Author Archives: rail

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China to have world’s longest Metro Rail network

बीजिंग Beijing: China is expected to build 8,500 kms of subway systems by 2020, giving it the world’s longest metro rail network, the government said today.

Nineteen cities have recently extended their metro systems, with total mileage expected to hit 3,000 kms by the end of the year, Chinese Minister of Transport, Yang Chuantang was quoted as saying by state-run China Daily.

Public transit, especially the subway, has had a major effect on easing congestion in Beijing, and the government will inject more funding to promote its development, Dai Junliang, deputy mayor of Beijing said.

Four new subway lines will open to the public this month, which will extend the capital’s subway to 527 kms, the longest in the country.

Daily ridership will increase gradually to more than 10 million, the Beijing Commission of Transport said.

To guarantee safety with such large passenger numbers, security should be strengthened, Yang said.

Staffing numbers at some subway systems are not sufficient, and some staff members are not qualified in employing high technology, leaving the potential for security risks, he said.

On Thursday, Beijing’s subway system held a mock drill to handle derailment of subway trains.

Teams from the subway and bus companies, medical personnel and traffic police, rehearsed rescuing trapped passengers and resuming passenger service.

Chen Wen, a director in charge of emergency response and coordination with Beijing Metro Group, said more than 70 emergency plans have been prepared for different situations.

Beijing has 26 professional emergency rescue teams with more than 500 members and holds more than 600 drills every year to sharpen capabilities in dealing with emergencies, such as fire in a metro station or equipment failures.

In addition to frequent drills, Yang called for improved laws and regulations to promote metro management and security.

Railway Minister ropes in D.K.Mittal to head Panel on Railway financial health

DK Mittalनई दिल्ली New Delhi: To chalk out a clear vision for the Indian Railways and align Budget announcements with it, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has formed a committee under D K Mittal, former secretary, financial services. The committee, which would suggest ways of improving railway finances, has a tight deadline of December 21 to summit its report.

A senior railway ministry official said Prabhu wanted certain concrete measures to be presented to Parliament in the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in February. The nine-member committee would have representation from the finance ministry. Financial Secretary, Railway Board Chairmen and Managing Directors of railway PSUs — RITES, IRCON and CONCOR — besides the managing director of Railway Land Development Authority would be part of the committee.

Two members from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Mckinsey India would also be members on the panel. The terms of reference include studying the efficacy and sufficiency of the existing revenue structure and avenues for raising revenues besides identifying leakages of revenue.

This is the second committee formed by Prabhu within a month of taking charge as railway minister on November 10. He had roped in E Sreedharan, principal advisor to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and its former managing director, last month for suggesting ways of improving railway tendering. Suggesting greater delegation of powers to general managers (GM) and divisional railway managers (DRM), Sreedharan has already submitted an interim report to Prabhu. “Powers will be delegated to GMs and DRMs for speedy implementation of projects. Hope transparency and merit prevails,” Prabhu tweeted after Sreedharan submitted the report last week.

A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report had said last week that the railway did not follow proper accounting norms for financial transactions.

The Railways under the United Progressive Alliance rule had introduced reforms in its tariff policy by introducing fuel adjustment component in both passenger and freight rates. Besides, tariff fixation was also taken out of the Railway Budget announcements. These measures, however, did not help in improving its financial health.

Loaded with the burden of higher salaries and pension, the government-run system spends Rs 93 to earn a hundred. After paying the obligatory dividend and lease charges, the surplus is estimated at a mere Rs 602 crore in the current financial year, substantially down from Rs 11,754 crore in 2007-08. Last year, the Railways ended with a surplus of Rs 3,783 crore, which was Rs 4,160 crore short of the revised target.

The Mittal panel would also identify areas in the existing revenue structure for improving revenue, besides looking for additional avenues for generating and increasing revenues. It would also recommend measures for monetisation of resources of the railways.

On the expenditure side, the committee would suggest measures for reduction in spending. For a long-term modernisation and expansion plan, it would identify impediments and suggest remedial measures.

CAG’s findings for FY13 also showed the Railways did not follow its own rules and regulations laid down under the financial and engineering code for efficient execution of projects.

IR Moving ahead Railway Stations modernisation

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: In its first Railway budget, the BJP-led NDA government had focussed on passenger amenities and inviting private participation in the modernisation of infrastructure. While putting Meghalaya on the Railway map recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spelt out a scheme to privatise and modernise railway stations. He said 10 to 12 stations will be taken up under the programme to significantly upgrade passenger amenities and make them akin to airport terminal buildings. The thought is not new, nor is the attempt to upgrade major stations. Similarly, the plan to leverage the extensive extent of railway land available has been talked about for years, without much progress being made. Commercial utilisation of railway land could be very profitable, but needs to be done with caution to prevent exploitation or corruption. Now that the government has decided to allow 100 per cent FDI in Railway projects, the Ministry, now under a new Minister, the reform-minded Suresh Prabhu, should work on the details to roll out the programme. The first step will have to be the identification of stations across the country, deciding on what exactly the private sector or partner can do, and the sensitive issue of levying user charges. In any scheme of privatizing public space, the question of user charges comes in, and it needs to be addressed in conjunction with the extent of investment and the kind of facilities provided in these stations.

When Mr. Modi spoke of trains running underground and commercial buildings coming on top of that space, the reference must be to the metro rail and stations in major metropolitan centres. What is more pressing is raising standards and facilities at existing railway stations in key cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad, Allahabad and Patna, to name a few centres. These are the stations that are old and call for urgent modernisation. In a limited way, the zonal railways have been enhancing amenities such as display boards, seating arrangements and catering facilities, providing in some stations even Wi-Fi. There is so much scope for a significant leap forward in the matter of amenities: these should include retiring rooms, waiting rooms, toilets, electric cars and wheel chairs for the aged and physically challenged, and, above all, maintaining cleanliness. Even where the Indian Railways has tried to provide some of these facilities, there is just no upkeep or maintenance. The area of cleanliness and maintenance is one to which the Railways need to pay immediate attention. The earlier the Railways start finalising this scheme and implementing it, the better. It should not be allowed to go the way of earlier plans.

GM/SCR Srivastava launches Mobile App ‘TADAAST’ that gives real-time info on train services

SCR launches Mobile App TADAAST

SCR General Manager launching passenger friendly Mobile App ‘TADAAST’ at a press conference organised in Rail Nilayam

सिकंदराबाद Secunderabad (SC): With a view to provide real-time information on train services to rail users, South Central Railway today brought out a new smartphone app ‘TADAAST’ (Train Arrival Departure And Amenities at Stations).

“This innovative app is aimed at disseminating information on the current status of arrivals and departures of trains on a live basis and also details of various passenger facilities provided at 25 identified major stations on South Central Railway (SCR) Zone,” said SCR General Manager P K Srivastava after launching the app at Rail Nilayam here.

Other useful features such as scheduled timetable and location of the station with route via Google maps have also been incorporated exclusively for each of the 25 stations in this app, he said.

SCR launches Mobile App TADAAST

SCR launches Mobile App TADAAST

“In addition, detailed stations layouts with icons showing the specific location of passenger amenities are also included in this app for Secunderabad, Hyderabad and Kacheguda stations,” he said, adding that ‘TADAAST’ is an App tailored primarily to take care of the public enquiry needs related to train services and amenities.

The data in this app can be seen in three languages – English, Hindi or Telugu.

‘TADAAST’ app can be downloaded and installed for free from Google Play Store (on android-based smartphone) or Apple App Store (on iOS-based smartphone), an SCR release said.

What happens if Flipkart, Amazon & IRCTC join hands in India

E-tailers in India are trying their hands on every possible means to reach the digital savvy consumer. After splashing large investments on Diwali discounts and other flash sales, ecommerce biggies Flipkart and Amazon India have come forward to test a relatively cost effective model – Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’s (IRCTC) database.

The billion dollar question is how effectively can these two ecommerce poster boys tap on to the consumer who is already comfortable with the most basic form on online transactions but not largely exposed to online shopping.

Anurag Singh, Affle India

Anurag Singh, Affle India

“IRCTC is the largest ecommerce platform in India with huge potential. Flipkart and Amazon are trying to tap on the e-transactioner and get them to shop online for lifestyle products,” said Anurag Singh, Co-founder and Executive Director – India (Ads Platform) at Affle India.

Marketers attribute IRCTC as the largest and oldest ecommerce platform in the country. It entered the market long before Flipkart and Amazon made their moves to lure the internet consumer. What can be expected if these three giants join hands?

Satish Jha, ECCO

Satish Jha, ECCO

Unarguably, access to IRCTC’s database will transform the business model for the e-tailers but it may fail to impress the consumer. “This is a push technology but when you reach out to a consumer through paid advertising then the impact is way larger,” said Satish Jha, Chairman, ECCO Electronics Pvt Ltd.

If they get the consumer on IRCTC it does not guarantee that they will reach out to a larger consumer base and face a large upsurge in their revenues. We will have to wait for the numbers to determine the effectiveness of this strategy.

But IRCTC has recorded strong revenues through the sale of its value added services other than online ticketing. Now the two ecommerce platform wants to reach out to the over 21 million user that logs onto the ticketing platform everyday.

Daman Soni, LINE

Daman Soni, LINE

Daman Soni, Business Head of India at LINE PLUS Corporation cited privacy concerns that IRCTC might put in way of granting approval. “It cannot be denied that IRCTC has an enormous consumer base but getting approval to approach these consumers is not going to be easy,” he said.

Flipkart and Amazon India are still in talks with the government owned portal to gain access and leverage the large consumer base. But marketers suspect that the move may come in way of fair growth and competition. This may work as a limiting factor for an e-tailer which is not reaching out to the IRCTC customer.

