Igatpuri: The train services in Bhusaval section of the Central Railways has been restored, this morning. The rail traffic in the section was affected after ten coaches of the Mangala Express derailed at Ghoti near Igatpuri in Nashik district on Friday morning.
Central Railway spokesperson A K Singh said the railway services have been restored by 10 this morning. “Both up and down services have been restored. The up train service was restored by 9 am and the down train service by 10 am,” he said.
After the derailment on Friday, rail traffic was affected, forcing railway authorities to cancel various trains, including Manmad-Kurla-Godavari Express and Manmad-Mumbai Panchavati Express.
The mishap took place around 6.30 am on Friday when 12618 Nizamuddin-Ernakulam Mangala Express train was passing through the Ghoti-Igatpuri section near Nashik of the Central Railway. Three passengers were dead and 29 others injured in the derailment. The railway spokesperson said only 11 persons are admitted to hospital while rest have been discharged.
ALLAHABAD: As part of observance of Vigilance Awareness Week to commemorate birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a seminar on ‘Promoting Good governance — positive contribution by vigilance’ has been organized at headquarters of North Central Railway (NCR), Allahabad.
Justice Vineet Saran of the Allahabad high court attended the function as chief guest, which was presided over by NCR General Manager Alok Johri. The 11th edition of Vigilance Bulletin ‘Jagriti’ was also released on this occasion.
Justice Saran expressed his views on this occasion and motivated officers of NCR to abide by the rule of law, address bureaucratic delays and ensure good governance.
The seminar was also addressed by NCR GM who educated officers about the need to be proactive in meeting customer’s legitimate requirements timely and promptly while being on the right side of the law.
The seminar was organised by the Vigilance Department of NCR under the guidance of senior deputy general manager and chief vigilance officer, NCR, Sanjiv Swarup, and was participated by all principal/chief heads of departments and other senior officers of NCR.
Between May 2009 and April 2011, the railway ministry announced a slew of measures that struck at the core of IRCTC’s business model. In these situations, 99 times out of 100, you would expect a PSU to give up and die. But, under Tandon’s leadership, IRCTC not only survived a near-death blow, but is now scripting a glorious comeback.
IRCTC was staring at imminent failure two years ago. Today, it is the largest e-commerce portal in Asia Pacific. Because Rakesh Tandon refused to give up.
Interests outside of work:
Reading a variety of books, yoga, walking, listening to Indian classical music and playing badminton.
For fighting the odds and bringing IRCTC back from the brink, and taking his team along with him by encouraging them to take ownership.
Rakesh Tandon’s simple sartorial choices and his calm, restrained manner of speech are deceptive. They cloak a decidedly dogged and combative nature that has been a long-standing asset for the chairman and managing director of IRCTC (the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation).
You can even trace it back to when he first took his civil services examination in 1976; he scored just 13 out of 150 marks in the essay paper. Disappointed, he worked towards fixing the problem areas in his writing. Tandon got 75 in his next attempt.
This determination has been a hallmark of the 58-year-old’s leadership style, one that has extricated IRCTC from a certain fall into failure a couple of years ago.
IRCTC, started in 1999 after years of deliberation, was meant to keep customer service verticals such as catering, ticketing and tourism away from typical government intervention in order to improve operational efficiency and passenger experience. These had to be run like a commercial business enterprise, not a loss-making social welfare scheme. Despite opposition, IRCTC, for a while at least, made creditable progress, introducing e-ticketing as well as more professional catering services. But things changed dramatically in May 2009, when Mamata Banerjee took charge as railway minister.
Between May 2009 and April 2011, the railway ministry announced a slew of measures that struck at the core of IRCTC’s business model. In these situations, 99 times out of 100, you would expect a PSU to give up and die. But, under Tandon’s leadership, IRCTC not only survived a near-death blow, but is now scripting a glorious comeback.
Tandon, a 1978 batch officer of the Railway Traffic Service, joined IRCTC as chairman and managing director in January 2009. But he had stepped onto a tough battleground: Not everyone wanted IRCTC to continue. Reason: Catering, e-ticketing and tourism were being managed differently, disrupting the long-standing, inefficient handling under direct government control.
For example, earlier, catering shops at railway stations would be passed on as legacy from one generation to another. IRCTC changed that practice and started allotting shops through open bidding. This way, it ended up realising 50, or even 100, times the reserve price.
In May 2009, however, Mamata Banerjee decided to reclaim the catering business for the railway ministry. Catering accounted for 80 percent of IRCTC’s revenues; in one fell swoop, its viability as an organisation was severely damaged. Worse, the new catering policy of 2010 took contractual catering away from IRCTC, leaving behind departmentally-run, loss-making units, which had a turnover of Rs 200 crore but were also responsible for almost all the catering losses.
The professed rationale behind these measures was that IRCTC had not lived up to expectations. But observers and even railway ministry insiders felt this was a case of throwing the baby with the bath water. Steps could have been taken to help improve IRCTC’s delivery.
Subsequently, many officials who had left the Railways to join IRCTC decided to go back to the parent cadre. Several others quit altogether. Perhaps the worst affected were the young recruits from leading institutions in the hospitality industry, who were stuck without options.
As for IRCTC, by the end of financial year 2010-11, profitable business worth about Rs 400 crore (from a total turnover of Rs 760 crore) had gone back to Indian Railways. Catering on trains and platform stalls comprised a bulk of the lost revenue.
To offset these problems, Tandon decided to ramp up IRCTC’s e-ticketing capabilities. But, in 2011, he was told that even that service would be provided directly by the government. A commercial portal for freight-related e-ticketing, announced in 2007, was to be the vehicle for Indian Railways. It would charge Rs 5 as service fee as against IRCTC’s Rs.10.
While a relatively smaller component of IRCTC’s overall revenues, e-ticketing was easily the most profitable one. Surely there was no way back now.
But, somewhere along the line, the Railways had bitten off more than it could chew. That provided Tandon and his team with an opening to stage their big comeback.
In July 2011, the Railways’ e-ticketing portal, which was launched in Kolkata, shut down after a run of just 20 days; it had been unable to handle the traffic. In fact, according to some reports, even when tickets worth a few crores were sold, the money was not realised by a system beset with bungling and mismanagement.
The mandate returned to IRCTC — a crucial first step to regain its footing. Tandon admits that had e-ticketing also been taken away, IRCTC would have been history.
Since taking over in January 2009, Tandon had seen IRCTC getting rapidly undermined. He would stay up till late in the night, worrying about its future. But it is not his style to give up, nor does he believe in leaving the system. “I believe it is better to stay within the system and fight. If you go out, you can only make some noise but real change comes from within,” he says.
The turning point was just around the corner. “I woke up at 2 am one day and jotted down a few key points that I wanted to share with the team,” he says. Later that day, he addressed his team, especially the young recruits. He told them that while it was easy to go back to the parent organisation, he would fight tooth and nail to regroup IRCTC if they were willing to fight alongside him. “The key for me was the enthusiastic response I received from the younger lot,” he says.
Then Tandon laid down the ground rules. Each member had to think of himself or herself as a ‘mini entrepreneur’. They could no longer look at this as a ’10-to-5 job’. “The way to turn profitable at the macro level was to ensure that each unit is run as efficiently as possible so that we make each activity profitable at the micro level,” he says.
His first move was to aggressively push to expand IRCTC’s catering business in the corporate world. Today, customers include corporate offices such as HCL as well as several management institutes. He also started providing housekeeping services.
The strategy was to forge partnerships at the local level. IRCTC supplied the brand, the front-end interaction and the billing but the actual work was largely outsourced. He backed such outsourcing with close monitoring to ensure quality.
Later, ironically, as the number of trains grew, the Railways found it difficult to provide catering for them. It turned to IRCTC that now services several new trains, including all the Duronto Expresses.
In just two years, then, Tandon has rebuilt the catering business to the scale where it was at the end of financial year 2010-11. But while catering brings in the most revenue, profits are reeled in by the e-ticketing and tourism businesses.
Today, IRCTC sells 4.7 lakh tickets a day on an average. In 2008, it was just 40,000. The figure will go up by another 50,000 over the next year. Add to this the tourism business, which accounts for 25 percent of total revenues, the same proportion as e-ticketing, and IRCTC generates a daily business of Rs 50 crore. This makes it the biggest e-commerce portal in the Asia Pacific region.
At a turnover of Rs 704 crore in FY13, IRCTC is back to where it was in 2011 (Rs 760 crore). What is remarkable is that Tandon has achieved these numbers without a bulk of the railway catering business, which is valued at Rs 400 crore.
Nalin Shinghal, currently CMD of Central Electronics Limited, worked as Director-Tourism at IRCTC between 2009 and 2012. “He [Tandon] led the fight very well and on all fronts. He was very supportive of his team and had the ability to delegate — something that not many leaders are able to do,” Shinghal says about his stint under Tandon. As for the never-say-die spirit of the IRCTC team during the setbacks, he says: “It was as if the owner of the shop [the Railways] wanted to shut it down but the shop floor guys were determined to run it well!”
Going the Distance
Tandon has only one more year left at the helm of IRCTC but he continues to push growth through innovation. For instance, he is trying to reduce the transaction time for online reservations by starting an e-wallet type service where you can store a certain amount of money with IRCTC.
Similarly, he has brought ISO certification into IRCTC tourism packages with payment to some service providers linked to the feedback from customers. He is aggressively signing MoUs with state governments and their tourism departments to expand the coverage of rail-based tourism.
