News Headlines

Kochi Municipal Corp raises fears of ‘Shock Treatment’

कोच्चि Kochi: Along with the delay in shifting electric cables along the path of Kochi Metro, the Kochi corporation has raised safety concerns over the method used by Metro’s contractors to wrap steel structures with rubber sheets to prevent them coming into contact with power cables.

According to corporation officials, since the Metro work has gathered speed in the city, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has to ensure that cables are shifted safely, specifically referring to the work being carried out on MG Road. “It will not be wise to follow a practice of wrapping steel structures using rubber sheets. This is a temporary measure and cannot be considered safe. All agencies associated with the work must make sure that people’s life is not put to risk,” said town planning committee chairman K J Sohan.

However, Kochi Metro officials said that they were forced to opt for such measures because of the delay in shifting utility lines. “If we waited for agencies such as KSEB and Kerala Water Authority (KWA) to shift utility lines to continue with the Metro work, it will be almost impossible to complete the project in the agreed time frame,” an official said.

KSEB officials claimed that they were carrying out the process of shifting electric cables to facilitate work on MG Road. “We are trying to complete these works at the earliest,” said a KSEB engineer.

Meanwhile, Kochi mayor Tony Chammany has asked councillors to permit digging of city roads for KSEB to complete the process of laying underground cables. Speaking to councillors on the need for having underground cables, he said, “The KSEB has to complete the Restructured Accelerated Power Development & Reforms Programme (RAPD&RP) and take the cables underground. For this, they will have to dig the roads.”

He also assured councillors that the dug-up roads would be relaid using funds collected by the local body from KSEB.

Metro Model to be Followed at Tech Park

The Kochi Metro Rail model of land acquisition will be followed for setting up the electronics park at Amballoor in the district.

A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting convened by Excise Minister K Babu and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob at the Collectorate Conference Hall here on Thursday.

“We are planning to acquire land using the ‘direct purchase method’. The decision on the proposal to acquire around 1 acre of land will be finalised soon. Eco-sensitive areas will be given priority while acquiring land for the project. Canals, wetlands and agriculture lands will be exempted,” said the ministers.

“The farmers have already agreed to surrender land for the project, which got a fillip from the involvement ministers like P K Kunhalikutty, P K Mohanan, K Babu, V K Ibrahim Kunju and Oommen Chandy,” said Anoop Jacob. District Collector M G Rajamanickam and representatives of the KSIDC also attended the meeting.

Knorr-Bremse acquires train control management specialist Selectron Systems AG

Knorr-Bremse IndiaBangalore (SBC): Knorr-Bremse has signed an agreement governing the acquisition of Selectron Systems AG of Lyss, Switzerland, on December 19, 2014. Through this acquisition, Knorr-Bremse is expanding its portfolio to include components and solutions for the automation of rail vehicles. Completion of the takeover remains subject to approval by the anti-trust authorities.

For many years now, Selectron Systems AG and its over 100 employees have been successfully developing advanced solutions for the automation, networking, and control of rail vehicles. State-of-the-art rail vehicles can only be realized with advanced control technology. Along with reliable and robust components at appropriate cost, enhanced safety standards are the decisive factor. The progressive rise in the volume of data exchanged by the various systems calls for higher data transmission bandwidths. As a respected specialist in this field, Selectron responds to these requirements with its versatile and flexible solutions.

Selectron Systems AG will continue to offer its established, successful range of systems, products, and services in the marketplace and will be strengthening and expanding this range through further innovations. Its integration into the Knorr-Bremse Group will extend the available portfolio of services, thereby facilitating supplier management for vehicle manufacturers and operators. In addition, Selectron Systems AG will be able to utilize the worldwide Knorr-Bremse sales and service network to provide its customers with even better support at international level. Customers of both Knorr-Bremse and Selectron stand to benefit in the original equipment, operators, and aftermarket sectors alike.

Railways to use Stations for Skill Development of youth across the country

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to meet Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Skill Development Rajiv Pratap Rudy to develop a mechanism for implementing the plan

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: After crying foul for years over its social service obligations, including running uneconomical lines, the Indian Railways is trying to develop a new social face under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is working on a plan to utilise unused infrastructure at the Railways’ 8,000 stations across the country, to impart skill development training to unemployed youth, particularly in rural and far-flung areas. Also, the ministry plans to use the vast railway network as a tool to market products made by self-help groups and tribal people across the country.

The announcements come soon after a few customer-centric initiatives like introduction of mobile ticketing and Wi-Fi internet services, apart from a focus on cleanliness.

“Indian Railways has around 8,000 stations. The premises of some of the stations with very few trains and scanty footfall could be used for skill development activities,” Prabhu said while addressing a media gathering here, adding he would soon meet Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Skill Development Rajiv Pratap Rudy to develop a mechanism for implementing the plan.

He was speaking at a book release function also attended by Dilip Chenoy, managing director and chief executive of National Skill Development Corporation; N K Maini, deputy managing director of Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi); H R Dave, deputy managing director of Nabard; and Chandrajit Banerjee, director-general of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Indian Railways has tried to project its “public face” under different ministers in the past as well. The earlier approach, however, focused on announcing no rises in passenger fares or freight rates, introduction of new trains and expansion of metro services. The obligation to provide cheaper services — including coaching services and transportation of essential commodities below cost — has an annual impact of Rs 29,000 crore on Indian Railways.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has on several occasions laid stress on skill development as a key area of focus for his government. Referring to the Konkani cuisine restaurant “Konkan Swaad Katta’, set up recently at Konkan Railway’s Ratnagiri station, Prabhu said such initiatives would encourage traditional businesses and help financially empower locals.

The minister also referred to the “huge marketing potential” of the railway company, Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), and announced starting a pilot project to sell rural products through the IRCTC website, visited by 500,000 people a day.

Railway Minister to lay Foundation Stone for Multi-Modal Logistics hub at Qila Raipur

लुधियाना Ludhiana (): Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will jointly lay the foundation stone of the Multi Modal Logistics Hub (MMLH) at Qila Raipur in Ludhiana on January 20. The MMLH is expected provide an economic boost to the district and even generate employment for people living in and around the village.

A decision in this regard was taken by the chief minister while presiding over a high-level meeting of officers of the state government and the railway ministry at his office in Chandigarh.

Ludhiana deputy commissioner Rajat Agarwal said the MMLH, which is to be constructed at a cost of Rs 500 crore, will be a game changer for the industry. He said the MMLH will provide direct linkage to the eastern freight corridor and the Ludhiana-Dhuri-Jakhal feeder line would join it with the western corridor in Rewari. This, he said, would greatly benefit the industry with prompt, easy and cheap transport of raw material and finished goods through railways.

The MMLH will be equipped with state-of-art facilities like container handling yard, bulk handling yard, rail side warehousing, multi-user warehousing, temperature controlled warehousing, truck terminus and others.

According to Agarwal, the MMLH will also have the facility of reefer containers for domestic and international cargo, silo storage for one lakh metric tones of grain and the domestic terminal will have storage facility on the railhead for steel, fertilizer, cement and others.

This will cut down logistical cost.

Mumbai Locals to have ‘Hotspots’ for Female commuters to send SOS Calls in Distress

 मुंबई Mumbai: The Western Railway will be the first railway service to introduce a concept called ‘hotspot’— a geographical space marked and monitored live using CCTV cameras.

The initiative, specially designed to help women commuters, requires the woman in distress to position herself at the hotspot and raise her hand to signal  authorities, in a situation where there is threat to her life or dignity.

All the hotspots will be connected via helpline network, confirmed officials.

The helpline assisted ‘hotspots’, will be on all platforms, typically in front of coaches for women, so that even commuters traveling in the train can seek assistance at the next station by quickly alighting and signaling security personnel through CCTV cameras.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will inaugurate the first such help-line point at Churchgate railway station on January 9.

The railway minister will also inaugurate the mobile app for women’s safety on January 9, jointly developed by Central Railway and Western Railway and developers of M indicator’ at Churchgate station.