Tapping on to a larger consumer base of an established ecommerce platform in India may reduce the need for Flipkart or Amazon to device and come forth with newer offers and deals to reach a fresh group of audience.

However, brands fail to understand that India is a market with enormous potential which lies untapped in the consumer that is still not connected to the web. The market in India is clamouring for marketing strategies that can include this group of people in the ecommerce bandwagon.

IRCTC in talks with Amazon, Flipkart to leverage site traffic to sell merchandise

IRCTCनई दिल्ली New Delhi: Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of the government controlled Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations, is in talks with e-commerce companies such as Flipkart and Amazon to sell their merchandise through the government owned portal.

The aim is to leverage the site’s huge database of over 21 million registered users and convert them into potential customers for third party e-commerce players and in turn an additional source of revenue through a fee or other mechanism for IRCTC.

“Besides Flipkart and Amazon, we are also in talks with other players. We are exploring the idea wherein they would like to sell their merchandise through our portal,” an IRCTC spokesperson told Techcircle.in without disclosing the names of the other companies.

However according to industry sources Snapdeal and Jabong are among the other firms.

The news of discussion between IRCTC, Flipkart and Amazon was first published by The Economic Times.

When contacted, Flipkart confirmed the development related to talks with IRCTC but declined to divulge any further information. Amazon declined to comment.

The IRCTC spokesperson added, “There is no timeline to it, it is just a proposal from our side.”

This would be the second time IRCTC may look at tapping on to its captive customer base (it is the sole seller of railway tickets even though other OTAs come across as additional sales channel for booking in association with IRCTC) to cross sell consumer products.

Last year IRCTC had launched its e-commerce page which was powered by fashion and lifestyle e-tailer Yebhi. The e-commerce initiative of IRCTC had gone live with all the categories available at Yebhi.com, which included apparel, electronics, accessories, furnishings and kids.

The portal was marketed at the main IRCTC page and upon clicking it, users were redirected to a different page. It was an year long contract which was not extended, partly because Yebhi itself failed to get fresh funding and pivoted to become an aggregator for other e-com sites.

The proposed new arrangement could be on the same lines replicating the look and feel of its e-com partner with a linking page on IRCTC.

Prime Minister announces Rs.28000 Crore for new rail projects in Northeast

गुवाहाटी Guwahati (GWH): Focusing on improving connectivity to the Northeast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the Centre would provide Rs.28000 crore for laying new railway lines in the region and develop the untapped tourism potential of the area.

The Prime Minister also said that the Centre has sanctioned Rs.5000 crore to provide 2G mobile coverage in this area for comprehensive telecom development plan of the northeast region.

“So many tourists are coming here from other parts of the country and abroad. This is the best destination for tourists. But for that we require connectivity. Unless we have road connectivity, rail connectivity, air connectivity, it is very difficult to develop tourism.

“That is why for the development of this area and for the development of tourism, Rs 28,000 crore will be provided for a new railway-line project and 14 new railway lines”, he said inaugurating Nagaland’s biggest annual Hornbill festival in Kohima on Monday.

“I believe that the Hornbill Festival will improve the tourism sector in Nagaland and the people of India will be the beneficiary,” he said.

As energy is a lifeline for development, Rs 5000 crore has been sanctioned for the northeastern region power system improvement project for six states, including Nagaland, the Prime Minister said.

“Our goal is 24X7, 365 days power supply and to achieve that we are focusing on the northeastern states.

“Nowadays the infrastructure meaning has totally changed. Besides road and rail connectivity, we require digital connectivity. Internet connectivity is most required. Now the youth cannot stay without mobile phones, without Internet,” he said.

The Prime Minister said his government has decided to set up a National Sports University in Manipur and the people of the region will be great beneficiaries.

The NE region could be the organic capital of the country, Modi said, adding that the Centre has decided to set up six new agriculture colleges in this area.

“We have decided to set up six new agriculture colleges in this area. The NE region states could be the capital of organic agriculture in the country”, he said.

PM announces Rs.28000 Crore for new Railway projects in the Northeast

कोहिमा Kohima: Focusing on improving connectivity to the northeast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the Centre would provide Rs 28,000 crore for laying new railway lines in the region and develop the “untapped” tourism potential of the area.

The Prime Minister also said that the Centre has sanctioned Rs.5000 crore to provide 2G mobile coverage in this area for comprehensive telecom development plan of the northeast region.

“So many tourists are coming here from other parts of the country and abroad. This is the best destination for tourists. But for that we require connectivity. Unless we have road connectivity, rail connectivity, air connectivity, it is very difficult to develop tourism.

“That is why for the development of this area and for the development of tourism, Rs 28,000 crore will be provided for a new railway-line project and 14 new railway lines”, he said inaugurating Nagaland’s biggest annual Hornbill festival here.

“I believe that the Hornbill Festival will improve the tourism sector in Nagaland and the people of India will be the beneficiary,” he said.

As energy is a lifeline for development, Rs 5000 crore has been sanctioned for the northeastern region power system improvement project for six states, including Nagaland, the Prime Minister said.

“Our goal is 24X7, 365 days power supply and to achieve that we are focusing on the northeastern states.

“Nowadays the infrastructure meaning has totally changed. Besides road and rail connectivity, we require digital connectivity. Internet connectivity is most required. Now the youth cannot stay without mobile phones, without Internet,” he said.

The Prime Minister said his government has decided to set up a National Sports University in Manipur and the people of the region will be “great beneficiaries”.

The northeast region could be the organic capital of the country, Modi said, adding that the Centre has decided to set up six new agriculture colleges in this area.

“We have decided to set up six new agriculture colleges in this area. The NE region states could be the capital of organic agriculture in the country”, he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also greeted Nagaland on its statehood day.

“On Nagaland’s Statehood Day, I convey my greetings to the people of Nagaland & wish them the best in the State’s development journey,” Modi said in a tweet.

“I consider myself fortunate to be able to celebrate this special occasion with the people of Nagaland, enjoying their excellent hospitality,” he said in another tweet.

Speaking at the Hornbill fest, the PM said, “Nagaland has young population, well versed in English, in tune with what is happening around the world. This advantage must be tapped.”

“People will come to your state for investment and tourism. They will do so because of your biodiversity and climate,” the PM said.

Speaking on the occasion, the PM also announced scholarships for northeast students and said 10,000 students will be beneficiaries of the scheme.

Talking about his northeast tour, the PM said: “I think it is the first time that Indian Prime Minister has stayed in northeast for three days.”

Modi also said that he is he is the first PM to visit Nagaland in 10 years.

Bihar Agriculture Minister oppose commercial exploitation of surplus Railway lands

पटना Patna (PNBE): Bihar’s Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh has hit out at the Centre for its decision of providing railway land to private business firms for commercial use.

Singh, the minister in charge of Bhagalpur district, lambasted the Union government’s decision during his visit to the silk town last night.

He also threatened to organise mass movement across the country against the Centre’s decision to lease out surplus railway land to corporate houses and business establishments for opening hotels and other commercial uses.

“The railways have surplus land from what was acquired from farmers for extension of several projects. In many places in the country, the railways have started utilising these surplus plots for new tracks to meet the demand for more passenger and goods trains. Many more passenger-friendly facilities should be started,” he said.

He said according to a railways provision, if the railway failed to utilise the land for its own projects, it had to return the surplus plots to the farmers. “If the government does not rectify its stand, a massive movement would be launched across the country,” he added.

Moving over to other issues such as the BJP’s criticism of the report card released by chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, Singh lashed out at his party’s former ally. He said: “BJP wale sisha ka chasma pahan rakha hai, is liye unhey kuch nahi dekhai deta hain. Unko power wala chasma pehanna chahiye, tab unhe aspas mein vikash dekhai dega (The BJP leaders cannot see anything as they have spectacles made of simple glass on. They should get proper spectacles with which they can see the development).”

3289 Coaches manufactured by Railway Production Units during 2013-14

As the production capacities of  Indian Railways own  Production Units namely, Integral Coach Factory/Chennai, Rail Coach Factory/Kapurthala and Rail Coach Factory/Rae Bareli, were not sufficient to meet the demand of coaches for Indian Railways, procurement was also made from other organizations namely Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML). Titagarh Wagons Limited (TWL), Jessops, BESCO Limited and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), 2924 coaches were supplies during the last 5 years i.e. from 2009-10 to 2013-14 by these firms to Indian Railways. The coaches manufactured by Railway Production Units during last five years are as given below :-

Year Coaches
2009-10 3001
2010-11 3079
2011-12 2950
2012-13 3305
2013-14 3289

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

Hitachi organized “Social Innovations for Future-Solutions for India” to address rapid urbanization issues

Honble Minister for Urban Development Shri Venkaiah Naidu addressing the audience during the event

Honble Minister for Urban Development Shri Venkaiah Naidu addressing the audience during the event

मुंबई Mumbai:  Hitachi India Pvt. Ltd., organized the ‘Social Innovations for Future-Solutions for India’ in partnership with NDTV on 21st November, 2014 at The Oberoi, New Delhi. This event was graced by Hon’ble Minister of Urban Development, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu. The objective of the forum was to bring the brightest minds of the industry together and deliberate on the prevalent issues of rapid urbanization and discuss the role of Social Innovation in addressing those concerns and finding viable solutions. Social Innovation as a topic was discussed broadly with delving the focus deeper into the areas of Healthcare and Urban Transportation. Various issues being faced in these verticals were explored by the esteemed panelists along with some possible solutions. The event also saw representatives from the Government and bureaucrats take part and it was also in harmony with the current government’s vision of developing smart cities and infrastructure.

