Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train Operational Cost estimated at INR 412 Cr Per Annum: RITES

RITES says the project would yield an annual revenue of INR 2499 Crore in the first year of operation

RITES Ltdअहमेदाबाद Ahmedabad (ADI): A study conducted by RITES Ltd, a government of India enterprise, has said that the annual operation and maintenance cost of the proposed Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train will be Rs 412 crore. The report says the rate of returns from the project will, however, be around 9% a year.

In December 2013, the central government had ordered a joint feasibility study in which RITES and Japan are involved. The report by RITES says the project would yield an annual revenue of Rs 2,499 crore in the first year of operation. The project is likely to be operational by 2021.

Minister of state for railways, Manoj Sinha, in his reply to a question seeking clarification on selecting Ahmedabad as a terminal station for the high-expenditure train project, said that the terminal location has been selected on the basis of multiple criteria. “The criteria include the traffic potential, the paying capacity of travellers, potential of leveraging land resources, availability of land for terminal, and most importantly, the linkage with central business districts,” he said.

The central government said that Japan’s study would compare high-speed rail systems in different countries providing information on technologies, costs and financing of high-speed rails. The study will be completed in 18 months and the report is likely to be submitted in June 2015.

A senior official said that if the RITES report was found to be true, the operation cost per day would be Rs 1.12 crore. This would turn out to be at par if not cheaper than airlines charges, he said.

Ahmedabad as a terminal has been finalized. From the Mumbai end, it will travel to Thane (near Diva), before heading towards Palghar via Virar, and will then follow the existing alignment in Gujarat with halts at Surat, Vadodara and Ahmedabad.

Biodiversity Science Express chugs out of Delhi on ‘National Biodiversity Mission’

Awareness on Biodiversity to be raised through Science Express Biodiversity Special – to cover more than 50 locations

biodiversity science expressNew Delhi: Minister of State (Independent Charge) Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar along with Minister of Railways D.V.Sadananda Gowda and Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science and Technology, Dr.Jitendra Singh flagged off the 3rd phase of Science Express Biodiversity Special (SEBS) at Safdarjung Railway Station today. An innovative exhibition on wheels, this train aims to create awareness amongst masses in general and youth in particular about the exceptional biodiversity of India.

science-express-delhi-PTI-360It is a flagship venture of Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Ministry of Science and Technology and Indian Railways.

Embarking on a journey of 17,000-km, the ‘Science Express Bio-diversity Special’ chugged out of Delhi Safdarjung railway station.

Speaking at the occasion, Prakash Javadekar said in order to evince interest amongst the school children, people across the country, an advertising campaign would also be initiated so as to sensitize and educate the masses on the nuances of the rich biodiversity of the country.

D0KLAAP241333Javadekar emphasized that Science and Technology had commenced a successful journey today to sensitize the richness of India’s diversity amongst the masses. In order to take the issue associated with biodiversity forward, society needed to base its foundation on the rationale of scientific temper.

It was important in the backdrop of India comprising 2.5% of land mass on earth, 17% of world population and yet being home to 8% of world biodiversity.

SCIENCE_EXPRESS_6295fThe Minister added that this was no ordinary train. It is a journey of learning, spreading the message of Bio diversity conservation and telling people that even in these modern times, we still have to depend on bio diversity. The train covering a span of 194 days at 57 locations would benefit 30 lakh students, he said.

The train is on a 197-day tour which will see it cover 57 stops across 20 states. It will end its journey in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar on February 6 of next year.

1TA41867Three ministries – Science and Technology, Environment and Forests and Railways — have collaborated to roll out the Science Express and all three ministers were present today for the launch.

Highlighting the importance of the initiative, the Minister mentioned that the train was in fact the brand ambassador of the COP 11. It showcased the rich biodiversity of India to delegates from over 190 countries.

scienceexpress_048_largeFor this the train was stationed at Secunderabad in October 2012 to facilitate visit of delegates to the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity. Indeed, there were quite a few records and milestones that we believe this train has achieved.  It was perhaps the world’s most visited train exhibition. Within India, it had gone to the highest rail track possible for broad gauge, and also covered some extreme locations in the north, south, east and west.

E0P4CLE1291In his address, Railway Minister, Shri Sadananda Gowda stated that this initiative was unique and innovative as it touched “real India”. It provided a platform to showcase the achievements of science to the people. Minister for Science & Technology, Shri Jitendra Singh mentioned that science needed to be utilized for the larger picture of social transformation. This implied using science for optimum social progress and scientific transformation.

SCIENCE_EXPRESS coachThe present run of the train is in the 3rd Phase. In this phase, the train is envisaged to cover 57 locations on Broad Gauge network of Indian Railways across the entire length & breadth of the country.

SCcience Express Bidiversity special, the state of the art exhibition on train aims to create awareness on biodiversityof India, climate change and similar issues among various audience, specially students. This exhibition train will be on display at Chhatrapati Shhivaji Terminus in Mumbai on Sunday 16 th September 2012. Pic:Sandeep MahankalOf the 16 coaches of the Science Express- Biodiversity Special, 8 are solely dedicated to showcasing the myriad biodiversity spread across all the bio-geographical zones of India through a variety of interactive exhibits, short films & videos that are shown on Plasma & LED TV screens, large format displays, kiosks and back lit panels.

The remaining coaches have interesting & informative exhibits on Climate Changes, Energy and Water conservation and other topical issues.

1ZIKE1CEC1640The train is a unique platform for dissemination of information on the bio-diversity and the flora and fauna of India. Care has been taken to not only display animal portraits but also to give information on them, including on habitat and food habits.  The train will cover the north, south, east and west of India. Surprisingly, it does not have any of the north-eastern states on its itinerary.

“If the protection of environment is etched in the minds of students, they will never do anything that will harm nature. A nation that does not accept science or opposes it is bound to fail,” he stressed.

C2SINEXR1502He also urged Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda to make the train operational for the entire year. Gowda stated that the initiative was innovative and touched the “real India”. It provides a platform for showcasing the achievements of science as also the railways, which extends logistical support to the Science Express.

The current decade (2011-2020) has been declared as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity and United Nations Decade for Deserts and Fight against Desertification. The ‘Science Express – Biodiversity Special’, therefore, primarily addresses the theme ‘biodiversity’. The state-of the- art exhibition aboard SEBS aims to create wide-spread awareness on the unique biodiversity of India, Climate Change, Water, Energy Conservation and related issues among various sections of the society, especially students.

DE06P44COLC157Since its launch in 2012, the Science Express Biodiversity Special train has covered 114 stations and travelled across more than 37000 kms in the first two phases. Phase-I of the SEBS was launched on World Environment Day (5 June, 2012) from Safdarjung Railway Station, New Delhi. Phase-II of the SEBS was launched on April 9, 2013 from Safdarjung Railway Station, New Delhi. It covered 62 locations and over 22 lakh people, including 5 lakh students and 29000 teachers from 6005 schools, enjoyed learning in a fun filled way.

SCcience Express Bidiversity special, the state of the art exhibition on train aims to create awareness on biodiversityof India, climate change and similar issues among various audience, specially students. This exhibition train will be on display at Chhatrapati Shhivaji Terminus in Mumbai on Sunday 16 th September 2012. Pic:Sandeep MahankalThe present phase would culminate on 4th February, 2015 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat after covering 57 locations whereby the SEBS train would have covered most of the major stations across the country.

Minister for Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh, said that science needs to be utilised for the larger goal of social transformation. It has to be used for optimum social progress and scientific transformation, he said.

NFR Construction Orgnisation to built bridge with world’s tallest pillar on Jiribam-Tupul BG line

Jiribam (JRBM):  Construction of the world’s tallest railway bridge with the tallest pillar — it’ll be 141 metres-high — has begun near Noney in Manipur, said Northeast Frontier Railway Construction Organisation in a release issued here on Monday.

The bridge, which spans over a gorge with an overall length of about 700 meters, is part of the 111-km long Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal broad gauge railway line under construction that will connect Manipur’s capital Imphal with the country’s railway network.

“This bridge is slated to become the tallest in the world from the point of view of pillar height surpassing the existing tallest of Mala-Rijeka viaduct on Belgrade-Bar railway line in Europe where the height of pillars is 139 m,” senior Public Relations Officer, Construction, D.C. Borah said in the release.

Landslip disrupts traffic on Kirandol-Kottavalasa line

lanslide किरंडुलकिरंडुल Kirandul (KRDL):  The traffic on Kothavalasa–Kirandul (K-K) railway line, the lifeline for people of Jagdalpur and for movement of iron ore, has come to a grinding halt as earth and boulders fell on the track on the Jarti-Malliguda section in the early hours of Monday. A total of 76 passengers, who were travelling by the Durg – Jagadalpur express, were stranded. Authorities arranged buses and 40 passengers were sent back to Jeypore and Koraput and 36 passengers were sent to Jagdalpur. The railway authorities also arranged food and water for stranded passengers.

“Initially, boulders fell at two or three places but before the restoration work could begin e boulders fell at around 10 different places. The track has also been washed away at a few places between Koraput and Jeypore,” Senior Divisional Commercial Manager of Waltair Division M.Yelvender Yadav said.

Trains cancelled

Train no.18006 Jagdalpur-Howrah-Samleswari Express leaving Jagdalpur on July 28 has been cancelled. Train no. 18005 Howrah-Jagdalpur-Samleswari on July 28 will be short-terminated at Titlagarh and return as 18006.

Train no. 18447/18448 Bhubaneswar-Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express has been cancelled between Koraput and Jagdalpur. However, the trains will run from Koraput with regular scheduled timings. Train no. 58501 Visakhapatnam – Kirandul Passenger will run up to Koraput and return as 58502 and train no. Trian no. 18212 Jagdalpur – Durg Express has been cancelled on July 28, according to statement issued by the East Coast Railway (E Co R).

  • 76 passengers sent by buses to Jeypore, Koraput and Jagdalpur
  • Track also washed away at a few places

Demand for Kumbakonam-Jayamkondam-Vriddhachalam railway line gathers momentum

Commuter Associations say the proposal of Vriddhachalam-Kumbakonam line is awaiting Railway Board’s approval

कुम्बकोनम Kumbakonam (KMU): The demand for laying a new railway line in the Kumbakonam-Jayamkondam-Vriddhachalam section before the forthcoming Mahamaham festival, has gathered momentum, with various organisations making a fervent plea for the same.

The demand of these associations, particularly the All Traders’ Association Kumbakonam, Thanjavur District Rail Users’ Association, Rail Passengers’ Association, Papasanam, got a shot in its arm when this issue was raised by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Rajya Sabha member V. Maitreyan in the Upper House recently.

Kumbakonam-Vriddhachalam sectionMr.Maitreyan, hailing from Thanjavur district, said: “The survey for the 65-km Kumbakonam–Vriddhachalam new railway line via Jayamkondam and Andimadam had been completed and is waiting for the approval of the Railway Board. The estimate for the project is around Rs. 750 crore. If this line is expedited to be completed before Mahamaham festival slated for 2016, this will prove an alternative route to Chennai, Tirupati, and Bangalore.”

Dr. Maitreyan demanded doubling of the Thanjavur-Kumbakonam line, converting halt stations at Darasuram and Tirunageswaram, which are adjacent to Kumbakonam, into block stations (crossing stations), to enable better platform management at Kumbakonam railway station during the festival. Besides, he demanded improving infrastructure in Kumbakonam station, including construction of Yatrinivas.

The above associations while congratulating Dr. Maitreyan for taking up this issue have welcomed the announcement made by D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Railway Minister, that he would discuss on the laying of new railway line between Kumbakonam and Vriddhachalam with the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. The All Traders Association Kumbakonam at its meeting held recently celebrated the announcement of the Railway Minister by distributing sweets to its members and so on.

A.S.A.M. Adiyan Chettiar, its president, and V. Sathyanarayanan, its secretary, in a statement said the association had been pleading for this railway line for the past 15 years. The association urged the Railway Ministry to accord priority and complete this project before Mahamaham.

They thanked Dr. Maitreyan and R.K. Bharathimohan, MP, who spoke on this issue in the Lok Sabha and for drawing the attention of the Railway Minister.

They thanked the Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries Pon Radhakrishnan for drawing the attention of the Centre.

They urged the Centre and the State government to implement all demands put forth by the association on war-footing before the Mahamaham festival, in the interest of the large number of devotees visiting this temple town from across the world on the occasion.

Fighting bull and cow derail an express train in UP!

डालीगंज Daliganj Jn (DAL): Four coaches of a train derailed late on Monday here when a fighting bull and cow suddenly came on the railway tracks and hit engine of the moving Lal Kuan Express, officials said. But no passenger was injured.

The incident occurred near the Daliganj railway station in the state capital.

Railway officials rushed to the accident site and till early morning work was underway to bring the derailed coaches back on track and restore traffic on the section.

The impact of the collision derailed four general sleeper coaches. Thankfully the train was at the outer signal of the station and hence not at high speed, an official said, adding otherwise the accident would have been deadly.

Passengers were immediately taken off the train and moved to the station. An explanation has been sought into how the stray cattle found their way onto the tracks.

Adani Group gets Australia nod for Coal, Rail projects

AdaniRailThe Australian government has given environmental approval to Adani Mining’s 16.5 billion dollars Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Infrastructure project in Queensland.

The Australian high commissioner to India, Patrick Suckling said on Monday that his government’s decision to give the green signal  to the  project shows that Australia is open for business.

“This project will drive economic growth and create more than 6,000 jobs in Australia. It will also boost India’s development by providing electricity to 100 million Indians,” he said.

WR, SER champions in Railway Table Tennis Championship

कोलकाता Kolkata (KOAA): Western Railway and South Eastern Railway have emerged men`s and women`s champions respectively in the 62nd All India Railways table tennis Championship in Guwahati recently.

Pravakaran of Southern Railway and Tekeme Sarkar of Northeast Frontier Railway won the individual men`s and women`s titles respectively.

Pravakaran defeated Anirban Nandi of South Eastern Railway 4-2, while Tekeme beat Rupsha Bhattacharya of Metro Railway 4-3 in their summit clashes.

South Eastern Railway women`s team of Anindita Chakraborty, Medha Moitra, Pallabi Kundu, Saptaparni Guha and Gargi Nag won all the five matches en route to the title.

The SER eves defeated Western Railway 3-1, runners-up Central Railway 3-1, Metro Railway 3-0, Northeast Frontier Railway 3-0 and Eastern Railway 3-0.

In the men`s team event, Western Railway edged out Southern Railway for the title while SER had to settle for the third place.

No plan to phase-out Sleeper Class coaches: Railways

New Delhi: The ministry was reacting to a new report that said the Railway Board was thinking of replacing all second-class coaches with AC coaches.

The Indian Railways on Monday denied a news report that claimed there was a plan to replace Sleeper Class coaches with air-conditioned (AC) coaches.

“There is no plan to phase out Sleeper Class coaches. They will continue to be deployed in train services,” the ministry said on its Twitter account.

The ministry was reacting to a report in The Times of India that said the Railway Board was thinking of replacing all second-class coaches in Express and Superfast trains with AC coaches in the next few years.

The report cited the example of Southern Railway, which, it said, had started replacing old second-class sleeper compartments in some trains with AC coaches, reducing the number of sleeper coaches.

SCR Launches a Special Drive on Safety at Unmanned Railway Level Crossings

सिकंदराबाद Secunderabad (SC): South Central Railway has initiated a fortnight-long special drive o­n safety at Unmanned Railway Level Crossings (UMLCs) all over the Zone. P.K.Srivastava, General Manager, South Central Railway issued instructions to undertake this focused campaign aimed at avoiding accidents at unmanned level crossings. The General Manager held a detailed review meeting through video conferencing with Divisional Railway Managers of all the six Divisions of the Zone at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad, today i.e., 28th July, 2014 o­n issues related to safety at UMLCs and also the modalities for the fortnight long safety drive launched.

6549633285DSC1778 During this fortnight long special campaign, SCR officials will focus o­n thorough inspection of safety measures including the availability of requisite infrastructure at Unmanned Level Crossings such as road surface, proper approaches, warning boards to road users, stop boards, whistle boards, speed breakers and visibility to the road users etc. A close watch will be kept o­n the loco pilots to monitor their whistling habits while approaching a level crossing. Joint ambush checks will be conducted involving the Railway Protection Force, Government Railway Police and civil authorities at the Railway Level Crossings, to apprehend errant road users under the Motor Vehicles Act / the Railways Act etc.  Safety seminars are being organized in all the Divisions o­n SCR to sensitize the railway staff, the road users and the public in general o­n this subject.

6549616829DSC1775With a view to spread Public awareness o­n safety at level crossings, SCR has taken up a multi-pronged publicity campaign through various Media – the newspapers, television, FM radio, CCTVs and public announcement system at railway stations. Emphasis is being given to educate road users o­n the need to observe all safety precautions while passing across UMLCs (STOP, LOOK and PROCEED).

In addition, safety messages are being delivered to the public through directed SMS system highlighting the need to be cautious and watchful at the time of crossing UMLCs. Street Plays are also being organized at strategic locations to reach out to targeted groups of people in rural areas, duly utilizing the services of the local village panchayats. Posters / banners / leaflets are also being displayed / distributed at public places to strengthen the public awareness o­n the precautions to be taken at level crossings in the interest of public safety.

BJP’s ‘Making Railways Better’ initiative gathers huge response

New Delhi:  Do you think India needs a bullet train at this point in time? Who is responsible for dirty trains? Limit entries to prevent crowding of platform, bring platform charges at par with airports. Charge people more for tickets, make railways compensate passengers for late trains.

These were some of the questions and suggestions that have emerged from the group – Making Railways Better – started by BJP’s communications cell. The party started this initiative after connecting with over one lakh people through its governance initiative Transform India on Local Circles, a web-based platform.

Given that over 2 crore passengers use trains every day, the Making Railways Better group is growing fast. The group, which started just over two weeks ago, already had over 6,402 members on Sunday, up from 3,000 members on Thursday.

In fact, based on the feedback of its members, lack of cleanliness in coaches, stations and toilets have emerged as the biggest problem that passengers face.

Other issues included unhygienic food, difficulty in online/offline ticket booking, lack of safety on tracks which lead to frequent accidents, corruption and discretion of train ticket examiners, lack of punctuality of trains and crowding of stations and platforms by people without travel and platform tickets.

“The focus of the initiative is to have collective governance, identify the root cause and suggest solutions,” said Sachin Taparia, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Local Circles. The white papers are then sent to the concerned Ministers and Ministries.

For instance, for the Railway Budget, the Transform India initiative had provided 16 inputs from which 11 were accepted. While some inputs were ongoing proposals such as foreign direct investment in Railways, higher use of IT, use of e-procurement, others included anti-populist proposals such as the need to limit the number of passengers in a coach, free passes, and concessions.

Incidentally, BJP’s IT cell has also been involved in an initiative with the Railway Ministry.

A day before the Budget, Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda inaugurated the Railways’ page on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. They also launched a phone number where people could dial in and hear the railway budget.

When contacted, Arvind Gupta, Head-IT Cell, BJP, said that these initiatives will help people give their feedback to the Railways, while the phone number was event-based.

Fan clubs of Railway enthusiasts such as Indian Railways Fan Club Association are also involved in giving feedback to the Railways.

Karnataka’s Vokkaliga community pins high hopes on Sadananda Gowda

Bangalore: On a Sunday two weeks ago, Railway Minister DV Sadananda Gowda was on a visit to Mandya, the crucible of Vokkaliga politics in Karnataka.

Along the 45-km stretch from Mysore, crowds had collected at a few places, holdings placards and shouting slogans in praise of Gowda. He stopped at each crowd, and acknowledged the warmth of the people with his signature smile.

The spontaneous celebration was spurred by the fact that a Vokkaliga has become a prominent Union Minister with the coveted railway portfolio.

Just three years ago, when the BJP appointed Gowda as Karnataka chief minister, it made subtle attempts to tell Vokkaligas that the party had rewarded the community. In fact, the party was only trying to turn the calamity of BS Yeddyurappa’s exit as chief minister over the mining scam into an opportunity.

It thought along the way it could please Vokkaligas-the second largest community who make up about a fifth of Karnataka’s population, and use the surname of Gowda. But the ploy didn’t work because in his political career, the 61-year-old politician had never played the community card.

The culture of Gowda’s region was the big influence: he comes from Sullya, the taluk in the coastal Dakshina Kannada district where most people, including Gowdas, speak the local dialect of Tulu. The tradition of Gowdas living in places like Kodagu (Coorg)-Dakshina Kannada belt is vastly different from that of Vokkaligas in the old Mysore region.

But Sadananda Gowda may well be blurring those boundaries. Not that Gowda has changed his shades, and is projecting himself as the new Vokkaliga mascot, but the politically influential community is embracing him as its leader, and taking pride in the fact that one of them is the railway minister. “We have reposed faith in Gowda.

