Author Archives: rail

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P.G.Rao is new COM for South Western Railway

हुबली Hubli (UBL): P.Ganeshwara Rao has assumed charge as the Chief Operations Manager of South Western Railway recently, a release said. He has come in place of N.C. Sinha, who has been transferred on promotion as Additional General Manager (AGM), Central Railway, Mumbai (CSTM).

Before taking over as Chief Operations Manager, SWR, Mr. Rao, was Chief Commercial Manager (Passenger Service & Catering), South Central Railway, Secunderabad. An Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officer of the 1983 batch, Mr. Rao joined Indian Railways in 1985. He has done post graduation in Public Policy and Management and also holds M.Sc degree. He has undergone training in Management Development Programme.

Evacuation drill planned for Namma Metro commuters

बेंगुलुरु Bangalore (SBC): In case of an emergency, Namma Metro passengers have to walk to the nearest station on the one-metre walkway along the boundary wall of the metro line supported by railings.

Soon Namma Metro will conduct evacuation drill in order to educate commuters on procedures to be followed during emergencies. According to Managing Director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Pradeep Singh Kharola, Namma Metro has developed standard operating procedure to be followed in case of any emergency. And, in the next 10 days, evacuation drill will be held.

The procedure to deal with the emergency will differ depending on the cause of breakdown. “A power outage is usually restored within a few minutes. In case of a malfunction, the train will be dragged to the nearest station by a rescue train,” Mr. Kharola explained.

In the worst case scenario, evacuation has to be carried out midway. Unlike in Delhi Metro, people cannot alight from Namma Metro and walk on the track as power line runs alongside. Commuters have to walk to the nearest metro station on the one-metre wide walkway along the boundary wall of the metro line supported by railings.

Tender process for Phase 2 soon

Pradeep Singh Kharola, Managing Director, BMRCL, has said tenders for Namma Metro Phase II will be called in a month’s time. He was speaking at an interactive session organised by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) here recently.

According to him, Namma Metro Phase I will become operational by September 2015. Reach 3 and 3A now operational till Peenya would be extended till Hesaraghatta Main Road and this stretch would be thrown open to public by November 2014.

Reach 2 covering a distance of 6.52 km between Magadi Road and Mysore Road would become operational by December 2014.

Mr. Kharola said the entire East-West corridor between Byappanahalli and Mysore Road terminal would be completed by March 2015.

Islamist group claims responsibility for China railway station attack

बीजिंग Beijing: A group named ‘Turkestan Islamic Party’ has claimed responsibility for the attack in Urumqi train station in northwest China), in which three people died, SITE international anti-terrorist intelligence service reported on Thursday.

The Islamic group carried out the attack April 30 with explosives and bladed weapons.

According to SITE, which tracks internet communication of suspected terrorist groups, the Islamic group released a video in which they are seen preparing a bomb hidden in a bag.

According to the group, this bomb was used in the attack, in which three people died and 79 were injured.

The claim supports the Chinese authorities, who said the attack was carried out by two religious extremists who died in the explosion.

The Xinjiang region often sees confrontation between authorities and extremist groups, many of them led by the people of Uyghur ethnicity.

The Uyghur ethnic group is one of the majorities in the area and seeks independence of the region as “East Turkestan”.

In the last few months, several attacks on civilians have also taken place in busy train stations, which are also linked to Xinjiang-based terrorist groups by Beijing.

In an attack March 1, the worst of these attacks, 33 people (including four attackers) died and more than 140 were injured in the train station of Kunming in southern China.

Xinjiang shares its border with Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is home to many Muslim ethnic groups linked to the people of Central Asia, such as Uyghurs.

According to the Chinese government, the terrorist groups operating there are linked with the radical Islamic organisation Al Qaeda.

However, exiled Uyghur groups accuse Beijing of using terrorism as an excuse to surpass their religion and culture.

In July 2009, ethnic conflicts between Uyghurs and Chinese Han (majority in the country) claimed more than 200 lives in Urumqi, the worst ethnic violence in China in decades.

Haryana to Fund Metro from YMCA Chowk to Faridabad

चण्डीगर्ह Chandigarh (CDG):  The Haryana government on Wednesday approved a proposal to fund the extension project of the Delhi Metro from YMCA Chowk to Faridabad in order to provide Metro rail connectivity to the commuters in the state.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the state Cabinet in Chandigarh on Wednesday, an official release issued here said.

The Central government has given in principle, an approval for the project, it said.  A sum of Rs.130.80 crore would be the financial implication of this project. The Badarpur-Faridabad Metro line till YMCA chowk is likely to be completed by September 2014, it said.

Nepal requests China to extend the newly built Tibet Rail link upto Kathmandu

काठमाण्डू Kathmandu: CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal has requested the Chinese government to extend the railway system in Tibetan autonomous region up to Kathmandu.

A railway link with China would ease many inconveniences Nepal has been facing as a landlocked country, Khanal said during his meeting with the Chinese leaders in Beijing.  The UML Chairman, who is currently on China visit, met with Wang Jiarui, vice chairman of National People’s Consultative Conference of China and Chen Fengxiang, vice-minister of International Department of Communist Party of China , in Beijing on Wednesday .

Khanal also told the Chinese leaders that the second Constituent Assembly will complete the long overdue task of constitution writing, giving the much-needed impetus to development of the country.  Wang hoped that the Nepali would complete the constitution in time so that the country could catch up in the economic development. ” China is ready to assist Nepal as per the wish of Nepali people and the government,” Wang told Khanal.

Chen emphasised on China ‘s readiness to encourage more Chinese citizens to visit Nepal.  Milan Raj Tuladhar, one of the UML delegation members, said that the Nepali team also visited Xiwang village in Shandong province, which has emerged as an industrial estate.

The delegation that left for a 10-day China visit is expected to return home on Friday.

China’s Jaw-dropping Ambition of Rail link to USA via Russia on the Fast Track

China is considering plans to build a jaw dropping 13,000km high-speed railway line to the United States, the country’s official media reported last week. The proposed “China-Russia-Canada-America” line would begin in north-east China and run up through Siberia, pass through a tunnel underneath the Pacific Ocean, then cut through Alaska and Canada to reach the US. It would be almost 3000km longer than the epic Trans-Siberian railroad and the entire trip would take two days, with the train travelling at an average of 350km/h (220mph).

There may be plenty of scepticism regarding the feasibility of what will be an engineering marvel, given the fact that crossing the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska would demand roughly 200km of undersea tunnel. If it materialises, it would be the world’s longest and four times the length of the Channel Tunnel that connects the UK with France. Admittedly, except for an expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, no one else has come out in support of the project. However, a dream project like this undoubtedly shows that the centuries-old romance associated with the railways is still going strong.

In all likelihood, speed and efficiency could well forge a common link between a set of the most powerful nations though history and political schisms may pit them against each other. Besides, the reported claims by China indicating that it has the means to accomplish such a grand project indicate the supreme confidence in what is an extremely efficient railway system. The Asian giant boasts  of a high-speed network that is one of the world’s most ambitious public works projects. An intercontinental stride forward could be read as further proof of the growing network. By contrast, the Indian Railways, which is grappling with a declining share of passenger traffic and is in dire need of modernisation and revamp, could look at the Chinese for inspiration and be back on track.

Parliamentary Panel insists installation of Alarm Buzzer in all local Ladies Coaches’

मुंबई Mumbai:  A parliamentary panel has asked the railway board to install an emergency alarm system, CCTV cameras and ensure 24/7 presence of women security guards inside ladies’ coaches of suburban trains to prevent crimes against women.

The February 2014 standing committee report—Suburban Train Services of Indian Railways, with Particular Emphasis on Security of Women Passengers—has recommended a number of measures to improve women commuters’ safety.

The committee has recommended an alarm or a warning bell in the ladies’ coach that must be connected to the loco cabin and guard cabins. “It should immediately indicate the coach number and, if feasible, a link should be provided to the RPF booth of a nearby station.”

The committee has also asked the railways to speed up activation of a uniform helpline. The report said different zones have different helpline numbers, which creates confusion. “The number should be displayed outside schools, colleges, offices and women’s hostels.”

The panel has suggested that coaches be guarded by women personnel “at all times”. It has also asked the railways to ensure a visible security presence at stations and on trains.

It also observed that representation of women in the RPF is a negligible 1.7% even as the policy specifies 10% reservation for women in the force. It added, “Underrepresentation of women in the RPF is one of the reasons for lack of security. The process of recruiting women constables should be expedited.”

