Chandrababu Naidu bats for Manufacturing Plants of Mitsubishi’s Rail and Electric Divisions in AP

During his three-day visit, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu will make a strong pitch for investments in Andhra Pradesh.  He will spend a day at the 9th World Congress on High-Speed Rail-2015 at Tokyo to understand about the evolving High Speed Rail Technologies and its associated industry, will discuss with representatives of High Speed Rail and Bullet Train manufacturing Companies for investment in Vizag, Tada and Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh

AP CM Naidu in JapanTokyo: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who had christened the new capital city of the State after ancient Buddhist town Amaravati with an intention to woo investors from Buddhist countries, has made an all-out attempt on Monday to persuade Japanese business giants to invest in the reorganised State.

Naidu held talks with some of the leading Japanese corporations including Mitsubishi and Fuji Electric and Japanese International Cooperation Agency for potential cooperation.

Mitsubishi expressed interest to set up Japan Information and Study Centre at Andhra University. This Centre will promote Japanese language courses and introduce locals to the Japanese culture. The Mitsubishi team evinced interest in taking part in the Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor and Krishnapatnam industrial node.

It was reliably learnt that Mitsubishi agreed to set up a cluster near Krishnapatnam, bringing in all their subsidiaries to one place and importantly setting up of the Mitsubishi’s newly launched Traction Inverter All SiC-Power Module manufacturing plant at Krishnapatnam to cater for Asia-Pacific region from the east coast of Andhra Pradesh, as part of Make in India policy.

The Chief Minister is also expected to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to invite him to take part in the foundation stone laying ceremony of new capital city, scheduled to take place on October 22.

According to sources, Naidu already took the clearance from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend invitation to the Japanese Premier for the grand function, which will be graced by Modi himself.

On Monday, Naidu will be meeting representatives of Fuji Electric Co., Ltd, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Mayekawa, Sumitomo Corporation, Mizuho Bank, Ltd, which is the integrated retail and corporate banking unit of Mizuho Financial Group.

On Tuesday, he is expected to hold confabulations with the top brass of SoftBank Group Corporation, which is a Japanese multinational telecommunications and Internet corporation, and Mizuho Financial Group, which is one of the prominent financial institutions in the world. Followed by this, Naidu is expected to visit world’s most important meeting for high-speed rail ‘UIC High-Speed Rail 2015′ being held at Tokyo from 7th to 10th July, 2015 and expected to meet more than 1,000 attendees from across the globe to exchange views on the development and achievements of high-speed rail worldwide.  It is learnt that the World Congress on High Speed Rail 2015 will feature international rail experts on transportation policy and technology. It will bring the public and private sectors together to provide insight and identify best practices for implementing high-speed rail projects at every stage – from planning, financing, and construction, to operations and management. Also, the Congress will feature an exhibit showcasing high-speed rail products and services.

During the tour, Naidu will clinch several key deals with the Japanese companies in order to set up their branches in AP. “Mizuho Financial Group is likely to enter into an agreement with the AP government to provide its services to the State to transform it into an industrial hub,” an official said.  Tokyo-based NEC Corporation, a multinational provider of information technology services and products, is expected to make an agreement with the AP Technology Services Limited (APTS) to provide IT solutions to the State government’s efforts to develop smart cities in the State. Naidu is also expected to call on Japanese Finance Minister in order to seek loans from the Japanese financial institutions for construction of the new capital city. In fact, seeking to promote Japanese investments in AP, Chief Minister Naidu during his earlier visit to Japan promised the investors in that country that his government would set up dedicated industrial townships and clusters for Japanese citizens comprising in AP. He also told them that Japanese schools would also be set up in the State.

“Make AP as a destiny for Japanese investments, build another Tokyo in new capital region of AP there you have so many opportunities. I want to do business most efficiently and for that I am assuring you ease of doing business through speedier clearances, infrastructure and good governance,” Naidu told a Japanese delegation during its recent tour to Hyderabad.

Besides a battery of top officials from the State government, Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu and Municipal Administration Minister P Narayana are accompanying Naidu during his visit.

Eastern Railway reports 14.92 MT loading of industrial goods in April-June 2015

In particular, the increase in loading was led by a 180% jump in steel loading from the newly modernized IISCO steel plant in Burnpur

Kolkata (KOAA): Eastern Railway has shown significant growth in loading of industrial goods to 14.92 million tonne during the first quarter of the current financial year (April – June, 2015) compared to the previous corresponding quarter.

Loading of commodities which have registered considerable improvement during the 1st quarter of the current financial year are Steel, Stone, Fly Ash, Cement, Vegetable Oil etc. In particular, the increase in loading was led by a 180% jump in steel loading from the newly modernized IISCO steel plant in Burnpur.

The total freight loading in ER during April to June, 2015 reached 14.921 mt. Loading of Iron & Steel has shown an increment of 24.71 % , Cement loading increased by 3.94 %, other goods loading including stone increased by 10.08 %, while the  loading of CIL (Coal India Ltd) coal by E. Rly shown an increase of 16.92% during April to June, 2015 in comparison to that of during the corresponding period of previous year. A statement by the Eastern Railway said while total freight loading reached 14.921 million tonne in the April-June quarter of 2015, loading of iron & steel went up 24.71 %.

Cement loading increased by 3.94 %, while loading of other goods loading including stone, increased by 10.08 %. Loading of coal by Coal India Ltd also showed an increase of 16.92% during the April-June quarter compared to the previous corresponding quarter.

Railway Minister inaugurates new LHB Manufacturing Plant, flags-off 50000th Coach at ICF/Perambur

Perambur (PER): Union Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu today dedicated LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) manufacturing unit located at Integral Coach Factory (ICF) at Perambur.

The unit has been set up at a cost of Rs 252 crore to manufacture 300 LHB stainless steel coaches.

He also flagged off  the 50,000th coach manufactured at ICF. ICF is one of the earliest production units in India. It was inaugurated by the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru in 1955.

ICF is capable of producing close to 2000 coaches per year and has produced 50,000 coaches since its inception around in 500 different designs.

The factory has turned out an outrun of 1704 coaches in 2014-15 consisting of 50 variants.

Related News: http://www.railnews.co.in/railway-minister-to-launch-icfperamburs-50000th-coach-on-monday/

Customs Appelate Tribunal upholds Temporary Suspension of Gateway Distriparks’ Chandra Container Freight Station

Gateway DistriparksChennai (MAS): Gateway Distriparks Ltd on Monday said that the Customs Appellate Tribunal had upheld a temporary suspension against its Container Freight Station (CFS) subsidiary Chandra CFS, first imposed by the Customs Department. The suspension will continue pending completion of an investigation within three months.

The Customs permission for custodianship of Chandra CFS & Terminal Operators Pvt Ltd, at the CFS Chennai, was temporarily suspended on December 19, 2014, until further orders.  Indian Customs department has earlier suspended the license of Container Freight Station (CFS) at Chennai of Gateway Distriparks Ltd’s subsidiary Company, Chandra CFS & Terminal Operators Private Limited due to an incident involving unauthorised removal or attempted theft of a container from the CFS.

On March 20, the company said it had approached the Appellate Tribunal of Customs Department (CESTAT) to restore the custodianship.

“The Company is now in the process of taking necessary steps for restoring operations at Chandra CFS at the earliest,” said the company in a regulatory filing.