As a community, Vokkaligas are backward educationally and economically. He has a good opportunity to emerge as a strong leader. The coming days will judge whether he is able to cash on the opportunity,” said Dr Appaji Gowda, president of the Vokkaligara Sangha, the community organisation with about 2.9 lakh members. Numerically ahead of Vokkaligas in Karnataka are Lingayats, and quite often, the chief minister is from either of the two communities.

“Traditionally, Lingayat leaders came from the (river) Krishna belt, and Vokkaliga leaders from the Cauvery belt,” said D Umapathy, a Delhi-based journalist who has been tracking Karnataka’s politicalaffairs for about three decades. “But Sadananda Gowda is an exception, coming from the non-Cauvery region. (PM Narendra) Modi giving him the railway portfolio has cemented his position in the party as well as the community.” According to a political analyst, the fact that Gowda does not belong to the Vokkaliga mainland is working to his advantage.

It’s the old Mysore region that nurtured powerful Vokkaliga leaders – be it former PM HD Deve Gowda, or former CMs SM Krishna or HD Kumaraswamy, or potential CM candidate DK Shivakumar. In fact, within the BJP, former Deputy CM R Ashoka did try to project himself as BJP’s tallest Vokkaliga leader. But Sadananda Gowda has pipped Ashoka at the post in the latter’s home-turf of Bangalore.

Vijayawada ideal for new SECoR Zone Headquarters, say commuters

According to rail users, the Vijayawada station is centrally located and has requisite volumes of freight and passenger traffic

विजयवाडा Vijayawada (BZA): As speculation over the likelihood of location of the new capital in the vicinity of Vijayawada and Guntur intensified, the demand for establishment of headquarters of the proposed South East Coastal Railway (SECoR) Zone in Vijayawada city is fast catching up with people.

They are firm that Vijayawada city will be an ideal destination for the new railway zone irrespective of whether the capital is located here or not. Vijayawada Railway Station Users’ Consultative Committee sent a memorandum to Railway Minister D.V.Sadananda Gowda recently seeking steps for giving Vijayawada due recognition in the form of the zone headquarters, committee member Naraharisetti Srihari said.

He added that Vijayawada station was centrally located and had requisite volumes of freight and passenger traffic. Besides, the zone HQ is also essential from the viewpoint of development of seaports, particularly the Machilipatnam port, to which the government has committed itself.

Those demanding the Railway zone HQ in the city cite the scope for expansion of the existing station, which has 10 platforms accommodating more than 300 pass-through (both passenger and goods) trains everyday.

The Electric Traction Training Centre at Satyanarayanapuram is a major facility imparting practical lessons to loco pilots from across the country. It is the only training institute of its kind in the State. The electric loco shed and wagon workshop at Rayanapadu have few parallels in the country in terms of performance and the scale of operations.

These and other facilities work in favour of Vijayawada, Mr. Srihari asserted. He added that a high-level committee of the Railway Board comprising top officials of the South Central Railway (SCR) were seized of the matter.

The recommendations of the committee are eagerly awaited while an equally strong demand for the new zone HQ emerged from Visakhapatnam. They sent memorandum to Railway Minister in this regard.

Posing as Railway contractors, five steal Signal Cables worth lakhs

मलाड Malad (MDD): A gang of crooks who pretended to be railway contractors and used a forklift to steal signal cables on the Western line were apprehended by the Railway Protection Force (RPF). While five persons have been arrested, one more is wanted in the case.

Around 4.05pm on Sunday, the RPF received information about railway cables being loaded into a truck near the old traction office at Malad (E). RPF personnel reached the location and found 12 signal cables worth Rs 1.2 lakh in the truck. Three men were found in the truck. An interrogation revealed they were actually thieves. The trio — Abu Juzafa Khan (22), Saujad Tufel Qureshi (32) and Kishan Kumar Maurya (42) — led the RPF to two other associates — Umesh Chand Yadav (34) and Manoj Gupta (37).

“The truck, the forklift and the stolen electric cables were seized. The accused revealed that a labour contractor, Sunil Khare, was the mastermind. A case has been registered under the Railway Act. We are looking for Khare,” said a senior RPF officer.

Indefinite strike by Quarry owners may affect progress of Kochi Metro Rail project

Kochi: Concern over the shortage of granite for the construction of Kochi Metro Rail and other projects mounted as the indefinite strike launched by granite quarry owners in the state entered the third day.

The contractors of the metro project normally have an inventory for two weeks and if the strike prolongs, works may get affected, said a spokesman of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

The quarry owners launched the strike from Friday protesting against an order by the Green Tribunal that all activities related to mining should get a clearance from the ministry of environment and forests. “The state government should take immediate measures to get a relief from the Green Tribunal’, M.A. Yousuf district president of Kerala Quarry and Crusher Operators Association said.

According to him, out of the nearly 3,000 granite quarries operating in the state, only 63 have the licence from the MOEF. A majority of quarries in the state belong to the category of less than five hectares which were not required to possess the licence from the MOEF, he added

The green tribunal verdict however had made the licence mandatory for all mining activities including those coming under the category of five hectares. The state government had filed an appeal a few days ago in the green tribunal seeking one-year’s time to implement its directive in the state.

Buy Container Corporation; Target Rs.1530: Maximus Securities

Maximus Securities is bullish on Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) and has recommended buy rating on the stock with a target price of Rs 1530 in its July 16, 2014 research report.

“Container Corporation of India Ltd. (CONCOR) was incorporated in March 1988 under the Companies Act, and commenced operation from November 1989 taking over the existing network of 7 Inland Container Depots (ICDs) from the Indian Railways. From its humble beginning, it is now an undisputed market leader having the largest network of 62 ICDs/Container Freight Stations (CFSs) in India. In addition to providing inland transport by rail for containers, it has also expanded to cover management of Ports, air cargo complexes and establishing cold-chain. It has and will continue to play the role of promoting containerization of India by virtue of its modern rail wagon fleet, customer friendly commercial practices and extensively used Information Technology.

CONCOR is committed to providing responsive, cost effective, efficient and reliable logistics solution to its customers. It strives to be the first choice for its customers. CONCOR is a customer focused, performance driven, result oriented organization, focused on providing value for money to its customers.

CONCOR’s core business is characterised by three distinct activities, that of a carrier, a terminal operator, and a warehouse operator. Majority of CONCOR terminals are rail-linked, with rail as the main carrier for haulage. As rail is price-competitive over long distances, the price advantage can be passed on to clients, thus allowing for flexible and competitive pricing. Though rail is the mainstay of CONCOR’s transportation plan, some CONCOR terminals are exclusively road-fed as well.

CONCOR’s terminals provide a spectrum of facilities in terms of warehousing, container parking, repair facilities, and even office complexes.

CONCOR also use’s its terminal network to plan Hub and Spoke movements that allow single customers to move cargo to multiple locations, with CONCOR taking care of the distribution and re distribution requirements.

Valuations: Considering the improvement in volumes, stable margins, large cash balance, balance strength, market leader status with increasing market share, tailwinds such as the Dedicated Freight Corridor & GST, growth in global economy and formation of a stable government at the Centre, we value CONCOR with a P/E of 22.3x FY16E EPS to arrive at a target price of Rs 1530/share. Buy the stock,” says Maximus Securities research report.

To read the full report, Click Here: ContainerCorp_Maximus_220714

INR 189 Crore allotted for facelift of Varanasi Railway station

Varanasi (BSB): Being a member of Lok Sabha from the constituency, it seems that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon fulfil his promises with the people of Varanasi.

According to reports, the Varanasi cantonment railways station has been allocated Rs 189 crore for its renovation by the ministry of Railways.

Arunendra Kumar, chairman Railway board, shared the information during his inspection visit to the railway station.

He told that the government has allocated fund for its facelift of the railway station as the prime tourist destination across the world.

Since the PM took over the reign, he has focused on the infrastructure and Railway is a key sector which has to be overhauled.

In July’s first week, the trial run of the ‘semi high-speed train’ was conducted on a 10-coach train. It left New Delhi station at 11.15 am and reached Agra about 99 minutes later.

However, from Nizamuddin station, where it will actually originate during commercial operations, the train took 90 minutes, Deputy Regional Manager (DRM) Delhi Division Anurag Sachan had said.

The time taken currently by the Shatabdi train between Delhi and Agra takes 120 minutes.

A journey by road via the Yamuna expressway takes two hours between Delhi and Agra.

After the Delhi-Agra service, Railways are expected to run similar high speed trains on Delhi-Kanpur and Delhi-Chandigarh sections.

Shareholder Agreement & Development Agreement for IRSDC Signed

Mohan Tiwari and Y.P. Singh exchanging copies of shareholders agreement for IRSDC at IRCON’s corporate office
Mr.Mohan Tiwari and Mr.Y.P. Singh exchanging copies of Shareholders Agreement for IRSDC at the Corporate Office of IRCON at New Delhi

New Delhi:  Shareholders Agreement for the functioning of Indian Railways Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) – a Joint Venture Company of RLDA- 49% and Ircon International Ltd – 51% was signed by Shri Y.P.Singh, Vice Chairman RLDA and Shri Mohan Tiwari, CMD, IRCON, yesterday.  In addition, another agreement namely Development Agreement was also signed by Shri Anil Kumar Gupta, General Manager, Railway Infrastructure, on behalf of RLDA, and Shri S.P.Mahi, Chief Executive Officer, IRSDC for development/re-development of railway stations on Indian Railways.

At present, with the approval of Ministry of Railways, five railway stations at- Chandigarh, Anand Vihar, Bijwasan (both at Delhi), Habibganj (Bhopal) and Shivaji Nagar (Pune) have been entrusted by RLDA to IRSDC for redevelopment that will involve modernization and up gradation of passenger amenities at these stations by raising finances through commercial development of railway land and air space at these stations. IRSDC has already finalized Master Plans for all the five stations and is in the process of obtaining various approvals and clearances from railway and state authorities which will be followed by invitation of bids for appointment of developers.

Railways plan to revamp Catering Policy to serve you Quality Food

Mumbai: Long-distance train passengers can expect better food if the railway board succeeds in revamping its catering policy. But the change will have to be approved at the highest level, as it will entail loss of revenue but not quality.

The zonal railways charge successful contractors 12% of the bid amount as licence fee. The contract is awarded for five years. If the estimated earning is Rs.60 crore, the reserve price or licence fee is set as Rs.7 crore for the bids. But bidders quote 40-50% above the amount to get contracts.

A senior railway official, “The revenue sharing model is at the heart of the problem of poor food services. We may opt for a fixed licence fee and select contractors on technical parameters, which will include food quality and quantity, service, infrastructure, manpower and expertise.”

Since bidders quote much above the reserve price, contractors start cutting corners by serving inferior food or offering less than what is prescribed. Passengers are also often overcharged.

The official said, “Our focus will stay on quality and a panel of contractors will be shortlisted. The contract will be awarded to one of those shortlisted.”

Sources said some contractors from across the country recently told Union railway minister Sadanand Gowda that the revenue sharing model should be discarded.

Another official said, “The railway board earns Rs.400 crore in licence fees from contractors, which is peanuts. For this, we have to face embarrassment because of poor quality catering. Moreover, a lot time is wasted if an offended passenger approaches the court.”

The official said there was a provision to fine contractors but they have emerged powerful due to shortcomings in the system. He said, “Contractors refuse to pay fines, claiming the complaints is not genuine. We can only exert pressure till a certain point, or the contractors threaten to exit the contracts.”

Officials are afraid of a situation where food cannot be served, as it will anger passengers. Appointing a new contractor is time-consuming as it involves inviting fresh bids. In the proposed system, erring contractors can be fired at short notice and another can step in from the panel.

Railways to stop train movement during night hours on the Dantewada-Kirandul line

Moists Martyrs’ Week Celebrations between July 28 to Aug 3 makes Railways take the decision

Visakhapatnam (VSKP): Indian Railways has decided not to ply trains during the night hours on the single line between Dantewada and Kirandul in Chhattisgarh from July 27 to August 4, in view of the Maoists’ upcoming Martyrs’ Week celebrations from July 28 to August 3.

The move, which is expected to partially affect movement of passenger services and cargo, primarily iron ore, is the result of a security alert issued by the police department to departments like railways and telecom.

Admitting that both goods and passenger train services will be affected from the night of July 27 to August 4, a senior railway official of the Waltair division said passenger trains 58501/58502 Visakhapatnam-Kirandul-Visakhapatnam via Araku Valley will be short-terminated at Jagdalpur during the week, forcing commuters to opt for other modes of transport from Jagdalpur to Kirandul. However, trains from Vizag to Araku Valley will continue to run as usual, the officer clarified.

“Though we will not be losing much due to the short-termination of passenger services during the week, we will lose Rs 70 to 80 lakh per rake of iron ore, which adds up to a loss of nearly Rs 11 crore for the nearly 15 rakes that will not be able to ply in the night time during the week. Usually 10 rakes run daily during the daytime on this line and two rakes run at night,” a senior railway officer told.

According to a senior police officer deployed at the Visakhapatnam border, security has already been beefed up in the interiors of forested areas of around seven districts of Bastar administrative division in Chhattisgarh that covers districts like Dantewada, Bijapur, Bastar, Narayanpur, Kondagaon, Sukma and Kanker in view of the upcoming Martyrs’ Week.

“There might be chances of disruption of public services like railways and telecommunications during the Martyrs’ Week celebrations by the Ultras, who like to show their presence by obstructing railway lines or blasting telecom towers, which is why we have advised them to partially halt services between Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh as a precautionary measure,” said the police official.

Hyderabad Metro Rail creates record; completes 27 km, 1000 Spans in 20 months

The significance of record can be measured by the fact that Mumbai Metro Rail took about seven years to complete 11 km of metro viaduct; Bangalore and Chennai took over five years to complete about 25 km of viaduct each. Delhi took more than three years to achieve the same.

Hyd Metro worksHyderabad:  City’s ongoing elevated metro project has created a construction record by completing 27 kilometres of metro viaduct in just 20 months.

While the first between two pillars was erected near Genpact in Habsiguda in December 2012, the 1,000th was done on Sunday near S.R.Nagar bus stop, thus completing 38 per cent of viaduct works.

A total of 2,665 spans are required for 72 km of viaduct spread over three corridors: Miyapur to L.B.Nagar, JBS to Falaknuma and Nagole to Shilparamam/Raidurg.

The significance of record can be measured by the fact that Mumbai Metro Rail took about seven years to complete 11 km of metro viaduct; Bangalore and Chennai took over five years to complete about 25 km of viaduct each. Delhi took more than three years to achieve the same.

Engineering feat

HMR’s engineering feat of fast construction in congested roads of Hyderabad with a good safety record was possible due to a number of proactive measures taken by the State Government and the engineering capabilities of L&T, said Managing Director N.V.S. Reddy.

As on date 1,473 foundations (56 per cent), 1,370 pillars (52 per cent) are completed.

The Government too had facilitated setting up of the country’s two biggest precast yards, one at Uppal in 70 acres and another one at Qutbullahpur in 62 acres where L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad had established factory-like precast yards with sophisticated machinery such as automatic steel cutting and bending machines to produce precast segments each weighing about 40 tons, he said.

Precast segments are being transported in the night on low-bedded trolleys to various metro construction sites and erected between metro pillars with the help of “launching girders”. In all, 15 launching girders are being used to carry out these erection works simultaneously at several spots.

General length between two pillars is 100 feet, bridged by 11 precast segments. They are then glued and tied with a bunch of iron strands from inside, elongated and permanently grouted. The viaduct spans can withstand heavy loads plus heavy gales or earthquakes.

CM’s pat for HMR

Meanwhile, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao congratulated HMR & L&TMRH engineers for the achievement on being informed by the MD.

Kochi Metro Rail leaps over land acquisition hurdle

Kochi: Though the state government has not framed the rules for the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARRA), the new order issued in favour of the ongoing acquisitions will bring a fresh lease of life to various projects, including the Kochi Metro Rail.

Projects such as Kochi Metro were hit by land acquisition hurdles owing to the delay in framing new policies for the amended Land Acquisition Act. The Act of 1894 was amended only last year and LARRA came into force in January 2014.

However, majority of the government agencies were not in a position to carry out the land acquisition as per the new Act as the State Government has not framed the rules. As a consequence land acquisition of various projects came to a standstill.

In an Order issued earlier this month, the Government clarified that in cases where 4(1) Notification have been issued but declarations under section 6 (Declaration that land is required for a public purpose) have not been issued, the declaration under LA Act 1894 is to be issued immediately so that the acquisition proceedings can be completed.

In its order, the Government also clarified that in cases where the land value is already fixed, an agreement should be entered into with the land owners that further compensation, if any, will be paid only after framing rules and regulations for LARRA.

“In cases where declarations under section 6 have already been issued, land value has to be fixed by the District Level Purchase Committee (DLPC) and complete acquisition procedures without further delay,” the Government Order stated.

The new order will give a fresh breath of life to the Kochi Metro Rail project, for which the authorities have already acquired 34 hectares of the total 40 hectares required.

For the remaining 6 hectares, the authorities are facing many stumbling blocks, the main one being the delay in framing the rules under LARRA.

With the State Government issuing the new order, the Agency believes that they will be able to complete the land acquisition procedures by August, as per their scheduled deadline.

“We have initiated proceedings to complete the land acquisition of the Metro Rail project as per the new Government Order. It is expected to be completed within the stipulated time,” Ernakulam District Collector M G Rajamanickam told

Land acquisition for major Odisha rail projects by 2015-end

Govt-owned land has already been handed over for four projects

Bhubaneswar (BBS): With delay in land acquisition slowing the pace of major railway projects in Odisha, the state government has targeted to complete the land takeover process for such projects by the end of 2015.

“Land acquisition for major rail projects like Khurda Road-Bolangir, Paradeep-Haridsapur and Angul-Duburi-Sukinda Road is moving ahead at a good pace. We hope to complete the land acquisition for these projects by the end of 2015”, minister for commerce & transport Ramesh Majhi said in a written reply to the state assembly.

The minister said, the state has handed over advance possession to the Railways in respect of government land for four rail projects, Khurda Road-Bolangir, Paradeep-Haridaspur, Angul-Duburi-Sukinda Road and Talcher-Bimalagarh.

Besides, substantial private land has been handed over to the Railways for these projects- Khurda Road-Bolangir (1095.91 acres), Paradeep-Haridaspur (1250.69 acres), Angul-Duburi-Sukinda Road (1016.44 acres) and Talcher-Bimalagarh (168 acres).

While the Khurda Road-Bolangir rail project was sanctioned in 1994-95, Paradeep-Haridaspur, Angul-Duburi-Sukinda Road and Talcher-Bimalagarh were approved in 1996-97, 1997-98 and 2004-05 respectively.

It may be noted to expedite the work on Khurda-Bolangir rail line, the state has offered to provide government land free of cost and also bear half of the construction cost.

The Railway Budget for 2014-15 has announced Rs.100 crore each for Khurda Road-Bolangir, Angul-Duburi-Sukinda Road and Talcher-Bimalagarh rail links while the Paradip-Haridaspur project has been allocated Rs.187 crore.

Hyderabad Metro rail to acquire 612 Sq.yards ISKCON land

Hyderabad:  After a protracted battle, the Hyderabad district administration and Hyderabad Metro Rail authorities will soon acquire 612.77 square yard land belonging to International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) near St. John’s Rotary in Secunderabad for metro rail corridor-III (Nagole-Shilparamam stretch). Earlier, the HMRL had wanted 1339.35 sq metres (1601.85 sq yards) of temple land, but after protests and several rounds of discussions, the land to be acquired was pruned to 612.77 sq yards.

Protesting the move to acquire their property, Iskcon management had suggested to HMRL to change alignment without disturbing the temple land. HMRL rejected the request stating that the alignment was set by a professional team from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation by taking several technical aspects and safety point of view into consideration. However, keeping in view the religious sentiments attached to the temple, the HMRL sent revised plans to reduce the extent from 1,601.85 sq yards to 612.77 sq yards.

Responding to the HMRL plan, Hyderabad collector Mukesh Meena and land acquisition officer conducted inspection in October last and sent a report to HMRL. Later, the HMRL asked the collector to acquire ISKCON land as per the Land Acquisition Act.

At a meeting with ISKCON representatives recently, HMRL managing director NVS Reddy convinced them and assured that none of the assets of temple would be affected. “After getting a report from Hyderabad collector Mukesh Kumar Meena to issue a draft notification to acquire ISKCON land, we had issued a notification on July 6,” sources in land acquisition office, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corpration (GHMC), told.

“As per the notification, the land owner has to send objections within 15 days from the date of notification. As there was no response from Iskcon representatives even 15 days after the notification (July 21), we will go ahead with acquisition of the land. However, we will invite ISKCON representatives in a day or two to take their consent before acquiring the land,” the official added.

