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Rayagada-Vijayawada train mows down passengers in Andhra, ten killed

Ten people were run over and an equal number injured by a speeding train near Vizianagaram town on Saturday evening, a railway official said.

According to the East Coast Railway spokesperson, some of the passengers of Bokaro Express (Alleppey to Dhanbad), proceeding to Bokaro Steel city, pulled the chain at the railway yard at Gotlam station near Vizianagaram town when they heard a rumour that a compartment of the train was on fire and jumped out on the tracks at around 6.50pm.

As it was dark, they did not see Rayagada-Vijaywada passenger train coming from the opposite direction on the adjacent track and were run over, he said.

“The passengers pulled the chain as rumours spread that one of the compartments (of Bokaro Express) had caught fire. As it was dark, they did not notice the oncoming train”, the railway official said.

Senior police and railway officials have left for the spot, the spokesperson added.

Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge termed the incident as “most tragic” and instructed the officials to ensure the injured get speedy treatment.

An inquiry has been ordered into the incident. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy expressed anguish over the accident.

Reddy, who was in Bangalore, spoke to the district Collector and the SP over phone and asked them to supervise the relief operations, an official release said in Hyderabad.

Railway authorities have set up a helpline at Visakhapatnam to provide information about the victims. The telephone numbers are 0891-2843003, 2843004, 2843005.

Vizianagaram district collector Kantilal Dande is supervising the rescue and relief work.

Railway Begins Probe

Thiruvanathapuram Divisional Railway Manager Rajeev Agarwal told Express on Saturday that the East Coast Railway has started an investigation into the accident involving the Bokaro Express in Andhra Pradesh. ‘’We have not yet received any information about the identification of the bodies. We hope the details would reach us on Sunday,’’ he said.  “Though there is no information about Keralites in the list of victims, there is one commuter who boarded the ill-fated train  from Alappuzha.  According to the information we received, he was travelling to Jharsuguda in Odisha. We doubt he is from Jharkhand as his surname is Topno” the  DRM said.

IRCON International sees 6% hike in turnover, profit up by 59% in H1 of current fiscal

IRCON International, a public sector undertaking in construction sector under the Ministry of Railways, has recorded a turnover of INR 1591.47 crore and Profit Before Tax (PBT) of INR 435.31 crore during the first half of the present financial year (FY) 2013-14 i.e. from 1st April 2013 to 30th September, 2013, an increase of 6 per cent and 59 per cent respectively over the corresponding period last year.

The turnover from international projects was higher by 18 per cent.

The results were announced during the 209th meeting of the Board of Directors chaired by Mr. Mohan Tiwari, Chairman & Managing Director, IRCON.

During the previous 5 years, the company’s turnover has improved at a CAGR of about 17%. Its PBT of the company touched record level of INR 1014 crore in 2012-13 with a CAGR of 44.61%.

Electorate of one colony cast vote for MP and Rajasthan

In an interesting fact, out of 200 electorate of this district’s Railway Colony in Bhanpura tehsil bordering Rajasthan many of them cast their votes for the neighbouring state. According to official sources, the colony commonly known as ‘Hemi Colony’ is comprised of this district’s Bhaisdamandi and Rajasthan’s Bhawanimandi and it comes under the jurisdiction of both states. Hence, 160 voters of this colony exercise their franchise in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhanpura Assembly constituency while 60 others from the other side of the colony cast their vote in Rajasthan’s Dag constituency. The system is being followed after the Independence, the sources added.

Railways mark Anti-Corruption Week with SMS Alerts to all the CUG subscribers

KOLKATA: Ashis Sarkar (name changed), a ticket examiner of the South Eastern Railway (SER) was on his rounds when he received an SMS. “Mere honesty is not enough unless you stop a little dishonesty around you,” it said. He was not the only one. In the last few days,

The operating staff of SER – particularly those who deal with passengers directly – have been receiving messages on ‘honesty’ regularly. This is a measure adopted by SER’s vigilance department to check corrupt practices. According to an official, SER tied up with its CUG cellular service provider ‘Airtel’ and sent messages to 13,000 employees daily since Monday. The aim was to spread awareness on corrupt practices. Eastern Railway also organized skits and awareness programmes in the last six days.

“Our idea was to bombard employees with such messages. This is likely to have a psychological impact. We also wanted the employees to understand that if they adopt corrupt practices; the day will not be far when they themselves will fall prey to this evil,” the official said.

ER and SER also organized a joint seminar on ‘Promoting Good Governance – Positive Contribution of Vigilance’ in Kolkata recently.

G C Agarwal, who is General Manager of both the railways, said that corruption in any form, not only impedes growth and development of an organisation but also seriously erodes its efficiency and credibility. “Corruption can’t come down significantly, unless all employees and stake holders participate in eradicating corruption. Transparency of an organisation is extremely necessary to eradicate corruption and a healthy organisation needs to have a good vigilance department,” he said.

What happened to multi-facility lounge at Charbagh station?

LUCKNOW: In order to upgrade the profile of passenger amenities at Charbagh station, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) had announced providing an executive lounge at Charbagh station, but things do not seem to be moving on the project.

When contacted, Chief Regional Manager, IRCTC, Lucknow Manoj Sinha said, “Space is yet to be handed over by northern railways while the proposal of north eastern railways has been sent for tendering.”

Though the sites for setting up lounges each at Charbagh and Lucknow Junction have been identified, the work on constructing the lounge at the two stations has not been taken up.

The lounge will be of much use to passengers who come on official visit to the city but do not/cannot stay longer than few hours. The facility can be used even by those who have to wait at the station to board the next train to their destination.

Though the facility is to be developed by IRCTC, space has to be identified and handed over to IRCTC by the zonal railways.

At Charbagh station, NR has identified a location close to platform no. 1. The NER, on the other hand, has identified a site in the new hall constructed at junction station.

