counter the Dalai Lama, whom Chinese officials describe as “wolf in lamb’s clothing”.

The young Lama is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory body. He spends most of his time in Beijing and holds an important position in the state-backed China Buddhist Association. The seat of Panchan Lama in Xigaze and Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace in Lhasa are regarded as revered sites in Tibetan Buddhism.

The new extension line will take travelers from Lhasa to Xigaze, also known as Shigatse, in about two hours, railway authorities said. The 253-km Lhasa-Xigaze railway line will be open before October. Officials said 93% of the track, including construction of all bridges, culverts, tunnels on the mountain route, has been completed.

The Xigaze region borders India’s Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan. The new extension line will make it easier for the People’s Liberation Army to carry men and machinery to the Indian border at short notice.

The move comes soon after China announced plans to lay a new road linking Tibet’s capital of Lhasa to Nyingchi, a prefecture in southeast Tibet that borders India.

“It could reduce the driving time from Lhasa to Nyingchi by more than two hours,” a senior railway official, Tashi Gyatso, was quoted in the state media as saying.

The Nepalese government has been pleading with China to provide an extension railway line from Xigaze to its border.

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway began service in July 2006 and, according to the report, had positively impacted on Tibet’s tourism, hospitality and manufacturing sectors.

The plateau railway which covers 1,956 km from Xining in Qinghai Province to Lhasa carried 11.7 million passengers and 57.8 million tonnes of cargo in 2013. The announcement comes at a time when the government says that the economy of TAR grew 12.2% in 2013.

Tibetan areas in China have witnessed more than 125 cases of self-immolations where monks and civilians have set themselves on fire demanding the return of the India-based Dalai Lama to China and more autonomy.

Beijing insists that Tibetan regions especially TAR is witnessing impressive development.

The growth rate of TAR was 4.4 percentage points higher than the country’s average, according to the regional statistics bureau.

The gross domestic product (GDP) of Tibet reached 80.767 billion Yuan ($13.19 billion) in 2013, almost double that of 2009, state media reported.

“Tibet has maintained double-digit growth for 21 consecutive years,” Liu Baicheng, head of the regional statistics bureau told state media.

The per capita net income of farmers and herdsmen in the region hit 6,578 yuan in 2013, up 15% year on year. The per capita disposable income of urban residents increased 11.1% year on year to reach 20,023 Yuan.

Central Railway to use ‘WhatsApp’ Messaging App to keep track of Rooftop travellers

Mumbai: Central Railway (CR) has decided to zero in on offenders using WhatsApp, a popular messaging service.

Railway employees will circulate images and videos of miscreants using the phone app.

Form a group of their own employees on the mobile messaging application Whatsapp to zero in on law breakers. The members will be assigned the circulating the images or videos of criminals snapped or received by them to help nab the culprits.

“Ticket-checking staff, Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police personnel, who are mostly on the field , will form a group and disseminate information on bag-lifters, pickpockets, molesters, rooftop travellers and those who perform stunts,” CR’s General Manager S K Sood told. Apart from the circulating images snapped by them, the staff can also upload stuff that has been received through commoners.

A reward of Rs 10,000 has been announced for those who help in getting miscreants booked using the messaging service. Railway officials have welcomed the idea on the grounds that it will act as deterrent, besides helping nab culprits.

A senior railway officials said, “For example, a TC may witness a crime but he does not have powers to nab the culprit. He can take snaps and send them to GRP or RPF officials, who can then track the offenders,” said a CR official.

The initiative will deter rooftop travellers and train stuntmen, believe officials.

“We have seen videos of stunts being circulated on several social networking sites. Such videos shed light of the identity of the person and the location where these stunts were performed. Once we start receiving such videos on WhatsApp, our security personnel can keep tabs on offenders,” a CR official said.

“On occasions, CCTV grabs are not clear and can’t help us identify offenders. Since many people use smartphones, the quality of images are good enough to submit in the form of evidence in the court of law.

We hope more people will be encouraged to shoot videos or click pictures when they come across law-breakers,” he added.

RDSO approves Layout for AC Local Train for Mumbai

Mumbai:  The much-awaited air-conditioned local train for Mumbai has begun taking shape. Late last week, the railway board approved a ‘layout’ of the coach and other technical parameters of the train. Layout is railway lingo for placement of seats, luggage racks, grab poles and the like inside a coach.

The train is estimated to cost a little over Rs.43 crore and is expected to have a majority of its parts imported, including the vestibules connecting the coaches and the flooring.

According to officials, the coach shell has also been finalised by the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai and work on building the shell will commence by mid-April. The most important part of the 12-coach train — the three-phase electrical systems that will power it — will arrive from Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited by the last week of April.

“It is a tight schedule for the train because it needs to be brought in by July 2014 as that date has been announced in the railway budget. The train is already going to miss its March 31 deadline that was announced in the previous budget, and missing it again would reflect badly on the railways. Moreover, we understand there is tremendous curiosity in the city for the AC local, with people mistaking the Bombardier rakes currently being tested as the air-conditioned train and posting pictures of the same on social media sites,” said a railway official.

As reported earlier, the most important aspect of the layout that has been approved by the railway board is that the seats would be in the same pattern that locals currently have. This pattern was approved because of Research Design Standards Organisation’s objection to the longitudinal pattern — the one used in metros worldwide — which, it says, would put strain on the train floor.

“We have to keep in mind the crowd inside a Mumbai local. During peak hours, it’s a mind-boggling 16 people per square metre, something the railways calls the super dense crush load. The longitudinal pattern of seating would mean more people standing, which is not a good thing in dense suburban systems like Mumbai’s,” said an official.

The horizontal, rectangular windows — the kind used in the Rajdhani Express — have also been approved by the railway board, sources said.

Jyothirlingas Train Tour: IRCTC organize pilgrimage package to Lord Shiva temples

Chennai (MAS): Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) is organizing a 14-day pilgrimage to nine shrines of Lord Shiva (Jyothirlingas), covering different states.

The train route is: Chennai- Mahakaleshwar- Omkareshwar – Somnath – Bhim Shankar – Triambakeshwar- Grushneshwar – Ayuundh Nagnath – Parli Vaijinath – Srisailam. The tour/pilgrimage will begin on March 16 and end 29. “The tour has been planned mainly for senior citizens to have a darshan of the nava jyotirlingas of four states which are not accessible by regular modes of transport,” said a press release.

The features of the train are: 3 tier AC coaches and sleeper class coaches, a separate pantry car, escort to safeguard luggage and a public announcement system.

The ‘Jyothirlingas Train Tour’ includes hotel accommodation, buses for transfers and sightseeing, onboard and off-board vegetarian catering and services of escort and security.

The tour has been classified into deluxe, comfort, standard and budget categories and package starts from Rs 17,300 per person.

For details, contact IRCTC tourism information and facilitation centre at Chennai Central railway station -044-64594959, 9003140681 and 9840902920 and Madurai railway station: 0452-2345757, 9840902915, 9003140714.

For online booking, contact www.railtourismindia.com.