MMRC to award Works Contract worth Rs.11000 Cr. for 32.5Km Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro-III Corridor in Sept 2015

Mumbai: Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) will award civil works worth Rs 11000 crore for 32.5 km long Colaba-Bandra-Seepz corridor in September.

The fully underground corridor will provide connectivity by Metro to Western suburbs, Island city and the international airport.

MMRC’s managing director Ashwini Bhide said, “We will carry out technical evaluation by mid-September and then award the work orders before the end of month.”

MMRC plans to complete the project by 2019. The actual work on the ground is expected to begin in December or January 2016.

Bhide said, “The consultant to prepare the rehabilitation of project affected people (PAPs) in Girgaum and Kalbadevi will be in place in 15 days. We hope to begin work on these PAPs in four months.”

The state government has already assured insitu rehabilitation of these PAPs.

The project is also mired in controversy because of opposition to building of a car depot in Aarey colony

Metropolitan commissioner UPS Madan, who unveiled a new logo for MMRC today said, “The report will be submitted soon.”

The committee, headed by Madan, has studied 7 alternate sites. He said, “It will be for the government to take a call on the appropriate site for the depot.”

E-Catering: IRCTC ties up with leading Supply Food Chains to reach 1144 more trains

New Delhi: The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), in order to boost to e-catering services in trains, will be extending the facility in about 1,144 trains running throughout the country. IRCTC has tied up with leading supply food chains to supply meals to the passengers.

There has been a consistent growth with 201 trains being served through e-catering. Now, 1,144 more trains have been identified for being a part of e-catering and the process for approval of these is underway. IRCTC Public Relations Officer said, “We have decided to provide e-catering in about 1,144 trains of the country. The process for approval is underway and soon the passengers will be able to get quality food in these trains.”

In order to ensure good, hygienic and wide variety of food to the passengers, IRCTC has tied up leading food chains. The focus is to make available a range of food items, from economy to finer preferences.

Passengers will be able to book dishes of their choice from the menu which will available on its website, www.ecatering.irctc.co.in, by calling on 1800-1034-139 (toll-free number) or by sending SMS Meal to 139. They will have to provide their PNR number at the time of booking the order. They will have to make an e-payment.

IRCTC has also called for ‘Expression of Interest’ to rope in high quality & variety of players in food industry on pan India basis. The EOI will remain open throughout the year so that all interested players which meet minimum criteria can become part of IRCTC’s e-catering project. It is hoped that entry of larger number of brands/products from food industry will open up a number of food option for passengers.

IRCTC’s Central Kitchen

Massive chappati makers that roll out uniform-shaped chapatis in less than 80 seconds, steam kettles, which cook up tonnes of well made rice and a cutting machine that chops up about 400 kilograms of vegetables in an hour – the Indian Railway’s mammoth kitchen is a state-of-the art wonder.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC), central kitchen in Noida, Uttar Pradesh works round the clock to provide “hygienic, competitively priced and affordable meals” not only to rail passengers but to corporate clients too. The automated four-storeyed ‘Food Factory’, set up in February 2012 churns out over 10,000 meals per day to be served up on some Rajdhani, Duranto and August Kranti trains.

“The kitchen is fully automated with latest equipments from the best of the manufacturers in India and abroad,” says Sudheer Warrier, AGM IRCTC. Raw materials are stocked in a store room on the ground floor, with pulses, rice, spices, vermicelli, and other “dry” items segregated neatly with indicating labels.

“While all perishable items come in regularly every morning, the dry items are stocked for about three days,” says Warrier. All perishable food items like vegetables and fruits are washed and sanitised before being moved to be chopped up on the upper floor. “We use chlorine tablets to sanitise vegetables,” Warrier says.

Vegetables are sourced from Mother Dairy and the non-perishable food items come from the Metro Cash and Carry outlet near Karkardooma Court. The kitchen has just installed an Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) to segregate different forms of waste into reusable air and water. “We plan to use this reusable waters in toilets and cleaning floors,” says Warrier.

The process of chopping bulk amounts of vegetables in a couple of minutes makes for a fascinating sight. “Our vegetable cutting machine comes from the Swedish company Hallde. It can chop about 400 kilograms of vegetables in a matter of one hour’s time,” says Warrier. “We are targeting 25,000 meals by the end of this year,” he adds.

Potato peelers and batter makers, particularly for South Indian dishes like idli and vada are also used in the same section. Equipment is sourced from across the world like Hallde from Sweden, Rosinox from France, Hackmann from Finland and Sottriva from Italy besides the Ahmedabad-based Servotech.

Preparation of chappatis is an awe inspiring process where the dry flour is converted into a perfectly round and cooked roti in less than 80 seconds. “We add water to the flour in dough kneader to prepare the dough. Then it is transferred to the roti-maker, which pulls out round chunks of the dough, presses it to form a chapati and then cooks it properly before it is packed and sent out,” says Warrier.

Breadsticks, relished especially by children on train rides, is among the few food items that require manual labour, with the dough being shaped by hand. “It is then baked in an Italian rotary oven at about 195 degrees.” Giant steam kettles, brat pans, cold rooms, hot plates, and blast freezer are among other instruments used in the central kitchen.

“The steam kettles cook uniformly and are based on the concept of using the steam generated for cooking rice,” says Warrier. The mega kitchen also has solar panels set up exclusively for heating water that is used for washing dishes, while for drinking and cooking, there is an RO water treatment plant.

Owing to its swanky appearance, automated appliances, and the delectable food that rolls out of this behemoth kitchen, it has also been featured on the show “India’s Megakitchens,” on National Geographic Channel. Hosted by celebrity chef Vikas Khanna, the show, which premièred on June 29 is scheduled for a repeat telecast on July 8.

Corporate Clientele located in Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon are also customers of the IRCTC kitchen. The list includes Samsung, Nokia, HCL, Supertech, Oxford University Press, Ameriprise Fianancial and Mcgraw Hill Publications. “IRCTC only provides full meals on two Rajdhanis: Ahmedabad rajdhani and Sealdah Duronto. For all other Rajdhanis, the service is limited to snacks,” says Warrier.

Kerala ask Railways to implement Sabari Rail project

Thiruvananthapuram (TVC): The Kerala government today requested the Railways to implement the ambitious Sabari railway line project without insisting that the state bear half the cost.

The project would be beneficial to millions of Ayyappa pilgrims from other states visiting the famous Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala every year.

Replying to a calling attention on the issue in the assembly, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the state was yet to receive a reply from the Centre on its request to implement the project with Railways bearing the entire cost.

The proposed line starts from Angamally in Ernakulam district and ends at Erumelli, one of the major Ayyappa pilgrims base camp centre, at Kottayam district.

Chandy said as per the new policy, Railways can undertake new projects under a 50:50 formula of cost sharing. But the state’s contention is that Sabari rail is an old project, work on which had already started, he said.

“So the new policy guidelines should not be applicable to Sabari rail. Also, one should take into consideration the importance of the Sabarimala temple,” Chandy added.

The estimated cost of the project when it was conceived years ago was Rs 517 crore. But due to delay in implementation, the cost had escalated to Rs 1,566 crore now, he said.

Issues related to land acquisition for the project had been sorted out, Chandy said, adding, that the present hurdle for it was the new policy guidelines of the Railways.

To a question of Congress’s Joseph Vazhackan, who moved the calling attention, that whether Kerala would express willingness to bear half of the cost, Chandy said the state would take a decision only after getting a reply from the Centre on its earlier request to commission the project as that of Railways.

Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board to commission Chobhar CFS by 2018

Khatmandu: Despite the one-year delay in ownership transfer of the land required to construct Container Freight Station (CFS) in Chobhar, Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) is gearing up to complete the project within the stipulated time — by 2018.

The proposed project, being undertaken with the financial assistance of the World Bank Group, was nearly cancelled due to the land acquisition process taking such a long time. Ownership transfer of the land of Himal Cement factory of Chobhar from the Ministry of Industry to the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies was completed only last month. However, as per project document, the construction contract of the project is scheduled to be awarded by September.

The World Bank is extending assistance worth $15.5 million for this particular component under Nepal-India Regional Trade and Transport Project (NIRTTP).

After settling the land ownership issue, NITDB has called for request for expression of interest to conduct the environmental impact assessment and detailed designs of the project.

The survey and detailed designs are scheduled to be completed by January 12, 2016, according to Laxman Basnet, executive director of NITDB. “The contract for the detailed designs and environmental survey will be awarded by mid-September this year.”

However, the project has yet to complete other prerequisites before starting construction.

After the completion of the detailed designs and environmental survey, NITDB will start the process to award construction contract of the CFS, that is expected to be completed by July 11, 2016. Thereafter, NITDB plans to complete all the construction works by January 11, 2018. However, the contractor would be liable if any defects are found in the construction until January of 2019.

NITDB has convinced the World Bank’s inspection team that they will complete the project within the given deadline. Hence, the component of CFS construction has not been cancelled.

The World Bank team has been inspecting the performance of the project every six months. As the land ownership row has been settled, it is believed that NITDB would be able to complete the project within the set deadline.

However, if the board needs to call the tender more than once while hiring the consultant and contractor, the project may be delayed.

NITDB Executive Director Basnet has said that it is challenging to complete the project by 2018 but they will implement it by shortening the time normally set aside for bid selection and contract awarding, among others.

The NIRTTP project came into implementation from September 2013.

After Himal Cement was shut down in 2002, the government had agreed to take the World Bank’s support to utilise that property as CFS. The government will utilise 816 ropanis of land in Chobhar for the CFS. Meanwhile, the slope landscape of the cement factory will be utilised to develop Exhibition Centre.

Uncertainty looms over Wagon Factory at Sitalapalli in Ganjam

Ganjam (GAM): Uncertainty looms large over setting up of the wagon factory at Sitalapalli in Odisha’s Ganjam district following allocation of meagre amount for the project in the last Railway budget.

The proposal for construction of the railway wagon factory was first announced in 2011-12 by then railway minister Mamata Banarjee. Since then, her successors have mentioned about the project in their respective budget speeches without allocating adequate funds to take the project forward.

The district administration has earmarked around 101-acres of land in the area for the wagon factory. Necessary communication on the site has been sent to the Railway Ministry, sources said. However, there is no progress on the project yet. Sitalapalli is situated near Jagannathpur railway station, about 20 km from Berhampur. Tata Steel is setting up an Industrial Park close to the site, while the Gopalpur port is also located nearby.

“We are doubtful about the implantation of the project by the Centre,” said T. Gopi, state secretary of the ruling BJD. “We had high hopes for the project when the central government announced it in 2011-12. But now uncertainty looms large over its implantation with allocation of meagre amount in the successive Railway budgets,” added Mamata Bisoi, vice president of state women’s wing of BJD.

Senior BJP leader and former deputy speaker of state Assembly, Ram Chandra Panda, had submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to implement the railway project and allocate more funds for it.

Former Union minister and Congress leader Chandra Sekhar Sahu and CPM’s state secretary Ali Kishor Patnaik also criticized the NDA government for ignoring the project

Apart from the proposed railway wagon factory at Sitalapalli, the people of the area want construction of the railway line from Gopalpur to Rayagada, Berhampur to Phulbani, railway terminal at Berhampur, running of direct train from Berhampur to New Delhi, Berhampur to Rourkeal via Sambalpur, a DMU from Berhampur to Puri, said Sahu.

Tender out for Rs.96 Crore elevated Kurla Harbour station

Mumbai: One of the most ambitious suburban projects in Mumbai — the creation of an elevated Kurla Harbour line station — took off on Saturday, with the Central Railway coming out with a Rs.96 crore tender for the work.

The plan is to award the tender by the first week of August and then get the work completed in three years, said CR officials.

The project comprises creation of a rail flyover starting from the north of Chunabhatti to the south of Tilaknagar stations with a three line Harbour station right above the current platforms 7 and 8. To be built on stilts, the elevated station will allow goods trains to move on the tracks at ground level while Harbour line trains ‘fly’ over them.

Kurla sees a major operations problem everyday as suburban trains and an ever-increasing number of goods trains have to be adjusted on the same set of tracks. Currently, Harbour line trains wait for as long as 15 minutes as goods trains carrying coal or fuel cross tracks to get onto the fast track to move towards Thane and beyond.

And the situation threatens to get far worse once the Rs107-crore third line, being built by the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), CR and MMRDA jointly for freight trains, comes up between Wadala and Kurla. It will bring in more goods wagons because the MbPT wants to transport coal coming into its port quickly and in larger quantities. Officials say the number of goods trains, once this third line comes up, will be far more than the 15 to 20 that move through Kurla now.

“Harbour line passenger load is growing rapidly at 9.22%, which is the highest in the country. At the same time, the number of goods trains will go up in the future because of the money it brings in. So the elevated Kurla Harbour line is imperative,” said an official.

Centre mulling Rail Bridge between Rameswaram and Talaimannar

Chennai (MAS): Union minister of state for road transport, highways and shipping, Pon Radhakrishnan revealed that the Centre is considering a proposal to establish a rail bridge linking Rameswaram (a coastal pilgrim centre in TN) and Thalaimannar in Sri Lanka. If the project materialises, the two countries would be linked.

A short boat ride used to connect the railway lines that ended at Talaimannar in Sri Lanka and Dhanushkodi in India, which was in operation till 1966. During his visit to the city on Sunday, the Union Minister told reporters during an informal chat that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government is considering a proposal to establish a bridge to connect the two countries.

Asked about the fate of the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project, Mr Radhakrishnan said the project was not shelved. “The matter is sub judice… a decision on the project would be taken based on the outcome of the court ruling,” he said.

2600 Tonnes of Imported Urea arrives in Salem by special Goods Train

Workers in the process of unloading urea that arrived at Salem Railway Goods shed on Sunday

Workers in the process of unloading urea that arrived at Salem Railway Goods shed on Sunday

Salem (SA): About 2,600 tonnes of imported urea for distribution to the farmers through the primary agricultural cooperative and credit societies in Salem and Namakkal districts arrived here by a special goods train on Sunday.

The stock from Oman, a Gulf country, was imported by the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) Limited.

TANFED

The entire stock which arrived in 42 goods wagons was handed over to the regional office of the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Marketing Federation (TANFED), one of the members of the IFFCO, S. Arulmani, Field Officer, IFFCO, said.

To enable farmers commence farming operations without any delay, the TANFED shifted about 1,100 tonnes to the 400 and odd primary agricultural cooperative and credit societies in Salem and Namakkal districts through lorries on Sunday.

The rest of the stock will be supplied to the societies.

