Railways invites Financial Bids for Dankuni, Madhepura Loco Units

Procurement process for high-powered locos gets traction

New Delhi: Aiming at the procurement and production of 1,000 high-powered electric locomotives for its Dedicated Freight Corridor operations, the railways has kickstarted the process to award contracts for the same with the projects to involve its existing Dankuni unit and the proposed Madhepura factory. Railways has invited Financial Bids for rolling out locomotives from the Electric Locomotive Factories at Dankuni, West Bengal and Madhepura in Bihar.

The bidding due date for the Dankuni plant, from which 9,000 horse power locos would be produced, is June 30. The bidding due date for the Madhepura plant, from which 12,000 horse power locos will be produced, is August 31. This was told to media by Navin Tandon, Member-Electrical, Railway Board, in a press conference.

Electric Locomotive Factory at Dankuni will work as an ancillary unit of CLW. Initially state of art 3-phase high HP locomotive with regenerative breaking of 6000 HP (WAG-9) electric locomotive will be turned out. Subsequently, the infrastructural facilities shall be utilized for the production of 9000 HP locomotives in future.

There will be 200 electric locomotives of 9,000 horsepower (HP) each that are to be produced at its Dankuni unit in West Bengal, Railway Member (Electrical) Navin Tandon said here today, adding that these engines are required for the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor.

Since the Western DFC is funded by Japan, a Japanese firm will be selected through the bidding process on June 30 for the Dankuni project, he said.  The tender stipulates that 40 locomotives will be imported from Japan, while the rest are to be manufactured in India.

The 1,483-km long Western DFC will extend from Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai to Tughlakabad and Dadri near Delhi while the 1,839-km long Eastern DFC will connect Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni near Kolkata. The eastern corridor is expected to handle double-stack container movement.

“We have also floated global tenders for setting up a modern locomotive factory at Madhepura for manufacturing 800 locos of 12,000 HP each. These will be required in the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor,” he said.

Bidding process for the Madhepura project, which is to be a joint venture, is expected to be over by the year-end and 100 locos will be manufactured in the first year of the operation of the factory.

Meanwhile, Tandon also said that steps are being taken to procure 15 EMU-type train sets for inter-city connectivity.

A train set comprises coaches or railway cars where each coach is powered by a dedicated propulsion system. That means there is no locomotive required to haul the train.

While 40 coaches will be imported, 275 coaches will be manufactured here, he said.

With the government allowing 100 per cent FDI in rail sector, setting up of locomotive factory is crucial for Railways to give a boost to infrastructure sector. The big ticket joint venture project is poised to take off after considerable delays, re-thinking and prolonged due diligence amid repeated revision of bidding documents.

The Madhepura plant will manufacture 800 electric locomotives of 12,000 horse power over 11 years. While five locomotives will be imported, 795 will be manufactured at Madhepura. Railways will have 26 per equity while the global player will have 74 per cent equity in the project.

Guntakal-Raichur doubling to be done soon: ADRM/GTL

Raichur (RC): P.V.V. Satyanarayana, Additional Divisional Manager, Guntakal Division, South Central Railway, said that the track-doubling work on a 120-km stretch between Guntakal in Andhra Pradesh and Raichur would be completed shortly.

Speaking to presspersons at Raichur railway station on Tuesday, he said, “The track-doubling work has been taken up at an estimated Rs.350 crore and it is in its final stage. Only a 11-km stretch between Matamari and Mantralayam is unfinished and even then, almost 60 per cent of the work has been completed on this stretch. The remaining work, including that on the railway bridge across the Tungabhadra, would be completed before the end of this year,” he said.

The electrification of the tracks between Wadi and Guntakal would also be completed by the end of this year, he added.

South Central Railway earned Rs. 1,420 crore revenues from passenger trains in the last fiscal year. Mr. Satyanarayana said that an Automatic Ticket Vending Machine would be installed at Raichur railway station within two weeks. “Initially, a railway employee would be posted near the machine to assist the passengers for using the machine,” he said.

Thanjavur District Rail Users’ Association demands Thanjavur-Mayiladuthurai track doubling

Kumbakonam (KMU): The Thanjavur District Rail Users’ Association has urged the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to sanction a new project for track doubling of the Thanjavur and Mayiladuthurai section. The section is a high density network necessitating track doubling with electrification on a priority basis, it stated in a memorandum submitted to the minister recently.

Three important ‘A category’ stations – Thanjavur, Kumbakonam and Mayiladuthurai – dot the section and together they brought in more than Rs. 34.86 crore during 2013-14. During the previous two fiscals, they had earned Rs. 31.82 crore and Rs. 29.90 crore indicating a steady rise in revenue from the section. Intermediate express train halting stations such as Papanasam and Aduthurai bring in at least Rs. one crore each annually.

Pointing to the intense rail traffic in the Thanjavur-Mayiladuthurai section, member, Divisional Rail Users’ Consultative Committee and vice-president of the association A. Giri, says 14 daily express, two Jan Shatabdi, 10 daily passenger services, six weekly express trains, four bi-weekly super fast express trains and two tri-weekly express trains pass through the section. The 70-km single line section witnesses 33 passenger train crossings daily apart from goods train traffic resulting in inordinate delay.

CR, WR observes International Level Crossing Awareness Day: sends over 50 Lakh SMSs to ‘sensitise’ commuters

Mumbai: Central Railways (CR) and Western Railways (WR) on Tuesday initiated an awareness drive to sensitise people on careful crossing of unmanned levels and have sent over 50 lakh mobile messages to the passengers in the accident-prone zones to mark the International Level Crossing Awareness Day Wednesday.

According to senior officials, Railways have started the awareness drive from June 1-5 to observe “Rail Passenger and Customer Facilitation Fortnight” in which a total of 1.10 crore messages were sent by WR and CR.

The Central Railways will send 60 lakh while Western Railways will be sending 50 lakh messages to passengers to raise awareness regarding carefully crossing unmanned level crossings to mark International Level Crossing Awareness Day on June 3.

“We did a study of unmanned level crossings falling in different districts of our zones which are accident prone and after profiling them, administration has started to sensitise people,” Chief Public Relation Officer, WR, Sharat Chandrayan said. He added that the administration has approached the state government and requested to include the issue of accidents occurring due at unmanned crossings in text books.

Under Western Railways – Bhavnagar, Rajkot, Ratlam, Nandurbar – and under CR – Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur – are districts which have most number of unmanned level crossings that are accident prone. Chief PRO of Central Railways Narendra Patil said CR has always used technology to educate commuters and they have in the recent past launched drive against rooftop travelling, cleanliness etc.

Patil said that the job of sending SMSes has been assigned to the agency empanelled by DAVP, who have database of mobile numbers in affected areas. There were 30,348 railway level crossings in the country by end 2014, of which 18,785 are manned and 11,563 unmanned.

Whereas, in Central Railways, there are 932 manned and 62 UMLC. According to railway data, in 2011-12, accidents at level crossings claimed 208 lives, while in 2012-13 it was 124 and 95 in 2013-14.

Kerala CS Jiji Thomson points out flaws in Thiruvananthapuram Light Metro DPR

Thiruvananthapuram (TVC): Weeks after state government overriding finance department’s objection over awarding light metro project on nomination basis to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC), chief secretary Jiji Thomson has made it clear that he had raised objections against the discrepancies in the detailed project report (DPR) submitted by DMRC.

The opposition of finance department and chief secretary are crucial as the government has recently taken an in-principle decision to award the project to DMRC.

Succumbing to DMRC’s pressure tactics, the state government had announced that it would not implement the project in Hybrid-PPP mode as proposed by finance department, instead go for JICA loan. The CM had also said that the project will be implemented by DMRC itself. Though DMRC’s immediate demand was to approve the DPR, the state government is yet to take decision on it.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meet the press at Press Club, Jiji Thomson admitted that he had pointed out flaws in DPR. Ironically, Thomson is facing corruption charges in Palmolein case even after making specific remarks against the deal. On the light metro project, most officials, including chief secretary and finance secretary, have submitted reports against awarding project on nomination basis to DMRC.