Railway employees at Banihal go on hunger strike; Station Master joins in

Banihal: Railway employees, including Station Master (SM), went on indefinite strike against the failure of Northern Railway authorities to provide adequate staff to the station here.

Railway union members including union president SM Khan from Kashmir also reached Banihal and joined the striking employees. Station Master Banihal Rahul Kumar has also joined the employees and was said to be on the hunger strike at railway station Banihal.

However, the rail service from Banihal remained unaffected despite the strike by employees. The rail service between Banihal and Baramullah was running smoothly and manned by the striking employees, in turns.

Station Master Rahul Kumar said that the matter of the shortage of employees was brought into the notice of Northern Railway (NR) authorities on many occasion but nothing has been done so far.

He claimed that that he was working round the clock for last 24 days at railway station Banihal without any substitute. He said Railway station needs 22 booking clerks and only 8 are posted here.

President national federation of Indian railway Kashmir MS Khan said that the shortage of employees is a major concern for the railway employees posted on 16 railway stations of Banihal – Baramullah railway line. He said only 22 station masters are posted against 44 posts.

Kochi Metro gets Cabinet’s nod for extension of project

It is being proposed to extend the metro rail up to S.N.Junction in Tripunithura at an investment of Rs. 323 crore

A detailed project report for extending the first phase of the Kochi Metro Rail project to Tripunithura is expected by May even as the Cabinet gave its nod for the project on Wednesday.

Approvals pending

A detailed study in this regard is being conducted by the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES). While the Cabinet had given its approval to the preliminary report on the first phase extension, approvals from the central Public Investment Board and the ministerial-level high-power committee are pending. Efforts for securing these approvals would be initiated shortly.

Initially, the metro rail was proposed from Aluva to Pettah. Now it is being proposed up to SN Junction in Tripunithura at an investment of Rs. 323 crore. There would be two stations at Tripunithura – Alliance Junction and SN Junction. Demand for extension of Metro to Tripunithura has been there from the very beginning. The benefits of Kochi Metro would reach larger segments of passengers with the extension. Besides, more space for metro station and related facilities are available at Tripunithura compared to Pettah.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation had pointed out the possibilities of extending the project up to Tripunithura at the launch of the construction work itself. Organisations including resident’s associations had organised protests demanding the extension of the project.

Seminar on “Role Of Information Technology in Rail Services – Present and Future” Inaugurated

Rail IT

New Delhi: A seminar on the theme “Role of IT in Rail Services – Present and Future” was inaugurated by the Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury here today. The seminar which was organized by the Centre for Transportation Research and Management (C-TRAM), an autonomous body of the Ministry of Railways, brought together the eminent professionals from Information Technology (IT) sector, industries and rail users and corporate managers to deliberate on the current status of IT and its future prospects for Indian Railways to expand and improve its quality of service. The objective of this seminar was to generate ideas through interaction between the key players and the Indian Railways about new areas where IT can be put to use. Present on occasion were Arunendra Kumar, Chairman, Railway Board, D.P.Pande, Member Traffic, Kul Bhushan, Member Electrical, Alok Johri, Member Mechanical of Railway Board, Mrs.Suhash Kumar, Advisor (Freight Marketing) and MD, CRIS and R.C.Dubey, Executive Director, C-TRAM.

Noted IT expert Kiran Karnik delivered the key note address at the seminar.

Speaking on the occasion Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that “this seminar is deliberating on a very timely, topical and important subject of “Information Technology” which has become indispensable part of our day to day life. The system is now moving from paper to paper-less delivery of services, he added”.

The Minister said that “Indian Railways have had a healthy tradition of utilizing Information Technology in their day to day operations in the last 40 years. Referring to the wide scale railway operations, the Minister pointed out that Railways is presently carrying over a billion tonnes of freight and over 8 billions of passengers annually. The Minister emphasized that this corresponds to around 27 lakh trucks a day and 22 million passengers a day. He said that IT is helpful in serving rail users of this scale effectively and efficiently. IT enabled passenger and freight information services have made it possible for the rail user to access the services increasingly from his desk top or lap top or even his mobile phone. Internally also, Railways have utilized computerization extensively to provide quick and efficient processing of data. Almost all departments use computerized applications in their day to day work, to collect information from the lowest levels of the organization and disseminate it to the managerial levels for quick and effective decision making”.

The Minister Sh. Chowdhury said that “India has been recognized as a major source of young IT professionals as most new IT initiatives in the developed world like USA are handled by Indian professionals. The Minister talked of inclusive growth of the country and called upon to strengthen IT literacy in the country taking marginalized sections on board on this journey. Mr.Chowdhury said that there is long way for Indian Railways to go in utilizing the real potential of IT for use of railways’ Commercial Operation and Asset Management Functions”.

Mr Chowdhury hoped that the seminar would deliberate on all aspects of IT and will throw some useful suggestions that railways need to implement for the next generation.

In his speech, Chairman, Railway Board, Arunendra Kumar said that “Indian Railways have adopted Information Technology since 1960s and the results are there for all of us to see. IR have extended the benefits of computerization to the common man by making it easy for him to buy train tickets at his convenience. We have enabled freight customers to pay for their transactions through a computerized payment gateway. Railways are providing information to the customers about train running, accommodation status, reservation status etc, which has been possible by computerization and use of Information Technology. Most of the initiatives taken by Railways have been widely recognized and appreciated. Railways can justly be proud of our achievements in the area of IT”. Kumar said that “Over the years, Railways have been expanding the ambit of IT for use in various operational areas of rail transportation and customer services. Starting from pay roll to passenger ticketing and reservation, IR has used IT to facilitate a wider clientele of freight, container and parcel transport users. Freight Operation Information System (FOIS) is helping Railways in getting on line real time information about trains and reduce the time spent on collecting and collating information”. The Chairman Railway Board, also said that “we have to further take steps to bring maximum value to the organization through the use of IT. He also suggested that a certain percentage of budget should be earmarked for IT activities so that sufficient funds are available for implementing IT projects”.

Delivering key note address, noted IT expert Kiran Karnik said that “Railway is flag bearer in the use of information technology and should continue to set new bench mark in the use of IT. He said Railways has lot of big data flowing through its operations. He said that Railways can undertake comprehensive data analysis which can be utilized for various activities like predicting passengers movement, demand patterns etc. Sh. Kiran Karnik said that the freight loading of the Railways need to be further strengthen and expanded to cut the cost of logistics. Emphasizing the need for safety, Sh. Kiran Karnik said that new and innovative methods and designs to enhance safety may come through extensive use of information technology. Sh. Kiran Karnik said that there is also a need to leverage the use of next stage cloud computing for bringing efficiency in the Railway operations”.

