Jharkhand renews MoU with Rlys, earmark Rs.66.18 Cr for long-pending track laying works

रांची Ranchi (RNC): The Jharkhand cabinet today resolved to renew the MoU between the state and railways for its long-pending track-laying projects till March 2017, earmarking Rs 66.18 crore in fiscal 2014-15 for their speedy completion.

The move follows October 16-17 visit of Union railway minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda who promised all possible help to poll-bound Jharkhand to complete the projects. For this, Gowda asked the state government to release funds as early as possible.

“This financial year, a sum of Rs 66.18 crore has been earmarked. The cabinet has also resolved to renew the period of MoU (between state government and railways for track laying work) till March 2017,” cabinet secretary J.B. Tubid said.

The cabinet counted six pending track-laying projects, work on which had started in 2002, comprising stretches of Koderma-Hazaribagh-Barkakana-Ranchi, Ranchi-Lohardaga-Tori, Koderma-Giridih, Koderma-Tilaiya, Dumka-Rampurhat and Deoghar-Dumka.

For all practical purposes, tracks have been laid on the Deoghar-Dumka stretch. Ranchi Dumka Intercity Express runs on it. The cabinet referred to “six” projects possibly for convenience.

State government officials maintained that out of total 565km lines under six projects, so far 365km were complete.

The MoU between the railways and state government, after extensions, expired in March 2013. About a couple of months ago, the state cabinet resolved to renew the agreement till February 2016 on condition that the projects would be completed in the given time or else Railway Board would bear all costs. It is learnt that the railways did not find the deadline feasible.

Inflation has been a thorny problem. When the projects started in 2002, the total cost was estimated at Rs 1,997 crore with the state’s share being 67 per cent. Later, Centre and state shares were revised to an equal 50 per cent each. But, with the passage of time, costs have escalated some three-fold, with latest estimates putting the total expense at Rs 5,775 crore. So far, the state has given over Rs 2,219 crore to the Railway Board for these projects. It needs to give around Rs 1,002 crore more.

Japanese majors eye Railways Electric Loco supply deal as India looks at Tech transfer

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Japanese majors, such as Toshiba, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric and Mitsui are keen on participating in the supply of 200 electric locomotives to Indian Railways for use on the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor and its feeder lines.

Last week, these firms participated in a pre-bid meeting held in the Railway Ministry, said sources. The locomotive project entails designing, manufacturing, supplying, installing, testing and commissioning 700 kW electric locomotives and also constructing a maintenance depot, along with a transfer of technology component.

Japanese firms are keen on the project because the locomotive supplies are a part of the tied loan extended by Japan to fund the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor. The loan condition stipulates that 30 per cent should be procured from Japanese firms.

However, in keeping with the Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ mantra, the Railway Ministry has mandated that the winning firm should transfer the technology to at least two vendors in India, one of which should be the Indian Railways’ production unit – Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW).

The tender stipulates that 40 locomotives will be imported from Japan, 30 will be assembled in India from semi- knocked down (SKD) components, and another 30 will be assembled in India from completely knocked down kits.

Another 100 locomotives will be built with indigenised components manufactured by third part vendors in India, of which 40 locomotives will source traction motors, bogies and body shell from CLW’s factories at Dankuni or Chittaranjan.

Apart from having to maintain imported locomotives, the winning bidder will have to maintain 100 locomotives manufactured in India for six years. “This clause will also ensure that the transfer of technology to Indian firms has been done in the best possible way,” said an official.

The Western Dedicated Freight Corridor is being built between Dadri and Jawaharlal Nehru Port, with a ¥136 billion loan from Japanese International Cooperation Agency. The loan, which has a 40-year tenure, was extended at 0.2 per cent. The corridor is expected to handle double-stack container movement.

South Central Railway to prepare Standard Protocol to handle Natural Calamities

सिकंदराबाद Secunderabad (SC): The South Central Railway decided to formulate a standard protocol today to tackle any emergency arising out of natural calamities like Cyclone Hudhud.

SCR General Manager P K Srivastava held a safety review meeting with senior railway officials in this connection to discuss the protocol, The SCR said in a release issued here today.

“While complimenting railway officials for quick restoration of railway tracks, Srivastava underscored the need to ensure that railway track structure could withstand the fury of nature, especially by making the track non-susceptible to breaches due to heavy rains,” the SCR release said.

The SCR restored the affected railway track within 32 hours by quickly mobilising resources on a massive scale to tackle railway track breaches over a length of 350 metres on the Visakhapatnam rail route last week, it said.

Srivastava directed the Divisional Railway Manager to study the topography and geographical conditions in the vicinity of railway tracks and vital installations situated in cyclone-prone areas, in detail, the release said.

“He emphasised that preventive steps like appropriate diversion of nearby canals, proper de-silting of cross culverts passing across the track, provision of adequate water way at narrow cross culverts where water gushes across the railway track with more force and putting in place additional pipes and stone pitching near the track should be taken up on a priority basis to avoid the possibility of erosion of earth or breaches to the railway track,” the release said.

The SCR general manager instructed senior officials to thoroughly inspect vulnerable areas and undertake corrective work to avoid any scope for tracks getting affected in case of cyclones or heavy rains, the release said.

“In this connection, South Central Railway has initiated preparation of a standard protocol with details of micro-level plans on preventive measures to be taken, preparatory steps to be put in place, including mobilisation of men and material, to meet any emergency situation.It has also clearly defined roles of various agencies involved in relief and restoration activities,” the release said.

Integral Coach Factory to roll out more Stainless Steel Coaches

पेरम्बूर Perambur (PER): All coaches that are rolled out by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) here will be made of stainless steel by 2019.

 Last fiscal, 25 LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) stainless steel coaches were made. This year, 75 coaches will be rolled out, Ashok K Agarwal, General Manager, ICF, told reporters here on Tuesday.

By 2015-16, it will be scaled up to 300 coaches and the next year, 600. While the conventional coaches have a lifespan of 25 years, stainless steel coaches would increase the lifespan by 10 years.

“We will also be introducing bi-directional swing doors for all AC coaches. The railway board has requested us to work on the design and we have submitted it,” Mr. Agarwal said. This would allow passengers to exit easily in case of emergency.

At present, doors in AC coaches open only inwards. For the existing coaches the swing doors will be retrofitted at the maintenance workshop. The process will begin in six months.

 The ICF, which was set up in 1955 with Swiss collaboration, has rolled out 48,708 coaches till September 2014. Last year, 1,622 coaches were made here, for which it received ‘Best Production Unit’ award from the Railway Ministry.

 This fiscal, the Chennai unit has made 824 coaches in the first six months, a 24.5 per cent jump when compared to the corresponding period last year.

“The railway board target for this year is 1,696 coaches. We will end up making 1,710 coaches,” Mr. Agarwal said.

 On why the ICF does not participate in Metro rail bids, Mr. Agarwal, said, “The railway board decides participation in such bids. In future if any client approaches us, we will take it to the board.”

Cabinet nod for Kochi Metro extension to Kakkanad soon

कोच्चि Kochi: Chief minister Oommen Chandy said that the cabinet will soon give its nod to extend the Metro rail to Kakkanad. After holding a meeting to review the progress of Metro rail works on Monday, Chandy expressed his satisfaction over the work so far. Later, he said the Metro would be completed as per schedule.

The meeting decided to take urgent measures to ensure the timely completion of the rail project. The chief minister requested mayor Tony Chammany to hand over the land and building owned by the corporation near south railway station for the Metro station.

He said Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) would pay compensation to tenants of the building as per the rehabilitation and resettlement package declared by the agency. Compensation paid to the corporation would be on a par with that given to other local bodies for surrendering land for development projects.

The railway is expected to surrender their land near Ernakulam south railway station for the Metro rail soon. The revenue department has given Rs 24 crore to railways.

The matter is pending before the office of the general manager, Southern Railway.

