Free Wi-Fi Service at Ahmedabad Railway Station on Trial basis this Week

अहमदाबाद Ahmedabad (ADI): While inaugurating free Wi-Fi facility for public at New Delhi railway station, union Railway Minister on 4 December had made an announcement that the Ahmedabad railway station will get Wi-Fi facility on trial basis by the end of this month.

Accordingly, the Wi-Fi devices have been now installed at Kalupur railway station in Ahmedabad by Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd company, which is under the MTS brand.

Around 50 access points (devises) are installed at a distance of 50 meters from each others. The devices, are undergoing test by the Railway department at present.

Over 20,000 passengers visit Ahmedabad railway station daily. They will be able to surf the net through the free Wi-Fi service one it is launched on trial basis, possibly by end of this week itself.

A passenger will need to enter in Wi-Fi area, keep the Wi-Fi option in mobile/laptop on and connect to the Wi-Fi service. He/she will need to type his/her mobile number and password in a window opened on mobile/laptop screen. The password will be sent to his/her mobile number. Once he enter it, he/she can log on to the internet and use Wi-Fi.

After the trial service run,the Railway administration will take decision on formal launching of service.

Training for Indian Railway Officers’ kicks-off in Beijing

बीजिंग Beijing: The first batch of the 100 Indian Railway officials, who are to receive training in heavy-haul technology in China, has begun their 12-day coaching at the Jiaotong University here.

The inauguration ceremony for training in the heavy-haul technology for the 22 officers from the Indian Railway was held at Beijing Jiaotong University yesterday, an Indian Embassy press release issued here on Tuesday said.

The 12-day training programme, which is being conducted by Beijing Jiaotong University under the supervision of National Railway Administration of China, is the first step in the cooperation envisaged by India and China in the MoU and Implementation Plan on Cooperation in Railways.

The training involving 100 Indian officers will lay emphasis on on site training covering operational and maintenance facilities, monitoring systems and traffic controls.

Four more batches from Indian railway officials will be trained at the Beijing Jiatong University in heavy-haul technology in the next two years, the press release said.

The training was part of the MoU signed during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India in September this year.

Under the MoU, China will do a free feasibility study for a high-speed train corridor. India has chosen the Delhi- Chennai route for this study.

India currently is considering two corridors for high- speed trains.

While Japan is conducting feasibility study for the Bullet train project in Mumbai-Ahemdabad corridor, China will do the same for the Delhi-Chennai route which is expected to begin by early next year.

If materialised, the Indian bullet train project is a major gain for China which is making an aggressive pitch to market its high speed train technology outside the country.

Besides the high-speed train, India and China have agreed to cooperate to identify the technical inputs required to increase speed on the existing railway line from Chennai to Mysore via Bangalore.

Under the September agreement, China will also cooperate in setting up a Railway University in India.

Strengthening ties

The training is being imparted under the supervision of the National Railway Administration of China. It would be followed by the training of four more batches within a two-year span. The programme follows the signing of the Sino-Indian Memorandum of Understanding and Implementation Plan on Cooperation in Railways during the September visit to India of the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Infrastructure boosting

India and China are already working together on a feasibility study of a high-speed rail link between Delhi and Chennai. China is also establishing two model railway stations in Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar.

Besides, the Chinese are working with their Indian counterparts to increase train speeds that includes modification of existing tracks, between Chennai and Mysore, which will pass through Bengaluru.

IRCTC tops Google Ranking in Searches across Categories

हेदराबाद Hyderabad (HYD):  In terms of top searches across categories, IRCTC topped the list, followed by Flipkart, SBI Online, Snapdeal and PNR status.

With digital media emerging as new and one of the most powerful election battlegrounds in the Lok Sabha 2014 elections, the term ‘Election 2014’ topped Google India’s trending list for the year.

According to the search giant’s annual ‘Year in Search’ (YIS), other top trends on the website were FIFA 2014, iPhone 6, GATE 2015 and Narendra Modi.

Bollywood actor Sunny Leone continued to be the most searched personality, followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and actors such as Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone. Google said a politician had gained more search popularity than entertainment celebrities for the first time.

“The findings of Google’s Year in Search are a clear testimony to India’s growing interest in issues of national importance. The 2014 Lok Sabha elections pointed to the power of digital media and also to the unprecedented demand for information,” Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Google India, said.

Google’s Year in Search also reflected the year’s top news moments that captured India’s attention. In addition to Mr. Modi’s historic win, the death of Sunanda Pushkar and the mystery of Malaysia Airlines 370 generated curiosity, Google said.

Indian Railways Stations Development Corp notify recruitment of Company Secretary

Indian Railways Stations Development Corporation Ltd. (IRSDC), a joint venture of IRCON and Rail Land Development Authority, has invited applications for the post of company secretary as Assistant Officer on regular basis. Eligible candidates can apply to the post through the prescribed format within 21 days from the date of publication of advertisement.

Vacancy:
Company Secretary- 01 post

Age Limit: 30 Years

Pay Scale:
For Assistant Officer- E1 Rs 16,400-Rs 40,500 + allowances + PRP (IDA)

Eligibility Criteria:
Associate Member of Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI).
Additional Qualification of LLB from a reputed university will be preferred.

Selection Procedure:
The selection of the candidates will be done on the basis of the interview/exam conducted by the organisation.

How to Apply:
Eligible candidates can apply to the Post online along with other necessary documents and also may send the applications to: Deputy General Manager/ HRM, IRCON International Limited, C-4,District Centre, Saket, New Delhi – 110017 within 21 days from the date of Publication of Advertisement i.e., 13 December 2014.

Important Date:
Date of Publication of Advertisement: 13 December 2014
Last Date of Online Application: Within 21 Days from the Publication of Advertisement

Indian Railways opens up more than INR 90000 Crore of FDI Opportunity

नई दिल्ली  New Delhi: Foreign investors can put in as much as INR 90,300 crore in India’s rail infrastructure through the foreign direct investment (FDI) route, suggests a list of projects released by the railway ministry.

The INR 63,000-crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor project is the single largest. The other big ones include the INR 14,000-crore CSTM-Panvel suburban corridor, to be implemented in public-private partnership (PPP). Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said, “We are going to hold two investor meets to apprise potential investors of the kind of models and projects on offer for participation.”

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu had said the ministry would put in place an “investor-friendly framework to transform the national transporter into an efficient organisation, attract investment on a long-term sustainable basis and in three years make the railways better than what it is today”.

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor stretches 534 km and will be implemented on a design-build-finance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) basis, with government-to-government cooperation.

According to the Railway Board, the discussions at the previous investor meet surrounded the overview of five models of participative policy, framework of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts and sectoral guidelines for foreign and domestic investment.

Railways receiving large number of enquiries from Private Sector: CRB in an Interview

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Arunendra Kumar IRSME, Chairman, Railway Board

Railway Board Chairman Mr.Arunendra Kumar shares his views on FDI in railways and how to monetise assets. Below is the verbatim transcript of Arunendra Kumar in an interview; excerpts as below:

Q: What is your view on Private Sector investment in Railways?