Speaking on the occasion, D.P.Pande, Member Traffic, Railway Board, said that in the ticketing field Indian Railways have progressed in e-ticketing where now about 50% tickets are sold on the internet. In the passenger business front, IT has acted as a great enabler. Premium Trains are being planned on the basis of MIS Reports generated. He said that it is the endeavour of Indian Railways to reduce queues and therefore, 1030 ATVMs have already been installed and it is proposed to proliferate it further to about 3500 coin and currency operated ATVMs. Indian Railways is also working on e-railway receipts and e-forwarding note. The aim of IT is to act as an information highway where and when required for both internal and external customer and also to act as a personal productivity tool, he added. Indian Railways is keen at improving the quality of services. Increasing use of IT and computerisation has been of considerable help in this effort. Indian Railways are one of the oldest Government organisations to use Information Technology for better management and improving customer services. Starting with payroll accounting, today Indian Railways is using IT for its freight transportation data, passenger ticketing and reservations, rail enquiry and even Passenger grievance redressal. With the result, life has become much easier for passengers for booking their tickets and getting information for their journey.

One of the key objectives of CTRAM has been to provide a forum for cross – sectoral and cross – functional dialogue between policymaking professionals and academics on issues pertaining to transportation with special focus on the dynamic developments unfolding in the transport sector in India. CTRAM has already conducted thirteen National seminars on issues pertaining to transport industry in general and Indian Railways in particular.

Prime Land near Vizag proposed for Lease out to Hinduja Group to lay Dedicated Rail Line

Hindujas eye public land for rail link to power plant

Visakhapatnam (VSKP): The UPA government proposes to lease out almost 65 hectares of prime land near Vishakapatnam to the multibillion-dollar Hinduja group to lay a dedicated railway line for transporting coal to its 1,040 mw power plant being set up at Pavalavasa on the east coast with over $1 billion investment.

State-run companies NTPC and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam (RINL) along with the Railways hold the title to this land bank that would now be leased out to Hindujas.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has to clear the proposal mooted by Power minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.

While the coal-fired Hinduja power venture is set to go commercial by May, coal transport to the site may prove tricky given that the CCEA is scheduled to hold its last meeting ahead of the general election after the prime minister returns from the Bimstec conference in Myanmar and the election code of conduct kicks in.

Cabinet clearance is required for any land deal involving central government departments, state-owned companies or autonomous bodies, as per the norms of the urban development ministry.

Power minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who quit recently, have already approved the proposal.

At present, NTPC owns 23.4 hectares of land, while RINL owns 24.24 hectares and 17.2 hectares belongs to the Railways. Scindia has proposed that these land parcels may be leased to the Hindujas to enable them to construct a dedicated railway line from Jaggayyapalem to the project site for uninterrupted coal supplies.

NTPC, Railways and RINL have ‘in-principle’ agreed to lease out their land parcels to the Hindujas on ‘commercial terms’.

“Unless the government approves this proposal over the next few days, handing over the land bank to the Hindujas will become difficult,” a power ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

The Hindujas have already floated commercial tender seeking companies that can implement the 23 km railway line. As a backup, the Hindujas are negotiating with NTPC to use its available rail link to the Simhadri power project for the next 30 months till its own railway connectivity is achieved. The Hinduja power venture is close to NTPC’s Simhadri power plant.

While the NTPC board is not averse to such a deal, the rider is that priority on the line will be for coal movement to feed its own 2,000 mw power project.

“The Hindujas were left with few options but to accept the terms set by NTPC, including commercial terms for using the latter’s railway line,” the official quoted earlier said.

The Hindujas have committed $10 billion in investments to set up power projects across the country. The special purpose vehicle, Hindujas National Power Company (HNPCL), is implementing the first project based on coal near Vishakapatnam. In total, the group plans to build 10,000mw capacity in the country.

The Vishakapatnam project will have two units of 520mw each. The entire output will be sold to the Andhra Pradesh state grid.

Zonal Railways queue up ‘Special Trains’ to cope up with the Summer Rush

In order to clear extra rush of passengers during summer season, various Zonal Railways have introduced many Weekly Special Trains / Bi-weekly Special Trains from different parts of the country.  Details as under:

Fifty Four Weekly Special Trains between Vizag and Secunderabad during summer

According to the South Central Railway, the Train No. 08501/08502 Visakhapatnam-Secunderabad-Visakhapatnam Weekly Special Train will make 26 Trips. It will depart Visakhapatnam at 23:00 hrs on every Tuesday from 1st April to 24th June and arrive Secunderabad at 11:45 hrs on the next day. In the return direction, the Train No. 08502 Secunderabad – Visakhapatnam Weekly Special Train will depart Secunderabad at 16:30 hrs on every Wednesday from 2nd April to 25th June and arrive Visakhapatnam at 06:30 hrs on the next day.

Enroute, these Weekly Special trains will stop at Duvvada, Anakapalli, Tuni, Annavaram, Samalkot, Rajahmundry, Tadepalligudem, Eluru, Vijayawada, Khammam, Warangal and Kazipet, stations in both directions. These Weekly Special trains will have 20 coaches viz, one AC II Tier, two AC III Tier, nine Sleeper Class, Six General Second Class and two Second Class Luggage cum brake van Coaches.

Similarly, the Train No.08503/08504 Visakhapatnam-Secunderabad-Visakhapatnam Weekly Special Train will make 28 Trips. It will depart Visakhapatnam at 19:05 hrs on every Monday from 31st March to 30th June and arrive Secunderabad at 07:50 hrs on the next day. In the return direction, Train No. 08504 Secunderabad – Visakhapatnam Weekly Special Train will depart Secunderabad at 16:30 hrs on every Tuesday from 1st April to 1st July and arrive Visakhapatnam at 06:30 hrs on the next day.

Enroute, these Weekly Special trains will stop at Duvvada, Anakapalli, Tuni, Annavaram, Samalkot, Rajahmundry, Tadepalligudem, Eluru, Vijayawada, Khammam, Warangal and Kazipet, stations in both directions. These Weekly Special trains will have 20 coaches viz, one AC II Tier, two AC III Tier, nine Sleeper Class, Six General Second Class and two Second Class Luggage cum brake van Coaches.

Thirty Four Weekly Special Trains between Yesvantpur-Jaipur during summer

In order to clear extra rush of passengers during summer season, thirty four Weekly Special Trains will be run between Yesvantpur and Jaipur.

Accordingly, the Train No. 06573 Yesvantpur – Jaipur Weekly Special Train will depart Yesvantpur at 10:45 hrs on every Tuesday from 4th March to 24th June and arrive Jaipur at 10:35 hrs on Thursdays (17 services). In the return direction, Train No. 06574 Jaipur – Yesvantpur Weekly Special Train will depart Jaipur at 22:05 hrs on every Thursday from 6th March to 26th June and arrive Yesvantpur at 03:30 hrs Sundays (17 services).

Enroute, these Weekly Special trains will stop at Tumkur, Arasikere, Birur, Chikjajur,Chitradurga, Rayadurg, Bellary, Guntakal, Adoni, Mantralayam Road, Raichur, Yadgir, Wadi, Gulburga, Solapur, Pune, Lonavala, Kalyan, Vasai Road, Vapi, Surat, Vadodara, Godhra, Dahod, Ratlam, Nimach, Chittaurgarh, Chanderia, Bhilwara, Bijainagar, Nasirabad, Ajmer, Madar, Kishangarh, Phulera and Kanakpura stations in both directions.