Not just officials here, Union government has also issued specific warning against use of JICA loans for metro projects. “Availing JICA loans under STEP conditionality will not be in the interest of metro rail projects as the competition will be restricted and it will also affect indigenous manufacturing as step conditionality require import of goods from Japan to the extent of 30% of the project cost,” a circular issued by department of economic affairs (DEA) to central and state government departments said.

The circular also made it clear that the interest may not be as low as claimed by DMRC. “Due to exchange rate fluctuations, it has been found that rupee has depreciated against Yen on an average rate of 9.5% in the last 40 years, at the rate of 5.7% in the last 10 years and at the rate of 11.2% in the last five years. In the event that the exchange rate fluctuations are passed on to SPVs executing the metro rail projects, the project may not be viable with JICA loans as the SPVs have no earning and also have no control over exchange rate fluctuations,” the DEA has warned.

Earlier, Union minister for urban development Venkaiah Naidu had also asked chief minister to utilize PPP mode for metro projects. Meanwhile, the cabinet is unlikely to consider light metro project on Wenesday.

Modern Metro Rail comes to historic Jaipur as Rajasthan CM inaugurates Jaipur Metro

PrintJaipur: Rajasthan’s historic capital where once rajas and maharajas trundled and trotted on caparisoned horses and elephants will now travel on the modern icon of urban mobility – the sleek and fast-moving metro train.

Rajastan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Wednesday inaugurated metro rail services in Jaipur. The pink city has now joined the league of India cities which includes Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, having metro connectivity.

Completed nearly four-and-a-half-years, the Jaipur metro is touted as one of the fastest-built metros in the country. The 9.63-km elevated section of the Jaipur metro with nine stations and built on standard gauge connects the city’s residential area Mansarovar to business hub in Chandpole.

The line is expected to ferry approximately 1.2 lakh passengers daily. A total of 10 four-coach trains will be making 131 trips each day between the two terminal stations at a frequency of 10 minutes in peak hours and 15 minutes in off-peak hours.

Normal operations will begin from 6.45 am and will continue till 9 pm. Fare for the 9.6km metro stretch will be in three slabs of Rs 5, Rs 10 and Rs 15.

Raje along with ministers, officers and supporters travelled in the train from Mansarovar to Chandpole and alighted at Civil Lines station while returning.

After the opening ceremony, the Jaipur Metro commenced its regular commercial operations from all its 9 stations – Mansarovar, New Aatish Market, Vivek Vihar, Shyam Nagar, Ram Nagar, Civil Lines, Railway Station, Sindhi Camp and Chandpole.

“After this, we will try to connect the next part of the project with it,” Raje told reporters at the Civil Lines station.

She visited Mansarovar station where Jaipur Metro CMD N C Goel briefed her about the functioning and operations.

People in buildings along the metro line were seen greeting and waving hands as the train undertook its first official journey.

Large number of locals were seen queuing up at the ticket counters to enjoy their first ride in the Jaipur metro.

As per the time table issued by the JMRC for first three months, trains will operate from Mansarovar to Chandpole and from Chandpole to Mansarovar at a frequency of 10 to 15 minutes from 6.45 AM to 9 PM every day.

The fare structure varies for peak and off-peak hours.

They have been fixed in multiples of Rs 5 and a flat discount of Rs 5 has been offered for off-peak hours.

For the first six months, off-peak fares will be charged throughout the day. Automatic fare collection system has been installed to collect and manage the fare revenue.

To encourage people to travel in the metro, upto 15 per cent discount has been offered on smart cards, which can be recharged using Jaipur Metro website or ticket vending machines installed at all stations.

Two types of tourist cards, one-day tour card and three- day tour card, have been introduced, which can be used for unlimited number of trips during the day(s) of their validity, the JMRC said.

For effective execution of the project in its initial stages, the total work of Phase-1 was divided into two parts — Phase-1A and Phase-1B.

The phase 1A is from Mansarovar to Chandpole, opened on Wednesday, while work on phase 1B from Chandpole to Badi Chaupad is underway.

The project, which was initiated by the previous government and fully funded by the state government and its agencies, has commissioned in about 4 years and a quarter with estimated cost of Rs 2,023 crore (Rs 20.23 billion) and is one of the fastest project implementations in the metro sector, the JMRC said.

A double-decked elevated corridor, common for the metro and BRTS, is one of features of the civil structure of the Jaipur Metro.

All the metro stations are supported by a single row of piers to make the overall structure lighter and more open.

Of the nine stations, Chandpole is an underground station.

Thirty per cent of Jaipur Metro’s operation and maintenance staff, including train operators and station controllers, are women, the JMRC added.

Rajasthan police has been given the responsibility of the metro and 789 police personnel have been sanctioned for security.

Latest security equipment have also been provided at all the metro stations.

Feeder services will be available to provide last mile connectivity to the passengers at all the nine stations.

Urban Development and Housing minister Rajpal Singh, Food minister Hem Singh, Industry minister Gajendra Singh, BJP state president Ashok Parnami, MLAs Ghanshyam Tiwari and Mohan Lal Gupta and other leaders were present at the inaugural ceremony.

GE Capital part exits Titagarh Wagons with modest returns

Kolkata (KOAA): GE Capital has part-exited its almost eight-year-old investment in Kolkata-based railway wagons manufacturer Titagarh Wagons Ltd, generating modest returns in local currency and taking a haircut in dollar terms.

This is the second liquidity move by GE Capital within the last seven months. However, as against the previous activity where it doubled its money by selling stake in Biocon’s research arm Syngene in just two years, it has had a less than spectacular experience with Titagarh.

GE India in 2007 picked up 15% equity in Titagarh Wagons Ltd, marking the entry of group firm GE Equipment Services into the country. Under a strategic tie-up with Titagarh Wagons, GE Equipment Services had preferred access to wagons manufactured by the West Bengal-based company in which agreement, GE will lease the wagons to the Indian Railways and private shippers in India. GE Equipment Services will also become the preferred provider of vendor financing for Titagarh as per the understanding.

With GE’s investment, Titagarh step up the pace of manufacturing wagons. Titagarh, which manufactured 2,232 wagons during 2006-07, raised its annual manufacturing capacity to 3,600-4,000 wagons after the tie-up.

Railway wagon manufacturing capacity in India is limited with the waiting time being around 18 months. Titagarh Wagon Ltd, incorporated in 1997-98, is one of the leading private sector railway wagon manufacturers in India.

It also manufactures Bailey Bridges, heavy earth moving and mining equipment, and steel and SG iron castings of moderate to complex configuration.

During the period, Titagarh and GE also explored a variety of ways to improve rail transport, including incorporating GE’s forthcoming VeriWise RAIL asset management technology in the manufacture of future wagons. VeriWise RAIL enabled railways and shippers to locate specific cars and monitor their condition and the condition of their freight, thereby helping to enhance the visibility, security and productivity of the rail system.

GE is the owner and lessor of more than 200,000 rail wagons and intermodal assets in North America and Europe. “Our domain expertise in rail and other forms of transport allows us to bring a wide range of best practices from our various global platforms to India, including new financing structures, new wagon designs, new forms of fleet management, and other new services. Providing wagon solutions with Titagarh will be our first step toward improving the supply chain infrastructure in India,” said the official during the tie up.

GE Equipment Services, a part of GE India, valued the Kolkata-based Titagarh Wagons Ltd at Rs.524 a share when it bought a 15% equity stake in privately-held Titagarh in mid- July.

GE Equipment Services, a part of GE India, valued the Kolkata-based Titagarh Wagons Ltd at Rs 524 a share when it bought a 15% equity stake in privately-held Titagarh in mid- July. The deal valued the wagon-making company at Rs 966 crore.