The report has also taken a dim view of unauthorized vendors in ladies’ coaches. It has recommended security cameras inside coaches and on platforms. The panel, though, cautioned that such surveillance should not compromise privacy.

High-speed train bought from Austria in 2011 for Rs.60 Cr lies wasted in Mumbai yard

Astria Trainमुंबई Mumbai: A high-speed train bought from Austria for Rs 60 crore in 2011 to be introduced on the Churchgate-Dahanu route has become a virtual piece of junk. The train, which is capable of hitting 140 kmph, has been cannibalised in the three years it has been lying on platform 14 of the Mumbai Central car shed, with the railways stripping it of lights, fans, seats and electrical equipment as replacements for other running trains.  Capable of hitting 140 kph, the train would have helped bolster choked networks.  The train would have covered the Churchgate-Dahanu distance, which now takes 4 hours, in 3 hours. At such speeds, five extra services in each direction could have been added to the network.

The train is also blocking the introduction of five more rakes to the network. When the MRVC-1181 Siemens train was ordered, the trials were supposed to be conducted within three months and officials had prepared the ground to order four more trains if they were satisfied with the prototype’s performance. But now, officials are not sure if the train can be used at all even if it clears the trials.

The train, which was made in Austria with a bolster-less suspension that will ensure a jerk-free ride, was procured by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation under the Rs 4,500-crore World Bank-funded Mumbai Urban Transport Project-1.

Worse, recent months have seen both Central and Western Railways, which are struggling to put enough AC-DC trains on the tracks, desperately flog some life out of trains that are way past their designated shelf life. The recent months have also seen an increasing number of accidents, some of which have had to do with the trains’ age.

Insiders said the problem lay in technical issues with the bogies, which they said were not compatible with the Indian rail structure. With no department ready to take the blame, they have all been passing the buck and made the asset a junk at last.

Sources said if the safety departments stick their neck out and declare the train unfit in its present form, efforts can then be made to introduce the bogies after modifying them locally. In fact, for the last seven months CR, which is short of trains, has been asking WR to give the Siemens train but they have not got any response.

“The project is still very much on,” said Rakesh Saksena, MRVC MD, when asked him if the train will ever run on Mumbai’s tracks. “There are certain decisions that need to be taken about its trials and the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) will take the decision shortly.”

RDSO is the Indian Railways’ Lucknow-based national technical advisory body for design, standardisation and maintenance. Sources in the RDSO said a string of changes at the top of the organisation, which was burdened with several important projects, has left the top brass with no time to put the Siemens train on trials.

RDSO’s ED (Power Supply and EMU), in-charge of local trains, Nasimuddin, however, insisted the project was alive. “The trials of the hi-speed train in Mumbai will be taken soon. But there is no time-frame that I can give you right now.”(Courtesy: Rajendra B Aklekar, Mumbai Mirror)

IB suspects a New Module of Indian Mujahideen to be behind Chennai blasts

चेन्नई Chennai (MAS):  South Indian Mujahideen (SIM), a hitherto unknown separate module of the Indian Mujahideen, is now suspected to be behind the twin blasts on the Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai Central on May 1, according to investigators.

Although initially the Indian Mujahideen was thought to be directly involved in the blasts, the police are currently investigating if the person they are looking for, Abubacker Siddique, had formed an independent self-styled South Indian Mujahideen. The operatives behind the train explosions are believed to be home-grown Islamist terrorists.

While the blasts are seen as retaliation for the recent arrests of secret operatives in Chennai, whether they are linked to a larger transnational plot remains unclear.

Siddique, the police say, is known for precision killing, aiming only specific targets in Hindutva outfits. After sustained interrogation of Islamist extremists already under arrest, Panna Ismail, Bilal Malik and Police Fakrudeen, investigators believe that he might have been roped in to plan the blasts for triggering panic, and not claiming lives.

The low-intensity explosives placed in the train were facing the floor so as to minimise the impact of the blasts. They were triggered by a timer and not a remote control. Had the train been on time, the explosives would have gone off at Sullurpet in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, where the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, was to speak at an election rally in the evening in Nellore.

Ismail, Malik and Fakrudeen were arrested in the Puthur operation on October 5, 2013 in connection with a series of communal murders in Vellore, Salem and Madurai and the planting of a pipe bomb on the Rath Yatra route of the BJP leader L.K. Advani.

Going by the “signature of the blast” (the remnants and pattern of explosion), the police have identified similarities with the blasts in Patna.

Delhi Metro’s Huda City Centre line to extend up to Manesar

The stretch will be over 30-km long and will run alongside the northern and southern peripheral roads

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  The Delhi Metro’s Yellow Line, from Jahangirpuri to Huda City Centre, will now go all the way to Manesar/Gurgaon.

The detailed project report (DPR) for the extension will be ready in another six months, a senior official of the Haryana government said. Once the DPR is ready, the Haryana government will approach the Centre for project approval, the official said.

He said the stretch will be over 30 km long. It will run alongside the northern and the southern peripheral roads, which are around 16 and 10 km long, respectively.

“About five months ago, we awarded the task of preparing the DPR to US-based Aecom, one of the leading consultant firms in the field of structural engineering. The company was given a deadline of 11 months. Six months are already over and, if things remain on schedule, we will approach the Central government for approval soon,” he said.

According to officials, the extension is part of the Mass Rapid Transport System connecting Gurgaon, Manesar, Bawal, Rewari and Neemrana —  an “early bird project” of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation in the Manesar-Bawal investment region of Haryana.

According to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) officials, the Haryana government had asked them about a year ago to prepare the DPR for the extension. The request was retracted later without any official explanation.

“We never heard anything on the subject after that. They never explained why they didn’t want us to take forward the work on the line,” a DMRC official said.

Haryana government officials, however, denied having written any such letter to the DMRC.

Metro trials on east-west corridor soon: BMRCL

बेंगुलूरू Bangalore (SBC): The trial runs on east-west corridor of Namma Metro will begin in four months, according to BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola.

Speaking at an interactive session organised by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry here on Wednesday, Kharola said that the tunnelling work on the route had been completed.

However, he admitted that the work on north-south corridor had slowed down owing to the rough terrain and rocky features. Kharola said that though metro had been operational on two stretches (MG Road-Baiyyappanahalli and Swastik-Peenya stations), commuters were not preferring the facility for want of connectivity.

“At least 50 trains will ply at an interval of two minutes once the work on the entire stretch of 114 km is completed in five years. The metro fares will be on a par with that of ordinary buses of the BMTC,” he said.

Naxal hand feared in Freight Train derailment in Chhattisgarh

कॅक्लूर Kaklur (KKLU): Suspected Naxalites are said to have removed fish plates from railway tracks on the Vishakhapattam-Kirandul route that led to the derailment of thirteen bogies and two engines of a freight train on Wednesday in Chhattisgarh’s Maoist-hit Bastar District.

The empty freight train derailed between the villages of Kaklur and Kumar Sandra this morning, leading to rail traffic disruption on the route, media reports said.

The bogies and two engines fell from the bridge located on a small rivulet in the area.

Police are currently not ruling out the hand of Naxals in the incident.

Electric Traction Inspection on Villupuram-Vellore section completed

विल्लुपुरम Villupuram (VM): Commissioner of Railway Safety (CSR) of Bangalore Circle S K Mittal commenced a two-day inspection of the 25,000 volts electric traction provided in Villupuram-Vellore Cantonment section.

Mittal began the inspection in diesel loco from Vellore Cantonment on Wednesday. He inspected the outside and inside curves, bridge mast, railway over bridge (ROB), relay rooms, isolator operation, engineering gang, FOB, level crossing gates, power line crossing and short circuit test along the section, said the railway authorities.

On Thursday, he will contact the current collecting test by using electric loco. He would start from Villupuram and conclude it in Vellore, added the officials.

Public cautioned

The Southern Railway on Wednesday cautioned the public living along the railway track in Villupuram-Vellore Cantonment section not to venture close to the railway track.

The public are warned that no person should come in contact with high voltage AC traction within two metres. They should not stretch any pole or material or come in contact with overhead installations, which is highly dangerous, said a release.

“The drivers and road users are requested to be extra cautious at unmanned and manned level crossings in the section. Vehicles should not be overloaded with goods which make them come in close contact with high voltage AC traction lines,” the release added.