These Weekly Special trains will have 21 coaches viz, one AC II Tier, twelve Sleeper Class, Six General Second Class and two Second Class Luggage cum brake van Coaches, the press release said.

Inroduction of Thiruvananthapuram-Hazrat Nizamuddin Weekly Express via. Vasai Road

Ministry of Railways has introduced a new train between Thiruvananthapuram and Hazrat Nizamuddin via Vasai Road w.e.f 05/03/2014.

Train no 22633 Thiruvananthapuram – H.Nizamuddin Weekly Express train will depart from Thiruvananthapuram at 14.45 hrs o­n every Wednesday and reach Vasai Road at 19.35hrs o­n next day (Thursday) & H.Nizamuddin at 14.20 hrs o­n third day (Friday).

Similarly, Train no 22634 H.Nizamuddin – Thiruvananthapuram Weekly Express train will depart from H.Nizamuddin at 23.40 hrs o­n every Friday and reach Vasai Roadat 21.35 hrs o­n next day (Saturday) & Thiruvananthapuram at 02.45 hrs o­n third day (Monday).

The train will halt at Kollam Jn., Kayankulam Jn., Alappuzha, Ernakulam Jn., Aluva, Thrisur, Shoranur Jn., Kozhikode, Kannur, Kasaragod, Mangalore Jn., Udupi, Karwar, Madgaon, Pernam, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Chiplun, Panvel, Vasai Road, Surat, Vadodara, Ratlam, Kota, Sawai Madhopur, Bharatpur & Mathura Jn stations in both the directions.

The train will have AC II Tier, AC III Tier, Second Class Sleeper & Second Class General Coaches.

WR to run Special AC Express (Weekly) Trains between Ahmedabad-Jammu Tawi (08 Services)

For the convenience of the passengers and to clear extra rush of traffic during Holi festival, Western Railway will run special AC express train between Ahmedabad & Jammu Tawi between 06th March to 28th March, 2014.

Train No. 02207 Ahmedabad – Jammu Tawi Weekly AC Special Express will leave Ahmedabad at 15.00 hrs o­n every Friday from 7th March, 2014 to 28th March, 2014 and will reach Jammu Tawi at 20.00 hrs o­n Saturday.

Similarly, Train No. 02208 Jammu Tawi – Ahmedabad Weekly AC Special Express will leave Jammu Tawi at 09.30 hrs o­n every Thursday from 06th March, 2014 to 27thMarch, 2014 and will reach Ahmedabad at 13.20 hrs o­n next day.

It will have o­nly AC 3 tier coaches.

This train will halt at Sabarmati Jn, Mehasana, Palanpur, Abu Road, Falna, Rani, Marwar Jn, Pali Marwar, Luni, Jodhpur, Gotan, Merta Road, Degana, Didwana, Ladnun, Sujangarh, Ratangarh, Churu, Sadulpur, Hissar, Dhuri, Ludhiana, Jalandhar Cantt., Chakki Bank and Kathua station in both directions.  The booking of train No 02207 will open from Thursday, 06th March, 2014.

WR to run Special AC Express (Weekly) Trains between Ahmedabad-Jammu Tawi (08 Services)

In order to clear extra rush during Holi, the Railway will run o­ne pair of Tri-Weekly Special trains 05027/05028 between Gorakhpur-Anand Vihar as per the following programme-

The 05027 Gorakhpur- Anand Vihar (Tri-weekly) Holi Special Train will depart from Gorakhpurat 08.30 p.m. o­n every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday i.e. o­n 15.03.14, 18.03.14, 20.03.14 & 22.03.14 respectively (4 Trips ) to reach Anand Vihar T at 12.25 noon the next day. In the return direction, the 05028 Anand Vihar – Gorakhpur (Tri-weekly) Holi Special Train will depart from Anand Vihar at 01.50 p.m. o­n every Wednesday, Friday & Sunday i.e. o­n 16.03.14, 19.03.14, 21.03.14 & 23.03.14 respectively (4 Trips ) to reach Gorakhpur at 05.30 a.m. the next morning.

Consisting of o­ne AC III Tier, six sleeper class, eight general class besides second class disabled friendly coach cum luggage van, the 05027/05028 Gorakhpur-Anand Vihar Holi Special train will stop at Khalilabad, Basti, Mankapur Jn., Gonda, Lucknow and Moradabad stations enroute in both directions.

In addition to these festival specials, Northern Railway has already announced to run 532 trips of Holi Special trains i.e. 04117/04118 Allahabad- Anand Vihar T- Allahabad Superfast (04 trips), 04031/04032 Delhi – Ambala – Delhi Express Daily (62 trips), 04504/04503 Chandigarh- Varanasi- Chandigarh Weekly Special Train(08 Trips), 04511/04512 Saharanpur- Ambala Cantt.- Saharanpur Daily MEMU Festival Special Train (62 Trips),04502/04501Nangaldam- Lucknow- Nangaldam Weekly Superfast Express (10 Trips), 05653/05652 Guwahati – Varanasi-Guwahati Weekly Puja Special Express Train (04 Trips), 02448/02447 -2449/50 H.Nizamuddin-Manikpur/ H.Nizamuddin-Khajuraho Weekly (12 Trips), 04042/04041 New Delhi- Phulera- New Delhi Bi-Weekly (16 trips), 04011/04012 New Delhi- Sainagar Shirdi- New Delhi Weekly A.C. Superfast (08 Trips), 04092/04091 Hazrat Nizamudin-Mumbai Central- Hazrat Nizamudin weekly A.C.super fast Express(08 trips), 04002/04001 Delhi Jn.- Allahabad- Delhi Jn. Super Fast Bi-Weekly Express (16 trips), 04314/04313 Bareilly-Darbhanga-Bareilly Weekly Express (08 trips), 04606/04605 Amritsar- Samastipur- Amritsar Weekly Unreserved (10 trips) , 04061/04062 Rohtak- Delhi Jn.- Rohtak Daily Unresrved (118 trips), 05101/05102 Chhapra-Delhi (unreserved) weekly special (6 trips), 5023/05024 Gorakhpur Jn-Pune weekly special ( 4 trips),01051/01052 Mumbai Central-Gorakhpur- Mumbai Central Unreservedspecial (2 Trips), 02207/02208 Jammu Tawi- Ahmedabad- Jammu Tawi Weekly A.C. Express holi special (08 trips) & 05517/05518 Saharsa- Ambala Cantt.- Saharsa Bi- Weekly Express holi Special(08 trips), 04201/04202 Lucknow – New Delhi – LucknowTri Weekly (22 trips), 04022/04021 New Delhi-Lucknow- New Delhi A.C. Superfast Tri Weekly (22 trips), 04004/04003 New Delhi- Patna- New Delhi Tri-Weekly A.C. Express (22 trips), 04006/04005 New Delhi- Patna- New Delhi Tri-Weekly Express (22 trips), 04024/04023 Delhi Jn.-Darbhanga- Delhi Jn. (14 trips), 04028/04027 Anand Vihar T.- Alipur Duar Jn.- Anand Vihar T. Weekly Express (08 trips) & 04026/04025 Delhi Sarai Rohilla- Patna- Delhi Sarai Rohilla Daily express (48 trips)trains

INR 117.75 Crore released for Medak-Akkannapet broad guage line

Sister-launched-attack-on-KCR-130Secunderabad (SC):  Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) from Medak Constituency M. Vijayashanti said on Monday that Rs. 117.75 crore was sanctioned and released by the Ministry of Railways for laying new Medak-Akkannapet broad guage line.