An executive lounge will not only provide a comfortable stay, but also free refreshment and a meal. A passenger can book a lounge for four hours and pay Rs 300 as entry charge.

A facility of advance booking will be extended to people on IRCTC website, once the lounge comes into existence. It will be of much use to passengers on a break-journey.

The facilities at the lounge would include a reclining sofa or a couch, free meal, both vegetarian or non-vegetarian, snacks, drinks and beverages, internet surfing, magazines and newspapers. The round-the-clock lounge will also have a gift (bouquet) corner, medicine counter and dial-a-taxi service available on payment.

Freight volumes of Indian Railways may Puff past target

Coal, iron ore have seen dip in their traffic; cement and steel have helped Indian Railways to keep pace with its budget targets

With a volume growth of six per cent in April-September, the Indian Railways is expected to surpass its Budget loading target for this financial year. This is in contrast to last year’s, when it fell short of its estimate by 15 million tonnes (mt).

While coal and iron ore saw a two-mt fall in traffic in July-September, cement and steel helped the railways keep pace. Railway Board officials said they expected coal traffic to pick up before the year-end.

Officials said the improvement was due to innovative methods. “We have converted the rail-cum-sea route on the eastern and western coasts into an all-rail one, which helped customers cut handling costs,” D P Pande, Member (Traffic), told. In Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, customers are expected to opt for this.The move helped boost steel traffic.
1383412022-4103Other measures were allowing two point rakes for the same commodity. This boosted efficiency and growth in cement traffic. “We are carrying 15 such rakes a day,” said Pande. A rake is a number of carriages coupled together.

For 2013-14, the Budget had set a loading target of 1,047 mt, 40 mt more than the volume carried last year. To achieve it, the railways would have to increase its loading volume four per cent.

In July-September, cement volumes recorded an increase of two mt. The expected additional traffic from Coal India is likely to add Rs 100 crore to the revenue and 17 mt to volume. Fertilisers, cement, steel and urea saw a slowdown in the first six months of this financial year.

The earnings for April-September were Rs 43,458 crore, an increase of nine per cent. If the earnings target for 2013-14 is to be met, earnings would have to see the same growth.

Former Railway Board officials said the first six months of this financial year included the lean months of June and July, when traffic and earnings fell. With the 15 per cent busy season surcharge and 1.7 per cent fuel adjustment component (FAC), the railways is expected to come up with better figures in the second half. The FAC is expected to generate Rs 700 crore, which could help compensate for the fuel costs.

Vigilance awareness week concludes at North Central Railway

ALLAHABAD: Several seminars, awareness programmes and competitions were held in Agra, Jhansi and Allahabad divisions of North Central Railway (NCR) during the Vigilance Awareness Week celebrated from October 28 to November 2.

The programme commenced with a pledge against corruption taken by NCR general manager Alok Johri and other railway employees. A seminar on ‘Promoting good governance-positive contribution by vigilance’ was organised in GM NCR office at Allahabad. Allahabad High Court judge Vineet Saran attended the function as chief guest which was presided over by Johri. The eleventh edition of vigilance bulletin ‘Jagriti’ was also released on the occasion by NCR. Saran expressed his views on the occasion and exhorted NCR officials to abide by the law.

During the vigilance awareness week, NCR employees were encouraged to establish the norms of ‘good governance’ by ensuring availability of information, transparency in working and timely grievance redressal. The vigilance awareness week was also observed at Central Organization for Railway Electrification (CORE). Various progarmmes were organized during the week to create awareness among the officers and the employees.

On November 1, prize distribution ceremony was organised in presence of chief vigilance officer of CORE Raj Narayan. Chief guest on the occasion, general manager of CORE distributed prizes to the winners of different events. Vote of thanks was proposed by deputy chief vigilance officer Nishchal Srivastava.

Earlier, CORE GM Jagdev Kalia administered pledge to the railway employees for working honestly and fighting against corruption. A vigilance seminar was also organized. Further, essay, cartoon and slogan competition was organised on November 30. Quiz and debate was organised on November 31 among the staff.

Railway Porter who assaulted man a week ago still ‘absconding’

Pune:  A week after railway porter Anil Gaikwad was booked for assaulting a man at the railway premises, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has failed to arrest him. The Bundgarden Police had booked Gaikwad and two others for attacking a person with weapons on the railway premises.

The complainant is identified only as Chavan and had allegedly refused to pay Gaikwad money. GRP officials maintain that Gaikwad, who works with the Carriage and Wagon Department of Pune Division, is absconding.

Earlier, Gaikwad had been booked by the Bundgarden Police on September 5 for allegedly assaulting a senior police inspector with the Railway Protection Force (RPF) when he went to inspect a structure illegally constructed by Gaikwad on Railway land where he had established a kitchen.

According to a recent FIR registered by Chavan, Anil Gaikwad and two other accomplices assaulted him with weapons when he refused to pay him money on Monday. “The three attacked me with weapons. They kicked and slapped me too. I sustained deep injuries on my chest,” it said.

Abhay Parmar, Inspector, GRP, said that the case was being investigated but Gaikwad could not be arrested as he was untraceable. In September, when Gaikwad and his wife Sunita were booked for assaulting RPF Senior Inspector A K Lakhoria, Gaikwad had evaded arrest for over a week and later had obtained anticipatory bail from the court.

Police investigating the case claim that Gaikwad and his wife had fled to Mumbai, but other railway officials say that he is in the city but police are avoiding arresting him in fear of his clout.

SR’s Thiruvananthapuram Division conduct Vigilance Awareness Week

Thiruvananthapuram:  The Southern Railway’s Vigilance Awareness Week observance concluded here on Saturday.

Intelligence ADGP T P Senkumar was the chief guest. Divisional Railway Manager Rajesh Agrawal presided over.  Additional Divisional Railway Manager T Kuppan welcomed the gathering.  B Ravichander, senior divisional operations manager, proposed a vote of thanks. Officers and senior supervisors of the division attended the valedictory function.