BJP’s Tech Wizard puts Railways on track for ‘Achhey Din’

Tech-Wizard Arvind GuptaNew Delhi:  He built and fueled the massive social media campaign for Narendra Modi. Now, Arvind Gupta, head, BJP’s Information and Technology cell, is helping Indian Railways and the Central ministries to use technology to improve delivery of services.

The technocrat has also been coordinating with the I&B Ministry to train officials to use the social media platforms effectively. An alumnus of IIT-Varanasi Hindu University and the University of Illinois, Gupta, 43, has his work cut-out to improve the social media presence of the NDA Government and use it to directly connect with the people. Within days of taking over the task, Gupta rode the New Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani to check why the much touted onboard Wi-Fi system had failed.

The trials of Wi-Fi system on trains started recently on Rajdhani. Former Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced similar facilities in two Kolkata-bound trains but it failed to take off due to technical glitches.

Sadananda Gowda, in his maiden Railway Budget, had announced plans to revive the Wi-Fi service in select trains and stations. Gupta has prepared a report to overcome the technical glitches that stalled the pilot project.

“My team is working to set up an IT hub to communicate what government is doing in real-time and get live feedback from the people. We are also coordinating with other Union Ministries to have an effective communication system between the people and the government so that problem areas can be marked and removed in a time bound manner,” said Gupta, who was consultant to a number of global IT companies before joining the BJP in 2010.

Gupta managed his party’s digital campaign from the BJP’s Ashoka Road headquarters, where he raised a team of several lakh volunteers to help in the election campaign. His team will also prepare a mobile application, where passengers can immediately lodge their complaints regarding ticketing or food.

On the lines of the team of young IT professionals in the party, Gupta is forming a separate team of tech-savvy experts to handle IT-related work in the government.

RPF staff get Booklets on how to behave with Commuters

Mumbai: Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel can no longer claim ignorance of legal provisions or the rights of accused. Staffers at chowkies on the Central line have been given pocket-sized booklets (see box) on how to behave with commuters and their duties, to sensitize the force.

At least 396 RPF personnel from Central Railway have been chargesheeted since 2012, of which 92% have been punished. Some were chargesheeted on the basis of commuters’ complaints. The Bombay high court had taken suo motu notice of a PIL in 2011, after a 25-year-old woman was molested in a Harbour local at Nerul, and was snubbed when she approached RPF personnel for help in Thane.

The booklet lists how RPF staffers must keep tabs on ladies coaches, make travellers aware of helplines and get information on any untoward incident. There are also instructions on how to tackle runaway or abandoned children.

The booklet lists the rights of an accused, such as getting a medical examination done every 48 hours, informing his family members about the arrest, informing the control room within 12 hours of arrest and producing the accused before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest. This is relevant as the Government Railway Police (GRP) in Wadala had been accused of custodial torture and murder earlier this year.

“The booklet contains provisions of the Railway Act, whether offences are bailable or non-bailable, and prison terms or penalties. It has instructions for escorting personnel on long-distance trains and guides them on how to react in an emergency. We wanted to make it comprehensive,” said Alok Bohra, senior divisional security commissioner, RPF (CR).

A footnote forbids staffers from “chatting needlessly on phones” and hanging around in groups while on duty.

Activists said copies of the booklets must be given to commuters too, so they know their rights and safety precautions to be taken while travelling.

Telling personnel about the rights of passengers, even those who may have broken the law, is a step in the right direction. It would be a good idea to replicate this at Mumbai’s local and railway police stations. But this is only a start; it would work better if this is followed by a mass sensitisation drive of all personnel who interact with people as well as making them aware of the penal measures they face if they overstep their authority.

Cabinet note on FDI in Railways likely by next month

New Delhi:  Aiming to bring more foreign direct investment ( FDI) in the country, Department of industrial policy & promotion (DIPP) is likely to circulate Cabinet note by the next month proposing liberalised rules for FDI in railways, defence and construction.

“The consultations are at final stage final stage. We are hoping to get final comments by the starting of next month and soon after that we will put proposal in front of the Cabinet,” sources close to the development told The Pioneer.

Even DIPP Secreatry Amitabh Kant had recently said that “The CCEA has approved the 49 per cent FDI in insurance and the Cabinet notes for Railways, defence are under the final consultative process. Once we get the final comments, we will put them up to the Cabinet for approval shortly.”The Government proposes to hike the FDI ceiling in the sensitive defence sector to 49 per cent from 26 per cent, ensuring control in Indian hands, for boosting domestic industry of a country which imports up to 70 per cent of its military hardware.

Besides, it also plans to ease FDI norms for the cash-starved Railways. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has proposed permitting 100 per cent FDI in areas such as high-speed train systems, suburban corridors and dedicated freight line projects implemented under PPP mode.

The FDI liberalisation in the sector would help in modernisation and expansion of the Railways. According to estimates, the sector is facing a cash- crunch of around Rs 26,000 crore. However, FDI is not proposed to be allowed in train operations and safety.At present, there is a complete restriction on any kind of FDI in the Railways sector except mass rapid transport systems. The move will also help in development of its infrastructure for industrial purposes.

China and Japan have shown interest in investing in the railways. While railway FDI proposals won’t have to go to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board because they’ve been recommended for the automatic route, approvals may have to be taken from the Ministry of Railways.The Ministry of Railways has selected seven corridors for prefeasibility studies for the introduction of high-speed passenger trains. Such projects are highly capital intensive in nature and require large passenger volumes and high tariffs, given the sizeable levels of investment.

In November last year, the proposal of the DIPP to relax FDI norms in the sector was discussed at the Cabinet meeting but was deferred due to concerns being raised by the Urban Development Ministry on few norms. The DIPP has proposed easy conditions for exit for developers before the three-year lock-in period and a change in the current requirement of having a minimum built-up area for FDI in construction development projects.

Uniform compensation for land losers sought from Railways for Bangalore-Mysore Railway Line

Bangalore (SBC): Housing Minister M H Ambareesh on Saturday urged Union Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda to provide adequate and uniform compensation to those whose lands have been acquired for Bangalore-Mysore railway line doubling project.

In a four-page memorandum submitted to Gowda, he said there was disparity in giving compensation to the land losers under the project.

While the farmers near Chennapatna and Ramanagar are getting adequate compensation, those in Mandya and Pandavapura are getting less, he added.

The Housing Minister, who is also incharge minister for Mandya district, suggested that the Railways should conduct adalats so that it can settle minor disputes related to land acquisition on the spot. It will also ensure speedy acquisition, he said.

Railways to help during vehicular ban period in Shiradi Ghat works: Railway Minister

Mangalore (MAQ): Railways is contemplating to provide alternate options to the travelling public in view of closure of Shiradi Ghat for six months, said Union Railway minister DV Sadananda Gowda at Puttur on Sunday.

He said the transport of goods would in alternate routes would lead to a problem to the Coast hence the railways was exploring the possibility of providing Ro-Ro services like Konkan Railway. He said this in reply to a query regarding the closure of Shiradi Ghat stretch on the Mangalore-Bangalore National Highway for all type of vehicles for six months from December 1 to facilitate ugradation of the 47 km stretch at a cost of Rs 155.18 crore.

In this arrangement trucks are loaded through a ramp provided at the dead-end of a loop on wagons which have been suitably modified. Konkan Railway provides this service from Kolad (145 kms from Mumbai) and Verna (12 kms from Madgaon) and Verna and Surathkal (20 kms from Manglore). But Gowda did not elaborate on the alternatives saying it was still in the initial stages of planning.

But Gowda may have problems in running an extra train since the HMRDC agreement with railways allows only three trains to be run and the quota is full, though train via Shravanabelagola is still not operational. If Gowda makes up his mind, the new daily Bangalore-Mangalore Express train announced in the budget could come as saving grace for the people here, if its run starts during the Shiradi Ghat vehicle ban period.

ADRM Chakradharpur inspects Gamharia Railway station

ADRM-inspects-Gamharia-railway-stnGamharia (GMH): Assistant Divisional Railway Manager, Chakradharpur Division Navin Talwar carried surprise inspection of Gamharia station.

During this time he visited about a kilometer away and the railway station premises, checked signals.

He met railway authorities after inspecting all the signals and available resources, including directed energy, so any disruption in the operation of trains or trouble does not occur.

On the occasion Chakradharpur railway division Station Master Kirpal Singh, Junior Engineer Shashi Bhushan Prasad and other railway officials were present.

Bring Metro Rail project to Coimbatore

Coimbatore (CBE): The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has urged the State Government to initiate steps to have the metro rail project implemented in Coimbatore. In a release, the party’s State Youth Wing Secretary V.Easwaran said that the steps should be in such a way that at least by next the Central Government sanctioned money for a preparing a detailed project report for the city.

Thus far the Central Government had not sanctioned money because the State Government had not taken any steps, though the former had clearly stated in 2011 that if state governments were to come forward and make a recommendation for metro rails it was ready to consider the same.

As part of the 2011 announcement, the Central Government said that Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Jaipur, Kanpur, Lucknow, Nagpur, Indore, Coimbatore, Kochi, Patna and Calicut were the cities that were eligible for the metro rail system.

For Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Pune and Ludhiana the state governments had prepared and submitted the detailed project reports.

That was why the Central Government had allocated money for the project in Lucknow and Ahmedabad in this Union Budget.

In fact, in all the 19 cities except Coimbatore the preparatory work had begun.

The work had also begun in Kochi, though it was only next in the line after Coimbatore. Therefore, without wasting any further time, the State Government must take action.

It must also not insist that it would only propose a mono rail system for the city, Mr. Easwaran argued and pointed out that ‘Metro Man’ E. Sreedharan, during his visit to Coimbatore, had suggested only metro rail and not mono rail for the city.

Reiterating his demand, Mr. Easwaran said that the State Government must ensure that the next year’s Union Budget had allocation for the metro rail project for Coimbatore.

14000 Unmanned Crossings across the country to challenge India’s Bullet Train project

New Delhi:  A passenger train hit a school bus at an unmanned railway crossing in Telangana’s Medak district on Thursday killing at least 20 children and injuring 15 with fears the death toll could rise further.

This was not the first such avoidable tragedy involving Indian Railways, nor will it be the last. According to statistics, 40 per cent of all rail casualties occur at unmanned crossings.

The rub is that instead of triggering a debate over how to avoid accidental deaths at unmanned railway crossings, the Medak tragedy too has merely led to the familiar blame game.

The immediate response of the state government was to blame the railway authorities. “The villagers have been requesting the railways to put up a gate and man the crossing. Several memorandums were given, but nothing has been done in this regard. Stern action should be taken against SCR (South Central Railways) general manager and other officials concerned,” said Telangana Home Minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy.  Union Railway Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, on the other hand, blamed it on the bus driver’s careless driving. “The driver did not stop the vehicle at the stop board of level crossing to check for approaching train as prescribed in section 131 of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988,” he said. Officials of the SCR, the zone in which the tragedy occurred, quoted the Motor Vehicle Act and Indian Railways Act in their defence. According to these, road users should be cautious while crossing rail tracks at unmanned crossings.

The fact is there are about 14,000 unmanned railway crossings across the country where such accidents are common. Before the Medak mishap, 53 people have been killed on unmanned crossings since April this year. In last five years, 723 people were killed in such accidents. Around 95 people were killed on unmanned rail crossings in 2013-14 while 124 lost their lives in 2012-13. The figure was 204 in 2011-12.

While releasing Indian Railways Vision 2020 in 2009, then railway minister Mamata Banerjee promised that “not a single level crossing in the country will remain unmanned or unprotected in the coming five years.” Banerjee and her partymen were in charge of the railways during bulk of the next five years, but there are still 14,853 unmanned rail crossings out of total 32,694 across India.

Railway officials claim that the accident rate has come down following the impact of an awareness campaign. The Medak tragedy shows how limited the impact of such campaigns has been. Fund crunch is the usual excuse offered by railway authorities for their failure to eliminate unmanned crossings.

It is true that the elimination of unmanned level crossings is a huge task. Removal of level crossings or making alternative arrangements like road over bridges and under-bridges entail huge investment running into crores. But for a government that has plans to introduce bullet and high-speed trains to modernise the railways, ignoring this will be bad economics and worse politics. As the high-level committee on safety headed by Anil Kakodkar pointed out, such expenditure can be recovered over seven-eight years due to saving in operation and maintenance costs incurred at gates and smooth train operations.

Gowda has announced provisioning of Rs.1785 crore for construction of road over bridges and under-bridges in the 2014-15 Railway Budget while promising examination of all unmanned crossings in detail and chart suitable modalities for their elimination. The process should be undertaken in an expeditious manner as safety of people overrules all other considerations. It should also be accompanied by a rigorous campaign to educate the people on proper and safe use of unmanned crossings.

Driverless tempo auto hit goods train at Dapodi crossing; no casualties

Pune: A major tragedy was averted when a three-wheeler driverless tempo hit a boom barrier at the railway crossing near Dapodi station and crashed into a goods train heading towards Pune.

The driver had got out of the stalled tempo and was pulling the starter cord from behind when the vehicle, which was in gear, sprung to life and hit the train. The accident took place around 9.15am on Sunday.

The tempo, which was cut into two, could have caused the train to derail. Rail traffic on the Pune-Mumbai route was disrupted for about 15 minutes following the accident, a central railway official said.

The tempo driver fled after the accident. The railway authorities have given the tempo’s registration number to the regional transport office (RTO) to get information about the owner and the driver.

Omkar Bhosale, a resident of Dapodi who witnessed the accident, told that the barrier was down at the crossing as the train was about to reach Dapodi station. “The tempo driver had stopped the vehicle near the barrier when the engine shut off. The driver got down to pull the starter cord located at the back of the tempo when all of a sudden the engine started. As the tempo was in first gear, it rammed into the barrier and also hit the train,” he said.

“Panic spread at the busy crossing following the incident. A large number of people gathered at the spot. The train too made an unscheduled halt at the Dapodi railway station,” Bhosale said.

A railway officer said the gate was closed for the day to replace the damaged barrier. “The railway protection force (RPF) is investigating the case,” he added.

On May 3, three people, including two women, were killed and 11 others were injured, two of them critically, when the Secunderabad-Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) Duronto Express collided with a tractor trolley at a manned crossing about 40km from Pune.

The tractor had two trolleys attached to it and was ferrying 20 sugarcane harvesters for work at Khamgaon village located on the other side of railway track. The accident occurred at gate number 10 at Khamgaon phata near Yavat, when the gate’s barrier opened soon after a goods train travelling towards Daund had crossed. The tractor-trolley was the last among all vehicles to cross the gate. The first trolley had just cleared the track but the second trolley was hit by the Duronto Express.

Navratna status will help CONCOR get projects on the road sooner

New Delhi: Container Corporation of India (CONCOR), a ₹4,984-crore listed firm belonging to the Indian Railways, will be able to take up more port projects, bigger logistics parks, and will be able to invest in joint ventures abroad as a result of the Navratna status that it got on Wednesday, its Chairman and Managing Director, Anil Gupta, told.

Concor is the 17th public sector unit to get the Navratna status. The company’s stocks closed at ₹1328.75, up 1.74 per cent over the previous close. The company’s stock has gained 83 per cent since the start of 2014 and 15 per cent after the Narendra Modi-led Government took over on May 26. On Thursday, it closed at ₹1,328.75, up 1.75 per cent over the previous day’s close.

On whether there were any proposals valued above ₹500 crore that the company was working on, which can now be approved by the Concor Board (earlier, this required a nod from the Rail Board), P Allirani, Director-Finance, Concor, said “Right now, we do not have projects of over ₹500 crore for which we need Board approval. But in the next few years, we may have a project worth over ₹500 crore.”

Incidentally, the single largest project being implemented by Concor is close to ₹500 crore. Concor plans to spend ₹6,000 crore in the five-year period starting 2013.

Disinvestment Plans

When asked, Concor officials declined to comment on the proposed disinvestment plan. However, sources in the know confirmed that the Railways and the Finance Ministry are discussing a proposal to disinvest another five per cent. The Government’s current share holding in the company is at 61.8 per cent.

On the day of Railway Budget, Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar had said that he would not like to divest additional stake in Concor.

However, on the sidelines of an Assocham conference here on Friday, Kumar told that the Railways is in discussions with the Finance Ministry and the final call on the issue will be taken by the Finance Ministry.

Bogibeel Rail-Cum-Road Bridge project targeted for completion by March 2017

डिब्रुगर्ह Dibrugarh (DBRG): Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha in his written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha mentioned that Physical works of both North and South guide bunds, 44 km long rail link from Chaulkhowa – Moranhat, 14 km long north bank rail link and 8 km long south bank rail link of Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge over river Brahmaputra have been completed. In main bridge, 36 out of 42 well foundations and 28 out of 40 piers have been completed. 2 out of 41 girders have been launched. The project has been targeted for completion by March 2017.

Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge was sanctioned in 1997-98. Latest anticipated cost of the project is Rs. 4996 crore and an expenditure of Rs.3041 crore has been incurred upto March, 2014. An outlay of Rs. 600 crore has been provided for the year 2014-15.

Rail-Cum-Road bridge site has been located at approx. 17 Km downstream of Dibrugarh Town. The road approaches   are connected to NH No.37 on south bank at Km. 580.788 and to N.H. No.52 on north bank at Km. 307.826 .

The rail approach is connected to Chaulkhova Railway station at a distance of 5.83 Km. from Dibrugarh Town and between Sisibargaon Siripani Railway Station on north bank at 382.005Km. of the existing MG track (which is being converted to B.G. Track).

The 4.94km bridge is one of the longest river bridges in the country. The rail-road bridge is being undertaken by the Northeast Frontier Railway, which is a part of Indian Railways. The work on the project began in 2002. The Bogibeel rail / road bridge is being built over the Brahmaputra River,northeastern India.The project is now scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016.

River Brahmaputra bridge design and construction

The Bogibeel Bridge is a welded-steel-truss-and-reinforced-concrete structure. It spans 125m and has strong box-type built-in sections. The bridge is supported on well foundations and 42 piers.

The project got the approval of the federal Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in September 1997 and construction began in April 2002.

Major earthworks and strengthening of the north and south dykes were completed by June 2011. As of the end of 2011, 13 well foundations on the south bank and 11 well foundations on the north bank are in progress for the main bridge.

Contractors involved in the Bogibeel rail-road bridge in Indian state of Assam

The state-owned consultancy and project management enterprise Rites (Rail India Technical and Engineering Services) has undertaken the pre-construction studies and detailed design of the rail-road bridge.

Top-Notch Engineers was involved in the design and drawings of the bridge.

The well foundations and substructure of the bridge are being constructed by Gammon India under an INR3.44bn ($64.62m) contract.

Assam-based Bharatia Infra Projects has supplied aggregates for the bridge under an INR540m ($10m) sub-contract from Gammon India.

Bharatia Infra has constructed the guide bunds and approach embankments on the south bank of the bridge. A joint venture of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), Germany-based DSD Brouckenbau and VNR Infrastructures will build the superstructure of the bridge under an INR9.87bn ($185m) contract awarded in November 2011.

The superstructure is planned to be completed in 48 months. HCC holds a 51% stake in the JV while DSD owns 20% and VNR 29%. One of the other important projects of HCC in India is the Bandra Worli Sea Link in Mumbai.

This bridge falls under sismic zone – V as per IS: 1893-2002. The superstructure consists of steel trusses of 125m span and 32.6m span, for double track on bottom level and three lane road deck at top level. The warren type truss of 125m span consists of 10 panels of 12.16m each with centre to centre distance of bearing as 121.6m. The members shall consist of welded plates of either ‘I’ or ‘Box’-sections. The Railway deck shall consist of cross girders at a spacing of 12.16m at the bottom chord joints of truss. The stringers and cross girders are of welded type with welded connections for lateral and cross bracing members. The roadway deck consists of composite top chord and cross girders. The roadway cross girders are at the same spacing of 3.04m. Two spans of 32.6m, one each at shores shall be required to be fabricated and launched along with 39 spans of 125m each.

GE and EMD shortlisted for Rs.1200 Cr Diesel Loco Unit in Bihar

मरहोवरा Marhowra (MEW): The railways has shortlisted two US multinationals — General Electric and Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) — for the Rs.1,200-crore Marhowra diesel locomotive factory in Bihar. This follows shortlisting of four companies (apart from GE, Bombardier, Siemens and Alstom) for the Rs.1,300-crore Madhepura electric loco factory in the state.

The recent railway budget stressed that the national transporter with scarce resources will have to embrace the PPP model in various areas — production of rolling stock, high-speed rail networks, logistic parks, station modernisation, etc. The target set for PPP projects this year is a modest Rs.6,000 crore but over the next few years, PPP investments in the sector are expected to rise manifold.

The Marhowra project, which has been in limbo for more than six years, is likely to be awarded in September. Four multinational firms, including two Chinese companies CSR and CNR, apart from the two shortlisted, had applied for the project. The request for proposal document will be issued soon, after which the final selection will be made, a railway board official told.