The rules will be notified in a month, he said. However, the district administration will acquire land forcibly if land owners are not ready to part with their land even after repeated pleas by the government.

While Rs 10 crore is needed to acquire land for Pachalam ROB, around Rs 19 crore will be required for the work on ROB till March, 2015.

Later, the chief minister unveiled the miniature design of the Metro station. Chandy was accompanied by DMRC principal advisor E Sreedharan, KMRL MD Elias George, minister for power and railways Aryadan Mohammed, revenue minister Adoor Prakash and excise minister K Babu among others.

China’s ‘Railway Development Fund’ to help ease CRC’s financial woes

बीजिंग Beijing:  China’s newly established railway development fund might serve as an expedient measure to help finance the country’s railroad construction projects over the next two years and help ease financial pressure on the China Railway Corporation (CRC) as it is mired in heavy debt after it took over a portion of business from the former Ministry of Railways in 2013, Guangzhou’s Southern Weekly reports.

The fund was established on Sept. 25 to attract private investment into the railway sector to financially support the CRC, according to the paper. CRC is the fund’s major backer, and the individual investment arms of the four banks will act as investors in the fund.

The four banks are three of China’s “Big Four” state-owned banks, including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the Agricultural Bank of China and China Construction Bank, as well as the Fujian province-based Industrial Bank Co.

The fund’s duration will be 15 to 20 years and will ensure stable and reasonable returns on investment.

The country is currently facing a shortfall in capital for several of the construction projects related to new rail lines, with some high speed railways facing particularly sizeable shortages.

For a long time, investment in the construction of railways had been under the jurisdiction of the government, with the capital sourced mainly from the central and local governments, along with it issuing bonds and taking loans from banks. Bank loans contributed the lion’s share of the capital.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, China has begun investing aggressively in railway construction to maintain steady economic growth. As a result, the Ministry of Railways had spent 663.8 billion yuan (US$108 billion) as of 2013 and the massive outlay earmarked to upgrade the country’s rail network gave rise to institutionalized graft within the ministry.

Before the Ministry of Railways was disbanded in 2013 when railway construction still fell under the jurisdiction of the ministry, it has not come under pressure for the repayment of its huge debt. However, the situation changed after the CRC was established, since the central government has become even more enthusiastic about investing in railway construction, forcing the company to take on more and more debt, according to the report.

IRCTC, City Bank partner to facilitate passenger buy Rail tickets on EMI

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  Indian Railways and Citibank have partnered to offer IRCTC website users the ability to pay ticket fares in monthly installments (EMIs).

At present, the facility is available for Citibank credit card subscribers.

IRCTC users will have to click on the EMI option on the payment screen, instead of credit card, debit card, cash card, and net banking to avail the service. Users will then need to select Citibank from the dropdown, feed in their Citibank credit card details and authorize the payment of the entire ticket fare. Users can then pay back Citibank in monthly installments.

Maoists blow up Railway track in Bokaro

बोकारो Bokaro (BKSC): Maoists today blew up a portion of a railway track in Bokaro district disrupting train services, police said here.

The rebels destroyed about 1.5 metre track near Jhumra hills between Dania and Jageshwar stations, Superintendent of Police Jitendra Singh said.

Both the UP and DN Gomo-Barwadih passenger trains were held up at different points and police has rushed to the spot, he said

Palghat DRM conducts Surprise Check in Chennai Mail Train

मंगलौर Mangalore (MAQ): Southern Railway’s Palakkad Divisional Railway Manager Mr.Anand Prakash conducted a surprise check in the Mangalore-Chennai Mail train earlier this week.

He spoke to a number of passengers and gathered their views. He also stressed the importance of holding valid tickets, desisting the practice of travelling in hanging posture at the doors.

He advised the passengers not to carry explosives like fireworks, which could pose a hazard to their safety. He also a visit to the pantry and inspected the hygiene conditions.

India-Nepal to review progress of ongoing Rail Projects ahead of SAARC Summit

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal for the SAARC Summit next month, the Ministry of Railways has convened a high level meeting to discuss two long-pending important rail connectivity projects between India and Nepal. The Railways have been asked to prepare a detailed report on the progress made in the projects so far and issues that are hampering the completion of work.

The 18.6 km long Jogbani-Biratnagar (17.65 km) rail link connecting Bihar and Biratnagar in Nepal was sanctioned in 2010-11, but delay in land acquisition in Nepal has impeded progress of the project. Around 5.45 km of the stretch falls in India, while the remaining 13.60 km falls in Nepal. The total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs.241 crore, and is likely to be completed by 2016, depending on land availability.

The second project connecting Jaynagar (Bihar) to Bardibas (Nepal) and extension to Bardibas, covering a distance of 68 km at a cost of Rs.470 crore, has been pending for over five years for various reasons. These projects are expected to benefit Nepal by boosting trans-border trade and promoting tourism.

“The meeting scheduled on Monday will review the progress of these projects and issues that are hampering their completion. There are issues related to land acquisition, but Nepal has assured that land will be acquired and handed over to IRCON to expedite the work,” said a senior Railway Ministry official, adding that the government wanted a detailed plan before the PM’s visit.

Modi is expected to attend the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu, which will be inaugurated on November 26.

Rlys to give brief PPT for 25-odd interested parties on Redevelopment of Bhopal Rly Station

भोपाल Bhopal (BPL): Bhopal railway division officials will meet builders and developers in the city on October 20, Monday to discuss new design for upgradation and beautification of Habibganj station. The master plan for the project had been designed and developed by Indian Railway Station Development Corporation Ltd (IRSDCL).

Railway officials will give a presentation on the proposed master plan of the redevelopment of Habibganj station on Monday.

Bhopal divisional railway manager (DRM) Rajiv Chaudhary told, “Monday’s meeting would be like sort of a roadshow just for publicity purpose for 25-odd interested parties.

The pre-bid meeting would then be held for November 10 and after about a month tenders for redevelopment plan would be finalised. Also, the qualification for project is already there on the IRSDCL site.”

Habibganj is among five stations that have been identified for re-development involving modernisation and upgradation of passenger amenities. The others are Chandigarh, Anand Vihar and Brijwasan (both in Delhi), and Shivaji Nagar (Pune). The announcement for the same was made in Union rail budget previously.

Development and upgradation of railway stations across the country has been taken up under an agreement between Railway Land Development Authority (RLDA) with IRSDCL.

IRSDCL will carry out re-development work by raising finances through commercial development of railway land and air space at these stations. It is a joint venture company consisting of RLDA with 49 % stake and Ircon with 51% stake, respectively.

IRSDCL has already finalised master plans for all five stations, including Habibganj and is in process of getting approvals and clearances from railway and state authorities which will be followed by invitation of bids for appointment of developers around December.

General manager (GM) Western Central Railway (WCR) Ramesh Chandra had also undertaken review of station in January.

Interview with DRM/Waltair post cyclone Hudhud hit Waltair Division

Loss to East Coast Railway Almost Rs 80 Crore, Says DRM/Waltair Mr.Anil Kumar

DRM Waltair Mr.Anil Kumar

DRM Waltair Mr.Anil Kumar

विसाखपटनम Visakhapatnam (VSKP): Managing railways is tricky, particularly after a cyclone of the nature of Hudhud ripped apart the infrastructure, rolling stock and the tracks. Though the Waltair Division of the East Coast Railway has recovered from the impact of the cyclone, it is yet to become fully operational. Lack of enough power to overhead power traction is posing a new problem. In a free-wheeling chat with R Prithvi Raj, Waltair Divisional Railway Manager Anil Kumar explains the challenges he had to face (Excerpts – Courtesy: Indian Express)

What is the situation now?

We have recovered considerably. The railway staff rose to the occasion. Things are falling in place though in some areas, a lot needs to be done. The cyclone has damaged not only railway tracks and overhead electric traction, but also passenger amenities at railway stations and staff quarters.

What was your first priority after the cyclone struck?