This year the theme for the Vigilance Awareness Week observance was ‘Promoting Good Governance- Post- Contribution of Vigilance’.

The T’Puram Division had arranged programmes to convey the message to railway personnel deployed in various destinations.

No Security at Pakistan Railway stations – a letter by a traveller in his own narrative

THE government’s mantra of positive change in the Pakistan Railways (PR) is nothing more than lip-service. It was proved when I travelled by train from Rawalpindi to Lahore just a couple of days earlier.

There was no security at the stations and people were entering railway stations without being checked. The security personnel were busy doing other things.

Some were chatting on their mobile phones, some were sipping tea and some were puffing cigarettes. That was a shocking sight for me because I was expecting changes for the better with the coming of the PML(N) government into power.

However, I was badly disappointed after seeing the plight of the PR.

The condition inside trains was even worse. It was jam-packed from door to door. Many men, women and elderly people were travelling by standing. The toilets were without any lights and water. Besides, there were no locks to keep the toilet doors bolted.

Negligence and corruption by various governments has led the PR down the abyss.

I would like to request Pakistan Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique to take the following steps as soon as possible to make the Pakistan Railways a useful asset for the people:

(i) Special seats should be reserved for women, children and aged citizens.

(ii) The security system should be tightened according to current demands.

(iii) There should be proper system of electricity within the train

(iv) Not a single ticket in excess of the available seats should be sold.

(v) The number of trains should be increased.

(f) Water and electricity should be available inside trains and railway stations 24/7. Once these steps have been taken care of, then only can the PR become people-friendly.


Shakuntala Express: A Nostalgic Slow Journey into Forgotten Era

NAGPUR: The Indian Railways was nationalized six decades ago but there remains a 190km narrow gauge section where it still hauls a British-time train with a private firm of the same era having a stake in the earnings out of the operations. The Shakuntala Express, a romantic name by all accounts, is a train not many in the country are aware of. But, in Yavatmal and Achalpur (Amravati district), it is the lifeline for villagers and also a political issue to be kept ‘alive’.

It was an era of private railroad companies in 1910 when British firm Killick-Nixon floated the Central Province Railway Company (CPRC), a joint venture with British Indian government for laying railway tracks to be used for transporting cotton from Vidarbha, and finally to Manchester in England. The track had trains running on it by 1916 and soon it was being used to ferry passengers too. The trains were run by Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR) which operated in Central India. The deal continued even after the GIPR became Central Railway post independence. In the entire affair Killick-Nixon was the agent for its own group company.

Today the track falls under the Bhusawal division of Central Railway. However, none in the railways as well as Killick-Nixon have a clue why the track has not been nationalized even now. “All the British companies were taken over like GIPR became Central Railway, East India Railway Company was made Eastern Railway and so on. But the erstwhile companies’ contract with private firms like CPRC continued. We don’t know what the decision-makers thought at that time. Maybe nobody bothered as the affairs were running smoothly then,” said an official.

As per the pact, the Railways are supposed to shell out 55% of the revenue from running the Shakuntala Express to CPRC. Every 10 years, railways have a chance to exercise the option of taking over the line. The next opportunity will come in 2016. All the Indian Railways may have to pay for buying the line is Rs 2.5 to Rs 3 crore according to CPRC officials.

For the last 10 years, Central Railway hasn’t paid its share of revenue and been adjusting the amount against minor repairs it has undertaken on the tracks. The Railways have also demanded another sum of Rs 18.72 crore for major repair works from the CPRC. The latter is reluctant and it has resulted in a roadblock.

Generations of politicians have been demanding that the track be nationalized and converted into a broad gauge line. They are under an impression that Killick-Nixon is still based out of UK. Even many railway officials in Yavatmal or Murtijapur think so.  An inquiry by RailNews revealed that it is very much an Indian company now. Both, Killick-Nixon and CPRC are listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The ownership was transferred to Indian promoters after the British left the country. Killick and Nixon has TB Ruia as the chairman. His name had cropped up in the 1992 Harshad Mehta securities scam.

Today, CPRC is practically a non-functional company though alive and kicking on paper. Its company secretary SR Himmady told: “CPRC did make an offer to the Railways to take over the track for which the company hopes to get Rs 2 to 3 crore as per the contract. But there has been no response.”

Railways, on the other hand, do not seem keen to run the train due to the losses it is incurring currently. A senior official in the Bhusawal division said left to the Railways, it would have stopped the train. But there was political pressure against it.

Member of the Railway Board SK Jain told that the contract specified that major expenses beyond Rs 10,000 have to be borne by the company. Since it has not, the amount due to CPRC has been adjusted against the cost incurred by Railways on repairs. The dispute is in court.

“But, not withstanding the litigation, the Railways have the right to take over the track,” said Jain, and the option is being considered. “If the 10-yearly option is exercised, the contract calls for payment of 125% of the last three years average revenue. This according to railways comes to around Rs 4 crore. The company pegs it at Rs 3 crore. If taken over before that, around Rs 5 crore may have to be shelled out,” he added.

Sources in the ministry say in both the cases it is a minor amount for the railways. However, there has to be a political decision for that. The matter has been taken up in the Parliament’s petition committee by local MPs, the source added.

“As far as conversion into broad gauge is concerned, it is not a priority for now as the railways would require Rs 1800 crore for it. More than that railways will have to go through the tardy process of forest clearances also,” the source said. Railway employees in the know say that converting the route to broad gauge would reduce the Delhi-Chennai distance by 200 kms.

History of Killick-Nixon Limited

1857 to 1947- On 24th November, 1857, a partnership firm was established by Mr. Charles Killick and Mr. Robert Preston Nixon for the purpose of doing business as “General Merchants and Commission Agents”.