After the grand success of Hitachi Social Innovation Forum 2013 held in New Delhi, Hitachi realized the potential role Social Innovation can play in the fields like rail systems, healthcare, infrastructure systems, power systems, and water systems etc.

Honble Minister for Urban Development Shri Venkaiah Naidu inaugurating the event withleft to right Dr. Nobuyuki Osakabe CTO Healthcare Company Hitachi

Honble Minister for Urban Development Shri Venkaiah Naidu inaugurating the event, with left to right Dr. Nobuyuki Osakabe CTO Healthcare Company Hitachi, Alistair Dormer, Global CEO, Hitachi and Ichiro Lino, Managing Director, Hitachi India Pvt Ltd

“We are extremely happy to host ‘Social Innovations for Future – Solutions for India’. The unplanned expansion of megacities and escalating urban population in India has given rise to new set of challenges. There is an urgent need for development of social infrastructure, particularly in the areas of healthcare, water, urban mass rapid transportation systems and IT. Therefore, we have brought together industry leaders, domain experts, thought leaders, policy makers and senior representatives from related industries to a series of panel discussions focusing on different aspects of the subject.” said Mr. Ichiro Iino, Managing Director, Hitachi India Pvt. Ltd.

Details of the sessions at Social Innovations for Future – Solutions for India:

Session: Social Innovation
Panelists:

  • Mr. Pramod Bhasin, Chairman, The Skills Academy, Non-Executive Vice Chairman & former President and CEO of Genpact
  • Mr. Sunil Wadhwani, Founding Donor, Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare
  • Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, Co-Founder at Hiranandani Developers Pvt. Ltd. and President at the Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry.
  • Ms. Isher Judge Ahluwalia, Indian economist, Chairperson, Board of Governors, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations

Highlights:

  • Need for India to create an atmosphere that is conducive to massive private investments, both domestic and foreign, in the area of Urban Infrastructure development
  • How will India foster innovation in different spheres of Water, Transport, Healthcare and IT for a futuristic and sustainable Urban transformation?
  • How does Social Innovation proposition provide infrastructure solutions that combine products, services and sophisticated IT facilities focusing on sustainability objectives and conservation of precious natural resources?
Session: Integration of Urban Transport Systems
Panelists:

  • Mr. Shankar Agarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development
  • Mr. OP Agarwal, Director General, Institute of Urban Transportation
  • Dr. Geetam Tiwari, MoUD Chair and Professor for Transport Planning, Department of Civil Engineering, Institute of Technology Delhi
  • Mr. Abhaya Krishna Agarwal, Partner-Infra, E&Y
  • Mr. Alistair Dormer, Hitachi Rail Global CEO

Highlights:

  • What type of Transportation Systems shall be selected and integrated to meet the various demands of the city, in terms of passenger carrying capacity and availability of the space to accommodate such Transportation System?
  • What are the benefits of integrating land use and transport planning?
  • Through better infrastructure & new technologies, how can India lower congestion costs?
Session: Financing of Railway Projects
Panelists:

  • Mr. Manoj Sinha, Minister of State, Ministry of Railways
  • Mr. Rajiv Datt, Managing Director, Indian Railway Finance Corporation Ltd(IRFC)
  • Mr. Rakesh Saksena, MD, Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation
  • Mr. S. B. Nayar, CMD, IIFCL
  • Mr. Shin Oya, Senior Representative, JBIC
  • Mr. Alistair Dormer, Hitachi Rail Global CEO

Highlights:

  • Challenges & opportunities that can take the railways from creaking to world class; how the PPP model needs to be spelt out to attract FDI & getting it closer to what the world understands as a PPP model, ensuring that it has the right clearances & approvals before it is put out to bid.
  • Possibilities of enhancing investment in Railway projects through creative financing and alternative financing schemes.
  • With the Modi government announcing 100% FDI in Indian Railways, does the sector have a brighter future?
Session: Healthcare – Proton Beam Therapy & Optical Topography
Panelists:

  • Dr. Balram Bhargava, Professor, Department of Cardiotherapy, AIIMS
  • Dr. AK Chaturvedi, Director Radiologist, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre
  • Dr. G Venkatasubramanian, Additional Prof. of Psychiatry, Dept. of Psychiatry- National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences
  • Dr. Nobuyuki Osakabe, CTO, Healthcare Company, Hitachi, Ltd.
  • Dr. Joerg Schnackenberg, Hitachi Medical Corporation “Optical Topography Business”
  • Dr. Arabinda Kumar Rath, CMD, Hemalata Hospitals & Research Centre

Highlights:

PROTON BEAM THERAPY

  • Planning treatment for radiation therapy for different body parts
  • Variable energy and potency of proton beam
  • Reduction in treatment time leading to better life quality

OPTICAL TOPOGRAPHY DIMENSIONS

  • Brain mapping and data analytics
  • Application of optical topography in psychiatry, neurosurgery and rehabilitation
  • Developing the technology further and exploring new avenues for its application
Session: Healthcare – Oncology, Breast Cancer & Imaging
Panelists:

  • Mr. Lov Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
  • Dr. Pramod Kumar Julka, Professor, Department of Radiotherapy, AIIMS
  • Mr. Rajesh Srivastava, CMD, Rockland Group of Hospitals
  • Dr. Ako Ito, Chief Surgeon, Hitachi General Hospital
  • Ms. Bharti Gupta Ramola, Executive Director/Markets Leader, PwC India

Highlights:

  • Why is cancer treatment so forbiddingly expensive? The cost of treating cancer very often results in making it out of reach for millions.
  • Besides high costs, what are the other stumbling blocks to providing effective cancer cure?
  • Can technology be made available to deliver cancer treatment at optimum costs to the last mile?

About Hitachi in India

Hitachi started its business in India in the 1930′s. Currently, Hitachi has approximately 30 business bases and approximately 9,200 employees in India. In addition to being a leader in construction machinery and air-conditioning systems, the Hitachi Group in India is expanding on its ‘Social Innovation Business’, such as information & telecommunication systems, power systems, industrial, transportation and urban development systems. Together with further localization, Hitachi aims to contribute to a sustainable society in India as well as the country’s economic growth.

For more information about the Hitachi Group in India, please visit the website at http://www.hitachi.co.in/.

About Hitachi, Ltd.

Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, delivers innovations that answer society’s challenges with our talented team and proven experience in global markets. The company’s consolidated revenues for fiscal 2013 (ended March 31, 2014) totaled 9,616 billion yen ($93.4 billion). Hitachi is focusing more than ever on the Social Innovation Business, which includes infrastructure systems, information & telecommunication systems, power systems, construction machinery, high functional materials & components, automotive systems, healthcare and others. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company’s website at http://www.hitachi.com.

Railway Ministry wants to take over Operational Control of GRP

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  Seeking to enhance safety of passengers and protect its assets, the Railway Ministry wants to take over operational control of Government Railway Police but is facing opposition from various states, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

Responding to a volley of questions on the safety of passengers, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said that in a bid to integrate the role of GRP and Railway Protection Force (RPF), the Centre had written to the states as the Ministry wanted to take over the operational control of GRP.

He said 17 states have opposed the idea while some have supported it.

As of now, GRP comes under the control of the state governments, while the Railways pays 50 per cent of the amount spent on salaries of GRP personnel. The RPF comes under the control of the Railways Ministry. Law and order is a state subject, he pointed out.

Seeking to enhance crime solving capabilities of RPF, the ministry plans to set up its own forensic lab which will be linked to the main labs functioning under the Home Ministry.

“To create a more effective security mechanism over Indian Railways, a proposal for amendment in the RPF Act has been moved by the Ministry of Railways with the approval of the Ministries of Law and Home Affairs. This will empower the RPF to deal with serious crimes in passenger areas,” Prabhu said in a written reply.

He said though some sensitivities are involved, there is a proposal to instal CCTV cameras in train compartments. He said some people are concerned about the privacy aspect.

Responding to questions on safety of women passengers, Prabhu said eight ‘mahila vahinis’ (women squads) have been sanctioned with a total strength of 1,056 personnel to ensure protection of women passengers.

On cases relating to harassment of women and children reported in trains, he said this year up to October, 245 such cases were reported. While in 2011, 106 cases were reported, the figure went up to 165 in 2012 and 242 in 1013.

Creation of new SECoR Rail zone report is under consideration

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The report given by the Committee, which was constituted to study the feasibility of creation of a new railway zone in the successor State of Andhra Pradesh, has submitted its report and the same is under consideration of the Ministry of Railways.

This was the reply given by Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha in the Lok Sabha on Thursday to the question raised by Visakhapatnam MP Kambhampati Haribabu on the floor of the House.

Mr. Haribabu had sought to know the status of the new railway zone as envisaged in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014. The Act stipulates that the Indian Railways shall, within six months of the appointed day (June 2), examine the establishment of a new railway zone in the successor state of AP and take an expeditious decision thereon.

Mr.Haribabu has been insisting on creation of the new railway zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam for a long time based on the aspirations of the people of the region. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had also wanted establishment of the new zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam during his meeting with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi recently.

PAC faults Kashmir rail link project for poor planning, says it caused loss of Rs.3200 Cr

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  A parliamentary panel has criticized railways over the way Kashmir rail link project is being executed, expressing serious concern over losses of more than Rs 3,200 crore due to various factors such as poor planning, inadequate surveys and delayed decision-making.

In its report tabled in Parliament, the public accounts committee (PAC) noted with displeasure that the general planning failure on the part of railways has contributed to a loss of Rs 3258.92 crore as on 2010.

