Bangalore Suburban Rail project hit by ‘funds constraint’

बेंगलुरू Bangalore (SBC): The suburban rail project is unlikely to receive the railway ministry’s nod anytime soon. Citing financial constraints and ‘overload’ of on-going railway projects, the ministry has put the suburban rail project on the back burner.

Proposed first in 2006-07 in Phase-I of Comprehensive Traffic and Transport Plan, suburban rail project was billed as a solution for the woes of people commuting to far-off locations such as Whitefield, Bidadi, Malur, Hoskote and Ramanagar. However, the project was not backed by the political will for implementation. Over the last three years, the proposal gained momentum with civic society claiming suburban rail project as one of the solutions to decongest City roads.

The move finally culminated in August 2012 with RITES submitting a feasibility report on the proposal. Buoyed by the development, the Department of Urban Land Transport (DULT) began preparing the groundwork for Phase-IA of the suburban rail project. The DULT drew up plans to connect Bangalore with Kengeri, Hejjala, Bidadi, Ramanagar, KR Puram, Whitefield and Malur on two separate railway lines.

The State government approved the project, and even constituted a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the purpose with the rider of 50:50 cost sharing with the Railways.

A report on this was also forwarded to the railway ministry in October 2013. Subsequently, the NDA regime, in its railway budget, made a mention of the project. Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda in his speech said: “Bengaluru with bustling business activity attracts large commuters from surrounding rural areas and towns necessitating better connectivity of Bengaluru City with its suburban areas and hinterland.

“Study to explore possibility of enhancing the existing IR network of Bengaluru for meeting the above need will be taken up. In addition, to cater to the demand of passenger traffic in Bengaluru area, Byyappanahalli will be developed as a coaching terminal…”

However, within weeks of this speech, Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha, said that the railways could not put a time frame on sanctioning the project.

In his reply to a question raised by Dharwad MP Pralhad Joshi, the MoS for Railways stated: “Due to large shelf of ongoing works and funds constraints, no time frame can be given for sanction of the project.” The minister did not make any statement of at least a study being commissioned for the purpose, as stated by Gowda in his Railway Budget speech.

Sinha, in his statement, admitted that a proposal for the suburban rail system was received from the government of Karnataka for an estimated cost of Rs 8,800 crore and that there was a proposal to share the costs on 50:50 basis.

DULT is nonetheless confident that it can turn around the scepticism of the Railways by providing a full-fledged presentation on the project in the coming months.

DULT Commissioner V Manjula, who was unaware of the Railways statement, said: “We have already given RITES the job of preparing a DPR, apart from forming the SPV for the project. We will give a full scale presentation to the Railways department and try to convince them in approving the project.”

India-Nepal to expedite works on Jogbani-Biratnagar & Jaynagar-Biratnagar-Bijaipura rail line

काठमांडू Khatmandu:  A Nepal-India coordination meeting held in Kathmandu on Friday last, reviewed progress on pending issues of construction of two Railway Projects – Jogbani-Biratnagar and Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas.

A meeting was held on Friday in the presence of Secretary of Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Tulsi Prasad Sitaula and other officials from Nepal and representative of Indian Embassy and IRCON International Ltd from the Indian side.

According to the Embassy of India in Kathmandu, the meeting was fruitful. The meeting was informed that 70 per cent of earthwork and bridgework had been completed on the available land on the Jogbani-Biratnagar link and 30 percent on the Jayanagar-Bijalpur link.

The meeting also noted there had been long delay due to non-availability of land in Biratnagar, Janakpur and Bardibas.

The Nepali side has assured that land required for the project, including for Biratnagar station, Janakpur and Bardibas would be acquired and handed over to IRCON at the earliest to expedite work in both sectors.

According to the Embassy statement, both sides agreed to provide necessary support to expedite implementation of important projects.

WB Govt has no say in Kolkata East-West Metro alignment: Calcutta High Court

कोलकाता Kolkata (KOAA):  The Calcutta High Court today directed the Indian Railways and the Urban Development Ministry to inform it on the proposed alignment of East West Metro Railway while observing that the West Bengal government has no say in any decision in this regard.

Justice Nadira Patheria of Calcutta High Court ruled today, asking the Central Urban Development department to take up the matter with the Railway Board to resolve the issue.

The East-West Metro, meant to connect Salt Lake in the east with Howrah Maidan in the West, came before the High Court scanner as a construction agency involved in the project, Afcons, moved court after the issue of the construction site for Writers Buildings station remained unresolved.

Justice Patherya earlier questioned the state government’s plan to realign its route from the existing underground railway’s Central station to Esplanade.  “If Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wants to turn Kolkata into London, then what is the problem of making Central station like Piccadilly in the British capital?” she said. She wondered if Esplanade would have the same importance so far as footfall was concerned once the bus terminus was shifted out of Esplanade.

The state government had already outlined plans to shift bus terminus from Esplanade also on a court order to ease the pollution in the heart of the city, she said. Two years ago, the railway ministry shot down the East-West Metro’s realignment proposal. “The state government aims to realign the route, part of which will be under the river Hooghly through Esplanade and from there to Howrah Maidan via BBD Bag,” the government pleader told the court.

With the choice of new alignment through Esplanade, the site of Writers Buildings station was required to be shifted from Brabourne Road behind Writers’ Buidling (Mahakaran) to the mini bus stand (on Old Court House Street) in front of Writers’ Buildings.

The East-West metro’s original plan was to have the existing north-south metro and the proposed east-west link intersect at the Central Avenue-Bowbazar crossing, gateway to business hub of the city.

Railways to prioritize Jagdalpur-Dallirajhara-Rowghat Phase-II Rail line construction

रायपुर Raipur (R): Ministry of railways has asked South East Central Railway (SECR) to expedite second phase of construction of Jagdalpur-Dallirajhara and Rowghat railway line, an ambitious project pending for nearly three decades—since the time of undivided Madhya Pradesh. The project costing up to Rs 3,500 crore will facilitate easy movement of iron ore and could trigger development activities in the mineral rich areas of tribal Bastar region.

SECR Deputy General Manager Mr.R.K.Agrawal told that Rs.654 crore Jagdalpur-Raoghat project is a Joint Venture of Railways, State Government and National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). He said that however the ongoing work of construction of Railway line from Dallirajhara to Raoghat is a Joint Venture project of Railways, State Government and Steel Authority of India (SAIL) is underway and now the Ministry of Railways has initiated steps to start construction of second phase project so that it could go simultaneously with the first phase of the project”.

Agrawal said SECR has written to district forest officer Narayanpur and Bastar collector for land acquisition while other steps were being taken to float tenders. “Maoist problem in the 140km stretch is much less as compared to that of Dallirajhara to Rowghat. The work could begin by next year,” he added.

Rowghat mines are crucial for iron ore needs of public sector Bhilai Steel Plant, owned by SAIL, which sources iron-ore from Dallirajhara mines. As iron reserves at Dallirajhara is fast depleting, SAIL decided to develop a mine in Naxalite-affected area of Rowghat to produce iron ore of about 7MT.

The new mining project involves extensive deforestation in an area of over 2,030 hectares in Kanker and Narayanpur districts, both Naxalite hotbeds. The new railway line will thus pass through dense Maoist zones of Bastar region.

Being a Maoist insurgent patch, need for security personnel was a must for which Railway has asked the state government to bear expenses of security deployment.

Chhattisgarh government had earlier said it can’t spare out the security for the project, but later in a recent meeting it was decided that Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF) and the Chhattisgarh Armed Police will be deployed.

SECR officials said railway board also directed to consider the project as top priority and has also set deadline to introduce train services for passengers from Dallirajahara to Dondi.

Work on first phase of proposed project of 235km-long rail line is underway from Dallirajhara to Rowghat and railway services between 0-17km from Dallirahara to Dondi may begin from February 2015.

Rowghat project has been in news for it witnessed threats from Maoists and protests by local tribals over land acquisition, resettlement, rehabilitation and deforestation. Maoists have repeatedly stated that they would attempt to disrupt the project.

China and Japan in competition for India’s lucrative High Speed Rail network market

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  China and Japan are once again in competition, this time for the lucrative high speed rail network market in India.

The Japanese are already working on a feasibility study for the Shinkansen network on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai corridor, the results of which will be shared with the Indian side in the run-up to the PM’s visit to Japan this weekend. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to make a strong pitch for India to buy the Shinkansen high speed network. Kyoto, where Modi lands on Saturday, has the best known Shinkansen connection with Tokyo.

Meanwhile, China, which now has the longest high-speed rail network in the world, is keen to sell their trains to India, at a price much lower than the Japanese. The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, will arrive for his maiden visit to India in mid-September.

Japan is hardselling better quality and higher safety standards, while China is pitching lower costs.

According to officials familiar with developments, Japan, at present enjoys a slight edge largely due to its safety record. China has had at least one spectacular high speed rail accident, killing hundreds. However, the Shinkansen’s cost is prohibitively high, and despite having a fail-proof safety and speed system for almost half a century, Japan has not had great success in selling it overseas.