It is debatable whether anyone could have foreseen at that time the significance the name “Killicks” would assume in the annals of Indian industry. It is an amazing saga of industrial progress and fortune. Killick Nixon & Company successfully promoted and fostered an incredible number of commercial, industrial and consumer oriented enterprises. Also, its trading activities grew at the same time. The company built up a considerable business in the import, sale and distribution of products as varied as cement and cement coatings, tarpaulins, insulation and panel boards, aluminium products, etc. The company also handled products made in India. In addition to import and marketing of imported and indigenous products, the company represented reputed foreign concern and shipping companies as sole selling agents and ship owners’ agents.

  • 10 New Railway Companies were floated:The Ahmedabad Prantej Railway Company Ltd. (metre gauge 143 Kms);
    Tapti Valley Railway Co. Ltd. (broad gauge 252 Kms);
    Ahmedabad Dholka Railway Co. Ltd. (metre gauge 54.5 Kms);
    Amritsar Patti Railway Co. Ltd (broad gauge 87.75 Kms);
    Central Provinces Railways Co. Ltd. (narrow gauge 227.5 Km.);
    Gujarat Railways Co. Ltd. (narrow gauge 136.5 Kms);
    Mandra Bhon Railway Co. Ltd. (broad gauge 76.4 Km.);
    Sara Siragunj Railway Co. Ltd. (broad gauge 87.75 Kms);
    Sialkot Narowal Railway Co. Ltd.(broad gauge 63.4 Kms);
    Mymensingh Bhairab Bazar Railway Co. Ltd. (metre gauge 162.5 Kms).
  • The first of its Textile Mills was acquired, the newly created Kohinoor Mills Co. Ltd
  • The Bombay Agency of Sir Edward Bates & Sons was amalgamated with the company.
  • The Central India Mining Company was floated for the purpose of mining manganese ore and later the Shivrajpur Syndicate Ltd. was formed.
  • The Hingir – Rampur Coal Co. Ltd. was established.
  • Three public utilities were floated:
      – The Ahmedabad Electricity Co. Ltd.

      – The Surat Electric Co. Ltd. and
- The Bombay Suburban Electric Supply Ltd.

  • Thane Electricity Supply Co. Limited was taken over by the Company.
  • The company acquired A.R. Haseler Limited a reputed firm concerned with the supply of aircraft equipments and spares to the Indian aviation industry and flying clubs.
  • The Bundi Portland Cement Co. Limited and the Punjab Portland Cement Limited were floated which led to the formation of the Indian Cement Manufactures’ Association, a forerunner of the Cement Marketing Co. Ltd.
  • Killicks was eventually influential in bringing about the amalgamation of India’s leading cement companies into a giant cement combine – The Associated Cement Companies Ltd. (ACC)-in whose management it played a leading role through its associated company, Cement Agencies Ltd.
    This unique arrangement took place in 1936, where three other leading cement manufactures – Tatas, Khataus and Dinshaws- joined hands with Killicks to pool their assets and jointly form ACC as a new public company.

1948- On 1st February, the company became a Limited Company with 98.5% of its shareholders being Indian nationals, in the name of Killick Industries Limited.

Killick Industries Limited became heirs to the high tradition of the old company with such divergent interests as Cotton Textiles, Silk Mills, Electricity Generation and Distribution Undertakings, Manganese Ore and Coal Mines, Railways and a large share in the Corporate Management of the Associated Cement Companies Limited.  The Company entered the field of light engineering products and consumer goods, including domestic appliances.

1953- The birth of Killick industrial estate with an area of 67,000 sq mtr. at Chandivli for locating manufacturing plants of the company.

1969- The company decided to restore the old and revered names of original founders by changing its corporate name to Killick Nixon Limited.

Railway line proposed by Indira in 1978 to become a reality soon

Bangalore:  A railway line which was first proposed by the late prime minister Indira Gandhi, when she contested the Lok Sabha elections from Chikmagalur in 1978, will become operational soon.

According to sources, the railways has completed all the works on Kadur-Chikmagalur and Kolar-Chikballapur railway lines.

It has obtained clearances from the Rail Safety Commissioner to run trains on both the lines.

The railway officials said  they are planning to inaugurate Kolar-Chikballapur railway line on November 8 and Kadur-Chikmagalur railway line on November 19. The dates were announced by Union Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday.

Meanwhile, South Western Railway’s Chief Administrative Officer Adesh Sharma said: “Both the railway lines are ready for inauguration and preparations are on.”

Kadur-Chikmagalur Railway Line

It was first proposed as a part of Kadur-Sakleshpur railway project by the late prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1978. Though, C K Jaffer Sharief sanctioned a survey of the railway line during his tenure as the Union railway minister, the project was sanctioned in 1996-97 budget and was taken up much later.

As the railways had delayed the implementation of the project due to lack of funds, the State government offered to fund the project on cost-sharing basis.

The 45-km railway line work has been completed at a cost of `280 crore and it passes through Bisilehalli, Sakharayapatna and Kanivehalli.

Chikballapur-Kolar Railway Line

The railways undertook the gauge conversion work on the 96.5-km railway line between Kolar and Chickballapur nearly seven years ago.

The State government agreed to fund the project on cost sharing basis at the insistence of the former Union minister of state for railways K H Muniyappa  to ensure that the project is completed on time. This work has been completed at a cost of `450 crore. It passes through Shiddlaghatta and Chintamani.

New platinum rated IRICEN building commissioned

The newly-constructed administrative Green Building (Platinum Rated) of Indian Railways Institute for Civil Engineering (IRICEN) was formally commissioned by Subodh Jain, (IRSE), Member engineering, Railway Board, at Koregaon Park on Friday.

November 1 is celebrated by the officers of Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE) to mark the beginning of the illustrious service 123 years ago. B.P. Khare, General Manager, Central Railway and other senior officials were present on the occasion.