Special Cover on 150 Glorious Years of Western Railway in Mumbai released

Special Postal Cover Rail Philatelyमुंबई Mumbai:  To commemorate the 150th year of the Western Rail Network in Mumbai, a special postal cover was released recently. The first train on the western lines in the then Bombay chugged in on November 28, 1864, heralding a new era of seamless and direct connectivity with Gujarat and other states. We are trying to imagine what kind of existence would be possible if we started our day at this kind of Churchgate station, with its flowerbeds and wooden fretwork decorations, instead of the cavernous building through which one million people rush at peak hour!


Western Railway (erstwhile Bombay, Baroda & Central India Railway) reached Mumbai (Grant Road Terminus) on 28th November 1864. It ushered a new era in the city and has been a harbinger of progress of Mumbai and the Western region. This year Western Railway is celebrating the 150th year of Western Railway.

India Post, Maharashtra and Goa Postal Circle issued a Special Cover to mark 150 Glorious Years of Western Railway (erstwhile BB&CI) in Mumbai on 21st April 2014 at Mumbai. (Sp. Cover approval no. MH/09/2014). Shri Hemant Kumar GM Western Railway and Shri H. C. Agrawal Postmaster General Mumbai Region released the special cover at the function held at Y.B.Chavan Auditorium, Churchgate, Mumbai.

Cost of Special Cover Rs. 15/- with stamp. Please contact Mumbai Philatelic Bureau for requirement.

MEGA notifies for recruitment at Senior Managerial positions

अहमेडाबाद Ahmedabad (ADI):  Gujarat Metro Railway is inviting application from eligible candidates for Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro rail project undertaken by Metro Link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA) Company Ltd.

Vacancies and Eligibility:

Senior Manager (IT): Minimum 15 years of work experience and minimum of 3 years experience at Manager/Senior Management. Upper age limit is 40 years.

Assistant Manager (IT): Minimum 5 years of experience and minimum 3 years of experience at Middle Management level. Upper Age limit is 30 years.

Manager (IT): Minimum 10 years of experience and minimum 3 years of experience at Manager/Middle Management level. Upper age limit is 30 years.

Senior Manager (HR): Minimum 15 years of experience and minimum 3 years of experience at Senior Management level. Upper age limit is 40 years.

Manager (HR): Minimum 10 years of experience and minimum of 3 years of experience at Senior Management level. Upper age limit is 35 years.

How to Apply:

Interested Candidates may forwards their completed application to the below mentioned address:

DGM (HR, Systems & Processes),
Metro Link Express For Gandhinagar And Ahmedabad (MEGA) Company Limited
5th Floor. Nirman Bhavan, Opp. Gate No.4,
Sachivalaya, Sector – 10A,
Gandhinagar 382010 (Gujarat)

Important Dates:
Last Date to Apply : May 27, 2014

Metropolis On Go: Journey of Chennai Metro Rail

Pankaj-Kumar-Bansal‘We have given top most priority to the safety and security of passengers in Chennai Metro Rail project,’ says Pankaj Kumar Bansal.

What lead to the city of Chennai have its own metro rail system?

Chennai metropolis has been growing rapidly and the traffic volumes on the roads have also been increasing enormously. Hence the need for a new rail based rapid transport system has been felt and towards this objective the Government of Tamil Nadu has decided to implement the Chennai Metro Rail Project. This project aims at providing the people of Chennai with a fast, reliable, convenient, efficient, modern and economical mode of public transport, which is properly integrated with other forms of public and private transport including buses, sub-urban trains and Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS).

Please give us some details about the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL).

The Government of Tamil Nadu created a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for implementing the Chennai Metro Rail Project. This SPV named as “Chennai Metro Rail Limited” was incorporated on 03.12.2007 under the Companies Act. It has now been converted into a Joint Venture of Government of India and Government of Tamil Nadu with equal equity holding.

What are the steps being taken by you to ensure a safe and secure metro rail system in Chennai?

Passenger safety and security has been given the top most priority in Chennai Metro Rail project. Keeping in mind the safety concerns, we have systems in place which ensures that platform gates will open only when a train enters a platform. On the other hand, train can move only when the gets are closed. This reduces the chances of accidents. All these steps also help us in energy consumption, along with ensuring safety. It is noticed that the air-conditioning required for tunnel cooling near platform or track area is far more than what is required for the remaining part, due to the heat generation for using brakes. But, if we are able to cut down the unnecessary brake movement near the platform area, it will help in efficient use of energy.

The land disputes or infrastructural issues are associated with most of the big infrastructure projects in our country. How have CMRL dealt with these kinds of issues?

We have in our possession all the lands necessary for the project, except one. But there are some small litigation problems in some places. Luckily for us these minute problems have not hampered our work. This is a public project and moreover court takes well concern of the legalities. Though there were few challenges initially. Due to the sluggishness in the market some companies engaged with us could not able to complete the work on time. It forced us to terminate their contract as all these were affecting progress of our project.

Please brief us about the energy efficient air-conditioning system installed in the Chennai Metro Rail.

We have installed air conditioning system which is more energy efficient. For example I can say that in any air conditioning system there are two cycles- primary and secondary. There is the need of energy or cooling transiting from one cycle to another. But here we are focusing on single cycle only. This will save nearly 30 percent of energy as compare to earlier air- conditioning system. It will result in more energy efficient air-conditioning system in metro rail.

Various other metro projects in cities like Delhi and Kolkata are utilizing their stations to showcase art and culture. What about CMRL’s plan on this?

Our stations are developed on varied concepts. So each and every station will be depicting various forms of art and cultures. For example I can tell you that one station will be decorated with the photos of classical Bharatnatyam dance form and other station might be showcasing flowers or wildlife particularly associated with our state.

We often see glitches in the car parking places for metro projects in other cities. Share with us the plans of CMRL to tackle this problem. Also throw some light on CMRL’s bicycle parking and renting initiative.

We are trying to do things differently in Chennai. There are separate sub lines inside our stations for pick up and drop points or parking places. This will result in fewer chances of blocking up main roads near the metro station areas. There will also be escalator system in place which will be connected to the parking areas. In our stations area we are providing separate space for cycle parking. We have tied up with Chennai Corporation and they have provided free cycles.

Before moving to CMRL, you have served various other important government departments. How do you find working for Chennai Metro Rail project?

I thank the government for giving me the opportunity to work for this project. I am happy to be part of CMRL as I have handled similar kinds of projects for Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and World Bank. I had also worked earlier in the major infrastructure projects, like Hogenakkal water supply project, which was a Rs 2000 crore project.

What are the core values being followed by Chennai Metro Rail Limited?

We are always trying to give safe, clean reliable and courteous service to our customers. Apart from this, we want to uphold Integrity and our focus is also on sustainability for reducing green house emissions. Trust factor is important for us and we are committed to honour the trust reposed in us by the public by managing CMRL resources (financial and non-financial) with highest degree of responsibility. Creativity and innovation also excites us.  (Courtesy: eLets)

Mundaga Kanni Amman Koil railway station on the MRTS Section inaugurated in Chennai

चेन्नई Chennai (MAS):  Mundaga Kanni Amman railway station in the MRTS section, located between Light House and Tirumayilai railway stations alongside the Buckingham Canal became operational on Wednesday.

Commuters who were forced to go to Tirumayilai or the Light House stations on the section now could use the new station.

Railway sources said the work on the station began in 2003 and it was completed nearly a year ago. A senior officer said there was an inordinate in completing the work as a couple of contractors abandoned the work at this station.

On the first day today nearly 90 tickets were sold, fetching a revenue of Rs 1,006. Officials at the ticket counter said they expect the ticket sale to improve in the coming days. “On both directions the response was very good on the first day,” they said. It will exclusively the commuters from the northern Mylapore, Santhome and Royapettah extensively.

Mundagakanniamman Koil station is the 18th MRTS station to be operational. Work on the station began in 2002, at an initial estimated cost of ₹ 85.5 million. The station is built as an additional one in the first phase of the Chennai MRTS network completed much earlier. Initially slated to be completed in April 2009 at a cost of ₹ 350 million, the construction was delayed due to land-acquisition issues. The next deadline was set as 2012 and again it was delayed due to getting approval for the name, which has got all its final touches by today. The cost of construction was ₹ 100 million.