The rest 1,500 tonnes will be stocked in the godowns of the Tamil Nadu Warehousing Corporation in Salem and Namakkal, Mr. Arulmani said.

The urea stock supplied by the TANFED has to be sold to the farmers at the government rate of Rs. 270.50 paise per bag fixed by the government.

Gigantic Railway Station set for Dhanush’s film

dhanushThe makers of actor-producer Dhanush’s next yet-to-be-titled Tamil project have erected a massive railway station set here to shoot some important sequences. the film revolves around a character’s journey in a train from here to Delhi.

Prabhu Solomon is all set for his new film with Dhanush, which will start rolling from mid July. The film, which will be shot entirely on trains and stations, will have Dhanush essaying the role of a pantry worker and Keerthi Suresh will play his love interest.

“Since most of the shooting will take place inside a train and in and around railway stations, the team has built a station set with a train. The regular shooting has started and Dhanush is expected to join soon,” a source from the film’ unit said.

Being directed by Prabhu Solomon, the film features Dhanush as a pantry worker in a train. “The story is about the events that take place inside Duronto Express train from Chennai to New Delhi.

Hollywood action choreographer Roger Yuan, who has worked in movies like Batman Begins, Skyfall and Shangai Noon, will be choreographing stunt sequences for the film.

dhanush2The team is currently planning to shoot action sequences in the train under the supervision of international stuntman Roger Yuan, who has worked in films such as Batman Begins and Skyfall,” the source said. The film also features Keerthy Suresh.

Sources say that the action-thriller produced by Sathyajothi Thyagarajan will have several edge-of-the-seat stunts. Since it is difficult to shoot the entire movie in a real train, a massive set resembling railway stations and a train has been put up at the Binny Mills in the city. As per Roger’s advice, the set has been erected keeping the action sequences in mind. A major chunk of the shoot will take place here.

Meanwhile, Dhanush’s forthcoming Tamil film Maari is slated to release on April 17.

Railway line from Banihal to Katra to be completed by 2020: Puthia, GM/NR

gmnrputhiaSrinagar: Railway officials on Saturday confirmed that the railway link from Banihal to Katra, connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, would be completed by the year 2020.

Speaking at a press conference here, A.K.Puthaia, General Manager, Northern Railways said that the railway track from Jammu to Katra has been completed and the 110 kilometers link from Katra to Banihal is the final portion that will be connecting the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.

“During this project, 85 percent of work is only tunnel work and rest of the other work is related with bridges and we have made all the arrangements aimed to fulfill this project on time,” he said.

Puthaia added that more coaches would be added to the trains to address the increasing rush of passengers.

“We can add more trains or even coaches after we get the approval of the board. At present the platform length at the railway stations here is of eight coaches and adding extra coaches will cause inconvenience to the passengers,” he said.

Bharat Coking Coal Ltd uses Nitrogen foaming to douse fire on Katras-Chandrapura Rail tracks under SER

Dhanbad: Bharat Coking Coal (BCCL) has started damage control measures to save the Katras-Chandrapura railway tracks under South Eastern Railway from underground fire following a missive from the Directorate General of Mines and Safety (DGMS).

The company, which intensified its protection measures on Friday, has resorted to nitrogen foaming to douse the fire and is also digging up trenches to stop the spread of flames.

“While the increased quantity of nitrogen will help surface areas to release heat energy for cooling the affected areas, trench cutting and filling up of tunnels or potholes will detach the ignited coal from the unaffected rocks,” said BCCL general manager (safety) Surendra Singh on Saturday.

DGMS director S Bagchi, along with teams from BCCL and Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research, inspected Govindpur south siding, where a BCCL coal mine is located, on July 2.

“Carbon-dioxide, CO and methane are among gases that are formed due to coal distillation. Nitrogen and oxygen in the air react with the gases to produce underground fire. Though measures to douse the fire were continuing for the past two months, we have increased the quantity of nitrogen foaming across the affected zone,” Singh said.

Madurai Division will to see a Lot of MEMU Trains and MEMU Maintenance Shed by Next Year: DRM

Madurai (MDU): If everything proceeds as planned by officials at Madurai Railway Division, the region will see a lot of MEMU (Mainline Electric Multiple Unit) trains by next year, in place of conventional passenger trains.

Division officials have come up with a plan of constructing a MEMU shed at Kudal Nagar station, near Madurai Junction railway station. The shed will be used to maintain a bunch of MEMU trains which would be operated in the division.

Official sources in the division said the maintenance shed would have facilities to accommodate 20 rakes of MEMU. The maps and plans for the construction of shed were being prepared as principal clearance had been given by Railway Board, they said.

Divisional Railway Manager Sunil Kumar Garg said they were preparing the estimation for the construction of the shed. “We are working out plans to bring a MEMU shed and operate MEMU trains in the division”, he said.

Electric traction was completed January this year, providing seamless connectivity from Chennai to Kanyakumari. MEMU trains are ideal choice to ferry passengers to shorter distances faster.

Initially, the division will consider operating couple of MEMUs between Madurai and Trichy since work on track doubling (with electrification) on the Dindigul -Trichy section will be completed by end of this year.

In the next phase, MEMUs might be operated between Madurai and Tirunelveli, officials said.

All divisions of Southern Railways, except Madurai, have been provided either with MEMU or DEMU (Diesel Electric Multiple Unit) trains.

Southern Railway is looking for options of replacing passenger trains with these MEMUs or DEMUs so that more conventional rakes are available to operate more special trains.

Unlike EMUs (Electric Multiple Unit) operated in suburban trains, the MEMU trains will have the feature of toilets on the coaches enabling them to be used for longer journeys too.

Indo-Bangladesh Rail project: Tripura seeks fund for land acquisition for Rail tracks

Agartala (AGTL): The Tripura government has sought fund for land acquisition for tracks laying work between Agartala and Akhaura connecting Bangladesh through rail, Transport Secretary Samarjit Bhowmik said here today. He said land acquisition cost for the project of erecting railway line over five kilometre stretch on the Indian side had been reduced from Rs.302 crore to only Rs.98 crore after the NITI Aayog’s decision to have elevated corridor across 3.

Mobile based Travel Ticket Planning App ‘ConfirmTkt.Com’ gets Angel Investment

The Bengaluru-based startup uses analytics to predict the possibility of a waiting list ticket in IRCTC being confirmed based on historical trends

Hyderabad: Mobile focussed travel ticket planning App for railways, ConfirmTkt, has raised Rs 75 lakh in an angel round from Pravin Agarwala, cofounder of BetterPlace Safety Solutions, and an undisclosed investor.

The Bengaluru-based startup uses analytics to predict the possibility of a waiting list ticket in IRCTC being confirmed based on historical trends.

The startup, founded by Dinesh Kumar Kotha and Sripad Vaidya in 2014, began with a confirmation website, but now sees 80% of the traffic through its mobile app.

“We have also incorporated the feature for travel planning by showing options for break journeys and will soon introduce bus and air options to make it a lastminute travel planning platform,” said Kotha, who heads the technology division.

The App currently sees 15,000 visits per day and close to 20,000 new users every month.

Ranchi Railway Station to become child-friendly

Ranchi (R): Under the railway ministry’s standard operating procedure (SOP) to ensure care and protection of children at railway stations to deal with the problem of trafficking earlier this year, 20 railway stations were selected to be made child-friendly in the first phase, including Ranchi railway station.