Our first priority was to clear obstructions on the railway tracks. Our Divisional Engineer rushed at 10 p.m. Sunday, the day the cyclone hit us, with tree cutters and overhead traction repair staff. By 2 p.m. the next day all obstructions were cleared and electric traction was repaired, ready to receive power. By 7 p.m. we ran the first train between Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram. For us, this is a record.

Now that passenger trains have been restored, what is your next area of importance?

We are concentrating on operation of goods trains. Though overhead traction is back to normal, the APTransco is not in a position to supply adqeuate power. In our division, we draw power at seven stations. For each station, we need 50 MW. But AP Transco is able to supply only five MW. So we are giving priority to passenger trains and as a result, goods train services are being hit.

Why are you not using diesel locomotives for hauling goods trains?

Though we have enough number of electric locomotives, we are not able to use them fully because there is not enough power. Now we have to run our goods trains with diesel locomotives but we have very few of them. We have requisitioned diesel locomotives from other railways. In fact, we have some but not enough because other railways are not able to spare as they need them for their regular operations. As we have a diesel locomotive shed here which has a capacity of 212 locomotives, we have at present some diesel locomotives but they are not enough.

How is power shortage affecting your goods train movement?

Take for instance, the Kothavalasa-Kirandul line. For running one rake, we have to use three electric locomotives because the line runs on a very high gradient. But APTranco is giving me only 5 MW per station. That is not enough for me to run passenger as well as freight trains. We used to load 40-45 rakes every day before the cyclone. We are not able to load even 24 now.

In fact, immediately after the cyclone, the rake loading ranged between 12 and 10. In KK line, we used to load up to 24 rakes per day but now it has come down to 12 as we have to use a detour to move the goods and use diesel locomotives which are less in number.

What was the extent of damage to Railways in the entire division?

Property damage works out to about Rs 80 crore and loss of revenue about Rs 350 crore. As we are not able to run full complement of goods trains, we are losing revenue heavily. We have suffered damage to four of our important assets. They are: Electro Locomotive, Diesel Locomotive, Coach and Wagon Maintenance facilities. The cyclone had hit them with brutal force with the result that the facilities have been damaged The roofs were blown away and the equipment too was damaged.

Massive Operations to Restore Hudhud-hit Rail track sections on Visakhapatnam Division

 

Kothavalasa-Kirandul rail line blocked due land slide on either side of the tunnel. (Below) Senior divisional engineer (Central) G Nagabhusan Rao (second from left) is at site for monitoring works

Kothavalasa-Kirandul rail line blocked due land slide on either side of the tunnel

विसाखपटनम Visakhapatnam (VSKP): A mammoth operation is on to restore a portion of the bridge between Tyada and Araku on the Kothavalasa-Kirandul railway track (KK Line) considered the lifeline of the Waltair Division of the East Coast Railway.

A part of the bridge was blown away by Cyclone Hudhud on October 12. Restoration work is tricky and challenging as the bridge is located right above a deep gorge on the hilly terrain.

The K K line has the distinction of being the second highest railway line in the country, after the one in Jammu. The highest point of the railway line is at Simliguda, which is 996 m from the mean sea level.

The 438-km-long K K line is important because it transports iron ore from Bacheli and Kirandul mines of the National Mineral Development Corporation in Chhattisgarh. Usually, 12 rakes, each consisting of 59 wagons, bring iron ore to Visakhapatnam almost every day. A part of the ore is used by the steel plant here and the rest is exported from the Visakhapatnam Port Trust.

Senior Divisional Engineer (Central), Waltair Division (ECOR) Mr.G.Nagabhusan Rao (second from left) is at site for monitoring works

Senior Divisional Engineer (Central), Waltair Division (ECOR) Mr.G.Nagabhusan Rao (second from left) is at site on ‘Mission Restoration’ monitoring works day and night

As the K K line is not available now, only about six or seven rakes are being moved to Visakhapatnam via Koraput and Rayagada. Because of the reduced freight volume, the Waltair Division is losing a revenue of Rs.20 crore per day.

On the day the cyclone struck, the winds and downpour triggered landslides on hilly slopes damaging the track at several places. The most debilitating was the landslide that hit the bridge. Under its impact, an 80-ft-long girder in the middle of the bridge, whose total length is 165 ft, came off.

The challenge before the railways is not only to find a new girder but also to set it up to restore the bridge. After frantic inquires, officials found the girder and it is now being modified to suit the requirement. The original bridge had a curvature of 8 degrees and the new girder is being modified accordingly.

The KK line was laid in 1965 by the Japanese. The technology they used was unique because the terrain on which the line has to be laid was very inhospitable. Now using the technology, the new girder has to be placed and joined with the rest of the bridge. The railways have moved supports (cribs) which are being set up from the bottom of the gorge to a height of 20 metres to support the girder and once the girder is in place, the cribs could be removed. “The entire task is very daunting but we are confident of doing it by the middle of November,” Waltair Divisional Railway Manager Anil Kumar said.

Lumding-Silchar GC Works: NFR Construction Org completes evacuation of Tunnel No.10

Haflong (HFG):  In a major achievement, the Construction Organisation of the Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has successfully made through the Tunnel No. 10 today morning in the Lumding-Silchar gauge conversion project.

The 3.23-km long tunnel was made through with underground excavation work from both ends, meeting each other, NFR (Construction) Senior PRO, DC Borah said.

This is the longest tunnel in the entire project and is situated near the New Haflong Station building and passes below Haflong town.

The work on this tunnel was started in September 2005, but due to several geological problems, work did not progress well initially.

“However, from 2012 onwards, the work on the remaining portion of the tunnel could progress well and now it has been opened. The balance work of the tunnel, i.e., benching, lining and invert will be completed before January 31, 2015, during the Mega Block period,” Borah said.

He added, “very adverse geological conditions were encountered during the underground excavation of this tunnel and its completion has seen as a major challenge for the construction engineers of NFR. In fact this is the most critical activity of the Lumding-Silchar gauge conversion project. For tackling all geological hurdles, consultancy services of the Central Institute of Fuel and Mining Research (CIFMR), Roorkee, were utilised. Suitable changes in design and tunnel support system were made and from 2012 onwards progress of about 60 metre per month was steadily achieved.”

This is one of the 17 tunnels in the entire alignment of Lumding-Silchar gauge conversion project.

Borah said other works like earth filling, construction of major and minor bridges, station buildings and track linking are going on satisfactorily as part of the Mega Block works.

“The present overall progress of work is 96 per cent. NFR (Construction) is confident of completing the Lumding-Silchar gauge conversion by March 31, 2015,” he said.

Bhilai Steel Plant registers record Rail loading in the first half of FY 2014-15

भिलाई Bhilai (BIA): Bhilai Steel Plant’s has recorded some best-ever performances in the first half (H1) period of fiscal year, during April to September 2014 period.

A statement issued by the company said that among the record-breaking performances for the H1 period were the best ever loading of 75,400 T long rails, surpassing previous best of 70,600 T achieved in H1 of 2012. The total production of high tensile (HT) plates stood at 127,400 T, surpassing previous best of 112,400 T in H1 of 2013.

The latter includes best ever production of 85,900 T of HT plates for home sales, and best ever production of 41,500 T of HT plates for export, the statement said.

Among the other best ever performances for the H1 period of fiscal year 2014-15 were loading of 892,000 T steel for direct dispatches, surpassing previous best of 860,400 T in H 1 of 2003, and processing of 7,995 heats through ladle furnace, as against previous best of 7,564 heats in H1 period of 2013.

Among the new grades, the sixth grade rolled out in plate mill during September 2014, the JIS G 3136 SN 490BN, was developed against an export order from M/S THYSSENKRUPP MANNEX, GMBH, Germany for use in building structures. The mechanical property of this grade is typical. The product have improved seismic resistance and hence suitable for use in buildings and structures to have resistance from the effect of natural hazards like earthquake (cyclone and Tsunami). The plant has loaded a total of 106,562 tonnes of steel for export in H1 (April to Sept) period of 2014-15 including 87,864 T of plates.