The station is an elevated one built on the banks of the Buckingham Canal like most other MRTS stations. The station building consists of 2,400 Sq.m of parking area in its basement. The design of the station is similar to that of the Thirumailai station. The station has only one entrance as the Buckingham canal runs alongside.

Controversy on Station’s Name

The station has been courting controversy ever-since it was first slated to be completed in 2009. The station’s name ran into controversy in June 2013 when over 80 per cent work was over, since some local Muslims residents started opposing the christening of the station after the Hindu goddess Mundagakanniamman. A temple of Goddess Mundagakann­iamman is almost in the vicinity of the station, which covers Ganesh­apuram and Slatterpuram that have a good number of Muslim and Christian population. The station’s name boards were whitewashed by some residents, and the inauguration of the station, which was earlier scheduled for 15 May 2013, was deferred indefinitely. Later the Tamil Nadu government decided to retain the name since the station is located on the very street where the temple is situated since the time immemorial and various organisations in the city argued that the temple was existent even prior to Vijayanagar Rule and hence there should not be any linking of the name with any religious sect., but should be considered as one of the historical landmark location to identify and name the newly built station.  Finally Southern Railway had named the station as ”Mundagakanniamman Koil”.

Train Schedules

The first train will be a Velachery-Beach service at 6am after which regular services will continue. Residents of Loganathan Colony, Subburayan Street and a few others along with hundreds of pilgrims to the Mundakakanni Amman temple will benefit.

A senior railway officer said, “We sent the name of the station to the state government for approval after protests against naming it Mundakakanni Amman. The government approved the name.” A booking clerk will be available at the station, the 18th on the line, to issue tickets. It will cost 5 to travel to different stations on the line from here.

The first EMU leaving Chennai Beach at 4.10am will arrive here at 4.28am on week days and on Sundays, the first EMU leaving Beach at 6am will arrive here at 6.18am. On week days, the first EMU leaving Velachery will arrive here at 5.20am, and on Sundays, the first EMU leaving Velachery will arrive here at 7.10am.

On week days, the last EMU leaving Chennai Beach at 10pm will arrive here at 10.18pm, while on Sundays the last EMU from Chennai Beach will arrive here at 10.18pm. On week days, the last EMU leaving Velachery at 11pm will arrive here at 11.20pm, and on Sundays the last EMU train from Velachery will arrive here at 11.20pm. The booking office will function during operation of all services on the section.

CRS to inspect newly electrified Villupuram-Vellore section today

तिरुचिराप्पल्ली Tiruchirappalli (TPJ):  Electric loco hauled passenger and freight trains is all set to become a reality on the Villupuram Vellore broad gauge section falling within the limits of Tiruchi Railway Division.

With electrification works in the 152 kilometer (km) Villupuram — Vellore section having been completed, the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) is scheduled to inspect the segment on May 14. The safety clearance from the CRS is mandatory prior to throwing open the electrified section for operation of passenger and freight trains hauled by electric locomotives.

The CRS, Southern Circle, Bangalore S.K.Mittal will carry out a two-day inspection on this electrified section on May 14 and 15. Accompanied by top railway officials, the CRS will commence the inspection from Katpadi to Villupuram on May 14, Railway sources said.

The Villupuram — Vellore section is one among the major broad gauge sections falling within the jurisdiction of Tiruchi Railway Division.

The electrification works were carried out as part of the gauge conversion work from Villupuram to Vellore and completed at a cost of around INR 190 crore, the sources said. The Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE), Chennai Project Unit, was entrusted with the responsibility of electrifying the section.

As part of the electrification project, two power substations were established — one at Arni Road and the other at Thandarai.

Power substations are already functioning at Villupuram Junction and near Katpadi Junction.

A senior CORE official said the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited had begun to provide power supply to the Arani Road substation.

Electrification would improve acceleration of trains, say officials adding that some of goods trains bound for upcountry destinations from central and southern regions could take the electrified route in the long run to avoid the congested route via Chennai.

Ministry releases Rs.233 Crore for Gadag-Wadi broad gauge works

The Ministry of Railways on Tuesday sanctioned Rs 233 crore to construct newly announced Gadag-Wadi broad gauge railway line in the State.

हुबली Hubli (UBL):  The project is coming up with 50:50 cost-sharing between Railways and the State government. The land for the project will be provided by the State free of cost, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters here.

The total cost of the project is Rs.1922 crore and the Ministry released Rs 16 crore for the current financial year. Once the State government hands over substantial land to the Railways, work will start, he said.


The new line will link main lines of Hubli-Guntakal and Mumbai-Chennai routes, passing through Gadag, Koppal, Raichur, Yadgir and Gulbarga districts via Kuknur, Yelburga, Kushtagi, Lingsugur, Gurgunta, Devapur, Shorapur, Shahpur and Biral Buzurg.

Speedy rail connection

Once the project completes, industries in these five districts of North Karnataka will also get convenient and speedy rail connection with ports on the Western Coast and also other parts of the country, enhancing the socio- economic development in the backward areas of Hyderabad-Karnataka, he said.

The new line will also help in faster movement of goods and passengers between Wadi and Hubli. With this line, distance between Gadag and Wadi stations will come down by about 147 km, in comparison to the existing routes via Guntakal and Hotgi.

Good Train derails on Mumbai-Howrah route; traffic unaffected

Dongargarhडोंगरयर Dongargarh (DGG): Four bogies of a goods train derailed on Tuesday near a railway station on the Mumbai-Howrah railway route in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district.

Nobody was reported hurt in the mishap. Four bogies of the container-loaded cargo train coming towards Raipur from Nagpur derailed near Dongargarh railway station, which lies around 100 km from Raipur station, this evening, a railway official said.

“However, no injuries were reported due to the incident,” he said.

The mishap took place as the train departed Dongargarh railway station and crossed its platform’s signal leading to damage of track numbers four and five, he said.

However, railway traffic on the upline Howrah-Mumbai route was not affected due to incident, though traffic on Kurla-Howrah downline route was delayed for sometime after the incident, he said.

Meanwhile, railway traffic on the route resumed smoothly after sometime and train movements were on time.

The exact cause of the mishap would be known after the investigation, he said.

Railways face hurdles in crucial coal linking rail projects in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Railways today informed the Union Cabinet about the difficulties it is facing in sticking to the timeline for the completion of three crucial rail link projects in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

In order to evacuate and transport about 300 million tonnes of coal from the mines to industries, Coal Ministry had last year approached the Prime Minister’s Office for expediting the three rail projects — two in Jharkhand, one in Chhattisgarh.

The three rail links, planned with a view to solving the problem of coal availability in the country, are expected to facilitate the movement every year of around 300 million tonnes of the valuable mineral.

The rail corridors include Tori-Shivpuri-Kathotia in North Karanpura in Jharkhand and Bhupdeopur-Korichhaapar to Mand Raigadh mines in Chhattisgarh.

At the Cabinet meeting, the problems on the ground were explained like delay in getting land acquisition and forest clearances from the state governments, sources in railways said.

Earlier, the PMO had ordered Railways to execute the three projects within three years of the necessary clearances being obtained.

“Besides, law and order problems are also there… So, it is unlikely that the projects would be completed in time,” they added.

No train movement in night in Rajula forest area

राजुला Rajula (RLA):  The forest department is thinking of sending a proposal to the railways to stop movement of trains at night through forest areas around Rajula (Amreli district) where lions are known to move between 7 pm and 7 am. As most trains that pass through the forests in these areas are goods trains, they can be loaded in Surendranagar and sent off to their destinations before nightfall.

The forest department decided to send this proposal after a number of lions were run over by goods trains in three different incidents recently. Officials said that they had noticed that these accidents tended to take place just before sunrise or early in the morning.

The officials further said that movement of the lions increases in the morning when it is still slightly dark. At this time, it becomes difficult to spot the lions if they happen to be on the railway tracks. By the time a driver sees the animal, it is too late as it is not possible to stop a train suddenly.

After the second incident, forest department officials had carried out a count and found that more than 40 lions had been living around the railway tracks along the coast near Rajula. After the second incident, the officials had organized training of train drivers but this had not worked as the drivers of goods trains had refused to reduce their speed. This had led to another accident – the third – in this area.

After the second incident, a detailed lion population count was also undertaken in the areas. It was found that 40-odd lions had been living in the region along the tracks, said the officials. This area has 4-5 lion prides.

In the wee hours on Sunday, a male cub, which was about seven months old, was found dead beside the track between Bherai and Pipavav port. Later at around 6 am that day, some villagers spotted the carcass and informed the forest department.