When GE India had announced the deal, the price had not been disclosed. Since then, Titagarh Wagons has filed its plans for an initial public offering (IPO). At Rs 524 for each convertible preference share plus a 5.88% stake in the pre-issue equity at Rs 509 a share, GE has invested Rs 132 crore into the company. It is GE Capital International (Mauritius) — also from the GE stable – that has taken an equity exposure in the JP Chowdhary Group company. Titagarh has entered into a separate technical collaboration with GE Equipment Services. GE Capital International (Mauritius) had subscribed to 1,679,390 preference shares paying Rs 524 a share, Titagarh has now disclosed, following a shareholder agreement inked on July 6, 2007. This entailed an investment of Rs 88 crore by the GE arm in Titagarh. Just after this deal, the promoter group sold 864,440 equity shares in the company at a valuation of Rs 509 a share on August 13. While the preference shares already being converted into equity shares after Titagarh received a request for such, the company has now proposed to allot another 20,20,000 shares to GE.

Railways to launch New Projects worth Rs.10000 Crore during fortnight program

New Delhi: New projects worth over Rs.10,000 crore will be launched and several old projects will be completed by Railways during its ongoing fortnight programme, Union minister Suresh Prabhu said today.

The minister was speaking at the New Delhi Railway Station premises here after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Railways’ public sector undertaking CONCOR ( Container Corporation of India) for upgrading of passengers amenities at the city station.

“During this 15-day period, new projects worth over Rs 10,000 cr will be started or old projects will be completed. Large- scale cleanliness campaign is also underway…And, our union men as brand ambassadors are also undertaking part in it,” Prabhu told reporters.

Railways is celebrating Modi government’s completion of one year in office with a fortnight-long programmes from May 26 to June 9.

“Programmes are being undertaken in at least 15,000 places across the country. Lakhs of people are being given free medical aid from the Railways. We are taking independent feedback from people on services offered by railways, such as food or hygiene, among others,” the Union railway minister said.

On the Gatimaan Express, the first semi high-speed train service between Delhi and Agra which would touch speeds of up to 160kmph, the minister declined to give any date for its launch.

“The CRS (Commissioner of Railway Safety) has to give the final clearance and as soon as we receive it, we will inform…But, I cannot give any date right now,” he said in reply to a question.

As per the MoU, Concor will undertake upgrading of passenger facility at the New Delhi railway station as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), a railway official said.

The minister earlier undertook an inspection of a special railway train, which had a solar-powered carriage attached to it.

The Railway Minister later also visited an exhibition on steam engine era of the national transporter at the New Delhi station. The exhibition will last till June 9.

Western Railway fears Bandra East railway line tussle could soon get Communal

squatters in rly landMumbai: The fifth line link between Bandra and Santa Cruz, currently being blocked by residents of shanty towns along the Navpada cemetery as it cuts off the burial site from the townships, is turning into a bigger nightmare for the Western Railway. A group called the Navpada Kabrastan Rasta Bachao Andolan has already started sending out messages about carrying out a signature campaign against the line and officials believe in no time the matter could snowball into a communal one.

“The fear is real because the residents of the area are politically active and have enjoyed the patronage of political parties for a long time. If these political parties also jump into the fray for the sake of votes, then there is a real danger of Mumbai losing out on a rail line that will help commuters immensely,” said a top-ranking WR official. In fact during a press interaction on Monday in Andheri, Mumbai North MP Gopal Shetty had hinted as much and called the issue a ‘social problem’.

The benefits of the new link are considerable. The stretch is the missing link of the fifth line – also called the Suburban Track Avoidance line – that runs between Mumbai Central and Borivali and is used in both directions by long-distance trains. This missing link will ensure that long-distance trains don’t come onto the fast tracks between Bandra and Santa Cruz in the process hitting the punctuality schedules of suburban trains during peak hours.

According to WR officials, the link will also allow WR to run three extra trains each during the morning and even peak hours.

“These extra trains will run at better speeds than current ones. That is because all long distance trains will be running along this new line,” said the official. Over the next few days, according to WR officials, the railways is planning to give the residents three options. The first is a new level crossing for the cemetery some distance away from the unauthorised path that the residents want to protect, the second is a subway and the third is a footpath. In fact these three options were discussed in a meeting between residents of the area and WR Divisional Railway Manager Shailendra Kumar but nothing concrete could be agreed upon, said officials.

Officials cutting across departments told that it is now the state government and the railway ministry that will have to act quickly on the matter. “If we blink this time, then Mumbai will forever be captive to such demands and almost no rail line or even metros for that matter will be able to come up. We owe it to the people of Mumbai that we do not give in to any such demand that affects public infrastructure like rail lines and roads,” said a senior WR official.

Jaipur Metro to start operations today

Jaipur Metro, touted as one of the fastest-built metro systems, to be thrown open to public today. CM Vasundhara Raje will flag off the metro service at 11am and the service will be thrown open to the public from 2pm onwards

Jaipur (JP): From Wednesday, Jaipur will find itself in the map of the cities with Metro services. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje will flag off the metro service at 11am and the service will be thrown open to the public from 2pm onwards.

The 9.63-km elevated section of the metro with nine stations and built on standard guage connects the city’s residential area Mansarovar to business hub in Chandpole. Despite missing the deadlines repeatedly, it is touted as one of the fastest-built metros in the country in a record time of nearly four-and-a-half-years.

According to projected estimates, the line will ferry approximately 1.2 lakh passengers daily. But to begin with, the Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation is hoping to get at least 30,000 passengers per day. A total of 10 four-coach trains will be making 131 trips each day between the two terminal stations at a frequency of 10 minutes in peak hours and 15 minutes in off-peak hours.

The operations will begin from 6.45am and will continue till 9 pm with fewer train trips (115) on Sundays. Fare for the 9-km stretch will be in three slabs of Rs.5, Rs.10 and Rs.15. Work on the 2.3-km underground stretch is currently in full swing. Once completed, the metro will reach Badi Chaupar, right outside the popular Hawa Mahal in the walled city.

Right from the beginning of her second term in office, Chief Minister Raje had disapproved of the implementation of the metro project, a brainchild of former chief minister Ashok Gehlot. The 12-km east-west Metro corridor was one of Gehlot’s big ticket projects that he had expected to flag off by the end of his tenure.

25 per cent operators are women – ready to steer the pink city’s urban commute dream

Kusum Kanwar’s father never allowed her to ride a bike as a kid. “When I was in school, I used to ask my father if I could ride his scooter and he always refused. Then, when I grew up I asked my brother to teach me how to ride a bike, but he also said no,” says Kusum. Years later, Kusum finds herself behind the wheel, so to speak, of Rajasthan’s most sophisticated mode of urban transport — the Jaipur Metro.

She is one of the six women operators (from a total 24) in the Jaipur Metro — the sixth metro project of the country.

With the public launch of Jaipur Metro on Wednesday, these women are ready to steer the pink city’s urban commute dream.

“I have always heard people say women can’t drive. By operating the metro, I wanted to shatter that image. That was the moving force behind me applying for the job,” says Monika Mittal, who operated the Metro’s pre-run for the media on Tuesday. For Meena Soni, the youngest of the six, the job of a Metro operator offers an exciting adventure. The first part of the Metro’s Phase-1 will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Wednesday. The Jaipur Metro project, which began under the previous Congress regime in 2010, is funded entirely by the Rajasthan government.

“Women make up 30 per cent of our staff. Women are doing everything here, from controlling stations to running trains. Jaipur Metro represents a bold step in terms of women’s empowerment,” Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation CMD N C Goel told. However, unlike its Delhi counterpart, Jaipur Metro does not have any “pink” coaches. “Since we only had four coaches, we could not demarcate women-only coaches. But we do have reserved seating for women,” says C S Jeengar, Director (Operations and Systems Management).