On the catering front, IRCTC has recently started a state-of-the-art centralised kitchen in Noida, which can produce 25,000 meals daily. The idea is to have better control over the quality of food.
Previous innovations include green tickets (or SMS tickets) which today save 1.5 lakh pages every day. It took Tandon two-and-a-half years to convince the government to give this facility—which air travel started using only a few months ago — the green signal.
Tandon had struck upon the idea of green tickets in unusual circumstances. While travelling from Dehradun to Delhi by train, he had a young techie from Bangalore occupying the berth facing him. When the ticket collector made his rounds, Tandon saw the techie quietly paying Rs 50, the fine at the time for not carrying a printed copy of the e-ticket. When asked, the techie explained his choice of paying the fine instead of taking a printout: He called the process a headache; in any case, what purpose did the printout serve?
Tandon was taken aback, and came to the conclusion that asking for paper proof of the ticket, or penalising people for not carrying one, was unnecessary — identity proof should be enough. The government had serious security concerns about this scheme. Tandon eventually suggested a three-month pilot on two trains; he also assumed responsibility for any negative fallout. And that’s how green ticketing started in India.
But more than any specific initiative, Tandon’s ability to lead an organisation in the public sector—which is usually not attuned to entrepreneurial zeal — out of crisis has been extraordinary. Even more noteworthy is his humility despite such achievement. ‘After all,’ he says, “working in Indian Railways has prepared me for crisis management because it has a crisis almost every day. I always say: The army goes to war just once but the Railways goes to war every day.”
Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today said his government would bear 50 per cent cost of the railway expansion projects in the state.
“The decision was taken so that the state can get its desired share of rail expansion soon,” the Chief Minister told reporters here.
The state government wants that the Kangra Valley Railway be given National Heritage status like the Kalka-Shimla Railway, he said, adding the narrow gauge facility could also be run on Pathankot-Jogindernagar link.
Railway link is important to boost development of the state, the Chief Minister said.
“The rail link between Bhanupalli (near Nangal) to Bilaspur in Himachal has been okayed by the rail ministry, which shall be further extended to Mandi, Manali and Leh. We wish that this link will also be given from Mandi to Pathankot via Palampur,” he said.
The broad gauge link of Nangal-Mukerian has been extended up to Amb in Una district and from here a line could go up to Kangra via Nadoun to join Mandi-Pathankot link, which would cover the whole central area of Himachal, Singh said.
Speaking on the expansion of Gaggal airport, He said, “It could expanded till Ansoli to make it viable for landing of large aircraft. The state government will extend all help to Centre to acquire land.
New Delhi: Aiming at strengthening safety measures, railways has decided not to engage station masters for selling tickets at small stations so that they concentrate on train operation only.
As per the decision, station masters (SM) and Assistant Station Masters (ASM) will be relieved from the responsibility of selling train tickets at small stations.
Currently, booking clerks have not been posted at small stations and SMs and ASMs are responsible for selling tickets there. The dual function of the station master is not being considered as a healthy practice from safety point of view.
“We will be appointing station ticket booking sewaks (STBS) at certain stations which are being categorised as “E” class stations. STBS will be selling tickets at stations and station masters will be free from this responsibility and as a result they will be fully responsible for train operation,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.
The stations which have less than Rs 5 lakh per year business are in E category and there are 4,158 such small stations out of total 8495 stations in the country.
However, the official said STBS will not be railway employees and they will be working on commision basis.
The stations have not been selected yet for the STBS scheme as it will be operational for a year on a pilot basis at a few stations only.
The STBS will have to deposit Rs 5000 as security deposit and Rs 20,000 as bank gurantee to avail the scheme.
Zonal railways will select stations and invite tenders for the appointment of STBS shortly.
The jansadharan ticket booking sewak (JTBS) scheme is already operational in railways. But the difference between STBS and JTBS is that former is allowed to sell tickets on station premises and the latter is not allowed to do so.
JTBS will have to set up office outside station premises and there are more than 1000 JTBS operational in the Railways.
New Delhi: CBI today questioned Railway Board Member (Electrical) Kul Bhushan in connection with its preliminary enquiry into alleged corrupt practices during his tenure.
CBI sources said Kul Bhushan was asked to appear at the agency headquarters in connection with the preliminary enquiry, registered soon after bribery scandal involving former Railway Minister Pawan Bansal’s nephew had surfaced, which relates to several counts of alleged corrupt practices including purchase of ‘benami’ properties.
They said Kul Bhushan who arrived at the headquarters in the morning was subjected to intense questioning till very late in the evening.
Kul Bhushan was not immediately available for reaction.
The sources claimed that at several points during the questioning sessions, Kul Bhushan could not come up with satisfactory responses when he was confronted with documentary evidence.
They said it is alleged that Kul Bhushan had acquired several ‘benami’ properties worth several crores from Railway contractors in lieu of favours promised to them.
Citing one such instance, the sources claimed, that a flat worth Rs.1.80 Crore was allegedly purchased as ‘benami property’ in Bangalore as an accommodation for his son.
Kul Bhushan is also under CBI scanner for alleged corruption in a separate enquiry related to purchase of coaches for the Kolkata Metro. It is alleged that Kul Bhushan also helped in nurturing vendor cartels at Level II in RDSO which wanted to stop contractors from upgrading from Level I to Level II to maintain its monopoly in bagging contracts, the sources said. The sources said it is alleged in the enquiry that he helped a renowned-builder by granting relief in terms and condition for the development of Rail Land Development Authority prime land at Sarai Rohilla. It is also alleged that he shared eligibility details of proposed Rs.150 crore Railway Signals factory at Chandigarh with the interested contractors at the very initial stage and sought partnership in exchange of favours extended to the contractors, CBI sources said.
The 179 Km Project is under Progress at an Estimated Cost of Rs.800 Crore
The State government has started acquiring land for the East Coast Rail project, said Union Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office V.Narayanasamy here on Tuesday.
The 179-km ECR project passes through Chennai, Mammallapuram, Puducherry, Cuddalore, Mayiladuthurai, and Karaikal at an estimated cost of Rs.800 crore.
Speaking at the flagging off ceremony of the Lokmanya Tilak–Karaikal Weekly here, Mr. Narayanasamy said there were demands for new trains connecting Karaikal with New Delhi, Kanyakumari, and Kollam and the demands would be placed before the Railway Ministry.
The 22-km Karaikal–Peralam gauge conversion project envisaged at Rs. 178 crore but funds had not bee allocated this year. According to the Minister, it is expected that Rs. 120 crore would be sanctioned this year for the project. Persistent demand for extension of the Velankanni–Vasco-da-Gama Weekly special up to Karaikal will be pursued.
The long-standing request for all trains extended up to Karaikal to halt at T.R. Pattinam be taken up personally with Mallikarjuna Karge, Mr. Narayanasamy said.
The Tiruchi–Howrah bi-weekly Express (12664) that was scheduled to leave Tiruchi at 4 p.m. on October 29 has been rescheduled to leave Tiruchi at 4 p.m. on October 30 because of late running of pairing train. The Puducherry–Howrah weekly express (12868) scheduled to leave Puducherry at 12.30 p.m. on October 30 has been cancelled, a Southern Railway press release said.
NEW DELHI: The Urban Development (UD) ministry has red flagged overdependence on real estate revenues to make Metro rail projects viable on public private partnership (PPP) mode after the failure of Delhi Airport Metro Express Line where the private player exited in less than three years of its operation.
In case of these projects and also Hyderabad Metro, where private players were banking heavily on revenue from realty sector, the ministry has come to the view the revenue expectation from such activities should be limited to 20%.
In a Cabinet note, UD ministry has cited how the concessionaire of airport express line projected income from property development to the extent of 70% of gross revenue for 20-25 years, and later it would taper to 37%. “With the slump in the real estate business, the entire revenue collection of this line got jeopardized eventually seeking exit of the concessionaire,” the note says. It proposes that such public transport projects should not be converted into “real estate projects open to various market risks”.
For the Hyderabad Metro project, the successful bidder in 2007-08 banked heavily on revenue from real estate development and had even quoted negative grant. The note says though this was hailed as a successful model. The “euphoria” was “short-lived” due to the 2008 economic slowdown. The project was bid out again in 2010. Even the new concessionaire is facing upheaval task due to present financial condition.
The note backs auditing by Comptroller & Auditor General of India ( CAG) of expenditure of private parties in project development if the cost increases beyond 10%. The ministry wants that while providing land for Metro works no government agency should seek alternate land. Moreover, the price of the land should be at government rate.
Second, all departments concerned must issue permission for speedier construction so that there is no time and cost overrun. The ministry also sought exemption of Metro works from seeking clearance under the Ancient Monument and Archeological Sites & Remains Act to carry out construction close to monuments. It argues that Metro in other countries provide better link to such sites of historical importance.
Third, it pitches for exemption from forest clearances for such projects by treating these as public utility infrastructure works.
Kharge launches High Speed Rail Corporation stressing need for safe, reliable and affordable transport
The Railways on Tuesday set the ball rolling for privatising its passenger segment on its existing infrastructure with the launch of the High Speed Rail Corporation of India Ltd (HSRCIL).
Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge launched the HSRC as a fully-owned subsidiary of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, which his predecessor Nitish Kumar had set up with the objective of raising extra budgetary resources — from the market and private investors.
Mr. Kharge, however, issued a word of caution against adopting new technology.
No technology for gratis
“You should not buy horses merely because horse shoes are freely available,” was Mr. Kharge’s caution. He stressed how technology could be made available for even free. “At times they tell us how cheap it is. The question is whether it suits us or not, not whether it is cheap or free.”