A: Private sector investment – we are not new to that. We have to attract more customers and we have been receiving large number of enquiries. We had the first investors meet on December 5 this year. It will be followed by two more in January and February. So, interest is growing. They want to understand as to what all sectors they will find the returns to be forthcoming if they invest. We have educated them and we are willing to change whatever we have issued as sectoral guidelines so that it comes up to their business expectations.

Q: You have indentified high speed train corridor projects, you have indentified stations, you have indentified locomotive manufacturing projects. While we have been seeing all this, we do not have any sense of will FDI come in and if so by when will FDI come in, what are the issues that they are raising as far as having some kind of a clarity on bringing in FDI into these projects which railways has itself identified?

A: By and large they have reasonable clarity on their requirement part. What they are perhaps as we understand is trying to get into more of the legal requirements and the taxation requirements that come because we must be stable in that regime. The requirement of railways they understand it pretty well, the technological leap that we are looking forward to, the assured off take model that we have got also in some of the areas. As also the change that may come about lets say for a station if they invest or high speed corridor if they invest, how we are going to do. We have also clarified that if you are looking for some land acquisition we are very much there because Indian Railways Special Land Acquisition Act is very much comfortable as far as land acquisition is concerned because we are dispensed with those powers of social impact assessment and we can do this kind of facilitation which is required for such kind of projects.

Q: While for other manufacturing projects land is a sensitive issue you are telling us that as far as railway projects are concerned that won\\’t be an issue for prospective investors?

A: Yes. Land is one of the major issues because they like to spend time and money if they are assured that it is land they will get. Technology they will bring it to us, manpower they will choose, enough money they will bring, the returns they will workout but if they don’t even have the land then where to start with?

Sachin Tendulkar nominates Train accident victim Monika More as Member/DRUCC

मुंबई Mumbai: Railway accident victim Monika More has been nominated to the Divisional Rail User Consultative Committee (DRUCC) by cricket icon and Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar.

The DRUCC represents local users. It discusses amenities, new station proposals, timetables and services.

A senior official said More turned 18 recently and became eligible to be a member of the body. “Each MP is eligible to nominate a representative of his choice for this body,” the official said.

More’s father, Ashok, said Tendulkar’s office had called last week. “It will be an honour for her to attend meetings where she can raise issues related to safety and amenities,” he said.

More lost both arms after falling onto the track while boarding a running local at Ghatkopar station in January. She wears prosthetic limbs.

Debabrata Kamilla assume charge as AGM of South Eastern Railway

Shri Debabrata Kamilla IRSME who joined as new AGM/SER

Debabrata Kamilla IRSME who joined as new AGM/SER

कोलकाता Kolkata (KOAA): Shri. Debabrata Kamilla IRSME has assumed charge as the Additional General Manager of South Eastern Railway (SER) at Garden Reach, Kolkata.

Mr. Kamilla belongs to the Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME).

Mr.Kamilla held veral important assignments in Indian Railways including Divisional Railway Manager, Visakhapatnam division.

He held the position of Chief Mechanical Engineer, East Central Railway, Hajipur before taking over the charge as Additional General Manager, South Eastern Railway.

Rlys’ to levy 10% Congestion Fee on base Freight Rates for Traffic originating from Ports

Congestion Fee to make Imported Coal costlier

कोलकाता Kolkata (KOAA): Power companies will be forced to pay more for imported coal as Indian Railways has decided to levy congestion charge of 10% on base freight rates for traffic originating from ports.

The decision comes at a time when there has been a spurt in demand for imported coal, mainly due to dwindling stocks at a large number of power plants. Subhasri Chaudhuri, Secretary General of Coal Consumers’ Association of India, which has urged the government to revoke the surcharge, blamed the railways solely for the congestion.

“Domestic coal consumers are grappling with non-availability of rakes. The congestion at the ports is the result of non-supply of sufficient wagons by the Indian Railways,” she said.

The companies which meet a portion of their coal requirement through imports include India’s largest power producer NTPC, Damodar Valley Corporation, Madhya Pradesh Power Genco, state utilities in Uttar Pradesh and private companies such as Adani Power and CESC.

Coal India has also started importing coal on behalf of its customers.

This fiscal, the state-run monopoly miner is likely to import 5 lakh tonnes of coal, of which 1.7 lakh tonnes has already reached the Mundra Port.

NTPC is currently finalising import contracts for 5 million tonnes of coal for its power plants while Madhya pradesh Power Generating Company is firming up shipment of 7 lakh tonnes.

“At ports there are more a few hundred indents pending and railways supplies only a few rakes every day,” said Chaudhuri.

“As a result, indents are piling up and coal consumers are paying huge penalty by way of moving cargo by road, paying higher freight, paying increased rent to port authorities, slow or non-evacuation of cargos, resulting in waiting of vessels and incurring very high demurrages and reduction in generation due to non-receipt of coal on time from ports,” she added.

Indian Railways is already collecting a number of surcharges including busy season charge and development charge, without changing the base freight rates, leading to a substantial rise in total freight, importers said.

Wagon Shortage even during the lean season to cripple Railways’ Operating Targets

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu will have to address formidable problems faced by both commercial and individual users if he is to bring about some improvement in the operations and financial health of the Indian Railways. There is a shortage of rolling stock, inadequate attention paid to safety and total disregard for minimum passenger conveniences, not to speak of comfort.

The acute wagon shortage is affecting the railways’ core operation of carrying freight. Unless the national carrier is able to carry out this profitable part of its business, there is no hope of it arresting the steady deterioration in finances of the past few years. In the three years between 2011 and 2013, India’s GDP grew by an average 6.7 per cent whereas net tonne km of freight carried by the railways rose by a compound annual rate of just 1.5 per cent.

The wagon-buying programme is running a year behind schedule, according to a former Indian Railways official. No tenders have been issued for the current financial year; the orders recently issued relate to the 2013-14 financial year.

It is understandable if some tightness in wagon availability emerges during the busy season when freight offerings are at their seasonal peak, but wagon shortage has now begun to show even during the lean season. Last year, the Indian Railways lost considerable business during the peak January-March period because of a shortage of covered wagons used to ferry items like foodgrain and cement. There was also an unmet demand for box-type wagons.

1418660031-8614The wagon shortage has emerged because of inadequate ordering in recent years. The railways has an annual demand for 17,000-18,000 wagons. This can be met through its own capacity of 5,000-6,000 wagons, and external procurement of 10,000-12,000 wagons. Last year, actual orders placed with the private sector were for a mere 9,000 wagons. In trying to tide over this situation, the railways has adopted two strategies: One, “condemning” or junking old wagons is being delayed, and two, the periodic overhauling of wagons is being postponed. Both carry the risk of compromising safety and increasing the chances of accidents.

Various reasons are being cited for this undesired situation. The acute scarcity of funds is one. Another is the assumption among planners that through gains in efficiency like lowering of wagon turnaround time, you can get more wagon kilometers per wagon-day. While both are valid arguments, what has also contributed to the shortage is a glitch in the procurement system. When a tender is issued, the lowest price is accepted and all bidders are asked to match it. The entire order is then apportioned out among the participants, and it is through this exercise that the process is manipulated and particular suppliers favoured.

After Mamata Banerjee began her second stint as railway minister in 2009, the national transporter, through its vision document, projected an annual demand of 25,000 wagons. As a result, several private suppliers made considerable investment. Today, they are starved of orders.