M indicator mobile  app, commonly used  by commuters to check the railway timetable, will now allow women to use the app to send an alert in a distress situation.

“As a pilot project, apart from Churchagte , nine other stations will also see hotspots,” said an official. It will be the RPF who will then assist the women commuters confirmed railway officials.

“These  help line assisted spots will help women commuters in distress in minimum response time. It  will Minimize fake complaints. It will definitely improve the effectiveness of CCTV cameras. Display board will be help to find out the location of complainant and will also help in reducing the response time of attending the site,’’ said Anand Vijay Jha, Senior security commissioner, Mumbai division , WR.

A Right Move after Long Gap: States join hands with Centre on Rail Passenger Security

Railways convene RPF, GRP and State Police Chiefs meet on 15th January to review security arrangements in railway areas, work out a Mechanism to ensure effective Security for train travelers

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The Centre would join hands with the State Governments to enhance the security arrangement for railway travelers.

Security of the Railways means security of millions of common people who travel in the train and hence it is an important responsibility, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said while addressing the Annual General Meeting of All-India RPF Association here.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday said that all heads of police of State Governments and the Union Home Ministry will work on the modalities next week to provide for best security arrangements for the passengers.

Prabhu, along with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, was  speaking at the Annual General meeting of all India RPF Association. On the occasion, Singh said that security agencies are working in a concerted manner to ensure safety and security of the travelling public in the Naxal-affected areas. Singh and Prabhu will also be present in the January 15 meeting convened to coordinate with State Governments for security mechanism for on board travelers.

The Railway Minister said that since millions of common people travel by railway every day, it is important to provide them seamless security.  At the same time, the Minister said he was aware of the difficult conditions and circumstances in which RPF and GRP men have to perform.

Emphasising the need to make concerted efforts to meet the security challenges, Prabhu said he has asked Director General, RPF, to organise training on behavioral issues to the RPF personnel. Referring to the conduct of RPF men  in public, Prabhu said that if a single person of RPF committed a mistake then it was perceived as a mistake committed by the entire RPF department.

Acknowledging the difficulty and circumstances in which Railway Protection Force (RPF) and General Railway Police (GRP) personnel have to perform, Prabhu said that there is a need for seamless security arrangement for travellers.

Referring to the security issues in the Naxal affected areas, the Home Minister said that his Ministry will support any proposal sent by the Railways Minister aimed at strengthening security of millions of traveling passengers.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who also addressed the meeting, assured all cooperation to the Railways for strengthening security of millions of train passengers in the country.

Referring to the security issues in naxal-affected areas in the country, Singh said that security agencies have to work in a concerted way to ensure safety and security of the public.

“Home Ministry is with Railway Ministry on this vital issue and will support any proposal sent by the Railway Minister aimed at strengthening security of millions of travelling passengers,” Singh said.

​Looking for Tech Partner for High-speed Rail: Umesh Chowdhary, Titagarh Wagons

Umesh Chowdhary, VC and MD, Titagarh Wagons Ltd, shares his business outlook in a chat with ET. Excerpts:

ET: Based on how third quarter bookings have been, and the order flow inflow for the quarter four is looking like, how better is the second half expected to be compared with the first half?

Umesh Chowdhary: The last six or eight quarters have been extremely subdued and weak primarily because there was a complete lack of decision making in the government and the private wagonspending had also dried down completely.

After the new government has come in and particularly after the new railway minister has assumed charge, we have seen a lot of traction taking place.

Railways have started to ease up the processes in order to take speedy decisions and, more importantly, the private wagon demand has started coming up. So obviously, we are hoping that the second half of the current fiscal should be better than the first half because the benchmark in itself was extremely low.

Having said this, the real result of all this action, which is being taken by the railways and the government, will start showing results over the next six to 12 months time-frame and that is what I am keeping an eye on. It will be important how the new policy initiatives taken by the minister and the government pan out.

ET: Can you also take us through how the domestic versus your export revenue mix is expected to shape up over the next four to six quarters?

Umesh Chowdhary: Historically, we had almost negligible export sales. In the last 12 to 24 months, we have started export business, but it has not been very sizable. What we have done is that we are working very closely with our French subsidiary and we are taking advantage of the technology that is available with it. With low cost manufacturing, we are building products to get into the African market.

So going forward, this is going to be a big potential for us and particularly with the francophonies that are there, there is huge French specifications or the UIC specifications and we believe that this can really culminate into a sizable portion of our revenue over the next few years.

As far as the immediate future is concerned, we are in active negotiations and discussions with a number of customers for some orders. I am definitely hopeful that we would have a quantum jump in our export revenue in the coming year.

ET: According to reports, you may end FY15 with exports of Rs 50 crore. In FY16, this number could double to Rs 120 crore and your French subsidiary will be instrumental for this. Can you explain how you are tapping into the Middle East and African markets?

Umesh Chowdhary: We have not given any numbers out. So they are more like estimates or conjectures, I would say.

Yes, the French subsidiary is going to play a big role in terms of giving us market access and technology access.

What we have mentioned is that our export turnover in the past 12 months has been about Rs 60 crore and we are obviously looking to take a quantum jump for FY16. I would not give out any number of the export revenue that we will be able to get in FY16 or FY17, but yes, that is a thrust or a very focussed segment for us. We are hoping that compared to the benchmark of say Rs 50-60 crore that we have done in the last 12 months, we would be able to do much more and would not be targeting incremental but a quantum jump.

ET: Given that in the first half, the operating profit was nothing to shout about and now we are seeing some capacity utilisation, quality of orders improving across the Indian Railways — particularly from private players and exports, what kind of Ebitda growth and margins you are aiming for?

Umesh Chowdhary: As far as the Indian railway orders are concerned, which you would have seen in our second quarter results, we have had to take an exceptional hit of almost odd Rs 16 crore. This was because the orders that came in were extremely remunerative and this happened because there was a drying up of orders for a long period of time and the entire industry was sitting and starving.

So, it was an almost desperate act by some of the players in the industry who quoted prices which were unrealistic and unremunerative. As per the accounting standards and keeping in line with our own corporate governance standards, we decided that rather than booking this loss quarter after quarter, we will take a hit at one go and that is what we did in the second quarter. For the other side of the business is concerned — all our private businesses or our export or our coaches or our defence — I would say on a blended basis, an EBITDA margin of plus/minus 15 per cent, plus/minus a per cent or two, is what we are going to be targeting going forward.

ET: What is the update on strategic as well as technological tie up for high speed rail? At what stage do talks stand and would you also be interested in a financial partnership?

Umesh Chowdhary: It would be very premature to comment on what kind of partnership we would be looking there, but just to give you a background, what we are doing in coach is today we are one of the largest private sector coach manufacturers in India.

In fact, we are the largest private sector coach manufacturers in India. We are doing EMUs. We have capacity to do two to three rakes of EMUs a month. We have a capacity to do 50 coaches a month and we have taken up a ontract to refurbish some coaches of the Kolkata Metro as well.

We believe it is going to be a very big future growth market as the metro coach manufacturer and the monorail manufacturer.

So, we are in dialogue with a few people on worldwide context. We essentially need a technology partner because of the whole prequalification criterion that is specified by the metro railways in their tenders and also, we do not think that we are as of now equipped to reinvent the wheel.

We would be going in for a technology partnership with somebody or the other. Hopefully, we will get a good partner, but what that form of partnership would be, it is too premature to say.

ET: And finally, what are your expectations then from the upcoming Rail Budget?

Umesh Chowdhary: A lot of them. This time, the railway budget is a very looked forward to kind of event and we are hoping that a lot of opening up of the mindset will take place in the railways. I do not mean privatisation of the railways.