Bhubaneswar Police take ARSS Chief in custody to identify henchmen

Bhubaneswar (BBS): A trial court here on Tuesday granted permission to police to take ARSS chief Subash Agarwal on two-day remand for questioning in connection with Saturday’s firing on a senior railway employee.

On Sunday, police arrested Agarwal for allegedly masterminding the attack on Ajay Kumar, joint general manager of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a subsidiary of Indian Railway.

“We will try to elicit information from Agarwal about three goons, whom he hired to attack Kumar. We strongly suspect Agarwal paid hefty money to the anti-socials to attack the railway officer,” DCP Satyabrata Bhoi said.

Kumar had a close shave after the bike-borne outlaws opened fire on his vehicle near Shree Vihar. Police said Agarwal targetted Kumar as the latter penalized ARSS several times for poor execution of a railway project. ARSS had bagged the project, involving construction of broad gauge lines between Angul and Sukinda. Kumar, who looks after quality aspect of the railway projects, slapped around Rs 21 lakh fine on ARSS in the past on year. In February, Agarwal visited Kumar at his office and allegedly threatened him of dire consequences.

Agarwal, who runs the Rs 1000 crore turnover ARSS, denied his involvement in the attack. “The charges against me are baseless. Police falsely implicated me in the case,” Agarwal had told media persons on Sunday.

Jaya launches rail overbridge at Coimbatore through Video Conference

Coimbatore (CBE): The Nanjundapuram rail over bridge (ROB) was launched by CM J Jayalalithaa through video conferencing on Tuesday. Buses were operated through the route connecting the city with Podanur after six years, though the bridge was unofficially opened to private vehicles five months ago. However, the laying of service roads are yet to be completed. A group of residents planned to boycott the 2016 assembly elections.

The state highways department started construction on the ROB on February 2, 2010 and it was scheduled to be completed in 18 months. But the entire work was completed only by January 2015.

According to the highways department officials, the length of the bridge is 690 meters. The railway department was responsible for constructing 38 meters of the bridge on the railway crossing. The width of the bridge is 7.5 meters. The total expenditure (including railway’s expenses) has touched 18.6 crore. During the construction work, the state highways department had laid a 3km diversion road to travel from Ramanathapuram to Nanjundapuram.

The bridge was opened for public use unofficially in January. But buses were not allowed to use the ROB.

Following the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, district collector Archana Patnaik and AIADMK MLA R Chinnasamy distributed sweets to the public.

The state highways department claims not to have adequate funds to lay the service roads. Thus, the corporation has announced that it would spend 1.5 crore to develop the service road. However, no work has been done so far.

“More than 200 families residing at Trident Serenity apartments use the service road now to reach the Ramanathapuram – Nanjundapuram road. Corporation officials had approached us and requested us to pay our dues, while promising to provide all the facilities. Since we have not been given basic facilities for the past five years, we have not paid our taxes to the corporation,” said Rajesh Seshadri, president of the apartment association.

But the corporation did not hold good on its assurance. “We have lost faith in the corporation and thus have decided to boycott the 2016 elections,” he added. During the rainy season, using the service road becomes difficult. So, the corporation should come forward to lay the service roads, said G Charanjith Singh, a resident of Nanjundapuram.

K Kavitha from Devendra Street in Nanjundapuram, was working as a house maid. “I used to walk to my home from Ramanathapuram during the bridge construction work. After five years, the officials allowed the buses to use the bridge. It would help school children, women and elderly people to reach their residents,” said Kavitha.

A senior corporation official claimed that the corporation has not yet allotted funds for laying the service roads.

Chennai Metro Rail calls for advertisements on trains

Chennai (MAS): Amid indications that Chennai Metro Rail may roll out ‘soon’ between Koyambedu to Alandur, officials have begun to make plans for putting up advertisements in trains and stations.

According to officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), the advertisements will augment their non-operational revenue.

They also expect the advertisements to “promote Chennai Metro as the gateway to Chennai tourism by highlighting its heritage and cultural beauty and promote the city as amongst India’s top three destinations for advertising,” the official said.

“We have just floated the tenders; it may take at least a month for us to finalise the project. Some companies have already enquired about the provisions for advertisements,” a CMRL official said.

Officials have already earmarked places for putting up advertisements in stations along this 10-km stretch from Koyambedu to Alandur and also in the trains, the official added.

The trains may also have ‘wrap advertising’, CMRL officials said.

Places earmarked already for putting up advertisements in stations and also on the trains

Maharashtra Govt sanctions Rs.1413 Crore for Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli Vaijnath Railway line

Mumbai: Maharashtra Government today sanctioned Rs.1413 Crore for the much-delayed Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli Vaijnath railway line project.

With the investment of Rs.1413 Crore, the state government will be a 50 per cent equity holder in the project which is estimated to worth Rs.2826 Crore, with Centre doing the rest of funding.

“This decision on the eve of first ‘smrutidin’ (death anniversary) of our beloved leader Gopinathji Munde is a tribute and a step towards fulfilling his dreams,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted.

The amount would be made available in phases through budgetary provision.

The decision is taken because the project, once completed, will help in expediting development in the backward rural areas, an official from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.

The state government had in 2009 decided to share Rs.505 Crore of the total cost (Rs.1010 Crore) of the project. However, slow progress on its implementation resulted into escalation of cost.

The land acquisition for the project is in final stages and the new railway line will boost infrastructure development in Marathwada region, the official said.

Konkan Railway imparts computer education to boost PM Skill Development programme

Panaji: To boost the Prime Ministers Skill Development programme, the Konkan Railway Corporation Limited has undertaken initiative, named “Konkan Railway Shiksha Abhiyan” to impart computer education in different villages along the route under its jurisdiction. Konkan Railway Corporation General Manager Mr Siddheshwar Telugu talking to media persons in Panaji today said that under the Corporate Social Responsibility programme the Konkan Railway has taken computer literacy programme especially for the families below the poverty line. To facilitate this two mobile vans are being utilized. So far 15916 villagers have availed this training.

Konkan Railway is celebrating Rail Passenger and Customer Facilitation Fortnight which is observed from 26 May to 9 June 2015. Mr Telugu said that cleanliness being one of the prime areas of concern for passenger, Konkan Railway is organizing intensive cleanliness campaign at all station on its route. Konkon Railway is taking steps towards making Madgaon Station in South Goa as “Zero Waste Station” whereby all waste at the station will be converted suitably to green manure or energy.

Thiruvananthapuram Division to launch Microprocessor-based Electronic Interlocking in more railway stations

It will ensure safe and uninterrupted passage of trains

Thiruvananthapuram (TVC): Railways will introduce microprocessor-based electronic interlocking in more railway stations in the State to improve safety and punctuality of trains and handle the increasing rail traffic.

The existing relay-based system is being replaced with the modern microprocessor-based electronic interlocking to ensure safe and uninterrupted passage of trains.

Installing the facility in wayside stations will cost Railways Rs.1.5 crore, and in big stations such as Ernakulam Junction, the cost will be Rs.2 crore.

Better reliability, less maintenance, easy restoration in case of snags, and less space for installation are the factors that are leading Railways to replace the relay-based system, officials in the operating wing told.

The change has been already made at Chepad, Haripad, Piravom Road, Guruvayur, and Ernakulam Town under the Thiruvananthapuram railway division.

In 2015-16, the electronic interlocking system will be introduced at Ernakulam Junction, Angamaly, Vaikom Road, Kuruppanthara, Thiruvalla, and Ambalappuzha.

With this, the Station Master can alter the points and clear signals using the mouse and viewing the Visual Display Unit (VDU). At Chepad and Haripad stations, the VDU is yet to be provided. At the busy Ernakulam Junction, the authorities will provide two VDUs.

Data Logger, a microprocessor-based system, is already in place at the divisional headquarters at Thycaud in the capital. Every action of the Station Master with regard to operation of signal knobs is recorded and transferred instantly to the central server. All signal operations and movement of trains can be seen live at the control room of the divisional office. Alerts are provided on the mobile phone of top officials when a loco pilot jumps a signal, or when a wrong signal is given to a train.