He launched the corporation at an “International Conference on High Speed Rail Travel — Low Cost Solutions.”
Mr. Kharge, however, underlined the need for high speed rail while focusing on providing a mass mode of safe, reliable and affordable transport. Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said the Corporation, as the implementing agency, would contribute in the joint venture to be formed under the Public Private Partnership mode. The other stakeholders could be the State governments and private investors, explained corporation chairman Satish Agnihotri.
The Railways have identified seven routes — all commercially viable — on which the mini high speed trains with a speed of 160 km per hour to 200 km per hour would be operated under the PPP mode.
Officials maintained a stoic silence when asked if the railways were giving away the most viable routes to the private sector.
Some of the routes identified are Ahmedabad-Mumbai, Amritsar-Ludhiana-Chandigarh-Delhi, Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi-Patna, Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram and Bangalore-Chennai. The first project to be implemented under the scheme will be the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route.
NAGPUR: Boarding a train from Nagpur railway station is expected to get a whole lot easier with Central Railway readying home platform towards Santra Market side.
“Need for a home platform at the eastern side of the station was being felt for a long time due to heavy congestion at the western side. Initially, trains starting from and terminating at Nagpur will be operated from this new platform. It will be commissioned in January 2014,” said Brijesh Dixit, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Nagpur/Central Railway.
The new home platform will have a majestic facade of contemporary design depicting a large orange to go with city’s reputation as ‘Orange City’. It will have well lit circulating area with an attractive canopy, escalator, drop-n-go facility, auto stand, car and two-wheeler parking etc.
“While the western side of the station has heritage value, the eastern face will b sport a modern and contemporary look. Proposed world class station is also being planned this side. The proposed Nagpur metro will also pass from this side and will have connectivity with it,” said Dixit.
Officials claim the new development will prove so inviting that east side will become entrance of choice for passengers. Some of the works like full platform roof cover, washable concrete apron under the track will be done in next phase, Dixit added.
The new platform will be numbered 8. It will have innovatively designed roof cover, which will be totally leakproof and will give a pleasant feeling of space and defused lighting. Attractively designed water stands are being provided with water coolers and water filters for dispensing drinking water. Overall ambience will be enhanced by green patches and clear surroundings. This platform will be a virtual gallery of railway heritage articles, with the old period clocks, lamps, bells, benches and such other pieces, preserved and displayed.
The real attraction for users of the platform will be ‘car-to-coach’ facility. It is at present available at select railway stations in metros. “Passengers using this platform will have the option of going up to the platform directly from their car and two-wheelers,” said P D Patil, public relations officer (PRO).
Nagpur: The Nagpur division of Central Railway has, for the first time, commissioned electronic interlocking signalling (EIS) system at Bharatwada station near Nagpur for smooth and accurate train operations.
The electronic system is a shift from conventional route relay interlocking (RRI) system. The existing signalling system at Bharatwada was 30 years old and needed to be replaced.
“We plan to install similar system in Godhni. The advantage of EIS is that operation time of trains can be regulated to seconds,” said Manoj Kumar Sinha, senior divisional signalling and telecommunication engineer (Sr.DSTE).
Of the 101 railway stations in the division, only two – Gudan Khapa and Tadali – have the age-old level pulling system, while 94 have panel interlocking (PI) systems, five stations – Nagpur, Amla, Ballarshah, Sevagram and Ajni- have RRI systems. Of late, the Railway Board has decided to gradually shift to EIS. To start with, small stations are being taken up first to gauge its success.
Sinha said EIS was a microprocessor based system occupying less space. It consumes less power and is more reliable, safer and easy to install and maintain.
“The conventional systems require large number of relays, complex wirings, thousands of soldered joints and they are susceptible to failures,” said Sinha. After its installation on October 28, no signal failure has been reported. The staff was being trained to operate the new system, he added.
Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Brijesh Dixit was himself keen to expedite installation of the system. “The EIS was commissioned in three hours while it takes days for commissioning conventional signalling system,” Dixit said.
Sinha said the best part of EIS was that it had a standby facility and could be operated through conventional operating panel.
PUNE: Indian Railway Institute of Civil Engineering (IRICEN) will be celebrating its 56th IRICEN day on November 1.
The IRICEN day function will be presided by Subodh Jain, Member Engineering of the Railway Board. Among others who would be attending the function include Central Railway General Manager B P Khare, and Secretary of Railway Board H K Jaggi.
At the IRICEN day celebrations, the 1987 silver jubilee batch officers of Indian Railway service of Engineers (IRSE) cadre will be felicitated for completing 25 years of service in Indian Railways. The officers are also holding a seminar on a tropical theme “second phase of track modernising on Indian Railways” and “Ethical conduct and experience sharing”. Medals and trophies will be awarded to outstanding IRSE officers of 2009 batch and group B officers.
Incidentally, November 1 is also celebrated as IRSE day by the officers of Indian Railway Service of Engineers throughout the Indian Railways to mark the beginning of the illustrious service 123 years ago. IRICEN day has been synchronized with IRSE day as IRICEN is alma matter of all IRSE officers.
From November 1, IRICEN will start functioning from the new building at Koregaon Park. The new building is a Green building with platinum rating, which is the highest rating in Green building certification awarded by Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).
Kozhikode: Minister for Social Welfare M.K.Muneer and M.K.Raghavan, MP, respectively inaugurated the new escalators and elevators at the Kozhikode railway station as part of making it a world-class facility on.
With this, the railway station became the first in South India with either an elevator or escalator access to all platforms. The new facilities comprise two sets of escalators at the first platform with a capacity of 18,000 persons per hour and three elevators each (at platforms 1,3, and 4) which can carry 11 people at a time.
Railway sources said the facility was set up at a cost of INR2.5 crore. With these facilities, the station had become friendlier to senior citizens and differently abled persons, Dr. Muneer said. “As the Minister for Social Welfare, I am the happiest man about this facility,” he said.
The Minister said he would take special efforts to release the INR2 crore sanctioned by the State government three months ago for the development of the Kozhikode railway station. Dr. Muneer, who stated that steps were afoot to solve the water crisis at the Kozhikode station, said INR.78 crore had already been allocated for the Panniyankara railway over bridge.
“The land acquisition will begin once the district-level land purchase committee fixed the price,” he said. Raghavan, who presided over the function, said a INR300-crore master plan prepared by the Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organization (KITCO) for the development of the Kozhikode station had already been submitted to Railways.
“A session is planned in the city soon to get feedback from the media and the public about the project, which is expected to be implemented on a public-private partnership mode,” Raghavan said. Maintaining that the plan to set up a pit lane and a satellite station for Kozhikode at West Hill was under the active consideration of the authorities, Raghavan said Mainline Electric Multiple Units (MEMU) services from the city to Ernakulam and Palakkad would begin after the ongoing electrification of the Shoranur-Kozhikode line got over.
A new building for the reservation office and a waiting room at the fourth platform were among the works envisaged, he said. “Work on a fancy restaurant to be set up in a bogey at the fourth platform was also progressing,” Raghavan said.
The Ministry of Railways has taken further measures to prevent misuse of the ‘Izzat’ Monthly Season Ticket (Izzat MST) and to ensure that the scheme actually reaches the low income category people. Under the new measures which have become effective from October 15, the following has been decided: For availing (Izzat MST), the passenger should first obtain income certificate from local government officials like SDM/SDO/BDO/Tehsildar and thereafter obtain income certificates from Member of Parliament of Lok Sabha. After obtaining income certificate from the government officials as mentioned above, recommendations from Member of Parliament of Rajya Sabha and / Union Ministers should be submitted to the DRMs.
On production of the above mentioned income certificates and a copy of Photo identity Card cum residential proof, Izzat MST should be issued.
In case of Izzat MST issued on production of income certificate from District Magistrate or on BPL Card or any other certificate issued by Central Government under a recognised poverty alleviation programme, including ration cards issued to persons under “Antyodaya Anna Yojana”, Izzat MST will be issued directly on production of residence proof. In case of residential proof the following may be accepted: Photo Identity Card cum residential proof like Voter Identity Card, Passport, Driving License, Ration Card, Adhaar Card, Bank Pass book from nationalised Bank with Photograph or any other Photo Identity Card cum residential proof issued with photograph by any Government in India or a Government Agency in India. As announced in Railway Budget 2009-10, the Ministry of Railways had decided to introduce this ‘Izzat’ MST Scheme of uniformly priced Monthly Season Tickets (MSTs) at Rs 25 inclusive of all surcharges which will be issued up to a distance of 100 Kms to persons working in unorganised sector with monthly income not exceeding Rs.1500.
Mumbai: To impart awareness among the railway staff and the public about the importance of honesty and transparency, Vigilance Awareness Week is being observed by Western Railways and Central Railways of Mumbai’s Suburban Railways network from October 28 to November 2.
To mark the beginning of the Vigilance Awareness Week, R.K. Verma, Senior Deputy General Manager and Chief Vigilance Officer, Western Railways and B.P. Khare, General Manager, Central Railways administered a pledge to the staff and officers at the Head Quarters Office at Churchgate and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Heritage building respectively to work with honesty and dedication.
While administering the pledge, Khare said, “We should strive hard to bring about integrity and transparency in all spheres of our activities”. He also pledged to work unstintingly for eradication of corruption in all spheres of life.
He further urged all to remain vigilant and work towards the growth and reputation of the organisation and advised to provide value-based services to fellow citizens, and act without fear and favour.
A seminar was also held at Headquarters Office, Churchgate wherein V. Sivakumaran, retired Financial Commissioner, Railway Board was the Chief Guest.