Ansaldo STS bags Contract of Navi Mumbai Metro Rail Systems

Ansaldo-STSMumbai: The contract won by M/s. Ansaldo STS related to the construction of a new metro system in Navi Mumbai for an equivalent value of about 78 Million Euro.

The Navi Mumbai Metro is a rapid transit system being built in the Indian city of Navi Mumbai. The complete system will consist of six lines (high rail corridors) covering a total distance of about 117 km. The race in question is on Line 1, Phase 1, which consists of 11.1 km. viaduct, with 11 stations, a depot and a fleet of 8 trains.

Line 1 will then be completed with the other two phases, which provide a total of 12.3 km and 9 other stations .

The win Consortium is made by Ansaldo STS, a Finmeccanica Company, which covers the role of Leader, along with TATA Projects and CSR Zhuzhou. The scope of work of the turnkey contract is for the design, supply, install, testing, commissioning and maintenance of the three-year electromechanical systems.

Ansaldo STS, as Leader of the Consortium , is responsible for system integration and the supply of Signalling System and Control (CBTC technology-based), Telecommunications , Automatic Fare Collection and storage of equipment.

Expected duration of the construction phase: about two and a half years work.

Train Collision Prevention System currently undergoing Field Trials: RDSO

Being developed by the Railways, the TCAS is currently undergoing field trials. In the context of Thursday’s accident involving a train ramming a school bus, resulting in deaths at an unmanned level crossing (UMLC), the TCAS assumes significance.

tcasCould Thursday’s collision involving a train and school bus in Medak district have been prevented if a Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), currently undergoing field trials, were in place?

Yes, say experts at the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), the technical wing of the Indian Railways that indigenously developed the promising new safety device. Its features include automatic braking of locomotives when they confront each other on the same track, preventing a train from passing through a red signal by tripping its speed, keeping a tab on the speed beyond prescribed limits at various track sections.

In the context of Thursday’s accident involving a train ramming a school bus, resulting in deaths at an unmanned level crossing (UMLC), the TCAS assumes significance.

Officials of RDSO are confident of adding a feature wherein there would be a continuous, high-pitched whistle both from an UMLC and the approaching locomotive, to warn road users trying to cross the tracks.

The whistle would automatically start once a locomotive touches the 300-metre mark on either direction at the UMLC, said Mahesh Mangal, Senior Executive Director-Signal at the RDSO. Once installed, the TCAS will constantly update the locomotive pilot, information pertaining to the location of a signal, an UMLC, the safe distance that the train can move and permissible speeds.

TCAS is based on a combination of railway signalling data with radio communications, global position, radio frequency identification devices (RFID), software and logic and is said to be the first-of-its-kind. It comprises three main sub-systems-Loco TCAS the onboard equipment, Station TCAS deployed at stations and level crossings and RFID tags on the tracks, at one each per kilometre.

The device, with European Level II safety features, promises to prevent train accidents and based on successful trials. Officials are confident that the TCAS would be far more effective than all other safety devices.

As for the cost, installation of TCAS would cost about Rs.10-12 lakh per route km and the project cost is estimated at about Rs.7,000 crore for Indian Railways. This will cover about 64,000 route km, all the 6,000-odd stations, 8,000 to 10,000 Interlock level crossing gates and the 10,000-odd locomotives (engines) and take five years to implement, officials said.

Pakistan rakes up Samjhauta Express blast as India protests 26/11 trial delay

Can’t push judiciary on 26/11 trial: Pakistan tells India responding to India’s protest against the delay in the 26/11 terror attacks case trial in Pakistan, Islamabad on Friday expressed concern over the delay in the trial of the 2007 Samjhauta Express case

Pakistan has told India that the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks trial was a judicial matter and there was nothing the government could do over the adjournment of the trial.

Along with that, Pakistan also expressed its concern over the delay in the Samjhauta Express blasts trial in India.

Earlier in the day, India summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi, two days after the ongoing trial of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks was adjourned in Pakistan on Wednesday.

The Pakistan High Commission said it had conveyed its inability to “do anything” in the matter to the Indian government.

“Like everywhere else in the developed world, the judiciary (in Pakistan) is independent… the executive has nothing to do with it,” Manzoor Ali Memon, spokesperson for the Pakistan High Commission told.

“Our job is to present evidence and prosecute the accused…we cannot push the judiciary…it is an independent institution and takes its own time,” said Mr. Memon.

Pakistan also expressed concern over the delay in the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing case, in which 68 people were killed, most of them Pakistanis.

“Families of the Samjhauta Express (blast) victims are waiting to see the perpetrators of that heinous incident brought to justice,” said Mr. Memon.

The same was reiterated to Indian deputy commissioner in Islamabad Gopal Baglay by the Pakistan Foreign Office.

Riffat Masood, Director-General (South Asia and SAARC) at Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Indian Deputy High Commissioner that the 26/11 trial was taking its legal course and efforts were being made for its early conclusion.

Ms. Masood said it was “necessary that the outcome of (Samjhauta Express case) investigations be shared with Pakistan at the earliest”.

The trial of the seven Pakistani accused, going on in a Pakistan anti-terrorism court, was adjourned for the seventh time on Wednesday, leading India’s “strong diplomatic protest” with Pakistan on Friday.

“The Pakistani Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi was summoned to the Foreign Office today. Also the Indian Deputy High Commissioner went to the Pakistan Foreign Office and has lodged a similar protest,” official sources told.

In the meetings — in New Delhi as well as in Islamabad — Indian officials sought regular briefings on the progress of the trial and the investigation being conducted by Pakistani authorities.

Indian officials also reiterated the “high importance India attaches to bring to justice all those responsible in Pakistan for the Mumbai terrorist attacks”, the sources said.

The last two hearings in the trial could not take place because of the presiding judge being on leave. Earlier, on four occasions, trial could not be held owing to the prosecution lawyers being absent over security reasons.

In June, the trial, which was going on in an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi, was transferred to another recently set up ATC in Islamabad.

The seven Pakistani nationals being tried for planning and executing the 26/11 attacks are: Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Anjum.

Using latest Technology in Dedicated Freight Corridor project: Railways

New Delhi: Induction of cutting-edge rail technology seems to be the hallmark of the dedicated freight corridor (DFC) with several state-of-the-art systems being acquired for the ambitious Rs 80,000-crore project.

Track-side train machine, locomotive communication system and thermal imaging cameras are going to be integral to the DFC operation, said Railway Board Member Alok Johri.

New technology like thermal imaging camera in track-side equipment will be used to detect defects in bogies and wagons. The camera will capture images of any damaged components in wagons and tracks and transmit the same to loco pilots.

The 1,760-km long Eastern DFC and 1,468-km Western DFC corridors are being constructed for exclusive freight movement and the project is expected to boost economic growth.

Speaking here at a seminar organised by Assocham, Johri said that high horsepower locomotives, new design wagons and double stack containers will be operational on the DFC.

Johri said work is going on and the targeted year of completion is 2018 for the Eastern Corridor.

On the scope for private participation, Johri said there are adequate avenues for industries to participate in the DFC project.

Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said, “The initial cost of DFC was estimated to be at around Rs 27,000 crore, but now it has touched over Rs 80,000 crore in the span of 5-6 years due to various genuine reasons.

“Indian Railways and DFC are focusing on the common man as per the directions of the Prime Minister. DFC is one of the goals for achieving the common man’s objective of reduced transportation costs.”

He further said, “The bottom line is that if DFC does well we will get more corridors and get more money and it will bring down costs and enhance the technological levels of rail operation.”

DMRC to let companies buy the right to name stations

New Delhi: In a first for Delhi Metro, station names are up for grabs, albeit at a price. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is going to auction off rights to have stations named after companies and their brands.

The move, which Metro hopes will be a money-spinner, comes as a part of its business development measures.

“The selected bidder or licensee shall have exclusive semi-naming rights at selected Metro stations. The licensee will suffix the brand name with the name of the station. In addition, the licensee shall also be granted advertisement rights at the station,” said Anuj Dayal, Delhi Metro spokesman.

The stations which will have their names auctioned are Huda City Centre, IFFCO Chowk, MG Road, Guru Dronacharya, Noida City Centre, Golf Course, Botanical Garden, Noida Sector 18 and Vaishali. Dayal added that Metro is starting the scheme with these nine stations and may extend it to other stations if the response is good.

Incidentally, Rapid Metro in Gurgaon already follows this practice. Its stations have been given out to companies that bid the highest for the right and their names have been used in the station name. These include stations like Vodafone Belvedere Towers station, Indusind Bank Cybercity station and the Micromax Moulsari Avenue station.

For the Delhi Metro stations, the licensee or company will also have the right to advertise its products inside the station. The colour scheme within the station can also be determined by the company to reflect its branding. Dayal added that advertisement space of about 500 square metre at the station will also be given.

It’s the first time that the Delhi Metro is putting its station names on the auction block. Traditionally, DMRC has named its stations based on the location. These stations will now not only have the Delhi Metro name but also be prefixed or suffixed by the company name or brand, added Dayal.

India’s High speed trains planned in these 9 routes

The Railways has identified nine corridors for taking action to raise the speed of passenger trains to 160-200 kmph, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Friday.  The routes are:

  1. Delhi-Agra,
  2. Delhi-Chandigarh,
  3. Delhi-Kanpur,
  4. Nagpur-Bilaspur,
  5. Mysore-Bengaluru-Chennai,
  6. Mumbai-Goa,
  7. Mumbai-Ahmedabad,
  8. Chennai-Hyderabad and
  9. Nagpur-Secunderabad,

Minister of State for Railway Manoj Sinha said in a written reply.  Trial of Shatabdi Express and similar trains up to a maximum speed of 160 kmph between New Delhi-Agra and back was conducted on July 3 this year assessing the fitness of track at a particular speed and was found to be successful at 160 kmph.

He said the trial train took 102 minutes and 105 minutes from New Delhi-Agra Cantt and Agra Cantt-New Delhi respectively.

The rolling stock Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches and electric loco had already been tested earlier successfully at speed of 180 kmph.

During the trial, all issues related to safety, technical aspects related to rolling stock and with other technical sub-systems like track, bridges, signaling, overhead equipments have been checked and found to be in order.

Accidents in Unmanned LCs account for 59% deaths in Railway areas: High Level Committee

The tragedy of an unmanned level crossing in Hyderabad, killing 17 school children on Thursday, exposes the negligence of Indian Railways in eliminating such crossings as recommended by its own expert committee of 2012.

Precious lives of school children were lost when the Nanded-Secunderabad passenger train, collided with a school bus at an unmanned railway crossing in Medak on Thursday morning. Almost all news television channels barely addressed this grave issue in the prime time slots in the evening.

The media, especially television news that dominates the news scene, not questioning incidents as horrendous and tormenting as this mishap, that occur with unfailing irregularity, helps authorities to continue being unaccountable and irresponsible, in this case, the Indian Railways

The accident took place on Thursday at 9.10 am at the unmanned railway crossing between Masayipet and Wadiaram Railway station on the Secunderabad-Nizamabad section of Hyderabad division. The dead driver of the school bus has been booked for negligence under several IPC and Indian Railways Act code. One wonders, when and if at all, action will be taken against the powers-that-be in the Indian Railways for going slow on recommendations to totally eliminate unmanned railway crossing by 2017, as per the High Level safety review Committee Report. 2012, instituted by the Ministry of Railways. The Press Information Bureau report here of August 23rd mentions about progressive elimination of unmanned railway crossings to a question posed in Rajya Sabha.

The committee report has recommended “total elimination of all level crossings (manned and unmanned) within five years at an estimated cost of Rs.50,000 crore which will get recovered over 7-8 years due to saving in operation and maintenance costs and improved train operation.’’ This recommendation has come, after the committee’s observations that advanced warning safety equipments which were installed at several such crossings failed “due to thefts.’’

The committee chaired by Dr. Anil Kakodkar, former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy and E. Sreedharan, Managing Director, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has recommended “ dedicated and empowered SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) for each Railway zone’’ meaning an exclusive outfit, maybe in public-private partnership to achieve the goal within 5 years, that is, 2017.

The committee report also shows that 42% of the total casualties due to railway accidents pertain to unmanned level crossing. The report states: “ Unmanned Level Crossing accidents which are 36% of the total tally resulted in 59% deaths and 32% injuries (42% total casualties).’’  Unmanned level crossings are vulnerable to accidents between 8 a m to 7 p m says the report.

As per the report title `Level crossing scenario of Indian Railways’ presented at a London conference on Railway safety in 2012, safety experts Sandeep Jain, Director(Safety) and Alok Kumar Jt Director (safety)of Ministry of Railways mentioned the reasons for accidents at unmanned railway crossings. They write: “The primary causes of accidents at unmanned level crossings include failure of road users’ mis-adventure to cross level crossings in the face of an approaching train; road vehicles getting stalled at the locations; rash driving of un-licensed tractor drivers etc. Accidents at level crossings happen primarily because the road users do not respect the right of way of railways.

“It is observed that the road vehicle drivers misjudge the speed of trains due to the fact that human reaction time is 2.5 seconds which is just enough to coordinate the reflexes against speed of 60-70 kmph. However trains on Indian railways are plying at about 100-120 kmph for which the reaction time is inadequate. Road users continue to cross the tracks even if the train is visible and approaching causing leading to level crossing accidents.’’

  • Indian Railways is one of the largest Railway Network of the world under a single administration i.e. Government of India
  • Indian Railways has 64460 route Kilometres out of which 55189 KM is broad gauge and balance 14% is meter/narrow gauge. It has 7133 block stations, 53220 passenger coaches and 9213 locomotives
  • Indian Railways carry about 1000 million tonnes of freight traffic per year and around 23 million passengers per day. Indian Railways employ around 1.3 million staff in the 17 zonal railways and 69 Divisions.
  • There are a total of 31846 level crossings spanning over 64460 route kilometers i.e.average of 49 level crossings per 100 kilometers in Indian Railways
  • Out of these, 13,530 are unmanned and 18,316 are manner
  • On an average there are 49 level crossings per 100 kilometers in Indian Railways
  • Out of 18316 manned level crossing 9,978(54%) are interlocked i.e. protected by a Gate Signal as an additional Layer of Safety.

As per Ministry of Railways report, the following technological innovations are being worked on:

  • ANTI COLLISION DEVICE (ACD) : The Anti-Collision Device (ACD) has already been provided on 1736 Route KM at a cost of one billion INR, which also provides additional safety shield at manned and unmanned level crossings, through an audio-visual indication to road users. Moreover, in case of emergent needs, gate men at manned level crossings will be able to reduce the speed of an approaching train to prevent an accident at the crossing.
  • TRAIN ACTUATED WARNING DEVICE (TAWD) : Development of a reliable Train Actuated Warning Device (TAWD) for giving audio/ visual warning to road users about an approaching train has been under process on IR to reduce accidents at unmanned level crossings. Field trials have been carried out to prove its reliability and fail-safe feature, apart from suitability and miscreant prone environment. The trials have been completed and few designs have been found suitable.  Refer: FINAL-BOOK-HLSRC latest and 3_10_03_Steps-taken-by-Indian-Railways-for-LX-safety

Four Key Railway Projects of NE affected for want of Forest clearances

New Delhi: The government said that 4 key railways projects in the North Eastern region have been affected for want of forestry clearances.

Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said, noting that several railway projects are pending due to want of forest clearances.

“4 national projects Lumding-Silchar, Agartala-Sabroom, Bhairabi-Sairang and Sivok-Rango have been affected for want of forestry clearances,” Gowda said in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

The Minister said that “Co-ordination meetings have been held with state government and Ministry of Environment and Forests, for faster clearance of these projects and consequently all clearances have been received for Lumding-Silchar project.”

Projects important from strategic viewpoint in Jammu and Kashmir and North Eastern region or developmental projects that result in greater integration of these regions with the rest of India are generally categorised as national projects.

“National projects have been provided with an all time highest allocation of INR 6,000 crore in 2014-15 for their speedier implementation.

The Minister said that “Field units have also been empowered for faster decision making.”

Gowda added that with regard to clearances, the Railway Ministry has already discussions with Environment and Forests Ministry and early approvals are expected.

Central Tibetan Admn fears Tibet Rail Line by China may threaten Cultural Identity

Dharamsala: The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) Friday expressed concern over the Lhasa-Shigatse rail line in Tibet, saying it will threaten the unique cultural identity of Tibetans. “The railway network will accelerate the mass movement of Chinese migrants into Tibet which will threaten the unique cultural identity of the Tibetan people through forced assimilation,” a post on the CTA’s official website said. Chinese daily Global Times Thursday said a railway line linking Lhasa and Shigatse in Tibet Autonomous Region, known as the “closest stretch of railway to the sky”, is to open to traffic in August after finishing its 14th track test July 22. It said the launch of the rail line that extends 254 km from Lhasa westwards to Shigatse will be the first in the southwestern area of Tibet. Construction on the Lhasa-Shigatse line began in September 2010. The mass influx of Chinese migrants into Tibet has also led to illegal land grabs by unscrupulous Chinese businessmen and authorities, said the CTA, headquartered in this northern Indian hill town. Tibetans inside Tibet have protested against illegal land grabbing of their lands and rampant exploitation of mineral resources. It said with the influx of the mining companies and rampant exploitation of Tibet’s resources, the ecological balance of the fragile Tibetan plateau is exposed to severe risks of disasters.

The Chinese daily said the Lhasa-Shigatse rail line is an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet railway that runs from Xining, Qinghai Province to Lhasa. It will include 13 stations with altitudes ranging from 3,600 to 4,000 metres. The trains are expected to run on the extension line at a speed of 120 kilometres per hour. It is the largest infrastructure project during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) with an investment of more than 10.8 billion yuan ($1.7 billion), said the paper quoting Yang Yulin, deputy director of the railway office of the Tibet government. “It will accelerate transportation of mineral products, which can only be moved through highways that often risk being cut off during rainy season or see vehicles turning turtle,” Zhu Bin, a manager with a mineral company based in Lhasa, told People’s Daily. Yang revealed that during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) period, the construction of a railway line connecting Shigatse with Gyirong county, which has a checkpoint connecting Nepal and with Yatung county, a trade centre bordering India and Bhutan, will start. Another railway line linking Lhasa to Nyingchi in the east is also expected to start soon. Wang Chunhuan, professor at the Tibetan Academy of Social Sciences in Lhasa, told the Global Times Wednesday the network will play the role of continental bridge in south Asia and promote economic and cultural exchanges. She also noted the development of Shigatse is crucial to boost the development of western Tibetan areas which have been lagging behind. The rail line, apart from boosting economic development, will contribute to solve border disputes between China and India in the south Tibet region, says the paper, quoting observers.

RDSO system to check rail accidents

Lucknow (LKO):  Indian Railways now have a technology which will upgrade level of safety by several notches. Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) designed by Research Designs and Standards Organization (RDSO), Lucknow will generate derailment alerts and apply emergency brakes in critical situations like two trains coming on the same track.

TCAS working on both signalling and non-signalling technology will control `human error’ too. RDSO has tested TCAS in 30 km rail section with four stations and four locomotives in Secunderabad division and found the system effective.

“We can continue upgrading it but we have told Railway Board that system is ready for implementation,” said Senior executive director (signal), RDSO, Mahesh Mangal.

It is a train control system with additional features like generating SOS alerts, applying emergency brakes, controlling over-speed, cab signalling, preventing driver from jumping red signal and ensuring safety in fog when visibility is reduced by several meters.

It works on radio frequency and gives continuous update about track and train’s permitted speed at the given stretch. TCAS works through RFIDs (Radio Frequency Identification) put every kilometer on the sleepers of the track.

RFIDs have chips containing information which is decoded through RFID readers at the station and in the engine. It will allow communication between station and locomotives (engines) and between locomotives.

If a driver of a particular sends an SOS alert, other trains on the track would also apply emergency brake, said the official.

Cab signalling will inform driver about signal positioning and train’s permitted speed at the given stretch in his cabin. This will make it useful in fog.

Stations and locomotives would have antennae to catch radio frequency. The system would cost Rs 10 to Rs 12 lakh per km.

It will alert Gangmen who work on tracks and get run over several times. It will also check accidents at level crossings by blowing horn from 600 metre of the crossing.

At present, RDSO is getting it manufactured by three firms. Systems designed by two firms have been tested. “It’s an inter-operable system which means the system designed by different firms would inter-operate,” said the official.

RDSO will now deploy the final system in 250 route km section with on-board equipment in 40 locomotives for extensive trial which will cost around Rs 22 crore.