Printouts can be taken out at the divisional office and at major railway stations such as Thiruvananthapuram Central, Kottayam, and Ernakulam which are linked to the Data Logger.


  • Railways use relay-based system at present

  • New system provides better reliability, less maintenance

Proposal for Udupi-Thokur line doubling sent to Railway Board

Udupi: Bindu Muralidharan, Regional Manager, Konkan Railway, Karwar, said on Tuesday that Konkan Railway had already submitted a proposal for doubling tracks from Thokur to Udupi and from Roha to Karanja to the Railway Ministry.

Addressing presspersons here, Ms.Muralidharan said that land acquisition was not expected to be a problem for the Thokur-Udupi stretch as most of the land had already been acquired.

The proposal was under the Ministry’s consideration and when approved, the doubling of tracks was expected to be taken up on the public-private partnership model, she said.

Upgrade

Ms.Muralidharan said that Konkan Railway was already improving the circulating area outside the station and also the road connectivity to the station. Platform shelters were being constructed at the new railway station.

The platform had been shifted to the western side at the new station (constructed on the west). The previous platform was small and insufficient, so the Konkan Railway decided to upgrade the station. “We are concentrating on this station because it is an important pilgrim centre and attracts passengers from different parts of the country,” she said.

Though there was a demand for a second track at the Byndoor railway station, it would require the track to go up to the nearby overbridge and this would require the overbridge to be widened, which would cost a lot. “If the State government provides funds, we can think of a second line,” she said.

Train thefts

Effective steps were being taken to control theft on trains on the Konkan Railway route. Already the Railway Protection Force had been strengthened.

The passengers wanted easier facilities to file police complaints during such instances of theft and this was being looked into. Since there were some complaints of passengers getting confused during the night and getting down at the wrong stations, it had been decided to increase the number of announcements on the railway stations, Ms.Muralidharan said.

Rail blockade affects train services in Assam

Kendukana (KDKN): Train services were affected for about two hours today following a rail blockade called by the All Assam Koch Rajbongshi Students’ Union (AAKRSU) in Kamrup (Rural) district.

More than 200 AAKRSU agitators blocked train tracks at Kendukona Railway station from 9 AM affecting movement of several trains, an official of the North East Frontier Railway official said here.

Police took into custody nearly 150 agitators who were demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for the Koch-Rajbongshis and a separate Kamtapur state.

Security was tightened at Rangiya railway station, where the protesters were earlier planning the blockade, but later they moved to the next Kendukona station, he said.

The trains affected were the Siphung Passenger, detained at Rangiya, Kamakhya-Alipurduar Inter City Express, detained at Nalbari, Dekargaon Express, stopped between Kendukona and Rangiya while the Dn Trivandrum Express and North East Express were controlled at Guwahati Railway station, he said.

South Western to add 76 km of new lines, doubling this fiscal

Hubli (UBL): The South Western Railway (SWR), which commissioned 51 km of new lines and 38 km line doubling during the previous fiscal, plans to complete 76 km of new line projects and 76 km of line doubling this year.

Addressing presspersons after inspecting the Hubli Railway Station here on Monday, General Manager of SWR Pradeep Kumar Saxena said that special thrust was placed on improving infrastructure and line capacity, and an enhanced budget of Rs.84 crore had been provided for improving passenger amenities during the current financial year.

By loading 37.50 million tonnes of freight mainly comprising coal, finished steel and iron ore, the zone has registered a total originating freight earnings of Rs.3,383 crore and recorded originating earnings of Rs.1,821 crore by carrying 190 million passengers during 2014-15.

Mr. Saxena said that the zone planned to complete the line doubling of Hosadurga-Chikjajur (28 km) stretch by July 2015, while the line doubling of Yelahanka-Chennasandra (13 km) and Yeshwantpur-Yelahanka (7 km) stretches would be completed by January 2016.

To a query on providing Kannada name boards on trains originating from and running in Karnataka, the General Manager said that steps would be taken to ensure native language boards, beginning with trains originating from the zone.

Railways invites Bids for Rs.2500 Crore ‘train set’ Project

New Delhi: The Railways has invited global players for a Rs 2,500-crore project it has lined up under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ programme for the procurement and manufacture of 15 train sets which will be used for faster inter-city travel.

While the successful bidder will be importing two train sets, the rest would have to be manufactured in the country, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

A train set comprises coaches or railway cars where each coach is powered by a dedicated propulsion system. That means there is no locomotive required to haul the train.

Introduction of the much-awaited train set project was announced by the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in his Rail Budget 2015-16.

As per the Request for Proposal for the project, while 275 coaches will be manufactured in India, 40 would be imported.

Railways wants to use these train sets to boost inter- city connectivity.

The Request for Qualification (RFQ) was floated last week for the global manufacturers to join the bidding process. The bid will be opened on August 12 this year for shortlisting the qualified bidders.

The RFQ is to be followed by the financial bid and the successful bidder will be awarded the contract by December this year, he said

Railway has squatters on Rs.5000 Crore land in Bandra, Khar

Mumbai: The eastern stretch of Bandra and Khar might be among the worst hit in the country as far as encroachment on railway land is concerned with statistics showing that the area has a whopping 46,220 square metres of railway land overrun by 3,935 shanty units. The cost of these land parcels could be at least Rs.5,000 Crore if real estate rates in the area are anything to go by, said officials.

Incidentally a 43,000 square metre plot of railway land, less than a kilometre away from these land parcels, has been put up for sale by the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) and officials estimate the sale price of that land- as and when it happens, to be in the region of around Rs 5000 crore.

A group called the Navpada Kabrastan Rasta Bachao Andolan has already started sending out messages about carrying out a signature campaign in Bandra East opposing the fifth line

Rs.50 Crore allocated for Bhuj-Naliya Broad Gauge conversion

Ahmedabad (ADI): Railway department has allocated Rs 50 crore initial amount for gauge conversion of Bhuj-Naliya railway line. According to Divisional Railway Manager Rahul Agrawal who visited Gandhidham and Bhuj railway stations, Bhuj-Naliya broad gauge conversion was approved in the budget, after which some tenders are floated. The initial phase of works include widening of bridges of all sizes on proposed route to accommodate broad gauge tracks.

Railway system in Mumbai helpless in case of rainfall over 40mm

Mumbai: Senior Railway officials of Central Railway sounded a cautionary note on Tuesday asking commuters to keep back-up plans ready as the line has the ability to run to a maximum of only 40 mm rainfall per hour. To add to that, the lowering of tracks below bridges to increase vertical clearances to convert the mainline from Direct Current to Alternate Current would worsen the situation.

A senior official said, “Although we have taken a lot of precautions, the fact of the matter is that if there is rainfall even a little above 40 mm per hour, the lines will shut down.” Bridges including Kaisaiwadi (Kurla), Carnac (Currey Road) and Masjid Bunder (Masjid) are going to be the most problematic as tracks below them have been lowered.

Officials were hoping that the Eastern Freeway, Kherwadi flyover and other such measures would provide commuters with options other than the locals. “We hope that the recent flyover additions in the city will at least provide commuters another mode of transport since we do not know what to expect this monsoon,” the official added.

While the CR has cleared drains and culverts near flooding-prone areas like Sion, Kurla and Ghatkopar, officials said they filled up quickly. “Drains are made for getting rid of soil, but not the garbage that is usually found, like plastic bags, clothes, tyres etc,” said an official.

Kolkata Metro Rail GM interacts with commuters, asks suggestion for improvement

Kolkata (KOAA): Metro Railway General Manager Radhey Shyam interacted with the commuters at Rabindra Sadan Metro Stations and interacted with the commuters in running Metro train during his journey from Rabindra Sadan to Mahanayak Uttam Kumar Station. As a part of Passenger and Customer Facilitation Fortnight – “Railyatri/Upbhokta Pakhawada” from May 26 to June 9, in Indian Railways, a lot of passenger friendly measures have been taken in Metro Railway here.