The Western Railways is also conducting an exhibition showcasing various vigilance related issues and system improvement for more transparency.
B.P. Khare released a special bulletin ‘Subodh’ on Vigilance as a part of the week.
Western Railway’s Vigilance bulletin which contains important DOs and DON’Ts for the staff to ensure the work to be done as per set rules and procedures besides the activities of the Vigilance Department was also released on this occasion.
New Delhi / Jaipur: The Union Government has plans to make equity investment in Jaipur Metro, which till now, was funded by the State Government. The Union Cabinet is likely to consider a Rs.3000 Crore Metro rail project for Jaipur, on Wednesday. The proposal will be put forth before the Union Cabinet soon. There is a need to use transit-oriented development to fund mass rapid transit systems. This includes devising a mechanism, which will ensure that the financial benefits of the property development around urban transportation systems such as the Metro is routed to fund metro rail.
The Metro project will take five years to come up but the proposal’s timing suggests that the Congress-led state government wants to send a signal to voters ahead of assembly elections in the state.
While the decision will not be announced considering Election Commission’s model code of conduct, Congress managers will rely on word of mouth publicity that could benefit the party in the elections where it is fighting a tough battle with BJP to retain power in the state.
The total project cost of all the phases is estimated to be around Rs 7,500 crore. The project is jointly funded by the Centre and the state government. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already inaugurated the project.
LUCKNOW: The state government will be funding the initial phase of metro rail project from UP Housing and Development Board (UPHDB), Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Chief Secretary, Javed Usmani said on Tuesday.
Reviewing a meeting in secretariat, Usmani said while UPHDB will be giving Rs.200 crore, LDA will be paying Rs.100 crore. The IDC will be pitching in Rs.50 crore for the metro rail project that seeks to connect the north-south corridor between Amausi and Munishipulia.
The agencies will be providing 20% of the funds in the financial year 2013-14, 40% in 2014-15 and the remaining 40% in 2015-16.
Usmani said the Central government was reviewing the detailed project report of the metro rail project in Lucknow. He asked the officials to get in-principle approval of the Centre for the project.
The stretch between Amausi and Alambagh will be taken up in the first phase, for which the state government needs to arrange funds as soon as possible, Usmani said.
The funding for the purpose will come through transfer of properties to the metro rail corporation. At least 150 acres of land in Chak Ganjaria farm will have to be transferred. Likewise, around 50 acres of land on PAC campus on Kanpur road be provided for establishment of a depot for the metro rail. For this, sanction will have to be taken from the home department.
The PAC will, at the same time, be expanded keeping in view law and order. A PAC campus will thus be set up in Mohari village in Mohanlalganj tehsil on the outskirts of Lucknow. The land where the new campus is proposed belongs to gram samaj.
NAGPUR: The Nagpur Division Central Railway has informed that due to Diwali rush, quota of berth will be available in special trains to Pune and Mumbai. PRO P D Patil said that in Nagpur-Pune special (01236), which will run on November 1, 8 and 15, 276 and 649 berths are available. Besides, in 01235 Pune-Nagpur, which will run on November 2, 9 and 16, 688 and 511 berths are available. Similarly, berths are also available in LTT-Nagpur train.
Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge today formally launched the High Speed Rail Corporation of India Ltd. (HSRCIL), a subsidiary of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. (RVNL), that will develop high-speed rail corridors i India to run passenger trains at speeds upto 350 km per hour.
Speaking at the inaugural session of a two-day international technical conference here on “High Speed Rail Travel: Low Cost Solutions”, he also unveiled the logo of HSRCIL which has been designed by the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad.
Mr Kharge said that the Indian Railways currently carry more than 7 billion people annually, which is equal to the entire human popuation on earth. He said the Railways’ recent focus on technology upgradation had been driven largely by the objective of achieving higher levels of safety for passengers.
“Despite the fiscal constraints in upgrading the aging infrastructure and in the face of rising costs, the number of train accidents per million train kms has reduced from 0.41 to 0.13 over the past decade,” he said.
He said Indian Railways had attained speeds of 120 kmph on its Mumbai and Kolkata Rajdhani Express trains way back in 1973. In 1998, the Bhopal Shatabdi Express became India’s fastest train, attaining a speed of 140 kmph which was further increased to 150 kmph in 2006.
Meanwhile, many countries like, China, France, Germany, Italy, Taiwan, Turkey, South Korea and Spain have developed high-speed rail to connect their major cities. The maximum commercial speed on most of these high-speed rail lines is 250 to 300 kmph.
He noted that, since the first such high speed rail system began operations in Japan way back in 1964 and became widely known as the bullet train, several countries have built extensive high-speed networks, and there are now several cross-border high-speed rail links.
“Most countries consider high speed capability to be in the range of 250 to 300 kmph which requires a dedicated track with fencing and can be prohibitively costly. For a country like ours track fencing also has its own set of associated issues. Thus, leveraging rolling stock technologies may provide a lower cost solution to meet the immediate needs of achieving speeds of 160 to 200 kmph and that too on the existing track,” he said.
Mr Kharge said that for speeds above 200 kmph the costlier and time consuming solution of providing a separate dedicated track with fencing would become inescapable.
“Therefore, the focus of this conference is to consider achieving higher speed trains in the range of 160 to 200 kmph with marginal inputs in the existing infrastructure.
“Achieving this higher speed train travel of 160 to 200 kmph will also need understanding of many new technologies which Indian Railways has not been extensively exposed to, such as aerodynamic profiles, light weight technologies, cab signaling etc.,” he said.
“This intermediate step can be considered preparatory to achieve high speed train travel of 250 to 300 kmph in the foreseeable future,” he said.
Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said the Railways had undertaken pre-feasibility studies of seven high speed corridors. A preliminary study for Mumbai-Ahemdabad route has estimated its cost to be around Rs. 65,000 crore.
Mr Satish Agnihotri, Chairman of HSRC and CMD of RVNL said that HSRC would undertake project activities such as preparation of project related studies, preparation of the technical standards for HSR Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor and any other corridor decided by the Government. It will provide support to Ministry of Railways and Government of India in finalizing the financial and implementation models.
The conference is being attended by policy makers, senior administrators, rolling stock manufacturers, research institutions, consultants and industry professionals from India and abroad.
Pipavav Railway Corporation Ltd (PRCL) declares maiden dividend after 10 years of operation
Mumbai: APM Terminals operated Gujarat Pipavav Port (APM Terminals Pipavav), one of Western India’s fastest growing gateway ports, received an interim dividend of Rs.38 million (5%) from Pipavav Railway Corporation Limited (PRCL) on the 23rd of October at Mumbai – a historic first for Indian Railway’s flagship infrastructure company under Public Private Partnership (PPP).
PRCL is a Joint Venture company between Indian Railways and Gujarat Pipavav Port under the PPP model to undertake the construction, operation and maintenance of the Surendranagar-Gujarat Pipavav Port, Rail Connectivity Project spanning 271 Kms.
The dividend cheque for the current financial year was handed over to Mr. Dinesh Lal, Director of APM Terminals Pipavav by Mr.Pankaj Malviya, Managing Director of PRCL.
Earlier in the week PRCL also presented the Railway Minister Mr.Mallikarjun Kharge with an Interim Dividend of Rs.49 Million in Delhi.
Steadily increasing traffic at APM Terminals Pipavav, which forms the bulk of PRCL’s traffic, has enabled the company to roll-out its maiden dividend to the Stakeholders. PRCL and APM Terminals Pipavav who jointly pioneered double stack container movement in India, upgraded to double stack high cube (9’6″) capabilities in July this year which further enhanced the value proposition at APM Terminals Pipavav, which has had a direct impact on the increase in volumes to and from the Port.
About Gujarat Pipavav Port (APM Terminals Pipavav)
Gujarat Pipavav Port is part of an international network of Ports and Terminals belonging to APM Terminals of the AP Moller-Maersk Group. Strategically located in Gujarat, approx152 nautical miles from Mumbai, APM Terminals Pipavav is one of the Western India’s fastest growing gateway ports. The port has excellent connectivity to the rich hinterland in North and Northeast India. Since taking over in 2005, the port has steadily expanded its infrastructure facilities to suit its growing customer base. APM Terminals Pipavav, a successful Public Private Enterprise is emerging as an important gateway port on the west coast of India for containers, bulk and liquid cargo.
New Delhi: The Minister of Railways Shri Mallikarjun inaugurated a two day international technical conference on “High Speed Rail Travel; Low Cost Solution” here today. While addressing the conference, the Railway Minister said that India’s primary focus has been to provide a mass mode of safe, reliable and affordable transport, being the largest passenger Railway in the world, it is a natural aspiration of the people of this country that Indian Railways provide them high speed rail travel.
Shri Kharge said that most countries consider high speed capability to be in the range of 250 to 300 kmph which requires a dedicated track with fencing and can be prohibitively costly. For a country like ours track fencing also has its own set of associated issues. Thus, leveraging Rolling stock technologies may provide a lower cost solution to meet the immediate needs of achieving speeds of 160 to 200 kmph and that too on the existing track. For speeds above 200 kmph the costlier and time consuming solution of providing a separate dedicated track with fencing becomes inescapable. Therefore, the focus of this conference is to consider achieving higher speed trains in the range of 160 to 200 kmph with marginal inputs in the existing infrastructure, besides given the financial constraints and issues related to land acquisition and track fencing, as an interim step, the Railway Minister said.