An official said that as most trains that pass through this area at night are goods trains, the forest department was thinking of restricting the movement of trains in this area in the wee hours or late at night.

Such incidents are avoidable, said officials. Railways have been told to reduce the speed of the trains and drivers have been given maps too but the drivers refuse to slow down their trains. Further, the track is constructed in public-private partnership. Officials said that the state forest department plans to force the railways to set up high fences along the railway tracks. This would ensure that lions and their cubs keep away from the railway tracks.

World’s first satellite-based railway management system tested in Italy

The world’s first railway management system communicating with satellites has been tested in Italy.  Train drivers will be able to receive information from control centres via satellites

इटली Italy: The system, a joined project between the European Space Agency, UK satellite operator Inmarsat, Ansaldo STS and Vodafone, is designed to improve data transmission about the location of trains travelling across remote areas.

Currently, railway traffic controllers in Europe receive data about trains through the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS). The system uses electronic beacons, located along the track every 500 to 1,500 metres, transmitting information about the train’s position via a dedicated terrestrial cell network. The centres then transmit route data back to the train drivers, providing recommended speed and other information important for safe operations.

The currently tested satellite-based system, called the Train Integrated Safety Satellite System project, or 3InSat, will not only help improve communication with trains in remote areas but will also help reduce costs, as installing expensive track equipment and building additional communication infrastructure will no longer be needed.

Recently, the system has been put to test on the Italian island of Sardinia with further trials scheduled for this autumn.

“The new telecom service we have been testing in Sardinia as part of 3InSat is unprecedented for train control systems,” said Francesco Rispoli of Ansaldo STS.

“It paves the way for realising cost-efficient and rapidly deployable signalling systems using, for the first time, non-dedicated telecom networks.”

If all goes well, satellite communication links will be integrated into the railway traffic management system in Sardinia with further deployment across Europe expected in the upcoming years. A similar project is underway in Australia.

The 3InSat project is co-funded by Esa’s Integrated Applications Promotion programme.

Bullet Trains on Top of Modi’s to-do List

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  With the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi putting emphasis on infrastructure development, ministries such as tourism, railways and national highways are likely to be given a new look in keeping with the BJP’s governance model if the National Democratic Alliance comes to power.

Modi’s desire to prepare a blueprint for running high-speed bullet trains on the lines of Japan and China is likely to be given top priority by the Ministry of Railways as it would involve massive investment.

The BJP-led government would work towards evolving the public-private partnership (PPP) model into a people-public-private partnership (PPPP), or the 4P model, that will involve citizen groups, professionals and retired experts in designing, implementing and monitoring public service projects.

The Urban Development Ministry is likely to come out with a new approach of building on concepts like twin cities, satellite towns and fulfil Mr. Modi’s desire to build 100 new cities across the country.

Other key ministries such as finance, commerce, corporate affairs, industry and environment are also likely to be given a fresh look, stressing economic activity, simplifying and rationalising the tax regime and leveraging technology to cut red tape and corruption.

On foreign relations, BJP leaders have ruled out any radical change, but the party manifesto has stressed the need to revive “Brand India’’ by building on tradition, talent, tourism, trade and technology.

Double Decker Train from Kachiguda to Guntur chugs off

Excitement grips passengers and those who came to see them off. On its inaugural run, it was flagged off not by a ‘neta’ or a senior official, but by a train lighting helper

Double Decker Train kcg gntकाचीगुड़ा Kacheguda (KCG): Practically every one of the 350-odd passengers was getting himself/herself photographed with his/her near and dear ones, with the colourful train serving as the backdrop, as the electric locomotive blew its horn before beginning its journey, early on Tuesday morning.

As South Central Railway’s first air-conditioned, chair-car, double-decker superfast express to Guntur left Kacheguda, there were cheers all around. For most of those on platform no. 4, those who boarded the train and those who came to see them off, the sight of a double-decker train was a first time experience and hence the high-level excitement.

It was driven by loco pilot Karimullah, who has 18 years of experience behind the locomotive wheel and assistant loco pilot Ramakrishna (three years). On its inaugural run, it was flagged off not by a ‘neta’ or a senior official, but by Abdul Rehman, a train lighting helper, as he would retire from service this month-end. With the model code of conduct in force, inaugural by a Minister or a political leader was ruled out. A senior official informed that SCR’s General Manager P.K. Srivastava wanted the inauguration of this train to be done differently.


The Kacheguda-Guntur train no. 22118 will leave on Tuesdays and Fridays at 5.30 a.m. and reach at 10.40 a.m. with halts at Malkajgiri, Nalgonda, Miryalaguda and Piduguralla. On the return, no. 22117 will leave Guntur at 12.45 p.m. and reach Kacheguda at 5.55 p.m. The 10-rake train can carry 120 passengers in each, totalling to a whopping 1,200 passengers, the equivalent of 55 to 60 trains.

Starting from Wednesday, the same rake will leave for Tirupati at 6.45 a.m. and return by Thursday night, in time for its run to Guntur on Friday, said Chief Public Relations Officer K. Sambasiva Rao, pointing out that the rake would be used to its optimum, with eight services, four each to Guntur and Tirupati. “Depending upon the patronage, we will work out how to expand our service,” he said.

The unique selling proposition of the rake is that for the first time in Indian Railways, it comes with VESDA (Very Early Smoke/Fire Detection with Alarm System). There are 17 sensors at different points in each coach for the purpose. Each chair-car coach can seat 120 persons and as against the conventional chair-car coaches that cost Rs. 1.54 crore each, the new ones cost a whopping Rs. 2.86 crore each. The fare to Guntur is Rs. 415 and Rs. 720 for Tirupati.

Meanwhile, the members of the Suburban Train and Bus Travellers’ Association, Malkajgiri welcomed the newly-introduced Kacheguda-Guntur superfast double-decker train on Tuesday at Malkajgiri railway station. The Association members thanked the railway authorities for arranging stoppage at Malkajgiri and also requested the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited authorities to call fresh tenders for MMTS Phase 2.

double_decker_train KCG Double Decker Train DUBLE DECKER_0 1npoATGBH100 Double Decker Train kcg gnt2

Goods shed in Tirupur to be developed: DRM/Salem

तिरुप्पुर Tiruppur (TUP): Goods shed at Tirupur railway station will be improved at an outlay of Rs. 3 crore before the end of the current financial year to facilitate quicker movement of cargoes, according to Divisional Railway Manager, Salem Division, Mr.P.N.Ram.

Speaking to The Hindu after inspecting the railway station here on Thursday evening, he said that as part of the project, the track meant for goods train would be lengthened by another 300 metre and two-side entry would be provided at the goods shed, among other works. At present, about 80,000 tonnes of load mainly inward freight comprising oil cakes, maize and other food grains are being handled every month at the goods shed in Tirupur railway station,” he said.

Mr. Ram said that following the inspection, it was decided to carry out improvement works to the tune of Rs. 30 lakh to give an aesthetic touch to the front view of the main building. “We have also decided to shift the reservation counter to another location near the Parcel office to ease the congestion in the concourse area in the main building,” he added.

The other decision taken after the examination of facilities was to open an additional counter for issuing daily tickets complying with the requests from the public.

Senior Divisional Commercial Officer S.T.Ramalingam and Senior Divisional Engineer (Co-ordination) Nandakumar accompanied Mr.Ram during the inspection.

Parcel Trains and Logistic Parks high on CRWC’s Priority: Vinod Asthana, MD/CRWC

Central Railside Warehouse Company LtdAs part of its diversification activities, CWC developed a warehousing facility of Railway land along a Railway siding as a Pilot Project at Whitefield Goods Terminal at Bangalore after entering into an agreement with Indian Railway. This project started operation since February 2002 and resulted in attracting additional traffic to the Railways, improvement in customers service and an increase in the volumes of cargo handled by CWC. The success of this project led CWC to consider developing Railside Warehousing Complexes at other centres also throughout near identified Rail Terminals.  Ministry of Railway also in the meantime had identified land near various Railway Terminals for development of warehousing complexes with handling facilities in order to improve the utilization of the Railway facilities in the country and to give a boost to the transportation for meeting the logistics requirements of its customers with a view to improve the service.

A memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Railways and Central Warehousing Corporation was signed on 20.12.2003 for development of warehousing complexes by CWC near 22 railway terminals to provide better service through total logistic solution to rail users, it was agreed that Railway administration will lease out land to CWC for said purpose.  To give a thrust to this line of activity it was decided to bring all the Railside Warehousing Complexes under administrative control of a New Company which is to be a subsidiary company of CWC.

Accordingly “Central Railside Warehouse Company Ltd” has been incorporated on 10.07.2007. Subsequently company received certificate of commencement of business under Section 149(3) of the Companies Act 1956 on 24.07.2007.

Vinod Asthana, MD, CRWCVinod Asthana, Managing Director of Central Railside Warehouse Company Limited, a Miniratna under the Department of Food and Consumer Affairs, speaks about the company’s performance, priorities and plans.


The facility of the full-train warehouse with the capacity of 5- 6 train loads has helped the stakeholders, especially during hostile weather conditions, traffic restrictions on road, non- existent facility of unloading in late night hours and non- availability of adequate trucks and labour.


CRWC has invested more than Rs 250 crore in warehousing and terminal development.

We are trying to reduce the overall cost of logistics by leveraging economies of scale to the advantage of all stakeholders.


Terminals are being operated round the clock, with trained manpower. Most of them are ISO- certified and have proper procedures in place. Customer satisfaction surveys are also undertaken.


We have two ambitious plans: to launch parcel trains and develop logistic parks. As the Railways looks to decongest its stations by detaching parcel unit from passenger trains, CRWC wants to launch parcel train services across various warehouse complexes.


MOU has been signed by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) – a statutory body under Ministry of Shipping, Government of India with Central Railside Warehouse Company Ltd., (CRWC), New Delhi – a Public Sector Undertaking under Department of Food, for developing a Multi-Model Logistics Hub (MLLH) at Jogighopa, Assam on Brahmaputra river, to facilitate inland vessel movement on National Waterways.  It has been agreed upon that the MMLH will be jointly developed by both parties.  The project will be useful for handling bulk commodities viz. coal including imported coal, food grain, fertilizers, jute, tea, bamboo etc.  The project will give a big boost to local trade in North-East Region.


The work on the Mumbai RWC has been taken up. The plans for setting up RWCs at Cochin, Guwahati, Malda and Gandhidham are under process. We’re also developing a multichamber cold storage chain operation.


V.K.Gupta takes over as Member Engineering, Railway Board

VK-Gupta-MEनयी दिल्ली New Delhi: V.K.Gupta has taken over as new Member Engineering, Railway Board & Ex-officio Secretary to the Govt. of India. He succeeds S.K.Jain who has superannuated from Railway Services. Prior to this appointment, Mr.Gupta was General Manager, Northern Railway from 15.6.12 to 12.5.2014.

Belonging to the Indian Railway Services of Engineering of 1976 batch, Mr.Gupta has graduated from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh with a Bachelors in Civil Engineering. Mr. Gupta has held several important positions viz. General Manager, North Central Railway, Secretary, Railway Board Advisor, Land & Amenities, Railway Board, Divisional Railway Manager, Northern Railway, Ferozepur, Chief Engineer, Construction, Northern Railway.

As General Manager, Northern Railway he holds the distinction of spearheading the zone to achieve significant benchmarks on various fronts. Under his able leadership, Northern Railway marked a noteworthy fiscal year 2013-14 carrying a record freight of 53.37 Million Tons notching incremental growth of more than 5 Million Tons over the previous fiscal year (48.01 Million Tons) marking 11% growth in Freight Loading which is the highest growth achieved in a financial year. Northern Railway retained the first position amongst all the Zonal Railways in terms of originating earnings registering Rs.16787 crore for 2013-14, compared with Rs.14289 crore last year notching an unprecedented growth of 16%. The share of Freight earnings increased to Rs.7309.41 crore during 2013-14 is more than Rs. 1,000 crore over last year. On the passenger services front, the zone retained its premier position in providing greater connectivity and enhanced passenger conveniences. The construction of the 11.2 Kms long Tunnel T-80, being the longest transportation tunnel in Asia which pierces through the Pir Panjal mountain range and the commissioning of the Banihal-Qazigund section in the Kashmir Valley on 26.06.2013 was one of the defining moments of the zone. His tenure was also remarkable for completion of many important new lines, doubling & electrification projects.

Adding momentum to the reform process, Mr.Gupta brought out new organizational measures through the issue of compendium of Check-lists of Inspections for operational and managerial convenience of Officers and Supervisory staff. Other initiatives include the introduction of Legal Management Information Systems (LIMS) for better house-keeping of official records and updates of court cases on the zone..

Tunnel No.12 of Lumding–Silchar GC project completed

सिलचार Silchar (SCL): In a major feat of 2013–14, the Construction Organisation of N.F.Railway has successfully completed work for yet another tunnel, tunnel No. 12 in the Lumding – Silchar gauge conversion which is an important milestone. The length of the tunnel is 590 mt and is situated between chainage 113094m & 113684m. on Jatinga–Lumpur–Harangajao section. This D shaped tunnel is 5.20 mt. width in straight alignment & 5.53 mt. in curved alignment. The work of this tunnel was started in 2006 & due to several Geological Problems; work did not progress well initially. However during 2012–14, the work of remaining portion of the tunnel could progress well & now it has been opened. The balance work of tunnel i.e. benching, lining & invert will be completed by July 2014 & this tunnel will be available for track linking by August 2014.

This is one of the 17 tunnels in the entire alignment of Lumding–Silchar gauge conversion project having total of 11168 running meters out of which with tunnel no.12 tunneling work for 10486 mt. has been completed. The longest and most difficult tunnel in the section is tunnel no.10 at Haflong which is 3235 mt. in length work in which is progressing satisfactorily.

Other works like land acquisition, earth filling, construction of major and minor bridges, road over bridge, road under bridge, station buildings etc are going on satisfactorily. Track linking is also in progress. Present overall progress of work is 80%. This was stated in a press release.

70 Km Rail Line by Iran can help Central Asia open Trade and Commerce with India: IFFCO

Earlier FICCI also suggested Government to explore possibility of constructing Undersea Rail Link connecting Mundra or Kandla Port (India) with Chabahar (Iran) for permanent connectivity to Central Asian Region, with Chinese help, to strengthen trade ties.

Mumbai:  A few years ago, fertilizer major IFFCO dabbled with the idea of sourcing rock phosphate from Kazakhstan, which sits on 2 billion tonnes of the mineral. But the Indian cooperative giant had to drop the plan midway discouraged by the high cost of logistics. IFFCO is not alone; several Indian companies had to drop plans to trade with Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan. But not any longer, it seems.

A proposed 70-km railway line in an obscure patch of northern Iran could change all that.  Once ready, the railroad could help India save crores of rupees in logistics to Central Asia, the 55-million-people market. One of the most prosperous and fastest growing regions in the world, Central Asia is a key source for Uranium and Fertilizers.

The line links the Iranian city of Gorgan to the Iran-Turkmenistan border. Gorgan lies 400 km away from Iran’s capital, Tehran, and is some 30 km from the Caspian Sea.  The line will link another recently-built railroad that goes right upto Uzen town in southern Kazakhstan.

FICCI also suggested the Indian Government earlier to explore the possibility of building Undersea Rail link from India’s Mundra Port or Kandla Port to Chabahar Port in Iran and the possibility of taking Chinese Government help in construction of undersea rail link and asked India to initiate dialogue on the project.

In fact, the Central Asian republics are closer to India than many of its trading partners — a flight to the farthest point in the region will take no more than three hours — but the presence of the Himalayas and Pakistan’s refusal to allow Indian goods to pass through its territory make getting goods from Central Asia a logistics nightmare for India.

Doulat Kuanyshev, Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to India, stresses that the economic relations between the region and India have been rather low due to difficult logistics.

For instance, a company exporting uranium from Kazakhstan should take it by land to the Black Sea and ship it all the way through the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. The process could take 25 days. If the same comes through China’s Lianyuangang port, 40 days.

In contrast, the Iran route could take just about 15 days. And India is now accelerating efforts to build a port in Iran’s Chabahar. Gorgan is not too far from Chabahar. India’s trade with Central Asian markets stood at $746 million in 2012-13 against China’s $46 billion.

“Iran is an important and trust-worthy factor, but unspoken, in India-Central Asia relations,” says Arvind Gupta, Director-General, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Now that the Islamic republic has entered a nuclear pact with a host of western nations, experts hope the railroad project will also get a fillip. According to former Chief Economist of Fertilizer Association of India Mr.Uttam Gupta, the proposed railway line could help India diversify sources of fertilizers and control subsidy.