SCR GM reviews “Passenger & Customer Facilitation Fortnight” implementation on SCR

Secunderabad (SC): Shri P.K.Srivastava, General Manager, SCR reviewed the “Passenger and Customer Facilitation Fortnight” Celebrations being held on the Zone with the Divisional Railway Managers of all the six Divisions of Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Guntur, Guntakal, Vijayawada and Nanded through a Video Conference at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad today i.e., 3rd June, 2015. Several Principal Heads of Departments were also present during the Video Conference.

The “Passenger and Customer facilitation Fortnight” -“Railyatri/Upbhokta Pakhwada” Celebrations have commenced on 26th May, 2015 all over Indian Railways and will continue till 9th June, 2015. The focus during the celebrations is towards Customer outreach, so as to build a cohesive and trustworthy rapport between Indian Railways and its users/customers.

During the Video Conference, Shri P.K.Srivastava, took a firsthand position on the implementation of the customer centric agenda set for the fortnight from all DRMs. He was all praise for the excellent work being undertaken as a part of the celebrations by all Divisions, which in turn has been acknowledge by the Hon’ble Minister of Railways himself. The General Manager, in particular expressed satisfaction that several Passenger related facilities/amenities are being commissioned at various stations in the fortnight. He was also happy that the initiative towards interacting with Rail users at various Railway stations and Trains to seek their feedback and suggestions is bearing fruit.

The DRMs furnished an account of report on various day to day activities undertaken until today on their Divisions. These include Road Shows, Public Awareness Programmes, Inaugurations of Passenger facilities/amenities, Cleanliness drives, Health Check up camps, Security drives, Ticket checking drives, Vigilance Checks, Safety Inspections, Seminars etc., The General Manager was also appraised on the plans drawn for the remaining days of the Fortnight long Celebrations.

IR finally steps into the Next Century – starts Trials of Solar-Enabled Coaches

New Delhi: In what could be a momentous move for the environment, Indian Railways will soon begin harnessing solar power to run its trains. The prototype of the solar power-enabled coach is undergoing trials and soon the entire train will be fitted with solar panels, officials said. Presently, around 17 units of electricity are being generated by the solar power-enabled coach.

Solar Power Panels fitted on top of the Coaches of Indian Railways

Solar Power Panels fitted on top of the Coaches of Indian Railways

“As the pilot project, one non-AC coach has been fitted with solar panels on the rooftop. The trial has been successful so far with the coach generating nearly 17 units of electricity every day. Depending on its success, decision will be taken to convert the entire train into a solar power-enabled one,” said Arun Arora, Divisional Railway Manager.

Officials believe that harnessing solar power will help Indian Railways to save Rs 1.24 lakh per coach year. The main aim of the railways is to manage its fuel bill which constitutes as the second largest part of its expenditure reservoir, the first being its employee salaries.

solar-powered-bullet-train-for-arizonajpgThe potential for solar energy in India is huge. Harnessing it will not only control diesel consumption (by up to 90,000 litres per year) and reduce carbon dioxide emissions (by over 200 tonnes), but also prove extremely cost-effective. “Solar energy will be used to meet the electricity needs in moving trains, and reduce diesel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions,” added Arun Arora.

As proposed in the plan, the train will run on a “conventional” diesel engine and its internal electricity requirements – for both AC and non-AC coaches – will be met by the installed solar panels.

According to a Northern Railway official, a train’s roof top has a total surface area of 40 square metres. While 24 square metres of this space is covered with 12 solar panels, the remaining 16 square metres throw open the potential for six more.

Also, as the mechanism dictates, alternate coaches with installed solar panels can be used to supply electricity to the adjoining coach.

Ratan Tata headed Kayakalp Council to Benchmark Indian Railways against 4 Global Giants

Ratan TataNew Delhi: The Ratan Tata-headed innovation council formed by rail minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has decided to benchmark Indian Railways against the train networks of four global giants – US, China, Russia and Germany.

The idea is to compare financial and operational performance indicators and work out a strategy for turning around Railways by using the best-suited model of innovation and development.

The council has asked the railway board for inputs on the railway systems operating in the four countries. The council held its first meeting on May 13 with Prabhu, Minister of State (MoS) Railways Manoj Sinha, Railway Board Chairman A K Mital, other board members and trade union representatives.

“It was decided in the meeting that the performance position of a few foreign railways including the US, Germany, Russia and China will be collected for the purpose of comparison and carrying out further analysis by the innovation council. The second meeting would be held then,” said an official privy to the developments.

India is similar to the nations on the list — except for Germany — in being a member of the 1-billion tonne freight club. India, the US, Russia and China are the only four countries in the world which carry more than a billion tonnes of freight on their railway networks annually.

However, India lags far behind the other nations in terms of structural and operational reforms, particularly in the freight segment. The US, China, Germany and Russia have already adopted significant degrees of privatisation and corporatisation of their railways over the past decades.

Of the two countries with railway systems most comparable to India, the US and China, the US has traditionally had a privately owned rail freight operations system. China has had a departmental system historically but has now progressively reorganised its structure to the point where there is now no Ministry of Rail. It has a national rail corporation and a number of regional operators and specialised private railway operators especially in dedicated freight haulage.

While Indian Railways’ efficiency indicators have improved over time, they are still low when compared to global benchmarks. For example, traffic unit (addition of net tonne km or NTKM and passenger km or PKM) per employee is 0.84 for India compared to 1.4 for China, 2.0 for Russia and 15.1 for the US .

According to Indian Railways’ recently released white paper, NTKM per employee is 1.81 million in Russia, 1.23 million in China and 0.44 million in India. Similarly, PKM per employee is 0.15 million in Russia, 0.38 million in China and 0.66 million in India. This indicates how India fares better on the passenger indicator and worse on freight performance.

“There is a rich experience from other countries in creating competition and India has a great deal to learn from it, particularly as it is one of the last countries to restructure,” the Bibek Debroy committee on restructuring of the railway board and mobilisation of funds for Indian Railways said in its draft report submitted recently.

In the US, 28 per cent of the railways’ revenue goes into labour costs and 20 per cent is channelised to source fuel. For comparison, in India, 32 per cent of operating revenue goes into staff wages while fuel costs eat up 18 per cent of earnings. The two nations are also similar in earning 40-45 per cent of freight earnings from coal transport alone.

Also, in the US the private companies fund a great majority of their own infrastructure capital investment projects from customers on a commercial basis. While the Federal Railroad Administration makes capital grants, the total amounts are minor compared to commercial funding raised by the private freight railroads themselves. For comparison, Indian Railways continues to source over 40 per cent of its Plan Budget of ~1 lakh crore as support from the Centre.

Mancheswar Carriage Repair Workshop registers Record Output

Mancheswar (MCS): Mancheswar Carriage Repair Workshop (MCSW) under East Coast Railway (ECoR) has bagged four certifications – three ISO certificates – QMS, EMS and OHSAS and 5S certification for integrated management system. By doing so, it has become the only carriage repair workshop in the country to achieve the distinction so far, Chief Works Manager of MCSW S Pankaj said.

Addressing mediapersons on the completion of 30 years of MCSW, Pankaj said the workshop has surpassed all 45 CRWs in the country in terms of productivity by achieving the lowest manpower-productivity ratio during financial year 2014-15.

MCSW has recorded highest ever periodic overhaul (POH) outturn with 46 per cent growth in the last two years. The factory recorded periodic overhauling of 200 air-conditioned coaches during 2014-15 and intermediate overhauling (IOH) of 150 coaches with a growth of over 50 per cent during the same period.

The factory has achieved a bogie outturn of 4578 with an increase of 41 per cent and wheel outturn of 12505, an increase of 62 per cent in the last two years.