However, a new Japanese entity, International High-Speed Rail Association, comprising all the companies that build high speed railways in Japan will try to convince India about its product in October, said officials. Given the projected cost for each train at around Rs 60,000 crore (as announced by railway minister Sadananda Gowda in his railway budget speech) officials said Japan can sweeten the offer with a better financial deal, including FDI.

China has been sounded out on upgrading India’s ageing and inefficient railways infrastructure, even building new stations. But the prize is the bullet trains because they are outright buys. China, which plans to have 19,000 km under high speed rail network from its present 11,000 by 2015, is now looking for private investment into the railway sector. Thus far, it has been funded solely by the government. But Chinese premier Li Keqiang announced on Sunday that henceforth China’s railway growth, which he sees as essential for China’s development would have to come from private sources.

India is planning to build high speed train networks on other routes such as Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Chandigarh, Mysore-Bangalore-Chennai, Mumbai-Goa, Secunderabad-Vijayawada-Chennai and Secunderabad-Bangalore.

Colaba-Seepz Metro Rail works set to get rolling in 14 months

मुंबई Mumbai: Work on the much-awaited Rs.23136 crore Colaba-Bandra-Seepz underground metro corridor in Mumbai is set to take off, little over a year after getting nod from the Centre.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan will lay the foundation stone for the project tomorrow, paving the way for commencement of work as the State enters the poll mode.

Chavan will perform the ground-breaking ceremony which will be attended by Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, among others.

The project got moving in just 14 months – unusual for a city where project delays are the norm – after being approved by the Centre on June 27, 2013. The iconic Bandra-Worli SeaLink got completed, that too partially, in 23 years.

The government had scrapped the second metro line for the city – between Charkop and Mankhurd – following a dispute over a right of way for a metro depot.

The government signed a loan agreement with the Japanese funding agency JICA on September 17, 2013 and it was notified under the Metro Act by the Centre the next day. The project is likely to be completed by FY’20.

The ceremony will be conducted near the Marol fire station in the northern fringe of the megapolis.

The State has tied up with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for funding through MMRDA, the development body for Mumbai and adjoining areas. JICA, which will be funding 57 per cent of the total project cost of Rs 23,136 crore, will provide a loan worth Rs 13,235 crore.

The Centre and the State will bear the rest of the cost. Further, Rs 777 crore will be borne by the Mumbai International Airport, since the metro will pass through the areas under its control.

Mumbai Metro Rail Corp (MMRC) had in June invited expressions of interest from consultants for implementation of the 32.5km corridor, including testing and commissioning.

MMRC had earlier received pre-qualification bids from 14 consortia for the project, which will connect South Mumbai to western suburbs, to be developed on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis.

The Colaba-Seepz line will have 27 stations – 26 underground and one at Aarey Colony, Goregaon, overground. The corridor is expected to carry 13.9 lakh commuters daily by 2021 and 17 lakh by 2031.

Bombardier keen to bring Zefiro High-speed Rail Technology to India

Zefiro Very High Speed Trainअहमदाबाद Ahmedabad (ADI): The NDA Government’s dream railway project – Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project – has evoked positive response from the Canadian aerospace and transportation company, Bombardier Transportation. The company has said that it is bullish about the upcoming high speed rail project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. “Bombardier is one of the global leaders for high speed and very high speed trains with over 900 trains delivered worldwide. Our Zefiro high-speed trains are energy efficient with high capacity and smart interiors. Once the tender details are finalised, we would be very keen to participate and bring our high-speed train technology to India,” said Daniel Daigle, Vice President, Human Resources, Asia Pacific, Bombardier Transportation. He added that Bombardier has been following the developments of Ahmedabad Metro and that it will evaluate bidding for the project once tender specifications are issued.

The company stated that in the wake of the new government allowing 100 per cent FDI in Railways, it was open to more investments and increasing employee base locally subject to winning the projects it is currently pursuing for India.

“For a company like Bombardier, which has been investing in India for the last five decades, it gives us an impetus to invest more towards transforming the rail transportation in India. We are interested in various rail projects in India and hoping to embark on a journey together with the new government to bring world-class rail infrastructure,” Daigle added.

Meanwhile, the Canadian firm is reportedly looking at developing its Savli facility, Gujarat, as an export hub. In recent times, the company has bagged several orders from various parts of the world including Brazil and Australia. Substantial portion of its $2.7 billion order book is expected to be executed at its Savli and Maneja facilities near Vadodara.

“QNGR is one of the largest projects for Bombardier Transportation globally and Savli site will manufacture 450 commuter cars along with its bogies. Substantial portion of $ 2.7 billion for Bombardier Transportation will be executed at its Indian sites in Savli and Maneja, both near Vadodara,” said Daigle.

Having made one of its most important and strategic investments of Rs 230 crore in Savli site near Vadodara, Bombardier Transportation is developing it with an intention to promote export oriented activities. “As the site was built with the intention to develop export-oriented activities also, Bombardier keep evaluating prospects for exporting metro cars and bogies to Asia Pacific, Europe and North America,” said Daigle.

Post delivering more than 600 metro cars to Delhi metro, Savli site received its first export order in June 2012 only three years after commencing commercial production, to supply bogie components for Adelaide EMUs to Bombardier Transportation Australia. Subsequently, the Savli site also started exporting bogie components for commuter trains in Victoria to Bombardier Transportation Australia. In its third export order, it is exporting 521 bogie frames to Bombardier Transportation Brazil for Sao Paulo monorail.

About ZEFIRO High Speed Train

Bombardier ZEFIRO high speed (HS) and very high speed (VHS) family embodies The Evolution of Mobility. It takes rail transport to the next level by setting the benchmark in very high performance, very high efficiency and very high dedication.

As one of the world’s fastest VHS trains – up to 380 kilometres per hour – the ZEFIRO platform may be the ‘fastest way to save the planet.’ Its leading-edge technologies and advanced aerodynamics drive down energy consumption and operating costs. This ultra-modern train also combines the segment’s highest capacity with pioneering levels of passenger comfort.

True interoperability across national borders

Bombardier ZEFIRO HS and VHS trains are compatible with different power supply, signalling and train control systems. This allows cross-border operation on all AC and DC powered lines for true pan-continental interoperability.

Efficiencies of up to 50%

The integration of Bombardier ECO4 technologies (http://www.bombardier.com/en/transportation/products-services/technology-solutions/eco4-technologies.html) optimizes energy use, decreases waste, minimizes CO2 output and increases economic value. The result? Efficiency gains of up to 50%.
REGINA, EMU, Sweden

Better economics

ZEFIRO maximizes revenue generation with its high capacity, low operating costs and ability to seamlessly cross borders and operate at different speeds.

Superior aerodynamic performance

As a world-leading aerospace manufacturer, we’ve applied the lessons learned in aerodynamic design in aviation to the ZEFIRO portfolio. The result is better aerodynamic efficiency and overall train performance in terms of speed, safety and noise reduction.

Increased interior design flexibility

The ZEFIRO family features new advancements in interior design, allowing operators to modify interior layouts to fit fluctuations in rider volume and make-up. Luggage capacity and seating configurations can be quickly altered to address specific requirements.

Why choose ZEFIRO high speed and very high speed trains

  • Extremely high reliability and proven technology
  • Best-in-segment seating capacity
  • Lowest energy consumption per passenger
  • Significant potential for subsequent installation of additional equipment
    • Unrivalled flexibility of applications
    • Speed range from 250 to 380 kilometres per hour
    • Flexible train length up to 428 metres or 16 cars
    • Scalable traction power
    • Up to four different power supply voltages (1,5 & 3 kV DC, 15 & 25 kV AC)
    • Customized front-car design and interior layouts
    • Carbody in UIC or wide-body profile
    • Flexibility for different interior layouts
  • Interoperability across national borders with proven and homologated components
  • Full compliance with all new TSI standards

ZEFIRO 250 – China

One of the world’s fastest sleeper trains, the ZEFIRO 250 combines comfortable long-distance travel, robust reliability and environmentally friendly clean speed.

With delivery starting in 2009, Bombardier first variant of the ZEFIRO concept was a series of 20 EMU sleeper trains manufactured by Bombardier joint venture Sifang Power (Qingdao) Transportation (BSP). These trains are setting a new standard in interior design and equipment for high speed rail in China. This includes sleeping compartments that provide the highest level of comfort for overnight travel.

In July 2010, China’s MOR ordered another 40 eight-car trainsets – a non-sleeper version enhanced with a dedicated VIP car incorporating first-class seating. A non-sleeper version will soon be available for this speed segment in Europe.

ZEFIRO 380 – China

The ZEFIRO 380 is one of the world’s most eco-friendly very high speed (VHS) trains thanks to advanced aerodynamics and Bombardier energy-saving ECO4 technologies. It also offers the highest capacity (1,336 seats) of any VHS train. This superior energy efficiency and capacity give ZEFIRO, one of the world’s fastest series-production trains, the lowest energy consumption per seat in VHS rail travel.