I think the Prime Minister has been very forthright in talking about no privatisation of railways, but it is more partnership with the private sector in the railways. There are so many people, who have invested in the railway infrastructure like the container train operators. They have had so many issues particularly with respect to long-term policy being absent. So we are hoping that a regulator will actually come in. We saw some phenomenal decisions being taken in the railways in the last few days. The delegation of power has been completely transformed. (Courtesy: Economic Times)

MR instructs Stringent Action against RPF staff who rented out Railway Land at Mulund

Railway Minister’s quick response on Samir Zaveri’s complaint

मुंबई Mumbai: Suresh Prabhu asked senior officials to conduct an enquiry and take action against an erring official who rented out the Mulund ground owned by Railways to outsiders and collected and deposited the rent in a separate bank account instead of the Railway Treasury

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has asked senior officials from Central Railway to conduct an enquiry and take action against Railway Protection Force (RPF) officials who rented out the Railway Ground at Mulund for private functions and collected rent. Railway and Right to Information (RTI) activist Samir Zaveri has been pursuing the matter with the Railways. The Railway Minister ordered enquiry on Samir’s email.

Samir sent an email to the Railway Minister at 1.04am on 4 January 2015. Although it was a Sunday, within few hours, (at 11.30am on same day) Prabhu replied to the email. He also directed Anil Swarup, Executive Director, Public Grievances for the Railway Minister, and AK Singh, the Chief Security Commissioner (CR RPF) to conduct an enquiry into the episode and take action against the erring officials.

According to information procured by Samir using the RTI, the ground at Mulund was rented out to non-Railway parties for various functions on daily rent basis. Following an order from RPF head office, the officer at Mulund collected all the rent and deposited it in a separate bank account under the name of ASC, RPF. The money deposited in this account was Rs10.39 lakh during 2010 to 2014.

Samir said, “Who authorised the Central Railway RPF head office to rent out and collect the rent for the Mulund ground? Under which provision did the RPF officials opened a separate bank account and whether this is merged with the Railway Treasury? If the account is opened under RPF Rules 1987, Rule no262, then whether there was any yearly audit conducted?”

The die-hard railway activist under whose name Moneylife Foundation runs the Samir Zaveri Railway Helpline, has been raising the issue of illegal renting out of the Railway ground at Mulund. Following several letters from Zaveri, the Chief Security Commissioner of CR RPF directed the local authorities to stop giving out the Mulund ground on rent.

They also started the procedure to transfer the money deposited in ASC, RPF bank account back to the Railway Treasury. “Under which provision, the authorities have started the money transfer? Who are the RPF officers, responsible for these irregularities of giving out the Railway ground on rent to third parties and collecting and depositing the rent in a separate bank account?” Samir asked.

Let’s hope the probe would reveal all the details and irregularities, if any, and punish the officials responsible for this misconduct.

Yeshwantpur-Yelahanka rail line need extension upto Guntakal to ease traffic congestion

बंगलोर Bangalore (SBC): The work to double the railway track between Yeshwantpur and Yelahanka is almost over but the line remains underutilised as the South Western Railway (SWR) is running trains only on one side during the day, prompting a view that the project is a wasted effort.

Ninety per cent of the work has been completed and the rest is set for completion by March. The SWR is running trains only on one side divided over morning and evening.

This is despite the fact that the SWR is yet to double the Yelahanka–Doddaballapur–Guntakal railway line: one of the highly congested sections of South Western Railway.

Officials insist that they did ask for extension of doubling the line till Doddaballapur or Guntakal to make it worthwhile, but the railway authorities are not sanctioning it, citing lack of funds.

Sample this: From Yeshwantpur to Yelahanka, no train runs between 11 pm and 10 am. The regular trains start only at 2:30 pm. The first morning train to reach Yelahanka is Yeshwantpur–Devanahalli Passenger, at 10:30 am.

The next trains, at 2:30 pm, are Machilipatnam–Kondaveedu Express and Yeshwantpur–Kacheguda Express, both run three days a week. The next train is Prashanti Nilayam Express at 3:30 pm followed by a daily train, Basava Express, at 5:40 pm, followed by Nanded Express at 11 pm.

The SWR can run more trains via Yelahanka only if there is a double railway line between Yelahanka and Doddaballapur, which is about 20 km, or the line is doubled up to Guntakal, which is 200 km away. Anil Kumar Aggarwal, Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru, insists that the section is not underused.

“As per our internal calculation formula for track usage, the section is 140 per cent utilised. As far as the extension of doubling till Doddaballapur is concerned, we have submitted a proposal to the railway board several times but until we get the sanction, we cannot take up the work,” he said.

As per the information, due to one-sided traffic in the morning towards Yeshwantpur and evening towards Yelahanka, the double line is serving no purpose. Experts say the SWR should double the Yelahanka–Doddaballapur–Guntakal line on priority so that the route can be beneficial for passengers commuters as well as railways which will allow it to run more trains on either sides, thus resulting in more revenue.

Sanjeev Dyamannavar from Praja, an NGO that works in the urban transport sector, said, “The railways should look at the bigger picture when it comes to the doubling work and take it on priority. Otherwise there will be a lot of burden on trains running towards the north as Yelahanka-Guntakal is a single line and is being electrified.”

National Institute of Rock Mechanics to study NMR to avert Landslips

बंगलोर Bangalore (SBC): The Southern Railway has sought the assistance of National Institute of Rock Mechanics (NIRM) for undertaking a special study on the safety aspects of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) following repeated landslips reported in this section.

Rakesh Misra, General Manager, Southern Railway, told presspersons here on Wednesday, that the NMR track structure has become unstable and the maintenance of the track has become increasingly difficult of late.

The Bangalore based NIRM as it is popularly known, is a professional body providing research and consultancy support in almost entire spectrum of rock mechanics with international standards. NIRM was established in July 1988 under the aegis of Ministry of Mines, Government of India, as an Autonomous Research Institute to aid to the growing needs of the Mining and Civil Construction Industry in the area of Rock Engineering for design and development. Since its inception, the Institute has grown in strength and stature to mature as a professional body providing research and consultancy support in almost entire spectrum of rock mechanics with International standards. All activities are ISO 9001:2008 compliant.

The study will suggest remedial measures for the recurring landslips after studying the ghat section and landslip prone areas.

The movement of wild elephants was also a matter of concern for the Railways. The animals too were responsible for the falling of boulders on the track.

The Railways will take steps to check this too.

“However, the Railways has no intention of closing this heritage line”, Mr. Misra clarified.

Telangana MPs demand separate Warangal Division, more Investments by Railways

-DSC_3371-A view of Hon'ble MPs attending the  Meeting held at Rail Nilayam Secunderabad on 7th Jan. 2015. वरंगल Warangal (WGL): Members of Parliament from the newly formed Telangana state demanded establishment of separate Warangal Railway Division headquartered at Kazipet on the South Central Railway.  This was demanded by all the MPs at a high-level meeting held with General Manager and other officials of South Central Railway (SCR) on Wednesday at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad.  About 18 MPs from Telangana attended the meet with various suggestions for development of the new state, SCR general manager PK Srivastava.

-DSC_3387 A view of Hon'ble MPs attending the  Meeting held at Rail Nilayam Secunderabad on 7th Jan. 2015.While the major focus remained on developing Kazipet as a new division and establishing a wagon manufacturing unit there, other issues like increasing connectivity within the state and more allocation of funds were also discussed. Union minister of state for labour and employment Bandaru Dattatreya, who was also present at the meeting, said that Telangana would get its due and he would organise a meeting between state MPs and Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu soon.

Warangal MP Kadiyam Srihari said that a list of 21 demands was submitted to Srivastava in a memorandum. “Many key issues have been raised in the meeting. Secunderabad has been the most profitable station for SCR, yet the less inflow of investment shows the lack of commitment towards Telangana,” he said.

Srihari also brought up the pathetic condition of Kazipet railway hospital and said that the station is now an integral part of the state and needs to be improved. He also said that many more trains should halt at the station and it needs to be modernised.

Karimnagar MP B Vinod Kumar said that proposals for mainly three new lines were made. “The Macherla-Nalgonda line was brought up by many in the meeting. A formal proposal to complete the work on the line has already been made and it will be presented to the board. Apart from that, the development of Jadcherla-Macherla and Kazipet-Surat lines was also discussed,” said Vinod.