The railway ministry has made Jharkhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (JSCPCR) the nodal office to look into the proceedings. A kiosk was set up for registering complaints by JSCPCR on July 1 at the station and is being manned by two volunteers from Childline NGO.

JSCPCR member Sanjay Mishra said: “While the kiosk is now operational, the whole programme will be formally inaugurated by the chief minister sometime before July 14. A child-friendly station will help curb child trafficking as most children are taken to metros from Ranchi.”

The Childline NGO voluneteers will keep vigil on children who seem to be lost or spotted being accompanied by a ‘suspicious’ person. If the volunteers spot such children, they would be required to approach the child with government railway police or railway police force officers. They would also be expected to take the child for counseling if the situation demands.

Under the SOP, the 20 selected railway stations should construct a special playroom where rescued children can stay, eat and play.

“After the formal inauguration, a meeting with divisional railway managers of Ranchi, Chakradharpur, Dhanbad and Asansol division will be held to inform them about the system. A training session will be held with GRP, RPF and other railway officials including TTEs to give them information on how the system functions and how they will contribute to it,” said Mishra.

JSCPCR plans to replicate the same model in seven other railway stations, including Jasidih, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Jamshedpur, Daltongunj, Chakradharpur and Koderma.

Now, Warning System to halt Train before it hits buffer

Mumbai: A week after a suburban train rammed into dead-end buffer at Churchgate station and jumped onto the concourse, the railways will soon introduce an auxilliary warning system (AWS) at CST, Churchgate and Andheri stations to prevent such mishaps in future.

The system will warn the motorman to take “corrective action” in case the train enters a station at high speed. If the motorman fails to do so, the system will automatically apply the brakes and bring the train to a halt just before it hits the buffer.

Meanwhile, the speed restriction for entering Churchgate station on the fast line, where the mishap took place on June 28, has been reduced from 30kmph to 10kmph, the lowest ever since the past two decades. If a motorman fails to slow down to 10kmph until 50m from the dead-end of the platform, the AWS will kick-in and hit the emergency brakes. Five commuters, including three women, were injured in the mishap.

It may be recalled that Western Railway general manager S K Sood had informed a day after the accident that the AWS will be installed at prominent termini within a week. On Sunday morning, the trials began at three stations—two on the western line and one on the central line. “Trials were conducted successfully at Churchgate and two other stations. If everything goes well, we can hopefully launch the system at Churchgate from Monday morning,” Sood told on Sunday. He added that the AWS would be effective in averting such mishaps. “There will be advanced warning to the motorman in the form of a hooter. If he does not acknowledge, we have a Plan B: The system will automatically pull the brakes and bring the train to a halt,” he said.

Sources said there are plans to soon instal the system at all termini, including Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Bandra and Panvel.

Sources said the AWS will be introduced on four tracks at CST and on a single track each at Churchgate and Andheri stations before being implemented on all the tracks gradually.

“It is basically use of modern technology to stop a train at a terminus,” said a senior railway official. “In the June 28 mishap, the investigators had, prima facie, found that it was 99% human error. The motorman had failed to apply the brakes in time. So, we need an alternative system.”

At present, the AWS warns motormen of any upcoming signal, via a display panel on the driving panel of the EMU. The advanced notification is done through trackside electromagnets.

270 Children rescued from Brahmapur Railway station

Brahmapur (BAM): The railway station in Berhampur seems to be the transit point for child traffickers.

As many as 270 children were rescued recently by Childline activists and government railway police (GRP) here while they were being trafficked to other states. Most of the rescued children are teenage girls and from Kandhamal, Gajapati and Ganjam districts, said director of NGO ISRD-Childline Sudhir Sabat.

“Acting on a tip-off, the child rights campaigners with the help of GRP personnel raided trains and railway stations to foil trafficking bid. In some cases, the traffickers escaped from the spot,” he added.

On May 20, the campaigners rescued 16 teenagers. Five of them were from Kandhamal, while others were from Cuttack and Dhenkanal districts. The GRP arrested four persons, including three women, for trafficking the girls to Samalkot and Bhimavaram in Andhra Pradesh promising them jobs in different firms, said co-ordinator of Childline, Berhampur, Prabhu Prasad Patra.

Similarly on June 6, police rescued four children from the bus stand at Daringbadi in Kandhamal district, while they were waiting for a bus to come to Berhampur railway station from where they would have taken a train to Mumbai. Police arrested a person from Jharkhand. The railway station has emerged as a major transit point because it has good road connectivity with Gajapati and Kandhamal districts. They come here in buses to catch trains for Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Andhra Pradesh, the campaigners said.

An anti-human trafficking unit should be set up at Berhampur railway station to crack down on child traffickers, said Sabat. At present, one unit is operating in the police headquarters of every district. “Acting on inputs, the team from the unit rushed to different places to rescue the trafficked children and also to foil the attempt of trafficking,” said a senior police officer.

Near Miss as 2 Passenger Trains comes on same Track

Coimbatore (CBE): Timely action by two loco pilots averted a head-on collision of two trains after they came on the same track due to an error by a pointsman at Uthukuli station near Tirupur at 7.30 am on Sunday. The trains stopped just metres away from each other.

The automatic signal at the station had broken down and while using the manual system, the pointsman made a mistake, railway officials said. Uthukuli station master Mukesh Kumar and pointsman Dilip Kumar have been suspended in this connection and an inquiry initiated.

Salem Divisional Manager Shubhranshu declared rewards for the loco pilots for being vigilant and averting a major tragedy. The pilots are Siva Shanmugamuthu of the Coimbatore-Chennai Intercity Express (No 12680) and

V Chacko of the Hyderabad-Thiruvananthapuram Sabari Express (No 17230). The trains were moving at only 6 km/hour, which made it easy for the loco pilots to stop them. Being off-season, there were only 500 passengers in each of the trains.

The automatic signals at Uthukuli were down on Sunday morning due to a glitch. Dilip Kumar was asked to clamp the tracks manually to align train movement. However, he clamped the track in the wrong direction.

Railway moots Stainless Steel toilets for Delhi

New Delhi: With a focus on cleanliness and hygiene, the New Delhi Railway Station may soon be fitted with stainless steel toilets on a pilot basis.

Railway authorities in the national capital said that after receiving positive feedback from passengers they will expand the project and install more steel toilets on other platforms.

These stainless steel toilets are easier to clean and more hygienic in comparison to the existing ones, said the divisional railway manager, Delhi division, Arun Arora.

“Soon, the first stainless steel toilet will be installed at the New Delhi Railway Station, and passengers’ feedback will be taken about its effectiveness. Feedback will also be received from railway workers about the toilet’s operation and maintenance,” said Mr Arora.

Based on a positive feedback from passengers and sanitation workers, more stainless steel toilets will be installed, he said. As per the plan, these toilets will be installed at platforms, concourse and circulating areas of the station premises.

Railways is also mooting to build toilets at all the platforms in the New Delhi Railway Station. Officials said that the decision to construct toilets at all the platforms is taken to dissuade passengers from using toilets on stationary trains.

Presently, only platform number one and 16 have toilet facilities for male and female passengers. Three platforms have urinals for men. After the New Delhi Railway Station, stainless steel toilets will be installed in other railway stations in Anand Vihar, Old Delhi and Nizamuddin.

In a later phase, all the existing toilets will be replaced with the stainless steel ones. “These stainless toilets have several benefits. Apart from easy maintenance and cleanliness, they are more durable,” added Mr Arora.