TCAS and its functions:

  • TCAS is automatic train protection system with additional features
  • It will give continuous update to driver.
  • It will apply emergency brake in dangerous situations like two trains coming on same track.
  • It will check over speed.
  • It will prevent trains to pass signal at Danger (red).
  • Cab signalling will inform driver about position of signals and permitted speed of train on the track.
  • It will be useful in fog as driver would get information about signals in his cabin.
  • At level crossings the system would blow horn automatically from 600 metre to alert road-users.
  • It will let driver send SOS in case of any eventuality and other trains on the track would halt automatically.
  • System will send derailment alert with auto generation of SOS.
  • It costs around Rs 10 to Rs 12 lakh per km.
  • Field trials have been done Secunderabad division

US Consul General mourns students’ death in train accident in Telangana

CGHyderabad:  Consul General of the United States of America in Hyderabad, Michael C. Mullins, has expressed heartfelt condolences on the tragic train-school bus accident on Thursday which resulted in the loss of several lives.

In a letter addressed to Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, Mr. Mullins said: “My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Telangana who have been impacted by this terrible tragedy”.

He urged his staff to contribute one day salary towards compensation for the benefit of the bereaved and their family members to meet their hospital and daily expenses.

Surprisingly, neither Sania Mirza – the newly appointed Brand Ambassador of Telangana nor the local Hyderabad MP Mr.Akbar Uddin Owaisi did even utter a single word on the tragic incident, leave alone that they released any condolence message to media, but enthusiastically gone to manhandle with the Sane MPs in Parliament during the war of words on feeding of roti to a fasting muslim at a canteen in New Delhi.

Western Railway would need a Third terminus in future

With commuter growth, new terminal may aid in starting suburban trains to Borivli and Andheri on the south and Dahanu on the north

Mumbai:  Western Railway’s two termini – Bandra and Mumbai Central – might soon need a helping hand. The railway authorities believe that the two termini is likely to get saturated in the next 10 years and would require WR to have a third terminus for its long-distance train operations.

Speaking on the issue during a media interaction, Hemant Kumar, GM, WR, agreed as much. “This city will need another terminus because our operations are increasing every passing year and Bandra terminus and Mumbai Central, will soon get saturated,” said Kumar.

Kumar said that while the vast land parcel required for such a terminus would obviously mean it will have to be in the northern parts of the city, he refused to give any specific location for it. “We need to carry out studies to find a plot large enough for a terminus,” said Kumar.

Earlier WR officials had asked Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) to study the feasibility of a massive terminal at Vasai, which would have the facilities for suburban trains, long-distance trains as well as a maintenance depot for these trains.

WR’s operations department chief RK Tandon, had at that time written to MRVC managing director Rakesh Saksena, saying there is a need for a terminal, since the two currently operational – Mumbai Central and Bandra – are getting saturated. The letter states WR needs a base in the northern fringes of Mumbai. The terminal can also be used to run trains to the south from WR on the existing Vasai-Diva line, which connects WR to CR and allows trains to go from north to south of India and vice versa.

The terminal would also come in handy to start suburban trains to Borivli and Andheri, on the south and Dahanu on the north, as the stretch is seeing an explosive population and commuter growth, said officials. It would allow people to alight from long-distance trains and then make their suburban commute seamlessly, said WR officials.

However, any movement on this issue has been slow since then though officials agreed that if WR wanted a terminus by the middle of the next decade, work should ideally begin now. “The work will require hundreds of acres of land and several hundred crore rupees. Since building a terminal takes anywhere close to or even over a decade, it is best that work on its feasibility starts now,” said a senior WR official.

Consumer Forum penalizes Railways for Rat menace

मंगलूरु Mangalore (MAQ): Through a judgment, Dakshina Kannada District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, has ordered the Southern Railway to pay an amount of Rs 10,000 as compensation to Pradeep Kumar Shetty for the losses he suffered on account of rats which moved about in one of its trains. It also ordered the railways to meet court costs of Rs 2,000. In case of failure to comply with these instructions within a month, the railways will be bound pay interest at the rate of 12 percent per annum on the said amount to the complainant.

President of the Forum, Asha Shetty, and member, Lavanya M Rai, delivered this unique judgment.

Although it is common for the commuters of trains to face predicament, fear, and losses on account of proliferation of rats which are seen moving about freely in coaches including air-conditioned ones, rarely one knocks at the doors of the judiciary to make good the losses he or she suffers. In this case, Pradeep Kumar Shetty and his friends from Kundapur taluk had undertaken Shabarimala visit through a train. After arriving at Chenganur railway station in Kerala during return journey, the group bought a sari and garments for children there. The Prasadam of Lord Ayyappa had also been kept with the clothes, and the bag had been kept below their berths.

During the return journey, rats not only gnawed through the bag in which the above items were kept, but also gobbled up the sari and childrens’ garments found inside, turning them into tatters full of holes.

Shetty and his friends were dismayed at finding after reaching Mangalore that their things had been destroyed by rats, promptly filed a complaint with the station manager there. The station manager signed a copy of the complaint in acknowledgement of having received it. As the railway department failed to respond to the complaint even after long time, Shetty filed a complaint in district consumers forum. The forum issued notice to the railway department, seeking its response and explanation.

As the officials of the railways failed to respond, the court, after going through the records, ordered payment compensation and court costs as above.

CONCOR stocks jumps after Government grants ‘Navratna’ status

Container Corporation of India rose 2.14% to Rs 1,333.90 at 10:21 IST on BSE after the company said it was granted Navratna status by Department of Public Enterprises. The company made the announcement after market hours on Wednesday, 23 July 2014.

Meanwhile, the BSE Sensex was down 26.39 points, or 0.10%, to 26,120.94.

On BSE, so far 4,271 shares were traded in the counter, compared with an average volume of 19,423 shares in the past one quarter.

The stock hit a high of Rs 1,350.75 and a low of Rs 1,320.80 so far during the day. The stock hit a 52-week high of Rs 1,409.70 on 8 July 2014. The stock hit a 52-week low of Rs 636.99 on 2 August 2013.

The stock had outperformed the market over the past one month till 23 July 2014, rising 11.46% compared with 4.46% rise in the Sensex. The scrip had also outperformed the market in past one quarter, rising 35.70% as against Sensex’s 14.30% rise.

The large-cap company has an equity capital of Rs 194.97 crore. Face value per share is Rs 10.

Container Corporation of India’s (Concor) announced that Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Department of Public Enterprises, Government of India granted Navratna status to the company on 23 July 2014.

Net profit of Concor rose 8.94% to Rs 246.03 crore on 5.30% rise in net sales to Rs 1296.63 crore in Q4 March 2014 over Q4 March 2013.

Concor provides logistics solution. It has the largest network of 62 inland container depots (ICDs)/container freight stations in India. In addition to providing inland transport by rail for containers, it has also expanded to cover management of ports, air cargo complexes and establishing cold-chain.

The Government of India (GoI) holds 61.80% stake in Concor (as per the shareholding pattern as on 30 June 2014).

Nagpur Metro Rail project proposal stuck due to abnormal delay by Agencies involved

Nagpur (NGP): The status of Rs 8,500 crore Nagpur metro rail project is clouded in haze as various persons related to it are speaking in different languages. Sixteen different agencies are supposed to submit their opinion on the project. For this, they send queries to Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT), the nodal agency, which answers them through the state government. Of the 16, seven are yet to send their queries.

Congress-NCP government had planned a bhoomipujan of the project just before code of conduct for Lok Sabha elections came into effect but could not. Now BJP and Sena want it done before assembly elections are declared in the state. This is likely to happen after mid-August and BJP-Sena too might miss the deadline.

Nitin Gadkari, city MP and union transport minister, had claimed earlier in the month that 13 agencies had given an no objection certificate (NOC) to the project and three more were required, all of them from various wings of Planning Commissions. He was wrong on two counts. The number of agencies who had appraised the project was seven at that time. Secondly, their NOC is not required but they only give their opinion. It is up to the Union cabinet to follow or ignore the opinion.

Gadkari had promised to get the cabinet note prepared within a month and a half at the most or by August end and begin the work in another four to six months.

NIT chairman Pravin Darade told that the queries raised by all the agencies had been replied. “We have prepared a 50 page reply. One of our officers, will submit the reply to Union urban development ministry on behalf of state government. The opinion of the agencies as well as our reply will come up before Union cabinet, which will then take a call,” he said.

As per information available, seven agencies or individuals, whose opinion is required are yet to send their queries. They include: Member Secretary (Planning Commission), Adviser (PAMD, Planning Commission), Adviser (infrastructure, Planning Commission), Expenditure Department, Revenue Department, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Sources in NIT said it was necessary for these offices to submit their opinion. “They might just say they do not have any objection to project,” a source said. Earlier, union urban development secretary Sudhir Krishna had told the local media that the project was stuck at Planning Commission and Finance Ministry. It appears these have not shown much interest in the project. Moreover, the biggest concern of Central government is that whether it will be asked to dole out more than its share.

Social Media more run on Sania Mirza than sympathizing school kids killed in Train Accident

When there is an accident involving the railways claims the lives of several school children in Telangana, guess what was going most on Social Media?…… it was not Masaipet mishap in which more than 25 school children were dead due to collision of Nanded Passenger with the school bus, but Sania Mirza as the Brand Ambassador for Telangana and the Roti feeding by Shiv Sena MP to a so-called fasting Muslim in holy Ramzan month in New Delhi.

And, surprisingly, the so-called Brand Ambassador of Telangana nominated by KCR just 4 days ago, did not even spell out anything on the train accident happened in Telangana, nor did she gave any condolence message to the bereaved family members of the school kids killed in the train accident.

And unfortunately, none have dare to tweet or the will to sympathize or highlight that these school children were killed in holy Ramzam month or even the incident in which a 6 year girl child in Bangalore was raped by a Muslim School Teacher in a school at Bangalore in the same holy Ramzam month.

As usual, Akbaruddin Owaisi, Member of Parliament who hails from Telangana went to manhandle the Sena MPs in Parliament in protest against the feeding of roti in the mouth of a muslim who served the meals, but did not utter even a single word on the school kids killed in train accident in Telangana.

Social Media also hailed INR 1.00 Crore Cash Award to Telangana Brand Ambassador Sania Mirza and many tweets made remarks that the amount was much lesser than what she deserve!

More than 25 schoolchildren died when a train rammed into a school bus at an unmanned railway crossing at Masaipet in Medak district on Thursday. But the news does not even find a mention on the social media accounts of the Railways.  On Facebook, apart from a lowdown on bio-toilets, information about two trains has also been put up. “The Rajdhani Express is a series of fast passenger train services in India operated by the Indian railways, connecting New Delhi with other important destinations. The Rajdhanis are among the fastest trains in India along with Shatabdi Express and Duronto Express. The Rajdhani coaches are made at the Railway Coach Factory in Kapurthala and Chennai,” reads one Facebook post.

Even on railway minister D V Sadananda Gowday’s twitter account, there was information about bio-toilets only on Thursday. Interestingly, when the railways hopped on to social media platforms for the first time on July 7, it stated: “The Ministry of Railways is now on social media. We look forward to interacting with netizens, using this vibrant medium.”  So much for ‘social’ connect!

Warning devices: Railways seeks Legal Opinion

In case of accidents, Railways is usually not liable to pay compensation

Grappling with a 50 per cent jump in mishaps at its thousands of unmanned level-crossings across India, Railways has written to the Law Ministry to know whether it would be liable to pay compensation to accident victims at these crossings if it installs any device to warn road users about approaching trains.

The legal opinion will decide Railways’ course of action as far as trying out warning mechanisms at unmanned level-crossings is concerned. There are 11,563 such crossings across India.

The clarification sought is about Section 131 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which puts the onus of caution on the driver of a vehicle crossing an unmanned level crossing.

In case of accidents, Railways is usually not liable to pay compensation as it is presumed that the driver or the road user violated the necessary provisions of the MV Act. The Railway Board has drawn parallels with road accidents due to malfunctioning of traffic lights in which case the state government is not held responsible as per the same provision of the Act.

In similar vein, the ministry wants to understand from a legal standpoint what happens if its warning device malfunctions or if an accident happens despite the presence of such tech or mechanism.

There are three models that the ministry wants to replicate to warn road users at unmanned level crossings and two of them involve technology. One is an alarm device installed at crossings triggered automatically when train approaches. The second one is also an alarm device but triggered by the driver of a train in addition to continuous honking.

Another  model is known as “Gate Mitra” wherein Railways ties up with local residents on daily wage basis to make sure they stop people from crossing during train movements.

In case of an accident despite such apparatus installed for the benefit of road users, can the Railways be dragged to court for negligence? This is the crux of the legal opinion sought, sources confirmed.

Bombay High Court tells Railways to propose Coach for senior citizens

Mumbai: The Bombay HC on Thursday directed the Central and Western railways to send a proposal to the Railway Board to earmark a compartment for senior citizens in suburban trains.

A division bench of Justices AS Oka and AS Chandurkar directed the railways to send the proposal within three weeks, and the board to take a decision within two months from receiving it.

The court was surprised at the affidavit in reply, filed by the western railway, which stated that during peak hours, most of the passengers are working persons and not senior citizens. Amicus Curiae advocate MS Karnik argued that this depicted that senior citizens don’t travel in trains, while the economic reports suggest that senior citizens have to work due to the financial crunch.

The bench rapped the railways by saying, “Senior officers are not aware of the senior citizens travelling in local trains. It seems that they never travel in trains.”

The court was also informed by Karnik that a recent letter written by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment states that senior citizens find it difficult to get into the general class compartments.

The court was hearing a suo moto cognizance of a letter written by a senior citizen, AB Thakkar, in 2009. Thakkar had said that entering jam-packed trains during peak hours was a nightmarish experience for senior citizens.

The affidavit of western railway also states, “If a compartment is earmarked for senior citizens, the space for general second class passengers would be curtailed, resulting in excessive crowding and accidents.”

The affidavit has also stated that WR had, twice (in 1998 and 2005), referred the issue of earmarking separate half coach for senior citizens to the Railway Board, but it was rejected. Recently on June 3, after the PIL had been filed, the matter was again referred to the board for necessary guidelines.

Thakkar has sought that the railways should allot a separate coach for senior citizens, similar to the one allotted to the disabled, cancer patients and pregnant women.

Government earmarks Rs.19000 Crore for renewal of Railway Tracks

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  The Government has earmarked Rs 19,000 crore for renewal of railway tracks to ensure that the tracks are in good conditions for safe running of trains.

Railway Minister DV Sadananda Gowda told Lok Sabha that track renewal is a continuous activity which is to be undertaken as and when a stretch of track becomes due for renewal, taking into account the traffic carried over the track, incidence of rail fractures, failures, wear and age.

“Safety is one of the priority sectors of Railways. Track renewal will continue and it will not stop,” he said during Question Hour.

Gowda said track renewal works are sanctioned every year and their execution is prioritised according to condition of track and overall availability of funds ensuring that all the time track is in a sound condition for safe running of trains.

About drinking water at railway stations and trains, the Minister said current production of Rail Neer bottles which is about 3.8 lakh is not enough and the remaining requirement is met by purchasing from the market.

Railways needs about 25 lakh litres of water per day, he said. To a separate query on ensuring safety of women passengers, the Minister said the government is giving importance to the matter.

Safety of women passengers is a concern and the government is taking much care in this regard. There are plans to install CCTVs in ladies coaches and about 4,000 women constables are being recruited, Gowda said.

Hyderabad Metro officials meet top Cops on Surveillance and Security models

हैदराबाद Hyderabad: Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) and L&T representatives met city police officials for the first time to discuss various metro rail security models on Wednesday.

The meeting held at the Hyderabad police commissionerate, Basheerbagh, was attended by senior officials of Hyderabad and Cyberabad, HMRL MD NVS Reddy and representatives of L&T.

Briefing the media about the meeting, Hyderabad police commissioner M Mahender Reddy said that it was a preliminary review meeting to discuss the security frame work to be adopted for Hyderabad metro rail.

“As part of metro rail security, we have discussed various issues like security system needed to be in place, including CCTV cameras, emergency alert mechanism, video analytics, manpower deployment and firearms requirement. This is the preliminary meeting and, in future, more such meetings will take place before finalizing the plan,” Mahender Reddy said.

The participants also discussed the idea of creating a special force comprising officials from state police units or deployment of paramilitary forces like CISF, which is presently guarding airports. “It could also be a combination of personnel drawn from civil police, specialized police units and private security personnel. The aim of these meeting is to identify various options though the state government will take the final call on which model is best suited for the metro rail,” the police commissioner said.

Mahender Reddy also said that adequate security arrangements had been made for Ramzan month. He said that video surveillance was there at all crowded areas and police presence was increased at communally-sensitive areas and popular places of worship.

Centre summons Telangana CS for meeting on Hyderabad Metro imbroglio in Delhi

हैदराबाद Hyderabad: In an apparent bid to rein in the TRS government that has threatened to create hurdles for the Hyderabad Metro Rail project, the Centre has summoned Telangana chief secretary Rajiv Sharma for a meeting in Delhi on Friday in which representatives of the concession partner Larson & Toubro and authorities of Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) would also take part.

Sources said the Centre has taken a serious note of the developments in Telangana. Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had stated recently that the alignment of corridor from LB Nagar to Miyapur should be changed so that the rail line goes underground near the assembly building. After KCR’s statement, sources said the TRS regime has been mounting pressure on L&T to stop the works following which the concessionaire partner suspended the construction activity near the assembly building four days ago.

After the threat from the TRS government, L&T complained to the Centre and Friday’s meeting of all concerned parties in Delhi is an outcome of that. Sources said the Union finance ministry called for the meeting because the state government did not comply with its direction issued a few days ago that it must cooperate with the concessionaire partner and ensure that the work schedule was not disturbed. While confirming the meeting, officials in the Telangana municipal administration and urban development department (MA&UD) said principal secretary S K Joshi is also likely to take part in the meeting. “We have received the notice for the meeting, it is yet to be decided as to who are all going to represent the state government,” Joshi told. NVS Reddy, managing director of HMRL, and V B Gadgil, chief executive and managing director of L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited, are likely to attend the Delhi meeting.

This is the first time that the Centre is intervening after the Hyderabad Metro Rail project was cleared and the works started in July 2012. “It is significant to note that the Union finance ministry is intervening at a time when finance minister Arun Jaitley highlighted his government’s priority to encourage public private partnership (PPP) in infrastructure development. The Hyderabad Metro Rail project is being executed under the PPP model and the complaint is that the TRS government is harassing the concessionire partner and delaying the project which will make it unviable,” said the sources.

Apart from asking L&T to take the rail underground near the assembly building, KCR wants to save the Sultan Bazar traders from eviction and has asked the concessionire partner to change the alignment of corridor 2 from the original plan so that the shops in the bazar are saved from demolition.

The MA&UD officials said the CM’s insistence of changes in the alignment could lead to L&T invoking the ‘force majeure’ clause and claim a hefty penalty of approximately Rs 6,000 crore. L&T’s contention is that a change in design would result in further delay resulting in escalation of the cost of project which has already gone up from the original Rs 14,132 crore to over Rs.20,000 if inflation, currency fluctuation, and fluctuation in the rate of interest are factored in. According to the sources, per day’s delay would increase the cost of the project by Rs 5 crore. Incidentally, the metro rail project construction took off on July 4, 2012, almost two years behind schedule.

“It is alarming that the cost of project is escalating due to various factors. That is the reason why the Union finance ministry has convened the meeting. Otherwise, it is related to the Union urban development ministry,” said the official. Interestingly, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who holds urban development portfolio, is mum on the issue and the sources said he is nudging the finance ministry to take the initiative for local political reasons. The officials said the Centre was intervening in its capacity as a stakeholder as it has invested Rs.1,458 crore in the form of viability gap fund.

Waking up to the seriousness of the issue, the CM has called a meeting of officials on Thursday to explore the avenues to convince the Centre on his government’s stand. Officials from HMRL, MA&UD, GHMC, HMDA, and other departments concerned are likely to attend the CM’s meeting.

China is building a Railway Network linking to India

Chinese RailwayChina plans to extend a railway line linking Tibet with the rest of the country to the borders of India, Nepal and Bhutan by 2020 once an extension to a key site in Tibetan Buddhism opens, a state-run newspaper reported on Thursday.

China opened the railway to Tibet’s capital Lhasa in 2006, which passes spectacular icy peaks on the Tibetan highlands, touching altitudes as high as 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) above sea level, as part of government efforts to boost development.

Critics of the railway, including exiled Tibetans and rights groups, say it has spurred an influx of long-term migrants who threaten Tibetans’ cultural integrity, which rests on Buddhist beliefs and a traditional herding lifestyle.

The Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, said that an extension to Shigatse, the traditional seat of Tibetan Buddhism’s second-highest figure, the Panchen Lama, would formally open next month.

That link is scheduled for its own extension during the 2016-2020 period to two separate points, one on the border of Nepal and the other on the border with India and Bhutan, the newspaper cited Yang Yulin, deputy head of Tibet’s railways, as saying, without providing details.

imageChina has long mooted this plan, but the difficulty and expense of building in such a rugged and remote region has slowed efforts.

Tibet is a highly sensitive region, not just because of continued Tibetan opposition to Chinese control, but because of its strategic position next to India, Nepal and Myanmar.