By setting new benchmarks for clean speed and long-distance rail travel, the ZEFIRO 380 redefines very high speed rail by harmonizing the often conflicting demands of economy and ecology.

V300ZEFIRO – Italy

In September 2010, the Italian railway operator Trenitalia ordered 50 V300ZEFIRO trainsets (400 cars). TheV300ZEFIRO is the first train in Europe based on Bombardier ZEFIRO high speed train platform.

Developed jointly with a strategic partner, the V300ZEFIRO meets all the latest TSI requirements of most European countries. With its multi-voltage technology, it enables universal cross-border mobility.

Reaching a commercial speed of up to 360 kilometres per hour, the V300ZEFIRO is also one of Europe’s fastest trains. It comes in eight-car and 16-car configurations. The eight-car train seats up to 600 passengers and has a bistro or restaurant. The 16-car train seats up to 1,200 passengers and includes dining facilities.

The V300ZEFIRO is the future of rail travel with its:

  • sophisticated aerodynamics
  • energy-saving technologies
  • exceptional passenger comfort

Leadership in high speed rail

Bombardier expertise in the high speed segment is unmatched. Over the past 20 years, we’ve helped deliver 850 trains and vehicles for high speed and very high speed applications. We’ve also participated in 95% of Europe’s VHS trains.

Breakthroughs in industrial design

ZEFIRO is based on proven technology but also pushes the envelope in aerodynamics, aesthetics, functionality, interior comfort and future adaptability. Several of these industrial design concepts were adapted from Bombardier award-winning aerospace technologies.
Zefiro Bombardier

IOCL seek RoW permissions to lay Pipelines along Railway tracks

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  State-run fuel producing and marketing companies have proposed laying of pipelines along railway tracks in order to avoid the long delay in setting up pipelines to transport crude, petroleum products and gas in the country.

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Ltd, India’s biggest oil marketer, on behalf of state-run oil marketing, exploration and production companies has requested the government to seek Indian Railway’s help in freeing up land alongside railway tracks to facilitate the laying of pipelines.

”We have proposed a revenue sharing model under which both the Railways and the oil companies can benefit from the scheme. The idea is to use the railways land for a fee and use the land to lay the pipelines,” said UK Dhoot, general manager of project monitoring at Indian Oil.

Speaking at an oil and gas conference organised by India-Tech Foundation, Dhoot said, Indian Oil has a pipeline network of 12,000 km across the country for sourcing crude and supplying petroleum products to and from its 11 refineries, which together have a capacity of 65 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), but has the capacity to transport only 36.6 mtpa.

Laying of pipelines along railway tracks could help lessen the burden of seeking land and environmental clearances for setting up new pipelines across the country, which, he said, is extremely time consuming.

Setting oil pipelines along rail tracks, however, involves some conflict of interests as the Railways stand to lose on its freight revenue from transporting crude and petroleum products.

Railways has a substantial share in the transportation of crude and petroleum products to and from the oil marketing companies, including Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL).

But the losses, Dhoot said, could be somewhat offset by the revenue sharing agreement.

India currently consumes up to 220 million tonnes of crude annually and processes an equivalent quantity of petroleum products such as petrol, diesel, kerosene, fuel oil and lubricants.

The country thus needs a total of 440 million tonnes of pipeline capacity to transport crude and products to refining and consuming centres, as per estimates of the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC).

As of now, the total existing pipeline capacity of the three oil marketing companies and crude supplying companies – Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Oil India (OIL) and Cairn India (CIL) – together stands at 215 mtpa. This includes crude capacity of 130 mtpa and 85 mtpa of petroleum product capacity.

Dhoot said a network along highways, railways and a coastal network is needed to meet the shortfall in pipeline capacity.

To strengthen Trade & Commerce, Indo-Nepal-China Rail Corridor is a Must: Tibet

Tibetan official allays India’s concerns on rail line

Rejecting concerns in India over the newly-inaugurated 250-kilometre rail-line from Lhasa to Shigatse that runs close to the Indian border in Sikkim, a senior Tibetan official said India, Nepal and China should cooperate on “letting railways cross over borders as they do in Europe.”

Wu Yingjie, a top functionary of the Communist Party of Tibet, was speaking to a group of Indian journalists in Lhasa. Responding to a question from media, he said, “Rest assured however many railway lines China builds, it will abide by the Panchsheel principles of coexistence.”

India has twin worries over the new constructions in Tibet, which will run close to Sikkim on the western line to Shigatse, and on the eastern line to Nyngchi, close to the Arunachal border, which are due to be completed by 2016. To begin with, the high-speed trains will facilitate quicker movement of military personnel and hardware to the Chinese side compared to India’s abilities at its border. Also, the Nepal government had asked for the Shigatse line to be extended to Kathmandu to ease travel from Nepal, Mr. Wu revealed.

The rail lines are part of China’s mission to build infrastructure on a large-scale in Tibet by 2020, indenting for 1,300 km of railway tracks, 1,10,000 km of roadways and several airports, with an investment of more than $13 billion in the last two decades.

Environmentalists have pointed out that the barrelling of tunnels through mountains will lead to soil erosion and have other ecological impact as well. Tibet’s Director General of Environmental Protection Jiang Bai, however, has said the construction process goes through “strict” environmental checks. “In the past too, if we are advised against disturbing one part of a mountain, we take a detour,” he said.

India, Nepal, China must cooperate to let railways cross over borders, a la Europe

Two new rail links in Kazakhstan to boost bilateral trade ties with India soon

अस्ताना Astana: Two new railway links have been launched in Kazakhstan with the aim of improving freight flows from the northern part of the country to the southern part, besides ensuring the creation of 3,500 jobs and promoting industrial development.

Launched by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the two new railway links – one between Zhezkazgan and Beineu, and the other between Arkalyk and Shubarkol, stretch over a distance of 1200 kilometers.

The Zhezkazgan- Beineu line is a short cut from Central Kazakhstan to the Caspian Port of Aktau, and moves further on to Kazakhstan’s border with Turkmenistan and countries of the Persian Gulf. The Arkalyk-Shubarkol line links Central Kazakhstan to Russia and further on to West Europe countries.

“The launch of the new links completes a whole main railway network. The new railway links shorten the routes for freight flows moving from North to South and from West to East. The new railway links will give an impetus to development of Central and West Kazakhstan, contributing to industrial development of the country’s regions and creating a total of 3500 jobs,” Askar Mamin, president of the company, told President Nazarbayev.

He further stated that the new links raise the transit potential of trans-Kazakhstan transport corridors running from China towards Russia and Europe.

President Nazarbayev said that the new railway links will benefit Karaganda, Mangistau, Aktyubinsk, Kyzylorda and Kostanai oblasts and will have a positive impact on development of Zhezkazgan town.

From the perspective of Kazakh-India bilateral trade ties, the issue of direct connectivity may to an extent be resolved by the inauguration of these two new railway links. It is expected that the trucking distance and transportation costs will be reduced considerably.

Today, Kazakhstan accounts for more than half of India’s trade with the Central Asian countries. Bilateral trade between India and Kazakhstan increased from USD 120 million in 2005 to almost half-a-billion USD in 2012.

In 2013, this figure reached 676.9 million USD. However, both sides agree it is still a modest figure and lack of direct land connectivity between the countries hampers greater economic engagement.

Cash-for-Post Scam: Trial against Pawan Bansal’s nephew, 9 others to begin on 15 Sept

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  The New Delhi High Court fixed 15 September for commencing the trial in the INR.10 Crore railway bribery case against Vijay Singla, the nephew of former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, and nine other accused.

Central Bureau of Investigation Special Judge Swarna Kanta Sharma deferred the recording of the statement of prosecution witnesses in the case to Sep 15.

Besides Singla, other accused in the cash-for-post case include are suspended Railway Board member Mahesh Kumar, middlemen Sandeep Goyal, Samir Sandhir, Sushil Daga, Ajay Garg, Rahul Yadav, businessman Manjunath and his aides MV Murli Krishan and Venugopal.

The court in March framed charges of criminal conspiracy under the Prevention of Corruption Act against all 10 accused in the case.

Steps taken towards making Vasai station a full-fledged outstation railway terminus

वसई Vasai (BSR): The Western Railway, for the first time ever, will be running trains originating and ending from Vasai, in what officials said, is the first step towards making the station a full-fledged railway terminus on the lines of Bandra or Kurla.

The WR announced the running of 12 Ganapati specials between Vasai Road and Ratnagiri from August 26 to September 9. These trains will halt at Panvel, Roha, Mangaon, Veer, Khed, Chiplun, Savarda and Sangameshwar stations, said WR officials.

With two termini, at Bandra and Mumbai Central, currently seeing 60-odd trains a day between them, and demand set to increase with every passing festival season, another terminal is need of the hour.