CR, WR face ambitious targets, yet again

मुम्बई Mumbai: Railway officials are expecting another year where resources of the suburban and long-distance networks in the city will be stretched to the maximum as they chase down another set of ‘ambitious’ targets. This is despite both Western and Central Railways’ Mumbai divisions missing their targets for the financial year that ended on March 31.

As reported earlier, these stiff targets are resulting in the railway resources — rakes, locomotives and tracks — being stretched thin, and in turn raising fears about the safety of the network itself.

CR’s Mumbai division has been given a target of Rs.928 crore for its suburban section, up from the Rs.789-crore target for 2013-14. Its non-suburban section has been given a Rs.2,042-crore target up from the Rs.1,666-crore target for last year.

WR’s Mumbai division has a suburban passenger earning target of Rs.854.36 crore, up from the Rs.715.91-crore target for last year. The target for the long-distance section has been kept at Rs.1,747.41 crore for 2014-15, up from the Rs.1,414.37-crore target for the financial year that ended on March 31.

These stiff targets come despite both the railway units missing their targets by a whisker and officials call this one of the most intensive train-movement programmes in recent years.

On CR, against a target of Rs.789.30 crore for passenger earnings on the suburban network, the authorities managed to earn Rs.755.99 crore for the year that ended on March 31. Against a target of Rs.1,666.61 crore for the long-distance segment, the earnings for the year ending March 2014 was Rs.1,662.20, a shortfall of just Rs.4.41 crore. In all, CR’s Mumbai division earned Rs4,188 crore against a target of Rs.4,283 crore.

The situation is much the same on WR. Against a target of Rs715.91 crore in passenger earnings for the suburban section, authorities managed to rake up Rs.693 crore, a shortfall of Rs.22.91 crore.

While the target for the long-distance segment was Rs.1,414.37 crore, the revenue earned by WR was Rs.1,426.05 crore, a surplus Rs.11.68 crore. WR’s Mumbai division’s total earnings missed the target of Rs.2,372 crore by a paltry margin and ended up at Rs.2,356 crore.

According to officials, the year has started on a bad note with both CR and WR facing the brunt of the election months which generally brings down traffic. “Moreover, the number of election special trains that we need to run for the movement of paramilitary troops also affects the holiday specials we run during summer,” said an official.

This year, CR ran 11 election special trains from Mumbai, because of which the number of summer holiday specials it ran came down from 641 between April and June last year to 606 this year so far. WR on its part ran 16 election specials though it managed to keep its summer holiday special numbers robust by running 132 such trips in April this year against 92 in April last year. Officials said figures for May were being tabulated and the numbers could see a dip.

“The downside of all this target-chasing is that resources are taking a beating. We are trying to stretch already thinning resources. Rakes, locomotives, tracks and maintenance schedules are getting hit. It is not a good sign,” said an official.

Targets for 2014-15:-
Suburban – Rs.928 crore
Non-suburban – Rs.2,042 crore

Suburban – Rs.854.36 crore
Non-suburban – Rs.1,747.41 crore

Experts Team defuse Explosives seized near Chittapur

चित्तापुर Chittapur (CT):  A seven-member team arrived on Monday to investigate the recovery of explosive material on the railway track on the Secunderabad-Wadi section near Mogala tanda and Malkhed Bridge.The team from the Bomb Disposal Squad was headed by two officers, Shivakumar and Shashikumar.

Lab Test

Police sources said that the two officers who arrived with the latest scientific gadgets and the equipment to defuse the explosive material took charge of the situation and inspected the seized material and conducted laboratory tests to ascertain their intensity of the explosive materials seized from the two spots.

They visited the two spots twice and questioned keyman Tuljaram, who foiled the attempt to blow up the track.

According to information available, the officers will take the help of Mr.Tuljaram to prepare sketches of the four men who were found near the track.

Keyman Tulajaram expects no reward for Bravery

चित्तापुर Chittapur (CT):  He was alone, but they were four. Yet railway keyman Tulajaram fought with the miscreants, risking his life to save passengers of the Falaknuma Passenger from Secunderabad to Solapur. The train passes via Sedam, Malakhed, Chittapur, Wadi, Shahabad, Gulbarga and Ganagapur in Gulbarga district.

The Railway Department and local police admit that if he was not alert and had not removed the live explosives on the track near Moghala thanda, three km from Chittapur town, there was every possibility of a blast.

South Central Railway Divisional Railway Manager Secunderabad S K Mishra, ADGP (Law and Order) M N Reddy spoke with Express at the site where explosives were kept near Moghala thanda. They acknowledged the bravery of Tulajaram and said they would recommend a reward for his act. The keyman’s job is to ensure the safety of tracks.

In an interview with Express, Tulajaram said his duty began at 8 am on Saturday and he had gone to Malakhed town, near Moghala thanda, when he came to know that explosives were found on the track at about 7 am.

Keyman Mohan, who was on duty till 8 am told him that as per instructions from the higher-ups, he had thrown the explosives away from the track.

When Tulajaram went to check the track from Chittapur station to Moghala thanda, he noticed two people sitting on either side of the track.

Tulajaram asked them in Telugu about what they were doing. Instead of replying, they wanted to know what time the Falaknuma passenger arrives.

“I got suspicious and checked their bag which had 10 gelatin sticks, detonators, a battery and wires. I realised they had planted explosives. It was 10 am and the train was about to arrive. I jumped into action and disconnected the explosives from the wire connected to the battery and threw it away. At this point all the four attacked me,” he said.

“I feared they would throw me on the track when the train approached. Thankfully, the train passed while I was being beaten. Some people in the train saw them and they fled in a black car as the Chittapur railway station is very close,” he added.

When asked if he is expecting any reward for his timely action, Tulajaram   said he was only doing his duty.

Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode Monorail works to begin by November

तिरुवनंतपुरम Thiruvananthapuram (TVC): The preliminary works of the monorail project for Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode cities are expected to commence by November 1, Minister for Public Works V.K.Ebrahim Kunju has announced.

The international bidding to select a turnkey contractor for the project would close by May 31 and the other formalities would be completed by October, he told reporters here on Monday. The project will be taken up as a priority scheme under the Pubic Works Department’s Mission 676 and the first reach of the monorail network in the two cities would be completed by March 31, 2016.

Pointing out that the land acquisition for the monorail project had reached nowhere, the mission document has called on the government to sanction negotiated purchase by the Kerala Monorail Corporation Ltd on the lines of the permission given to Kochi Metro.

It warns that the project could falter if the State government failed to provide its share of funds in time. The Union government was yet to clear the project and commit financial assistance. The Kerala government also has to submit a comprehensive mobility plan for the two cities to the Ministry of Urban Development.

Designed to relieve the traffic congestion in the two cities, the Rs.6,000-crore project would be taken up under the Navaratna scheme included in Mission 676, Mr.Kunju said. Extending from Pallipuram to Karamana, phase 1 of the Thiruvananthapuram monorail is expected to cost Rs.3590 crore and will have 19 stations across a distance of 22.2 km. Covering14.2 km from Medical College to Meenchanda, the Kozhikode monorail will have 15 stations and is estimated to cost Rs.1,991 crore.

The government is planning to take up the development of the Medical College- Mananchira reach in Kozhikode and Pallipuram- Kazhakoottam reach in Thiruvananthapuram in the first phase of the monorail project.

The State and Union governments each will foot 20 per cent of the project cost, with the remaining amount to be mobilised through banks.

Citizen Forum points out coordination-gap between Metro and Railways at Ghatkopar

घाटकोपार Ghatkopar (GC): Though the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro will improve east-west connectivity, there is a slight catch The Ghatkopar railway station and the Ghatkopar Metro station are not connected to each other despite being side by side.

This means railway commuters wanting to switch over to the Metro will have to get down from the skywalk and climb another flight of 25 steps to the Metro station.

Further, people living in Ghatkopar east will have to buy a railway platform ticket to use the railway foot overbridge leading to the west, where the Metro station is situated.

These lapses were pointed out by the Citizens Transport Forum (CTF) to MMRDA commissioner U P S Madan two months ago. They have yet to get a reply. On Sunday, the CTF invited journalists to see it for themselves.

Said Jitendra Gupta of the CTF, “They could have easily connected the metro station to the skywalk. People using the skywalk could have easy access to the metro station and it would have also reduced the crowd below on the streets.’’ He wondered what kind of planning had been done.