She said that this was confirmed by South Central Railway General Manager Mr. A.K. Srivatsava.

As per proposals the railway line would be laid for 17.2 kilometres.

It is targeted to complete this work within a period of two years.  The Government of Andhra Pradesh has earlier agreed to share 50% of the cost of this project and also to provide land free of cost.

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Rlys-Maruti Suzuki introduces High-capacity Flexi deck Auto-Wagon rakes to transport Cars

New Delhi:  Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) in collaboration with Indian Railways has flagged off India’s first Flexi Deck Auto-Wagon rake, which sets a new benchmark in transportation of new cars through railways. The ‘Flexi deck auto-wagon rake’ provides advantages of higher capacity, flexibility, faster speed and environment friendliness through rail transportation of car.
oem-maruti

Mr.Arunendra Kumar, Chairman, Railway Board and Mr. R.C.Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, jointly flagged of the country’s first ever train designed specifically to transport cars from one location to other. The train is designed by Indian Railways’s Research Design and Standards Organization, and has got 20 per cent additional capacity as compared to the current twin-decker rakes.

With this, the Maruti Suzuki India becomes first automobile company to get a flexi deck auto-wagon rakes. Speaking on the occassion of the flag-off, Mr. Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director and CEO, Maruti Suzuki said, “ We are delighted to have initiated this contemporary mode of transport to the Indian automobile industry. Indian Railways deserves all the credit for their foresight and tremendous enthusiasm and co-operation to make this initiative move from a concept to reality within a short span of around 36 months.”
oem-maruti4Mr.M.M.Singh, Chief Operating Officer (Production), Maruti Suzuki said, ‘The induction of ‘flexi deck auto-wagon rake’ will start a new chapter in automotive logistics in the country. Trains are one of the fastest, safest and eco-friendly modes of transportation. With these newly designed rakes we have been able to increase the load carrying capacity along with a high flexibility to cater to a variety of vehicle dimensions. We are happy that Indian Railways supported the initiative of Maruti Suzuki to enhance the country’s transportaion infrastructure.”

Designed by Research Design and Standards Organization (RDSO), the ‘Flexi deck auto-wagon rake’ will carry 318 cars as compared to the current twin-decker rakes with carrying capacity of 265 cars.

The first “Flexi deck auto-wagon rake” consisting of 27 wagons chugged off to Nidavanda, Bangalore from Gurgaon carrying a mixed load of Maruti Suzuki cars including Swift, Dzire, Alto, Wagon R and Omni.

The new rake, with its height adjustable middle-deck is highly flexible and can transport vehicles of multiple dimensions.

“The launching of the newly designed auto-wagon rake will add a new dimension in the rail transportation,” said a senior Railway Ministry official, adding “the new rake can move at speed of up to 95 km per hour as compared to 65 km per hour of the existing rakes.”

The new rake can travel between Gurgaon and Bangalore in around 5 days as compared to 7 days by road transportation.

The official said transporting cars by new “Flexi deck auto-wagon rake” will lead to reduction in carbon emission making it more environment friendly.

Maruti Suzuki India’s stock price

Maruti Suzuki India’s stock price closed at Rs.1622.40, up Rs.24.10, or 1.51 percent. The 52-week high of the share was Rs 1864.00 and the 52-week low was Rs 1217.00. The company’s trailing 12-month (TTM) EPS was at Rs 106.68 per share as per the quarter ended December 2013. The stock’s price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio was 15.21. The latest book value of the company is Rs 615.03 per share. At current value, the price-to-book value of the company is 2.64.

RPF personnel, lawyers clash at Thampanoor station

Lawyers protest against detention of colleague; officer fires in the air

0tDC45_oy1775Thiruvananthapuram (TVC):  Clashes between Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel and lawyers that broke out following an argument during a routine train ticket inspection at the Thampanoor Central railway station on Tuesday resulted in an RPF officer firing one round in the air on the Vanchiyoor court complex premises at 6 p.m.

According to information from the police, RPF sources, and eye-witnesses, the chain of events began at 2 p.m. when Ragendu, a lawyer practising with the Vanchiyoor Bar, was detained by a ticket examination squad at the railway station. He had reached the station along with his brother, Krishnendu, also a lawyer. Mr. Ragendu was about to board the train when he was stopped by the squad, which comprised two women Railway officials and two RPF personnel. Even as he explained to them that the ticket was with his brother who had already boarded the train, the train left the station. He was detained at the RPF station and was later about to be taken for medical examination when other lawyers reached the RPF station. Sources said by that time, Krishnendu, who is physically challenged, got off the train and reached the station.

0tDC40_oy1774An altercation ensued, during which an RPF constable, T. James, who was later suspended pending inquiry, struck Krishnendu on the face, resulting in bleeding injuries. Both the brothers were held by the RPF.

The lawyers demanded that a case be registered and the duo be produced before court.

The rest of the episode unfolded on the court premises where the argument between the lawyers and RPF personnel who brought the brothers to the court led to trading of blows and one RPF official pulled out his gun and fired one round in the air. RPF Inspector R.S. Rajesh and another officer, Padmakuma,r, both of whom were injured, are said to have used a Kerala Police vehicle that was parked on the premises to escape from the lawyers.

Both Mr. Ragendu and Mr. Krishnendu, and the RPF personnel, including the Inspector, were admitted to the Thiruvananthapuram medical college hospital.

City Police Commissioner H. Venkatesh, along with Deputy Commissioner S. Ajeetha Begum, held discussions with District Judge B.Sudheendra Kumar and RPF top officials, and later told the media that the police would register a case in connection with the incident and conduct an investigation, before arraigning anyone as the accused.

The Trivandrum Bar Association, which registered its protest and demanded suspension of the RPF officials involved in the incident, has called for a State-wide boycott of court duties by lawyers on Wednesdsy.

North Central Railway to celebrate 10 years of existence

Allahabad (ALD): North Central Railway is organizing many programmes on completion of 10 years of its existence. In this connection, a multi-specialty national conference named ‘Medi Sangam 2014’ will be organised on April 5 and 6. The programme is also being organized in commemoration of 90 years of Railway Hospital of Allahabad. In this conference, medical experts from different parts of the country will present their views.