Jorhat Rail Seva Suraksha Samiti to approach Railway Minister with list of demands

जोरहाट शहर Jorhat Town (JTTN): The Rail Seva Suraksha Samiti here is planning to write to Union railway minister Sadananda Gowda after it received an “unsatisfactory” response from the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) to a number of its demands.

J.K. Agarwalla, president of the Samiti, said that one of their main demands was the inclusion of Jorhat in the Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge project. However, the response from NFR was that Jorhat could not be included at this stage of the project, he said.

Agarwalla said a slight extension of the tracks would include Jorhat in the project.

“The Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge at Dibrugarh will connect the south bank and the north bank of the Brahmaputra and shorten travel time to Arunachal Pradesh.

Jorhat, being an important commercial and educational hub, could have benefited had the project been extended,” he said.

The Samiti demanded that the Kamakhya-Jorhat Intercity Express, which was being run as two separate trains, run from Kamakhya to Dibrugarh via Jorhat.

It also demanded that the Guwahati-Mariani Intercity Express via Jorhat, which runs to New Jalpaiguri from Guwahati as two separate trains, be named Mariani-Jorhat Intercity Express and run to New Jalpaiguri.

The organisation also demanded the New Tinsukia to Rajendra Nagar (Patna) Express be routed through Jorhat.

It wants the Guwahati-Jodhpur/Bikaner Mail to originate from Dibrugarh and run daily and AC chair cars be attached to the Jorhat-Tinsukia passenger train.

The Samiti also demanded a bypass line at Mariani so that long-distance trains could make the turning to Jorhat.

The NFR said the work would be executed after sanction.

NFR also said the construction of a flyover at Na-Ali railway gate was sanctioned on the basis of cost sharing but was dropped owing to non-availability of funds with the Assam government.

Approval of BMC awaited for Extension of Pit-line at Kurla for 15-coach rakes maintenance

मुंबई Mumbai: The Central Railways is awaiting permission from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for the removal of 60 trees at its Kurla yard so it can extend the maintenance line for fifteen-coach rakes, and thereby introduce new trains.

The delegation of senior CR officials met BMC officials last week to discuss the long-awaited permissions. The Kurla car shed is inadequate to cater to 15-car rakes, and several trees will have to be removed to extend the pit line.

Due to the limited length of the maintenance line, maintenance of 15 car rakes is currently divided into two parts. In the first shift, 12 coaches are maintained and cleaned, while the remaining 3 coaches are done in a second shift, making the process difficult and time-consuming. The process involves shunting of coaches completely from the maintenance area and then reversed to do remaining work.

One of the senior officials from the Tree authority, said on condition of anonymity, “The meeting was positive and they have principally agreed to grant the sanction. The official sanction will be granted soon in the larger interest of the public. The Central Railways is keen to follow all mandatory requirements, so the question of not sanctioning does not arise.”

Narendra Patil, CPRO, Central Railway, said, “The sanction is long pending. Once the approval is granted we will start working on removal of trees as per the Tree authority’s guidelines. The extended line would help maintaining 15 car rakes quickly. The extension will also help us increase additional services in the near future.”

“Currently, no spare rakes are available for the Karjat-Kasara section, but we are awaiting new rakes from the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) very soon. Then we we can initiate additional services.”
In October last year, the first 15-coach rake was introduced between CSTM and Kalyan stations. Currently, there are sixteen services of 15 rake-trains available. These halts at Dadar, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Mulund, Thane and Dombivali.

Indian Railways to run Six pilgrim-special trains from Oct 25

Indian Railways will run six pilgrim-special trains on different routes from October 25 to promote rail tourism and provide reasonably priced package to tourists.

Two of the six trains will cover Bihar – Shikharji Circuit Yatra (6 nights/7 days) from Jaipur through Rajgir, Pawapuri, Parasnath to Varanasi and Takht Parikarma (9N/10 days) from Jammu Tawi through Gwalior, Bidar and Patna Sahib to Delhi.

The other four packages are for Sukhmangalam Yatra from Bangaluru to Hampi, Dham special with Dakshin Darshan from Chandigarh via Lucknow to Ujjain, Dham special with Dakshin Darshan from Chandigarh via Jaipur to Ujjain and Jyotirling Yatra from Jaipur to Bhimshankar Jyotirling.

Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been entrusted with the task of running these pilgrim special trains. A few more such pilgrim circuit tourist trains are being planned to start by year-end. The package includes journey ticket, boarding, on-board/off board meals, road transfers, sightseeing, guide, etc.

The passengers of these trains will be tourists only. Union minister of state for culture and tourism (independent charge) Sripad Rao has already announced a special AC train from next year for Buddhist circuit starting from Gaya to Kushinagar via Sarnath to cater to the needs of mainly foreign tourists.

Union tourism ministry has also issued guidelines for holding spiritual festivals at Bodh Gaya during lean (summer) season. These festivals will be organized through Bihar government in collaboration with international monasteries located there.

To attract pilgrims from Asian countries to the monasteries located at Bodh Gaya, Union tourism ministry has offered incentives for holding festivals which may be for a week or a fortnight. “We will help tourists in getting visas and extend other facilities for visiting Bodh Gaya during festivals. Apart from sightseeing, we will provide all kinds of logistic support at an affordable rate,” said a senior ministry official.

During the festivals, they can cook their ethnic food and organize cultural festivals as well. Over two dozen monasteries of various countries, including Sri Lanka, Japan, Myanmar, Cambodia and Tibet, are located
at Bodh Gaya.

Delhi Metro’s Phase-IV to have six new corridors

DMRC Corridorsनई दिल्ली New Delhi: Six new corridors will come up under Delhi Metro’s Phase-IV and with this the total Metro network in the Capital will soon cover over 400 kilometres. While the ongoing Phase-III of constructions is making the Metro network denser in the city, the next phase attempts to reach the farthest corners, said an official.

As per the detailed project report prepared and submitted to the Delhi Government and the Union Urban Development Ministry by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation for approval, the new corridors will traverse 103.93 kilometres, and is likely to come up by 2022.

As per the report, the new corridors proposed under Phase-IV include the 21.73 km stretch connecting Rithala to Narela, the West Janakpuri to R K Ashram which will be a 28.92 km corridor, Mukundpur to Maujpur (12.54 km), Inderlok to Indraprastha (12.58 km), Aero City to Tughlakabad (20.20 km) and Lajpat Nagar to Saket G Block (7.96 km).

According to the DPR, 67 new stations are expected to come up across these corridors, officials said.

With these planned expansions, the Delhi Metro is likely to reach Barwala, Bawana, Wazirabad, Mehrauli and Mahipalpur, and even the Delhi Secretariat, among other localities of the city. “As per the acquired experience, total work can be completed in 72 months period from date of start. The work should be started by April 2016, and various sections can be opened in phases by March 31, 2022,” a DMRC spokesperson said.

The Delhi Metro network is currently 190 km long. The on-going Phase-III will add 140 kms and the next phase will add over 100 kms and it is expected to benefit nearly 60 lakh commuters daily.

Noida, Greater Noida Authorities sign MoU with DMRC for Metro extension

नोएडा Noida: The development authorities of Noida and Greater Noida on Saturday joined hands with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation for two metro extensions from City Centre to Noida Sector 62 and Greater Noida and is likely to be completed by 2017.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between DMRC Managing Director Mangu Singh, Noida and Greater Noida authority chairman Rama Raman, and Secretary, Government of India, Shankar Agarwal at a function held on Saturday.

The Authority also gave two advance payment cheques to DMRC officials for carrying out the necessary work. The two sections where metro will be extended is from City Centre to Noida Sector 62 and City Centre to Greater Noida.

The City Centre to Sector 62 line is 6.675 kilometer long and will have six station. The total project cost is Rs 1,816 crores. Proposed station locations are Sectors 34, 52, 59, 61, 62 and Electronic City (NH 24), an official release said.