The Karimnagar MP also said that like the planning commission, the railway board should also be dissolved. “Every decision, from running new trains to making additional stops, has to be approved by the railway board. This is causing more problems than we can handle. Just like the Narendra Modi government dissolved the planning commission, the railway board should also be dissolved,” he added.

On the issue of the creation of another zone, the MPs unanimously agreed that if Visakhapatnam will be the headquarters of the zone, Telangana should not be a part of it. Another issue that was unanimously agreed on was changing the name of the train Andhra Pradesh Express. The train between Hyderabad and New Delhi touches no part of Andhra Pradesh anymore, and hence the name should be changed, they opined.

IRCTC to popularize ‘Rolling Deposit Scheme’

पटना Patna (PBNE): Buoyed up by tremendous increase in sale of e-tickets in 2014, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is now focusing on popularizing its venture, ‘Rolling Deposit Scheme’ (RDS) for frequent train travellers.

Under the scheme, passengers can book berths/seats against advance money kept with the IRCTC. The whole process is a hassle free exercise for the people booking their e-tickets online on the IRCTC website. IRCTC had introduced this scheme last year. But it is picking up slowly due to lack of awareness among the users. IRCTC manager cum PRO Sandip Dutta said the IRCTC has worked out details of the RDS scheme.

Under the plan, a user is required to deposit money in advance with the IRCTC and can use it as a payment option while booking e-tickets from IRCTC site online, he said adding people’s response has not been satisfactory so far. According to an IRCTC group general manager, the new scheme is likely to reduce the payment gateway time for the users as money will be deducted from their IRCTC account. At present the IRCTC is accepting payments from any bank used by users to book their e-tickets with the help of credit cards or debit cards. The RDS plan has the least possibility of e-ticket booking failure, he said adding about 10% cases of e-ticket booking failures are reported every month these days due to technical snag in the bank server.

According to sources, the IRCTC will not levy any gateway charge for booking e-tickets under RDS plan. Users can open an account with the IRCTC with the minimum balance of Rs 1,500 and operate their accounts and book online e-tickets for undertaking journey by any train, sources said. An IRCTC official said the RDS plan is a boon for frequent travellers by trains, especially businessmen and executives as they can book their e-tickets at short notice for travelling to any destination by trains. Besides, chances of ticket booking failure is remote under the RDS plan, he said adding IRCTC started this scheme after completing all other formalities.

Jaipur Metro Rail works set on war-footing to keep March 15 deadline

जयपुर Jaipur (JP): Officials of the Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation (JMRC) are burning the midnight oil to ensure the maiden run of the Jaipur Metro by March 2015. After completion of work at nine stations during phase IA of the Metro, the JMRC officials are now aiming at getting the various approvals and safety certifications.

After parleys with the state government, the JMRC had already committed to begin the operations by March.

“We have already obtained the safety certificate from the Independent Safety Assessor. Now, we will apply for things like rolling stock approval from the railway board, final signaling approval from the RDSO, Lucknow and most importantly the final approval for opening the section for commercial operation by commissioner of railways safety,” said Ashwini Saxena, JMRC project director, on Tuesday.

Officials are now aiming at applying for the Commissioner Railways Safety’s application by January 15. “After the application, he will visit the area a month after. It is going to be a detailed inspection for 3 to 7 days. After his clearance, we can start operations within 48 hours,” an officer added.

On the progress of various works, he said, “Majority of the stations are ready with facilities like escalators, ATMs and other amenities. Finishing work is on currently. Likewise, we have already floated tenders for parking at all the nine stations.”

On the kind of parking charges, an official, said, “We are aiming at very economical rates for the commuters. For cycle Rs 2, for two-wheelers Rs 5 and for four-wheelers Rs 15 would be charged for every 8 hours.”

The parking lot at the Sindhi Camp and Chandpole has lesser space since these places already have common parking lots.

JMRC officials are also aiming at giving nominal fares for the commuters. “We will try to stick to the fares we have quoted in the detailed project report (DPR) which is Rs 9 to Rs 17. The JMRC administration is now mulling over the projections given by fare fixation committee,” an officer said.

The officials will also lease out some space at various stations to eateries. “We will try to provide quality food at nominal prices for the commuters at the stations and will lease out some kiosks to the people interested,” an officer added

Tiruchirappalli–Thanjavur track doubling soon

Work to be carried out in patches on Tiruchirappalli-Thanjavur

तिरुचिरापल्ली Tiruchirappalli (TPJ): The Southern Railway will undertake broad gauge track doubling work in patches in the Tiruchi – Thanjavur section for the forthcoming Mahamaham festival in Kumbakonam, celebrated once in 12 years. The festival will be held in 2016.

The Southern Railway already commenced the track doubling work between Ponmalai (Golden Rock) and Thanjavur, involving a junction, five crossing stations and three halt stations, at an outlay of Rs. 400 crore.

As the ongoing doubling work is not expected to be completed well in time for the Mahamaham, it has been decided to do some patch doubling work at a few points where the traffic will be heavy in this section to ensure the smooth running of the regular trains and special trains expected to be operated for the festival, Rakesh Misra, General Manager, Southern Railway, told presspersons here on Wednesday.

The execution of the Ponmalai – Thanjavur junction track doubling work in Tiruchi Railway Division has been undertaken by Construction Organisation of the Southern Railway.

When asked about the demand of the people of the central districts for completing the track doubling work in the Thanjavur – Kumbakonam section too before Mahamaham, Mr. Misra said that such a proposal is not on the cards.


“For the Mahamaham festival, we have not zeroed in on the proposals. The major railway stations such as Thanjavur and Kumbakonam will be given a facelift. It has also been planned to run many special trains for the benefit of the devotees participating in the festival,” Mr. Misra said adding that he will hold discussion on the arrangements for Mahamaham with the officials of Tiruchi Railway division on Thursday (January 8)

Teleste acquires Mitron to focus on Rail Security

Teleste is acquiring the Finnish solutions provider Mitron to become one of the leading end-to-end providers of rail-specific video security and information management solutions

Teleste, an international technology group specialised in broadband video and data communication systems and services, is acquiring Mitron Group Oy Ltd, the Finnish provider of public transportation information systems and modern display solutions. The acquisition follows Teleste’s strategy to become one of the leading suppliers of end-to-end video and information management solutions for the rail market.

A major aim of the transaction is to answer to rail operators’ growing demands of end-to-end solutions that enable more efficient operations with enhanced passenger service and security throughout the rail ecosystem. Both Teleste and Mitron have been granted an IRIS certificate, and the acquisition further increases their compliances in providing high standard solutions that are specified for the needs of the rail industry.

Together Teleste and Mitron form one of the leading providers in the market offering the rail industry complete solutions for stations, rail cars and wireless data transmission between these two. The solution supports wireless offload from rail cars as well as real-time connectivity with live video transmission between rail cars and stations, and includes advanced passenger information and CCTV systems both in rail cars and at the station.

Key benefits for the operators are accurate and timely information as well as rapid and correct situation awareness and actions. In short, the solution ensures that the right message is delivered to the right people and at the right time. In addition to improved safety of operations and passengers, the solution also helps rail operators offer more advanced, better quality passenger services through e.g. live onboard entertainment.

“There is growing demand for more capable video security and real-time information management solutions in the rail segment. The customers are looking for end-to-end solutions that enable them to improve operational efficiency and security, and offer better quality passenger services”, says Johan Slotte, Deputy CEO of Teleste Corporation and head of its Video Networks Business Unit. “Teleste is aiming to provide the rail market with a complete solution that fulfils our customers’ wishes, and joining forces with Mitron meets that target in the most efficient way.”

Both Teleste and Mitron have a strong, international customer base. Teleste has profound expertise in providing video surveillance solutions for major rail operators such as CTA in the US and the SNCF in France as well as world class references from large networked video surveillance projects. Mitron’s customer base consists of major rail car manufacturers such as Alstom, Bombardier, Siemens and Stadler as well as several major rail operators. “We are delighted to join the Teleste team as the acquisition enables us to a reach a wider market for both Teleste and Mitron products. With joined forces, we can offer the rail market with a seamless and complete end-to-end solution fit for any rail operator and rail car manufacturer”, states Lasse Orre, CEO of Mitron Group Oy Ltd.