Wishing all the success to Conference, Shri Kharge said that the deliberations in this conference between the various stakeholders will bring about a better understanding of the underlying technology issues and make higher speed rail travel in India a reality.
On the eve of launching of the High Speed Rail Corporation of India Ltd. (HSRC), as a subsidiary under Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) by Railway Minister Mr.Mallikarjun Kharge, this is an attempt to give a brief journey of India marching towards High Speed Rail Systems.
India has one of the largest rail networks in the world but does not have any high-speed rail lines capable of supporting speeds of 200 km/h (124 mph) or more. High-speed corridors have been proposed but not implemented.
Currently, the fastest train in India is the Bhopal Shatabdi, which has a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph). However Indian Railways aims to increase the speed of passenger trains to 160–180 km/h on dedicated conventional tracks.
The railway minister said in 2012 that a combination of prudent investment decisions in the areas of track and bridges, signalling, doubling and train-sets is proposed to be adopted to enable train running at speed of 160 kmph and above. The proposal would significantly reduce travel time for passenger trains by 20-25%. Such infrastructure would also enable Railways to run Shatabdi trains on long distance trunk routes and between metros, he said in his speech.
Approach to high-speed
Indian Railways’ approach to high-speed is incremental improvement on existing conventional lines for up to 160 km/h, with a forward vision of speed above 200 km/h on new tracks with state-of-the-art technology, such as Shinkasen/TGV etc. While they do not define high-speed, Indian Railways’ approach matches the high-speed definitions of the Trans-European High Speed Rail Network, for upgraded lines and new lines built for high-speed. Dedicate tracks to passenger trains
Dedicate tracks on existing trunk lines to passenger trains, by building separate corridors for freight trains, and build separate tracks for busy suburban traffic in Mumbai and other cities where traffic is equally busy. Without slower freight and suburban traffic, fast-express trains can run at the speed limit of rolling stock, the railway track or railroad switch, whichever is lowest among those that apply.
Upgrade tracks for 250–300 km/h
Upgrade the dedicated passenger tracks with heavier rails, and build the tracks to a close tolerance geometry fit for 250–300 km/h. This implied that the high speed gauge is 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) Indian Gauge (Broad Gauge). High-speed tracks to be maintained and inspected using automation to ensure required track geometry. Perform more frequent inspection to ensure high confidence of safety at high-speed.
Design, manufacture and deploy railroad switches, with thick web construction and movable crossings that permit 50 km/h to alleviate this bottleneck to speed.
Upgrade locomotives and coaches
Improve coaches, which can support 160 km/h, with stainless steel bodies and crash-worthy designs, incorporating passenger and crew protection, and fire-retardant materials. Equip coaches with electro-pneumatic brake systems to enhance safe operations at 160–180 km/h.
Develop locomotives with output of 9000 to 12000 hp for hauling of 24-26 coach long passenger trains to 160–200 km/h.
Indian railways has asked IIT Kharagpur to conduct research to obtain the technological knowhow to increase the maximum attainable speed to 200 km/h. The project, which will be conducted in the Railway Research Centre of IIT Kharagpur, has four main goals; improving speed, improving carrying capacity (heavy haul), use of advanced material, advanced signalling and maintenance for better safety. The research is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
Proposal to introduce 300-350 km/h trains
One of the first proposals to introduce high-speed trains in India was mooted in the mid-1980s by then Railway Minister Madhavrao Scindia. A high-speed rail line between Delhi and Kanpur via Agra was proposed. An internal study found the proposal not to be viable at that time due to the high cost of construction and inability of travelling passengers to bear much higher fares than those for normal trains. The railways instead introduced Shatabdi trains which ran at 130 km/h.
The Indian Ministry of Railways’ white-paper “Vision 2020″, submitted to Indian Parliament on December 18, 2009, envisages the implementation of regional high-speed rail projects to provide services at 250–350 km/h, and planning for corridors connecting commercial, tourist and pilgrimage hubs. Six corridors have already been identified for technical studies on setting-up of high-speed rail corridors: Delhi–Chandigarh–Amritsar, Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Hyderabad-Kazipet-Dornakal-Vijayawada-Chennai, Howrah–Haldia, Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore-Ernakulam-Thiruvananthapuram, Delhi-Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi-Patna. These high-speed rail corridors will be built as elevated corridors in keeping with the pattern of habitation and the constraint of land.
Indian Railway set up a corporation called High Speed Rail Corporation of India Ltd (HSRC) on 25 July 2012, that will exclusively deal with the proposed high-speed rail corridor projects. The corporation is a subsidiary of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. (RVNL). It will handle tendering, pre-feasibility studies, awarding contracts and execution of the projects. The corporation will comprise four members, all of whom will be railway officials. All high-speed rail lines will be implemented through PPP mode on a Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis.
In a feasibility study published in 1987, RDSO and JICA estimated the construction cost to be Rs 49 million per km, for a line dedicated to 250–300 km/h trains. In 2010, that 1987-estimated cost, inflated at 10% a year, would be Rs 439 million per km (US$ 9.5 million/km). RITES is currently performing a feasibility study. It is being estimated that dedicated high speed corridor will cost about INR100 crore per km.
According to news media, the costs for constructing such rail lines in India are estimated to be Rs 700-1000 million per km (US$ 15-22 million/km). Therefore the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route of 500 km, will cost Rs 370 billion (US$ 8.04 billion) to build and to make a profit, passengers will have to be charged Rs 5 per km (US$ 0.11/km). Delhi to Amritsar one-way, a distance of 450 km, will cost about Rs 2000 (US$ 43.48). At US$ 15-22 million per km, cost estimates are in line with US$ 18 million per km of the recently completed Wu-Guang HSR line in China.
In India, trains in the future with top speeds of 300–350 km/h, are envisaged to run on elevated corridors, to prevent trespassing by animals and people. This is an excellent way to isolate high-speed train tracks. The TGV tracks are completely fenced in and has no road crossing them at the same level. Wu-Guang’s 2-tracks line is laid, 468 km on bridges, 177 km in tunnels, and 323 km on embankments. The 336 km THSR tracks are 91% on bridges, flyover, or tunnels.
The current conventional lines between Amritsar-New Delhi, and Ahmedabad-Mumbai runs through suburban and rural areas, which are flat, therefore have no tunnel. Ahmedabad-Mumbai line runs near the coast therefore have more bridges, and parts of it are in backwaters or forest. The 1987 RDSO/JICA feasibility study found the Mumbai-Ahmedabad line as most promising. Maharashtra state government has proposed a link between Mumbai and Nagpur which will be good for development of the state railway. This project’s cost is estimated INR 60,000 crore.
As of July 2010, there are currently 49 train services with fares from US$ 70-115 (Rs 3220-5290), or US$ 0.07-0.12 per km (Rs 3.33-5.46/km). Amritsar-New Delhi line has 22 daily services, with fares range from Rs 552-1434 (US$ 12-31). Ahmedabad-Mumbai has 32 daily services with fares from Rs 514-1475 (US$ 11-32). On the 2 Indian lines travelling cost Rs 1.14-3.19 per km (US$ 0.025-0.069/km).
A separate entity, High Speed Rail Authority of India (HSRA), has been set up to operationalise bullet trains in the country as part of 12th Five Year Plan (2012–17).
To put the construction in perspective, in the period 2005-09 Indian Railways took on construction of 42 completely new conventional lines, a total of 4060 km at a cost of Rs 167 billion (US$ 3.63 billion), or Rs 41 million per km (US$ 0.89 million/km). A public-private-partnership mode of investment and execution is envisaged for such expensive 250–350 km/h high-speed rail project.
The consultants for pre-feasibility study for four corridors are:
Systra, Italferr and RITES Limited for Pune – Mumbai – Ahmedabad,
British firm Mott MacDonald for Delhi-Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi-Patna
INECO, PROINTEC, Ayesa for Howrah-Haldia
Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) and Oriental Consultancy along with Parsons Brinckerhoff India for Hyderabad-Dornakal-Vijaywada-Chennai
The state governments are ready to meet 50% cost of the consultancy. While Japan has shown interest in India’s high speed train, it is funding 80% of the cost of construction of the 1,499 km-long Western Dedicated Freight Corridor.
On 21 March 2011, the British firm Mott MacDonald was asked to conduct a pre-feasibility study on the 993 km long Delhi-Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi-Patna route. It cost the Railways 8.8 crore for the report.
The Indian Railways gave the go ahead for conducting a feasibility study on the Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore-Ernakulam-Thiruvananthapuram route. There was a plan to either include Mysore in the main route or to create a branch line to that city. With the Railways’ move, the Karnataka State government decided not to commission a separate feasibility study on implementing a high-speed train between Bangalore and Mysore.The pre-feasibility study will be tabled in Parliament and the final feasibility study will begin in April 2012.
During the 2012 Rail Budget speech, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi announced that pre-feasibility studies on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Pune, Delhi-Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi-Patna, Howrah-Haldia, Hyderabad-Dornakal-Vijaywada-Chennai and the Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore-Ernakulam-Thiruvananthapuram high-speed corridors have already been completed and study on Delhi-Jaipur-Ajmer-Jodhpur route will be taken up in 2012-13. In February 2013, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi demanded railway ministry for speedy implementation of pending Highspeed Rail projects in the country.
In September 2013, an agreement was signed in New Delhi to complete a feasibility study of High Speed Rail between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, within 18 months. The study will cost ¥500 million and the cost will be shared 50:50 by Japan and India.