Railway Minister to launch ICF/Perambur’s 50,000th Coach on Monday

New Delhi: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will roll out the Indian Railways’ 50,000th coach on Monday, marking a momentous occasion for the national transporter in achieving a record performance in the coach manufacturing sector.

The 50,000th AC three-tier coach will come out of the Integrated Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai when the Railway Minister will press a remote button from the Rail Bhavan in the national Capital. Beside dedicating the 50,000th conventional coach to the nation, Prabhu will also inaugurate the upgrading facility at the ICF for production of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches in Chennai, through video conference facility from here.

A premier industry, ICF was set up in 1955. Since then the factory has been manufacturing conventional coaches approximately 1,500 a year, catering to the ever-increasing demand of coaches for new trains.

IFC manufactures various types of AC and non-AC coaches including EMUs (Electrical Multiple Units) and DEMU (Diesel Electrical Multiple Units), Metro coaches for Kolkata Metro. Now the ICF will also manufacture LHB coaches, till now made at Rail Coach factory at Raebareli and Kapurthala. LHB coaches are mainly used in premier trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto services.

Unions to make it tough for Bibek Debroy Committee’s Railway Reforms

The onus of the committee was “reorganising and restructuring the railway board and subsequently the department so that policy making and operations are separated, the department does not work in silos, policy making focusses on long-term and medium-term planning issues and operations focusses on day-to-day functioning of the organisation”.

The railway ministry’s plans to implement the Bibek Debroy committee report on railway reforms is expected to face the full might of the well-entrenched unions in the railways even before a small part of the committee’s recommendations can be implemented.

The onus of the committee was “reorganising and restructuring the railway board and subsequently the department so that policymaking and operations are separated, the department does not work in silos, policy making focusses on long-term and medium-term planning issues and operations focusses on day-to-day functioning of the organisation”.

Over the past few days, both the Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh (WRMS) as well as the Western Railway Employees Union (WREU) have protested against the committee report. While the WRMS functionaries made a bonfire of the report, WREU office-bearers observed June 30 as a black day.

In the next few weeks, when the ministry moves towards implementing the recommendations, the protests are expected to get more vociferous and widespread, functionaries cutting across union affiliations told.

“This is nothing but a move to privatise the railways and give its vast resources to private firms who can run it as an only-for-profit transport utility,” said Ajay Singh of the WRMS.

It is going to be tough going for the ministry as far as implementing the report is concerned, with both the unions as well as the well-entrenched bureaucracy privately opposing the committee recommendations. One of the most vast and entrenched bureaucracy in the country, the railways has been plagued with indecisiveness and infighting for years now, agreed officials.

“The railways might be the largest organisation under one management in terms of employees but the ground reality is different. The five most important streams of the railways — traffic, civil, mechanical, electrical and finance — behave almost independently. These departments, all under respective members (rank equivalent to secretary to government of India) generally work at cross purposes, slowing down the progress of the railways,” said a retired railway official.

The Bibek Debroy Committee

The seven-member committee was chaired by renowned economist Dr Bibek Debroy and will have among its members former cabinet secretary KM Chandrashekar. Other members of the committee are Gurcharan Das, former chairman and managing director of Procter and Gamble, professor Partha Mukhopadhyay, senior fellow of the Centre for Policy Research, Ravi Narain, former managing director of the National Stock Exchange, Rajendra Kashyap, former financial commissioner of the railways and one as-yet-unnamed nominee of the department of economic affairs.

Railway Minister lays Foundation Stone for New Station Building at Aurangabad; assures priority to Marathwada Region

Aurangabad (AWB): Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister of Railways laid the foundation stone for “Aurangabad Railway Station New Building – Phase-II” at a glittering function held at the  Station premises today i.e, 3rdJuly, 2015.

A host of dignitaries including Shri Haribhau Bagde, Hon’ble Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, Govt. of Maharashtra & Member of Legislative Assembly, Phulambri; Shri Tryambak Tupe, Hon’ble Mayor, Aurangabad Municipal Corporation; Shri Rajkumar Dhoot, Hon’ble Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha); Shri Chandrakant Khaire, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Aurangabad; Shri Vikram Kale; Shri Subhash Manakchand Zambad, Hon’ble Members of Legislative Council; Shri Sanjay Shirsat, Hon’ble Member of Legislative Assembly, Aurangabad (West) and Shri Syed Imtiaz Jaleel, Hon’ble Member of Legislative Assembly, Aurangabad (Central) were present o­n the occasion.

Addressing the large gathering, the Minister of Railways, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu assured that Marathwada region of Maharashtra will get due priority in the plans formulated by the Railways. The plans for rail development in Maharashtra will be drawn up taking into confidence the State Government too, the Railway Minister added. The doubling of Railway line project between Mudhked and Parbhani to a distance of 81 kms has been allocated Rs.100 crores, he informed. Likewise Akola – Khandwa Guage conversion project; Beed – Ahemednagar – Parli Vaijanath new Railway line project etc., in the state will be given emphasis, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu stated.

Expressing confidence that in spite of the challenging times being faced by Indian Railways, a host lot of initiatives will be undertaken to overcome the same in the ensuing four years, said the Minister. The rail budget plans were put to implementation with zeal and in 36 days, 39 works were fulfilled as assured in the budget, a record of sorts. An o­nline monitoring system is in place to keep an eye o­n the day to day working of the organisation, he informed.

Speaking o­n the Aurangabad Railway Station New Building – Phase II, for which he laid the foundation stone, the Railway Minister expressed happiness that the construction will enable add many more amenities to Aurangabad Railway Station. To be built at an estimated cost of Rs.15 crores, the new building will have Executive AC & Non AC Lounge, Cafetaria, ATMs, Tourist Information facility etc.,

Indian Railways had very recently observed Passenger & Customer Facilitation Fortnight – Railyatri/Upbhokta Pakhwada from 26th May till 9th June, 2015 to mark the completion of o­ne year of the Ministry. During the period, the Railway Officials including General Manager’s of Zones reached out to the rail users including those travelling in the General Class segment to understand their problems and needs. Follow up action is being taken up o­n the feedback received, the Railway Minister added.

Earlier, Shri Pradeep Kumar Saxena, General Manager, South Central Railway welcomed the dignitaries. Shri Haribhau Bagde, Hon’ble Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, Govt. of Maharashtra and Shri Chandrakanth Khaire, Hon’ble MP, Aurangabad spoke o­n the occasion. Shri P.C.Sharma, Divisional Railway Manager, Nanded Division, SCR presented the Vote of Thanks.

EMU purchase move irks railway staff

Kochi: The Indian Railways’ move to buy modern electric multiple unit (EMU) train sets with a provision to sign a seven-year maintenance contract with the manufacturer has irked the employees’ unions. Though the mechanical section is in charge of maintenance of trains, it does not yet have the know-how to maintain the modern trains.

Hyundai Rotem, Talgo and Bomardier are bidding for the contract, which is expected to be signed in August. The railway budget has earmarked Rs 2,500 crore for the import of EMU train sets as a first step of the modernisation of the railways.

The contract would require the manufacturer to maintain the carriages for the initial seven years and then transfer the responsibilities to the railways. The contract includes the transfer of technology, which would allow the railways to build 275 carriages in the second stage as part of the ‘Make in India’ scheme.