Mitron will continue its activities as an independent company as part of the video surveillance business unit within Teleste’s Video and Broadband Solutions Business Area and with its current management. The two former majority shareholders, Heino Ruottinen and Juha Siitonen, will continue to be members of the Board of Directors of Mitron Group’s mother company. No personnel reductions are planned as a result of the acquisition.

Delay in Nagpur Metro Rail to hike NMC, NIT Share by Rs.1940 Crore

नागपुर Nagpur (NGP): The ambitious plan of Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) to start the construction of metro rail project by second quarter of 2015 has virtually become impossible. The city will be fortunate if it starts by 2015 end.

NIT had claimed that it would finish the work by 2018 so that the cost does not increase beyond Rs.8,421 crore. The union cabinet had approved the project at this cost. However, according to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the project cost as per 2014 estimates is Rs.10,360 crore.

The detailed project report (DPR) prepared by DMRC envisages the completion of project in six years. After the project was cleared by union cabinet in August 2014, NIT said the work would start in second quarter of 2015.

In order to complete the project by 2018 end, NIT had claimed that the special purpose vehicle (SPV) for executing the project would be formed immediately and it would appoint an agency that would suggest ways to the SPV to complete the project in four years instead of six. The agency was to take six months for this. The SPV is yet to be formed and it is difficult to predict when the agency will be appointed.

Due to this delay, the economics of the metro rail project has gone haywire. The funding model of project is 20% central share, 20% state share, 5% NIT and 5% NMC and rest is soft loan. The difference of Rs.1,940 crore will have to borne by the two local bodies.

This means that the share of local bodies would increase to about Rs.2,800 crores. NIT claims that this amount will be raised by selling transfer of development rights (TDR) and extra floor to space index (FSI). Civic officials admit in private that the figure is too ambitious and if the project is to be completed, central government will have to provide more funds.

A civic official further said that completing the work in four years was a tall task and going by the history of infrastructure projects in the city, Nagpurians should consider themselves lucky if the project is completed in six years. Greater the delay in completing the work, higher will be cost escalation. “The pace of work can be satisfactory only if chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and union transport minister Nitin Gadkari regularly monitor the project,” the official said.

NFR GM inaugurates Bathnaha Railway station building

बथनहा Bathnaha (BTF): Nepal railway line scheme will be completed by October 2, 2016, as obstacles related to land acquisition in Nepal area will be solved soon. This was said by NFR GM Ranjit Singh Birdhi, who arrived here during an annual inspection of Katihar division. He also inaugurated the Bathnaha railway station building on Tuesday.

The GM arrived here by a special train to assess the various facilities being provided to commuters besides inspecting railway stations and also review the ongoing railway project for connecting Bathnaha railway station to Biratnagar railway station, which will be linked soon. Responding to several associations and railway users forum’s demand of extending the Katihar-Patna Inter-city Express and Amrapali Express upto Jogbani railway station, the GM said it can’t be done until the railway pitline is completed. Similarly, it is also not possible to attach pantry car to Simanchal Express, which runs daily between Jogbani and Delhi, he added.

The GM, however, assured the demand for running the Chitpur Express between Jogbani and Kolkata railway station daily will soon be submitted before the railway ministry. Forbesganj railway station being an ideal railway station will be provided more facilities.

The GM also conceded to the demand of opening railway police station at Forbesganj and said he will take an initiative in this regard . He also assured that he would accord priority to providing signal facilities at Araria Court and Araria RS stations.

The GM awarded the Forbesganj railway station superintendent Abul Qashim and others by giving certificate of appreciations along with cash prizes of Rs.5,000/-.

Private Developers can select a particular Station of their Choice for Revamp: Railway Minister

Suresh PrabhuNew Delhi: Railways minister Suresh Prabhu has come out with a new policy wherein the national transporter would not select 10 or 50 stations to be developed into world class stations, but it would be left for the private developers to select a particular station.

Private players can select any of around 8,000 stations across the country for revamping and transforming it as a world class station.

The government has visualized that these stations would be equipped with escalators, shopping outlets, restaurants and Wi-Fi- enabled waiting lounges.

The national transporter has decided to put all details about these stations such as requirement for passenger area, space for operational purpose and the vacant land or space which railways can offer to the private developers for commercial exploitation.

“The private developer can directly approach General Manager (GM) at zonal railways if they want to develop any station in the region,” said a railway official.

“All stations should have adequate waiting rooms, ladies dormitories, segregation of arrival and departure, essential facilities such as catering and unifying integration at both sides of the city,” Prabhu had said after taking over.

There is feeling that the transporter alone can’t development many stations considering huge financial constraints.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also stressed for privatization of passenger services at stations. “Railway facilities are the same as they were 100 years back … Privatize the railway stations and modernize them,” the PM had said. “I will make it in 10-12 places. Stations should be better than airports as most travellers are poor people. We can easily have trains running below and commercial properties above (floor),” Modi had said.

The PM said at a time when real estate is expensive, railways should leverage their properties by allowing private parties to build luxury hotels, restaurants and other facilities at stations.

This is not the first time government has indicated to modernize stations which suffer from poor hygiene and lack of passenger amenities.

The railways had set up a special purpose vehicle — station development authority — with equity of Rs 100 crore to give a boost to the ambitious plan. The authority has identified five stations – Anand Vihar and Brijvasan in Delhi, Chandigarh, Habibganj in Bhopal and Shivaji Nagar in Pune. But the plan could not take off.

“The fresh initiate would work as private players are given choice,” said an official, adding that they would be engaged to modernize passengers amenities at stations while they would be allowed to commercially exploit the real estate space available in heart of the city around the stations.

Rail Minister seeks help of all CMs to develop Railway infrastructure

Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu says new government in Delhi that will come to power after Assembly polls will better the coordination level with the Centre by developing partnerships

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Union Railway Minister Mr.Suresh Prabhu today said he has sought cooperation of all Chief Ministers to forge partnerships between the Centre and the states to develop railway infrastucture across the country which could fuel economic growth.

“To develop infrastructure more funds are needed, tracks need to be broadened and for that land is needed and the cooperation of the state governments becomes essential here.

“I have written to the Chief Minister of every state to forge a partnership with the Centre so that together we are able to implement all the schemes…If the railways doesn’t improve the country won’t go forward,” he said.

The Minister also expressed the hope that the “new” government in Delhi that will come to power after the Assembly polls will better the coordination level with the Centre by developing such a partnership.

“I believe that the new government that will come to power in Delhi very soon (will better the coordination) Dr. Harsh Vardhan will also help us in coordinating between the state government and the Centre so that a similar partnership develops for Delhi as well,” he told reporters here.

“People want that a BJP government comes to power in Delhi and that would be excellent…All over the country we are working steadfastly for the interest of common people without looking at the political colour of the ruling parties of respective states,” the Minister said.

Asked whether he was indicating that Vardhan may become the Chief Minister if BJP comes to power in Delhi, Prabhu refused to reply.

“We need to provide infrastructure at many places. (We) need to strengthen infrastructure and expand facilities where infrastructure is at place to fulfil the rising aspiration of people,” Prabhu added.

He made the remarks during an event to flag off three trains – two for West Bengal and one for Bihar – from Anand Vihar station here in the presence of MoS Railways Manoj Sinha, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan, East Delhi BJP MP Maheish Girri, Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal and other top officials.



Reliance Industries in race to supply Diesel to Railways

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: After a gap of almost seven years, Reliance Industries is gaining a foothold in supplying diesel to the Indian Railways.

Until now the bulk supply market was dominated by public sector oil marketing companies such as Indian Oil Corporation. Railways is the single largest consumer of bulk high-speed diesel (HSD).