The WR general manager Hemant Kumar, in a press interaction, agreed that the time to think of a new terminus had come. “This city will need another terminus because our operations are increasing every passing year and the Bandra terminus and Mumbai Central will soon reach saturation point,” said Kumar.

Kumar added that with the amount of land required for a terminus running into several hundred acres, the chances of it being anywhere within the city would be remote. “Studies will have to be done to find out where we can find a plot good enough for a terminus,” said Kumar.

While WR officials refused to officially name any station as one that could be converted into a terminus, unofficialy, they agreed that under current circumstances Vasai looks to be the best bet. Last year WR had written to the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation to look at the prospect of making Vasai a terminus that can handle both long-distance and suburban trains.

“A terminus would need several hundred acres of land which is not available anywhere along the route except Vasai. Mira Road does have the salt pan lands but getting that would require lots of environmental clerances. Infact a plan to have a depot on the salt pans at Mira Road for the shelved elevated Churchgate-Virar corridor didn’t make too much headway with the railways and state government because of the environmental factor,” said an official.

Moreover, Vasai is on the connector line between WR and CR which runs from Vasai to Diva and allow trains from the north to cross onto CR or even Konkan Railway and onto the southern parts of the country. “This line would however require strengthening and a new corridor would need to be added to make Vasai a full-fledged terminal,” said a senior WR official.

The consensus among WR officials is that since the work will require hundreds of acres of land and several hundred crore of rupees and since building a terminal takes almost over a decade, it is best that work on its feasibility starts now.

“This starting of long-distance trains from Vasai is a good start,” said the official.

Special Postal Cover on the East Coast Railway released

52929भुवनेश्वर Bhubaneswar (BBS): A Special Postal Cover on the East Coast Railway (ECoR) was released by the Department of Posts here on the occasion of the ODIPEX-2014 Philatelic Exhibition on Sunday. ECoR General Manager Rajiv Vishnoi, Chief Post Master General, Odisha, Tilak De, and other dignitaries attended the event. The ECoR has been acknowledged to have played an important role in building infrastructure and providing connectivity in Eastern, Southern and Central India and stood as one of the most successful zone among the newly formed Railway zones in India. On the occasion, Vishnoi reaffirmed the commitment of railway personnel in his zone towards the service of the nation.

Opening up of FDI in Railways Infrastructure to attract $10 bn

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The opening up of railway infrastructure to foreign direct investment could attract $10 billion in the next five years, according to government estimates.

“According to initial estimates, FDI investment in railway infrastructure could attract up to $10 billion over the next five years. However, the success of the move would be in the framing of the guidelines to attract global players,” a senior Railway Board official said.

Officials said the railways would soon come out with sectoral guidelines to attract investments in different projects.

The proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor and the construction of an exclusive rail corridor for freight movement are likely to speed up with the cabinet allowing 100 per cent FDI in rail infrastructure.

With this policy change, FDI can be brought into high-speed train systems, freight terminals, building of rail links, electrification and signalling systems. A notification will have to be issued for the exact terms and conditions.

The policy change will also permit investments in manufacturing, construction and maintenance, which will be spread over 20-30 years. There are already private investments in rail-based industries such as metro coaches, wagons and wheel manufacturing units.

FDI will also be allowed in suburban corridors and dedicated freight lines that are to be executed under the public-private partnership mode.

Officials indicated that companies like Canada based Bombardier, General Electric of the US and Siemens of Germany have shown interest in investing in India.

FICCI President Sidharth Birla said, “This measure has happened at a time when the existing network and the railways need funds to modernise.”

Odisha signs pact with Hyderabad based consulting firm BARSYL for MRTS

MRTS travel in state likely in five years

भुवनेश्वर Bhubaneshwar (BBS): Realising the need for high speed metro rail system in the Bhubaneswar-Cuttack region, the state government today signed a pact with Hyderabad-based rail consulting firm Balaji Railroad Systems Ltd (BARSYL).

BARSYL has been roped in a consultant to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) for Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) connecting the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. The consultant will be paid Rs 2.5 crore for the DPR likely to be submitted in 10 months. The MRT,S to cover a distance of approximately 30 km, may become a reality in the next five years.

“Actual cost of the project can be known only after preparation of the DPR,” said Manoranjan Pershad, chief operating officer, BARSYL, who signed the pact with Sisir Kumar Ratho, special secretary, housing & urban development (Odisha).

The government of India will bear 50 per cent of the project cost under ‘Urban Transport Planning Scheme’. The rest 50 per cent will be contributed by the Odisha government. “BARSYL has been selected after a transparent and competitive bidding process. An MRTS linking the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack has become imperative given the growth in traffic,” said Housing & Urban Development minister, Pushpendra Singhdeo.

G Mathivathanan, secretary, Housing & Urban Development, said, “An MRTS system linking the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack has become imperative. Bhubaneswar alone has a huge requirement for MRTS. The scope of work under DPR includes traffic demand assessment, mobility analysis, system selection, cost estimation and funding pattern.”

“In the first phase of our work, we will focus broadly on areas like traffic demand assessment and identification of suitable alignments,” said B Ramana Rao Naidu, chief technical officer & head (urban transit), BARSYL. “Our objective is to suggest a world class MRTS that is technically suitable and financially viable,” he added. The DPR work also involves selection of final assignments, engineering surveys, selection of suitable track structure, suggestions for traction system and power supply, undertaking financial and sensitivity analysis, preparation of environment management plan (EMP) and working out an implementation strategy.

In August last year, the state government had mooted a monorail transit system for the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. Monorail system is a technological innovation entailing many advantages for optimum flow of passengers. It provides a smooth ride quality, higher passenger capacity, energy efficiency, lower capital and operating costs and environment friendly transport needs. The construction cost of the monorail system is pegged at Rs 150 crore per km.

Mega blocks from Oct 1 on Silchar-Lumding section – NFR to complete BG works by 2015

सिलचर Silchar (SCL):  The NF Railway will take mega blocks as scheduled from October 1 to complete the broad-gauge conversion on Silchar-Lumding by March next year.

This was announced by the DRM of Lumding division, Neeraj Kumar, at Badarpur, 24km from here, yesterday afternoon.

The completion of the project will allow people to come home during Pujas and Id by trains next year.

Earlier, there was speculation that laying of the rail tracks on the under-construction 201km-long broad gauge Silchar-Lumding section would begin on November 1.

Kumar said simultaneous work on the broad-gauge conversion of Karimganj- Agartala metre gauge line would be deferred to its second phase and the announcement about its possible date would be made at a later stage.

To operate the Karimganj-Agartala train, NF Railway will soon send 30 metre- gauge locomotives and about 100 coaches to Karimganj, the operating point and terminus.

Infrastructure like diesel shed, pit line and carriage and wagon departments will be shifted to Karimganj railway station from the railway depot in Badarpur by December 31.

Mega block in this line could begin from October 1, 2015 and be wrapped up by March 31, 2016, instead of the Railway Board’s earlier decision to begin it with the mega block of Silchar-Lumding line.

Sources said while work on Silchar-Lumding mega block is expected to proceed according to schedule, mega blocking of the Silchar-Agartala broad gauge route, which was expected to be done simultaneously, would be delayed because of shortage of staff.

The completion of the Silchar-Lumding mega block will facilitate communication between Guwahati and Cachar district for the 36 lakh people living in Barak valley in the project’s first phase. In the second phase, these benefits would be accorded to Tripura and Mizoram and part of Manipur.

Suspect Sketches of Train Robbery gang out

Robberyवेल्लोर Vellore (VT):  The Government Railway Police has intensified the search for the robber, who attacked and robbed two women commuters onboard on Tuesday night.

The police have also sketched the face of the robber with the help of his victims -Bharathi and Prema- and circulated it among the locals and would be displaying it in railway stations, that fall in the route from Tiruttani to Chennai.

Investigation officer of the case and Inspector of the GRP, Perambur, Sekar said,  they had sketched the face of the robber with the help of Bharathi and Prema. “Both sketches match the descriptions given by the victims. We will put up the sketch in all the railway station from Tiruttani to Chennai Central Station,” said the IO. He added that they would also stick the sketch in other stations in the district and urged the public and commuters to help the police nab the accused.

Prema (43) and her sister-in-law Bharathi were robbed when they were travelling from Tiruttani to Arakkonam in EMU train around 9 pm on Tuesday last. The robber, who was covering his face using a handkerchief, had assaulted Bharathi when she resisted him. The miscreant took away around 30 sovereigns of jewelleryand about `13,000 cash from the two women. He jumped off the train when it slowed down near Melpakkam and escaped. Though special teams have been constituted to track down the accused, he is still eluding  police arrest.

Meanwhile, in Puliyamangalam Railway Station, an unidentified youth threw chilli powder on a 41-year-old Integral Coach Factory (ICF) staff’s face and snatched five sovereigns of jewellery on Sunday.