The former senior official laments that at one time “the procurement system of the railways was known for its transparency and soundness, to the extent that it was copied by other organisations. But after the departure of (former minister) Lalu Prasad, there has been a decline.”

After Banerjee assumed charge, action was taken against three board-level officials for lapses in the procurement processes, but, says the official, “most unfortunately, proper systems were not restored. The result is that when officials down the line see systems being compromised, they become part of a general decline in standards. Even a technical setup of the railways, the Research Design and Standards Organisation, has been compromised.”

All you need to do to favour one supplier over another is to play around with the tender requirements – like the number of years of experience in a particular product line or specifications. “Another way in which the system is compromised is by ensuring that no procurement file in the Railway Board remains confidential,” says the former official. “Internal notings are photocopied and made available to those who pay for such information. With knowledge of the direction a purchase case is taking, potential suppliers (read tenderers) can compromise the system.”

Shortages are not limited to wagons but stretch to locomotives and passenger coaches too. In the case of the former, two locomotive factories in the public-private partnership mode that have been planned for years – at Marhaura for diesel locos and at Madhepura for electric locos, both in Bihar – are nowhere in sight.

Shortages of locomotives for freight trains will emerge in three years if traffic growth proves buoyant along with revived economic growth. What queers the pitch further for such locomotives is that they are sometimes diverted to haul passenger trains whose numbers keep rising with every Rail Budget.

In the case of passenger coaches, the absence of any back-up capacity creates a chain of delays if a train arrives late at its end point since it is the same train that has to turn around for another journey. For some passenger trains, safety has been compromised by the need to cut corners and the failure to take corrective action. The LHB type of coaches, used for more important passenger trains, suffer from a defect that results in sudden jerking. This is caused by using traditional types of couplings with these newer types of coaches, thus creating a mismatch. “The organisation can be saved only by bringing back integrity,” says the former top official.

Another former senior official who has held customer-facing positions foresees serious challenges ahead in the winter months when fog will create delays. The weather-created disruptions will have a ripple effect and cause immense inconvenience for passengers. He points out that this is in addition to inadequate services related to lights and fans not working and poor food and dirty linen being laid out. “The Railway Board has monitoring systems to address these issues, but such is the morale even at the top that there is all-round drift,” the former official sighs. Yes, the railways minister does have a task on hand.

85% of Train Coaches lack Fire Safety Warning System, admits MOS (Railways)

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Despite huge spending on safety in the railways, 85% of the coaches do not have fire safety warning systems. Speaking in Lok Sabha on railway safety, Minister of State for Railways Mr.Manoj Sinha admitted that non-AC coaches did not have fire alarm systems. “There is a lack of resources because of which we have not been able to put alarm systems in all coaches. We will add systems as and when we can,” he said.

Replacing old systems, adopting new technology, updating signaling system and training staff are some of the steps Indian Railways have taken to increase safety and prevent accidents, the minister said.

Sinha said timely replacement of over-aged assets, adoption of suitable technologies, regular monitoring and educating staff about the issue of safety are some of the various measures adopted.

In response to a supplementary question, he said the gross expenditure on specific safety related activities has increased over the years. In 2013-14, Rs 39,090 crore were spent on safety related activities. The budgetary estimates for 2014-15 for safety are Rs 43,443 crore, he said.

As on April 1, there were 2,25,863 vacancies in the 16 railway zones relating to posts under various categories, including safety.

Train runs over Leopard at Devanur on SWR’s Mysore Division

The leopard which came under a speeding train at Devanur railway station in Kadur taluk on Sunday night

The leopard which came under a speeding train at Devanur railway station in Kadur taluk on Sunday night

देवनुर Devanur (VNR):  A nine-year-old leopard was killed after being hit by a train at the Deavanur railway station on Sunday.  The gangmen who saw the accident, brought the matter to the notice of the station master who later informed his higher officials.

It is said that the leopard had been roaming around Halladahally, S Koppalu, Gunasagara, Kabballi, Chikkadevanur in Kadur taluk and had created fear among the villagers. The villagers after learning about the death of the leopard appealed to Forest officials to track down such wild animals.

Arsikere division police assistant sub inspector Sibbe Gowda visited the spot. A case has been registered

14 injured in Central Mumbai’s towering inferno in Railway Quarter

A major fire has broken out in a 21-storey residential building near Mumbai Central railway station in south Mumbai, fire officials said. (Representative image)

A major fire has broken out in a 21-storey residential building near Mumbai Central railway station in south Mumbai, fire officials said. (Representative image)

मुंबई Mumbai: There was high drama at the Mumbai Central railway station on Monday morning when a fire broke out in a 21-storey railway officers’ quarters within the station premises. Though no casualty has been reported, fourteen people were injured and are admitted in nearby hospitals. However, there were no casualties.

The fire broke out at around 11 am on the third floor of the building of a railway officers’ quarter behind Maratha Mandir theatre opposite Mumbai Central railway station, apparently it was caused by a short-circuit. Eight fire tenders were brought in to rescue residents.  Residents, mostly railway employees, said that the fire extinguishing system of the building was non-functional. According to the civic officials, the fire started at around 11.15 am on the fourth floor which eventually spread upwards toward the terrace.

fire rescue“We got a call around noon that a fire broke out in a residential building. We initially thought it was a Grade-1 fire and sent four fire tankers to the spot. It was later upgraded to a Grade-2 fire and we have now deployed eight fire engines and five water tankers at the spot,” a fire brigade official said.

Of the 14 injured, seven were taken to BMC-run Nair Hospital while seven were admitted to Jagjivanram Hospital, which is run by the Railways, in Mumbai Central. The patients are between 17 to 85 years of age.

“We got a call around noon that a fire broke out in a residential building. We initially thought it was a grade-1 fire and sent four fire tankers to the spot. It was later upgraded to a grade-2 fire and we deployed eight fire engines and five water tankers at the spot,” a fire brigade official said.

The fire, which had gutted the entire fourth floor took some time to be brought under control. “There was a lot of smoke from the floor where the fire broke out. This caused panic, which made evacuation process a little difficult. We had evacuated people and started working towards dousing the flames,” the official added.

Western Railway chief public relations Sharat Chandrayan said, “As far as we know the fire did not originate from any of the homes.”

Fire officials said the fire originated in a service duct located in the shaft of the staircase. The cause of the fire, however, is yet to be ascertained. Residents of the quarters, which have 42 flats and an attached outhouse on each floor, said they were left helpless as thick smoke blinded them, making it impossible for them to escape.

“My family saw smoke coming into the house and we immediately ran for the stairs,” said Alka Srivastav, resident of the twentieth floor. “But there was so much smoke that I started to suffocate. We managed to run up to the terrace, but the fire was raging in the elevator shaft there. So we returned to our own flats.”

This picture shows 79-year-old resident Sudhaben being rescued from the 13th floor by firemen

This picture shows 79-year-old resident Sudhaben being rescued from the 13th floor by firemen

In their inspection following the blaze, fire brigade officials observed several safety lapses in the building, and are likely to send a notice to the Western Railways. None of the fire extinguishers, sprinklers or the riser system in the building were in working condition, said fire officials. “The mandatory six-monthly fire safety audit was not conducted by owners. We will take action as per the provisions of the law,” said PS Rahangale, deputy chief fire officer.