The institute plays a vital role in building the career of railway engineers and provides in-house training to freshly recruited civil engineers of Indian Railways. The new IRICEN building has been constructed over 8,700 sqm.

Railways serious about Laying 3rd line between Pune-Lonavala, says Member (Engineering)

Pune:  Subodh Jain, Member (Engineering) of the Railway Board, said the Indian Railways was serious about laying a third line between Pune and Lonavala to ease traffic and provide smooth service between the two cities.

Speaking at the annual day function of the Indian Railway Institute of Civil Engineering (IRICEN), he said, “The Pune-Lonavla project has been sanctioned and soon an estimate will be prepared. Work on the project will start as soon as the the funds are allocated for the project.”

The function was attended by Central Railway General Manager B P Khare, IRICEN Director C P Tayal, Pune Division DRM Suneet Sharma, and several other senior officials of Central Railway.

Jail said the technical feasibility of the high speed trains, which will run at 200 km per hour, has been examined and other things will also be worked out soon.

“Other important aspects such as pricing, traffic and development model – Public-Private partnership or government venture – are being decided. We also need to be decided whether tracks will be dedicated for the high speed trains or hybrid trains – catering to both high speed and regular trains,” said Jain.

Jain congratulated IRICEN officials for setting up a building which received platinum rating from the Indian Green Building Council. He said IRICEN had a humble beginning as it was housed at Shivajinagar station complex. “The institute was later moved to the DRM office building. When a Division was established in Pune, it was decided that the institute be moved out from the DRM office campus. Now, IRICEN will operate from the sprawling complex,” said Jain.

Poorva Keskar, Vice-Chairman, IGBC, Pune, said the new building of IRICEN bagged 61 points out of 67, which is the highest earned by any building in the state .

Engineers belonging to the 1987 batch of Indian Railway Service of Engineers (1987) were also felicitated for completing 25 years in the service. Medal and trophies were awarded to best performing officers of IRSE, 2009 batch and group ‘B’ officers. Several seminars were also organised on the occasion.

Railways may not achieve target fixed for this Financial Year

“There has been a shortfall of Rs.3000 crore from the Target in the first half of the Financial Year”

Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday said that the Railways may not be able to achieve the target fixed for this financial year as floods, strikes, increase in diesel price, etc., have affected earnings.

“For the first half of the year, there has been a shortfall of Rs.3000 Crore from the target,” Mr. Kharge told presspersons after commissioning a road underbridge and laying the foundation stone for a road overbridge at Allalsandra here.

The 2013-14 Railway Budget set freight target of 1,047 million tonnes (about Rs. 93,554 crore) and passenger earnings of Rs. 42,210 crore.

However, the Railways is making every effort to bring down the deficit with the introduction of fuel adjustment component in passenger fares; intensifying ticket checking activities and other measures to increase operational efficiency, Mr. Kharge said. He said that loading of coal and iron ore was not taking place at expected quantities and if there is any increase in these components, the earnings might increase.

Speaking earlier at the function, Mr. Kharge said that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has paid Rs. 90 crore to the Revenue Department towards acquisition of about 3 acres of land belonging to Binny Mills. The BBMP should have handed over this land, abutting Bangalore City Railway Station, to the Railways long ago as it had taken possession of the latter’s land to construct the Okalipuram signal-free corridor, he said.

He said that the Allalsandra road overbridge on Bangalore-Doddaballapur highway would be ready in 12 months. Of the 52 road overbridges and road underbridges proposed in the State, work on 16 has started and the remaining would be taken up in a phased manner.

The Chickballapur-Kolar new line would be commissioned on November 8 and the Kadur-Chikmagalur new line in the third week of November, Mr. Kharge said.

Union Petroleum and Natural Gases Minister M. Veerappa Moily urged the Railway Minister to speed up the circular railway project for Bangalore.

Bangalore Mayor B.S. Satyanarayana, South Western Railway general manager A.K. Mittal and chief administrative officer (constructions) Adesh Sharma were present.

Ministry of External Affairs Nod must for Bidders of Railways’ Loco Tender

New Delhi:  The Railways has raised a ‘red’ flag for bidders for its loco tender, valued at about Rs 35,000 crore.

All bidders will have to get a clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs first, Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar told.

This move will impact Chinese bidders, who are keen to break into the Indian railway equipment market, one of the world’s largest.

Security issues continue to dog China’s bid to play a bigger role in India’s infrastructure sector. India has till date not permitted Chinese firms to participate in port development projects, and has also been wary of Chinese telecom equipment suppliers.

Kumar declined to comment on the technical bidding process, which is not yet over. But, he had earlier said that the Ministry had decided not to relax the conditions, as requested by one of the Chinese bidders, CSR.

Moreover, the Railway Ministry is yet to get a Cabinet approval for the financial bid documents for the project.

Indian Railways has turned a battleground for US, European and Chinese locomotive manufacturers, all of whom want a share of the loco market pie.

Two Chinese firms, CSR and CNR, have bid for setting up two locomotive factories – electric and diesel – in India to supply about 1,800 locomotives to the Railways over 11 years. American and European firms have traditionally been key suppliers of high-tech products in locomotives for the Railways.

For the proposed electric locomotive factory to be set up at Madhepura, Bihar, bidders include US firm GE Global, and European firms Bombardier, Siemens and Alstom, apart form CSR and CNR.

Similarly, for the diesel locomotive factory in Marhowra, Bihar, bidders include US firms GE, EMD, apart from CSR and CNR.

Industry experts feel that the Chinese participation in bids will lead to strong pricing pressure.

“There will surely be greater pricing competition if the Chinese firms were to participate. Though the company that wins the project will have to operate in India with Indian workers, the back-office costs of Chinese firms are bound to be lower,” Niraj Kumar, former Railway DG, told.

But, the fate of these two projects, the bidding process for which did not go through in the UPA-I Government regime, remains to be seen, given that they are to be set up in remote locations.