The train sets have a design similar to bullet trains and can travel at 200 kilometres per hour. An EMU requires no separate locomotive, as electric traction motors are incorporated under the carriages.

EMU train sets do not need special tracks like bullet trains. The new train sets will be put to service on nine high-speed routes where Rajdhani Expresses and Shatabdi Expresses are currently run between 160 and 200 kilometres per hour.

Nagpur Metro Rail cost to be cut by a fifth to keep project on track

Nagpur (NGP): In order to increase the viability of the metro rail Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (NMRCL) has set a target of reducing the project cost by 20%. The cost of the project as per 2012 estimates of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was Rs.8,421 crore. The union cabinet sanctioned the project at this cost. However, the cost as per 2014 estimates had gone up to Rs 10,360 crore.

Aware of the fact that cost escalation can derail the project, NMRCL officials are trying to find out all ways and means to reduce the cost. These include rationalization of the construction and outsourcing.

Brijesh Dixit, Managing Director of NMRCL, told DMRC had planned the project for 100 years, which had been reduced to 50 years by the metro company. “One hundred years is too long a time. It unnecessarily increases the project cost and leads to dead investment. Infrastructure can be expanded when required. We will leave space for it,” he said.

Explaining rationalization, he said, “The length of the metro stations, size of the depots and the size of the viaduct (elevated track structure) is being reduced. The viaduct size is being reduced by 15% which alone will lead to cost saving of 10%.”

Outsourcing of fare collection will lead to saving of over Rs 200 crore. “We will have to install automatic fare collection (AFC) machines at all the metro stations. We will integrate a bank’s ATM card with the metro fare coupon. The bank will install the machines for us as it will get a large number of customers, who will open an account in order to get the ATM card,” Dixit said.

NMRCL is also planning to reduce operation cost by using solar energy. A private operator will install solar panels atop stations and depot and along the alignment of the metro corridor. It will sell power to NMRCL at a profit and recover its investment. The agency also plans to provide WiFi service at metro stations with the help of a private operator. “The operator will be given rights to advertise on digital display boards at stations and inside the trains. He will share revenue with us,” Dixit said.

In addition to Sitabuldi and Ambazari stations, NMRCL plans to commercially develop metro stations at Zero Mile, Railway Station and six locations on Central Avenue.

Nine bids for Sitabuldi station

Nine international consultants have bid for designing the Sitabuldi metro station atop which NMRCL plans to construct a 20 storey building. The last date for submitting bids is July 6. Some more bids are expected by then.

Ways to reduce capital cost of metro rail

  • Cutting down length of metro stations
  • Reducing width of the viaduct by 15%
  • Reducing size of the two metro rail depots
  • Outsourcing fare collection system

Ways to reduce operating cost of metro rail

  • Using solar energy
  • Commercial use of some stations
  • WiFi at stations through private operator

JMRC eyes Chinese, American firms’ help in Phase-II

Jaipur (JP): The Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation (JMRC) is now looking at Chinese and American companies to construct Metro phase II (Sitapura to Ambabari) under the public private partnership (PPP) model after failing to elicit a positive response from Industrial Enterprise, Singapore.

A senior JMRC official informed, “We are expecting a visit from a Chinese delegation on July 8th and an American delegation on July 20th. The JMRC will give a presentation to these firms and explain every aspect for investing in this project.”

A senior official said that despite offering a lucrative deal to the Singapore agency, JMRC is yet to get any response. “The estimated cost of Metro phase-II is Rs 10,000 crore. It has been proposed that the state government would provide 40% amount (as viability gap fund) to the company. The remaining 60% amount would be borne by the state government and the company.”

Meanwhile, the state government had also expressed its willingness to handover the operation and maintenance of Metro phase-I A and B to the firm after spending Rs 3,149 crore.

A source said, “As per the proposal to Singapore, the state government will bear Rs 7,000 crore, while the company will have to pay Rs 3,000 crore. The company will also get additional benefits as it will be collecting the fare. However, it did not show any interest. “

The JMRC officials said that as there are many similarities between the second phase of Jaipur Metro and Singapore Metro, the PPP would be successful. “The Metro is almost fully underground and in our second phase, we have proposed a 10-km underground track out of the total distance of 24 km. It would be good if some company from Singapore or China takes it up,” the official added.

The JMRC is keen to start the construction of this project soon as the route is viable and it would benefit maximum number of people. Important points of the city like the airport, Secretariat, SMS hospital and government offices will be on this route.

DMRC starts Trial Run on Jahangirpuri-Samaypur Badli Metro Rail corridor

DMRC chief Mangu Singh during the inauguration of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Phase 3 corridor trial runs between Jahangirpuri-Samaypur Badli Metro Rail Corridor

New Delhi: Literally hopping over the busy Northern Railway tracks and a PWD flyover along the Outer Ring Road, a first Metro train ran across the new extension of Yellow Line from Jahangirpuri till Samaypur Badli which held its first safety trials on Friday.

The 4.392-km extension will directly connect HUDA City Centre with Samaypur Badli by extending the existing Yellow Line beyond Jahangirpuri. The construction work for this elevated stretch, part of the Phase-III of the network, is almost complete and is expected to be opened for commuters after successful trials and mandatory approvals, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said.

Starting from Jahangirpuri, there would be three stations on the stretch — Badli Mor, Rohini Sector 18 and Samaypur Badli, serving residents of North Delhi areas such as Jahangirpuri, Samaypur, Badli, Transport Nagar, GT Karnal Road and parts of Rohini.

Talking about the challenges involved in the construction of this new stretch, Metro officials said it required close coordination with various agencies, including Railways and the PWD, as the line had to go over a railway track as well as an under-construction flyover. A 45-m-long steel span made out of 200 metric tonnes of steel had to be used to make it possible for trains to cross the Delhi-Ambala section of the Northern Railway and the flyover.

“Since the PWD is also constructing flyover on the Outer Ring Road, there is one common pier for the Metro alignment and the flyover, which is unqiue,” a project engineer said.

The elevated station that has come up at Badli Mor is also massive in size. With four levels, as it has been built in a way to make it possible to handle the load of two platforms, catering to Phase-III and also Phase-IV. In Phase-IV, it will become an interchange station with the proposed RK Ashram, Mukundpur-Janakpuri (West) section.

Departing from convention of rather monotonous colour schemes of other stations, the DMRC has given a colourful outlook to the new station as it was located in a largely industrial area, said a metro official.

DMK’s MoU Denied Metro Rail Revenue to TN: CM

Chennai (MAS): Responding to the charge of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi and party treasurer MK Stalin that the fares of the Chennai Metro should be lower, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said Karunanidhi had no locus standi to speak on this.

The MoU states that if the project cannot be completed within the stipulated period, the State government had to bear all the additional costs and if the project cost goes up due to factors like rise in the prices materials, variation in foreign exchange, taxation changes etc., the Centre and State governments should equally share it. Revenue loss and capital expenditure incurred during the period of execution of the project, should be borne by the State government, according to the clauses of the MoU. If the CMRL fails to repay the loan availed from JICA, the State government should repay it, according to the clauses of the MoU signed by Karunanidhi which went against Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa added.

“Above all, the MoU has stipulated that an autonomous body be created to periodically revise the fares of transport services offered by the State transport Corporations. Though this condition cannot be accepted by anyone, the previous DMK regime had agreed to this too. That is, the autonomous body to be constituted will decide the bus fare of State transport corporations hereafter”, the CM said.