According to section 3 (3) of the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006, a six-monthly compliance certificate is to be submitted in January and June every year to the fire brigade by the owner or the occupants of every building. “The burns sustained by the patients are not severe. Because of smoke, most them have respiratory distress, and we will keep them under observation for a couple of days,” Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean of the hospital.

Railways’ Fuel price-linked fares to go up despite falling oil prices

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The Indian Railways is expected to announce a hike in passenger fares in the next Rail Budget to be presented early next year, despite falling oil prices, as it passes on the burden of rising power costs to passengers as part of its fuel adjustment-linked tariff revision.

Indian Railways has deferred the fuel adjustment component-linked tariff revision due in December to February to be taken up in the Rail Budget even as the need for upward revision to compensate for high energy costs remain.

The last biennial revision in fuel-adjustment tariff was made in June wherein passenger fares were revised by 4.2 per cent and freight rates by 1.4 per cent. The cost power for Indian Railways has gone up by over 4 per cent in recent months, railway ministry officials pointed out.

The new railway minister Suresh Prabhu had also hinted at the possibility of a fare revision at a recent event.

“Passenger service should be improved before increasing the fares. Safety cannot be compromised. There is a need for big investment. Some burden has to be shared by public,” Prabhu, said when asked about the possibility of raising train fares to meet the growing expenses of Railways.

Expressing serious concern over the Railways’ financial health, Prabhu had said it is “too close for comfort”, even as he highlighted the need for massive investments to meet the safety requirement and upgrading in the rail infrastructure.

“Railways requires big investment. There is no fund for investment. There is requirement of Rs 6 lakh crore to Rs.8,00,000 crore for completion of announced projects,” he had said.

The minister is in the process of ascertaining views and demands of members of Parliament and various stakeholders, before finalising the Rail Budget.

China launch New Route schedule for High-speed rail to 28 Municipalities and Provinces

बीजिंग Beijing: The Chinese railway system launched a new route schedule Wednesday, expanding high-speed rail service to 28 municipalities and provinces.

Over the past several years, China’s high-speed railway lines have played an important role in creating new jobs and improving the economies along high-speed routes.

However, given the high cost of high-speed line construction and operation, many consumers have complained bitterly about the price of high-speed travel, which can be considerably more expensive than traveling by a conventional train.

With pressure mounting from the public, rail operators cannot set their prices based solely on their operating expenses. On the other hand, making prices broadly affordable could result in huge losses.

Some argue that operators should raise ticket prices to cover costs and leave low-income earners to make due with lower priced travel options.

Such claims overlook the fact that high-speed travel has become an important public utility, one which should not necessarily be priced based on market conditions. The government should consider the public’s interests when it comes to setting fares. Judicious government subsidies should be offered to make sure that more ordinary people can benefit from fast, efficient train travel.

Mumbai GRP and NGO rescue 83 child labourers brought from Bihar

मुंबई Mumbai: The Mumbai Government Railway Police (GRP), along with Pratham NGO, a child rights organisation on Monday morning rescued 83 minor boys who were brought in from the state of Bihar to be pushed into child labour in the city’s slums. Most of them are from Motihari, Champaran district in Bihar.

Acting on a tip-off received by the NGO, a team of police officials and men from the Kurla GRP rescued these children after they got down at the LTT from the Jansadharan Express from Bihar. The boys are said to be in the age group of 10 to 16 years.

There were more than 100 minor boys who were detained at LTT, but as their parents accompanied them they were let off. The rest of the 83 boys did not have their parents with them and so they will be sent to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). These boys will be allowed to go if their parents show up at the CWC. The rest of them will be sent to a children’s home at Mankhurd or Dongri.

Programme manager for Pratham, Sharmishta Khandagale said, “Most of these children are made to work in small factory units and small hotels in areas like Govandi, Dharavi, Kurla, Madanpura and Byculla.”

When asked if the ones who are handed over to parents are sent back by them, Ms Khandagale said, “It may be happening, but we can’t be certain about that. As of now, the parents were cooking up stories like they were brought here for studies.”

The Kurla GRP has detained 38 people who were accompanying these children, but they haven’t been booked yet. There were others who had showed up at the LTT, but managed to escape following the raid.

An official from the Kurla GRP said, “We have registered a case under Section 32 (production before committee by a police officer) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. We will hand them over to the CWC. We couldn’t register a case of child labour as they were not yet pushed into labour work.”

Railway workers stage ‘rail roko’ as Gangman runs over by train

थाना Thane (TNA): Hundreds of irate workers of the railways at Thane station today resorted to a spontaneous ‘rail rokho’ for quite some time following the death of a gangman on the tracks this afternoon. The workers stalled the locals on both up and down lines for about an hour amidst slogan shouting. According to the sources in Railway police at Thane, a gangman Mahadeo Swami (54), who was working on the tracks, was run over by a speeding local at about 1400 hours. The news of the death of the gangman spread among the rail workers, who gathered at the station and held up the services. The Railway police said that the body of the deceased was sent for postmortem to the civil hospital here. It may be recalled that at least half a dozen railway workers had lost their lives in a couple of incidents between Thane and Kalyan in the past when they were run over by the speeding trains. In one such incident, four workers lost their lives in a single incident.

Railway Health Unit inaugurated in Dimapur

NF railway general manager RS Virdi and other railway officials at the inaugural function of railway health unit in Dimapur

NF railway general manager RS Virdi and other railway officials at the inaugural function of railway health unit in Dimapur

दीमापुर Dimapur (): Railway Health Unit, Dimapur was inaugurated by Northeast Frontier Railway General Manager R.S.Virdi at Railway colony here Monday. He was accompanied by Divisional Railway Manager, Lumding Division Mr.Niraj Kumar and senior DEN (co-ord), Lumding, S.P. Yadav.

The health unit, initiated in the month of July 2014, comprises of registration counter, Doctors chamber, observation room, waiting hall, dispensing room, injection room, medical store, dressing room and washrooms.

Briefing about the construction, contractor Abel P Shohe, MS ACE Builders concord, said that the health unit would benefit the railway unit, staffs and passengers.

Further, he expressed gratitude to the staffs, ranks of Dimapur railway, DRM, NIM, Den IV, ADEN Dimapur station, IW office and staffs of Dimapur for the co-operation.

DMRC MD Mangu Singh conferred with Doctorate Degree

Mangu Singh MD DMRCनई दिल्ली New Delhi: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Managing Director, Mangu Singh, was today conferred honorary doctorate by a private university in recognition for his outstanding work and leadership in the field of Metro technology in the country.

Singh was conferred the honour during a convocation ceremony at Noida by Amity University, Uttar Pradesh. “The varsity appreciated the inspirational leadership of Singh and commended his pioneering strategies which have been fundamental to the rapid growth and unprecedented success of DMRC,” a DMRC statement said.

Singh, who is the President of Tunnelling Association of India (TAI), has contributed in the project implementation of Metro in Delhi and Kolkata and has been responsible for bringing revolutionary changes in the execution of large Metro engineering projects within deadlines and budget and is considered the foremost tunnelling expert, it said.