Non-Standardisation of High-speed rail Infrastructure
India has not standardized the infrastructure for High-speed rail projects to be executed across India. This has resulted in different projects using different gauges for their lines. Delay in standardisation may result in using inefficient use of High-Speed route for freight transport, as the both standard railway and high-speed railway using different kind of gauges. Delay in creating a standardisation for High-Speed railway in India may result in a project like Project Unigauge, which may be necessary as control of PPP projects are given back to the Indian Railway by concessioner after the concession period.
Standardisation will make Indian Railways more efficient, avoid the current break of gauges, increase the freight-carrying capacity and shorten the routes with many re-gauged links. It will also standardise the manufacturing of Railway components across India, thus bringing cost of manufacturing of the indigenous railway related components.
Using a Broad Gauge is expected to bring down the cost of transporting freight from one place to another and necessary to keep trains stable in the face of strong monsoon winds.
Broad Gauge offers an advantage to freight movement, as trains in India can carry standard shipping containers double-stacked on standard flatcars, which is more economical than single containers. In contrast, standard-gauge railways in North American and elsewhere must use special double-stack cars to lower the center of gravity and reduce the loading gauge requirements.
Metro projects in India, like Delhi Metro (some lines), Bangalore Metro, Kochi Metro used the Standard Gauge. But, recent studies by international consultants have shown using Broad gauge is better suited for Indian high population density. Broad gauge provides more seating space and a better option for long term feasibility of railway projects.
Fragmentation of the High-Speed Rail Network
Unlike NHDP, where the National Highways will come under the direct ownership of the Central agency National Highway Authority of India, after the end of concession period, High-Speed Rail development is still driven by multiple independent companies. This means high-speed railway infrastructure will remain fragmented across India, without any company controlling end to end Railway line from East to West or North to South, for unforeseeable future. For example, alongside Arabian Sea coast, Kerala High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd. (KHSRC) is driving a Standard Gauge high-speed rail, where as Indian Railway is working on Broad Gauge, for Ahmedabad-Mumbai corridor. In general in India, northern companies are in favor of Broad Gauge as Indian Railway, while southern companies are in favor of Standard Gauge.
Patna: A security official caught hold of a man scurrying away from a Patna railway station toilet where a blast took place Sunday. And the terror suspect who tried to bluff his way out has turned out to be a big catch. Mohammad Imtiaz Ansari, main accused in the serial blasts in Patna, was caught by a Government Railway Police (GRP) official when he suspected something was amiss with the youth trying to flee after coming out of toilet following a bomb explosion. Senior officials have declined to name the brave GRP official for security reasons as also because it would endanger him. “Imtiaz was forced to flee after a bomb exploded when another terror suspect Ainul alias Tarique was trying to fit or fix a timer in a bomb at a Patna junction toilet,” a senior GRP official at Patna junction said. ADG (Special Branch) Rajesh Chandra said Imtiaz tried to act smart when the GRP official first pounced upon him and nabbed him. “He said he was a tailor (darzi) and he had to go to Kalyanpur in Motihari. But there is no place called Kalyanpur in Motihari. In fact, Kalyanpur is in Samastipur district,” Chandra said. Police recovered a piece of paper from Imtiaz’s pocket, which had seven phone numbers and they recovered his mobile phone too. Additional Director General (Rail) P.N.Rai described it as a big catch.
Imtiaz confessed that he along with six people was divided into three groups with specific assignments to carry out the blasts. He admitted that all the bombs were planted Sunday morning after 9 a.m. “Imtiaz told police that he along with another terror suspect was given the task of planting bombs at the Patna junction toilet and other adjoining places, and two other groups were asked by Tahseen Akhtar to plant bombs on two sides of Gandhi Maidan, where Modi was to address the rally,” he said. Tahseen is an activist-leader of the banned outfit Indian Mujahideen, and is the brain behind serial blasts now. Six of the seven blasts took place in and around Gandhi Maidan before Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was to address a rally. Six people were killed and 83 injured in these serial blasts. Imtiaz told sleuths that all of them left Ranchi by a bus Oct 26 night and reached Mithapur bus stand, nearly 300 metres from Patna junction around 6 Sunday morning. Chandra said the terrorists formed three groups that left for different destinations, including Patna railway junction, with six bombs each – made of 8-9-inch pipes with explosives filled inside. Bihar Police have decided to reward the GRP official who caught Mohammad Imtiaz Ansari. Additional Director General (Rail) P.N. Rai said the GRP official will be rewarded for his courageous action. Bihar Police chief Abhyanand has recommended Rs.25,000 prize for the brave GRP official, Rai said. He, however, refused to name the GRP official on security grounds. He said Imtiaz was a big catch as that will help to crack the case of serial blasts in Patna. “Terrorist Kasab was caught during Mumbai terror attack. More or less similarly, Imtiaz was caught by GRP official,” Rai said. Officials at police headquarters here said that state government is likely to announce a bigger prize for the GRP official. The first of the low-intensity blasts ripped through a toilet at around 10 a.m. at the newly-built Platform 10 of the Patna railway station in the heart of the city. After an hour, by which time Modi had reached Patna but not the rally ground, six explosions took place – four inside the Gandhi Maidan, and two around it. The Patna railway station is located two-three km from the sprawling Gandhi Maidan.
Siliguri: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is getting a makeover with the addition of signage in bright colours at all 14 stations of the Unesco heritage site, most of which will be given fresh paint also.
The refurbishment of the hill railway has started with Sukna station, 10km from here, where signboards have been put up in blue and yellow.
The boards show the name of the station, distance to other stations and direction, besides informing passengers about the Unesco world heritage status of the toy train.
“We are putting in all efforts to highlight the DHR as a prime tourism destination. In the process, we have started the revamp of all 14 stations that fall along the 80km route of the hill railway from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling. The first station to get a revamp is at Sukna and the outcome is quite satisfying. The station looks quite pretty with new signage and display boards. We have decided to give other stations also the same look,” said Arun Kumar Sharma, the divisional railway manager, Katihar division.
The 14 stations of the DHR still retain the old-world charm with cottage-style structures and tin roofs, wooden chairs for the passengers and small flower gardens fenced with wooden railings which usually have the model of a toy train on display.
“Tourists come to experience all that is antique and the old-world ambience of the hill railway that comprises engines, coaches and stations. Tourists like to halt at stations, sit on wooden chairs and take pictures of the cottage-styled structures as much as they want to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the route,” said a DHR official.
“Since the hill railway is 132 years old, refurbishing the stations from time to time is essential so that they do not look worn out. Apart from installing new signboards and signage, we will also give the cottage-styled structures, wooden chairs and railings a fresh coat of paint wherever it is required,” a DHR source said.
Nizamabad Railway Station will become an important junction soon -Madhu Yaskhi Goud
Member of Parliament Madhu Goud Yaskhi, here on Monday, received the newly introduced weekly express train between Mumbai and Nizamabad. The train was formally flagged off by Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge at Lok Manya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai yesterday evening.
This weekly train (No: 11205) departs at LTT Kurla on Saturday at 1640 hours, arrives in Nizamabad on Sunday at 0915 hours and leaves for LTT on the same day at 2315 hours and reaches on the following day at 1355 hours, according to railway authorities.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Madhu Goud said his two-year effort to get a sanction of an express train between Nizamabad-Mumbai fructified thanks to the cooperation of Railway Minister. Some more express trains would be sanctioned, he said.
Saying that the Nizamabad railway station would become an important junction in the region after the completion of Peddapally line connecting Karimnagar, Jagityal and Armur, he said the line would become operational within a year.
Sufficient funds for this line have been allocated in the railway budget and most of the work was completed, he said adding that the new train would cater to the needs of the people of the district who frequented Mumbai.
Replying a question he said that the Telangana State would be formed within two months and no one could stop it. “Our party will win the elections in two States and it will not have truck with any political party”, he added.
Istambul: Turkey has opened an underwater railway tunnel linking Europe and Asia, and the two sides of Istanbul, realizing a plan initially proposed by an Ottoman sultan about 150 years ago. The engineering feat spans 13 km (8 miles) to link Europe with Asia some 60 metres below the BosphorusStrait. Called the Marmaray, it will carry subway commuters in Europe’s biggest city and eventually serve high-speed and freight trains. The Marmaray tunnel runs under the Bosporus, the strait that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and divides Istanbul between Asia and Europe. The tunnel is 13.6 kilometres long, including an underwater stretch of 1.4 Kilometres. It is among a number of large infrastructure projects under the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that have helped boost the economy but also have provoked a backlash of public protest.
“I wish from God that the Marmaray that we are inaugurating will be a benefit to our Istanbul, to our country, to all of humanity,” Mr.Erdogan said at the opening ceremony. Officials hope that with up to 1.5 million passengers a day, the tunnel will ease some of Istanbul’s chronic traffic, particularly over the two bridges linking the two sides of the city. A more distant dream is that the tunnel may become part of a new train route for rail travel between Western Europe and China.
The underwater portion of the tunnel wasn’t dug, but was dropped in sections to the sea bottom the immersed-tube method used around the world. Turkish officials say that at more than 55 metres deep, it is the world’s deepest railway tunnel of its type. Started in 2005 and scheduled to be completed in four years, the project was delayed by important archaeological finds, including a 4th century Byzantine port, as builders began digging under the city.
Rejecting any fears that the tunnel could be vulnerable to earthquakes in a region of high seismic activity, Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim said that it is designed to withstand a massive 9.0 magnitude quake. He calls it “the safest place in Istanbul.”
The tube sections are joined by flexible joints that can withstand shocks.