The Chinese announcement coincides with a drive by India, under its new prime minister Narendra Modi, to consolidate its influence with its smaller neighbours.

Modi’s foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, heads to Nepal on Friday with a proposed pact to help develop the Himalayan country’s hydro-electric power potential high on the agenda.

Modi, who made his first foreign trip as prime minister to Bhutan, is to visit Nepal next month. But Nepal’s opposition Maoists are uneasy about the hydro-electric plan and say it could lock out China to the benefit of Indian companies.

India and China fought a brief border war in 1962 over the region at the eastern end of the Himalayas. The nuclear-armed neighbours signed a pact in October to ensure that differences on their shared border do not spark a confrontation.

India and China have competing claims over what India calls Arunachal Pradesh, which has been administered by India for decades and what China calls South Tibet.

China’s Communist army occupied Tibet in 1950. Nine years later, Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India after a failed uprising.

Dhumal hails decision to lay 4 rail links along China border

Senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Mr.Prem Kumar Dhumal on Wednesday hailed the initiative of the Ministry of Defence and Finance for clearing four strategic Railway links along the border of India and China

शिमला Shimla (SML): Talking to The Pioneer, he said Himachal Pradesh had been repeatedly asking the Congress Governments at the Center for strengthening rail and road network along the border with China, but the successive Railway Ministers of the Congress led UPA Governments had been turning a deaf ear to the dire necessity of matching our road and rail infrastructure with China.

Dhumal said he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently and impressed on the need for strengthening rail network in the strategic Indo-China border  by allocating liberal funds as it concerned India’s freedom and security. He said the Prime Minsiter gave him a patient hearing and assured to take all possible steps in this direction.

The former Chief Minister said visionary BJP Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee  had taken steps in this direction and had started the work of the Rohtang Tunnel and expressed confidence that the new Prime Minister would accomplish the left over work. During his four rallies in Himachal Pradesh, Modi had assured the people to expand the rail network up to the China border.

Dhumal said in the wake of repeated border violations by the Chinese it was paramount to expedite the work of rail network on Indo-China border on a war-footing. He said Bilaspur, Mandi, Manali Rohtang route was the safest one for the deployment of forces and defence material because the other route via Kashmir fell in the firing range of Pakistan.

Nod for Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line heartens Himachalis

शिमला Shimla (SML): With Union government giving nod for the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh railway line, people of Himachal Pradesh are ecstatic. Apart from being of strategic importance, it is also expected to boost tourism potential of the area, right from Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh.

According to sources, in a meeting held on July 14, the Union government took the decision to strengthen the rail network in areas located close to Tibet. The meeting was chaired by national security adviser and attended by officials from central ministries of defense and external affairs.

The development assumes significance as, in his campaigns during Parliament elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised the line and had attacked the UPA regime for failing to start the strategically important project. Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line would pass through Bilaspur, Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh to reach Leh. Since independence, the hill state has not witnessed much rail expansion, observers pointed out.

Defense expert Brigadier (retd) Khushal Thakur said that road, rail and air link to border areas are vital to keep the enemy at bay in Ladakh sector. “While the rail line is missing, road remains closed for five months in a year. Having rail network in Ladakh region would help increase mobility of troops and Union government should construct the rail line at the earliest. Forward strips, helipads and roads too should be constructed on war footing,” he added.

After the rail budget failed to mention about Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail project, leader of opposition and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi and had reminded him about the project.

The demand to construct rail line from Manali to Leh was raised first time when Dhumal was chief minister of the state. After that, members of Parliament from the state have also raised the issue with the Centre. Chief minister Virbhadra Singh had also, before presentation of Union rail budget, raised the issue with the Union government.

The cost of construction of the 498-km rail line has been estimated at Rs 22,831 crore with a negative rate of return of 4.46%. The Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line was one of the 114 socially desirable new line projects mentioned by then minister for railways, Mamta Banerjee, in her budget speech of 2010-11 for processing through Planning Commission for approval.

The Ladakh Autnomous Hill Development Council, Leh, in its proposed greater Leh master plan for the next 30 years, had already emphasised on detailed sector-wise projections. The Rs 414 crore future plan has already defined the land use for future projects, including proposed sites for construction of railway stations and tracks in areas for the proposed Kullu-Manali-Leh rail line, sources said.

Train rams into School Bus at Railway Crossing near Masaipet in Telangana, 25 Kids Dead

मसाइपेट Masaipet (ME):  Twenty Five School Students feared dead as school bus collides with train in Medak in Telangana.  The bus was on its way to Toophran in Medak from Islampur when tragedy occurred. Nanded-Secunderabad Passenger rammed the bus which belongs to Kakatiya Techno School. Primarily it looks that the driver of the School Bus made adventurism by proceeding the school bus eventhough the train is visibly coming nearer to Railway Gate.

Railway Minister D.V.Sadananda Gowda expressed shock over the incident and ordered immediate rescue and relief operations to the concerned Railway Officials on the South Central Railway Zonal Headquarters, as well as Hyderabad Division.

All the senior Railway officials from the Zonal and Divisional level have rushed to the spot.

IT Cos eyeing for Rs.2500 Crore biggest ever IT deal on Indian Railways

Indian IT Companies would be bidding for the largest IT deal in Indian Railways history that looks at Digitization and GIS Mapping of Land Assets of Indian Railways.

A Rs.2500 crore deal has been publicised by the Indian Railways and the IT big boys have started lining up for it. It is the first and possibly the largest deal by the Modi government. The deal is to digitise the data on Indian Railways, and sort of centralise the entire IT infrastructure and application data systems that are available for them.

The Minister of Railways D.V.Sadananda Gowda has, on 8th July, 2014 said that Indian Railways hold vast land assets which need to be digitized and GIS mapped for better management and usage. Presenting the Railway Budget in Parliament, Minister said the resources mobilization using land assets will be explored through private participation in setting up railway related business in railway lands as well as for commercial development. This would hold Railways in protecting the lands as well as leveraging it for raising resources.  To this effect, for the overall efficient management of this massive technology driven aspect that which would essentially be simplifying the process for Indian Railways and putting it under one roof, the government has asked for request for quotation (RFQ), whose base price has been approximately set at around Rs.2500 crore.

Working of the deal

Government will set a base bid price and individual IT companies will bid for it depending upon the kind of muscle that they have.

Possible bidders

Sources say Wipro, TCS, Infosys are bidding for this and are in the process of applying. However, Wipro and TCS could possibly have a lead over Infosys when it comes to the domestic IT deal. Interestingly, even players like IBM and Accenture are actively looking at this deal because this is the first deal in the Modi government. The player that bags the deal could get a leg-up in the other deals that are likely to come in for MPLS-VPN, Data Centre including DR, Compute, Storate, Virtualisation, Routing, Switching, Security and Firewall, WAN Acceleration, Bandwidth Management, Managed Services, Engineering, Designing and Consultancy services around the envisaged Digitization Plan of IR.  Also, various Systems Integrators and ecosystem.partners like IBM, HP, Dimension Data, Sify, Riverbed, Cisco, EMC, Aruba, Juniper etc are also in the race either directly or in partnership with the Prime Bidders.

Sources suggests, deals worth Rs 5000 crore could be up for grabs by year-end.

KCR to bat for National Rail University in Hyderabad – assure 5000 Acres Land near Hitec City

हैदराबाद Hyderabad: Railway Minister D.V.Sadananda Gowda gave impetus in his Budget speech in parliament on setting up of National Rail University with an aim of providing railway-oriented education in the technical and non-technical disciplines and said that the proposals are in the air by the government for setting up of a world-class Railway University for both technical and non-technical subjects. Railway Minister also spoke about the plans for skill development of the staff while presenting the Rail Budget for 2014-15 in the Lok Sabha.

He said the railways could tie up with technical institutions for introducing railway-oriented subject for graduation/post-graduation and PhD and skill developments. The exposure for specialised areas like high-speed, heavy haul operations, Metro and Mono Rail systems etc will be undertaken for all level of staff and officers at appropriate institutes in India and abroad.

It looks the Telangana Government led by Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) is highly keen to allocate 5000 Acres of land for setting up of National Rail University at Hyderabad which already houses most of the prestigious Railway Institutes like Indian Railways Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications (IRISET), Centralized Training Academy for Railways Accounts (C-TARA), SCR Hqrs and Hyderabad Metro Railway, alongwith the other private sector institutes like IMRT offering various Engineering courses for Railway and Metro Railway transport systems apart from Indian Railways Institute of Financial Management (IRIFM) which is in the stages of construction, said Spokesman who further added that this is yet more good news in the formative years of Telangana, and on the verge of India celebrating 160th anniversary of Indian Railways.

“It makes perfect sense to have the people being trained in the same city as those with the current expertise. One of the things that we pride ourselves on at the Hyderabad is that we could build you a whole railway ecosystem environment for not only India, but for the adjoining Asia-Pacific and Middle-East region” said spokesperson.

“KCR looks forward to working with Centre, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Human Resource Development, IITs, IIMs, Railway Institutes etc. to make sure that Hyderabad’s case is made as strong as possible for setting up of the University” said the spokesperson. I think it is really important to press our case as a home for the National Railway University particularly at the 160th year of Indian Railways.

“At the heart of National Rail University will be the innovation and that is exactly what the railway needs to develop the young workers of the future. We received a number of very strong proposals, and we are taking an objective decisions in this regard”, said the spokesperson.

“However, it is clear that there is already some excellent partnership activity taking place between education providers and the rail industry across the country which is resulting in the delivery of some outstanding provision. Representatives from Hyderabad will make presentations in late August with a final decision being made with the allocation of land and infrastructure for the National Rail University..

Inter Ministerial Consultations on FDI in Railways to start from 28th July

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Inter-ministerial consultations to allow FDI in respect of certain activities of Railways are being undertaken and it was indicated that procedural process to start from 28th July onwards.  However, mo final decision in the matter has been taken as of now.  Review of the FDI policy of the country is an ongoing process and Government has taken a number of steps in the recent past to make India an attractive investment destination.

As regards proposal to increase the cap in some sectors, Finance Minister, in his Budget Speech, given on 10.7.2014, has made following statement:

“The policy of the NDA Government is to promote Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) selectively in sectors where it helps the larger interest of the Indian Economy. FDI in several sectors is an additionality of resource which helps in promoting domestic manufacture and job creation. India today needs a boost for job creation. Our manufacturing sector in particular needs a push for job creation.

India today is the largest buyer of defence equipment in the world. Our domestic manufacturing capacities are still at a nascent stage. We are buying substantial part of our Defence requirements directly from foreign players. Companies controlled by foreign governments and foreign private sector are supplying our Defence requirements to us at a considerable outflow of foreign exchange. Currently we permit 26 per cent FDI in Defence manufacturing. The composite cap of foreign exchange is being raised to 49 per cent with full Indian management and control through the FIPB route.

The Insurance sector is investment starved. Several segments of the Insurance sector need an expansion. The composite cap in the Insurance sector is proposed to be increased up to 49 per cent from the current level of 26 per cent, with full Indian management and control, through the FIPB route.

To encourage development of Smart Cities, which will also provide habitation for the neo-middle class, requirement of the built up area and capital conditions for FDI is being reduced from 50,000 square metres to 20,000 square metres and from USD 10 million to USD 5 million respectively with a three year post completion lock in.

To further encourage this, projects which commit at least 30 per cent of the total project cost for low cost affordable housing will be exempted from minimum built up area and capitalisation requirements, with the condition of three year lock-in. FDI in the manufacturing sector is today on the automatic route. The manufacturing units will be allowed to sell its products through retail including E-commerce platforms without any additional approval.”

The information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.

Rail Users’ Associations urge stoppage for all trains at Kudalnagar station

कूडलनगर Kudalnagar (KON): Just two km away from the buzzing Madurai Junction railway station, lies, another quiet station that does not witness much activity as only a handful of passenger trains and a lone express train halts there. But, for the residents of Madurai city and its suburbs, the Kudal Nagar railway station is as important as the junction station itself as it helps them reach their homes early after a tiring train journey. At present, the Kudal Nagar station hosts only the goods yard, but railway users want more than that. They want the railways to halt all trains bound for Madurai and beyond from Chennai and other destinations at Kudal Nagar.

For long, trade and industrial associations and rail users have been urging the railway authorities to provide a stoppage as they feel that it would be of immense help to almost 40% of the total passengers hailing from the western part of city and beyond since they can alight there to reach their homes without getting caught in traffic snarls in the morning hours.

Kudal Nagar station was announced as one of the ‘Adarsh’ stations (model station) in June 2013 by the railway ministry. The station had earlier handled train operations when yard remodeling works were undertaken in October 2012. Originating trains like Vaigai and Pandian Expresses were operated from Kudal Nagar station for more than a where the railways and local administration had made arrangements to handle passenger flow. Though it was proposed even in those days to convert Kudal Nagar as second terminal, nothing much has happened after that. Passengers from the city anticipated that there will be some announcement regarding that in the railway budget but it did not find any mention.

At present, all passenger trains halt in this station while the Guruvayur ? Chennai Express is give a short halt. However, rail users demand all express and superfast trains are provided with one minute halt in this station. “We will be able to reach our homes faster and need not go all the way to Madurai to board or alight trains,” says R N Soumya, a college girl from Dinamani Nagar near Kudal Nagar station.

“We have to travel to Madurai Junction with all our baggage and pay hefty charges for autorickshaws or taxis. If there is a halt here, we will be relieved of the hardship of travelling through traffic congestion that takes place around Madurai Junction every morning,” said S Kubendran, a resident from Vilankudi.

S P Jeyapragasam, president of Tamil Nadu Foodgrains Merchants Association Limited said that they eagerly anticipated some announcement about Kudal Nagar in this budget. “We are going to take it up again with our elected representatives and railway authorities. Kudal Nagar could be turned as Madurai’s terminal like Tambaram and Mambalam stations for Chennai,” he pointed out.

Railway sources said that Kudal Nagar station could handle train stoppages but it needs proper road facilities. The station managed train operations when Madurai Junction was closed in 2012. “There are basic facilities in the station and if division start halting trains, other facilities will come up automatically,” a railway official opined.

Divisional railway manager, A K Rastogi said only the railway board could decide on providing halts and rail users and trade associations could submit their proposals to the division. “We will forward it to railway board and find out the feasibility of halting trains in Kudal Nagar,” he said.

Tamil Nadu to restructure Chennai Monorail to woo developers

चेन्नई Chennai (MAS): Tamil Nadu Government today said it has decided to restructure the proposed monorail project for the city in a bid to attract potential developers under the Public Private Parnership (PPP) mode.

Stating this in the state assembly, Transport Minister V Senthil Balaji said the length of the network under the project would be approximately 43.48 km with two corridors.

While one will be from Poonamallee to Kathipara junction with a link from Porur to Vadapalani (20.68 kms), another will be between Vandalur and Velachery (22.80 kms), he said.

“To attract potential developers for the implementation of the Chennai Monorail project under the PPP mode, the government has decided to restructure the project,” he said adding

In respect of introduction of mono rail in Coimbatore, selection of consultant for the preparation of feasibility study “is under process,” he added.

CPI(M) floor leader A Soundararajan urged the government to extend the monorail project to North Chennai areas as there was a need for such transport solutions in that region.

In 2011, after taking over the reins of power, AIADMK government announced a monorail network of 111 km in the first phase to reduce traffic congestion in the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA). It was said the network would eventually cover 300 km in the CMA.

DMRC slashes 40% fares on Airport Express Line

The minimum single journey which used to cost Rs.30 would now be for Rs.20

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has slashed fares on Airport Express Line by 40%. The rates were revised earlier this month and will take effect from Thursday.

Yash Prakash, a frequent commuter of Airport Express Line told, “I am travelling to airport today and am very happy to hear that the fares have been slashed down. This particular metro line is very good and has less rush as compared to other lines. The service is also nice. As compared to auto fares metro is cheaper and saves time as well.”

Kailash, another regular commuter of Airport Express Line said, “It is good that rates have been slashed on airport express line. On one hand the railway fares have been increased and on other local travel expense is cut down.”

The minimum single journey which used to cost Rs 30 would now be for Rs 20 as per the revised fare chart.

The operation of Airport Express Line was taken over by the Delhi Metro on July 1, 2013.

Senior Section Engineer of S&T Branch booked by CBI in graft case

नागपुर Nagpur (NGP): The local unit of CBI has booked a Senior Section Engineer (S&T) of Central Railway after carrying out searches in his house and office in an alleged graft case involving a Kolkata-based company.

CBI conducted the searches at the residence and office of the engineer, R K Sharma, attached with Signal and Telecommunication Department, as part of its probe, a CBI statement said here. Documents related to the case were seized, it said.

Delhi Government releases first instalment of Rs.200 Crore to DMRC

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Delhi Government today released the first installment of Rs 200 crore to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for the construction of Metro network in the capital city.

“Government has released an amount of Rs 200 crore as contribution to equity as a first installment in the current year of 2014-15,” said a Government official.

Official also said that Rs.3561.60 crore for Phase-III (underway) of DMRC has already been released to DMRC while Rs.3695.20 crore for Phase-II (2005-2011) and Rs.1716 crore for Phase-I (1998 – 2006) had been released. He also said that an amount of Rs.100 crore is sanctioned against reimbursement of DVAT out of which Rs.50 crore have been released in the current financial year.

In the budget estimates for the year 2014-15, the Equity amount of Rs.827 crore, Subordinate debt for land Rs.26.51 crore, Reimbursement of Central Taxes Rs.348 crore, Reimbursement of DVAT Rs.100 crore is proposed to be released to DMRC by the Delhi Government for construction of Metro network in the national capital.

The DMRC was set up in May 1995 under the Indian Companies Act. It is a joint venture between the Government of India and the Government of Delhi State, with equal equity (50% each). Govt. of NCT of Delhi bears 50% cost towards equity, subordinate debt for land and subordinate debt for reimbursement of central taxes. In addition, Delhi Government also reimburses the DVAT paid by the DMRC.

Cabinet okays 4 Railway links along China frontier

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Cabinet has decided to start work on militarily crucial strategic railway lines in the Himalayas to connect areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), dividing India and China, with the mainland India.

The rail lines will enable rapid deployment of forces over the rugged, inhospitable and mostly snow-bound terrains. A high-level meeting of the government on July 14, chaired by the Deputy National Security Adviser Nehchal Sandhu and attended by representatives from Ministries of Defence and Finance, identified four strategic lines that would be taken up on a priority as part of the BJP-led government’s budget announcement to build strategic railway lines, sources said.

The four lines have been prioritised from among the 14 strategic lines identified by the Ministry of Defence. China has high-speed railways connecting almost all areas of its side of the 3,448 km LAC.

indo-china border rail networksThis will be the first foray of India in the upper Himalayas to build strategic railway lines. This will enable rapid deployment of troops, especially the newly created Mountain Strike Corps mandated to face China. The railway line being built in Kashmir has a dual purpose – socio-economic and strategic. The other existing narrow gauge lines in Himachal Pradesh and Northern Bengal are of British vintage.

The most important railway lines will connect Leh in Jammu and Kashmir and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh with the mainland India. Both these are on the LAC. The other two routes will connect one of the remotest parts of Arunachal Pradesh and facilitate easier military movement between other north-eastern states and Arunachal Pradesh.

The Tawang line is the most significant, considering the strategic importance of the area which is also a major Indian military base.

At present, there is no crossing over the Bhramaputra from Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram forcing the troop movement by a circuitous road route.

For north India, the Rail link to Leh will be crucial. The pre-feasibility report pegs the cost of the entire 498-km all-weather broad gauge Bilaspur-Manali-Leh railway line at Rs 22,831 crore. The take off point could be either near Kiratpur Sahib in the foothills of Punjab or Pathankot.

A British era 181 km narrow gauge line exists between Pathankot and Joginder Nagar. It can be converted into board gauge. The conversion is expected to cost Rs 3,279 crore. The rail-line to Leh will pas through Upshi in Ladakh providing for further bifurcation to important conflict points at Demchok and Chumar in south-eastern Ladakh. From Upshi onwards, it’s a flat plateau.

A sum of Rs 1,000 crore for this fiscal will be used in land acquisition and preparing detail project reports.

Lack of Rail connectivity hits regional industrial growth of Adilabad on Nanded Division

आदिलाबाद Adilabad (ADB): If the government needs a trigger for industrial development in Adilabad, then it has to ensure that the Indian Railways improves its network, especially in the western parts of the district. The western part of the district, comprising the headquarters town, which is the biggest cotton market and processing centre in Asia, and Nirmal town, lack good railway connectivity. This has slackened the pace of industrial growth here as compared to the eastern parts which are better developed.

The people’s representatives, who had earlier failed to take initiative in bagging development projects for the region, should pressure the Railway Ministry to take up pending surveys for a new line between Patancheru industrial district and Adilabad and Gadchandur in Maharashtra and Adilabad, which were included in the 2012-2013 Railway Budget. These lines would give a boost to goods transportation from Gadhchandur, a cement manufacturing hub. Also, transporting coal from Singareni Collieries to Parli in Maharashtra would become hassle-free.