This metro line will also be a boon for Indirapuram residents it is just across the NH 24. The City Centre to Greater Noida extension line is 29.7 kms long and will have 22 stations. Total cost of the project is estimated Rs 5,064 crores.

In July an MoU for Botanical Garden to Kalindi Kunj metro line was signed with a total project cost Rs 845 crore and is expected to be completed next year.

Oommem Chandy sabotaged Sabari Rail project: allege Kerala BJP

कोट्टायम Kottayam (KTYM): BJP state president V. Muraleedharan has alleged that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Finance Minister K.M. Mani and Transport Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan had sabotaged the Sabari rail project. He told reporters after the state leadership meet of the BJP here, “Mr Chandy is responsible for sabotaging the Sabari rail project in his own district of Kottayam. Chandy, K.M. Mani and Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan cannot absolve themselves of the responsibility in sabotaging the project,” he alleged.

“The Chandy government is demanding to raise the status of Sabarimala as a national pilgrimage centre to hide their lapses in providing infrastructural facilities at Sabarimala,” he added.

Though the Sabraimala pilgrimage was deeply connected with the development of the state, the government had failed in developing Sabarimala, he alleged. The meeting to evaluate the preparations at Sabarimala was also convened very late, he added.

IR all set to get on track with Advanced Technology in terms of Safety and Security

Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station is a hive of activity. Traders from all over the country arrive at the historic station – housed in an impressive Victorian Gothic building – following train journeys that may have taken more than two days. Goods ranging from huge sacks of rice to motorbikes are unloaded on to the platforms. Lawyers and restaurant workers hop on the crowded local services for their daily commute across the city.

India’s railways are often described as the backbone of the country’s economy. But the antiquated network, much of which was built under British rule, is desperately in need of an overhaul, amid huge financial losses and safety issues. Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, who came to power this year following a landslide victory, is taking steps to modernise the country’s railways by attracting foreign investment into the sector. This is part of a plan to inject 14 trillion rupees into the network by 2020. The journey will not be easy, however.

“I know that everybody feels that they have a solution to the challenges which Indian Railways face,” DV Sadananda Gowda, India’s railways minister, said when he presented his first railway budget in May. The “growth of railway sector depends heavily on availability of funds for investment in rail infrastructure. Internal revenue sources and government funding are insufficient to meet the requirement”, he said.

Indian Railways, owned and operated by the government, is one of the world’s largest rail networks.

It covers 116,000 kilometres of railway track and carries more than 23 million passengers and 3 million tonnes of freight a day, connecting more than 7,172 stations across India, according to official data. It employs more than 1.3 million staff. But it has been suffering heavy losses in recent years, with a reverse of 250bn rupees in the financial year running to the end of March 2013.

One of the reasons behind trains bleeding cash in India is because of subsidised tickets being sold below cost. The government in May announced an unpopular move of hiking rail fares by 14 per cent in a effort to stem these losses.

In August, it opened up India’s rail infrastructure to 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI). Last month, Japan said it was ready to provide financial, technical and operational support for India’s plans to launch a high-speed bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, in a project which is expected to cost 600bn rupees. Japan is helping India conduct a feasibility study for the 300kph railway system. Soon afterwards, China pledged to invest in India’s railways with plans to improve the speed of the line between Chennai and Mysore via Bangalore, redevelop stations and help set up a university for the railway sector in India, as part of a broader target of investing US$20bn into India’s economy over the next five years.

There are lessons to be learnt from other countries in trying to achieve profitability, business leaders say.

“Japan undoubtedly will be a great model to emulate,” says BVR Mohan Reddy, the executive director of Cyient and the vice president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies. “The rail system is not only profitable but is safe, punctual, clean and comfortable. For metro passenger systems, Hong Kong MTR can be a good example where the train not only runs at 99.9 per cent punctuality but also the stations and trains are very clean.”

He says that foreign investment would create an “impetus for improved rail assets”. It would also bring in much-needed capital for the growth of the industry and reduce the burden on government finances, he adds.

“Indian railways has been pursuing the conflicting objectives of running like a commercial enterprise but serving like a welfare organisation,” says Mr Reddy. “Historically, populist measures have been taken as a routine which have resulted into low operational performance and wastage of funds.”

While there are mixed views on the success of rail privatisation in the UK under Margaret Thatcher’s government more than 20 years ago, Asheet Pasricha, the president of the Association of Indian Forging Industry, says that India should look to this model as an example of improvement.

“The railway sector in UK was declining,” he says. “The infrastructure needed a boost, the systems were not reliable and there was absolute lack of innovation. This scenario called for privatisation of the railways, which brought about a railway renaissance in UK. Thus the FDI and the PPP (public private partnership) models in railway, if implemented correctly, hold a lot of promise to bring in the desired turnaround in terms of revenues, profitability and sustainability.”

Investment into Indian railways is much needed, Mr Pasricha says.

“With railways incurring losses over the last few years there has been lack of investments in technology upgradation, laying new tracks and new coaches among others,” he says. “Apart from this railways are also reeling under the pressure of an overburdened network, incurring losses due to low service charge, declining profits due to absence of streamlined and rational policy approach and lack of focus on completing unfinished projects.”

The success of attracting private investment, however, depends on decisive and sustained implementation and a clear strategy to convince investors that they will see a return.

“Railways have been unsuccessful in the past in meeting their targets,” says Mr Pasricha. “Hence what is more critical is to create a conducive environment to attract private sector participation. Policies and guidelines will have to be spelt out properly and a clear roadmap will be required to build positive sentiments among investors to feel confident enough to receive good returns on their investment.”

Proposed improvements to India’s railway network would also provide a huge boost to the country’s tourism industry.

“A strategic three-pronged combination of connectivity, safety and modernisation has brought the spotlight back to ‘Destination India’, and augurs well from both an inbound and domestic tourism perspective,” says Madhavan Menon, the managing director of Thomas Cook India. “Connectivity to Kashmir, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh immediately put them on the tourist radar as key emerging opportunities. We are delighted with the impactful new initiatives of both high and semi-high speed projects.”

Safety has been a major problem for India’s trains, with fatal accidents, including crashes, derailments,and fires, occurring all too often. Improving safety on India’s trains is a vast undertaking.

“India has the most dense network compared to other countries,” says Manoj Shenoy, the president in Mumbai of the Fire and Security Association of India. “In India, a minimum of 12 to 13 carriages are pulled by each train. The amount of people travelling on trains is also much higher than elsewhere in the world, where people use cars more or maybe fly. It is the lifeline of India. There may be a higher level of accidents being reported in this country.”

Foreign investment into India’s railways would definitely help improve the safety of its trains, he says.  “They will obviously come in with more advanced technology in terms of safety and security.”

Centre gives ex-post facto approval for Productivity Linked Bonus to Railway Employees

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The Government today gave ex-post facto approval for the payment of Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) equivalent to 78 days’ wages to all eligible non-gazetted Railway employees. This bonus will be for the financial year 2013-14 and it will cost Rs 1063.38 crore to the state exchequer. The wage calculation ceiling prescribed for payment of PLB to eligible non-gazetted Railway employees is Rs 3500 per month. About 12.60 lakh non-gazetted Railway employees are likely to benefit from the decision.

The PLB on Railway covers all non-gazetted Railway employees (excluding RPF/RPSF personnel) throughout the country. This year also, PLB equivalent to 78 days’wages has been paid as a special case to motivate employees.

Bibek Debroy committee hears out officials on Railway Board revamp

Panel to meet other Board members, unions later

Bibek Debroyनई दिल्ली New Delhi: What prevented Railways from implementing the suggestions given by the earlier expert committees?

This was one of the question that the committee headed by Bibek Debroy, set up to restructure the Railway Board, asked the Railway Board Chairman and some Board Members in its first meeting on Friday.  The Government recently set up a committee headed by Debroy, research professor with Centre for Policy Research, to recommend steps to restructure the Railway Board.