On the delay in project execution and cost escalation, the committee headed by K V Thomas found that the initial project was estimated at Rs 1500 crore in 1994-95 which was revised to Rs 3077.23 crore in 1989 and further revised to Rs 9341.44 crore in 2010.

As of September 2013, the estimate has touched Rs 20,000 crore based on the rates of 2010.

The report suggested that effective advance measures should be taken in cost estimation of similar challenging projects in future.

On the delay, it noted that railways decided in July 2008 to suspend the work in some sections until a final decision on alignment was taken. It was found that by that time an expenditure of about Rs 1791 crore had already been incurred and about 13.18 km of tunneling done in the Katra-Banihal section of the Kashmir rail link project. Besides a total length of about 1.8 km of already constructed tunnels that collapsed was abandoned in the Katra-Banihal section.

Moreover, an amount of Rs 61.39 crore was paid towards idling of men and machinery as the work remained suspended for 14 months. All these point towards deficient planning, inadequate surveys and belated decisions, the report said.

The committee refused to buy the ministry’s argument that sometimes mid-course corrections become inevitable and difficulties encountered cannot be apprehended in advance.

The PAC said it was of the firm view that the problems could not be foreseen because of lack of initial surveys, studies and planning, despite the ministry’s justifications to the contrary.

GMR Infra gains after getting DFCCIL Eastern Corridor projects

मुंबई Mumbai: GMR Infrastructure, the infrastructure holding company of GMR group, witnessed a rise in share price on Wednesday after it emerged as lowest bidder in international competitive bidding for two packages of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor project involving constrauction of 417 km long double track railway line from Mughalsarai to new Bhaupur on EPC basis.

The Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor extends from Ludhiana to Dankuni near Kolkata. Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) received five bids for the project wherein the GIL led consortium has quoted a price of Rs 50.80 billion.

Shares of the company are trading at Rs 20.35, up Rs 0.2, or 0.99% at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Wednesday at 10:40 a.m.The scrip has touched an intra-day high of Rs 20.85 and low of Rs 20.30. The total volume of shares traded at the BSE is 574,142.

GMR-led group Lowest Bidder for Two Packages of Eastern DFC projects

हेदराबाद Hyderabad (HYD): GMR Infrastructure Limited today said a consortium led by it has emerged as the lowest bidder in the international competitive bidding for two packages of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor project worth Rs 5080 crore.

The project involves construction of 417-km-long double track railway line from Mughalsarai to New Bhaupur (near Kanpur) on EPC basis, GMR said in a statement.

“DFCCIL (Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India) received five bids for the project wherein the GIL-led consortium has quoted a price of Rs 5080 crore. The award of work will be subject to approval by DFCCIL,” it said.

The Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor extends from Ludhiana to Dankuni near Kolkata.

As part of Asset Light Asset Right (ALAR) strategy, GMR Group is not required to provide any equity for the project since it is to be implemented on EPC basis.

The project, financed by World Bank through DFCCIL, is to be completed in 45 months after award. GMR is implementing two railway projects for Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) at present and has requisite experience to implement the project, the release added.

Take our PF money, not FDI: Railway Unions to government

Take our members’ Rs.10000 Crore PF balance for 10.5% interest and develop the infra, offer railway unions

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The two major railway unions have proposed to the government an unprecedented alternative to privatisation or inviting foreign investment, to help raise funds and improve revenue.

The National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) and the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) had both been demanding an end to the government’s opening of the carrier. Now, they have both offered the Rs 10,000-crore provident fund (PF) deposits of rail workers for development of the cash-short carrier, also the country’s largest single employer.

“We have proposed using the PF balances of the 13.1 lakh workers and 12 lakh retired personnel,” M Raghavaiah, general secretary of NFIR, told. “We can convince the workers on depositing this money with the railways on an interest basis, rather than keeping it in bank accounts.”

NFIR says it represents a little over a million of the 1.3 million workers. And, sees its idea as an attempt to “save the country and Indian Railways from the onslaught of foreign direct investment (FDI) and privatisation in the name of public-private partnership (PPP)”.

Raghavaiah has said in a letter to railways minister Suresh Prabhu, “Serving and retired railway employees can contribute a loan for investment toward development with an interest rate at 10.5 per cent, which would still be one per cent less than the money borrowed from the market.”

The move is part of a bigger plan to help the ministry raise at least Rs 50,000 crore to fund works in track doubling, electrification and signalling, among others. “We have also told the ministry an additional Rs 9,000 crore can be freed for use annually, if it stops paying dividend to the government. No other infrastructure ministry pays a dividend. Why should we?” asked Raghavaiah.

Experts contest this argument, saying no other ministry, apart from railways, is in the business of operations.

The third part of the unions’ fund-raising strategy is to create a source of permanent income by allowing leasing of IR’s mega land bank of 40,000 hectares.

Asked whether the workers’ ideas had cut any ice with the Railway Board chairman (CRB), Arunendra Kumar, the union leader said: “If the prime minister has decided, CRB cannot say anything.”

NFIR is joining the proposed day’s national strike with other central trade unions on December 5.

The Union Cabinet had in August relaxed the FDI norms by permitting 100 per cent investment in projects such as high-speed trains, suburban services, dedicated freight corridors, freight and passenger terminals. The ministry has notified a list of 17 such areas, including rail route electrification, signalling systems and logistics parks. That list is now being expanded to accommodate more projects or areas where FDI can be allowed, minister of state Manoj Sinha had said on Friday.

In addition, the ministry is preparing a list of 50-60 mega projects which can be developed on PPP mode.

This is not the first time the rail unions have surprised with unusual suggestions. In 2011, NFIR and AIRF had demanded the ministry limit the subsidy on certain classes of passengers and raise fares on the rest.

IR’s finances have worsened over the years, in the absence of regular passenger fare increases and maintenance of high freight rates to compensate for losses on passenger fares. And, investments in loss-making projects as part of its social obligation and a huge pay burden.

The railways are budgeting for an operating ratio – the money spent to earn Rs 100 – of a little over 92 per cent this financial year, as compared to last year’s 90 per cent and the 75 per cent in 2007-08.

Building Railways to Ports: Why This is Priority for PM Modi

India is targeting up to $1 billion of private investment by 2017 to build rail lines linking ports and national networks to ease growing congestion, which has delayed coal imports for power plants and contributed to a power supply crisis.

Such investment would more than double the $400 million that the state-owned railways have attracted in the decade since they allowed limited private participation and help fund crucial “last mile” links to ports.

The cash-starved British-built rail system has added just 11,000 kilometres (6,800 miles) of track in the 67 years since independence, and the network has come to symbolise the poor state of the country’s infrastructure. China has managed 14,000 km of new lines in the five years to 2011.

Over-crowding at ports has been delaying much-needed coal deliveries to Indian power plants and supplies of iron ore for steelmakers at a time when there is already a shortfall.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants private companies, which have held back from investing in freight lines because of the struggle to win the necessary approvals, to build more of the last mile links where bottlenecks bite the most.

Companies will now be allowed to part-own new rail lines for variable periods of time rather than a fixed number of years, said Mukul Saran Mathur, an executive director at the Ministry of Railways. The railways will also take on more of a project’s financial risk, Mathur said, without giving further details.

The ministry also wants foreign operators which own stakes in Indian ports, like Denmark’s Maersk, to invest but so far none had shown any interest.

Essar Ports, a large port operator, wants to build new rail lines to help meet an expected doubling of its cargo handling capacity to 200 million tons in the next few years.

But the state-owned railways, which have a monopoly on the provision of goods wagons, are failing to provide sufficient wagons to service the extra cargo, said Essar Ports CEO Rajiv Agarwal.

“We can build our own rail lines but there is this major shortage of wagons,” he said.

Most Indian ports only have access to two-thirds of the wagons they need, and the shortage is one reason why ships have to wait for two days more to get berthed and unload than the international average, according to Deutsche Bank.

Govt asks France to open shops in India for Railway projects

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Government today invited France to “open shops” in the country to execute Railway projects and sought co-operation in areas of safety, customer service and high-speed train service.

“There are multiple areas in rail sector where we can work together and in those areas we can hope for co-operation between France and India,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said while addressing Indo-French Rail seminar here.

Wooing French companies to set shops in India, Prabhu said, “Let’s find solutions and prepare completely actionable areas supported by corporate entities and set up shops here…Then we can always work together to make it happen.”

The Minister said that the Government is willing to work with with French companies and is trying to remove inhibitions that doing business in India is a challenge.

“Once we work on it you will realise that doing business in India is not that cumbersome.

“Solution to every problem is possible. We can work together. But for that you must come here first. You can have seminars and go back to France then nothing will happen. You have to come here to stay and make sure we work together,” Prabhu said.

The Railway Minister sought co-operation in areas of safety, customer service, improving communication network, and building high-speed train network.

Prabhu said safety is an “inherent obligation” and of paramount importance. “No one can compromise safety of any kind in the interest of commuters who board the train and want to reach their destinations safely,” he said.

The Minister sought France’s co-operation in providing better services to customers to make their travel easier.

“How to make the platform look better, how to make tickets bookings become smoother and improve communication network can for commuters through various technology. So at all these levels you can think of some co-operation,” Prabhu said.

He added that as a commuter spends maximum time in a rail compartment, efforts need to be made to upgrade that service and make it more comfortable.