Director General, Railway Health Services, New Delhi will be inaugurating this conference. Chief medical directors of all zones of Indian railways and doctors from various central hospitals, divisional hospitals and workshop hospitals from all over India will be participating. Learned speakers will cover topics from different specialties. It will be very useful to the doctors in up-grading their knowledge, which ultimately will be translated in better patient care in various railway and other hospitals.

Silchar Railway Division evokes resentment in Tripura

Agartala (AGTL): Left front government in Tripura has expressed serious resentment over the decision of setting up of separate railway division in Silchar, ignoring the long standing demand of Tripura. Transport Minister Manik Dey told media here today after introduction of regular train service between Lumding and Agartala in October 2008, the state government had raised the issue of separate railway division and railway recruitment centre in Tripura at least for five times.

The issue has been discussed with Railway minister and Prime Minister several times besides, Railway Board but it was turned down on the ground that railway-fleet, passenger movement and administrative set up did not permit separate railway division for the state.

“About 398 kilometres distance between Lumding and Agartala has a pair of passenger train on regular basis besides service with Silchar and Dharmanagar, north-eastern end of Tripura; moreover, the state is sharing international border situating at the corner, which substantiate the demand of separate railway division,” Mr Dey argued. He however, pointed out that the separate railway division and recruitment centre for Tripura is necessary because Agartala is soon connected with Akhaura of Bangladesh and southern entry point of Bangladesh at Feni and people are solely dependent on railway.

“The country is having 68 railway divisions and northeast has 5 divisions and all are in Assam. We are not objecting the decision of Silchar Railway Division but reiterating the claim for a separate division in Tripura considering it’s locations and communication bottleneck,” Mr Dey added. He further alleged with the latest decision, it is clear that the Congress led UPA government has been disrespecting the people of Tripura on political choice keeping aside the welfare norms.

GMR looks to swell its orderbook four-fold – Plans to add more Rly projects into its portfolio

GMR-Infrastructure_4Mumbai:  GMR Infrastructure Ltd, which recently won its railways construction project, is looking to increase its order book from the current Rs.250 Crore to Rs.1000 Crore next year. The debt-laden company has been pursuing an asset light strategy for over the last one-and-a-half years.

It is now looking at adding more construction projects into its portfolio. “For a construction project with monthly payment by the client, no investment is required by the group in terms of equity or borrowing. Also, the risks are lower as compared to public private partnership (PPP) projects,” said Arun Kumar Sharma, CEO of GMR Urban Infrastructure & Highways.

The infrastructure development company also has an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) arm which was set up for captive construction of its own projects. However, it has been winning orders from outside the company as well.

GMR’s recently order win of railway line construction between Jhansi and Erich Road in Uttar Pradesh, worth Rs 267 crore, in which it has a share of Rs 135 crore. It hopes to win more such orders across sectors. “The preference for size of orders is Rs 250 crore and above,” said Kumar, in response to a questionnaire.

GMR became one of the biggest infrastructure companies in the country by winning two airport projects in Delhi and Hyderabad. It has even developed airport projects in Istabul, Turkey as well. However, in the last few years, the company like many of its peers, has been burdened by debt and increasing interest costs.

GMR has since been exiting from many big projects which have finished with their construction phase, like two of its road projects recently have been monetized. Earlier, it had exited from a Singapore power plant investment and is also known to be looking to exit a few power projects which have finished construction.

The stock of the company is down by 0.4% today and is trading at Rs 20.7 at 10:30 am.

IRTS, IRAS, IRPS, IRSS and RPF Probationers call on the President

New Delhi: A group of 136 probationers of Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), Indian Railways Accounts Service (IRAS), Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS), Indian Railway Service of Stores (IRSS) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) called on the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan on March 4, 2014.

Addressing the probationers, the President stated that Indian Railways is one of the oldest organizations in the country and its most significant contribution is that it is the biggest and till today, the cheapest mode of transportation which serves to integrate far flung areas of this vast country. When people from diverse backgrounds who speak different languages sit together in a railway coach, they just share a unique common identity, that of being railway passengers. He stated that punctuality, cleanliness and quality were crucial features of railway services which create a permanent impression on the minds of the numerous passengers who travel in trains on a daily basis. He urged the probationers to resolve to provide the best railway services to the people of the nation.

The probationers who met the president belonged to the Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), Indian Railways Accounts Service (IRAS), Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS), Indian Railway Service of Stores (IRSS) and Railway Protection Force (RPF). The IRTS probationers are presently undergoing training at the Indian Railways Institute of Transport Management (IRITM), Lucknow while probationers of RPF are undergoing training at Jagjivan Ram Railway Protection Force Academy, Lucknow. Probationers of IRAS, IRPS and IRSS are undergoing training at National Academy of Indian Railways, the release said.

Punctuality, cleanliness and quality were crucial features of railway services which create a permanent impression on the passengers, said Mukherjee, according to an official release. “When people from diverse backgrounds who speak different languages sit together in a railway coach, they just share a unique common identity – that of being railway passengers,” he said, urging the probationers to resolve to provide the best railway services to the people.

GMR forays into Railway Biz – Bags INR 1.35 Bn Jhansi-Bhimsen Track Doubling Project

GMR-Infrastructure_4Jhansi Jn (JHS):  GMR Infrastructure Ltd, the  infrastructure holding company of GMR Group, has won construction package of rail line doubling between Jhansi and Bhimsen stations in the State of Uttar Pradesh, India. The total contract is valued at approximately Rs.2.67 billion of which GMR’s share of work is about Rs.1.35 billion.

The work includes construction of roadbed, major & minor bridges, track linking, outdoor S&T works, OHE, TSS and general electrical works from Jhansi to Erich Road.

GMR is the lead member of the consortium with Tata projects and Kalindee Rail Nirman as the partner for OHE and Track works, S&T works respectively. The project is scheduled to commence from Apr. 2, 2014 and duration for completion of the project is 42 months.

GMR, today said it has forayed into the railway sector, winning a construction package worth Rs 267 crore, alongwith partners, including Tata projects from Rail Vikas Nigam. A consortium led by the company with partners such as Tata Projects and Kalindee Rail Nirman would carry out the project which includes construction of roadbed, bridges, track linking, outdoor S&T works, OHE (Over Head Equipments) and general electrical works from Jhansi to Erich Road.

Rail Vikas Nigam had issued the Letter of Award to GMR consortium on Feb 20, 2014. The project is scheduled to commence from April 2 and would be completed in 42 months.

Arun Kumar Sharma, CEO GMR Urban Infrastructure & Highways expressed, ”As a part of our Asset Light strategy, we are very happy to announce our first foray into the very promising railway construction sector. This win reflects our long term vision of building our EPC expertise in a niche segment like Railways, and will pave the way for similar projects in future.”

GMR Infra stock up over 2% on bourses; m-cap up by Rs.157 Crore

Shares of GMR Infrastructure today settled for the day with gains of over two per cent as the company forayed into railway sector and accordingly, the market capitalisation of the company swelled by Rs

157 crore. Shares of the company gained Rs 0.2, or 0.98%, to trade at Rs 20.60. The total volume of shares traded was 53,035 at the BSE (9.51 a.m., Tuesday).