Moreover, the MoU had stipulated that an Urban Transport Fund be created and that it should be funded through taxes. Also the assets of the CMRL should be refurbished only with this fund. Karunanidhi had accepted this too, Jayalalithaa pointed out.

Though the DMK government announced that Metro Rail project would be implemented for Chennai on June 24, 2006, it could get the Centre’s nod for the project only in 2009 despite being an ally of the Congress.

Chairman Railway Board reviews SER performance

Kolkata (KOAA): The Railway Board, led by chairman A K Mittal held a high-level meeting with South Eastern Railway general manager Radhey Shyam and principal departmental heads to review and evaluate performance of the railway zone at its headquarters at Garden Reach here.

Mittal reviewed various key activities of South Eastern Railway (SER) networking and laid a special emphasis on safety and security of passengers with special focus on passenger amenities including cleanliness and punctual running of trains, SER sources said.

The chairman stressed on adhering to safety norms by all railwaymen working in the field and instructed that more field inspections by officers be carried out especially during night time, the sources said.

While reviewing various projects of the SER, Mittal stressed on speedy completion of projects within proper time frame.

SER general manager Radhey Shyam, while apprising the chairman and other board members of achievements and developments of the railway, highlighted the efforts being made by the SER to generate more revenue earnings from freight and passenger sectors and the initiative taken to complete all the projects in time.

Passengers’ complaints have been reduced due to bringing about system improvement, Radhey Shyam told the board members, the sources said.

Raipur-Bhawanipatna Passenger to run upto Junagarh Road

Raipur (R): To provide train services to more commuters, the East Coast Railways (ECoR) have decided to extend the run of the Raipur-Bhawanipatna Passenger train up to Junagarh Road from July 8. The Raipur-Junagarh Road Passenger train will leave Bhawanipatna at 10.45 pm and arrive at Junagarh Road at 11.45. In the return direction, the train will leave Junagarh Road station at 1.30 am, Kutrukhamar at 2.02 am and arrive at Bhawanipatna at 2.25 am. The timings for this train between Bhawanipatna and Raipur will remain unchanged. Similarly, the ECoR has decided to extend the services of Bangiriposi-Bhubaneswar-Bangiriposi Express to Puri from  July 18 to July 30 for Nabakalebar fest.

Speed & Efficiency in Multimodal Freight movement to boost Export & Distribution potential in Sub-continent

The World Bank board has approved its third loan for the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) which aims to increase the speed and efficiency of movement of raw materials and finished goods between the northern and eastern parts of India. Having already invested over $2 billion in the project, the World Bank is now lending a further $650 million to be used in the third section, the 401 kilometre Ludhiana-Khurja rail link in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab which will enable faster multimodal transport for cargo in the region outlined in the scheme.

Once completed the Eastern Corridor will be approximately 1,840 km long extending from Ludhiana to Kolkata. The World Bank is supporting the EDFC as a series of projects in which the three sections with a total route length of 1,146 km will be delivered sequentially, but with considerable overlap in their construction schedules.

The project will help increase the capacity of these freight-only lines by raising the axle-load limit from 22.9 to 25 tons and enable speeds of up to 100 km/hr. It will also help develop the institutional capacity of the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL) to build and maintain the DFC infrastructure network. Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in India, said:

“Implementing the Dedicated Freight Corridor programme will provide India the opportunity to create one of the world’s largest freight operations. The corridor, which will pass through states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, will benefit from the new rail infrastructure, bringing jobs and much-needed development to some of India’s poorest regions. Moving freight from road to rail will reduce the carbon footprint of freight by 2.25 times.”

The first loan of $975 million for the 343 km Khurja-Kanpur section in the EDFC programme was approved by the World Bank Board in May 2011 and is already under implementation. So far it has awarded contracts worth $700 million for this section. Compensation has been awarded for about 95% of the 1,410 hectares of land being acquired from the 29,253 affected. The second loan of $1.1 billion for EDFC2 which covers 402 km from Kanpur to Mughal Sarai was approved by the World Bank in April 2014. Under EDFC2, civil works contract for about $800 million has been awarded and contracts worth about $240 million, for establishing rail systems, are under procurement.

The EDFC is part of India’s first Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) initiative – being built on two main routes – the Western and the Eastern Corridors. These corridors will help India increase the railways’ transportation capacity by building high-capacity, higher-speed dedicated freight corridors along the ‘Golden Quadrilateral’. Currently, the rail routes that form a ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, account for 16% of the railway network’s route length, but carry more than 60% of India’s total rail freight.

Augmenting its transport systems is a crucial element of India’s trillion-dollar infrastructure agenda. Since the 1990s, road transport has advanced more rapidly than the railways, and now accounts for about 65% of the freight market and 90% of the passenger market in India. Ben Eijbergen, Programme Leader, Economic Integration and the Task Team Leader for the Project, commented:

“The Indian Railways urgently needs to add freight routes to meet the growing freight traffic in India, which is projected to increase more than 7% annually. These freight lines will wholly transform the capacity, productivity, and service performance of India’s busiest rail freight corridors. At completion, it will be able to more than double its capacity to carry freight, with faster transit times, being more reliable and at lower cost.”

In addition to the efficiency improvement and other operational benefits, the Project is expected to bring in significant reductions of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. A Green House Gas Emission Analysis conducted by DFCCIL for the Eastern DFC Project shows that the Eastern corridor is expected to generate about 10.48 million tons of GHG emissions up to 2041-42, as against 23.29 million of GHG emissions in the absence of EDFC – a 55% reduction of GHG emissions.

Economic opportunities are also being explored along the freight corridor. The government is planning to set up 7 integrated manufacturing clusters using EDFC as the backbone. These clusters will be set up with an investment of about $1 billion on either side of EDFC. The loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 7-year grace period, and a maturity of 22 years.

We have heard of many similar schemes to improve India’s transport infrastructure over the past few years, many of which amounted to nothing, often because of vested interests from certain geographically located groups in a country where political divisions are often a barrage to progress. The subcontinent however would seem the perfect site to create a freight rail infrastructure of this proposed type and it seems that perhaps at last a plan to make a real difference to the competitiveness of India’s export and distribution potential might become a reality.

Kundan Sinha ‘likely’ to take additional charge as Member (Traffic), Railway Board w.e.f. 1st August

kundan sinhaNew Delhi: News is in the air that Kundan Sinha (IRTS 1980 Batch officer) may shortly be given the additional charge (L/A) of Member (Traffic). Ajay Shukla (IRTS:1980), the incumbent, is superannuating on July 30.  Kundan Sinha is likely to be given additional charge w.e.f. 1st of August, 2015 till the full time Member (Traffic) is posted.

Kundan Sinha is currently serving with Railway Board as Additional Member (Traffic & Transportation).

Kundan Sinha earlier worked as Advisor (Rates), Railway Board and also as the Part-Time Government Director on Container Corporation of India Ltd.

Three IRTS officers (Ajay Shukla, Kundan Sinha and Md Jamshed) were empanelled as Additional Member, Railway Board in the February this year.

It is reportedly learnt the prospects for Md Jamshed, the senior most among the three, are finished and Sinha is capturing the imagination of the decision-makers for the post.

However we have to wait and see the final outcome, the decisions of which will be taken 2 days prior to superannuation of the incumbent MT Shri Ajay Shukla.