Sources said that Reliance has offered a discount of about ₹1.50 a litre to the Railways. Bulk diesel in Delhi is available at ₹49.12 a litre. The rates vary between cities, depending on the distance from the depot.

Railway Ministry sources said private suppliers such as Reliance and Essar are on the suppliers’ list, but did not confirm anything officially. The Railway Ministry spokesperson did not respond to queries fromBusinessLine.

With diesel pricing now completely deregulated, private companies are also competing with PSUs to get a share of the Railways’ annual business, which is about 2.7 billion litres. However, it will be tough going for the private players as they will be hampered by infrastructure (terminal network) constraints.

A Reliance official in the know said that the category is not new to company. It had been supplying earlier, but because of the distortion in diesel prices (subsidy) it had to look at other markets.

Negotiating tool

In fact, the discount rates offered by private retailers are used by the Railways as a negotiating tool to get better rates from the PSUs. “Today, it is an open market and everyone will try to get the best deal,” said an official from a PSU oil company.

The Railways buys HSD through an annual rate contract with the oil marketing firms. It invites bids from firms, keeping the discount level as a parameter.

Once the discount rate is agreed upon, the Railways informs its zones and the zonal Railways are then free to procure diesel from oil companies having depots in their zones.


IRCTC plans ‘international standard’ rail coaches with Glass Roofs; submit proposal to ICF

चेन्नई Chennai (MAS): The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has submitted a proposal to manufacture ‘international standard’ railway coaches with glass roofs to the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai.

The corporation is looking to attract high-end and NRI tourists, corporate groups and the like for patronage on this special coaches, which will be attached to trains running on select routes that link important tourist locations. The roof would be made of glass for the passengers to get a clear view.

An order for two such special coaches has been given to the ICF as a pilot project.

Another aspect of the coach is that the pantry arrangement would be like those on aircraft, for which talks are on with foreign companies, sources said.

The coach would also have facilities for in-train entertainment. It can accommodate around 30 passengers and the fare would be higher than that for 2-tier AC, as it would have high-end facilities.

The coaches would have a stainless steel body like the LHB coaches used in the Rajdhani, Shatabdi and semi-high speed trains, ICF sources indicated.
Since the proposal involves several novel requirements, the ICF is working on it right from the scratch.

“Such a coach doesn’t exist in India and it will be a fresh design. We have never manufactured a coach like this,” said an official. The cost of manufacture would also be around `80 lakh to `1.2 crore.

Though a timeframe for the delivery of the two coaches wasn’t given, it would certainly take more than a year, ICF sources said.

Pre-budget meeting with Andhra MPs by GM/SCR evokes a lot of expectations

MPs from Guntur, Vijayawada, and Guntakal divisions attend pre-budget meeting. Mr.Srivastava said the earnings of SCR in the FY 2014-15 were bound to surpass Rs.9,300 Crore and it was poised to end the year with freight loading of 118 million tons which was highest in five to six years.

South Central Railway General Manager P.K. Srivastava (second from left) along with other Railways officials participating in the pre-budget consultation with Members of Parliament in Vijayawada on Tuesday

South Central Railway General Manager P.K. Srivastava (second from left) along with other Railways officials participating in the pre-budget consultation with Members of Parliament in Vijayawada on Tuesday

विजयवाडा Vijayawada (BZA):  South Central Railway (SCR) General Manager P.K. Srivastava has said the Railways was keen on taking forward pending projects in Andhra Pradesh but some of them being Capital-intensive, adequate funding was awaited and the State government was expected to cooperate in acquiring land for achieving speedy progress.

Briefing media persons about the in-camera meeting with MPs from Vijayawada, Guntur and Guntakal divisions held here on Tuesday, Mr. Srivastava said each one of the MPs obviously wanted the projects in his/her constituency to be given priority but fulfilling their expectations was a tough task as funds have to be mobilised for the projects most of which were sanctioned in the previous Railway budget.

Many proposals came forth for development of Vijayawada, Tirupati, Nellore, Machilipatnam, Krishnapatnam and Kakinada stations which were important for the State. A lot of work was to be done to get those projects going.

The proposed train between Vijayawada and New Delhi would become a reality by March. It was delayed for want of rakes. There was an opinion among the MPs that instead of operating it from Vijayawada, it could be made to originate at Visakhapatnam and Tirupati three times each in a week as the train has to anyway pass through Vijayawada.

Some of the projects like the coach factory at Kurnool and new lines between Narsapuram and Kotipalli, Srikalahasti and Nadikudi and Kurnool and Mantralayam were ‘highly capital-intensive’. Things would start taking shape in the near future.

Mr. Srivastava said the earnings of SCR in the FY 2014-15 were bound to surpass Rs 9,300 crore and it was poised to end the year with freight loading of 118 million tons which was highest in five to six years. Similarly, the operating ratio of 17.50 per cent was the best in as many years.

Guntur MP Jayadev Galla said he presented a note containing 25 points pertaining to development of Guntur division and that the Railway officials were asked to look at the proposals for VGTM region from the Capital perspective.

Next Rail Budget to focus on religious tourism

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The next Rail Budget is expected to give more focus to religious tourism, with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu planning to meet chiefs of shrines to work out new projects.

Sources said the minister is trying to tap new sources of revenue by meeting the chiefs of these shrines, besides academicians of the Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management for more innovative plans.

Prabhu is keen on consulting with unconventional sections ahead of the budget in order to find new solutions to the Railways’ problems. The government is now focusing on high technology and huge private investments. The coming budget may see the announcement of a bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

Sources said Prabhu would soon be meeting officials of Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA) and the World Bank. JICA is doing a feasibility study on the bullet train project and is most likely to execute it. Meeting with industry bodies is also on the agenda of the minister.

This time, the meeting would include more issues as the Railways is trying to reach out to private partners.

Railway Unions soften stand on FDI after Prime Minister’s assurance

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s persuasive pitch to railway employees unions has cleared the decks for more FDI inflows and private capital in national transporter that may be reflected in the rail budget.

After Modi’s statement that there would be no privatization of railways, the workers’ unions have softened their stand over several issues including FDI in the transport behemoth. However, the unions are sticking to demands relating to scrapping of new pension scheme (NPS) and DA mergers.

The PM has said that he had a “deep connection” with the railways. “I love railways. My life is what it is because of railways,” Modi said. “The government will not go in the direction of railway privatization … People are spreading rumours about privatization of railways. It is not true,” Modi had said.

The change of heart came after railway minister Suresh Prabhu’s reassurance that FDI or public-private partnership (PPP) will not affect the ownership of railways. During the meeting of general managers last week where union representatives were also present, the minister argued that the government wants to attract private investment in cash-strapped railways and it was not for privatization of railways.

After Modi’s categorical assurance, Prabhu’s persuasive skills worked in convincing the union leaders, said a senior railways official. The union representatives were also satisfied with the minister’s assurance that the railways would not sell any piece of land but instead try to exploit the land commercially.

Shiv Gopal Mishra of All India Railwaymen Federation said, “Our opposition is not politically motivated. We demanded that there should not be privatization of railways and the issue of FDI must be discussed with full transparency.”

At the same time, Mishra warned the minister and railways official that the transporter should not invite FDI or money from national resources which could harm the railways because of overcapitalization or payment of interest on the borrowed capital.

However, the deadlock over the employees’ demands such as scrapping of NPS and DA merger continues.

The unions have been demanding the restoration of old pension scheme as had been done in case of defence because the working conditions in the transporter are risky and large number of employees die on duty. The NPS is without social guarantee. The unions have also hinted at opposing any radical restructuring of the railway board.

The union leaders admitted that there were problems, but blamed politicians at the helm of affairs for the mess.

A leader said ministers did not raise passenger fares for years and announced ‘unviable’ projects which pushed the state-run transporter into bankruptcy.

SCR to hold meetings with MPs on zonal railway developmental activities

सिकंदराबाद Secunderabad (SC): South Central Railway is going to conduct three exclusive meetings with Members of Parliament – both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – representing the area falling under the jurisdiction of SCR. The first meeting will be held at Vijayawada on 6th January 2015.  MPs from Andhra Pradesh, primarily representing areas falling under Vijayawada, Guntur and Guntakal Divisions of SCR will participate in this meeting.