INDO-FRENCH Seminar on Rail Sector Inaugurated

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  Mr Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister for Railways, Government of India, and H.E. Mr Francois Richier, Ambassador of France to India, today inaugurated a daylong Indo-French Rail Seminar on “High- and Semi-High Speed, Multimodal Stations – Infrastructure and Financing” in New Delhi. This seminar aims to expand the scope of Indo-French cooperation in the railways sector with emphasis on developing high-speed and semi-high-speed train systems in India and the creation of multimodal stations integrating several modes of public transport. Mr Arunendra Kumar, Chairman of the Railway Board, Member Engineering Railway Board Shri VK Gupta were among those present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Suresh Prabhu said that there are multiple areas in Rail sector where India and France can work together. He said that we need to find solutions and prepare plans of action for mutual cooperation. He called upon French companies to increase their presence in India as doing business in India is not that cumbersome. Referring to the emphasis on high speed travel given by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narender Modi , the Railway Minister said that there is a section of commuters who are willing to pay a higher fare and want high speed travel and Indian railways has earnestly embarked upon the path of developing high speed corridors in India. Shri Prabhu sought cooperation of France in high speed train operations and also in areas of safety, customer service and station development and multimodal stations. The Minister said that safety is of paramount importance in the interest of commuters. Shri Prabhu said that as a commuter spends maximum time in a rail compartment, there is a need to upgrade and innovate facilities and services to make it more comfortable. Shri Prabhu said that India is trying to develop its rail network to global standards and the cooperation with countries like France will be quite meaningful to achieve this objective.

H.E. Mr Francois Richier, Ambassador of France to India and Shri Arunendra Kumar, Chairman of the Railway Board also spoke on the occasion.

This seminar is being organized jointly by Indian Railways and the Regional Economic Department of the Embassy of France in India, with the objective of bringing together recognized specialists in the railway sector from France and India, and brainstorm to find the best solutions for an Indian high-speed and semi-high speed railway along with multimodal stations. French expertise and technology, brought by the French companies operating in India, can play their role in this process.

Three sessions are being organized during the seminar, each with a specific focus: High-Speed and Semi-High-Speed, the concept of multimodality in stations and the type of financing required for such modern railway networks in India. Indian Railways is making presentations about their strategy, plans and requirements for each of these topics followed by presentations from the French side (public institutions and private sector companies). French actors will showcase their expertise as technological solutions for the Indian Railways to build a high-speed and semi-high-speed network. Each session is to be concluded with a panel discussion to facilitate direct interaction between French and Indian railway experts and address the audience queries.

India and France have a long-standing bilateral co-operation in the railway sector of over 30 years. This was given a concrete shape by the signing of the first protocol in 2003. During the State Visit to India by the President of France, Mr Francois Hollande, in February 2013, the French Railways (the SNCF), and Indian Railways (IR) signed a new Memorandum of Understanding centred on 4 key areas of co-operation, namely: 1) high-speed trains, 2) station renovation, 3) urban trains and 4) railway network modernization. In June 2014, the French Railways (SNCF) concluded and presented to the Indian Railways a feasibility study on “operations and development” for high speed rail on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor(534 km). This report is under examination of the Railway Board.

CONCOR ropes in Feedback Infra for Feasibility Study of Logistics Parks

Scope of the study involves financial appraisal and preparation of business plan of the MMLPs

भुवनेश्वर Bhubaneswar (BBS): Container Corporation of India Ltd (CONCOR), the navratna PSU under Railways ministry, has roped in Feedback Infra Pvt Ltd, a leading infrastructure services company, for carrying out the feasibility study for multi-modal logistics parks (MMLPs) proposed in Angul and Sukinda in Jajpur district.

The scope of the study involves financial appraisal and preparation of business plan of the MMLPs by assessing the business potential at the proposed locations including the adjoining area of about 200 kilometers.

Both the MMLPs will see a combined investment of Rs 300 crore excluding land cost with each park spreading over 50 acres of land. The study will include identification of industrial clusters in the area, consolidating and collecting traffic data and interaction with various key stakeholders including companies, inland container depots, container freight station and other private and government agencies.

These logistic parks are likely to give a boost to the state’s industrial competitiveness. The logistic parks will include facilities like warehouses, distribution centres, storage areas, offices, truck services, parking lots, truck terminals, container rail terminal, container handling facilities, cold storages, distribution centers, air cargo points, lorries, maintenance points, service stations, hospitals and restaurants. In addition, such parks would be equipped with weighbridges, telecommunication facilities, banks, health awareness units and recreation centres.

CONCOR would also set up three more MMLPs in the state. While the construction has started at the logistics park proposed at Jharsuguda, land acquisition is underway for two other parks at Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district and Muniguda in Rayagada district. Concor’s Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Balasore and Domestic Container Terminal (DCT) at Rourkela are operational in the state. Recently, Concor, the country’s largest logistics services provider, has picked up 26 per cent stake in Angul-Sukinda Railway Ltd (ASRL), a special purpose vehicle (SPV) formed to implement the key rail link project.

The rail link project, estimated to cost Rs 1,100 crore, is aimed at connecting steel plants based in and around Angul with the iron ore rich Keonjhar-Banspani belt and Talcher Coalfields with the Kalinganagar steel hub. Other equity partners of the SPV include Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL), Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL), Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO).

Thanks to Debroy Committee, now every cadre official has an idea about restructuring

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The Bibek Debroy Committee and its sweeping mandate to restructure the Indian Railways would win hands down if there was a poll for the most-discussed topic in the corridors of the ailing transport giant. Just about everybody working in the railways has an opinion about how the restructuring can be done and almost all of them feel their idea is the stand-out one.

Hidden among the ideas of these officials, of course, is also the infamous rivalries among various streams of engineering and traffic operations that is so quintessential to Indian Railways babudom.

So the electrical cadre officials want the mechanical cadre to pull up its socks and want the corporatisation of the workshops and manufacturing centres of the railways – most of these facilities controlled by the mechanical cadre. Not to be outdone, the mechanical cadre wants the electrical cadre to work faster with the electrification of the railways.

The traffic cadre – IRTS officials – want all the engineering streams in the railways to start delivering. “The restructuring should be in such a way that the engineering cadre and its facilities become manufacturing hubs for the railways and bring in money. At the moment the traffic cadre remains the most stressed thanks to the overflow of passengers and the need for more trains,” said a senior IRTS official.

The Railway Protection Force officers on their part want the restructuring committee to chalk out plans for the former to be the sole federal railway police in the country, in turn taking over duties from the railway police which are entities of respective states. Another suggestion is to give a lot of non-policing duties like patrolling stations, railway factories and the like to private security companies.

“It all depends on how far the committee goes. There is even talk of the disbandment of the Railway Board and a more corporate set-up against the current silo system of different Member posts for different streams of the railways,” said an official.

The Bibek Debroy Committee and its mandate

The 7-member committee, with a term of one-year, will be chaired by renowned economist Dr Bibek Debroy and will have among its members former cabinet secretary KM Chandrashekar, ex-chairman and MD of of Procter and Gamble Gurcharan Das, professor Partha Mukhopadhyay, senior fellow of the Centre for Policy Research, Ravi Narain, former MD of the National Stock Exchange, Rajendra Kashyap, former financial commissioner of the railways and one as-yet-unnamed nominee of the department of economic affairs. Sanjay Chadha, currently serving as the executive director mechanical engineering of the railway board will be the secretary to the committee.

The onus of the committee would be ‘reorganising and restructuring the railway board and subsequently the department so that policy making and operations are separated, the department does not work in silos, policy making focuses on long-term and medium-term planning issues and operations focuses on day-to-day functioning of the organization’.

Railways to expand FDI participation list, identify 50 projects on PPP model

Railways to finalise a fiscal roadmap for shaping its budget formulations over next five years

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  Indian Railways is gearing up for another phase of reforms through a slew of measures.

These include expanding the list of areas where foreign direct investment (FDI) will be invited, identifying at least 50 projects to be commissioned on a public-private partnership (PPP) and finalising a fiscal road map that will shape its budget formulations over the next five years.

“We are adding more projects to the list of areas where 100 per cent FDI will be allowed. The work is on in full swing to increase dialogue with the private sector,” said minister of state Manoj Sinha at an annual event here. “Also, we have selected 50-60 large-size projects to be implemented on PPP mode, with attached conditions.”

He said consultations on the steps had begun between senior minister Suresh Prabhu and industry stakeholders. The identified projects would soon be put on the ministry website, with details and deadlines for their commissioning and implementation.

“So far, the interest in FDI has largely surrounded three areas – High Speed Rail (HSR), medium HSR and station development. We will add more projects to this list shortly,” Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar, also present on the occasion, said in his speech. “Call it a craze, fever or national interest but HSR is our window to the outside world.”

The Union Cabinet had in August relaxed the FDI norms to allow 100 per cent investment in projects such as HST, suburban services, dedicated freight corridors, freight and passenger terminals. The ministry has notified a list of 17 such areas, including rail route electrification, signalling systems and logistics parks.

Other areas freed for FDI include cleaning operations and mechanised laundries, construction, maintenance and operation facilities to supply non-conventional sources of energy to IR, installation and maintenance of bio-toilets in passenger trains, setting up of technical training institutes, testing facilities and laboratories and providing technological solutions to improve safety.

Kumar said the ministry was awaiting clearance from the commissioner of railway safety for the first semi-high speed line between Delhi and Agra, of the total of nine such identified routes. “We are not just talking about locomotives as before. We are talking about HSR and station development. This is a new focus generated in the last few months,” he said.

Sinha said the road map being prepared by IR would shape its budget and finances over the next four to five years. “Also, work has simultaneously started for preparing a vision document that will give direction to the railways’ budget for the next 20 years,” he said.

The announcement for a new vision document comes even as a similar Vision 2020 document prepared under former railways minister Mamata Banerjee exists. The earlier document, prepared in 2009, had also promised HSR as part of big-bang reforms in the key areas of capacity creation, safety and finances.