B Selvarani of Puliyamangalam, working in the store department in the ICF in Perambur in Chennai, was waiting for the EMU train to Avadi, along with her brother Stanley’s daughter Prithi (8). Selvarani’s neighbour’s daughter Rekha (20)had come with her to the railway station to help her board the train. The three were sitting on the platform when a youth in his mid 20s came from behind and threw chilli powder on them. Before Selvarani realised what was happening, the miscreant snatched her chain and took to his heels.

On seeing this, two persons selling snacks in the station tried to catch the youth but he disappeared within a few minutes. The Government Railway Police attached to Arakkonam station filed a case in this regard and launched an enquiry. The police suspect the hands of the accused who robbed two women commuters a few days ago, in this case too.

Chennai Metro’s ‘One Smartcard’ to be ticket to ride on all-modes of transport

चेन्नई Chennai (MAS): Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has finalised its ticketing machines and universal travel card. If things run to plan, a single smartcard can be used to make payments for use of all transport systems—buses, trains, metro and autorickshaws.

The card that will be issued by metro rail will accommodate payments for 32 different agencies — from Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses to autos and even parking and long-distance trains. “But these cards are not open-ended. In Hong Kong, you can use the card in countless ways. The cards are compatible with any machine, just like a credit or a debit card,” said an expert working closely with government who did not want to be named.

A senior metro rail official said, “When we drew up the detailed project report, this card was the best option available.” Commuters can use the card only in places approved by CMRL.

Rail traffic halted as Ajmer-Ahmedabad train derails

स्‍वरूपगंज Swarupganj (SRPJ): Traffic on the Marwar-Palanpur section under North-Western Railway was disrupted today after the engine of Ajmer-Ahmedabad express train derailed in Sirohi district.

The incident occurred between Swaroopganj and Bhimana railway stations, NWR PRO Tarun Jain said.

Only one wheel of the engine got derailed and there was no harm to the remaining train/coaches.

The loco-pilot managed to stop the train safely by applying emergency breaks. All the passengers are safe, he said.

Chennai Metro finalises Feeder Service routes for Metro Rail

30 routes along the 11-km stretch between Koyambedu and St. Thomas Mount identified

चेन्नई Chennai (MAS):  Chennai Metro Rail has finalised 30 routes along the 11-km stretch between Koyambedu and St. Thomas Mount to run feeder services—mini buses and share autos that will help in transporting commuters from interior areas to the nearest Metro Rail stations. The first Metro Rail service in the city is all set to start in about two months from now in the 10-km stretch between Koyambedu and Alandur. But the feeder services may not begin right away, according to sources.

“We have held discussions with the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) officials and given suggestions for routes along this corridor. But it may take a while before this facility comes into place,” an official of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) said.

In addition to mini buses, share autos would ply in three areas —Arumbakkam, CMBT and Ashok Nagar. “We have considered share autos, since these three areas have narrow streets where mini buses cannot ply through,” an official said. Meanwhile, an MTC official said they were asked to provide bus connectivity to seven CMRL stations including Broadway, Alandur, Poonamallee High Road (between Egmore and Central) and Koyambedu.

“The buses will operate on a number of different routes from each station, allowing commuters to travel to any place within a 10-km radius,” the official said.

Re-alignment woes for Hyderabad Metro Rail

No clarity over Sultan Bazar- Badi Chowdi limits before diversion works are taken up. A clear diversion “by a few metres” away from Sultan Bazar towards the Tilak Park side and clear the main road onto the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS), agitating traders of the area are not convinced

हैदराबाद Hyderabad (HYD): Is Badi Chowdi part of Sultan Bazar? Or does Sultan Bazar begin after Badi Chowdi ends? These are the perplexing questions metro rail officials have to grapple with before they think of changing the alignment away from Sultan Bazar as per Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s directions.

While the Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) engineers are preparing a blueprint — to be presented to the Chief Minister — showing a clear diversion “by a few metres” away from Sultan Bazar towards the Tilak Park side and clear the main road onto the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS), agitating traders of the area are not convinced.

“As far as we are concerned, Sultan Bazar starts from the Veer Savarkar statue (Kacheguda crossroads) and ends at Andhra Bank in Koti. There are a couple of temples and a mosque even if the alignment changes on Badi Chowdi. At least 300 traders will be affected,” argues Govind Rathi, chairman, Traders Joint Action Committee, Sultan Bazar.

Instead, Mr. Rathi and his group suggest the alignment to be diverted at Kacheguda crossroads, either towards the railway station or towards Ramkoti, Tilak Road, Abids and M.J. Market. There are also traders having a contrary view.

“Badi Chowdi is from Veer Savarkar statue till Bata crossroads, after that it is Sultan Bazar. Will this project halt if we protest for a small section? It has been conceived by experts to benefit the entire city,” avers A. Venugopal, trader. “People got emotionally prepared to make way for metro rail for the sake of development. Property owners are ready as there are low rentals and resultant court cases over decades,” claims D. Prakash, another businessman.

“It’s better to spend the extra cost of any alignment change on providing good relief and rehabilitation measures to the affected tenants and hawkers,” chips in K. Nagesh, trader. Metro corridor two (Jubilee Bus Station-Falaknuma), originally, is supposed to pass through the crossroads onto Badi Chowdi, Sultan Bazar, Puthlibowli and onwards to MGBS.

Metro engineers insist that the alignment changes proposed after Badi Chowdi will be “minimal” and since piers are yet to be laid on the road, extra cost can be contained.

21 piers to be removed 

HMR has also proposed to remove the already built 21 piers on the Lakidikapul road to avoid the Legislative Assembly building. The viaduct will be curved into the DGP offices, take it parallel to the existing Indian Railways lines by demolishing existing police quarters, bring it back onto the Public Gardens through the Telugu University gate.

Alignment changes, even if ‘minor’ is expected to cost more than Rs.200 crore, which has to be borne by the State government. But, first the Chief Minister has to approve and only then L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad will come into the picture to prepare its own construction schedule, add metro rail officials, unwilling to be quoted.

Feasibility of Metro Rail for Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali Corridor yet to be assessed

Mega project hits several roadblocks even before preparation of DPR

विजयवाड़ा Vijayawada (BZA): The city of victory – Vijayawada – is heading to have a rail-based Mass Rapid Transit System, if the hurried move to implement the metro rail project is an indication.

Though the State government is keen to pump more than Rs.14,700 crore for metro rail project in a stretch of 49 km in the next six to seven years, its viability is a billion dollar question.

The Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali-Mangalagiri Urban Development Authority (VGTMUDA) hasn’t received any expression of interest (EOI) application so far to carry out the feasibility study for the mega project, which is mandatory before the preparation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR). The last date for receiving the EOI is September 1 and the UDA would spend Rs. 25 crore on the DPR preparation.

Further, the passenger mobility criteria have emerged as another issue for the project to be materialised.

“The urban mobility has to be more than 15,000 per hour, if the project has to be successful. But, the fact is the mobility is less than 2,000 per hour in Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali circuit and it is in the range of 2,500 to 3,000 per hour in Gannavaram-Gollapudi corridor. These two corridors are slated for phase-1,” UDA sources say.

“Going by the experience in Hyderabad,” UDA sources say, “the government would have to spend Rs.300 crore per km to lay an elevated corridor for metro rail.”

BZA MetroMeanwhile, the question in the minds of people is as to why the government has chosen to implement the project between Gannavaram – Gollapudi and Kankipadu – Vijayawada, if the capital is to come up between Vijayawada and Guntur.

The reasons cited by the government are that there is a need to develop urban transport system as the capital would be located between Vijayawada and Guntur and the metro rail is incorporated in the AP Reorganisation Act.

CPI (M) city secretary Ch.Babu Rao said that though the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) has spent crores of rupees on the BRTS project, it is yet to see the light.

“Going by this experience, the government has to prepare a comprehensive plan for development of the region,” he said.

It may be noted that the BRTS project is in limbo, even after the VMC has spent more than Rs.80 crore.

The Union government has already asked the corporation to refund the funds released for it.

However, Urban Planning experts from top Consultancy Firms have cautioned on the rapid urbanization for Vijayawada and Guntur in the next 10 years and indicated that Vijayawada and Guntur to cross even Pune and Coimbatore in terms of investments and infrastructure development  – mostly from the manufacturing sector due to high availability of qualified manpower compared to other parts of the country which is an indicative for proper planning of future transportation requirements in this particular geography in mind.

Kerala Monorail Corp Ltd to decide on Thiruvananthapuram-Kozikode MRTS on Thursday

तिरुवनंतपुरम Thiruvananthapuram (TVC):  The director board of Kerala Monorail Corporation Ltd. (KMCL) is to meet on August 28 to decide the fate of the elevated Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) for Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.

The directors are meeting on Thursday here in the wake of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) report to “discharge” of the tender submitted by a consortium led by Bombardier Transportation Holdings USA Inc. for the elevated MRTS.