“Today was the first meeting. We want to hear what the Railway Board has to say…The committee members were already in touch over e-mails and have gone through various reports since 1994. Given that we have to submit the report in one year, we have decided to form various sub-groups,” Debroy told.

The committee plans to meet other Board Members, recognised Railway Unions and other railway officials (including former railway officials) on October 29-30 to get their views.

The committee has also planned field visits to Kolkata and Mumbai (to interact with two railway zones in each city), Varanasi (to interact with the production unit) and Korba (to get a perspective regarding coal transportation, from where the Railways gets the largest revenues).

“We will prepare a draft report in six months, which will be put out in public domain and invite comments,” he said.

The mandate of the committee includes reorganising and restructuring the Board and subsequently the Department to separate policy making from operations and encourage inter-departmental coordination. It also has to suggest ways wherein policy making focuses on long-term and medium-term planning issues and operations focus on day-to-day functioning. It also has to recommend ways to exchange officers between the Railways and other departments. The panel will also make an estimate of the Railways’ financial needs and ensure appropriate framework and policies to raise resources, both internally and from outside the Government. It will also examine and suggest modalities for implementing the Cabinet decision on setting up a Rail Tariff Authority.

With all the committees and expert opinions, Railways need autonomy from political meddling more than anything else and should stick to the right track.  The rest is incidental

The Government has appointed yet another committee to look into the issue of restructuring Indian Railways. ‘When in doubt, form a committee’ has been the mantra followed by politicians who, with minimal knowledge of the ministries they head, need someone or the other to guide them in formulating policies and drawing up a road map.  The last such exercise in restructuring, done by Rakesh Mohan in 2001, recommended ‘corporatisation’ as the panacea for all of the Railways’ ills.

Unfortunately the vital issue of whether the Railways should become a commercial entity generating profits to finance its growth, or continue to be a vehicle for economic and social development with the Central exchequer footing the bill, was never fully addressed. Moreover, an ownership structure that gives government-nominated directors unbridled power without accountability, while professionals running the corporation are held responsible for the results, is hardly the way to go.

The problem is not about who the owner is, but whether the owner is willing to take the responsibility. Creating an arms-length relationship between the Railways and the Government would be ideal, but will the minister and babus of the Ministry of Transport under which the proposed Railway Corporation would function, be prepared to accept it? Not likely!

On the job

Moreover any organisation needs a CEO who calls the shots and takes the rap if things go wrong. This crucial role has all along been performed by the Chairman Railway Board (CRB) who, though first among equals of a seven-member board, was ultimately responsible for the smooth functioning of the 1.4 million employees-strong behemoth.

The vital task of selecting managers for 67 divisions, general managers for 16 zonal railways, 5 for the production units and 7 other posts of equivalent rank is the CRB’s prerogative, though he/she may consult other members.

Responsible for translating policies into action, these are field commanders of an organisation which is 24×7 at work, ensuring trains run come hell or high water, carrying 23 million passengers and 3 million tonnes of freight every day.

Perhaps Madhav Rao Scindia was the last Rail Minister who understood and made full use of this arrangement, seldom interfering with the Railways’ day-to-day working. His ‘golden’ era saw the introduction of a string of inter-city trains, namely the Shatabdi expresses, and a state-of-the-art computerised passenger reservation system which in July this year created a record by issuing almost five million tickets a day from its 11,127 terminals located at 3,257 stations, and ‘online’ bookings.

Jaffer Sharief, who followed Scindia, came armed with prior experience in an earlier stint as Minister of State for Railways. Inducting a railway officer as his private secretary, he soon set about milking the organisation through his much touted uni-gauge project, which put the Railways firmly on the path to financial ruin.

Over the last two decades, successive Rail Ministers have tended to assume the role of the CEO, with their respective personal secretaries often issuing orders on behalf of the minister.

Overly populist

Unfortunately, given the vast resources available with the Railways and its efficiency in executing orders, their populist agenda got a free run.

Announcing hundreds of new trains, stopping superfast trains at the home towns of MPs and MLAs, multi crore projects — most of them financially unviable — and other freebies became routine, resulting in the Railway’s operating ratio plunging to an all-time low of 92 per cent.

‘Divide and rule’ became the mantra and with the chairman being effectively sidelined, even some board members began lobbying for projects and other inputs for their respective departments, in order to grab the maximum share of the budget pie. ‘Departmentalism’ soon became the order of the day, and providing rail transport at the lowest possible unit cost became a lost cause.

The latest fiasco of ‘cash for posts’ during Pawan Kumar Bansal’s tenure was one such example of a vendor trying to influence not only the outcome of a tender, but slotting a key board member who would be favourable to their overtures.

Hopefully, the latest committee on ‘Restructuring of Railways’ headed by Bibek Debroy will address the vital issue of providing authority with accountability, with the primacy of the CRB as CEO being fully restored.

Software delay puts off Chennai Metro Rail’s Commercial run

चेन्नई Chennai (MAS): The delay by German firm Siemens in providing the final software has delayed the inaugural commercial run of Chennai Metro Rail from Koyambedu to Alandur, according to a top Metro Rail official. The plan was to have the inaugural commercial run by the end of the year.

The final software will integrate design, supply, installation, testing and signals, besides providing track data and other vital data.

Sources said that through the final software, the entire power supply system can be monitored and controlled through Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA). The remote operation can be managed from the centralised operation control centre located in Koyambedu.

Top Metro Rail officials then took up the issue with the chief executive officer of the company in Germany, after which, the official said, they procured the software and the trials were taking place now.

Once the final trial is conducted with the final software, there would be an integrated trial run. The trial would be analysed by officials from Siemens, before being studied by an independent Safety Assessor of Siemens.

Following this, there will be two independent safety assessment tests, after which there will be a statutory inspection by the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Bengaluru. Once the Commissioner of Railway Safety gives the green light, the Ministry of Railways will give its clearance, following which the dates of the inaugural trial run will be decided.

Works on the Metro Rail stations are also yet to be completed. “We planned it in November, but then we are positive that it will be inaugurated early next year,” the official said.

Till now, no date has been fixed. It can be decided only after getting vital clearances from the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Chennai Metro Rail sources said.

It is believed that if the city gets its quota of monsoon then the pending work on the elevated stretch could be delayed further.

Land requirement for Mumbai Metro Line-3 come to the fore

WR will have to provide land at Churchgate, Grant Road, Mumbai Central and Mahalaxmi to build underground Metro stations; requirement came to the fore during a meeting of railway and MMRC officials yesterday.  Development of the Metro line will claim the gardens at the entrance of the Mumbai Central station, and force relocation of the iconic locomotive made by Kerr Stuart and Co, England, in 1929 as well

मुंबई Mumbai: The subway at Churchgate station will provide connectivity to the proposed Rs 23,136- crore Metro Line-3 (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz). The two gardens outside Mumbai Central station will be converted into a temporary yard for the Metro rail, and a heritage engine on display in one of the gardens will require relocation.

These were some of the observations made during an inspection, followed by a meeting between officials from the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) and the Western Railway (WR). MMRC officials said they intend to start the project by January 2015, for which 14 firms participated during the pre-qualification bidding. The foundation stone for the project was laid in August. The 32.5-km long Metro Line-3 will be completely underground, and have 27 stations.

Mumbai Metro Line-3

Churchgate:  Sources said the subway at Churchgate station will connect with the Metro station, taking people directly towards Colaba. “People need not use the road; instead, they can board the Metro train. Similarly, they can also catch the local trains from Churchgate station,” said a WR official.

Grant Road:  Here, a 400 sq m plot is required for developing the underground Metro station. This shall have to be railway land on the east side of the Grant Road station. The authorities will carry necessary work through microtunnelling.

Mumbai Central:  The station plays an important role in the project, and needs a 3,500 sq m plot. But, the development of the Metro line will claim the two gardens at the entrance of the Mumbai Central station, and force relocation of the iconic locomotive made by Kerr Stuart and Co, England, displayed in one of the gardens.