The DMRC MD is known for bringing in new technologies and innovative methods of Metro construction and has also played a fundamental role in using Shield Tunnel Boring Machines and introducing New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM) for the first time in the country.

Singh is also heading the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects of Delhi Metro, the only such successful project in the Railway Transportation sector in the world, the statement said.

He has been instrumental in preparing the Master Plan and Detailed Project Reports for Metro system in other cities of the country like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Kochi, Jaipur, Ludhiana and Ahmedabad.

ECR deploys CCTV Surveillance System in all Major Stations to nab Touts

पटना Patna (PNBE): The process to nab ticket touts who buy tickets in bulk and sell them to passengers at a premium has begun from Patna Sahib railway station. East Central Railway is installing the CCTV cameras at passenger reservation system counters in a phase-wise manner. At present, it is being done at 10 railway stations under Danapur division. Installation of CCTV cameras at four other divisions, namely Dhanbad, Mughalsarai, Samastipur and Sonepur, would follow.

ECR chief public relations officer (CPRO) Arvind Kumar Rajak said: “This is being done as part of our drive against touts. Special railway protection force (RPF) teams have been formed to catch them. However, since it is impossible to keep a close eye on them manually, we decided to install CCTV cameras above reservation counters. We started by installing them at Patna Sahib and nine other stations under Danapur division.” Four high-resolution cameras were installed at Patna Sahib two days ago. The other stations are Buxar, Ara, Danapur, Patna, Rajendra Nagar, Bakhtiyarpur, Mokama, Kiul and Jamui. A private firm, Hi-Tech Electronics Eye System, is installing it.

Rajak said: “The number of cameras would hinge on area. Bigger stations would have more cameras. Patna Junction would have the most CCTVs in Danapur.”

A senior ECR official said on condition of anonymity: “Commercial inspectors of the respective divisions and divisional railway manager (DRM) would monitor CCTV feeds daily. Experts are training these officials to monitor irregularities and movement of touts. RPF would take further action based on information by railway officials.”

The railway board in October issued a circular to all zones asking them to curb black marketing of tickets by installing CCTV cameras at major railway stations.

A relieved East Boring Canal Road resident and passenger Rajesh Kumar said: “It is a welcome step and hope installation of CCTV cameras puts a full stop to presence of touts at reservation counters. Though the decision has come very late in the day, I hope it would stop passengers from having to pay extra to touts to get their tickets.

DMRC to build multi-storied quarters for Rail Staff at Ernakulam Marshalling Yard

कोची Kochi: After a wait of over a year, finally there is some relief for hundreds of railway staff waiting for quarters.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is all set to begin the construction of a multi-storied quarters building at the Ernakulam Marshalling Yard next month.

And for the first time, the quarters for Group ‘D’ staff will be more spacious than the usual congested one. “This may be for the first time across the country that the quarters for Group ‘D’ staff are being build outside the railway specification.

Usually a single railway quarter is 550 sq ft area while the new one will be 950 sq ft. Though the railways opposed this initially they have given nod later,” said a senior officer.

As per the initial pact entered by the KMRL and the railways, the former has to pay nearly Rs 21 crore as compensation for using railway land to lay metro tracks besides reconstruction of 92 staff quarters.

A total of 19 families were asked to move out from the present quarters building. Though it was promised to construct a new quarters building at the eastern entry side, the same didn’t happen for long.

“We’ve sorted out all pending issues and the DMRC will start construction of the quarters at the Marshalling Yard by demolishing two abandoned blocks there. The 19 families vacated have been rehabilitated already,” said Ernakulam Area Manager Rajesh Chandran.

Meanwhile, the railway staff wanted the metro authorities to set up a rest room for loco-running staff too. “At present the retiring room of the locopilots at South is located very close to the metro construction site.

Proper rest is vital for locopilots who will be affected once the construction activities start,” said P Unnikrishnan, divisional president of Southern Railways Mazdoor Union.

Prefer CONCOR in Logistics Space from medium to long term perspective: Kunj Bansal

In a chat, Mr.Kunj Bansal, ED & CIO, Centrum Wealth Management, shares his views on logistics space and CONCOR.  Excerpts:

Q: You have a very large exposure to CONCOR. What is your take on this stock or any of the container or logistics stock?

Kunj Bansal: I largely concur with your views. The only thing I would like to add is that one of the reasons besides probably Morgan selling, one of the fundamental reasons is that the railways hiked the charges 21% or 27% recently. Now that is a big cost for CONCOR and it will be difficult to pass on in the immediate future. Over a period of time, I am sure it will pass it on to the clients. So that is one of the reasons on the fundamental side why these stocks saw some supply and as a result, what might happen is that the expectation for December and March quarter would have to be brought down.

But on a medium to long term basis in terms of growth prospects and in terms of existing fundamentals and valuations; it is a stock which continues to be good. Extending that whole logistics space, Gateway Distriparks is another company one should look at. So that is a company which gave excellent results for the September quarter after kind of remaining subdued for last five-six quarters and looks like will continue to do well. It also has an exposure to railway transportation business but as a percentage of its total turnover is, it is around 10% or so. So the impact that it will have because of the railway increased charges will not be as much as that on CONCOR.

Fund shortage affects progress of projects: MoS Railways

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  The Centre has admitted that revenue crunch was one of the major factors for delay in expansion of ambitious railway projects.

At present there are 154 new lines, 42 gauge conversions and 166 doubling of ongoing projects costing around Rs 2,58,277 crore. As of March, the railways has already incurred an expenditure of Rs 76,054 crore on these projects, leaving a throw-forward of Rs 1,82,224 crore.

An outlay of Rs 13,494 crore has been provided to them in the Budget 2014-15. According to Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, due to large shelf of projects, funds get thinly spread over projects and affect almost all the ongoing works.

The railways has started a number of schemes to encourage procurement of wagons and construction of terminals to involve private companies for making investment in the area of freight marketing through private investments.

The procurement of wagons scheme include Liberalised Wagon Investment Scheme, Wagon Leasing Scheme, Special Freight Train Operators Scheme, Automobile Freight Train Operator Scheme and the Private Freight Terminal.

According to the Railway Ministry statement, to attract more investors, freight marketing policies are amended from time to time to take into account changes taking place in the market as well as on the suggestions received from the investors and the customers.

The government has also made efforts to meet fund requirement of the Indian Railways. Projects mainly new line, gauge conversion and doubling are executed from fund provided by the Ministry of Finance as Gross Budgetary Support (GBS), the statement said.

Railways have always been impressing upon Planning Commission and Ministry of Finance for enhanced GBS, the statement said. Various measures to speed up completion of projects have already been enumerated in the Railway Budget Speech, 2014-15. This inter-alia include mobilisation of additional resources by leveraging Railway Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) resources, private investment in rail infrastructure through domestic and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), funding of projects through Public Private Partnership (PPP), Near Plan Holiday, prioritisation of projects, participation of State Government and others.

CR’s First EMU Maintenance Workshop for Local Trains to come up in Sanpada

सानपाड़ा Sanpada (SNCR): The first maintenance workshop, exclusively on Central Railway (CR) for local trains (EMU) is being built in Sanpada, which will have a capacity of conducting Periodic Overhaul (POH) of 150 trains per month.