Reacting to the development, shares of the company opened on a bullish note and then surged 2.69 per cent to an intra- day high of Rs 20.95. At the end of today’s trading the shares of the company was quoted at Rs 20.85, higher by 2.21 per cent from its previous closing price.

Accordingly, the market capitalisation of the company swelled by Rs 157 crore, to Rs 8,096 crore.

Bangladesh Railways issues tender for Mongla port rail link

Dhaka:  Bangladesh Railways (BR) has published an invitation to prequalify for an agreement to design and build a 60.4 kilometer (km) 1676mm-gauge line linking Khulna with the port of Mongla in the Ganges delta.

The line will roughly follow the route of the existing highway between the two towns and will have 29 culverts and bridges, including a 5.2 km viaduct spanning the flood plain of the River Rupsha. The line will be built for 120km/h operation and 25-tonne axleloads.

The project is being financed by the Bangladesh government and the Import-Export Bank of India. Construction is expected to take 2 years to complete.

The closing date for prequalification is April 16.

India, under its credit line, will assist Bangladesh to construct a new rail-line between Khulna and Mongla to connect the country’s second seaport with railway network. In connection with the assistance, the Bangladesh Railway (BR) signed a joint venture consultancy service contract with Consulting Engineers Group Ltd and Nippon Koei India Private Ltd of India at Railway Bhaban in the city.

BR Chief Engineer Kairul Alam, K Rankata Rahamana Murti of Consulting Engineers Group and Dr Sanjoy Arura of Nippon Koei India signed the contract on behalf of their respective sides.

Officials said under the deal, the joint venture of the Indian firms will conduct both feasibility and safeguard policy studies apart from detailed design of the new track.

Besides, the firms will prepare the bidding documents for the BR to select firm for construction of the proposed 53 kilometre rail-line, and do its supervision work.

The construction cost of the Khulna-Mongla rail-line has been estimated Tk 17.21 billion, of which Tk 12.02 billion will come from the US$1.0 billion Indian line of credit.

The BR earlier planned to construct the track from Shiromoni to Mongla, some 12 km north of the Khulna rail-station to avoid construction of rail-bridge over the wide Rupsha River.

However, the track will now connect the abandoned Bagerhat rail-line in between Karnapur and Samantosena.

The BR now has a rail-track from Dhaka to Khulna through Jessore, which has stopped at the Rupsha River due to lack of any bridge.

Communications and Railway Minister Obaidul Quader witnessed the signing ceremony and reiterated the government’s commitment to upgrade the railway network and make it commuter-friendly.

He said the railway timetable is now being maintained properly, and rail-service will be improved further after it receives locomotives next year.

The minister said from next March, the BR will start receiving two locomotives each month, and its service would improve significantly.

BR Director General Abu Taher said the new track will eventually lead to regional and sub-regional connectivity, connecting the Mongla Port with India, and land-locked Nepal and Bhutan.

New Railway Zone for Andhra, Metro for Vizag and Vijayawada-Guntur: Jairam Ramesh

Guntur (GNT):  “A new railway zone will also be set up in the region and there will be a metro rail project for Visakhapatnam, also known as Vizag, and another project connecting Vijayawada and Guntur”, said the Union Minister for Rural Development Mr.Jairam Ramesh, on Tuesday here.  He said that the proposed industrial corridor between Visakhapatnam and Chennai is likely to attract an investment of Rs.1 lakh crore in 10 to 15 years.  The corridor, on the lines of the Delhi-Mumbai corridor, is one of the several sops offered by the Central Government to Seemandhra to protect its interests following the formation of separate Telangana state.

Ramesh told reporters here that the corridor is one of the key components of the special package for Seemandhra included in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganistaion Act apart from New Railway Zone and Metro Rail systems for Vizag and Vijayawada-Guntur.

The successor state of Andhra Pradesh will comprise Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions or Seemandhra, as they are together called.

A petroleum refinery and a petrochemical complex in Seemandhra will be established.

Ramesh said the Centre would establish one IIT, one IIM, one central university, one agriculture university, one tribal university and one super specialty health complex in Seemandhra.

The central minister is on a visit to Seemandhra to explain to people the measures taken by the Central Government to protect their interests in the wake of bifurcation.

He said under a special development package of Rs.10,000 crore for four districts of Rayalaseema and three districts of north coastal Andhra, measures would be taken for development of agriculture, irrigation, drinking water supply, education and health over the next seven years.

Rayalaseema and Telangana will get tax incentives for 10 years to attract new investment.

He said Seemandhra would become the 12th state in the country to get special category status. “The state will get a minimum Rs.50,000 crore from the centre over the next five years,” he added.

He pointed out that the central government has also given commitment to execute the Polavaram multi—purpose project, which is estimated to cost Rs.20,000 crore. The centre will contribute 90 percent of the funds for the project which will ensure drinking water to Vizag, irrigation in Godavari basin, transfer water from Godavari to Krishna and generate electricity.

He said the Act provide for two boards for distribution of water from Krishna and Godavari rivers to address the concerns of both the states. The boards will ensure implementation of existing awards. The central government will appoint the chairmen of the two boards. While the Godavari board will be based in Telangana, the Krishna board will operate from Seemandhra.

The minister said since almost all educational institutions are located in Hyderabad, the students of Seemandhra will be protected by continuing the existing entrance examinations and the quota in admissions for 10 years.

He said work had already started for bifurcation of 84,000 state employees between the two states. He clarified that employees would be bifurcated according to their option.

He also assured that two high courts and two public service commissions would be in place in the next three to four months.

India-assisted Kilinochchi-Pallai Railway Line opened in Lanka’s former war zone

Colombo: The 27.5-km long Kilinochchi-Pallai railway line, reconstructed with India assistance in Sri Lanka’s former war zone, was today inaugurated that would help in reconciliation and development of the region.

The railway track has been built under the concessionary credit line of about USD 800 million provided by India to undertake the Northern railway reconstruction project in Sri Lanka.

Under this project, the segments already completed include the Medawachchiya-Madhu Road segment, inaugurated in May 2013 and the Omanthai-Kilinochchi segment, opened in September.

Indian High Commissioner Y K Sinha in his address described the inauguration of the Kilinochchi-Pallai railway line as another milestone in the historic partnership between India and Sri Lanka.

He said the reconstruction of Northern line would assist in restoration of normal life, generate and support livelihood-related activities, assist in restoring connectivity, not only within the Northern Province but also with the rest of the country, thus promoting development, reconciliation and greater integration.

Sinha noted that with the construction of the railway line up to Kataragama in the south and resumption of ferry service between Talaimannar and Rameshwaram, Sri Lankans would be able to travel by train from Hambantota and Matara in the south to Bodhgaya as also to Jammu and Kashmir in North India, Gujarat in the West, Assam and the North-eastern states in the East.

As Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour and long-standing partner, India is prepared to extend its fullest support to Sri Lanka in fulfilling its aspirations for peace, harmony, national reconciliation, the Indian envoy stressed.