Highly placed sources told that Principal Advisor to the DMRC E.Sreedharan had been asked to attend the meeting as a special invitee.

Since the DMRC is the general consultant for the flagship project, Mr.Sreedharan, though a member of the State Planning Board in charge of transportation, has not been made a director of the KMCL.

The board is likely go by the DMRC report and Mr.Sreedharan’s advice and reject the lone tender submitted by the consortium. The DMRC, in its report to the KMCL on August 14, had pointed out the “abnormal rates” quoted by the consortium in the financial bid as the reason for rejecting the tenders for selecting the “exclusive developer contractor.”

The detailed project report prepared by the DMRC has put the estimate for the project in two cities at Rs.5,581 crore. The consortium had quoted Rs.10,392 crore, including Rs.527 crore for maintenance, in the financial bid. The bid was opened by the DMRC after the technical bid was found “responsive.”

It is unlikely that the KMCL will go for retendering the project for a third time as there is no guarantee of more players coming forward. Already, valuable time has been lost and the project cost has escalated.

The DMRC had not given any proposals to the KMCL on the way forward or on switching to Light Metro as mooted by a consortium of L&T-Hitachi. A decision on Light Metro is to be taken at the board meeting since Mr. Sreedharan is attending it.

Mr. Sreedharan is also learnt to be in favour of Light Metro as the Union Ministry of Urban Development is likely to extend financial support for the project as in the case of the Kochi Metro.


  • E. Sreedharan may attend Thursday’s meet
  • KMCL board likely to go by DMRC report

MMRDA to construct Thane-Vitava Skywalk at Rs.23 Cr for Safety Crossing of Commuters

मुंबई Mumbai: MMRDA is envisaging to construct skywalks as the Bhoomipujan ceremony for the proposed 605-meter skywalk – with a pathway of 145 meters – from Thane Railway Station to Vitava (Kalwa) will be held on Monday, August 25, 2014 at 6 pm at Ganesh Visarjan Ghat, Near Nana-Nani Park, Thane-Belapur Road, Kalwa, Thane.

While the Bhoomipujan will be performed by the Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar, the ceremony will be presided over by the Minister of Medical Education and Horticulture Jitendra Awhad.

MMRDA officials said that the reason they proposed this skywalk is to save precious human life from frequent fatal accidents due to non-availability of safe passage to cross Thane creek for commuters travelling to and from Vitava village and adjoining locality.

The commuters today risk crossing the railway tracks to avoid a 30-minute long walk from Vitava to Thane Station. With the proposed Rs 23.25-crore skywalk the commuters will reach the station within only five minutes. Once completed, the skywalk will benefit more than 25,000 commuters daily.

“Thousands of railway commuters and locals need to walk for close to 30 minutes from Vitava village to reach Thane station today. Many of them use the risky route, which has resulted in loss of precious human lives. The skywalk will resolve this issue once and for all,” said Dilip Kawathkar, Joint Project Director (PR), MMRDA.

Konkan Railway route cleared after train derailment in Ratnagiri

क़रांजाड़ी Karanjadi (KFD):  Tracks on Konkan Railway route has been cleared after derailment of a goods train in Ratnagiri district, an official said here on Monday.

The wagons of the Kota-Calicut train carrying a consignment of foodgrain derailed at Karanjadi, around 200 kms south of Mumbai, around 6.30 am on Sunday. The entire Konkan Railway mainline route was blocked and all major passenger trains in north-south directions were stopped on Sunday.

According to officials, all the seven derailed wagons have been moved out from the track.

A press release by the Central Railway, Accident Relief Train from Kurla was sent for restoration of traffic. It said that the derailment’s cause is not yet known.

Green Tribunal hints Pollution from Plastic products & Human defecation around rail tracks

Enumerate steps to control pollution around railway tracks

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Centre to list out steps it proposes to take for controlling pollution caused by plastic products and human defecation around railway tracks.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed Ministry of Railways, Railway Board, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and others to file a reply within two weeks.

“We direct the respondents to specifically state in their replies and place policy or other relevant documents on record to show as to what steps they propose to take for the purpose of preventing and controlling the pollution caused by throwing of Municipal Solid Waste particularly plastic products on and around railway tracks as well as use of the tracks or adjacent for human evacuation.

“It will also be indicated as to how the respondents propose to protect the railway tracks to ensure that such pollution, which is causing serious environmental hazards, is not permitted in future,” the bench said, and listed the matter for next hearing on September 15.

The Tribunal was hearing a petition filed by lawyers Saloni Singh and Arush Pathania seeking a blanket ban on use and sale of plastic products on railway platforms across the country besides a ban on open defecation by people around tracks.

The petitioners have alleged that the activity of dumping plastic waste and discharging human waste on tracks was adversely affecting the ecosystem.

The petitioners also sought appointment of a committee consisting of eminent environmental activists, experts, lawyers, etc to study the impact of such activities.

“Direct the respondents to form a task force to look after proper disposal of plastic and human waste already generated on the railway tracks so that there is no further degradation of environment,” the plea said.

Local schedules in Mumbai topsy-turvy as 7 wagons of Goods Train derail on Konkan route

क़रांजाड़ी Karanjadi (KFD): Thousands of passengers were left stranded after the derailment of seven wagons of a goods train at Karanjadi railway station on Konkan railway, around 205 kilometres from CST, early Sunday morning stalled trains on one of the country’s busiest railway stretches.

The goods train, carrying food grains, was moving from Kota in Rajasthan to Kozhikode in Kerala. The derailment forced cancellation of several trains, some diverted on the longer Londa-Miraj-Pune-Karjat-Panvel line and some terminated much before their destination.

The derailment continued the jinx for the Mumbai-Goa double-decker premium special with the railways cancelling Kurla LTT-Karmali double-decker for Sunday as well as Monday. Some were given long detours resulting in these trains being late by several hours.

The Maharshtra State Road Transport Corporation pressed into service more than 75 buses between Mahad and Khed for passengers from stalled trains. A major relief for the passengers of some trains was that KR used external power supply to ensure air-conditioning inside the coaches.

By Sunday evening, the total refunds given by railways on account of the cancellations was Rs 3,79,550, said a KR official. More than 200 labourers and an equal number of Konkan staff worked at the site of the derailment.

“The wagons are taking time to re-rail as the food-grains in them have to be removed to lessen their weight. Moreover, the foodgrains itself has to be protected. The rains are not making it easy,” said a KR official. They are hopeful of getting the system back in working order by midnight.

Railways to give Laptops/Printers and Internet access on Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Rajdhani travelers can soon look forward to some getaway moments during their journey as the railways has finalized plans to install work stations fitted with office electronics in its premier train service. Work stations equipped with laptop, printer, fax machine and Internet facility will be set up in a Rajdhani train on a pilot basis soon, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

As per the plan, a cubicle will be carved out in the pantry car for the work station and passengers can avail the facility by paying a fee. “To begin with, work station will be made operational at the pantry car and depending upon the response we will work out a permanent place for it,” he said. The official, however, said fee structure for the service has not been decided yet. “Modalities are being worked out and the fee will be on hourly basis,” he said.

He said a long distance south-bound Rajdhani train is likely to be selected for the pilot project. The aim is to cater to the requirement of business and leisure travelers. “While the work station is expected to add best value to business travelers, it can also be utilized by leisure travelers who can use the facility for entertainment purpose too,” the official said.

Besides Rajdhani trains, preparations are afoot to convert the entire coach as “office on wheel” as promised in the Rail Budget 2014-15. The concept of “office on wheel” will be executed on Shatabdi trains and three routes have been short listed for the purpose.

According to the official, premier services running between Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Kanpur and Chennai-Bangalore will have exclusive coaches with “office on wheel” facility. Internet facility, better and comfortable seating and catering arrangements will be provided in the specially designed coaches, he added.

Goods train derails on Konkan Route

क़रांजाड़ी Karanjadi (KFD): Seven wagons of a Calicut-bound goods train from Kota carrying food-grains today derailed on the Konkan Railway’s main line at Karanjadi station in Maharashtra’s Raigad district.

The derailment led to cancellation, rescheduling and diversion of a large number of long distance rains, authorities said.

The derailment occurred at around 6.30 AM today and Konkan Railway officials immediately rushed to the site for an early clearance of the line, a Konkan Rail statement said.

The cause of the derailment was yet to be ascertained.

The Accident Relief Trains (ART) and Accident Relief Medical Van (ARMV) also left for the site, it said.

Due to the derailment, several trains were cancelled, including 02003 CSTM-Karmali Shatabdi Premium special, 10215 Madgaon-Ernakulam Express and 02006 Karmali-LTT Double Decker premium special and 1205 Dadar-Madgaon Janshatabdi Express.

Besides, 22150 Pune-Ernakulam Express and some other trains have also been rescheduled, the statement said.

Some of the trains have also been diverted through other routes, it said.