“The public representatives should also press for double track between Secunderabad and Mudkhed in Nanded railway division and Parli and Adilabad, to increase the frequency of trains taking the Adilabad route. This will certainly be one of the reasons for industries to set up shop here,” opines Mahendra Kumar Dokwal, a businessman associated with railway development activity in Adilabad.

“This year’s Railway Budget has two new weekly trains – Nanded-Bikaner and Kazipet-Mumbai – which are likely to be introduced later this year. Our leaders should ensure that these trains are routed via Adilabad in order to facilitate general public and also open new avenues for trade and industry,” he says. Among other pending projects is the survey for a new line between Adilabad and Armoor of neighbouring Nizamabad district.

DMRC submits Tender Committee Proceedings of Thiruvananthapuram-Kozhikode MRTS

तिरुवनंतपुरम Thiruvananthapuram (TVC): The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has given the evaluation report of the technical bid submitted by the consortium for the exclusive developer-contractor for the Rs.5,581-crore elevated Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.

The evaluation report from the DMRC, the general consultant for the monorail project in both cities, on the technical bid submitted by Bombardier Transportation Holdings USA Inc, will come up before the Cabinet on Wednesday.

Sources in the Transport Department told that the Cabinet and Kerala Monorail Corporation Ltd. (KMCL) will now take a call on opening the financial bid submitted by the consortium if the technical bid follows the parameters as per the DPR.

A 12-member team of the DMRC took 51 days to evaluate the technical bid that was submitted on May 30 in Delhi. Principal Adviser to the DMRC and State Planning Board member E. Sreedharan had insisted that the financial bid should be opened only after evaluating the technical bid.

Following the delay, the KMCL had sent a reminder to the DMRC.

Sources said the government would go ahead with the single bid if the technical bid was in order. The commercial bid would be crucial, as the variation between it and the estimate prepared by the DMRC should not be above 10 per cent. The CVC guidelines had also to be followed, sources said.

  • Bid by Bombardier Transportation Holdings USA Inc.
  • Technical bid was submitted on May 30

Fatehabad-Indore Section to be ready with GC works for CRS Inspection by August

फतेहाबाद चन्द्रावती गंज जं Fatehabad Chandrawati Ganj Jn (FTD): The Commissioner Railway Safety (CRS) will inspect Fatehabad-Indore broad gauge conversion work next month and the track will open for rail traffic from August end. Though there are hurdles to connect the BG track with Indore platform from Laxmibai Nagar, but the railways has sorted out the problem.

The BG work of 35 km-long Fatehabad-Laxmibai Nagar track is almost ready. The Railways was doing this work on war footing. According to sources, the CRS is coming for inspection around August 10. It is likely that he will submit his report in another next 5 to 7 days. As soon as the CRS gives his ok report, the track will open for train movement between August 15 and 20. The 35 km long Fatehabad-Laxamibai Nagar track was considered a less problematic track, because of no major bridge between two stations.

However, two under construction bridges near Laxmibai Nagar between this station and Fatehabad and some other technical problems were posing problems to connect the BG track between Laxmibai Nagar and Indore platform. One more fact is that the meter gauge track between Laxmibai Nagar and Indore platform is uprooted and construction of two new platform work is just going on the same track. Hence, the railway authorities sorted out problem to connect the broad gauge track between Laxmibai Nagar and Indore platforms. Ratlam Division Senior PRO Jitendra Kumar Jayant said: “We have sorted out the problem of connecting the BG track to Indore. He said that our plan was that just before under construction bridge, the BG line coming from Dewas also connect the same point where the BG track coming from Fatehabad joins. Hence, the trains coming from newly converted BG track from Ratlam and onwards will be shifted to the existing BG track coming from Dewas. In this ways the train will coming from Ratlam will reach Indore platform by passing the uprooted meter gauge track Laxmibai Nagar and Indore platform.

The opening of the this track for train movement will help to the thousands of the passengers of the this route who are bereaved from the train service more than one year due to the completion of the Ratlam-Indore BG work in phases. Railway Sources said that opening of the route for the train movement will be beneficial for railway too in the form of passenger fare. It is claimed that railway may shortly make the announcement for the starting of the BG work between Indore and Mhow.

Southern Railway to expedite Electrification works between Tuticorin-Madurai

तुत्तुक्कुड़ी Tuticorin (TN): The electrification work between Tuticorin and Madurai would be completed ahead of its target considering the rapid development of Tuticorin city as an industrial hub, Rakesh Misra, general manager of Southern Railway said on Tuesday.

Misra was on a visit to the Tuticorin Junction premises on a routine general inspection where he inspected the ticket counters, platforms, passenger resting rooms and other amenities. He also discussed pit line works with local railway officials where they pointed out that they have to be extended to cater 24-coach trains since present lines could only cater to 21-coach trains.

Later, talking to reporters, he said that against the previous target of March 2015, the railways would try to complete electrification on this section by December 2014 or January 2015 itself, since four power plants are nearing completion in the port city and infrastructure to ferry coal to these plants are underway.

However, he ruled out the possibility of doubling from Tuticorin since there is no huge traffic congestion on that section at present. But they may have to look at it when coal carrying capacity goes beyond 15 million tonnes per annum in the future, he said. Survey works to lay the new section between Madurai – Tuticorin via Meelavittan, Vilathikulam and Aruppukottai has also been initiated.

He further said that Tuticorin – Chennai Egmore Pearl City Express will be augmented with a first class air-conditioned coach in the coming days. The railways would also consider the locals demand to attach one more air-conditioned coach in Guruvayur Link Express, Misra added. Later, he met Tuticorin Port authorities and sources said railway officials discussed about laying railway lines to ferry coal from the port to power plants coming up around the city.

Madurai divisional railway manager, A K Rastogi said that electrification of Madurai – Tuticorin will be quite beneficial at operation point of view. The railways will be able to save on diesel fuel providing operational benefits as well as prevent pollution. Besides, electrification will be a boon to goods traffic since electric locomotives have got better horse power and goods trains need not swap locomotives in between. “The port city is developing faster and electrification will be beneficial to train operation”, he said.

Texmaco Rail to raise Rs.300 Crore for Expansion

कोलकाता Kolkata (KOAA): Texmaco Rail & Engineering, which is in the process of merging with Kalindee Rail Nirman (Engineers), has decided to raise Rs 300 crore for expansion and diversification. The board of the Adventz group company took the decision to raise funds through equity issue.

The wagon maker reported a net loss of Rs 7.84 crore against a net profit of Rs 11.37 crore. The company suffered losses due to absence of the Railways orders in the first quarter.

AFD team arrives to review Kochi Metro progress

In February last year, AFD had sanctioned a loan to tune of Rs 1,527 cr to Kochi Metro

कोची Kochi: A four member team from Agence Francaise de – Development (AFD) will visit Kochi Metro Rail office on 29th of this month.

Priscille De Coninck and Arnaud Dauphin, project managers from the sustainable and transport division (AFD Paris) will lead the mission which also includes Cheikh Dia and Gautier Kohler, project officers at the New Delhi office of AFD.

In last February, AFD had sanctioned a loan to the tune of Rs.1,527 crore to the Kochi Metro.

AFD team will review the various project components of Kochi Metro. The other objective is to introduce the new project manager in charge of Kochi metro project at AFD headquarters, Priscille de Coninck, who recently replaced Xavier Hoang.

The team will conduct a site visit and meet with main stakeholders of the project including the members of the Kochi Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (KUMTA). They are also likely to review the progress of the work, procurement plans under process and the modalities of transfer of funds.

AFD is developing a Technical Assistance program, which is expected to be launched by the end of this year with the assistance of French Embassy in India on a grant basis amounting to 800,000 Euros. The mission would discuss about the content and the implementation structure of the technical assistance program, which will mainly based on the Kochi UMTA roadmap and the KMRL operation and maintenance strategy.

It will also review the various study under progress like environmental and social impact analysis study, Traffic Oriented Development (TOD) study and Rehabilitation and Resettlement policy.

‘KMRL is pleased to welcome the newly inducted Task Manager, Priscille De Coninck. This is the second mission of AFD after signing the loan agreement. We are hopeful that the team will finalise proposals for technical assistance and also explore further funding possibilities for urban transportation in the Kochi region, said Elias George, Managing Director, KMRL.

Kochi Metro had got sanction to avail external borrowings up to Rs. 2,170 crore. Canara Bank has recently signed an agreement to extend an assistance to the tune of Rs 1,170 crore.

The total estimated cost for Kochi Metro is Rs 5,180 crore and the first phase is scheduled to be completed by 2016. The first phase will have 22 stations and have a system length of 26 Kms. The State is expected to pool in Rs 2,009 crore (including land acquisition cost) and the Centre Rs 1,002 crore. Both central and state government will extend financial support through capital investment.

Railway Minister seek Bihar CM’s help for patrolling of Railway tracks in Bihar

इस्‍माइलपुर Ismailpur (IMGE): Railways Minister D.V.Sadananda Gowda said here on Wednesday that he will be contacting Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi to seek more help in the patrolling of railway tracks in that state’s Aurangabad District, where Maoists blew up the Delhi-Howrah railway track late on Tuesday night.

Expressing grief over the incident, Gowda said that though it was unfortunate, but he was relieved to hear that there were no casualties.

“Fortunately, no causalities have been reported. My officers detected the blast while patrolling. My officers and the state government, both took great care in guarding the railway tracks and safety has been taken as priority. Due to precautions taken by the authorities, a further accident was avoided. The railway authorities have done a good job,” said Gowda.

“We are taking much care after this incident. The operations are being carried forward. Two-three Rajdhani Express trains moving from that side have been halted on the other side. The movement will start soon when the track will be set right,” he added.

Last night, Maoists blew up up the Delhi-Howrah railway track in Amamsilva village near Aurangabad District of Bihar. The incident happened despite tight security by the Indian Railways.

Railways to establish Railway Medical Colleges under PPP

सिकंदराबाद Secunderabad (SC): Indian Railways is all set to change track. From transporting people and goods across the country, it has embarked on operating medical colleges. At present, various railway zones run schools and intermediate and degree colleges but a medical college will be a first. If all goes well, come next academic year, a railway medical college will get operational at Moula Ali in Secunderabad.

The medical college is being proposed by Indian Railways under Public Private Partnership (PPP) by which the private developer would have to build, operate and maintain the medical college, hostel and other infrastructure required for the college. It was in the 2009-10 railway budget that the UPA government proposed to establish five medical colleges across the country at Secunderabad, Chennai, Guwahati, Kharagpur and Lucknow. The logic behind the move was that since the railways runs scores of hospitals to cater to its employees, a teaching college will be a good idea. In 2011, the railway ministry invited Expression of Interest (EOI) for setting up and run the medical college at the five locations of all which are supported by large railway hospitals, infrastructure and availability of vacant land. However, while the hospitals are only for railway employees, admission in the medical colleges will be open to all with a certain number of seats reserved for wards of railway staff.

The railway medical college will come up on an eleven-acre land at Moula Ali and linked to the 300-bed railway hospital at Lalaguda which is about five kilometres away from Moula Ali. Sources said background work for the Moula Ali railway medical college was initiated over a year ago by the Indian Railways which appointed RITES, the infrastructure wing of the railways, as consultant. While the technical feasibility of the medical college was studied by Hosmac India Limited, IFCI Ltd studied the financial feasibility of the college.

A team of RITES officers visited the Moula Ali hospital site a few months ago and surveyed the existing facilities, resources and other aspects that are required to be fulfilled as per the norms laid down by the Medical Council of India. The site met with all the requirements, said the sources. “The Ministry of Railways will soon make an announcement on the railway medical colleges after getting the consent of the Railway Board. If things proceed as per plan, the railway medical college at Moula Ali can start functioning from the next academic year,” a senior project officer of RITES, told from Delhi.

The hospital at Lalaguda being run by South Central Railway is spread over nine acres land. “The existing hospital at Lalaguda is in a prime location which makes the project viable since it is a PPP project. However, the Railway Board will takes a final call on the medical colleges,” SCR official spokesperson told.

Apart from the Lalaguda hospital, SCR has a 200-bed hospital in Vijayawada, a 130-bed hospital in Guntakal, a 30-bed hospital at Nanded in Maharashtra (SCR region) and a 20-bed hospital in Rayalapadu near Vijayawada.

The new medical college by railways at Moula Ali will boost the medical scene in Telangana. Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has already asked Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) to explore the possibility of setting up a medical college since it runs hospitals at five places in Telangana. As of now, there are 2,900 medical seats in the state. Two weeks ago, the Medical Council of India sanctioned additional 200 seats.

Once the railway medical college and the one by SCCL too come up, the total number of medical seats in Telangana could touch 4,000.

Railway Board ready with Objective and Coherent PPP Policy for revamping Railway System

CAG raps the Railways to be clear in its objective on whether it wants to bring in efficiency by associating with private players or whether are they merely seeking an alternative source of funding!

To boost private participation, Indian Railways is gearing up to streamline its public-private partnership (PPP) policy. The national transporter is in the final stages of giving shape to model concession agreements under the various models identified under the participative models for Rail Connectivity Policy of 2012.

The model concession agreements framed for various models like build-operate-transfer, non-government railways and joint ventures among others will focus on easier processes by reducing the number of clearances, inspection required, longer lease periods and flexibility in haulage charges to attract private sector investments, said a senior Railway Board official on condition of anonymity. Three draft concessions agreement are ready for discussion.

In a report tabled in Parliament last week, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India had criticised the Railways for lack of coherent policy and absence of any model concession agreement. It also said the Railways had refused to accept the Planning Commission’s model.

The Railways had earlier refused to follow the model concession agreement suggested by the Planning Commission, calling it “generic” in nature, which would have been incapable to meet the specific needs of the diverse Railway projects, said the official.

Responding to the criticism levelled by CAG for no uniformity in the concession periods, incomplete shareholder agreements, etc., senior Railway officials argued different projects required “dynamic” approach for taking decision on concession periods and called the past few years a “learning trajectory for Railways” .

Planning Commission officials said the Railways has time and again proved to be a “closed” organisation and had not sought any opinion on its latest exercise of framing the model concession agreements, despite having no good track record of dealing with PPP.

“PPP has become a concept where everyone wants to do his own little thing. The Planning Commission has framed the model concession agreements for a lot of specific projects also after consulting all stakeholders. We could have done the same thing for the Railways. The case by case approach of Railways leaves room for arbitrary decisions and creates ambiguity for private players,” said a senior official of the Planning Commission, who did not want to be named.

The Railways expects to come up with model concession agreements for all the four models identified in the 2012 policy within the next six months.

The key concern of the private sector has been no standardisation of the concessionaire and unclear commercial structure. Other issues include low returns on investment because of shorter concession periods and high haulage charges, said an industry expert who did not want to be named.

Others say most private players invest in port connectivity projects because of the absence of any alternatives, not because the project offers and clear investment returns. Last-mile rail connectivity for medium and small private ports has been a key concern for port owners.

The Railways has to be clear in its objective, on whether it wants to bring in efficiency by associating with private players or whether they are merely seeking an alternative source of funding. Clear reasons for getting private investments will help identify clear project gains, said Abhaya Agarwal, Partner, Infrastructure and PPP at M/s. Ernst & Young.

The Railways has a target of getting Rs 6,000 crore for 2014-15 through the PPP route. Since 2000, it has done eight PPP projects in new lines and gauge conversion worth Rs 3,380 crore.

Rajya Sabha approves Railway Budget by a Voice Vote after Debate

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Maintaining that the Railways will focus on timely completion of ongoing projects, mobilization of funds and safety and passenger amenities, Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda on Tuesday said that FDI in Railways would help big ticket projects such as high-speed and freight corridors.

The Rajya Sabha approved the Railway Budget by a voice vote after debate.

Replying to the two-day long debate on the Railway budget in the House, Gowda made it clear that there was no discrimination against any states.

Referring to the issues raised by AIADMK member V Maitreyan, the Railway Minister said that he would discuss with the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to take forward the measures for Mahamaham festival and do the needful.

Referring to the demands from members from Kerala, Gowda said he had constituted a joint study group with MPs and Railway Ministry officials to sort out problems for the Railway projects in the State.

Gowda said the Bullet train project would be funded through bilateral agreements and FDI without putting any burden on common man.

Alleging that the NDA Government was taking advantage of all UPA programmes and showcasing them as its own, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said Railway budget is just a copy of the UPA budget.

PPP in Railways a necessity: Railway Minister

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  Railway minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda on Tuesday described the PPP mode as a necessity and allayed apprehensions over allowing FDI in the railways. Replying to a debate on the Rail Budget, he said FDI will help big ticket projects like high-speed corridors and freight corridors.

He said bullet trains were feasible as these projects would be funded through bilateral agreements and FDI without putting any burden on the common man of the country.

The Rail Budget was approved by the Rajya Sabha though a voice vote late in the evening. “There need not be any apprehension that the FDI would do some harm. FDI will be brought in such a manner that it will be used only in infrastructure development and not in operations,” he said. The FDI will be used in big-ticket projects like development of high-speed corridors, suburban corridors and freight corridors, he said. Mr Gowda said the growth in railway infrastructure will fuel the growth of manufacturing in the country.

The minister stated that 14.2 per cent hike in passenger fare and 6.5 per cent increase in freight charges effected ahead of the Rail Budget was the decision of the previous UPA government which the current dispensation implemented.

While rejecting the demand for new trains and more projects from MPs from various political parties, Mr Gowda clarified that he desisted from announcing any new projects as several projects are still incomplete. “My focus is to ensure completion of those ongoing projects,” he said.

Mr Jairam Ramesh (Congress), meanwhile, asked for doing away with the Rail Budget: “The Rail Budget is a colonial idea whose time is over.”

No casualties reported, authorities saved major mishap: Rail Board Chairman

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar on Wednesday said that the railway authorities managed to avoid a major mishap, as they had prior information of Maoist shutdown in Amamasilva village of Bihar’s Aurangabad district where the rebels blew up Delhi- Howrah railway track.

“We had received inputs that there will be Maoist bandh today in the village. Therefore we had taken precautionary measures of restricting the speed of train in Bihar. We made the patrol train to run before Rajdhani,” said Kumar.

“The engine of patrol train between Mughal Sarai and Gaya section derailed because of the blast thereby vanishing four meters of the railway track. Simultaneously, up and down lines were affected. The Bhubaneswar train was behind this patrol train and it was stopped. The rail transport normalized at 6 a.m. today, and slowly the trains will start moving,” Kumar added.

He also said that the authorities were cautious keeping in mind the Rajdhani accident that had happened sometime back.

“Some time back we came to know that Rajdhani was derailed due to the same reason, so we were aware about this and were cautious. This problem arises mostly in Bihar, therefore, we have already imposed alerts and restriction in the state. There were no casualties. We could save a major mishap because of the timely actions by officials. Since we are aware of this kind of inputs, so speed of trains in that area were also restricted and the track and CRPF personnel were augmented to keep a watch,” said Kumar.

The incident happened amid tight security that was stepped up by the Indian railways yesterday in Gaya after the Maoists has called for a shutdown.

Maoists blow up railway track in Mughalsarai Division of Bihar; traffic on Delhi-Howrah route hit

इस्‍माइलपुर Ismailpur (IMGE):  Maoists blew up a portion of a railway track between Ismailpur and Rafiganj section of Mughal Sarai Division of East Central Railway, in Bihar, leading to derailment of a pilot engine running ahead of the Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express.

No casualty was reported in the blast that took place late Tuesday night, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Magadh range, P K Shrivastava told.

In Patna, Chief Public Relations Officer, East Central Railway, Arvind Kumar Rajak said the advance pilot engine running ahead of Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express jumped off the track due to the incident.

Nearly one dozen mail and Express trains including three Rajdhani Express trains have been stranded at various places between Gaya and Mughalsarai due to the incident, Rajak said.

Railway minister Sadananda Gowda has asked for a report regarding the latest incident and said more safety measures would be set in place. Gowda said the damaged rail track would be repaired soon.

The blast was trigerred during a one-day bandh call called by the Maoists against police firing in Aurangabad and Rohtas districts.

The CPRO said that nearly three metre of the track has been damaged in the blast. Electric wire overhead has also been damaged, he said.

The DIG said that the blast appears to be a powerful one creating a four-feet deep crater.

Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Jodhpur-Howrah Express and Doon Express were among the major trains stranded at various places.

This is for the second time in less than a month that the premium train — Rajdhani Express — has been targeted by the Maoists. The New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express was derailed between Chhapra Kacheri and Goldenganj stations near Sonepur on June 25 killing four people and injuring many. Railway authorities had pointed towards ‘sabotage’ in the incident.