The engine was manufactured at a cost of Rs 34,423 in 1929, and it was decommissioned in 1990. “Construction material and infrastructural equipment will occupy the two gardens for the next three to four years.

The gardens will be converted into a temporary yards for Metro trains. The authorities also wanted to close the entrance to the station, to which we might not agree,” said a WR official.

Presently, taxis, tempos, cars and other four-wheelers use the gate to enter the station premises for picking up or dropping people. Another road near the Divisional Railway Manager’s office will be needed with the adjacent plot.

Mahalaxmi:  Here, too, WR is expected to part with its land for development of Metro Line-3. Metro authorities intend to connect the existing platforms at Mahalaxmi station with an underground subway, taking passengers directly to the Metro station. Even the road transport will be connected with the station.

Sacrificed:  A few railway officials said that the shelved Churchgate-Virar elevated rail corridor project had almost followed a similar route. They alleged that the elevated corridor was sidelined because of the Metro Line-3. The state government and Indian Railways were at loggerheads over the two big- ticket projects, connecting south Mumbai with the north. Eventually, the state promoted and pushed the Metro project.

Churchgate

  • Subway at Churchgate station will connect with the Metro station, taking people directly towards Colaba
  • This connectivity will assist even those alighting from the local trains, as they can directly approach the Metro station without leaving the Churchgate station premises

Mumbai Central

  • Construction will cost WR a plot measuring 3,500 sq mt, including the two gardens at the station entrance.
  • These gardens will be used to store construction material and equipment for the next 3 to 4 years.
  • Later, they will be converted into yards for Metro trains.
  • Moreover, a British Raj-era locomotive that is on display in one of the gardens will require relocation.
  • MMRC wants to shut one of the entrances to the station, a move which the WR officials might oppose.
  • It also wants the road near the Divisional Railway Manager’s office with the adjacent plot

Official speak: “We are in talks with the MMRC and have visited the sites wherever necessary,” said Shailendra Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), Western Railway. Sanjay Sethi, managing director, MMRC and additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA, said, “We plan to integrate the Metro with the railways, BEST, autos and taxis, wherever possible. As per the plan, we want to start work by January 2015. So we are working out the details.”

Rs 23,136 Crore is the Cost of the underground Metro Line-3

27 Number of Stations on the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz corridor

Chouhan announces metro rail project for Gwalior

ग्वालियर Gwalior (GWL):  Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced metro train project for Gwalior on Friday. He asked district administration officials to prepare a detailed project report for the metro project. Chouhan was addressing a public meeting at Gwalior on Friday.

Union steel and mines minister Narendra Singh Tomar was also present.

Chouhan said flyovers are necessary for a developing city like Gwalior which would be transformed into an ultramodern city within 5 years. For this, he asked public representatives to get action plans chalked out in consultation with district administration. He also laid foundation stone for state’s first 4-storey multi-level parking costing Rs 10.75 crore at City Centre and a sports complex costing Rs 1.75 crore.

He said 25,000 houses for the poor will be constructed in the city in next 5 years. Chief minister assured to make available necessary funds for setting right city’s sewage system. Chouhan also sanctioned Rs. 2 crore for infrastructure works while announcing Rs 50 lakh each for Antari, Dabra, Bilowa, Bhitarwar and Pichhor urban bodies.

Chouhan also laid foundation stones of 242 development works of Gwalior costing Rs 62.68 crore . He said that pace of industrialization will further accelerate following recent Global Investors Summit and lakhs of youths will get employment. He said a new industrial area is coming up at Sitapur and a new industrial corridor is also being developed from Morena to Gwalior.

Pune Metro Rail project receives suggestions from 400 citizens

पुणे Pune: Four hundred Puneites submitted their suggestions to the planning authority of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) during the hearing for allowing 4 Floor Space Index (FSI) along the metro corridors. The hearing is being conducted by the PMC since October 16.

The civic body has planned to introduce metro rail in the city and to make the plan viable, it decided to introduce 4 FSI along both sides of the metro corridor. It has also framed some rules for the same. As per the State government’s direction, the PMC had called for suggestions and objections on the issue and 5,400 citizens filed for objections against it. Nearly 90 per cent of the citizens who had filed the objections have opposed allowing 4 FSI along the metro corridors. Pune Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar has appointed City Engineer Prashat Waghmare to conduct hearing on the issue.

The city engineer’s office confirmed that every day, they are inviting 200 citizens for hearing. In last two days, the office had conducted the hearing of 400 people.

The PMC has decided to conduct the hearing of the remaining people after the Diwali vacation and the timetable for it will be published soon. Though the hearing is going on in the city, it did not get approval from the Central government. The proposal is pending with the Union government for final approval. The PMC claimed that they had complied with all the recommendations of the Central government.

Greater Noida Metro pact to be signed today

नोएडा Noida: Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will sign memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for two Metro links today. The two routes – Noida City Centre to Sector 62 and Noida City Centre to Greater Noida – will spell relief for thousands of commuters once in place.

According to officials, the MoUs will be signed between DMRC Managing Director Mangu Singh and the chairperson of Noida and Greater Noida Authorities, Rama Raman. The two Metro routes, stretching 6.675 km between City Centre and Sector 62 and 29.7 km between Noida and Greater Noida, had received the green signal from UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on September 30, 2014, but the government sat on both draft MoUs for a long time. Officials said once signed, payments will be processed and construction begin thereafter.

The City Centre – Sector 62 link is estimated to cost Rs 1,816 crore, while the Noida-Greater Noida route is expected to cost Rs 5,064 crore. Both tracks are expected to be complete by 2017. Officials said according to the Detailed Project Report (DPR) the cost will be shared between UP government and the Centre on an 80-20 sharing basis. The Noida-Greater Noida link, on the other hand, will be funded by the two authorities.

In July this year, DMRC had signed a MoU to build the Botanical Garden-Kalindi Kunj link. The Janakpuri West-Botanical Garden corridor is expected to be ready by 2016, catering to around 48,500 commuters daily.

Delhi Metro may come to ITO Metro Station a year early; Safety Trials in December

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  Delhi Metro is set to beat its deadline for extending the Central Secretariat-Mandi House line to ITO by a year, a move that will bring relief to thousands of commuters who battle daily gridlocks on one of the city’s busiest stretches.

More than 22,000 passengers are expected to use the ITO Metro station by 2016, says a project report. The number is likely to cross the 31,000 mark in 2021.

“The opening of a truncated section is a very difficult job and has many complications involved. But we are still trying to open the ITO station at the earliest as it will benefit a large number of people who come here from different parts of the city,” said DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal.

Trial runs on the Mandi House-ITO stretch are likely to begin this December, while the original target was December 2015.

“The station will be opened once we get the mandatory clearance from the commissioner of railway safety,” Dayal said.

The ITO station falls on the 9.37-kilometre Central Secretariat-Kashmere Gate line, which has been taken up by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) under its third phase of construction.

The corridor is completely underground and connects office localities in Mandi House and ITO, heritage sites like Jama Masjid and Red Fort, and commercial centres and residential pockets in the old Delhi area.

Apart from people commuting to their offices, the ITO station will also benefit sports enthusiasts who often come to watch football and cricket matches at the Ambedkar and Feroz Shah Kotla stadiums, located at a walking distance.

Delhi Metro submits Project Report for Phase-IV

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  Even as Delhi Metro rushes to meet deadlines for Phase III, preliminary work on Phase IV has already begun. The detailed project report (DPR) for the next phase of the Metro network has been submitted to the urban development ministry and the Delhi government that had already approved the basic alignments. Phase IV will connect places like Narela, Maujpur, Madangir, Bawana, Barwala, Mukundpur, Najafgarh, Chhawla and Mahipalpur to the rest of the city. 

The six new corridors of Phase IV will add around 100km more to the existing network, which is already 190km long, while Phase III will add 140km. After Phase IV, the total Delhi Metro network is expected to span some 400km.