Fire damages records at Southern Railway HQ

चेन्नई Chennai (MAS): Fire broke out at three places in the city, including a store room in the Southern Railway headquarters on Poonamallee High Road, on Friday, damaging equipment and files and keeping fire and rescue services personnel busy. A leading textile showroom on Ranganathan Street in T Nagar and a software company in Guindy were the others affected. No one was injured as the accidents occurred early in the morning.

Rescue workers struggled for about an hour in all the three places to put out the blaze that is suspected to have been triggered due to an electrical short circuit.

The call about the fire at the Southern Railway headquarters, fire and rescue services personnel said, was received at 3.45am and a team from the Vysarpadi fire station led by station fire officer Ganesan rushed there and found the blaze in the record room on the second floor had spread to adjacent rooms. Four fire tenders from other stations arrived and the fire was soon brought under control.

Employees’ attendance files in two rooms were gutted. “Some computers and a few pieces of furniture were also destroyed,” said a fire and rescue service official. A senior railway official said a committee had been formed to investigate the accident and to ascertain the loss incurred.

In the second incident, a security guard noticed smoke at a software company in Ambal Nagar near Ekkatuthangal in Gunidy and alerted firemen. Teams from Guindy and Ashok Nagar fires stations arrived and put out the fire. By then a few computers and some pieces of furniture were damaged. A portion of the office was also damaged. It is thought a short circuit in an air-conditioner triggered the blaze.

The third fire, at a godown on Ranganathan Street in T Nagar, took about 90 minutes to extinguish. The godown is shared by a textile shop and few other showrooms, police said.

“We wouldn’t call it a major fire as no one was injured. However, it took 90 minutes for more than 100 personnel to extinguish the fire,” said A Ravanan Mylapore station fie officer. “Thankfully, the fire did not spread to other floors,” he said.

The TNFRS will take a city-wide audit of fire preparedness from next week, said another officer.

U.P.Government approves Lucknow Metro Rail project Phase-I

लखनऊ Lucknow (LKO): Uttar Pradesh government today approved eight km route of Lucknow Metro Rail project’s first phase of North-South corridor for starting work.

The approval was made in a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

The route will be from Transport Nagar to Charbagh railway station on which work would be started with finance from state government agencies with condition that if in any case the Centre did not finance it, the state government would bear its entire expenditure, Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan told reporters here.

The deadline for completion of the work is December 2016.

India an Important Market for JICA: says DDG/JICA (South Asia Dept.) in an Interview

India is planning massive railway and highway expansion projects, both at the national and state levels, to build up its infrastructure and bring in foreign businesses.

The country has become an ever more important market for many Japanese companies that are seeking to export their infrastructure-related technology and know-how in tandem with the Japanese government.

Katsuo Matsumoto JICAIn a recent interview with RailNews, Katsuo Matsumoto, Deputy Director General of the South Asia Department of the Japan International Cooperation Agency talked about the state of India’s transportation system and the challenges to its improvement, as well as prospects for Japanese businesses. Excerpts of the interview follow:

Q: What is your view of India’s current transportation networks?

A: India is seeing a rapid increase in traffic and transportation volume, but its social infrastructure projects are not keeping pace. Roads play a central role in India’s transportation, accommodating 85% of total passenger traffic and 60% of total cargo shipment.

The country has a total of 4.11 million kilometers of road, the second most in the world. But it has about half of the world’s average amount of roads in terms of density per person. India’s road traffic volume grows by 9.1% a year, but road construction isn’t fast enough to keep up. Major roads and city streets are severely congested, and so India faces a huge issue.

In 1998, the Indian government mapped out the national highways development project and has since pushed for building highways and main regional roads throughout the country. The Golden Quadrilateral highway network linking Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai has been nearly completed, along with the East-West corridor and the North-South corridor. Currently, the government is working to make multi-lane roads, such as turning two-lane roads into four-lane roads.

Q: Is the government making progress on the construction of expressways?

A: The government is trying to broaden expressway networks through a public-private partnership scheme. Much progress has been made on those expressways in suburbs of major cities as they are considered lucrative projects. In contrast, not many private companies have shown interest in expressway construction in rural areas due to poor profitability, and things have stalled over the past few years.

Q: India is also known for its railway network. What kind of issues does India’s railway system face today?

A: As a former British colony, India has a history of extensive railway networks. Its total railway track length exceeds 65,000 km, the fourth-largest in the world. Even with the railways, cargo transport is increasing at about 15% a year in volume, with its transportation capacity nearing the limit.

Q: There has been much attention on whether India will adopt the Japanese high-speed train system. What is your take on that?

A: Japan and India have jointly financed a business feasibility study on a high-speed train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Many Indians take domestic flights between major cities, so there must be strong demand for high-speed trains. If Japan can win a contract for India’s first high-speed train route with itsshinkansen bullet train system, chances are high that India will also adopt the Japanese system for the six following projects due to train track joint issues.

Aside from the bullet train, subway projects also present an opportunity for Japanese companies. JICA currently offers assistance to subway system projects in five Indian cities, but there are such projects in the pipeline for 22 cities with a population of over 2 million each.

Q: New Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly puts much focus on rebuilding the country’s railway system. What do you think of that?

A: Indeed, Modi stresses the need to improve and modernize India’s railway system and identifies that as one of his top priorities. That said, land acquisitions and other necessary procedures tend to take too long in India and things do not necessarily go as planned. However, his government is determined to push ahead with this project.

There may be some high risks (associated with the high-speed train project), such as requests for local production and participation in the management. Even so, India remains to be an attractive market for Japanese businesses.

Vizag based TV Mechanic develops Early Warning System for Unmanned Level Crossings

Centre has to allot dedicated Radio Frequency for his Technology, –the technician says..

Senguttuvan, TV Technicianविसखपटनम Visakhapatnam (VSKP): Here is a television technician, who has developed an early warning system for unmanned railway level crossings.

S.Senguttuvan, from Tamil Nadu, settled in Visakhapatnam, was moved by the accident in which over 26 school students travelling in a bus were mowed down by a train at an unmanned level crossing in Masaipet village of Medak district in Telangana on July 24.

He has developed an early warning system that works on radio frequency. Explaining the project he said, “There are two different types of warning systems. One that works on GPS technology and the other is a wired signal system.”

Unlike in the west, GPS technology is yet to penetrate the whole of India and the wired system can be tampered with. Hence, I have developed a system that works on radio frequency, he said.

All that is needed is to install a radio antenna and a transmitter in the engine of the trains and link it up to a receiver and warning system, be it a blinker or an audio system, at the level crossings.

“There are antennas that can transmit signals from a distance of 6 to 10 km. The moment the train comes in that range, the signal will be automatically transmitted to the receiver, and a special circuit will relay the signal to the warning system. It will stop after the train crosses the level crossing. The reaction time could vary between 3 to 5 minutes depending on the speed of the train,” he said.

A necessity

But, “The government has to allot a dedicated radio frequency to the railways for this purpose,” he said.

Mr. Senguttuvan had earlier designed a warning system for gas leak after the GAIL pipeline blast that killed over 19 persons at Nagaram village of Mamidikuduru mandal of East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, on June 27.

The system, developed by TV mechanic S.Senguttuvan, works on radio frequency

CBI files Chargesheet against 6 Railway Officials of Pune Division

पुणे Pune:  The CBI has filed a chargesheet against chief loco inspector of the Central Railway consumer depot in Daund and five others on the charge of falsely diverting high speed diesel (HSD) worth over Rs 1.49 crore.

The chargesheet was filed against chief loco inspector Vir Singh in the court of special judge D M Deshmukh on Tuesday by inspector Sanjay Gokhale through CBI’s counsel Vivek Saxena. The other accused are fuel issuers Popat Tukaram Kadam, Ashok Jagannath Waikar, Vijay Nivruti Devkate, Malhari Sukhdev Pagar and Chand Gaibuddin Shaikh.

The CBI had registered a case against Singh and others on August 20, 2013 for misappropriating Rs 10 crore in the allocation of HSD.

The chargesheet said that Singh and others had allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy, falsified records and diverted 3,72,664 lakh litres of the fuel to different locomotives of the Indian Railways. The accused had caused wrongful gains to themselves and corresponding loss to the Indian Railways between April 22 and July 1, 2011, said the chargesheet.

The chargesheet gives details of the individual and collective liability of the accused to show their alleged involvement in the crime. The accused are out on bail.

The agency has obtained sanction from the divisional railway manager of central railways, Pune division, to prosecute Singh, Waikar and Devkate as they are still in service. While the sanction to prosecute others is not required because they have retired between 2011 and 2013.

The CBI has charged the accused under sections 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using forged document as genuine) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code and 13 (2) read with 13 (1) (d) (criminal misconduct) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Change of Alignment: Hyderabad Metro Rail project likely to land in Legal Quagmire

हैदराबाद Hyderabad (HYD): The TRS government’s proposal to change the alignment of Hyderabad metro rail project is likely to land in a legal quagmire.