In terms of corrosion control, refurbishment, provision of LED-based tail lamp in sleeper coaches and emergency lamps and provision of laptop and mobile charging points in coaches, MCSW has recorded best performance in the country.

The workshop has started POH and IOH of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches, which are safer and faster in a large scale manner.

Presently, ECoR has 187 LHB coaches running in Rajdhani Express, Purushottam Express and Puri – Howrah Shatabdi Express apart from Bhubaneswar – New Delhi Duroto Express, which has LHB shell with air suspension ICF bogie.

Speaking about coaches with bio-toilets, Pankaj informed that the unit aims at producing 400 bio-toilet equipped coaches by 2015-16. Currently ECoR has around 270 coaches fitted with bio-toilets.

In 2014-15, 41 LHB coaches have been periodic and intermediate overhauled and in the last two months, 18 such coaches have been overhauled.

WR fails to commission new Bandra-Santa Cruz line, left red-faced

Mumbai: Western Railway authorities were left embarrassed and short of answers on Monday after they failed to commission the newly-constructed fifth line link between Bandra and Santa Cruz due to the protest on Sunday by residents of shanties through which the line passes.

The stretch of track is the missing link of the fifth line — also called the Suburban Track Avoidance line — that runs between Mumbai Central and Borivli and is used in both directions by long-distance trains. This missing link will ensure that long-distance trains don’t come onto the fast tracks between Bandra and Santa Cruz and hit the punctuality schedules of suburban trains during the peak hours.

The ruckus between the residents of the area and the railway authorities began after the former realised that the line will cut the passage used by them for several years to get to a cemetery nearby. What is particularly galling is that despite the issue cropping up several times over the past decade, WR authorities did not think it fit to do anything about it while the Rs20-crore line was under construction for the past three years.

Speaking to the press, WR general manager SK Sood agreed that it was a lapse. “I agree there has been a mistake. We did not think of an alternative like a ramp or a new level crossing while building the line. Now, rectification measures will have to be taken,” said Sood.

Gopal Shetty, MP, Mumbai North, too did not have too many solutions for it besides calling it a “social problem”. When asked whether the track would be removed for the residents, he put up a brave face and said “no it wouldn’t”. “We are representatives of the people and we will talk to the residents of the area and come up with a solution,” said Shetty.

Sood told the gathering that he would ensure that the line is operational in the next 10 days. Shetty went one ahead and said eight days.

Shetty added that he is proposing that encroachers on such land be rehabilitated, something railway officials privately admitted will be the death-knell for almost all projects in the city. “Even the World Bank follows this same rule of not sanctioning funds till all such project-affected people are rehabilitated. I’ve raised this issue in Parliament and want it to be followed in Mumbai as well, even for central government-owned lands,” said Shetty.

“The railways will not financially be able to build homes for people encroaching our land. The state government might not share the burden. In short, it will be the end of mega-projects in the city,” said a senior railway official.

While the removal of encroachment is a tough task for railways, till some years ago WR, between Churchgate to Dahanu, has some 3.5 hectares — or 35,000 square metres of land — encroached. Central Railway, much bigger than WR in area, has some 4.7 lakh square metres of land encroached.

MP furious over snub:
“I got the invite at the last moment… my name was also not printed on it. Hence, I decided to stay away from the function to protest against the Railway administration,” Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar, under whose Parliamentary constituency Andheri falls, told. Kirtikar said that he was given an invite only on Sunday night. “I have given the railways a protest letter,” he said, adding that he would urge railway minister Suresh Prabhu to hold a meeting in this regard soon and admonish the errant officials.

DC-AC conversion in a week: says S.K.Sood, GM/Central Railway

Mumbai: Central Railway General Manager Mr.SK Sood during a press interaction on Monday said that the vexed issue of conversion of electrical systems on the Thane-CST stretch from 1,500 Volt Direct Current to 25,000 Volt Alternating Current would be completed in “seven to ten days”. However, looking at the magnitude of the problems facing the project, other railway officials were unwilling to be as brave as the CR top boss.

As reported in dna’s May 28 edition, the project now faces its two biggest hurdles, both of which have the potential of sending the suburban schedule haywire. The first issue is that once the lines are powered by 25,000 Volt AC, trains will have to run at a speed of 15kmph at nine places between Kurla and Thane. This could mean that the railways might need to reduce the number of services they run because of the slower speed. However, Sood on Monday made light of it saying that these nine spots were just 15-20 metres each and will not be such a big headache.

The second issue is the running of Siemens trains between Kurla and CST. The height of these motor coaches are slightly higher than 4.27 metres, which is the maximum height of trains allowed on this stretch. When asked about this problem, Sood just said, “We are making provisions for it. We will set it right in the next 7 to 10 days.”

According to Sood, some 75 per cent of the inspection of the project was over and the rest would be completed in the wee hours of Tuesday. These inspections are being carried out by Commissioner of Railway Safety (Central Circle) Chetan B, who has taken a tough stand disallowing any detour from the norms for the project.

The CR’s Rs1,300-crore conversion project has been going on for almost a decade now and has missed several deadlines. However, it turned into a technical nightmare after the CR authorities decided not to raise the height of a few British-era bridges because of the large-scale traffic disruptions it would entail. Not raising the bridges means that at these places trains above the height of 4.27 metres could not run once the power is increased from 1,500 Volt DC to 25,000 Volt AC.

“Most of the new LHB coaches used in Duronto, Garib Rath etc. are above 4.27 metres, so they will be out of bounds at CST. Secondly, the motor coaches of the Siemens rakes are above this height so their entry into CST will also be problematic. Several diesel locomotives are above this height due to their chimneys. In all, it will be a technical nightmare running trains from CST, one of the country’s largest termini,” said the official.

Anti-encroachment drive in Ranchi renders 300 homeless

Ranchi (RNC): Hundreds of people became homeless in the anti-encroachment drive by Railway and district administration near Birsa Chowk. The drive started on Saturday and continued on Monday in order to vacate t the 25 acres land of railways situated near Birsa Chowk, making around 300 people homeless.

The residents claim that they were given a notice of eviction over one month ago after which one Joseph Mistry, a resident who had nowhere to go, committed suicide, while another resident Prem Purty attempted suicide but survived.

Md. Moon Quraishi, a local resident said, “The notice sent to us was dated 2011 and there was no official signature on the notice. After we were given the notice, we protested many times and the demolition was delayed but on Saturday, officials came with earth movers and started pulling down the houses.”

The locals also claimed that at first there was a plan of evicting only 40 metres but once the demolition started, houses up to 60 metres were pulled down.

Md. Ehsan, who became homeless after the drive started has two young daughters. He said, “The government on one hand says Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and on the other hand they are making the daughters homeless.”

The residents were angered by the drive and worried that they might never be rehabilitated. “Those who became homeless in the anti-encroachment drive at Islam Nagar and Nagababa Khatal have still not been rehabilitated after four years.What is the guarantee that we will be given another place to live. We have been living here for over 40 years and they destroyed everything in two days,” said Manoj Kumar, a resident who used to run a general store on the road side.

The eviction drive is to continue on Tuesday as well. Ranchi sub divisional officer (SDO) Amit Kumar said, “After the land has been made encroachment free a 30 metre long bridge will be constructed on the land. Those who are being moved will be rehabilitated at Kalyanpur Mauja.”

India’s rail, road infrastructure growth to be faster than China

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has begun a splurge on road and rail building that analysts say could remove doubts over whether economic growth in India really is overtaking China.

Having roughly doubled spending allocations for roads and bridges in fiscal 2015/16, and raised the rail budget by a third, Modi is banking on India going faster.

“They have acknowledged that infrastructure is the big elephant in the room,” said Vinayak Chatterjee, head of infrastructure services company Feedback Infra.

“Once these measures are implemented, the elephant would start moving, and with it the overall economy.”

Modi’s chief economic advisor, Arvind Subramanian, reckons growth could increase by more than one percentage point this year provided ministries don’t underspend, though the central bank saw it adding just half a point.