“It is a fact that new projects are sanctioned on verbal orders, even in areas where there is no supporting infrastructure,” said Shubhranshu, General Secretary, Federation of Railway Officers (FROA).

CR runs 4 special trains between Nagpur-Pune for festive season

The Central Railways Administration have decided to run four additional weekly special trains between the Nagpur-Pune route to clear extra rush during the upcoming festive season. These trains comprise of 18 coaches: One – IInd ir-conditioned coach, one – IIIrd air-conditioned coach, eleven – sleeper coaches, three – general IInd class coaches, and two – SLR coaches. Accordingly, train number 01203 Nagpur-Pune (Weekly) will leave Nagpur at 1300 hours on November 11, and arrive in Pune at 0405 hours the next day. Similarly, train number 01204 Pune-Nagpur (Weekly) special train will depart from Pune at 1415 hours on November 5 and November 12 and arrive in Nagpur at 0620 hours the next day (Wednesday). Te trains are sceduled to halt at Daund, Ahmednagar, Manmad, Bhusawal, Badnera and Wardha, an official release from the Public Relations Department, Central Railway, Nagpur Division said. Reservation for both trains have been started, the release added.

New special train via Allahabad to cope up with Diwali rush

ALLAHABAD: In view of the heavy rush of passengers during Diwali, railway administration has decided to ply a special train between Jodhpur and Howrah. This train will pass through Allahabad. The train will depart from Jodhpur at 3:00 pm travel via Gotan, Metra Road, Degana, Makrana, Kuchaman, Phulera, Kanakpura, Jaipur, Dausa, Bandikui, Bharatpur, Agra Fort, Tundla, Etawa, Kanpur Central, Fatehpur, Allahabad, Mirzapur, Mughalsarai, Sasaram, Gaya, Dhanbad, Pradhankunta, Asansol and finally terminate at Howrah at 11:30 pm the next day.

During the return journey, the train will depart from Howrah at 8:15 pm and after going through the above route will arrive at Allahabad at 9:45 am, and finally terminate at Jodhpur next day at 4:40 am. This train will depart from Jodhpur end on November 1 and from Howrah end on November 4.It will comprise of one AC-II tier, one AC-III tier, fifteen sleeper and two general class coaches.

Couple getting intimate video leaked from DMRC’s CCTV room?

NEW DELHI: Delhi Police believes the MMS showing a couple getting intimate inside a Metro train was shot and leaked from a CCTV monitoring room on DMRC network.

A highly placed source in Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police told that “the clip seen on YouTube was recorded by a staff member with a cellphone as the footage played on control room monitors”. Several DMRC officials have been questioned already, and arrests will begin after reports from YouTube and CFSL on the footage and IP address from which it was uploaded come in.

The officer, however, refused to divulge more information, saying that the probe is at a crucial stage. “In a few weeks, we will have all details,” he added.

Recently, different videos had surfaced on YouTube showing couples getting intimate on Metro trains or the stairs. Follwing this recent incident, a series of meetings had taken place between DMRC and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which provides security for Delhi Metro, to resolve the monitoring issue. CISF had earlier claimed that they only control the security, while database of CCTV footages is stored with DMRC.

Delhi Police is probing one video in the incident while other videos, allegedly to be shot or leaked from metro, are not formally under probe. The case has been registered under stringent Information Technology Act and cops hope to arrest the accused person (s) very soon.

Bangalore Metro CCTV footage reveals group of men harass College Student

Women Commuters of Bangalore Metro are even more worried of apathy shown by Namma Metro authorities and Security Personnel

Bangalore, Oct 26: It took 12 days for the Bangalore police to obtain the CCTV footage of a girl being sexually harassed on the Metro train by four men and also to file and FIR against the culprits.

The incident took place on Oct 12, when Prakriti Sharma, a college student boarded the Metro train from MG Road to Byappanahalli at around 8 pm. Once she was inside the Metro she was constantly harassed by a group of men, who sat opposite to her.

They passed lewd comments and made indecent gestures at her. The CCTV footage also shows that the girl changed her place since the men didn’t stop with their dirty antics. But in spite of changing her place many a times, the men harassed her. Some of them even approached her one after the other and continued with the comments.

A co-passenger helped Prakriti and asked her to inform the guard who was at the station. But alas, the security guard refused to help and the train continued its journey. Once the train stopped at the last stop, the group threatned Prakriti in front of a guard.

It was only her determination that led her to the police station, where she filed a complaint against the men. However it took ten days for the police to file an FIR against the goons. This incident throws light on the security of the women who travel by the metro. What shocked many is that the Metro officials tried to turn a blind eye to the incident. Even the police blamed the Metro officials who did not inform them about the incident. The police offcials said that had the Metro officials informed them immediately, they would have swung into actions and punished the offenders.

Delhi Metro services to run till 20.00 Hrs on Diwali

New Delhi:  The timings for the Delhi Metro rail services have been altered for the upcoming festival day of Diwali while special arrangements are being made to handle the rush on Bhai Duj on November 5th, officials said.

On Diwali, which falls on November 3, the last metro train will leave at 8 P.M. from terminal stations for all metro lines, including the Airport Express service.

Metro rail services would, however, begin as usual on November 3 from 6 A.M. onwards on all lines and from 4:45 A.M. onwards on the Airport Express Line, a DMRC official said.

On Bhai Duj, to be celebrated on November 5, an expected rise in the number of commuters using Metro services would see two extra trains kept on standby for each line in order to clear passenger rush, the official said.

DMRC will also deploy more Customer Facilitation Agents to help and guide commuters on November 5 at busy Metro stations and will also operate additional ticket counters, if required, to handle the increased load on the ticketing system, the official added.

Metro rail services on Bhai Duj will be available as usual from 6 A.M. to 11 P.M. on all lines and from 4:45 A.M. to 11:30 P.M. on the Airport Express Line, the official said.