Each of CR’s workshops in Matunga and Parel have a capacity of maintaining 75 local trains per month but were originally built to maintain only mail express engines. Also, the maintenance of local trains in these workshops cause delays in getting the trains out in time.

An example of this is visible as CR has been running the Trans-Harbour line (Thane to Panvel) on 70 per cent capacity, as reported earlier. There are three rakes that have been running on only nine coaches instead of 12 since October as workshop officials have said that they are overloaded with the maintenance work.

According to sources, work on these rakes is not being done, as there isn’t enough space for the POH. An official on condition of anonymity explained, “We have not been able to get the Trans-Harbour coaches back since October because the workshop officials have been saying that they have to work on the engines of the mail express trains as well.”

Officials hope that the Sanpada workshop will solve this problem. The blueprint of the area has been finalised this week and is estimated to cost Rs 250 crore.

A POH of a train is essential and is conducted every 18 months, as the nut and bolts, wheels of the train, electrical wiring throughout the coach as well as its frame are checked. The train is taken apart and reassembled with new parts wherever wear and tear is detected.

Railway minister suggests double-deckers on suburban network

Double-decker services on the suburban system are under consideration to tide over the problem of overcrowding, said railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday.

Prabhu said a comprehensive plan was under preparation to improve the suburban network in the city. The minister said a meeting would be held with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to chalk out an action plan to execute various capacity augmentation projects.

“The trial runs of fully air-conditioned trains will be carried out by March 15,” he said. “Apart from running AC services, options are being explored on whether double-decker services can also run on the Mumbai suburban system.”

A few thousand people die or lose their limbs every year because they fall off trains packed beyond capacity. An estimate puts the passenger loading in suburban trains at 16 people per square metre.

To reduce overcrowding, the number of coaches on suburban trains was increased from nine to 12, and in some trains up to 15, but during peak hours even that is proving to be insufficient.

Prabhu said a mechanism would be developed to ensure better coordination between all agencies to remove bottlenecks in the speedy implementation of projects.

Several projects are stuck because of a lack of approval from local self-government bodies, disputes regarding sharing of costs, delays in land acquisition and other such stumbling blocks.

Prabhu said that his ministry planned to introduce a mobile ticketing system for unreserved tickets across the country, including on the suburban system serving the city and its neighbourhood, in a month.

He said that a ‘Mahila Vani’ will be formed to ensure the safety of women and, provided there are no questions raised about privacy, CCTV cameras will be put up in coaches. The height of the 131 platforms across suburban system will also be raised by March 31, said the minister. The height is being raised to reduce the gap between the footboard of the train and the platform surface, a cause of many accidents.

Titagarh Wagons bet on diversification to grow its business

MD Titagarhकोलकाता Kolkata (KOAA): Titagarh Wagons Limited (TWL), the Calcutta-based railway wagon maker, is betting on diversification to grow its business over the next five years.

The company is looking to increase its earnings from shipbuilding and is foraying into manufacture of tractors, to supplement its core business of making wagons and other engineering equipment.

“The diversification into other business lines is essentially to grow our overall business. For us, ideally, the wagon business in the next five years should not be more than 40-45 per cent of the total revenue,” said Umesh Chowdhary, vice-chairman and managing director of Titagarh Wagons.

Wagons constituted 88.5 per cent of the company’s revenue in 2013-14.

In shipbuilding, the company through its subsidiary Titagarh Marine Limited, had opted for inorganic growth by acquiring Corporated Shipyard Private Limited in 2012.

The company used to supply vessels to both Indian Navy and private operators. TWL has also invested Rs 50 crore in developing steel fabrication units and slipways for building ships at its Titagarh wagon plant.

“There is no capacity constraint as far as shipbuilding is concerned. We have already participated in tenders worth Rs 650 crore in both defence and non-defence sectors,” Chowdhary said.

The company is also awaiting clearance from the state government to acquire around 200 acres at Kulpi to develop another shipyard.

“At the moment (shipbuilding) industry is remaining choppy but we expect the situation to improve in the coming years. We are cautious in our progress,” Chowdhary said.

TWL is planning to utilise Cimmco’s plant at Bharatpur, Rajasthan to manufacture tractors. “We are going to test our products next quarter,” he said. He added that the commercial production could start soon after that.

In wagons, TWL is also looking at more orders from the private players in sectors such as automobile, steel and cement. “From fiscal 2015-16 we expect private sector wagon demand to increase,” Chowdhary said.

According to Chowdhary, the company expects its capacity utilisation to improve and its losses to lower following more demand from the private sector.

The company is also planning to manufacture metro rail coaches.

Civilian honour

A statement from the French consulate said Ambassador François Richier would confer the insignia of Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite (Knight in the Order of Merit) on Umesh Chowdhary, in recognition of his outstanding and steadfast contribution to the bilateral ties between India and France in the economic sphere during his visit this week.

Titagarh group had acquired the assets of ArbelFauvet Rail out of bankruptcy in the year 2010 and after emerging a successful bidder started its operations in France under the name of Titagarh Arbel Fauvet Rail, TWAFR.

Despite adverse feedbacks, Railways nod for Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train project soon

मुंबई Mumbai: The Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train project is now a certainty and will be implemented by Japan, a source told. “Japan will be doing the project,” the source said while replying to the query on whether bullet trains were really going to appear on Indian tracks.

The 543-km route is likely to have elevated tracks along the existing rail lines. Important stations on it will include Surat, Bharuch and Vadodara. The travel time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will be reduced to less than two hours from the current duration of over six hours.

The construction, maintenance and operation including supply of rolling stock of new projects which are above 250 km per hour and not linked to the existing rail network, can now be undertaken by the developer.

Adverse feedbacks including that from French National Rail Company had pushed the project into uncertainty. The company had suggested in its study that it is financially viable in private sector. Submitted in September 2014, the report recommended that different trains be run on the same corridor with different number of stoppages. The premium trains with no or very few stoppages could charge more and have only two classes, premium and first class.

Railway Board officials too were opposed to the project. “The cost, Rs 63,000 crore, is really inhibitive. The money would be quite enough to purchase a few aeroplanes,” an official told.

A comprehensive study on feasibility by Japan International Cooperation , which began in September 2013, is underway to cover funding pattern, alignment, patronage, possible halts and fare structure and other aspects. It is scheduled to be completed by March 2015.

Elusive ticket touting scam accused surrenders

मुंबई Mumbai: The Railway Protection Force unit of Central Railway, currently investigating a multi-crore touting scam using speed software, got a boost after the kingpin of the first such scam the RPF broke, surrendered in front of the court last week.

Who is the prized catch?

Shamsher Nisar Alam, a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district, was wanted by the RPF since March this year when they had busted a major touting racket wherein a Ghatkopar-based collegian was also apprehended.

As reported earlier, Shamsher was declared an absconder by the 35th railway court at CST, after the latter allowed its plea to do so. This proclamation under Section 82 of the Criminal Procedure Code allows the RPF to move ahead to the next step of attaching Shamsher’s property, in case he failed to appear before court for the next hearing – which was scheduled on December 9.

What the court ordered for Shamsher?

On December 9, Shamsher surrendered before court and while releasing him on a bail amount of Rs15,000, the court directed him to present himself before the RPF every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next one month.