Told to pay up Rs.20 Crore registration fee, metro rail contractor moves HC

चेन्नई Chennai (MAS): Gammon India Limited, which along with Russian company OJSC Moscow Metrostroy, is executing two portions of the Chennai metro rail project, has approached the Madras high court against the Tamil Nadu government’s demand to pay a registration fee of Rs 20 crore. According to the government, the company paid a paltry Rs 440 as registration fee.

When the matter came up for hearing on Monday, Justice V Ramasubramanian issued notices, but refused to stay the demand notice, after additional government pleader P Sanjay Gandhi pointed out that the appellate authority in the registration department had upheld the notice and staying it would cause heavy revenue loss to the government.

Gammon entered into two agreements with the Russian company in March 2011 to jointly execute the contracts to be awarded by Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL). While one agreement was for a value of Rs 930 crore, the other was a little more than Rs 1,000 crore. Together they worked out to around Rs 2,000 crore. Holding that they are not construction agreements but mere written guidelines on relations between the two companies, Gammon paid Rs 220 as registration fee for each of the agreements.

During an audit, the accountant general of Tamil Nadu raised objection to the payment. Registration fee at the rate of 1% would work out to Rs 20 crore, and not just Rs 440, it said. The government then slapped a demand on the company.

Denying the allegations, Gammon India said the demand notice had been issued after the limitation period of three years, that too without any jurisdiction. Gammon was not heard before the notices were issued, the petition said, adding that CMRL was not at all party to the agreement, and the registration fee could not be computed on the basis of the value of the construction contract signed by the two parties.

Authorities failed to understand that the agreements were not construction contracts, it said. Holding that Rs 220 each for the two agreements was enough and proper, it wanted the demand notice to be dismissed.

South Central Railway to run 132 Sabarimala specials

Secunderabad (SC): South Central Railway on Friday said it will run 132 Sabarimala special trains from Hyderabad and other places to clear the extra rush of passengers and pilgrims heading to the pilgrimage in Kerala.

Apart from Hyderabad the special trains will be run from Nizamabad, Kakinada Town, Narsapur, Vijayawada, Machilipatnam, Sirpurkagaznagar, Karimnagar, Aurangabad, Akola, Adilabad to Kollam and back from December 5, 2014 to January 14, 2015.

Advance reservations for these special trains will commence from 8 a.m. IST, Friday, according to a release.

57th IRICEN Day celebrated in Pune

1413885131789-image0041413884996731-image002पुणे Pune: City based Indian Railway Institute of Civil Engineering (IRICEN) recently celebrated 57th IRICEN day.

A special function was organised at the IRICEN’s new platinum rated green building on the occasion. The function was presided over by chief guest V.K.Gupta, Member Engineering, Railway Board.

Gupta congratulated all Civil Engineers and Awardees and Silver Jubilee Batch Officers. He praised young probationers for selecting civil engineering as their profession. He said that civil engineering is a noble profession as engineers create permanent structures like roads, dams, railway lines. He also said that future of railway civil engineering is very exciting as dedicated freight corridors and high speed corridors are being planned and built.

Gupta released seven publications prepared by IRICEN in form of books, journals and compact discs.

On occasion, Vishwesh Vhaubey, director of IRICEN said that it was eventful year for the institute. The IRICEN has shifted to new building. New facilities like demonstration yard, display area of civil engineering material are added. The institute plans to continuously review and update training content and improve its infrastructure, he said.

Officers from the Central railway, IRICEN and Pune railway division were present at the function.

Beginning in 1959 as a modest ‘Permanent Way Training School’ at Pune, IRICEN has come a long way in fulfilling the needs of training to freshly-recruited as well as serving railway civil engineers. The training covers modules on Track, Bridges and Structures covering specific needs of the railways. lt provides for interaction amongst practicing engineers, qualified, experienced & seasoned professionals and fresh entrants.

Located in the historical and cultural city of Pune, IRICEN has a capacity for training up to 100 engineers! managers at a time. Engineers from railways of the developing countries as well as other government departments/private organisations are also trained. The training programmes are generally residential in nature. Available infrastructure for conducting various training programmes includes a well-stocked technical library, computer centre, material testing laboratory, model rooml museum, hostel, mess and recreational facilities for the trainee officers.

For achieving excellence in training, IRICEN has been awarded ISO 9001-2008 certification by BSCIC Certification Pvt. Ltd.. Our clients include Indian Railways, RITES, IRCON, KRCL, DMRC, NTPC, reputed publicl private sector companies in the field of civil engineering and construction technology and railway officers from developing countries particularly Asia & Africa.

Suresh Prabhu seeks White Paper on Railways before Budget

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  New Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has sought a White Paper on finances, projects and safety and security in the ailing national transporter.

All directorates have been told about the instruction of the Railway Minister to prepare status of their ongoing projects and pending ones, reasons for delays and solutions, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

Prabhu, who is away in Australia for G-20 summit, is expected to decide his future course of action after examining the report in this regard.

Departments have also been advised to submit details of future plan for the next five years and financial implications.

The report would be presented before the Consultative Committee on Railways on December 1 and also discussed in Parliament, before presentation of Prabhu’s first Rail Budget next year.

Prabhu, who is considered to be pro-reform, is likely to firm up the demand for budget allocation after discussing the issue at PMO.

Currently, as many as 676 projects were sanctioned worth Rs 1,57,883 crore. Of these only 317 projects could be completed and 359 projects remain to be completed which will now require as much as Rs 1,82,000 crore.

In the last Rail Budget, 30 priority projects (which include all types of projects) were selected according to need and availability of funds.

Miraculous escape for passengers as Shatabdi ran on Broken Wheel at 110 km/h for 8 Km

बोबस Bobas (BOBS): In a miraculous escape for those seating in New Delhi Ajmer Shatabdi Express on Monday, the superfast train ran for approximately 8 km at 110 km per hour on a broken wheel.

There were nearly 300 passengers, including foreign tourists onboard the Shatabdi Express when the train was running in its full speed.

The incident was brought to notice at Bobas railway station in Jaipur Division of NWR by a gateman, Kaluram.  According to Kaluram, when the train was crossing Bobas at around 11 am, he saw smoke and heard a sound which gave him inkling of some foul play in its running.

He immediately informed the station master about his observations.

Later, the train was stopped at Asalpur Jobner railway station. Engineers and others officials were pressed into service to locate the fault.

During the safety check-up, it was found that the half part of a wheel attached to its Generator Car Van was broken.

The damaged wheel was replaced at Asalpur Jobner railway station itself before allowing the train to move towards its destination.

Tarun Jain, CPRO, NWR, has now formed a panel to look into the lapses as to why this happened in first place and also to fix the responsibility.

Chandni Chowk tram will decongest area: DMRC

New Delhi: Lieutenant-governor Najeeb Jung on Monday directed various city departments and agencies to “immediately” resolve the issues affecting the redevelopment work in Chandni Chowk area and ordered the concerned officials to ensure time-bound completion of the project.

The L-G issued the directive after reviewing redevelopment work in Chandni Chowk and its precincts in the Walled City that is being done by the PWD. The work includes widening and improvement of footpaths, ornamental grills, underground RCC ducts, re-carpeting of carriage ways, ornamental Moghul-era poles and contemporary lights, basement for transformers and construction of toilets.

Separate presentations were made by secretary (PWD) and DMRC director on the ongoing and proposed works in the area.

DMRC director presented a report on the “feasibility study for operation of trams on Chandni Chowk Road” that involves examining the volume of traffic, parking issues, pedestrian count with the view to decongest the area and its precincts.

The proposed tram-line is expected to be 4.5 km in length, which will run in a loop in the Chandni Chowk area. It will take about 15 minutes to complete the entire length, the DMRC informed Mr Jung. “It is expected to carry 200 passengers across two coaches and the expected interval between two trams is likely to be two minutes.”

The DMRC said the tram is expected to provide integrated movement between the tram stops and the Old Delhi Railway Station and that the expected ridership of the proposed tram would be one lakh people. “The tram will be extremely successful in helping decongest the area and allowing for easy movement for all,” the director said.

Mockery of Justice over 39 year old murder case of L.N.Mishra: Verdict put off

New Delhi: The verdict in the 39-year-old murder case of former railway minister L.N.Mishra was deferred on Monday by a trial court which said the judgment was not ready. The case, which is said to be one of the oldest pending case in the history of criminal justice in India, relates to the bomb blast at a function attended by Mishra at Samastipur Railway Station on January 2, 1975. He succumbed to injuries the next day. The case has meandered through the courts for nearly four decades, despite some early breakthroughs made by the police. More than 22 judges have heard the case and statement of more than 200 witnesses including 161 prosecution witnesses and more than 40 defence witnesses, were examined in were recorded in this case.

During the prolonged trial of this case, one of the accused and some of the witnesses passed away. The investigation began to stall because the disclosures made by some accused allegedly indicated the involvement of some political bigwigs. Sources say it was because of these political overtones that judiciary could not give swift justice in the case. The case was transferred to the premier investigating agency CBI soon after the incident from but the final arguments in the case were concluded only on September 12, this year.

District Judge Vinod Goel, who had reserved the verdict for Monday, deferred the verdict for December 8 saying the judgment was not ready. Senior advocate ML Lahoty who was associated with the case for more than 35 years termed this case as a classic example of mockery of justice. Lahoty said that this case was stuck for unusual periods during every stage of trial. “Usually, the procedure of recording of statements of accused under section 313 of the CrPC takes 3-4 days but in this case, it took almost 6 years. Investigation and reinvestigation was ordered with changing governments. Some commissions too probed the matter. The records kept getting voluminous and by the time one judge would understand the facts of this case, time of his transfer would have come and the next judge would again take time to understand the case,” Lahoty said.

