Environment Ministry recommends Diversion of Forest Land for Railway project

Green Light for Rail Line in Tiger Terrain

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: While the country is hailing the increase in tiger numbers, an Environment Ministry committee has recommended diversion of forest land for a Railways project passing through a key tiger habitat in the Kanha-Pench corridor in Madhya Pradesh, even though it had rejected it twice before.

The project seeks diversion of 75 hectares of forest land in favour of the South East Central Railways for Gondia-Jabalpur gauge conversion project. The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of MoEF recommended the project with some precautionary measures, while it had earlier rejected the same saying the corridor was one of the most crucial wildlife corridors in Central India and gauge broadening would result in irreversible damage to it. The final call would be taken by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, but that is just a formality.

The project first came for FAC assessment in 2010 when the Ministry constituted a committee under National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) director Rajesh Gopal. Based on the committee’s recommendation, the FAC rejected the project. It was again rejected in 2013 on the same ground.

The committee had said that Madhya Pradesh had already built a road parallel to the railway line, right within the Pench-Kanha corridor. The Madhya Pradesh government again approached the MoEF in 2014, asking the Ministry to reconsider the project. NTCA was again asked to give their comments on reconsideration of the project by MoEF. The NTCA did a joint inspection with the Railway authorities.

“The proposed project cut across the vital Kanha-Pench corridor. This corridor is essential for the long term survival of the tiger as it permits gene flow in a meta population framework in the Central Indian landscapes. This corridor is already disturbed due o NH7 and other state highways. The proposed gauge conversion entrails severing of this corridor in three parts,” the NTCA said in a joint report. Unconvinced to reject the project for the third time, the FAC this time recommended the project with some conditions ranging from restriction of speed limit in sensitive sections to a cap on train density.

Passengers miss the train as it arrives & departs a hour early; WCR blames CRIS for Lapse

मुंबई Mumbai: Passengers travelling to Mumbai from Jabalpur on the Varanasi-LTT air-conditioned premium special train were in shock on Sunday as the train, which was running behind schedule, arrived and departed unnoticed. The stranded passengers were accommodated in the sleeper class of another train but will have to wait before the excess fare is refunded.

The train departs from Varanasi at 9.45am and arrives at 7pm at Jabalpur Junction. However, passengers were told the train was running behind schedule and will arrive at Jabalpur station at 10.15pm. Instead, the train arrived earlier and departed from the station at 9.15pm.

Railway authorities have blamed the train-running status software for the failure. Piyush Mathur, chief public relations officer, West Central Railway said, “The train-running status of the train could not be updated on the Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS). When passengers were tracking the train status online or through the train enquiry system, they found that it was running three hours behind schedule. Those passengers who turned up late at the station were unable to board the train.”

Ankit Soni, a passenger who traveled by the train and had bought a ticket for Rs 1800, said, “There was absolute chaos at Jabalpur station as well as when the train arrived at LTT. There was no announcement, nor did the station master seem to be aware about the train’s status.”

However, Mathur said, “Announcements were regularly made at stations about the status of the train. Since 37 passengers were stranded, a sleeper coach was attached to Godan Express and a Train Ticket Examiner was deputed. Passengers were issued Excess Fare receipt by deducting the fare for Godan Express between Jabalpur and LTT so that they can seek a refund.”

The Varanasi-LTT premium train has a dynamic fare system similar to an airline. Fares increase as the availability decreases and departure dates draw near. The base fare is equivalent to Tatkal fare but due to dynamic pricing it can increase by more than 100%.

Rakesh Singh, a passenger, who bought the ticket at Rs 8,000 said, “Some people had spent 10,000 to 15,000 to book a berth. We spent almost two hours at LTT station on Sunday to get the refund. However, the local authorities said we will have to apply online on the IRCTC website to get the refund.” Some passengers were travelling to Mumbai to catch international flights. Singh said, “A passenger told me he will be in the US for six months. How will he keep track of the refund?”

But Mathur said there was no other option. “Passengers will have to undergo the inconvenience and follow the refund procedure via IRCTC’s e-ticketing website.”

Gaurishankar Bisen meets Railway Minister, seeks Balaghat-Jabalpur gauge conversion

Agriculture Minister Gaurishankar Bisen called on Railway Minister Sadanand Gowda in New Delhi on Tuesday. He was accompanied by Jabalpur MP Rakesh Singh
f1नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  Besides urging the Railway Minister for conversion of Balaghat-Jabalpur route to broad gauge from narrow gauge, Bisen and Singh discussed other problems of the region.

Bisen informed the Railway Minister that Balaghat-Jabalpur railway line has been converted to broad gauge from Gondia to Balaghat. If the 14 kilometer section from Katangi to Tirudi is converted then conversion of entire line from Balaghat to Nagpur will be complete much to the benefit of all. He also urged to construct over-bridges on all the railway crossings after broad gauge conversion. MP Rakesh Singh said that this is long-pending demand of people of the area. The work was started during the regime of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but is still incomplete.

Bisen said that Jabalpur-Gondia broad-gauge project was launched by former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the cost of Rs. 511 crore and was to be completed in 5 years. But, its cost has escalated to Rs. 1300 crore now. This project was also mentioned in the party manifesto for Lok Sabha elections. Therefore, it should be completed at the earliest.

Bisen informed the Railway Minister about the need for infrastructure development of 24 rake points for smooth transportation of fertilisers in the state. He also urged to set up new rake points at Obaibdullahganj, Singrauli, Batwa and Budhni.

WCR Vigilance catch hold of SSE/Works while taking bribe

Jabalpur (JBP):  Railway Vigilance Special Team officials from Jabalpur caught a Senior Section Engineer here today while he was accepting a bribe instalment of Rs 25,000, Railway sources said. R.C.Ramaiyya was demanding Rs.50,000 from Contractor Gulab Singh – associated with construction work – against payment of bills totalling Rs 3 lakh. The case was forwarded to senior officers for further action.

NCR/WCR to run Special Trains for Durga Puja, Pitra Paksh

ALLAHABAD: In view of Durga Puja and Pitra Paksh, railway administration has decided to ply special trains. One air-conditioned Puja special will run between Bhubneshwar and New Delhi while the other Pitra Paksh special train will run between Jabalpur and Gaya.

Train number 02815/02816 will run between Bhubneshwar and New Delhi and will be fully air-conditioned train. This will be a weekly train and depart from Bhubneshwar at about 8:10 am and go through the route of Cuttack, Bhadrak, Balasore, Hijilli, Bankura, Adra, Gomoh, Gaya, Mughalsarai, Allahabad, Kanpur and finally terminate at New Delhi at 8.45 am. During the return journey, the train will leave New Delhi at 1:00 pm and will finally terminate at Bhubneshwar at 11:05 am next day.

This train will have four AC-II tier and ten AC-III tier coaches and will depart from Bhubneshwar every Sunday from September 29 to November 24 and from New Delhi every Monday from September 30 to November 25.

Train number 1709/1710 will run between Jabalpur and Gaya during Pitra Paksha. This train will depart from Jabalpur at about 12:25 pm and go through the route of Katni, Maihar, Satna, Manikpur, Chheoki, Mughalsarai, Sasaram and finally terminate at Gaya at 2:00 am. During the return journey, the train will depart from Gaya at about 5:00 pm and terminate at Jabalpur at 5:30 am.

This train will depart from Jabalpur on September 30 and October 3 and from Gaya on October 1 and 4. This train will comprise of one AC-II tier, two AC-III tier, ten sleeper and four general class coaches.