VIA Rail deluxe product to target India market

In May 2014, VIA Rail Canada will introduce a new deluxe product, which according to Ryan Robutka, senior manager, sales and marketing – Americas, will be a good fit for the Indian market.

“India is an emerging market for us. We have representation in India now and that helps us in working with tour operators, training and press outreach. The numbers from India are small but growing. It is a market that we have identified is important for us and we are looking to build the momentum,” said Robutka, adding that one of the things that VIA Rail is excited about in the Indian market is the deluxe product.

Initially, the route for this product will be from Vancouver to Jasper, in 2015 there are plans to extend the same from Vancouver to Toronto.

“The cabins will be larger and more contemporary. Though the train will be the same there will be separate new cars, which will be much larger. There will be individual washroom with shower, flat screen televisions with video on demand, and of course the concierge service,” stated Robutka. In the weeks leading up to that trip, the concierge will contact the travellers and ask if they need anything prior to getting on the train and also help them with sightseeing tours, etc. Alcohol would be included in the trip and there would be wine tasting, cheese tasting. The level of service will be personalised.

Other VIA Rail trains cater to the niche travellers. For example, the train that goes to Churchill and Manitoba is of interest to adventure travellers.

“People go to Churchill to see polar bears, to swim with beluga whales and look at the Northern Lights. Another train goes through northern British Columbia, Prince Rupert to Jasper and Alberta, which is for nature lovers – they do whale watching, grizzly bear tours, fishing tour and then go to Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies,” informed Robutka.

VIA Rail Canada was created by two different railway companies that operate freight lines in Canada.

In the late seventies when airline travel was becoming more popular they shed their passenger network and the federal government took over the operations. Since then VIA Rail Canada has grown into a company that specialises in two types of travel – in eastern Canada people rely on train network to travel between Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa and Toronto as an alternate to flying.

There is economy and business class, and is much cheaper than the airlines. The longer haul trains go from Toronto to Vancouver and takes four nights and three days to go across five provinces. There are two classes of service – economy and sleeper plus class (first class service).

“We would say that our first class product is a premium product, which has a casual Canadian twist to it. It is not pretentious, but welcoming,” concluded Robutka.

Policing in running trains set to improve

GRP and RPF are working in unison to provide escort to passengers throughout the journey

With the number of trains and passenger traffic on the rise, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has worked out a flexible mechanism to make sure that all long distance trains are covered either by its men or Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel to provide escort on board.

Towards this direction, the GRP has maximised its manpower strength to deploy train beats on almost all long distance trains passing through the limits of Tiruchi Railway Police district which has a vast jurisdiction under its ambit.

With its work force increasing by 200, the GRP is now in a position to deploy the newly inducted constables on “train beats” as well after giving them an orientation on railway-related policing.

At present, the GRP and the RPF deploy their personnel for escort on board long distance trains. There are trains in which personnel of both agencies are deployed for escort duty.

Encompassing Chennai and Tiruchi railway police districts, the GRP has fixed and cut beats in place for its personnel deployed for train beat duty.

Those deployed for “fixed beat” will travel in the train from the starting point to the final destination station while those posted in the “cut beat” alight once their jurisdiction ends only to be taken over by their colleagues of the neighbouring railway district.

In the wake of increase in the number of trains and rise in passenger traffic over the years, it was decided at a recent joint meeting in Chennai attended by top GRP and RPF officers that express train should not be left uncovered and that it should have either GRP or RPF personnel on board, say GRP sources.

Accordingly, the GRP has worked out a flexible mechanism as per which it proposes to cover 51 out of the 97 express trains (in both directions) passing through the limits of Tiruchi Railway Police jurisdiction every day.

The rest would be a combo covered by the RPF and the GRP, the sources added.

The GRP men would be deployed for specific escort duty in case of train travel of a VIP or a high profile leader coming under the “protected” category. The GRP covers many weekly and special trains.

Realising that offences such as baggage lifting and eve-teasing occurred more in passenger than express trains, the GRP has decided to deploy “crime prevention beats” randomly in passenger trains operating in Tiruchi Railway Police district limits.

The jurisdiction of Tiruchi Railway Police district starts from Vikrandi near Villupuram and goes on up to Kuzhithurai near Kanyakumari in the north–south direction. It starts from Karaikal and extends up to Palani in the east–west direction.

Even in the midst of manpower shortage, the endeavour is that a train should not be left uncovered and that there is visible deployment on platforms to thwart offences, said a senior GRP officer.

Although the sanctioned strength of the GRP, Tiruchi, is a little over 1,400, its actual strength comes to around 1,050. The sources say around 85 more personnel will soon be joining the GRP, Tiruchi which will reduce the vacancy to about 150.

This year, till now, a number of 101 crime cases such as chain snatching, baggage lifting and robbery were booked in various railway police stations falling under the Tiruchi Railway Police district. While the value of stolen property exceeded Rs. 69 lakh, the worth of the recovered property was Rs.33 lakh.

Sanpada Railway Station irks Commuters – Poor condition and Lack of Safety the reason

Sanpada:  The unhygienic condition of Sanpada railway station has disappointed commuters. But more pertinent are the complaints of women commuters that sex workers walk freely within the station premises at night making the area unsafe. While these complaints have been made repeatedly, they have fallen on deaf ears.

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Sanpada ward office however, has now taken this issue to the City Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) and the Railways. MNS delegations have also handed over the complaints to CIDCO Chairman Pramod Hindurao and Railway Commercial Inspector Rajiv Ranjan in the hope that these issues will be sorted out soon.

Till recently, women commuters have been asking for a guard at the station premises in the hope of feeling safer. “We feel very uncomfortable in the evening when we return from work, as the area outside the station has several eunuchs and sex workers waiting for customers. They are also found near the bus stop, making us feel insecure while we wait for the bus, as the men who come looking for them are from various backgrounds”, said Ria Jadhav a resident of Sanpada.