Advocate Ranjan Dwivedi, who was 24-year-old at that time, was named as an accused along with four Ananda Marga group members, one of whom has died. Apart from Dwivedi, three other accused in the case are Santoshananda Avadhuta, Sudevananda Avadhuta and Gopalji. Diwedi was released on bail in 1976 while the other accused got bail in 1986 in connection with the case.

The accused had earlier approached the Supreme Court for quashing of the trial against them in the murder case. The apex court had on August 17, 2012 dismissed their pleas on the ground that the proceedings could not be quashed merely because they had not been concluded in the last 37 years. The chargesheet in the case was filed on November 1,1977 in a CBI court in Patna. The case was shifted to Delhi in 1979 on a plea by the then Attorney General to the apex court.

Except Gopalji, all those listed in the chargesheet in Mishra murder case were also named as accused in an attempt to murder case related to the bid on the life of then Chief Justice of India AN Ray in Delhi on March 20, 1975. Santoshananda and Sudevananda were made accused in the Justice Ray case on the basis of a confessional statement of Vikram, who had turned an approver for CBI.

While Santoshananda and Sudevananda were awarded 10 years rigorous imprisonment (RI) each, Dwivedi was sentenced to four years RI by the trial court in the attempt to murder case. The convicts had challenged their conviction on the ground that Vikram had retracted from his confession. The Delhi High Court in August had upheld the conviction and sentence of Santoshananda and Sudevananda in the attempt to murder case but acquitted Dwivedi in the case.

During the final arguments, the CBI prosecutor had asked the court to consider the testimonies of two accused-turned-approvers in the case, saying their statements were important. The prosecutor had said testimonies of Vikram and Madan Mohan Srivastava, alias Visheshwarananda, as approvers must be taken into account because they had participated in the conspiracy to kill Mishra in 1975 and they knew the entire details of the case. Defence counsels Firoz Ahmed and Ashwini Kumar Bali, however, had argued that court could not rely on the statement of “an absconding person who had given wrong details in the court.” Vikram is still absconding and bailable as well as non-bailable warrants were issued against him but he has still not been arrested.

RailTel Bags ‘Aegis Graham Bell’ Awards 2014

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: RailTel Corporation of India Ltd. a public sector undertaking of Ministry of Railways added yet another jewel in its crown by bagging the ‘Aegis Graham Bell Awards 2014’. This award is organized by Aegis School of Business and Convergence, India with support of Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI), Telecom Center of Excellence (TCOE) and Deloitte. Aegis Graham Bell Awards is an initiative to promote innovation in the field of Telecom, Internet, Media and Edutainment (TIME) and to provide recognition for outstanding contributions.

RailTel has won the award in the category of Innovative Managed Services Awards. RailTel’s Retail Broadband Initiative – RailWire – was conferred with this award for its unique nature. RailWire is a collaborative platform to deliver reliable, affordable and high speed Broadband services with various value added services for Health, Education, Entertainment and work@home to common man. RailWire has more than 14,000 customers in India.

RailTel Corporation a “Mini Ratna (Category-I)” PSU is one of the largest neutral telecom services providers in the country owning a Pan-India optic fiber network covering all important towns & cities of the country and several rural areas covering 70% of India’s population. RailTel is in the forefront in providing nationwide Broadband Telecom & Multimedia Network in all parts of the country in addition to modernization of Train operations and administration network systems for Indian Railways. With its Pan India high capacity network, RailTel is working towards creating a knowledge society at various fronts and has been selected for implementation of various mission-mode Govt. of India projects in the telecom field.

Why Sadananda Gowda was gently Shunted out

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Over a month ago, Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda selected an Indian Railway Personnel Service officer to head the crucial ‘Confidential’ branch of the Railway Board. Despite a written order, however, the rail bureaucracy did not move, and the post remains vacant.

The months in office of the first Railway Minister of the Narendra Modi government is replete with instances of the ever-smiling, “nice man” Gowda not being able to assert himself. Several Railway officials said this could never have been said about Gowda’s predecessors Lalu Prasad or Mamata Banerjee.

The Railways are big in Modi’s scheme of things. The PM has given the Railways a list of 30-odd tasks needed to be performed for an overall turnaround. The PMO monitors progress monthly. A majority of these have made no tangible progress.

At the meeting on connectivity-related infrastructure targets convened by the PM last week, the Railways got a tongue-lashing as things did not seem to have moved as desired, sources said.

Gowda did, in fact, try. He called meetings of the entire Railway Board to review PM-monitored projects regularly. One of these meetings took place on a national holiday last week. He also invoked the Swachh Bharat campaign wherever he could.

But things did not move. Devoid of any big idea to lead the ministry that has the biggest people connect, Gowda was increasingly being seen as someone out of his depth, unable to get work done.

Suresh Prabhu, a man with a big reformist reputation and enjoying Modi’s trust, is expected to be a tactful leader who will be able to galvanise the Railways bureaucracy, be more in sync with the deliverables and outside-the-box ideas the PMO is interested in, and overall be a more impressive “brand ambassador” for the Railways.

Prabhu was quick off the blocks on Sunday: tweeting, within minutes of the portfolios being announced, “Railways could be the engine of growth if driven properly. Now in the drivers seat”, and “All those who work for the Railways must work towards realising Honourable PM’s dream”.

By contrast, Gowda’s official handle continued to describe him as “Minister for Railways”, his last tweet having been on November 8, wishing L K Advani a happy birthday.

Gowda failed to find a way to untangle the knot of big infra projects like the locomotive factories in Madhepura and Marhaura, to bring out a roadmap for FDI in Railways, and to show progress in apparently simpler tasks like making Wifi available on trains and stations — something the PMO has been wanting since June.

Officials said the former Karnataka chief minister was also overwhelmed by the complex ways of the Rail Bhavan bureaucracy. For the past four months, the ministry’s proposal to fill posts of seven general managers across India has been getting rejected by the PM-led Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, which has been finding faults with the file. The ACC has recently given scathing remarks on the way the Railways has been handling high-level appointments. Gowda’s contribution to the Railway Board bureaucracy — a post of Director (New Initiatives and Projects) — has no power to get work done.

Arvind Gupta, appointed by Modi as an Adviser to the Minister for Railways, has become less and less visible at Rail Bhavan over the past few months. Sources said this was one indication that Gowda was going out of sync with his leadership as far as running the ministry was concerned.

Gowda’s lacklustre performance in steering an amendment to the Railway Act in the Lok Sabha, which led to even allies joining the opposition to criticize the government, and forced the government to refer the Bill to the Standing Committee, did not go unnoticed in the party leadership, sources said.

CONCOR picks up 26% stake in Angul-Sukinda Rail SPV

Company is also developing two multi modal logistic parks at Parjang and Duburi stations

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Container Corporation of India (CONCOR), the country’s largest logistics services provider, has decided to pick up 26 per cent stake in Angul-Sukinda Railway Ltd (ASRL), a special purpose vehicle (SPV) formed to implement the key rail link project.

Anil Kumar Gupta, Chairman & Managing Director of CONCOR handed over the consent letter for releasing Rs 100 crore to Dilip Kumar Samantaray, Managing Director of ASRL in New Delhi on November 3. The value of 26 per cent equity in ASRL is estimated at Rs 156 crore.

The decision to participate in this new rail line is primarily to promote the development of rail infrastructure and logistics in Odisha, Gupta said.

CONCOR is also developing two multi-modal logistic parks (MMLPs) at Parjang and Duburi stations of this new rail line for expanding container traffic in the state.

The crucial rail link project estimated to cost Rs 1100 crore, is aimed at connecting steel plants based in and around Angul with the iron ore rich Keonjhar-Banspani belt and Talcher Coalfields with the Kalinganagar steel hub.

Other equity partners of the SPV include Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL), Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL), Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco).

Work on the Angul-Sukinda rail link is expected to commence after the end of the current agriculture season. The rail line is targeted for completion by June 2018.

This rail line is set to handle traffic of 70.28 million tonne and will serve industries like Bhushan Steel, Uttam Galva Steel, Jindal Stainless Ltd, Visa Industries, Tata Steel, Monnet Ispat & Energy and Rungta Mines.

The project needs 205 acres of private land, 220 acres of government land and 251 acres of forest land. The project is being implemented on the public private partnership (PPP) mode.

Railways takes first step to give Surat station facelift

सूरत Surat (ST): The Western Railways have called for request for proposal (RFP) for preparing the master plan and study report for development of Surat railway station.

Ten consultants from across the country were present in the pre-bid meeting held on Wednesday and railway officials have asked for RFP for development of railway yard with 70,000 sq metre of land to be developed on public-private partnership (PPP) basis.

However, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC), which is looking at integrated development of the whole of railway station area, has insisted on comprehensive redevelopment.

SMC plans to redevelop nearly 2 lakh sqm land around the railway station that belongs to state government, Gujarat State Road Transport Authority (GSRTC) and local body apart from railway authority.

“In our development plan, we will see that there is no additional financial burden on either railways or local body,” said Milind Torwane, municipal commissioner.

The plan aims at resolving the traffic movement around railway station. It will also establish links for mass transportation from railway station to different parts of the city. The plan includes malls, hotels, offices, multiplexes and an activity center for tourists.

“As we have possession of majority of the land in our hands, we can right way start the work as soon as the plans are finalized,” said Jatin Shah, city engineer, SMC.