Private Railway Construction firm official kidnapped last month rescued, 2 arrested

Hazaribagh (HZD):  An official of a private construction company working for the Indian Railways, who was kidnapped by unknown armed men in this Naxal-affected district last month, was rescued unharmed on Tuesday, police said.

“Two persons, allegedly belonging to the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), identified as Sachin Ganju and Kameshwar Ganju were arrested in this connection,” Hazaribagh SP Manoj Kaushik told reporters in Hazaribagh on Tuesday.

K Linga Reddy, who was rescued from the dense forest area of neighbouring Chatra district, was kidnapped for ransom from the construction site on the borders of Mufassil and Mandu police stations of the district.

Special Task Force asks Railway officials to help trace ‘wanted’ Station Master

Bhopal (BPL): Special Task Force (STF) of Madhya Pradesh wrote to Divisional Railway Manager, Danapur Division of East Central Railway to help it trace a Station Master who worked at Hilsa railway station earlier, who is now under scanner for his alleged role in railway recruitment scam.

STF officials said ‘wanted’ station master Dilip Kumar is part of an inter-state gang involved in railway recruitment scam involving railway officers in three states, including Kolkata and Bihar. He will be charged for trapping gullible job-seekers for racket kingpin Dilip Kumar Pandey, said STF officials.

Three summons were served on Dilip in the last five months, but he did not respond, said an STF officer.

Pandey impersonated as member of the railway recruitment board. He gave a slip to STF officials during raid at his house in Ranchi last week. Victims were promised jobs in group “C” and “D” category. Some of them were also promised a ticket examiner’s job. STF has already booked 19 people after filing nine different FIRs against this gang, taking over investigations from three police stations in Bhopal and Sagar district. Case was handed over to STF after involvement of people from different states came to light.

The gang led by Pandey, designed a fake railway recruitment website, carried out interviews, trainings, doled out fake medical and employment orders and even paid salaries to unsuspecting candidates, posting them at different railway stations in connivance with a few station masters in two states. The gang used to approach victims and after taking an initial amount, they would give the victims a roll number and URL of a website which resembled the official railway recruitment board website. When the victims logged on to the website, they would find their roll numbers and handover the remaining amount to gang members. Most victims of the cheating were posted at Hilsa railway station in Bihar.

ABMSU–Aikya Moncha observes Railway Blockade at Fakiragram Jn.

Fakiragram Jn (FKM): The All Bodoland Minority Students’ Union (ABMSU) and Jonogostiya Aikya Moncha (JAM) on Monday observed 8 hours blockade at Fakiragram railway junction demanding security to different communities living in BTC region, rehabilitation of displaced people and to stop according Bodoland state. The blockade which began from 8 am was supposed to end at 4pm but it came to an end at around 1pm as the police and security forces resorted to open blankfire in the air to control the picketeers that went boisterous. The target of the blockade was mainly to oppose the formation of Bodoland state. The security forces resorted to lathicharge, blank fire and shelling tear gas to disperse the agitators during the railway blockade at Fakiragram in Kokrajhar. The Moncha opposed the setting up of an expert committee to study and examine the demand for Bodoland state to be carved out of Assam.

One person, including five police personnel were injured in the process. According to sources, the incident happened after the agitators pelted stones at the security forces forcing the security forces to resort to lathicharge and blank fire to disperse the mob. The injured were taken to hospital for treatment. The incident was occurred in presence of Magistrate Babul Sahariya and Aditional SP Surajit Singh Paneswar of Kokrajhar. The district administration tried to maintain peace at the time of agitation. The blockade disrupted railway communication till 1 pm. Several long distant trains were stranded at various railway stations like Dn Rajdhani at New Bongaigaon, Dn Bangalore Express at Rangia and Dn BG Passenger at Fakiragram.

Talking to reporters, the President of the AKRSU Hiteswar Barman who is also the president of newly formed Jonogostiya Aikya Moncha said that they have objection on the creation of separate Bodoland state. The Bodos were given Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC) in 1993 and later another accord–Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) was made in 2003 and there is no question of granting separate Bodoland state to the Bodos, he said adding that there are lots of ethnic communities in the region whose safety and security become a matter of concern. He said the rampant extortion, kidnapping and killings should be stopped in BTC area. Besides, the government should take initiative for complete rehabilitation of displaced people.

Meanwhile, the ABMSU has called 12 hours BTC area bandh on March 4 to protest the visit of former Union Home Secretary who is heading a one man expert committee on formation of Bodoland state at Kokrajhar. The bandh is also supported by Jonogostiya Aikya Moncha. Besides, the Oboro Suraksha Samity also imposed 24 hours BTC bandh from March 2 opposing the creation of Bodoland state. The bandh did not get response in Kokrajhar district.

It may be mentioned that the new organization Jonogostiya Aika Mocha was formed in the office of the All Bodoland Minority Students’ Union (ABMSU) at Bhotgaon in Kokrajhar district on February 22 last with Hitesear Barman, President of All Koch Rajbongshi Students’ Union (AKRSU) as president and Matiur Rahma, Secretary of ABMSU as its Secretary respectively. Engineered by ABMSU, the Moncha has representatives mainly from AKRSU, ABMSU, Oboro Suraksa Samity and BTC Bengali Youth Students’ Federation.

The main motives behind the formation of Jonojatiya Aika Moncha are to oppose the creation of Bodoland state and work against the rampant extortion, kidnapping and killings in BTC area. They also said that the Moncha will field candidate in the forthcoming parliamentary election and they will send such a person who will work for the interest of non Bodo communities in the region.

Passenger Train runs over 14 cows in Rajasthan – no damage to the train

Renwal (RNW):  14 cows were mowed down by a train in Renwal area in the district on Monday. The incident occurred near Mindi railway crossing where the stray cattle were grazing, police said on Tuesday.  A passenger train run over the cows killing them, they said, adding that there was no damage to the train.  Post-mortem was conducted on Tuesday at a local veterinary hospital.

Superfast Weekly Train between Hazrat Nizamuddin-Thiruvananthapuram via Mangalore

Mangalore (MAQ): Railways will introduce a new weekly superfast express train between Hazrat Nizamuddin and Thiruvananthapuram via Mangalore on the Konkan Railway route from Wednesday.

According to the schedule, train No. 22633 will leave from Thiruvananthapuram every Wednesday at 2.45pm from March 5 and reach Hazrat Nizamuddin on Friday at 2.20pm.

Train No. 22634 will leave from Hazrat Nizamuddin every Friday at 11.40pm from March 7 and reach Thiruvananthapuram Central on Monday at 2.45 am. The train will have 18 coaches.

The train will halt at Mathura, Bharatpur, Sawai Madhopur, Kota, Ratlam, Vadodara, Surat, Vasai Road, Panvel, Chiplun, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Pernem, Madgaon, Karwar, Udupi, Mangalore, Kasargod, Kannur, Kozhikode, Shoranur, Thrissur, Aluva, Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Kayankulam, and Kollam.