The road outside the Metro station has a bus stand, rickshaw stand and an informal pavement market. The CTF wondered how the Metro passengers would enter/exit the station from this congested road.

P N Shridharan, another member of the CTF, said, “Ideally, the Metro and the railway station should display each other’s indicators for the benefit of the commuters. If in the High Court we can get to know which cases are being heard in other courts, why cannot the same be done at a station?”

The CTF said that there was no coordination between the various transport bodies. For instance, the BEST has yet to change its bus stops or to start feeder routes. The MMRDA, which is supposed to be a planning body had failed to achieve coordination between the various transport bodies, they said.

Amit Biswas, PRO of the Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd, which built the Metro, said, “Connectivity between Metro and the Railways are conceived and planned by the MMRDA as part of their planning obligation. Metro as concessioner follows the plan of MMRDA as per the concessioner Agreement.”

No clarity on procedure in Govt’s Order for purchase of land directly: Kochi Metro

कोची Kochi: Amid criticism that Kochi Metro rail project was delayed due to land acquisition hurdles, the state government had allowed Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) to purchase land directly from the owners. But the government order issued last week lacks clarity on the procedures to be adopted while purchasing land. Also there is confusion whether the registration fee and stamp duty will be waived off. Due to this, the revenue officials are unable to start procedures to acquire the remaining land required for the Metro project.

On April 29, the state government had given a special permit to KMRL to purchase around nine hectares of land directly from landowners. But officials with the revenue department are still unsure whether a meeting of the district level purchase committee (DLPC) and state-level empowered committee (SLEC) should be convened for fixing price of the land. Avoiding them will save time.

“There is a meeting with KMRL managing director and revenue secretary on May 17 wherein we will discuss the guidelines to be followed while purchasing land directly from the owners. Then there will clarity on the procedures to be followed,” said district collector M G Rajamanickam.

Normally for purchasing land, 7% of the land value should be paid as stamp duty in rural areas whereas it is 8% and 9% in municipal and corporation areas respectively. Moreover, 2% of the land value should be paid as registration fee. There were suggestions that stamp duty and registration fees should be waived for the land purchased for metro rail project.

“KMRL managing director Elias George has written to the state government seeking tax waiver for the land purchased for the project. We expect that the government will soon take a decision,” Rajamanickam said. It is up to the registration department to give waiver on registration fee and stamp duty.

Earlier, land acquisition for coach repair yard of the metro rail was hit after landowners raised a protest sine there was a delay in providing their compensation. Of the 40 hectares required for the viaduct and stations of the Metro, around 31 hectares have already been acquired. Then the new Land Acquisition Act introduced by the Union government in January this year had obstructed the acquisition process. For avoiding the complications resulted by the new act, the state government had allowed KMRL to purchase land directly from landowners.

Train service to Arunachal suspended following Security Advisory from State Govt: DRM

रंगिया Rangiya (RNY):  Train service to Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh was suspended four days ago following a security advisory from the state government following threats to harm and stop trains going to the state, a letter written by the NF Railway’s Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Rangiya to authorities, revealed. The state also informed the Railways that it was short of police force in view of the elections.  The threats were issued last month. The DRM mentioned this to Negi on April 28 and again on May 8.

“There has been threat given by All Nishyi Students’ Union and All Papum Pare District Students’ Union to harm and stop trains going to Naharlagun,” the DRM said in the letter to Chief Secretary Ramesh Negi.  The threats were issued last month. The DRM mentioned this to Negi on April 28 and again on May 8.  The train service to Naharlagun was finally suspended from May 9 after the DRM received a phone call from the SP of Papum Pare and another from the deputy commissioner on May 8.

Ludhinana Railway Health Unit fails to ink agreement with Private Hospital

लुधियाना Ludhiana (LDH):  The proposed tie up of the Railway health unit Ludhiana with a private hospital didn’t materialise, leaving the long-pending demand of the pensioners hanging again.

Dr Chetna, Medical Superintendent of Railway Health Unit, Ludhiana, said, “Ludhiana Railway health unit was trying to get a tie up with Oswal Hospital, but at the last moment terms and conditions were changed by the Oswal Hospital, which hanged the things further.”

“Now, the new proposals of the tie up with other hospitals have been sent to the headquarters, and this process can take six more months. Pensioners’ organisations of Ludhiana Railways have highlighted the issue with higher authorities, but to no avail,” Chetna said.

MS Gill, president of All India Retired Railway Men’s Federation, Ludhiana, said, “We have given our blood and flesh to the railways during our years of service. Now, when we are demanding our right to medical facilities, Railway has nothing to provide us, not even an ambulance or tie up with better hospital in case of emergencies.”

He said even list of chronic diseases had been shortened, and several diseases that an oldage person could suffer from have not been included in the list. The demand of specialist doctors had been pending since long, he added.

The hospital was also not doing various tests for which, patients had to go to other hospitals. The association demanded that quarterly test of blood, urine, lipid profile and ultrasound tests be done at the hospital.

But chief medical superintendent (CMS) Fero z e pur Division, Dr Mool Narayan, said, “How can we provide ultrasound facilities, when we have no radiologist? Moreover, there is no provision of specialist doctors under the Railway Act in health units, then how the pensioners can blame us for this?”

He said tie up with a private hospital and providing ambulance service was under process, but that was also delaying because most of the organisations were afraid of the Railway Employees’ Union, as in the past they had created nuisance.

He said recently Ferozepur Railway division had floated a tender notice to provide ambulance service at six stations, including Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Jammu, Udhampur and Pathankot, but no one turned up. Now, this tender would be floated again with some changes, he added.

Dr Mool Narayan said the department was doing its best to provide better medical facilities to pensioners and employees, but nothing beyond the railway act could be provided.


All India Retired Railway Men’s Federation has filed an RTI’s to chief medical director of the Northern Railway and Divisional Railway Manager on September 12, 2013 and to the Ministry of Railways, General Manager of Northern Railway on September 13, 2013. It’s copies were sent also to MP Manish Tewari and to director general medical of Northern Railways, but didn’t get a single reply.

MS Gill, president of All India Retired Railway Men’s Federation, sent an RTI to the ministry of railways on May 8 again. He said perhaps the ministry was not providing the necessary medical facilities, thus they were not replying to the RTI.

Delhi Metro’s Phase-III ‘too close’ to Okhla Bird Sanctuary

Okhla Bird sancओखला Okhla (OKA): The Okhla Bird Sanctuary, already threatened by real estate development all around it, is facing another threat, this time from Delhi Metro. An elevated Metro track, as part of Phase III, is likely to pass very close to it, and green crusaders are seeing red.

An RTI enquiry revealed that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) doesn’t have the National Board of Wildlife’s (NBWL) permission for construction. And the RTI activist says that Metro construction has been going on rapidly despite that: a claim contested by DMRC, which says that the bird sanctuary will not be affected by construction.

“The Metro bridge is about 400 metres away from the nearest point of sanctuary. The sanctuary is located 1.5 km away from main casting activity, where we are using silent generator sets. The Metro projects in any case are not in the notified list of projects requiring prior environmental clearance as per a government notification of 2006,” said a DMRC spokesperson.

Vikrant Tongad, who had filed the RTI query, however claims that a large part of the Metro line (from Botanical Garden to Kalindi Kunj) is barely a few metres away from the sanctuary.

Anand Arya, a birder who has been frequenting the sanctuary for over 15 years, says now it’s mandatory for any project coming up within a 10km radius of the sanctuary to have clearance. “This is obviously going to affect the sanctuary very badly. The Metro always says that they are not required to get environmental clearances, but now things have changed. NGT had recently directed that any project coming up within a 10km radius of Okhla sanctuary needs a clearance. Also, Supreme Court had directed all sanctuaries to notify eco-sensitive zones of about 10km around them. But many sanctuaries, including Okhla, didn’t do anything about it. MoEF had said those who fail to notify eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) will be forced to have a 10km ESZ around them. DMRC’s project clearly falls within this radius,” said Arya.

He claims that there used to be lakhs of birds in the sanctuary in 1987-88, but the diversity and population started dwindling because of a continuous onslaught of infrastructure projects around it. “There are birds that travel huge distances for food. An eagle, for instance, can travel up to 150 miles and come back to its perch in a day. With such disturbances, obviously, birds can’t survive,” he added.

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