Ottoman Sultan Abdulmejid is said to have proposed the idea of a tunnel under the Bosporus about a century and a half ago. One of his successors, Abdulhamid, had architects submit proposals in 1891, but the plans were not carried out. The tunnel is just one of Mr. Erdogan’s large-scale plans. They include a separate tunnel being built under the Bosporus for passenger cars, a third bridge over the strait, the world’s biggest airport, and a massive canal that would bypass the Bosporus.
The projects have provoked charges that the government is plunging ahead with city-changing plans without sufficient public consultation. The concern fueled protests that swept Turkey in June. Tuesday’s ceremony on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic was attended by Erdogan and other officials, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country was heavily involved in the construction and financing of the railway tunnel project.
Japan’s Seikan tunnel linking the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido is the world’s deepest, getting 140 meters (460 feet) below the seabed and 240 metres below sea level. The Channel Tunnel linking Britain and France is as much as 75 metres below sea level.
The personnel of the Government Railway Police Station (GRPS) of Dimapur Railway Station arrested one person for possessing huge quantity of explosives on Saturday last. According to a statement issued by the Additional Superintendent of Police Dimapur and PRO today said that the accused, identified as one Samuel Lalramsan Hmar (27 years) of Rengkai village, Churachandpur, Manipur, was found smuggling the explosives in two bags, when police checked his belonging on suspicion as he alighted from the Intercity train at Dimapur Railway Station on charges of smuggling explosives. A total of 290 gelatin sticks, 450 detonators and 45 meters of fuse wires were recovered from Samuel. Police are investigating the source of the explosives and involvement of other accomplices in the crime. Investigation was on to apprehend the entire explosive smuggling gang, the statement said.
NEW DELHI: The Urban Development (UD) ministry has red flagged overdependence on real estate revenues to make Metro rail and other infrastructure projects viable on public private partnership (PPP) mode.
After the failure of Delhi Airport Metro Express Line and Hyderabad Metro, where private players were banking heavily on revenue from realty sector, the ministry has come to the view the revenue expectation from such activities should be limited to 20%.
In a recent confidential Cabinet note circulated to elicit responses of other ministries, Nirman Bhawan has cited how the concessionaire of airport express line projected income from property development to the extent of 70% of gross revenue for 20-25 years, and later it would taper to 37%. “With the slump in the real estate business, the entire revenue collection of this line got jeopardized eventually seeking exit of the concessionaire from the project,” the note says. It proposes that such public transport projects should not be converted into “real estate projects open to various market risks”.
For the Hyderabad Metro project, the successful bidder in 2007-08 banked heavily on revenue from real estate development and had even quoted negative grant. The note says though this was hailed as a successful model and it was assumed such Metro projects would be money-spinners, the “euphoria” was “short-lived” due to the 2008 economic slowdown. The project was bid out again in 2010. Even the new concessionaire is facing upheaval task due to present financial condition.
The note backs auditing by Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) of expenditure of private parties in project development if the cost increases beyond 10%..
For smoother and timely completion of these major urban mass transport projects, the ministry has also suggested sweeping changes both relating to seeking clearance and permission to carry out construction without any hindrance.
The ministry wants that while providing land for Metro works no government agency should seek alternate land. Moreover, the price of the land made available should be at government rate.
Second, all departments concerned must issue working permission for speedier construction so that there is no time and cost overrun. The ministry has also sought exemption of Metro works from seeking clearance under the Ancient Monument and Archeological Sites & Remains Act to carry out construction close to monuments. In fact, it argues that Metro in other countries provides better link to such sites of historical and cultural importance.
Third, it pitches for exemption from getting forest clearances for such projects by treating these as important public utility key infrastructure works such as roads and water supply. The ministry has also underscored the need to appoint commissioners of Metro Railways safety considering its expanding reach to several cities.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Chief Mangu Singh Tuesday inspected the ongoing underground Metro constructions in South Delhi, said an official statement. Mangu Singh visited the construction sites at South Extension, INA market, Sarojini Nagar and Bhikaji Cama Place to oversee the Phase-III work progress and the traffic diversion plans being executed by Delhi Metro at these intersections. He interacted with the engineers and asked them to take care of the lighting along the barricades and the traffic issues caused by the construction work. He told the engineers to lay special emphasis on providing walkways along the Metro sites for pedestrians and easing traffic movement for commuters.
DMRC started the underground tunnelling work earlier this month by lowering the first Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) at INA market. The DMRC is slated to construct 53 km of underground Metro lines, with 74 tunnels, during Phase-III for which about 34 TBMs are expected to be used. The tunnelling work between Central Secretariat and ITO on the 9.37-km long Central Secretariat-Kashmere Gate corridor has been completed. Delhi Metro is currently constructing another 140 km of Metro network which it aims to complete by 2016.
Patna: Two days after a string of blasts struck Patna, investigators have pieced together the sequence of events at the railway station, where the first blast took place.
Sources say that two men, Ainul alias Tarique and Imtiaz alias Kalimuddin Ansari, who have been arrested in connection with the blast at railway station, have told investigators that they were assembling bombs inside the toilet near platform number 10 when suddenly a man’s phone rang in the adjoining toilet. This made them nervous, sources said, adding that the duo hurriedly left one of the bombs in a cistern.
But the bomb exploded, injuring Ainul; Kalimuddin tried to run away leaving behind some bomb material and an explosive-laden bag but was caught by policemen patrolling the railway station.
Sources also say that a total of 18 bombs were planted in Patna by six alleged Indian Mujahideen men ahead of Mr Modi’s rally. Seven exploded on Sunday, the rest have been defused or detonated by the bomb squads.
Six people were killed and 83 injured in the explosions ahead of Mr Modi’s rally.
The National Investigating Agency, which probes terror attacks, has taken over the case.
The Bihar Police has blamed terror group Indian Mujahideen, though the group has not claimed responsibility.
One of the six bombs that exploded at Gandhi Maidan, exploded just 150 feet from the stage where Mr Modi and other BJP leaders appeared.
Three more bombs were found in the park today, despite it being cordoned off for inspection by forensic and other experts.
At least one of these bombs was very powerful, a senior policeman said.
One bomb was found this morning and detonated under the supervision of commandos from the National Security Guard or NSG
MP H Vishwanath has said that the Congress is committed to provide railway connectivity between Mysore-Kushalnagar and thereby include Kodagu in the railway map.
Speaking to mediapersons on Tuesday, he said the survey for the project has already been completed.
The estimated cost of the project is Rs 650 crore. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has promised to bear 50 per cent of the cost of the project. The CM has also promised to provide land for railway project in Kodagu.
Union Minister for Railways Mallikarjuna Kharge has already taken a decision on implementing the project.
He said as announced in the budget, the government has released Rs 50 crore to the district, of which, Rs 30 crore will be utilised for the development of panchayat roads and Rs 20 crore for PWD roads. The Congress-led State government has promised to release additional Rs 10 crore for developing roads.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, met Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge at the Rail Bhawan in New Delhi today and asked him to grant approval for the Rishikesh-Karnaprayag railway line alignment as early as possible.
He said the railway line alignment survey proposed by the Railway Development Corporation had been completed and submitted to the Railway Ministry for approval.
Mr Bahuguna said it was only after the Railway Ministry would provide its approval that the Forest department could start providing the NOC and land requisition work would commence for the project.
He said the project was of national importance and thus, the Railways must give highest importance to it.
The Chief Minister also discussed the Tanakpur-Bageshwar railway line and other important railway projects for the hill state. The Railway Minister has assured Mr Bahuguna that he would give positive thought to the proposed projects.
NEW DELHI: Moving a step closer to run trains at 160-200 km per hour, railways on Tuesday set up high speed rail corporation (HSRC) — a subsidiary of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) — that will undertake study and execute proposed high speed rail corridors in the country.
Factoring in ongoing financial constraints, the state-run transporter is planning to introduce semi-high speed trains on certain routes like Delhi-Lucknow, Delhi-Chandigarh and Delhi-Bhopal with existing infrastructure. It aims to increase the speed from 130-150 kmph to 160-200 kmph on the existing track by upgrading signal and brake system along with fencing the track at some stretches.
Railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge said that there is a need to consider running trains — in the range of 160 to 200 kmph — by marginally augmenting inputs in the existing infrastructure.
But the minister cautioned that the decision to increase the speed of trains on existing tracks should not be taken in haste. “Passenger safety is paramount. There is a need to study in details since a major accident happened in the past by increasing speed of a train on existing track,” the minister told.
Earlier in the day, Kharge warned officials that care should also be exercised in adopting new technology, saying, “One should not buy horses because horse shoes are freely available.”
The minister was hinting at easy availability of high speed technology and equipment by multinational companies that are eyeing Indian market in a big way, thanks to saturation on their own turfs.
Kharge said that achieving 160 to 200 kmph would be an intermediate step and can be considered preparatory to achieve high speed — 250 to 300 kmph — in the foreseeable future.
Berhampore: Union Minister of State for Railways Adhir Chowdhury, whose interim bail was to be heard today for alleged conspiracy in the murder of a Trinamool Congress worker in 2011, received a reprieve when the court adjourned for the day without hearing any case.
Vacation district judge Kallol Chatterjee adjourned the court for the day after Bar Association President Abubaqer Siddique said that it was not possible for a single lawyer to appear in the 250-300 cases listed for the day.
A non-bailable arrest warrant had been issued against Chowdhury by the additional chief judicial magistrate’s court on September 27 for alleged conspiracy in the murder of Trinamool Congress worker Kamal Sheikh in Golbazar area of Murshidabad district in 2011.
The Minister was charge-sheeted by the police on September 25.