Railways prefer Urban Development Ministry handle Kolkata’s East-West Metro Project

कोलकाता Kolkata (KOAA): The railway ministry seems to exit from the East-West Metro project in Kolkata that has been running several years behind schedule, a move many see as part of a preference shelve off itself from the other incomplete Metro routes too.  “We want the (East-West) project to be transferred. All urban transportation projects in India are handled by the urban development ministry and they have the expertise to handle such projects” Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda told. A senior railway official wrote to his counterpart in the Union Urban Development Ministry recently, stating that the East-West Metro project should be handled by it.

The stake-holding pattern is yet to be decided but sources said the urban development ministry had already asked the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation to inquire whether the Bengal government was interested in taking back the 50 per cent stake it once held.

“Since the project is in Bengal, the state government should ideally become a stakeholder. If the state doesn’t agree, then we have to look at some other arrangement,” a source in the urban development ministry said.

The topic is likely to be discussed by the Union cabinet soon, according to a railway ministry official. “It’s under our consideration. We are reviewing the transfer of stake,” he said.

If the switch happens, it will be the second in two years for the East-West Metro project on which hinges Calcutta’s escape from some of its commuting woes.

“We are giving thought to transferring the other four Metro projects as well. Ideally, these should be under one agency for better coordination,” the official said.

The other four projects are the New Garia-Airport, Joka-BBD Bag, Noapara-Barrackpore and Noapara-Airport-Barasat links. They are all currently under the railways, having been sanctioned when Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress was a partner in the erstwhile UPA government and held the railway ministry.

The existing north-south route from New Garia (Kavi Subhash) to Noapara is the only Metro link in the country to be run by the railways.

The state government and the Union urban development ministry had been equal stakeholders in the East-West project until Mamata initiated the move to transfer Bengal’s stake to the railways during her tenure as rail minister. The handover was decided late in 2012 at a meeting between the Union and state governments in Delhi. The transfer took place in end-2012.

Under the present arrangement, the railways owns 76 per cent of the project and the urban development ministry has a 24 per cent stake.

There was talk about the railways losing interest in the project in the aftermath of the Trinamul Congress pulling out of the UPA II government at the Centre. The letter from the railway ministry almost two years later has formalised what was in the realm of speculation.

From Delhi to Bangalore, Mumbai to Chennai, every other Metro link has been an Urban Development Ministry project involving the state government and, in some cases, private players. “The railways has expertise in inter-city rail connection, not intra-city Metro rail technology and practice. It hardly handles urban transport projects,” an official said.

He said the Urban Development Ministry and the state government were the right agencies to handle Metro projects involving a lengthy and often complicated process of land acquisition along with traffic diversion.

Although railway minister Gowda has earmarked Rs 900 crore for the East-West Metro in his first budget, officials said it was a commitment the cash-strapped ministry would find difficult to keep.

Former Railway Minister Pawan Bansal had committed Rs 100 crore to the project in his budget for 2013-14, an allocation seen to be on the lower side and blamed for the slow pace of work over the past year.

The railways’ dwindling interest in the project first became apparent when it reconstituted the KMRC board. Three of the seven board members were appointed on a part-time basis, including managing director A.K. Jha.

Jha remains the Principal Chief Engineer of Eastern Railway, apart from officiating as the managing director in the absence of a full-time incumbent.

A section of railway officials said the completion of the project would be delayed further if the project changed hands for the second time. “The board has to be reconstituted. The last time they did so, the process took months and that hampered the progress of the project,” an official said.

Work on the 14.67km Metro link started in April 2009 but the project remains stuck at two points — Bowbazar and BBD Bag— because of encroachments the government seems loath to remove.

The alignment of the tracks between Central and Howrah Maidan hasn’t been finalised either as the state is yet to hand over land at Bowbazar to the KMRC. At Duttabad in Salt Lake, work resumed recently after being stuck in a land knot for more than two years.

Government should do Away with Separate Railway Budget: Jairam Ramesh

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: A strong pitch was made in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday for doing away with the Railway Budget with a few members feeling that it was a colonial era practice not relevant anymore.

“…The Railway budget is a colonial idea whose time is over. Today, Railway expenditure accounts for only six per cent of the general expenditure of the government…Why should we have a separate budget for the Railways?,” said Jairam Ramesh (Congress), who was a minister in the United Progressive Alliance or UPA government.

He was participating in a discussion on the Railway Budget in the Rajya Sabha.

Mr Ramesh suggested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda give a “serious thought” to the idea of abolishing the separate budget for the Railways.

The demand received support from Rangasayee Ramakrishna (BJP), who hoped that the Modi government will do away with this practice in the next two to three years.

“We should do away with this practice of the colonial era… we should go for corporations of the railways for performing different tasks such as looking after maintenance of railway stations,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Ramesh held the separate budget as “the root cause” of the financial disaster in the Railways and said that as long as the practice remains, the turnaround of the Railways was not possible.

During the British era in 1925, the tradition of presenting a separate budget for the Railways started perhaps because it was the largest industrial asset of the country then.

Stating that the Railways spend around 28,000 crore on social obligations in a year, Mr Ramesh suggested that the fund should come from the general budget.

JICA to submit final metro appraisal for Ahmedabad Metro by July-end

गांधीनगर Gandhinagar (GNC): The Metro-Link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA) project moved forward after the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) fixed the end of July for the second and final assessment on various technical and financial parameters. The MEGA has sought a loan of Rs.5900 crore from JICA at 1.4% interest. The loan tenure will be 30 years. The JICA team conducted the first round of project appraisals on June 4.

MEGA Const cost“The JICA team was assessing the detailed project report (DPR) and checking the financial viability of the project,“ says a senior MEGA official. “The team has experts from various fields who are analyzing the project with due diligence – the investigation of a business proposition -prior to signing a contract with MEGA. This is stan dard procedure.“

The recent Union Budget had allocated Rs.100 crore for metro rail projects for Ahmedabad and Lucknow, which appeared piecemeal. Sources in the urban development department say that Ahmedabad’s share would be not more than Rs.50 crore.

MEGA budgetThe metro rail project cost is slated to be Rs.10675 crore. Sources in the MEGA say that a major portion of the funding will come from JICA, while the central government will extend exemptions worth Rs.3000 crore. “The Gujarat budget this year had allocated Rs.250 crore for the metro project which has made our corpus Rs.550 crore,“ says the MEGA official. “This is enough for our initial activities, like shifting of utilities and setting up processes. The Rs 50 crore allocation was expected as the Centre will provide tax exemptions.“

Govt looking at stake sale in Rail PSUs: IRCTC, RailTel, RITES, IRCON, IRFC in the list

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  The government is planning to offload its stake in certain profit-making infrastructure companies of Indian Railways, a move that will help such companies to get listed on stock exchanges as well as raise funds for exchequer.

“We are in talks with the Railway Board for sale of government equity in certain PSUs managed by Indian Railways, a source told.

There are about half a dozen companies which are managed by Indian Railways.

These include RITES, IRCON, IRFC, IRCTC, and RailTel Corporation of India Ltd. Since these companies are not listed it is likely that the initial public offer (IPO) will be accompanied by government offloading its stake. Indian Railways, which is facing cash crunch, is looking at various ways to mobilise resources for undertaking its expansion programme.

Government has already pitched for reforms in Railways by proposing Foreign Direct Investment and Public Private Partnership (PPP) to meet the resource crunch.

“The disinvestment will be a part of the government exercise to engage private players in ancillary services as part of overall agenda,” the source added.

The Finance Ministry plans to raise Rs 43,425 crore through disinvestment in PSUs in the current fiscal.

A host of companies have been lined up by the disinvestment department as candidates for stake sale.  These include SAIL, NHPC, ONGC, REC and PFC.

Railways planning Disposable Bed Linen in Rajdhani Express trains

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  You might get this happy surprise when you next board a train. The Railways is planning to soon try disposable bed linen, on an experimental basis, in the Bangalore Rajdhani Express.

Among other initiatives that the Railways is planning for giving you a “clean experience” are bio-toilets, pest-free train coaches and setting up of more cleaning stations.

All of this with a mere Rs 940 crore in pocket? It seems the country’s biggest transporter has a very daunting task at hand.  But the Railway Board is in a mission mode to make these possible, especially because cleanliness is among the three priority areas Prime Minister Narendra Modi has identified for the country’s railway network.

According to a senior official asking not to be named, unlike earlier years, the Railways has this year clubbed all its cleanliness allocation under one head.

The budget for this has seen a major increase from last year’s Rs 673 crore (under various heads).

“The cleanliness budget has been increased about 40 per cent this year. There has also been a reallocation of funds under the cleanliness head, so that the money can be targetted towards such work,” Alok Johri, Member (Mechanical), Railway Board told.

However, the use of disposable bed linen – which will cost the Indian Railways roughly Rs 75 a trip, compared with Rs 55 for cotton ones – entails the challenge of overcoming safety hazards more than the price factor.

These disposable sets – each containing a bed cover, a bed sheet, a pillow and a blanket – will add to the fire load of coaches, as these are synthetic and inflammable, unlike their cotton cousins currently in use.

According to Johri, while the Railways is working on this aspect, the new sets, supplied and designed by small-time contractors, also need to appeal to the commuters.

Indians do not generally feel comfortable covering themselves in synthetic sheets.

The biggest problem with the existing cotton sets, according to Johri, is their worn-out look due to repeated use.

“The zonal railways can buy bed linen only from the outlets of Khadi and Village Industries Commission and Association for Consumer Action on Safety & Health (Acash). These organisations, sometimes, are not able to meet the replacement requirements. So, we have asked the zonal railways to procure the sets, in case of short supply, from other sources as well.”

The Railways also plans to set up 64 mechanised laundries over the next three years to do the washing itself, instead of relying on conventional washermen.

Also, the Railways is adding some half a dozen cleaning stations to the current 34 where mechanised cleaning of trains halting for more than 15 minutes takes place.

However, bio-toilets are arguably the most complicated part of the Railways’ cleanliness drive.

A stainless steel bio-toilet set – with six chambers and costing Rs 90,000 – is to be fitted beneath each of the four rest rooms in a train coach. These toilets have a colony of anaerobic bacteria that do not require oxygen to breathe.

Aerobic bacteria, which survive on oxygen and have been used in some foreign trains, have proved unsuccessful in the Indian system.

The friendly-bacteria technology, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation for use in such toilets, breaks down faeces into methane and portable odourless liquid.

This takes care of not only cleanliness but corrosion caused on railway tracks due to human droppings.

Though the Railways is installing bio-toilets on both conventional train coaches and the latest Linke Hofmann Busch (indigenised German technology) ones, it is only by 2016-17 that all new coaches will have such toilets.

As of earlier this month, 11,800 such toilets had been installed in railway coaches.

Rolling On Clean Track

Some measures the Indian Railways, with the world’s largest fleet of 53,000 coaches on 7,000 trains, is planning


Stainless steel kits with empty-load weight of 110 kg to be fitted under each of the four toilets in a coach

Each kit has a colony of anaerobic bacteria that break faeces into methane and portable liquid

Cleaner Linen

Synthetic disposable bed linen, instead of cotton ones, to be used; this could add to the fire load

64 mechanised laundries to be set up for washing cotton beddings

Cleaning Stations

6 cleaning stations to be added to the current 34 where mechanised cleaning of trains halting for more than 15 minutes takes place

Pest Control

Fumigation through branded chemicals to avoid toxicity under integrated pest control contracts.

Kochi Metro assure to resolve impact of land reclamation at Muttom site

Kochi: Notwithstanding the intervention by the State Human Rights Commission, the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) will go ahead with the Muttom yard project so as to complete its work in a time-bound manner.

“The KMRL has got a protocol for carrying out its works and whatever is required to neutralise the environmental impacts of land reclamation in Muttom will be done’’, said Elias George, Managing Director, KMRL. Admitting that land filling operations at the project site had caused water logging, he said the agency was undertaking a detailing work worth Rs.8.12 crore at the location to mitigate the impact of land reclamation.

The works include construction of new earthen drain along the western boundary depot and a concrete drain in addition to deepening and cleaning the existing canal on the eastern side. Further, pipe culverts, re-arranging of water pipelines and cleaning of choked culverts will also be carried out to facilitate the flow of flood water. The works are being initiated on the basis of a report submitted by a committee comprising representatives of the KMRL, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, the municipalities of Kalamassery and Aluva and Choornikkara panchayat. According to him, the project has got environmental clearance from the State government and it is being initiated after assessing its impact on the environment. The statement comes in the wake of a report by the secretary of Choornikkara panchayat submitted to State Human Rights Commission Chairman J.B. Koshy last week that no EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) had been done before reclaiming land at the project site at Chavarpadom.

The report also said that the work on the project had caused damage to houses and five roads in the area. Further, reclamation of land also posed a serious threat to the natural drainage system, raising concerns of water logging.

Following this, the commission has asked reports from the KMRL and DMRC with regard to the metro village project at the location. The issue will be taken up for consideration during the commission’s sitting next month.

Bangalore Metro gets Ministry of Comm and IT approval for Radio Frequencies

Ministry has approved licences of the remaining five pairs

बेंगलुरू Bangalore (SBC): The Bangalore Metropolitan Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL)’s request for 10 pairs of radio frequencies for the Namma Metro has been approved by the Centre, said Pradeep Singh Kharola, Managing Director, BMRCL.

The BMRCL has to get licenses from the Government of India to use radio frequencies needed for communication between the control room and the trains .

It had requested 10 pairs (incoming and outgoing calls) of frequencies but had only received five so far . Five more pairs had been requested. He said with the granting of all 10 licences, the issue has been resolved.

The Namma Metro staff use the Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA), a communications system where users communicate over phones in a closed system that works on a specific frequency. Since the frequency operates over a limited area, communicating in new areas requires new frequencies. Operating on new frequencies requires the permission of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

At present, the BMRCL has enough frequencies to communicate over Reach 1 and 3. But for Reach 3B and Reach 2, more frequencies were needed.

Reach 1 is Byappanahalli to M. G. Road; Reach 3 is Sampige Road to Yeshwanthpur; Reach 3B is Peenya village to Hesaraghatta Cross; Reach 2 is Leprosy Hospital (Magadi Road) to Mysore Road).

Radio frequency (RF) is a rate of oscillation in the range of around 3 kHz to 300 GHz, which corresponds to the frequency of radio waves, and the alternating currents which carry radio signals. RF usually refers to electrical rather than mechanical oscillations; however, mechanical RF systems do exist.  Although radio frequency is a rate of oscillation, the term “radio frequency” or its abbreviation “RF” are also used as a synonym for radio – i.e. to describe the use of wireless communication, as opposed to communication via electric wires.

Chennai Metro to have a significant impact on Realty Sector

चेन्नाई Chennai (MAS): A bird’s eye view of the Chennai Metro Rail project is simply breathtaking. The elevated tracks snake through densely populated areas of the city — all the way from the north to the south and passing through its central business district and along its principal corridors of Anna Salai, Poonamallee High Road and Inner Ring Road.

The biggest and most ambitious infrastructure project in the city till date, Metro Rail is bound to transform the commuting experience of citizens and have a significant impact on the realty sector. Market observers and leading players in the construction industry are optimistic that the project will primarily help people living in the suburbs and employed in offices in the Central Business District (CBD).

Secondly, it will encourage people to look for residential projects in the suburbs as the Metro promises a comfortable and a quick journey very close to their offices. The project will also help find buyers for unsold office and retail space. “The Metro project will bring stability and have a positive impact on the construction industry. Social infrastructure – basic amenities in the suburbs that are linked after the metro – will improve,” says A.S. Sivaramakrishan, Head, India Residential, CBRE.

“People living in the city will prefer to move out of the city to escape from the congestion and it will be a big boon to areas waiting for improved connectivity to boost their housing potential,” observes Dinesh Ethiraj, Director, Green Tree Homes. The project is also expected to change the profile of Anna Salai and result in the stretch regaining its ‘lost glory’ in retail and shopping space.

“Till about a decade ago, ‘high street shopping’ was an integral part of Anna Salai, but it later moved to interior areas, apart from south Chennai and offices also moved elsewhere. The Metro Rail will help bring about a turnaround in the case of Anna Salai,” points out Sanjay Chugh, Head, Residential Services, Chennai, Jones Lang LaSalle.

“Metro planners must look at a way to serve new suburbs by connecting Sriperumbudur and Kundrathur among other areas. Plans to link the Metro with MRTS, suburban services, the proposed Monorail, MTC and small bus services bus will address the traffic woes of commuters and extend longer connectivity,” notes Sundarji Nandagopal, Creative Editor, Clear Estate.

Texmaco Rail posts Q1 net loss at Rs.7.8 Crore

Texmaco Rail posted a net loss of Rs 7.8 crore in first quarter (April-June) of current financial year 2014-15 as against profit of Rs 11.4 crore in corresponding quarter of last fiscal. Board meeting on July 21, 2014, approved further issue of securities at such premium as may be approved by the Board and subject to the approval of the shareholders of the Company in accordance with the Companies Act, 2013 passed.

Texmaco Rail posted a net loss of Rs 7.8 crore in first quarter (April-June) of current financial year 2014-15 as against profit of Rs 11.4 crore in corresponding quarter of last fiscal. The company’s net sales were at Rs 41.6 crore versus Rs 143.6 crore, Y-o-Y. On July 21, 2014 Texmaco Rail and Engineering ended at Rs 94.30, down Rs 5.10, or 5.13 percent.

Texmaco Rail & Engineering Ltd has further informed BSE that the Board of Directors of the Company at its meeting held on July 21, 2014, has approved further issue of securities of the Company at such premium as may be approved by the Board and subject to the approval of the shareholders of the Company in accordance with the Companies Act, 2013, including, without limitation, Sections 41, 42, 54, 55, 62, 63 and 71 thereof, and also including any relevant provisions of the Companies Act, 1956, through one or more public issue and/or on a private placement basis and/or preferential issue and/or any other kind of issue and/or placement as may be permitted under applicable law from time to time, for an aggregate amount not exceeding Rs. 300 Crore (Rupees Three Hundred Crore).Further, the Company has informed that the Company is currently in the process of merging Kalindee Rail Nirman (Engineers) Limited into the Company by way of a scheme of amalgamation, and in case any change in the scheme of amalgamation is deemed necessary pursuant to the proposed further issue of securities, the revised documents / information shall be shared with the exchanges subsequently.

RLDA to develop Multi-utility Commercial Complex at Nizamabad: GM/SCR

निज़ामबाद Nizamabad (NZB): South Central Railway General Manager P.K. Sreevastava, going round the railway station as part of inspection here on Monday, said a multi-utility commercial complex would be built on the railway premises as part of the efforts to raise income to the railways. Earlier, he along with engineers observed the site located overlooking the Bodhan road.

The line laying work between Peddapalli-Nizamabad route is going on at a brisk pace and the Indian Railways is committed to complete it as early as possible.

Mr. Sreevastava suggested to the authorities to improve cleanliness at the station and alter the parking site before it. He asked them to beautify the station by landscaping the surroundings . He arrived here after inspecting Medchal, Akkannapet and Kamareddy railway stations en route. He left for Basar station for its inspection.

Meanwhile, various people’s organisations submitted memorandums to him.

DRM, Hyderabad Division and other senior officials from various departments were also present.

Rise in mishaps in Thane section: Statistics

ठाणे Thane (TNA): The Thane railway zone has witnessed an increase in mishaps than any other zone on the Central Railway network. Statistics revealed compared to 2013, railway accidents in Thane zone have seen a jump of 55 in 2014 from January to June, overtaking the perennially accident prone zones of Kurla and Kalyan.

The half yearly data compiled by the railway police showed that Thane has recorded 354 mishaps in the first half of 2014 as compared to 299 during the same period last year. The Vashi zone that includes the Trans- Harbour section followed with a jump of 26 cases. Last year, the stretch saw 153 mishaps followed by 179 this year.

Interestingly, Kurla stretch that has seen the highest number of mishaps has registered a dip of 51 cases in the same stretch this year, including Kalyan that also saw a mere rise by four mishaps this year.

Activists and railway police said the commute was becoming dangerous for passengers, especially those travelling by suburban trains. “The stretches between Kalwa and Mumbra and on the Trans-Harbour line near Airoli have seen many accidents of late. While on the main line there are several instances of commuters falling off crowded trains during peak hours, on the Trans-Harbour line, majority of cases are of run over between Thane and Khairane,” said a railway police official. Police said falling in between gaps at platforms, from trains or natural death while travelling have also added to the increased numbers. The Railway police said line crossing is responsible for majority of mishaps, both fatal and injuring.

At Thane, the major spots that see accidents happening are the Kopri end and the one near station towards the Cidco bus stop access. Also, there are several people who walk on the tracks to and from Vitawa and station in addition to the stretch near Parsik tunnel. Some mishaps have also been reported near Kharegaon crossing along with the Diva level crossing.

An official said that they regularly make announcements about the perils of line crossing and have even penalized commuters indulging in dangerous travel and barricaded the tracks to deter line crossing but in vain.