On 7th January, 2015, another meeting will be held with MPs from Telangana, primarily representing areas under Secunderabad and Hyderabad Divisions of SCR, at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad. The third and final meeting will be held with MPs from Maharashtra, primarily representing areas under the jurisdiction of Nanded Division of SCR, at Nanded on 8th January 2015.

P.K. Srivastava, General Manager/SCR and Principal Heads of Departments and Divisional Railway Managers concerned will attend these meetings. During the course of these meetings, Srivastava will brief the MPs on the performance of SCR on various issues such as freight / passenger traffic, earnings, safety/security, cleanliness, passenger amenities, infrastructure development and various initiatives for providing improved service to rail users on the Zone. The views and the proposals of MPs on railway developmental activities and services in this region will also be discussed in these meetings.

MOSR flags off Manduadih-Ghazipur-Chhapra DMU from Ghazipur through Video Conference

गाजीपुर शहर Ghazipur City (GCT): The Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha flagged off Manduadih-Ghazipur-Chhapra diesel electric unit (DMU) train (75102/75101) through video conferencing from Ghazipur City Railway Station on Monday.

Sinha said that DMU train between Manduadih and Chhapra was announced in the railway budget. The Indian Railway arranged a new rack for DMU at the cost of about Rs 14 crore, he said, adding that coaches are equipped with toilet facility. He said that there is a planning to start a new train between Lucknow and Chhapra via Varanasi next month.

A fund of Rs 7 crore is being spent for improvement and expansion of passenger facilities at Ghazipur City Railway Station. The work would include foot overbridge and automatic escalator.

General manager of North Eastern Railway Rajeev Mishra said that DMU would operate on all days except Sundays.

Maharashtra CM Fadnavis sends wishlist to Railway Minister

मुंबई Mumbai: Two months ahead of the Centre’s Union railway budget, chief minister Devendra Fadanvis has sent the state’s wishlist to Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu, seeking funds worth more than Rs.600 crore for major ongoing railway projects in the state, besides additional services.

Fadnavis’ memorandum of demands was sent to Prabhu, who has said that special attention will be given to Mumbai’s suburban railway network, which is used by 75-lakh commuters every day.

The CM has demanded for the introduction of air-conditioned local trains, besides asking for cushioned seats in second-class compartments of more trains, and the provision of funds to control trespassing on the tracks.

To address the demand for a greater number of services for far-flung areas in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Fadnavis has demanded 50 services each on the Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway’s (CR) suburban network, along with more 15-coach trains.

According to sources, Fadnavis is expecting that new railway projects will get a nod in the railway budget and so has sent the memorandum of demands well in advance.

Fadnavis has sought Rs. 500 crore for the second phase of the ongoing Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) II, and another Rs. 20 crore for the Kalyan-Kasara third line project, in addition to Rs. 100 crore for the Nerul-Belapur-Uran line.

In his letter to Prabhu, Fadnavis has requested approval for a third phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP-III), in which he has sought a nod for the Panvel-Karjat doubling project, and the Airoli-Kalwa elevated link project. Officials are hoping that with BJP ruling at both the Centre and the state, there are chances of these demands being accommodated in the budget.

Facilitate FIR for passengers on board: Allahabad High Court to Railways

अल्लाहाबाद Allahabad (ALD): The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad high court has issued several directions to ensure safety of railway passengers on board. It has directed railway officials that in case of any crime in train, they must register victims’ FIR on board without disturbing their journey . The complaint should be in three copies and one be handed over to the passenger forthwith.

So far, though Railway Protection Force (RPF) carried FIR forms, in effect passengers had to either break journey to lodge FIR or complain on reaching their destination. The court order should change that.

A bench of Justice S K Saxena and Justice Rakesh Srivastava simultaneously directed railway officials to install a panic button in every bogey for passengers to alert authorities when prompt action was required. The directions were issued in course of hearing of a PIL registered in 2011. It will hear the matter next on January 16.

The bench further directed the Government Reserve Police (GRP) to replace the heavy 303 rifles being carried by its escort team by modern and light arms.

The court also advised the GRP to set up control rooms on the pattern of police and woman control room to register complaint immediately after receiving it on railway helpline number 1322 and coordinate the follow up action.CCTV cameras will also be installed at every GRP station.

Trains to be delayed due to regirdering work on Pamban Bridge

मदुरै Madurai (MDU): The Railways has announced that there will be line blocks on the Manamadurai – Rameswaram section for a few hours on different days between January 6 and January 20. This is to facilitate a re-girdering work on the Pamban Bridge.

The re-girdering work has been planned and the line block has been permitted in such a way that they cause the least disturbance to train services.

Consequently, the following are the changes in the pattern of train services.

Train number 56723 Madurai – Rameswaram passenger will be delayed at Mandapam for 26 minutes on January 6, 9, 12 and 19.

Train number 16779 Tirupati-Rameswaram Express will be delayed at Mantapam for 40 minutes on January 12 and 19.

Train disruptions near Diva second time in three days

मुंबई Mumbai:  Commuters were inconvenienced for the second time in three days as Central Railway services were disrupted during evening peak hours on Monday. Incidentally, the affected spot was again near Diva station, where commuters saw smoke coming out from below a suburban train.

The train was stopped at the next station—Kopar—for 22 minutes. This led to bunching of trains and caused delays of more than half an hour.

Railway officials said the smoke started billowing out of one of the compartments due to a spark in the brake windings of the train. “The problem was rectified at the earliest and services restored,” the official claimed. But Yamini N, an office-goer at Kurla, said, “I waited for a Kalyan-bound train from 7.40pm to 8.40pm. While I could not get into the packed fast train, even slow trains were crowded.”

In a related development, the railway board in Delhi sent one of its senior members to the city to “take stock of the Diva violence on January 2 and suggest remedial measures”. Sources said Navin Tondon of the electrical engineering department was in the city on Sunday and held closed-door meetings with several senior officers, including those from the electrical engineering department, and made notes of what went wrong on January 2, and what is ailing CR suburban section.

“Efforts will be made to improve the electric traction on this section so that trains run efficiently at a good speed and there are minimum breakdowns. Emphasis will also be made on maintenance of overhead equipment and coaches,” said a railway official.

On Monday, there were announcements that as the 10 damaged trains “still being repaired”, services would be hit for a couple of days more. Later, railway officials clarified that it was a wrong announcement and withdrew it. CR has set up three new ATVMs at Diva where a few machines were damaged during the violence.

Railway Minister to launch three new trains for Bihar, Bengal today

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Continuing with the launching spree, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will flag off three trains – two for West Bengal and one for Bihar – from Anand Vihar station here.  Train services for Saharasa in Bihar, and Malda and Santragachi in West Bengal will be flagged off today from the station, said a senior Railway Ministry official.  All the trains were announced in the Rail Budget 2014-15.

Railway to use Private Funds to upgrade facilities

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu, recently stressed that private funding would be used by the railways to reduce dependency on public finances.

He said there was no proposal to privatise the railways. Instead, the national transporter plans to optimise the utilisation of all value assets in a way to supplement public investment.

The Minister said that “Private capital helps reduce the burden on public finances which is generated by taxing people through income tax or indirect taxation. It will help railways to provide better services and income will also increase.”

SCR to hold crucial meeting of MPs from Andhra to prioritise pending works

Creation of a separate rail zone, for which claims and counterclaims emerged from Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, is also expected to be deliberated

विजयवाडा Vijayawada (BZA): The South Central Railway (SCR) has decided to hold a crucial meeting of Members of Parliament (MPs) to prioritise the pending works under its jurisdiction. SCR GM P.K. Srivastava will be convened the meeting here on January 6 to discuss with MPs from Vijayawada, Guntur and Guntakal divisions issues like pending Railway lines, doubling works and improvement of passenger amenities at different stations. Kotipalli-Narsapur, Machilipatnam-Repalle, Kovvur-Bhadrachalam and Macherla-Nalgonda lines, doubling of Vijayawada-Narsapur and Tenali-Guntur lines and construction of a circulating station in Vijayawada will be discussed in the meeting.