A senior government official said, “Work on Phase IV will start by next year, if all approvals are given by the Delhi government and the Centre by the year-end.” Phase IV is scheduled to be completed by 2021. According to the DPR, 67 new stations will come up on the proposed corridors viz.Rithala-Narela, Janakpuri West-R.K.Ashram, Mukundpur-Maujpur, Inderlok-Indraprastha, Tughlaqabad-Aerocity and Lajpat Nagar-Saket G Block.

The idea is to connect outer Delhi with the heart of the city in the fourth phase, sources said. The official added, “While Phase III will make the Metro network denser by bringing the NCR closer to Delhi, we hope to get to the corners of the city in the fourth phase.” A letter detailing the corridor alignment and length had been sent to the transport department on November 2, 2011. Some of the corridors, like Lajpat Nagar-Saket or Mukundpur-Maujpur, will also connect commercial hubs with areas that have poor road connectivity. The proposed corridors would link the existing routes of phases I, II and III through different routes and will reduce travel time and expense.

Phase IV is expected to benefit nearly 60 lakh people daily and would take the daily ridership to 40 lakh, officials said. The corridors would be opened in sections, much like in the phases already constructed.

“Mukundpur-Maujpur and Janakpuri West-RK Ashram corridors are likely to be taken up first,” added the official. The existing DPR alignments are slightly different from the routes earlier suggested by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. These changes were made after suggestions from RITES.

Proposed Metro Rail systems at Indore and Bhopal to be driver-less, automated

भोपाल Bhopal (BPL): Rohit Associates, the consultant for metro projects in the two cities, has recommended the driverless model after a topographical survey carried out earlier, the sources said.

A team of consultants has been stationed in Indore since the beginning of the month studying the alignment to determine how the routes will be constructed i.e. subterranean or elevated.

Around 15 per cent of the total metro network, most of it in the core area, will be underground while the remaining portion in Indore is likely to be elevated, said the sources. The portion on the outskirts is likely to be on-ground, they added.

The consultancy firm is giving the finishing touches to the detailed project report (DPR), which is likely to be completed in a month.

“The system will have an optimum capacity of 45,000 passengers per hour per direction and each train will be capable of carrying 1,000 passengers,” said Roland Seifert, who is handling the operational aspects in preparation of the DPR.

“A high quality metro system requires suitable maintenance facilities and provisions for staff training,” said Marc Herkenrath, who is overseeing issues pertaining to depots and workshops.

Rohit Associates’ managing director Rohit Gupta said project costs for the Indore metro would be about `16,000 crore, “an average of Rs. 180-190 crore per kilometre”.

Given the way it was highlighted at the recently-concluded Global Investors Summit, the government appears keen to take the public-private partnership (PPP) route for Indore and Bhopal metros.

The Indore metro will have both direct – stops, depots – as well as indirect land requirements. But, perhaps given the sensitive nature of the subject, consultants are chary of divulging details about how much land will have to be acquired. “I cannot say anything about that,” said Gupta.

When contacted, officer on special duty (transport) in the urban development and environment department, Kamal Nagar, said the government had approved the light metro model with all its subsets “on merit.”

“However, a final decision on whether the system will be fully automated or not will be taken after the financial plan is submitted,” he added.

Indian Railways target reduction in Operating Costs

लखनऊ Lucknow (LKO):  Reducing operating ratio was a big challenge before the Railways and a target of reducing it to 85 per cent from exisiting 94 per cent has been fixed, Union Minister of state Manoj Sinha said here today.

“When our government came to power then operating ratio was 94 per cent which meant a saving of rupees four from the income of Rs 100.

Systra, RITES to study Delhi-Amritsar High Speed route

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Railways have undertaken a study to run trains at a high speed of 300 kmph on Delhi-Chandigarh- Amritsar route to reduce travel time between the national capital and the holy city to just about two-and-half hours hours from the existing six hours.

The pre-feasibility study of the proposed 450 km long Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar corridor project will be conducted by French consultant agency Systra along with railways subsidiary RITES, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

The study will explore the possibility of running a bullet train at a maximum speed of 300 km per hour on the proposed Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar route.

“It would cost about Rs 7 crore and the contract for undertaking the study has been awarded,” the official said.

The study will identify suitable routes for high speed alignment and station locations using satellite imagery data.

The report expected to be submitted in seven months also include environment impact, potential passengers as well as an indicative estimate of the cost to connect Delhi with Chandigarh and Amritsar on high speed rail network.

Systra and RITES have also carried out the study on the Mumbai-Ahemedabad high speed rail corridor project.

Apart from Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar and Mumbai-Ahemedabad routes, railways had identified five more corridors for running high speed train with the aim to connect commercial, tourist and pilgrimage hubs in India.

The routes include Hyderabad-Kazipet- Dornakal-Vijayawada-Chennai, Howrah-Haldia, Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore-Ernakulam-Thiruvananthapuram, Delhi-Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi-Patna and Delhi-Jaipur-Jodhpur.

The high-speed rail corridors will be built as elevated corridors.

Railways’ white-paper “Vision 2020″ submitted to Parliament in 2009 envisages implementation of regional high-speed rail projects to provide environmentally friendly time-efficient journeys which can be provided by the new high speed rail systems designed for trains travelling up to 300 km per hour.

IRCON’s profit crosses INR 1200 Crore

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  IRCON International Limited (IRCON) has declared its highest ever final dividend of Rs 81.16 crores @ 410% on the paid-up share capital of Rs 19.796 crores.

This, combined with the already paid interim dividend would take the total dividend pay-out to shareholders for 2013-14 to a record Rs 182.12 crores @ 920% of the paid-up share capital.
Mohan Tiwari, chairman and managing director, IRCON, while addressing the shareholders in its annual general meeting held recently, highlighted the achievements of the Company during 2013-14.

He said that IRCON has sustained the upward trend in its profitability during the period, as Profit Before Tax (PBT) and Profit After Tax (PAT) have increased to record Rs 1249 crores and Rs 907 crores, registering a growth of about 23% and 24% respectively, although turnover is marginally down.

During the last five years, the Company has recorded a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.47% in turnover and 46.10% in PBT.

Dedicated Freight Corridor a fillip for CONCOR

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Expectations of faster economic growth are boosting the Container Corp. of India Ltd’s (CONCOR) stock.

Economic slowdown, competition from road transport and private container train operators and tariff hikes by the Indian Railways were some of the challenges the firm had to face in the past. However, some other factors are expected to offer respite from now.

“The company is transforming from a vanilla transportation player into an integrated logistics company by setting up 15 logistics parks (multi modal logistics parks, or MMLPs) along the dedicated freight corridor,” wrote analysts from IIFL Research in a note to clients last week.

The brokerage expects, through FY14-17, earnings per share should grow at 15% per annum versus the 5% during FY09-14, led by a pick-up in the economy and entry into logistics parks. At the same time, heavy investment in the parks will mean that the return on capital employed will be depressed for some time. But then, investors are aware of the long gestation period that the investments entail.

Meanwhile, the improvement in traffic is encouraging. The EXIM traffic data continues to show a healthy growth trend and is tracking mid-teen levels, pointed out Nomura Research.

CONCOR’s growth has been much more balanced over the past few months (as export growth has improved), thus implying that the running of empty trains has decreased from 10-11% in FY14 to 5-6% now, Nomura said in a recent note.

In fact, lower empty running was one reason that helped boost operating profit margin to 23.5% in the June quarter, which was about 80 basis points higher on a year-on-year basis. One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Of course, from a long-term perspective, the completion of the dedicated freight corridor will be a big trigger as demand for rail services is expected to get a fillip. A healthy balance sheet (debt free) and an envious market share of around 75% among container train operators, also augur well.

Since the beginning of this fiscal, while the Concor stock has risen 37%, the S&P BSE 200 index has gone up 24%. A delay in the economic turnaround is a risk for the firm.