Data released on Friday showed the economy grew 7.5 percent in the quarter ending in March, easily outpacing China. Many economists suspect, however, that the government statisticians’ new way of counting GDP overstates how well India is doing.

Those worries might fade if Subramanian is right about the impact infrastructure spending will have on India’s under-achieving economy.

Success rests on whether ministries spend the extra $11 billion they were allocated for infrastructure this fiscal year. They got off to a fast start in April, spending $6 billion of the $38 billion capital expenditure budget for 2015/16.

The government has prioritised unblocking infrastructure projects that had gathered dust because of either an obstructive bureaucracy, a lack of private sector investment, or in some cases public interest litigation.

Weighed down with heavy debt, and having posted their worst results in five years, big Indian corporates are in little rush to make fresh investments, while public sector banks may require recapitalisation before they are ready to lend the sums needed.

That has made the government step up to the plate.

Take Delhi’s Eastern Peripheral Expressway, for example.

Part of a six-lane ring-road for the capital, the project was first mooted nine years ago but failed to attract private bidders. Unwilling to wait any longer, the road ministry intends spending almost $1 billion building the 135 kilometre loop.

Last month, the cabinet approved a policy that will provide private developers with a $470 million bailout in order to complete 16 highways.

The government has also put $3 billion of seed capital into a new infrastructure fund, with the hope of attracting up to $30 billion of private money.

Some rules have been eased for the private sector, and financially stressed companies are now allowed to exit projects.

And in future, public tenders will only be launched after all approvals have been secured – addressing a major reason why so many projects stalled.

As a result the government hopes road building will accelerate to 30 km a day by the end of next year from 12 km at present, as it plans to award projects for 10,000 km of road this year, up 25 percent from a year earlier.

Some bureaucrats suspect that the government has underestimated how much money is needed. Planned road projects alone will cost $17 billion this year compared with a budget allocation of about $7 billion. To cover most of the gap, the road ministry plans to raise a $7 billion loan.

“We don’t have enough money to build all these roads,” Rohit Kumar Singh, a mid-level bureaucrat at the ministry, told. “We need to leverage private sector funding.”

A clear, consistent policy on tolls needs to be put in place for the private sector to become more active, Virendra Mhaiskar, managing director of IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd, one of India’s largest road builders, told.

“You have to create an environment where investors and lenders can make a return,” Mhaiskar said.

Railways trials Solar-powered trains to help cut pollution

New Delhi: Indian Railways is soon going to materialise its ambitious plan of harnessing solar energy to run trains. The prototype of the solar power-enabled coach is undergoing trials, and soon the entire train will be fitted with solar panels, officials said. While solar power will significantly bring down diesel consumption, it will also prove to be cost-effective. At present, nearly 17 units of electricity are being generated from the solar power enabled coach.

“As the pilot project, one non-AC coach has been fitted with solar panels on the rooftop. The trial has been successful so far with the coach generating nearly 17 units of electricity every day. Depending on its success, decision will be taken to convert the entire train into a solar power-enabled one,” said Divisional Railway Manager, Delhi Division Mr.Arun Arora.

Officials said that by harnessing solar power, the railways will be able to save Rs 1.24 lakh per coach year.

“Solar energy will be used to meet the electricity needs in moving trains, and reduce diesel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions,” Arora said.

According to studies, a train using solar power can reduce diesel consumption by up to 90,000 litres per year and also bring down the carbon dioxide emission by over 200 tonnes.

As per the plan, the train would be pulled by conventional diesel-run engines while solar panels will provide all the internal electricity needs for lights and fans on both AC and non-AC coaches.

Officials said India has huge solar power potential, with a good amount of sunlight available for a major part of the day round the year. Harnessing solar power to power Indian Railways is more feasible and cost-effective.

The clear motive of the project is to cut down on the railways’ fuel bill, which is the second-largest component of expenditure after the employee salaries for the cash-strapped government behemoth used by over 1.3 crore people every day.

In 2013-14, from the Rs 1.27 lakh crore of Indian Railways’ expenditure, nearly Rs 28,500 crore (22 per cent) were spent on fuel.

According to a Northern Railway official, 40 sqmetre of space is available on a train’s roof top. Of these, nearly 24 sq-metre of space is covered with 12 solar panels. The remaining 16 sq-metre of space can further accommodate six solar panels, officials said.

As per the mechanism, alternate coaches are provided with solar panels and when required electricity is fed from the adjoining coach.

Indian Railways has been focusing on alternate source of fuels with trials already on to use CNG, biodiesel and natural gas among others.

CNG is being used in local trains on Rohtak–Rewari section of Delhi Division. The dual fuel concept of using CNG and diesel has also helped in saving fuel and money.

Railway Minister launches various amenities in Mumbai during Rail Passenger & Customer Facilitation Fortnight

Mumbai: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today launched a slew of amenities for passengers which included opening of an elevated circulating area at suburban Andheri railway station.

Prabhu opened new booking office and the elevated circulating area at Andheri station, besides mechanised linen care centre at Grant Road and a special lounge at CST station along with MP Gopal Shetty.

The railway minister was here to participate in the ongoing ‘Rail Passenger and Customer Facilitation Fortnight’ at Andheri station which is one of the busiest railway stations on the Western line of Mumbai local train routes.

Prabhu also introduced two special ICU coaches of Central Railway and re-introduced dining car in Deccan Queen Express at a function held at Andheri station, the Western Railway stated in a release.

“With the inauguration of new mechanised linen care centre at Grant Road, one more mechanised laundry with a capacity of 6000 bed-rolls per day is commissioned on Western Railway. To maintain the standard of cleanliness, ‘whiteness tester’ is done in all the laundries,” it said.

Western Railway has taken another step in becoming independent in ensuring supply of clean and hygienic linen to its passengers, the statement said.

“With a view to provide more passenger convenience and comfort, Andheri station has been developed to a great extent on the west as well as east side. The elevated deck measuring 5800 sq mtrs has been designed in keeping with the requirements of modern times. Looking at the number of passengers patronising Andheri station, six more booking windows have been opened on the south end of the deck,” it added.

Central Railway starts rolling Special ICUs for accident victims

Mumbai: Train accident victims can expect faster treatment in case of accidents as Central Railway has deployed India’s first Intensive Care Unit on Rails ferry patients to its tertiary care hospital in Mumbai.

The fully -air-conditioned van all the facilities, including medical professionals and equipment, that one needs in the Intensive Care Unit. Member of Parliament Gopal Shetty commissioned this van in service on Moday.

CR’s General Manager S.K.Sood said, “As soon as accident take places, this van will be rushed to the site to shift people fast by rail to tertiary care hospital. It is ambulance on rail but each van being able to accommodate 7 to 8 people.”

The decision to introduce such facility was taken in the after-math of Roha derailment accident on May 4, 2014. Atleast, 22 people had died, mostly because of lack of adequate health care system in the vicinity of the accident site. Patients had to be rushed to Sion Hospital, which is almost 130 km from the Roha. It took more than 3 to 4 hours to reach the hospital, the delay proving fatal to many vicitims.

Sood said, “The van will be deployed ideally to ferry victims who are fall within the limit from 50 to 200 km. We plan to bring all such victims to Railway Hospital in Byculla.”

CR has developed two such van at its Matunga Workshop from the condemned AC coach that had had been pulled out of service. One more coach is also under development taking total number to three in future. These coaches can run at an maximum speed of 140 kmph.

Even relatives of the victims can accompany them in this van. A railway official said, “The ambulance an carry only one patient at a time and that too by road. More patients can be taken care in ICU van. It can be given green signal right through its journey the van is on emergency duty.”

CR has also plans to ferry accident victims by air ambulance but the proposal is yet to be approved by air ambulance.

CR has earmarked spot in its Nirmal Park railway colony at Byculla for landing of air-ambulance The railway colony in Bycualla is adjacent to its Railway hospital.