A senior RPF officer told: “After a month, he will have to appear before the RPF every Sunday till the complaint is filed by us. He has been asked to completely cooperate with the investigations.” Another senior RPF officer said: “It will really give our investigations a boost, because we believe Shamsher is in the know of several aspects of the speed software being used by some touts to corner tickets online as well as several touting rackets running within the city. We are confident we will get to the bottom of this matter.”

First speed software-aided touting scam busted

The March raid, carried out after two months’ surveillance by CR’s commercial and vigilance departments, was the first time the authorities managed to lay hands on automation software that was allowing touts to corner tickets on the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation website at a faster speed, than transactions made on the website by bonafide passengers.

The officer added: “The fact that we pursued Shamsher and forced him to surrender just shows our commitment in the fight against touting. It is affecting thousands of people on a daily basis, and especially during the festival seasons where, despite the railways running so many special and routine trains, normal people still fail to get tickets.”  Shamsher was booked under the following sections:

Section 82 – It contains the procedure to declare a person an ‘absconder’ if the person fails to appear before the court even after being served a summon and also avoids an arrest warrant issued against him.

Section 83 – Declaring an accused an absconder as described in section 82 is the final step to get the person to appear before court. If the person fails to attend court even after this, Section 83 empowers the court to attach the property of the person.

Youth prevents train accident near Malda

मालदा Malda (MLDT): Alertness of people living by the railway tracks here helped avert a major train accident on Sunday.

Residents of Malanchapally within the limits of English Bazaar noticed a huge gap between the tracks. They used red clothes to stop an approaching train that would have derailed otherwise.

The incident took place around 7am on Sunday. Locals Tapan Mistry, Prasanta Sarkar, Rabin Singh and others raised an alarm after noticing the gap on the tracks. Mistry said, “We heard a huge sound when a train had passed through this line and rushed to find whether there was a crack on the tracks.”

They put a red cloth on a stick at the spot to alert train drivers.

The local people also informed Malda town railway station about this crack. Meanwhile, a goods train that was coming through the line could be stopped only as the local people frantically waived red cloth. Train driver Rajib Kumar said, “Had they not stopped me, there could have been a major accident.”

Railway Land not Suitable for Night Shelters: Delhi High Court

दिल्ली Delhi: The Railway today told the Delhi High Court that its land near stations here is not available to make night shelters for the homeless as the people who will stay there will not die of cold but will be killed when they cross the tracks carelessly.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, however, was of the view that in winter this year “no one in the national capital should die of cold or be found sleeping on road side”.

“We are not concerned with the space and the blankets or the beddings given to the homeless at night. All that we want is that no one sleeps on the road this winter,” the court said while asking DDA, DSIIDC (Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd), MCD, NDMC, Cantonment Board and Land and Development Office to make all kinds of arrangements.

However, on the question raised by the counsel for Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) that railway officials are not co-operating in their project, the northern railway’s counsel said “the space near railway stations cannot be made available for homeless as they cross the railway track carelessly to and fro of which they die”.

The court said “we need not blame each other. Some way has to be found out. Some more additional directions need to be given to the agency involved”.

The authorities and the NGOs are also directed to give suggestion so that it can consider it, the judge added.

The court has fixed the matter for further hearing on January 7, 2015 while asking the civic bodies here to explore all the possibilities and even to consult St Columbus School to make available its basement for the homeless during winter night.

It also asked DUSIB to contact NDMC for allowing the homeless to sleep at their subways.

The court is hearing a case it took up on its own after media reports highlighted the absence of enough and proper night shelters for the homeless in the city.

DUSIB’s response came after the court had on November 19 issued several directions and asked several civic bodies here to inform it whether the underground vehicle parking space can be made available to the homeless for shelter at night.

These directions included holding of meetings of Joint Apex Advisory Committee (JAAC) every fortnight which would be attended by representatives of all departments concerned and NGOs which are working for the benefit of the persons in need of shelter.

The authorities were also directed to devise ways of transporting to and fro the homeless who are unable to use the night shelters for the reason of distance of such shelters from their working sites.

The court had said that Delhi Transport Corporation should cooperate with the Deputy Director, DUSIB.

To the court’s direction, DUSIB in its affidavit filed today, said all night shelters being run by it are currently open for 24 hours and the Lieutenant Governor has also instructed them for providing tea and rusk to the inhabitants in the morning from December 10 onwards.

“Like previous winter season, for the forthcoming winter season as well, an emergency rescue plan has been chalked out which shall be soon made operational. The rescue plan will be operated through ‘Homeless Rescue Centres’ (HRC) who would be assigned with responsibility to rescue the homeless in their respective jurisdiction area by assisting them to shift to nearby hospital or night shelters as per the need,” DUSIB said in its affidavit.

They further said all possible steps shall be taken to ensure that no such persons, who need or wish to actually use night shelters facility, is forced to spend night in the open.

DUSIB has established 184 night shelters spread all over Delhi.

Railways asked to reconsider Tax on Emergency Medical Service

मुंबई Mumbai: The Central and Western Railways told the Bombay High Court that they proposed to levy a cess on suburban commuters to finance emergency medical care at stations but were asked by the bench to reconsider their decision as it was their statutory obligation to provide such service.

“In keeping with the court orders, the Railways have to provide at their own cost an emergency medical room equipped with a bed, doctor and a nurse at every station and also keep ambulance as stand by to shift injured to hospitals in case of accidents,” said a bench headed by Justice Abjay Oka.

As far as possible, the cost of such emergency medical services should be borne by the Railways, the bench said and asked the authorities to reconsider their decision of levying an additional charge on the commuters in tickets.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Samir Zaveri, who lost his legs in a railway accident, seeking medical facilities for accident victims in “golden hour” (within one hour of the accident).

The authorities informed the court that to begin with emergency medical rooms will be provided within the next three to six months at stations such as Kurla, Thane, Dombivali, Kalyan, Karjat, Wadala, Vashi and Panvel on the Central Railway route.

On the Western Railway, such facility would be made available at Churchgate, Mumbai Central, Bandra, Andheri, Borivali, Vasai and Palghar stations.

The emergency medical rooms will have a doctor, nurse and an attendant working in shifts so that injured persons get immediate medical attention, the Railways said.

They said the proposed charge would be known as “Golden Hour Cess”.

The court had asked the Railways to set up emergency medical rooms on the lines of its existing facility at Dadar.

“It is not necessary at every station but at least at those stations which have witnessed more than 100 deaths in the past one year,” another bench had earlier said.

Advocate Suresh Kumar, appearing for Western Railways, told the court that in cases where there is a government hospital within 500 metre radius of the railway station an accident victim is taken there. “But in the absence of a government hospital, the railways has tied up with certain private hospitals where victims can be taken,” he said.

Hundreds of people die every year on the city’s suburban railway system after falling from overcrowded trains and crossing the tracks.

The matter has been posted for December 24 for direction.

Railways to bring Uniform Multi-modal Transportation System

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Aiming at improving transportation, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said a multi-modal transportation system is in the offing to provide last mile connectivity.

“Muti-modal transportation system is what we need today. I am talking with all Chief Ministers for bringing a multi-modal transportation system. We will go to cabinet with the proposal,” Prabhu said at the Agenda Aaj Tak event.