Delhi Metro stations to get visual treat of Saint Musicians, Fresco Paintings of Ajanta-Ellora

Delhi Metro Logoनई दिल्ली New Delhi: Travelling by Delhi Metro will soon be a visual treat with a number of artworks, idols and photographs lined up at select metro stations in the city. Beginning from January 15, a series of lightboxes at two metro stations — Jor Bagh and the Mandi House — would be filled with artworks that range from photographs, artprints to video and digital works. Text in both English and Hindi accompany the artworks that are expected to change every three months.

Following the two metro stations, DMRC is likely to give the visual treat at rest of the metro stations with the ancient ‘Saint Musicians’ of India viz. Saint Jayadeva, Saint Tyagaraja, Saint Muthuswamy Deekhsitar, Saint Shyama Sastrigal, Saint Tukaram, Saint Meerabai, Saint Tulasidasa, Saint Purandharadasa, Annamacharya, Bhadrachala Ramadasa, M.S.Subbalakshmi, Maharaja Swathi Tirunal, Kabeer, Tansen, Narada, Swararajanuta and Tumbura etc., and with the images of famous Philosophers like Aryabhatta, Acharya Nagarjuna, Chanakya, Saint Adi Shankara, Madhavacharya, Ramanujacharya, Sivaji Maharaj, Prithviraj Chowhan, Rani Jhansi Lakshmibai, Swamy Vivekananda, etc.

Famous Carnatic Sangeet Musician Saint Tyagaraja with Muthuswamy Deekshitar and Shyama Sastry popularly known as Trinity to occupy the walls of Delhi Metro shortly

Famous Carnatic Musicians from South India – Concerts of Saint Tyagaraja, popularly known as ‘Trinity’ to adorn the walls of Delhi Metro shortly

“The India Habitat Centre has always been in forefront of creating programs that has mass appeal. In a new policy initiative, we have decided to now take art to public spaces and our collaboration with the Delhi Metro is the first step in that direction,” said Rakesh Kacker, Director, IHC.

M.S.SubbaLakshmi, famous Carnatic Musician from Tamil Nadu

M.S.SubbaLakshmi, famous Carnatic Musician from Tamil Nadu

The project, a collaboration between the India Habitat Centre and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is part of the former’s “The Habitat Initiative: Art in Public Spaces”. “Community art refers to field of community, neighbourhood and public art practice with roots in social justice and popular and informal education methods.

Jhansi Lakshmibai

Jhansi Lakshmibai

The IHC initiative, was to work in the genre of community arts, primarily using photographs, prints, video and digital works,” said Alka Pande, who curated the project. For three months beginning January, at the Jor Bagh metro station, photographs from the exhibition, “The Long Exposure at Udaipur, 1857-1957”, would be displayed on three lightboxes. Nearly 20 prints of some photographs from this collection would also be displayed on the walls. Displayed images include “Painted Photographs” or hand-coloured photographs and portraits from three generations of Maharanas who ruled Mewar from 1884 to 1995.

In the month of March, which sees a celebration of Holi, the Mandi House station will features photographs on the festival of colours by Tarun Chhabra, says the curator.

Dacoits loot 4 coaches of Chhapra-Tata Express

जमुई Jamui (JMU): Dacoits swooped down on Chhapra-Tata Express, looting cash, jewelry and mobiles worth over Rs 10 lakh from passengers in four sleeper coaches after forcibly stopping the train by taking the cabin man hostage near Dadnagar Halt here.  On Jamui-Jhajha-Jasidih section under Danapur division of East Central Railway (ECR) around Sunday midnight, more than a hundred passengers of three sleeper coaches of Dn 18182 Chhapra-Tata Nagar Express were robbed of their cash, jewellery, mobile sets, wrist watches and other valuables worth Rs 1 lakh by criminals at gunpoint.

The incident comes within 48 hours of a Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) jawan, Pankaj Kumar Singh of Sasaram, being gunned down and another jawan Ram Sarup Singh being injured in Dn Farakka Express by criminals between Jamalpur and Dasarathpur railway stations on Jamalpur-Kiul section of the ECR when the jawans of an escort party questioned their identity and asked them to show their train tickets in the wee hours of January 2.

Besides, on December 27, armed dacoits had looted cash, ornaments etc worth Rs 10 lakh from the passengers of Patna-Hatia Pataliputra Express near Lahaban halt in between Jhajha and Jasidih railway stations.  It is the second incident of a train being looted in the district in the last 10 days.

Angry passengers later staged protest alleging that Government Railway Police (GRP) escort team did not take action while dacoits were looting passengers.

Superintendent Railway Police (SRP), Jamalpur, Umashankar Prasad confirmed the Sunday night incident and said the “Dacoits numbering 20-25 took the Dadnagar halt cabinman Mahendra Narayan Singh, between Gidhaur and Jhajha railway stations hostage late last night on gun point and forced him to light red signal following which DN Chapra-Tata Express stopped,” station house officer (SHO) of Jhajha GRP Sujit Kumar told.

The dacoits then boarded the sleeper bogies and started looting the passengers. They silenced the passengers at gunpoint, asking them not to raise alarm. The dacoits then fanned in four sleeper coaches from S1 to S4 and went on the looting spree around midnight, he said. Those who dared to protest were beaten up.

It is alleged a GRP escort party which was travelling in the train remained confined to a coach. Kiul-Jasidih section under Danapur division of East Central Railway (ECR) is a Maoist stronghold.

After looting, the dacoits fled firing in the air. The GRP personnel also fired but could not lay hands on any of the dacoits, officials said.

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Rail, Arun Kumar Dubey reached Jhajha after getting information about the incident and conducted raids.  A case has been registered with Jhajha police station. On reaching Jhajha, passengers staged protest against GRP.  The SRP said the armed escort party comprising eight cops resorted to firing when the dacoits were looting the passengers, which forced them to flee midway their operation taking advantage of the darkness and foggy weather. He said 12 rounds were fired in the air by the escort party.

He claimed had the escort party not been there, passengers of the entire train having 10 sleeper bogies besides three AC coaches and general compartments would have been looted. The SRP, however, denied involvement of Maoists in the train dacoity. Raids were on to nab the criminals involved,

On December 27, armed dacoits had looted passengers of Patna-Hatia Patliputra Express near Lahanban halt in Jamui district.

United Nations accolade for Delhi Metro Rail Corp

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has been registered as the world’s first transport sector project under the Programme of Activities (PoA) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, enabling it to quantify climate change benefit from all metro operations in India, a statement said.

The move will also facilitate the fast-tracking of Clean Development Mechanism registration of all upcoming rail based metro projects in the country which will entitle them to carbon credits for the extent of reduction in carbon emissions, which could be traded in the international carbon market for money.

PoA is a UN-mandated mechanism which allows similar carbon credit projects to be clubbed together that can be operated and managed under a single umbrella.

“Thus, for claiming carbon credits in future, DMRC will be the managing entity for all other metros of India under the (PoA) mechanism which will also facilitate fast-tracking of their CDM registration,” a DMRC spokesperson said.

Railways plans to bring Private Players to build Rail Lines connecting CIL to Power Plants

New Delhi: In a move that can play a crucial role in Coal India achieving its production targets, news reports say that the government is planning a proposal to allow private firms to build and operate critical railway lines connecting Coal India mines to power, steel and cement projects.  A fee might be charged from the users of these rail links. The process of identifying the profitable lines and private firms which can build the railway lines are on, and is expected to be completed very soon. The report added that Senior officials of the coal ministry and Railway Board are expected to meet on Thursday to discuss progress of about 26 ongoing rail projects connected to mines of Coal India subsidiaries. Coal India is targeting production of 507 million tonne in the year to March 31, 2015.