Min of Petroleum, Railways & Renewable Energy plan Bio-diesel use in railways & defense

New Delhi: The oil ministry has circulated a Cabinet note for inter-departmental consultation on allowing 5 per cent blending of environment-friendly biofuels in diesel that would be consumed by bulk users such as the railways and defence establishments, government officials said.

Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and National Highways Nitin Gadkari said appropriate policy changes would be made to encourage use of alternative fuels that would reduce India’s dependence on crude oil imports. India imports 80 per cent of crude oil it processes and its last year’s petroleum import bill was over $155 billion. Bio-diesel produced in the country is being exported and the government needs to amend policies to change the situation.

The minister was speaking at a biodiesel conference held in Delhi. Officials in the ministries of petroleum, railways and new & renewable energy said the government initially planned to open bio-diesel use in railways and defense sectors to check on quality.

“We can’t immediately allow sale of bio-diesel in retail pumps either directly by producers or through public sector oil marketing companies. First, we need to address quality issues. And it will be a challenge for the domestic bio-diesel producers to meet 5 per cent fuel demand of railways and defense sectors,” one official said requesting anonymity.

Bio-diesel Association of India President Sandeep Chaturvedi said the government should allow direct sale of bio-diesel to bulk users that would save foreign exchange worth over Rs 400 crore. “While drugs, cosmetics can be sold directly to consumers, there is restriction on selling clean fuel to bulk consumers,” he said.

Officials said the government may gradually raise its scope to passenger vehicles. Bio-diesel is made from virgin or used vegetable oils and animal fats, which is a diesel substitute and requires no engine modifications up to 20 per cent blend.

Railway Minister Sadanand Gowda stressed on the need to promote biofuels. The industry should ensure that it is also genuinely sustainable and cost-effective for end consumers, he said.Railways and defence sectors account for about 5% of 69 million tonne diesel consumption. Railways alone consumes over 3 crore litre of diesel worth Rs 16,000 crore annually.

Bio-diesel use could be later extended to mobile towers, industrial generator sets and agri-equipment, officials said. Bio-diesel project was conceived in 2003 by the erstwhile NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The Bureau of Indian Standards ( BIS) has already evolved a standard (IS-15607) for bio-diesel, which is also known as B100 on the lines of American and European standards.

India’s installed bio-diesel capacity is about 1.2 million tonne per annum, but only 7 per cent of the capacity is currently utilised because of restrictions.

Railways seeks clarity on bio-diesel curbs

New Delhi: Railway ministry has asked changes in the policies of the petroleum ministry which would allow it to buy bio-diesel from private players apart from the oil marketing companies.

Sources said that the ministry has communicated to the petroleum ministry that policies restricting procurement and distribution of bio-diesel has been hampering the railway’s commitment to use the alternative clean fuel in a significant way.

It also said the oil marketing companies have not been able to meet the railway’s bulk bio-diesel requirements.

Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda on Wednesday reiterated railways’ commitment to use bio-diesel at a massive scale.

“With a concern for cleaner environment, Indian Railways has decided to promote use of alternative fuels like bio-diesel in a big way for powering our vast fleet of over 4000 Diesel locomotives,” Gowda told the Conference, Bio-Fuels – 2014, organised by Bio-Diesel Association of India .

Rlys pushes for Congestion Surcharge at all ports as Coal, Fertilisers & Iron-ore imports up

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Indian Railways have proposed to levy a ‘congestion surcharge’ at all ports in the country due to a surge in imports of coal, fertilisers and iron ore, a move strongly opposed by industry who have said that it would lead to a rise in prices of electricity, steel and farm output.

The railway board has written to the finance and commerce ministries on October 21st proposing that in view of the serious congestion at the ports a surcharge at the rate of 10% of the base rate would be imposed.

This translates into rise of 4 paise on per kg of coal and iron ore, 5 paise per kg on fertilisers, 3 paise per kg on limestone and dolomite and 5 paise per kg of gypsum. The board has asked these ministries to treat this proposed rise as a small cost to pay for the massive evacuation which is underway at the ports.

The railway board said that “At the rate which imports is growing, there is no other option but to recover this cost through the surcharge.”

The board has justified its proposal saying that the spurt in the imports of minerals and fertilisers has led to a situation where the quantity to be evacuated from ports has far exceeded the planned capacity.

Congestion at various ports has resulted in the Railways’ rolling stock getting overstretched. Last month there was a growth of 25% in the traffic loaded at various ports over the last year.

Opposing the move, Mr Ashok Khurana, DG of the Association of Power Producers, said that the 4 paise hike translates into a hike of INR 4,00,000 on every million tonne of coal and considering that the country imports currently about 55 million tonne of coal each year, the thermal power companies will have to shell out INR 220 crore more each year due to the surcharge.

Mr Khurana said that “This is bound to increase electricity production costs. Since the cost of importing coal is pass through, it would lead to higher power tariffs. The Railways should increase capacity of its rolling stock and construct more railway lines to make movements of its rakes faster.”

Mr Vinod Kumar, director of commercial at SAIL, said that “The import cost coupled with the proposed surcharge would lead to rise in steel prices. All steel companies import huge amount of coking coal to fire their furnaces and considering that coal is an essential ingredient in making steel, imports cannot be cut down.”

Mr Firdose Vandrevala, executive vice chairman of Essar Steel, said that the surcharge would only add to the cost burden of Indian steel industry and a cost push increase on the finished steel.

Mr Vandrevala said that “With Indian steel industry set to grow at faster pace and with lack of adequate supplies of iron ore-coal within the country, imports are bound to increase to meet production requirement. The focus should be on creating necessary infrastructure to handle increased volumes.”

A senior steel ministry official said that the surcharge would be a double whammy on coking coal.

No fare cut despite drop in fuel prices: Railway Minister

बैंगलोर Bangalore (SBC): Railways has no plans to review passenger fares in wake of recent drop in fuel prices, Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said.

Any decision in this regard would be taken when Railways reviews the fuel adjustment component (FAC)-linked revision scheme, Gowda told reporters to a question in this regard.

The scheme is reviewed every six month and the next review is slated in December.

“There is an equation to calculate the fuel price. It comes up after six months,” he said.

Railways had in June this year effected a steep across-the-board hike of 14.2 per cent in passenger fares in all classes and a 6.5 per cent increase in freight rates to garner Rs 8000 crore (Rs 80 billion) a year.

Gowda released a book titled ‘Art and Railways – A Bangalore Saga’, penned by S Mani and Lily Pandeya, both of whom are senior railway officials.

Asked about cancellation of about 30 trains in view of the ensuing foggy weather conditions in Northern India, Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said the decision was taken to ensure smooth running of other trains and traffic during poor visibility.

“When fog takes place, nothing runs except trains. We have emphasised on safety even if trains run late and cancel trains so that other trains runs normally,” he said.

Special trains to be operated between Nellai and Chennai

मदुरै Madurai (MDU): The railways have announced the operation of special trains between Tirunelveli and Chennai to clear the extra rush of passengers.

According to a statement, eight trains including few premium trains will be operated on this section. Accordingly, train no. 06714 Tirunelveli – Chennai Egmore superfast special (via chord line) will leave Tirunelveli at 9.15pm on November 13 and 20 (Thursdays) and reach Chennai Egmore at 9am next day. The train will stop at Vanchi Maniyachchi, Kovilpatti, Sattur, Virudhunagar, Madurai, Kodaikkanal Road, Dindigul, Trichy, Vriddhachalam, Villupuram, Chengalpet, Tambaram and Mambalam. Train no. 06745 Chennai Egmore – Tirunelveli special (via main line) will leave Chennai Egmore at 10.45pm on November 24, Monday and reach Tirunelveli at 12.30pm the next day. The train will stop at Tambaram, Chengalpet, Villupuram, Tiruppadirippuliyur, Chidambaram, Mayiladuthurai, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, Trichy, Dindigul, Madurai, Virudhunagar, Sattur, Kovilpatti and Vanchi Maniyachchi.

Train no. 06716 Tirunelveli – Chennai Egmore superfast special (via chord line) will leave Tirunelveli at 9.15pm on November 6, Thursday and reach Chennai Egmore at 9am the next day. The train will stop at Vanchi Maniyachchi, Kovilpatti, Sattur, Virudhunagar, Madurai, Kodaikanal Road, Dindigul, Trichy, Vriddhachalam, Villupuram, Chengalpet, Tambaram and Mambalam. Train no. 06715 Chennai Egmore – Tirunelveli special (via chord line) will leave Chennai Egmore at 9.05pm on November 7, Friday and reach Tirunelveli at 9.45am, the next day. The train will stop at Tambaram, Chengalpet, Villupuram, Vriddhachalam, Trichy, Dindigul, Kodaikanal Road, Madurai, Virudhunagar, Sattur, Kovilpatti and Vanchi Maniyachchi. Advance reservation for all these trains will commence from November 4 (Tuesday).

Train no. 00671 Chennai Egmore – Tirunelveli Premium Superfast special (via chord line) will leave Chennai Egmore at 9.05pm November 14 and 21 (Fridays) and reach Tirunelveli at 9.45am the next day. The train will stop at Villupuram, Trichy, Madurai, Virudhunagar and Kovilpatti. Advance reservation for train no. 00671 on November 14 will commence on November 4 and for November 21 it will commence on November 6.

Train no. 00672 Tirunelveli – Chennai Egmore Premium Superfast special (via main line) will leave Tirunelveli at 6.15pm on November 23, Sunday and reach Chennai Egmore at 7.15am the next day. The train will stop at Virudhunagar, Madurai, Trichy, Thanjavur and Villupuram. Advance reservation for this train will commence on November 8, the statement said.

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