He said an intregrated approach is required for multi-modal system involving all modes of transportation.

To strengthen the country’s transportation system, the government is working on a uniform multi-modal transport policy that would cover road and sea ways among others.

Earlier, while announcing this new policy, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari emphasised that there was a need to have an integrated approach for the country’s transport system.

He also said that the government is committed to achieving a target of building 30 kilometres of roads and highways a day within two years, from the current rate of just about three kilometres a day.

The government is working to solve problems associated with land acquisition, creating a multi-modal transport policy and reducing the cost of capital to make investment in infrastructure viable, Gadkari said here during the India Economic Summit organised by WEF and CII.

“We need an integrated approach for the transport system… We are working on a uniform policy for multi-modal transport,” he said, while adding that the country’s infrastructure sector is grappling with problems and many road projects are stuck mainly on account of issues faced by the developers.

Acknowledging that there are problems with respect to model concession agreements for road projects, the minister said the government is working on having a revised agreement with international standards.

Besides the government is looking to strengthen the road network by increasing pace of building roads, Gadkari said while speaking at a session titled ‘Mind the Trillion-Dollar Gap’.

The government has cleared 17 projects for building 2,000-plus kilometres of roads, given a golden handshake to concessionaires involved in some 4,000 kilometres worth of projects, and is working on resolving issues pertaining to some 1,800 kilometres, within five months of coming to power.

He admitted that land acquisition and environmental and forest clearances remain big hurdles and blamed the courts for passing “impracticable” rulings and the media for hyping up minor opposition to infrastructure projects, and asserted that India needs to create jobs and spur economic growth as much as it needs to preserve the environment.

Gadkari said that another hurdle in the way of building infrastructure was that the sector is administratively divided among several ministries – different ministries are in charge of shipping, roads, airports and railways.

The government is working on a multi-modal transport policy in which waterways, roads as well as sea, rail and airports would be developed together, he added.

The government is also aware that the current model concession agreement is weighed against the concessionaire and discourages banks from lending, he added.

Mumbai Rail Commuters to soon book ‘Local Tickets’ on their Mobiles

मुंबई Mumbai: Booking suburban railway tickets on mobile phones will be possible within a month, railway minister Suresh Prabhu announced in Mumbai on Saturday.

“The mobile ticketing initiative will help people book tickets on their way to the railway station. Once they reach the station, they will have to put the code provided to them in a machine at the station, after which they will get a print out. This will reduce the hassle of standing in long queues,” said Prabhu, after the launch of five new long-distance trains.

The minister said the trials for the first air-conditioned local will begin by March 2015. The project has missed several deadlines in the past. On the solutions to tackle overcrowding, the railway minister suggested steps such as operating double-decker or air-conditioned trains, apart from improving the bus and taxi services. “I have travelled on suburban locals and know the problems faced by commuters. We need new tracks, more platforms and rakes to manage the increasing number of railway commuters. We also need more investment to strengthen the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation,” he said.

Stating that the preparation of a comprehensive development plan for the city is underway, Prabhu said a joint meeting of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union minister Nitin Gadkari and MPs from the state will be called to finalise it. The railways will also hold monthly meetings of all authorities to speed up the projects that are stuck over minor coordination issues.

Prabhu said the railways will install closed circuit television cameras on women’s coaches.

When asked about the levy of a golden hour tax on passengers for providing emergency medical treatment, the minister said a decision on the implementation will be taken after a discussion.

Ex.Karnataka CM demands Merger of Mangaluru region with Konkan Railway

‘The demand for merger has been pending with the Railway Ministry’

मंगलूरु Mangaluru (MAQ): The demand for the merger of Mangaluru railway region with the Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd., has received a boost with the former Chief Minister and Shivamogga Lok Sabha Member B.S. Yeddyurappa urging the Railway Ministry to give effect to the original plan of KRCL formation. In a letter to the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu recently, Mr. Yeddyurappa said the demand for the merger has been pending with the Ministry. Referring to the original detailed project report of KRCL and the letter written by the then KRCL Chairman E.Sridharan opposing the non-merger of Mangaluru region with the corporation, the former Chief Minister said the merger would have facilitated Mangaluru becoming a Railway division automatically.

Mangalore Central, Mangalore Junction and the New Mangalore Port are still under Southern Railway.

He said, “ever since the commissioning of the dream project of Konkan Railway, the above mentioned stretch of 23 km (Tokur to Nethravathi Bridge) has been left out for unknown reasons. Though this concern was represented through the earlier MPs of coastal area of Karnataka to the Railways several times in the past, the same is not resolved till now.”

Strong criticism

He said the deletion of the Mangaluru region despite being a part of the original plan has been criticised strongly since the inception of KRCL. Mr.Sridharan too had immediately expressed great dissatisfaction over the issue and had urged the board to merge the Mangaluru region with KRCL, Mr. Yeddyurappa said. Mangaluru could become a Railway division without any additional financial implication to the Ministry if the original plan is given effect immediately, Mr. Yeddyurappa said.

Train movement hit in Sealdah-Canning section

कैनिंग Canning (CG): Local train movement was affected in Sealdah-Canning South section of Eastern Railway for about an hour as Trinamool Congress supporters blocked tracks in protest against West Bengal minister Madan Mitra’s arrest by CBI.

Railway sources said the TMC activists alleged the arrest was part of the greater conspiracy by the Centre against TMC government and sat on the UP, Down tracks at 10-30 am at Taldi station.

The blockade was lifted after 40 minutes.

One pair of Canning-Sealdah Local got delayed by less than an hour each as a result.

Nashik Municipal Corp to create Buffer Zone near Railway Station

Nashik Road (NK): The civic body is planning to create a buffer zone for the pilgrims near Nashik Road Railway station during the forthcoming Kumbh mela.

It will facilitate shifting the rail passengers to the buffer zone in case the Nashik Road railway station gets overcrowded during the mega religious event. The plan is being mooted to avoid stampede or any untoward incident.

An NMC official said, “Lakhs of people are expected to visit the city during Kumbh mela. People will come by road in Maharashtra State Regional Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses or private vehicles. Moreover, most of the people from across the country will reach Nashik by trains. At this juncture, there will be a huge crowd at the railway station. Hence, we are planning to create a buffer zone near the Nashik Road railway station.

“The NMC has reserved 12 acres land for a railway terminus near the railway station. The land is in the possession of the municipal corporation. Hence, we are planning to create a buffer zone for the pilgrims on around 10 acres. This is estimated to cost Rs 1.87 crore. We have prepared a proposal in this connection which is to be submitted to chief secretary Swadhin Kshatriya during the meeting of the higher-power committee on Monday,” he added. Altogether 29 pilgrims had died in a stampede during the previous Kumbh mela hel in the city in 2003.

Nashik is one of the four major cities in the country where Kumbh mela is held after every 12 years. Around 75 lakh people and three lakh sadhus are expected to visit the city during the mega event. The NMC has already started preparations to provide various facilities to the pilgrims.

The NMC has reserved 12 acres land for a railway terminus near the railway station. The land is in the possession of the municipal corporation. Hence, we are planning to create a buffer zone for the pilgrims on around 10 acres. This is estimated to cost Rs 1.87 crore.