On October 3, Chowdhury’s petition, that the hearing be advanced to an earlier date, was turned down.
The minister was also an accused in a separate case of alleged attack on the district magistrate’s bungalow in Murshidabad in February, 2012.
New Delhi: Indian Railways has rejected Chinese firms’ plea to relax the rules for the INR 2,500 crore locomotive manufacturing plants in Bihar.
Two Chinese companies — CSR Corporation and CNR Corporation — had submitted bid for the INR 1,300 crore electric locomotive project at Madhepura and INR 1,200 crore diesel locomotive plant at Marhowra diesel locomotive project that are to be set up on public private partnership (PPP) model.
The firms, which were eyeing contracts valued at about INR 35,000 crore over 10-11 years, had urged the Railway Board to relax the norms that stipulated the companies to have experience of operating in at least three countries.
However, the Chinese companies have supplied locomotives to only two countries.
“We have told those (Chinese companies) that there would be no relaxation as the Cabinet has approved these conditions of the request for quotation (RFQ) in 2010,” Railway Board chairman Arunendra Kumar said.
He added, “Their request would have been considered if there was poor response, but several multinational companies have also shown interest.
The response has been fairly good.” The rejection comes at a time when Chinese companies created a flutter by bidding for a share of the Railways’ locomotive market, which is traditionally dominated by big-ticket American and European players.
There was keen interest whether Chinese firms can make the technical grade to submit financial bids for the projects as that could have set the stage for more competitive bids.
Apart from the Chinese firms, the bidders for the proposed electric loco factory include US firm GE Global and European companies like Bombardier, Siemens and Alstom.
Similarly, for the diesel loco factory, bidders include American firms GE and EMD. CSR, in a letter to the Railway Board, had said unnecessary conditions in RFQ were restricting the project from being uncompetitive.
“It is unfair for us to be prevented to participate in the project from the RFQ stage,” it says. The letter criticized the condition that a company applying for the project should have worked in at least three countries in similar line of operations.
Kolkata: Metro Railway Kolkata is set to run more trains at five-minute frequency to distribute the increasing load of commuters that is taking a toll on the health of its fleet.
The city’s transport lifeline averages around seven lakh commuters daily, almost 30 per cent higher than its capacity. The increase in passenger load has meant that the pressure doesn’t ease even during the so-called non-peak hours.
“Since it is not possible to reduce the interval to less than five minutes, we have decided to increase the number of trains in a day so that we have more trains at the highest frequency,” a senior official of Metro Railway said on Tuesday.
The plan is to run 300 trains between New Garia (Kavi Subhash) and Dum Dum on weekdays, 30 more than the number of trips the rakes currently do. “This is the only feasible way to reduce overcrowding,” the official said.
Trains currently run every five minutes from 9am till 10.30am and 5pm till 6.30pm. The service intervals for the rest of the day range between six and 15 minutes.
Officials who attended a meeting on Tuesday to discuss ways to reduce overcrowding said 15 drivers from Eastern and South Eastern Railway had been picked to run the additional trains.
Metro Railway has around 250 drivers on its rolls, but safety norms don’t permit more than three trips a day by each.
The transferred drivers, who had been operating local trains, are undergoing training at Metro Railway’s Noapara yard. “They should be ready for Metro duty in three to four months,” a senior official said.
Officials said the current timings for trains at five-minute frequency were inadequate to cope with the increase in passenger load since the route was extended till Kavi Subhash in the south.
“The traditional peak hour has long breached its limit. Even around 2pm, the Metro now remains crowded,” an official said.
The problem is aggravated when there is a disruption like the one caused by a suicide on the tracks on Tuesday.
Tanusree Kar, a 47-year-old resident from Behala, jumped in front of a New Garia-bound train while it was entering Kalighat station at 9.49am. Metro services resumed at 10.47am but trains remained overcrowded until several hours later.
“I waited at Rabindra Sadan for over 20 minutes from 11.10am. When a train finally arrived, it was so crowded that I stepped out after getting in. I took a taxi to reach my store on MG Road,” said Harsh Agarwal, who runs a digital photo-printing store.
Facebook was flooded with status updates from commuters who were either stranded or delayed for office because of the peak-hour disruption.
“Alert. Metro services off since 9.30am for some suicide,” read Siddhartha Mukherjee’s status update at 10am.
“First a flat tyre and now the constable at the Metro station tells me that there is no Metro service…. What a start to the day,” Sushmit Goswami wrote at 10.15am.
Sourav Debnath, who works for a website maintenance company, missed an appointment with a client at Lake Town after being delayed by an hour.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Metro Railway Users’ Consultative Committee, members discussed the problems faced by daily commuters and the possible solutions. “We spoke about whether the number of coaches in a rake can be increased but that isn’t feasible,” a source said.
A Metro rake has eight coaches. For the number of coaches to be increased, the length of the platforms at each station needs to be extended as well.
Increasing the number of trains in a day was thought to be the best possible solution given Metro Railway’s constraints.
Other suggestions included extending the service hours on Sundays.
“We suggested that the hours be extended on weekdays, too,” said Congress MP Abhijit Mukherjee, who is a member of the committee.
His colleague Mausam Benazir Noor said fares should be hiked to improve the quality of services.
Metro officials said there was no plan to extend the service hours immediately.
An engineer at the Integral Coach Factory in Perambur, which manufactured the 13 AC rakes and several of the older trains in the fleet, said the “slated capacity” of an eight-coach rake was about 2,100 passengers. On September 30, an average of 2,900 passengers were crammed into each train.
Stops at Vile Parle and Mahalaxmi too; depot likely near Naigaon Station Mumbai: The Ministry of Railways on Monday deliberated on some big changes in its plan for the Oval Maidan-Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor, for the benefit of travellers.
It was reliably learned that there would be two stations within a 2-km stretch at Virar, to be called Virar South and Virar North. The Virar South station will be located at the southern end of the existing Virar station and nearer to the newly-constructed car shed. Virar North will be constructed about a kilometre beyond Virar station.
The ministry also decided to incorporate stations at Mahalaxmi and Vile Parle, on the insistence of the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission noted that Mahalaxmi would have a large number of commuters on account of the numerous offices that continue to come up there.
Also, it is the nearest stop to the Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur monorail system.
Originally, no station was planned at Vile Parle on account of the restrictions on the height of structures in the airport area. But as Vile Parle is now in the undergound stretch, there is no issue any more and there will be a station here. “We must allow people from the airport to use the elevated rail system. So there will be a station at Vile Parle. It also makes better business sense,” an official said.
A third issue was the depot proposed on salt pan land at Mira Road. The railways found, during a survey, that much of the land was on lease to private parties and acquiring these plots could involve legal hurdles. Therefore, the railway board has proposed setting up the depot near Naigaon station.
It was earlier reported that the Ministry was making efforts to push the Rs.20,000 Crore project ahead with a requisition for Rs.1240 Crore to the Planning Commission to carry out “enabling works”. This is about 6% of the project cost.
This includes removing structures that stand in the way of the elevated corridor plan and shifting underground utilities that could hamper construction of pillars for the elevated bridge. The BMC, Tata Power, Reliance, MTNL, BSNL, Mahanagar Gas and GAIL are among at least 12 agencies that will be involved in this work.
The sanction for this work would help to assure private firm interested in the project that the plans are on course. Six private firms have lined up for the Request for Qualification (RFQ) which is expected to be completed by November 27. RFQ will examine the eligibility and capability of the firm to undertake the project.
The Planning Commission insisted on stations at Mahalaxmi and Vile Parle
An issue that also came up was about the depot that was proposed on salt pan land at Mira Road. Much of this land is on lease to private properties and could involve legal hurdles.
Therefore, the depot would be set up near Naigaon station.
New Delhi: With volume growth of six% in the April-September period, the Indian Railways is expected to surpass its Budget loading target for this financial year. This is in contrast to last year’s performance, when it fell short of its Budget estimate by 15 million tonnes (mt).
While key commodities such as coal and iron ore saw a two mt fall in traffic in July-September, cement and steel helped the railways keep pace with targets. Railway Board officials said they expected coal traffic to pick up before the year-end.
Railway Board officials said the improvement in loading was due to various innovative methods adopted by the railways.
“We have converted the rail-cum-sea route on the eastern and western coasts into an all-rail route, which helped customers cut handling costs,” D P Pande, Member (Traffic), Railway Board, told. In states such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, customers are expected to opt for this arrangement.
The move also helped boost the traffic for steel.
Other measures to increase volume growth included allowing two point rakes for the same commodity, which boosted the efficiency and fostered growth in cement traffic. “We are carrying about 15 such rakes a day,” said Pande.
For 2013-14, the Railway Budget had set a loading target of 1,047 mt, 40 mt more than the volume carried last year. To achieve the target, the railways would have to increase its loading volume four%.
In the July-September period, cement volumes recorded an increase of about two mt. The expected additional traffic from Coal India Ltd to add Rs 100 crore to the railways’ revenue and 17 mt to its volume. Fertilisers, cement, steel and urea saw a slowdown in the first six months of this financial year.
The railways’ earnings for the April-September period stood at Rs 43,458 crore, an increase of 9%. If the Budget earnings target for 2013-14 is to be met, earnings would have to see the same growth (nine%).
Former Railway Board officials said the first six months of this financial year included the lean months of June and July, when traffic and earnings typically fell.
With the 15% busy season surcharge and 1.7% fuel adjustment component (FAC), the railways is expected to come up with better figures in the second half of 2013-14. The FAC levied is expected to generate Rs 700 crore, which could help compensate for the increased fuel costs.