The proposal is contrary to the affidavit filed in the high court by Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd (HMRL) which said it was not advisable to change the design of the project sidestepping the detailed project report (DPR).

Moreover, if the government insists on diverting the alignment to save the livelihood of the traders of Sultan Bazar, the move is likely to provide ammunition to the traders in Ameerpet who have already moved the high court complaining that HMRL changed the alignment in the stretch between Greenlands and Jubilee Hills Check Post in order to save properties of certain influential individuals at the cost of their own properties.

“We welcome the government’s sympathy to the traders of Sultan Bazar. But, we expect the same sympathetic gesture towards us too. After all, we are not stepchildren of the government,” said A N Shankar, spokesperson of Greenlands Ameerpet Madhuranagar Yousuguda Srikrishnanagar Join Action Committee (GAMYS JAC).

“If the alignment is changed at Sultan Bazar, then we will bring this to the court’s notice. And we will move the high court with a fresh petition,” Shankar added.

The HC has reserved its judgment on the case filed by the GAMYS JAC after staying the works in the Ameerpet area.

Interestingly, the high court rejected the plea to stay the works at Sultan Bazar citing ‘no merit’ in the petition filed by the traders from that area.

“The government appears determined to help traders in Sultan Bazar even when the court refused to stay the works there. If this happens, then the case of traders in Ameerpet will only get strengthened. The government will then have to consider their demands too,” noted a lawyer who is closely following the case. There is probably bigger trouble in store for the government in the affidavit filed in the high court by NVS Reddy, managing director of HMRL, wherein he said, while refuting the charges of the GAMYS JAC, the alignment had never been changed and it could not be changed even in the future.

“It is submitted that the selection of routes and alignment of all the three metro rail corridors was done by DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) with a lot of care and after conducting techno-economical surveys, traffic studies etc.

As mentioned therein, traffic OD (origin and destination) patterns; location work centres and CBDs (Central Business Districts) road right of way ( RoW) play an important role in the selection of metro rail routes and finalization of alignment,” NVS Reddy has said in the affidavit.

Citing the delay factor caused due to change in the alignment, NVS Reddy said in the affidavit, “at 13 per cent interest rate, a day’s delay in project implementation increases the project cost by Rs. 5 crore a day.”

While the project cost which was originally estimated at Rs.14,132 crore is understood to have already reached Rs 20,000 crore due to various factors including delay in kick-starting the works, inflation, and fluctuation in interest rates, NVS Reddy’s affidavit would prove costly for the government if it goes ahead with its proposal to change the alignment at the Sultan Bazar area and near the legislative assembly building.

“The change in alignment comes with various factors including fresh land acquisition and survey which would not only come with a price, but also result in escalation of the project cost due to delays,” said C Ramachandraih, a professor at Center of Socio-economic Change ( CES) who is spearheading a civil society struggle against the HMRL. He said the cost factor includes the force majeure clause that the operator Larson &Toubro might invoke according to which the government has to pay penalty on account of effecting the change of the course of the project which is estimated at Rs. 6000 crore.

Officials in the municipal administration & urban development (MA&UD) said the government was still examining the proposal to divert the metro alignment to take it behind the assembly building.

They said that the Sultan Bazaar stretch and Mozamjahi Market stretch of the project would not be touched. The route will be changed from Badi Chowdi to Tilak Park to the northeastern side of Women’s College in Kothi where it will be connected to Chaderghat. “The alternative plan has almost been finalized and we are waiting chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s return from his Singapore visit on August 25,” the officials added.

According to N V S Reddy, “The diversion is minimal and it will not affect our original alignment or the commuters on the route.”

The earlier proposal had a linear direction wherein the metro rail went straight along the road and touched all high traffic zones from Lakdikapul, assembly, traffic police office to the Nampally stretch. There are many government offices along the route and the diversion must be able to ensure that it caters to this traffic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays Foundation Stone for Nagpur Metro Rail project

The 38.215 km long Nagpur Metro project, scheduled to be completed by March 2018 is being funded and developed by the Centre in partnership with the state government

PM_Modi_Nagpur_metroनागपुर Nagpur (NGP): Visiting poll-bound Maharashtra for a second time in less than a week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday gifted the state a clutch of infrastructure projects including a metro for Nagpur as he reaffirmed his government’s commitment to development and rooting out graft.

Just a day after the Union Cabinet cleared a Rs.8860 crore Metro Rail project for Nagpur, state’s second after Mumbai, Modi laid its foundation in senior BJP leader and Union Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari’s constituency.

Apart from laying the foundation stone for Pardi flyover in Nagpur city, he also dedicated to the nation the 1000 MW Mouda Super Thermal Power Project Stage-1 in pre-election bonanza to the state where BJP-led NDA is seeking to unseat the Congress-NCP government after 15 years.

Though Modi largely avoided making a political speech, the shadow of the upcoming elections appeared to loom large on the events that were boycotted by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan after he was booed at a function in Solapur last Saturday in the presence of Modi, who had then come to inaugurate a national highway project.

Chavan, who had to stop his speech midway amid chants of “Modi! Modi!” by alleged BJP supporters, had on Wednesday said he would skip today’s Nagpur events as “the federal structure of the country has been undermined at the programmes in Congress-ruled states where the PM was present recently.”

Modi had on Saturday also laid the foundation of Rs 4000 crore multi-product Special Economic Zone project spread over 277 hectares at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust near Mumbai that would provide employment to 1.5 lakh people.

While Modi made no mention of Chavan in his speech, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu lamented it, saying he would have been happy if he were present and stressed upon the need for the Centre and state governments to work in tandem as “Team India”.

The 38.215-km-long Nagpur metro project, scheduled to be completed by March 2018, will be funded on equal sharing basis between the state and the Centre with the latter contributing Rs.1555 crore as equity and subordinate debt.

NCP Spokesperson Nawab Malik alleges Nitin Gadkari infringing on Maharashtra government’s rights on Nagpur Metro Rail project

NCP on Thursday accused Union minister Nitin Gadkari of infringing on the rights of Maharashtra government on the Nagpur Metro issue. “The issue concerns the state government and the Union Urban Development Department. Gadkari has no connection with that department but is infringing on the state government’s rights,” NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said here.

“Even PM Narendra Modi is succumbing to pressure by Gadkari on the Nagpur Metro issue and is bringing party politics into the government function (bhumi puja of metro rail at Nagpur today),” Malik said, adding that in such a situation the decision of chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to skip the event is justified.  Modi laid foundation of Nagpur Metro in senior BJP leader and Union Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari’s constituency, a day after the Union Cabinet cleared a Rs.8860 crore metro project for the city, the second capital of Maharashtra after Mumbai.

Chavan has boycotted the function after he was booed at last Saturday’s function in Solapur in the presence of Modi, who had then come to inaugurate a national highway project. Malik alleged that BJP has begun the manoeuvre to carve out a separate state of Vidarbha “and that’s the reason why that party’s leaders are rushing through projects like the Metro”. Meanwhile, state NCP chief Sunil Tatkare described as “unfortunate” the Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s reported suggestion that the Sharad Pawar-led party should merge with Congress. “Why does he make such a suggestion on the eve of elections,” Tatkare said.

IXIGO launches Windows Phone App for Indian Railway passengers

ixigo_logo@2xगुड़गांव Gurgaon (GGN): Ixigo.com has launched its award-winning App on the Windows Phone Store. The ixigo Windows Phone App is India’s most comprehensive travel planning & search App, and winner of the ‘2013 Mobbys Award for the Best Travel App’ already available on all leading platforms including Android and iOS.

The App allows users to not only search and compare the cheapest flight ticket fares but also get best hotel rates, compare best available buses and train fares for free and in matter of a few seconds – thanks to the simple and functional design of the App.

The ixigo App allows travelers to compare rates of 300,000+ hotels in India and across the world, compare information and prices from 100+ travel sites to get the best airfares, and check real-time availability and track live train status for over 2500+ trains running under the Indian Railways. Whether it is finding hotel amenities, room rates, checking availability, reading reviews and accessing location and maps, users can benefit by making an informed decision and book conveniently on the website of their choice. That’s not all- with the in-built trains App, travelers can get automated PNR status updates and train delay notifications and can also book their food order to be delivered right at their seat during the train journey.

Enthusiastic about launch ixigo CTO & co-founder, Rajnish Kumar said, “Windows is the second most popular platform after Android for smartphones in India and we are excited to offer the simple, fast and light weight ixigo App to Windows Phone users.  Users can now search for hotels, buses, trains and flights in this all in one travel App”.

Commenting on this partnership, Navdeep Manaktala, Head Developer Experience, Nokia India Sales Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Microsoft Mobile Devices Group said, “ixigo has been very successful in India with its mobile Apps for travel search and planning. We are excited to bring this much-awaited App to our Windows Phone consumers to help them plan their holiday and business travel effortlessly.