Commuters have also complained that there are inadequate ticket counters and roofless platforms that have also inconvenienced them. “Out of the four ticket windows, only two remain open. During peak hours, this leads to a long queue. It is very inconvenient for us. We should be allowed to avail services offered to us. ATVM and coupon validating machines are also dysfunctional most of the times,” says Ravindra Lad, a resident of Sector 8, Sanpada.

As Sanpada station is close to the Sion-Panvel Highway and the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), the usage of the station premises during peak hours reaches a new high. “The authorities have made provisions for us to buy tickets from a few authorised shops near the station, but even these places have a queue. If all the windows are kept open, it will be easy for us,” says another commuter.

The MNS has issued a week’s notice to the authorities to institute a change and has also stated that if commuters are still be being affected, a protest will be held by the party under the leadership of Thane District Samparka president Girish Dhanukar and Navi Mumbai city president Gajanan Kale.

Calicut Railway Station – Tracking the change

20MPCT-RAILWAY_STA_1242822gCalicut:  It changed the way of life in colonial Malabar – the railways. Many files of the late 19th century were transacted on the subject. Land acquisition, laying of tracks and deciding on the stations dominated official communication. In Malabar, the railway line initially stopped at Beypore and was stretched till Calicut in due course. The Calicut railway station was a matter of intense curiosity and interest for residents. However, archival files show that the residents put themselves in a spot over the railway station.

Files from 1887 show that the residents created considerable confusion over the entrance to the station. Railway authorities were mulling having an entrance at the Big Bazaar side. This proposal rattles the inhabitants of the city centre and they petition the railway authorities. But they soon realise that their petition will invite new troubles and petition again. The petitions reflect the extent to which caste considerations regulated lives in colonial Malabar.

Having a station entrance on the Big Bazaar side prompts the town council chairman and several others to petition Francis B. Haune, Agent and Manager at Madras Railway Company. In the petition written in November 1887, P. Krishnaswami Iyer writes, “Inhabitants of Talli, Chalapuram, Azchavattam, Mankavu and Kallai understand that the Madthukar Road, that is the road branching westwards from the Beypore Trunk Road into the Calicut railway station compound is to be closed and that the only entrance to the station is through the Big Bazaar.”

Residents argue that a walk through the crowded bazaar may not be a pleasant idea, especially for women. Instead, they suggest retaining a small entrance through the road variously spelt in the letters as Marthakar, Maduthukar and Maduthakar road. “The peculiar customs of Malabar forbid our ladies from appearing in public bazaars,” says the petition. They request “not to wall up the compound but to allow an entrance into the station through Madukathar Road also.” A short-cut for the residents of the centrally-located areas, it also granted women privacy.

Haune gives the petition due consideration. He responds to the petitioners, “I have requested the chief engineer to have a wicket gate opened at the bottom of the Marthakar Road and to make a footpath for passengers from thence to the Calicut station.”

However, this positive response wakes the residents up to a new issue. They want the small gate alright but only for a select few. Caste comes in and the residents shoot off another petition, this time to make the road exclusive.

In the second petition, they play the religion and caste cards. The inhabitants of Nagaram and Kasaba amsom write that the small Maduthakar Road, “…may be advantageous to the limited section of the inhabitants of Tali, Chalapuram, and other places comprised in Kasaba amsom, so far as a convenient entrance into the railway station is concerned, (but) we beg to bring to your notice a religious governance.”

Next to the road, they write, is an “ancient temple of Kallinkal Peroo Moopan which has attached to it a well and Moopan’s original tharavad.” “There are moreover many houses and wells on both sides of the road that require freedom from pollution,” they add. The petition states that the Maduthakar Road has so far not been used by the people of the “lowest castes.” They explain how the railway’s move will hurt the sentiments of the upper caste inhabitants. They write, if “the road is to be converted into a thorough fare for all castes without distinctions the temple situated in neighbourhood of the road will be polluted to the great grievance of a very large portion of the inhabitants of Calicut.”

The petitioners want the best options for themselves. With the opening of the gate, they want a “notice” put up “forbidding the ingress and egress through the gateway of people of the four castes.”

All are equal

While Haune was sympathetic to the first petition, he is no mood to relent to the whims of the petitioners this time around. He writes back cryptically. “Railway Company cannot recognise caste distinctions amongst passengers. If therefore the gate at the west end of the Marthakar Road is opened it must be so far as the Railway Company is concerned for all passengers alike.”

Haune also sends a note to the Collector of Malabar seeking his opinion. He asks “whether it will be for the general good that the gate should be opened or not.”

The Collector agrees with Haune that caste should not determine public mobility. He writes, “Opening a gate at the west end of the Maduthukar Raod may be decided without reference to the petitioner’s objection to certain castes using the road.” He goes a step further and says if the petitioners have objection to certain castes accessing the road they can approach the court.

Waltair Railway Division suffers Rs.50 Cr Loss due to Phailin, Torrential Rains, Agitations

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Waltair Division of the East Coast Railways (ECoR) has piled up losses of around Rs 50 crore this month due to the suspension of passenger services at various railway stations, particularly Visakhapatnam railway station, for nearly 10 days due to various factors as well as slowdown in cargo movement on its money spinner Kirandul-Kottavalasa railway line.

This includes nearly Rs 40 crore losses due to lower freight movement on the KK line and another Rs 10 crore due to passenger traffic disruptions, said railway sources. Daily about 50,000 passengers travel to various parts of the country from the division, which covers the three north coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam, besides a few parts of neighbouring Odisha.

Railway officials attributed the losses to the Samaikyandhra stir by Seemandhra electricity board employees on October 7, besides the two natural calamities – Cyclone Phailin that hit north coastal AP on October 12 and the torrential rains under the influence of northeast monsoon from October 21 to 27. Due to disruptions, more than 20,000 passengers travel from Vizag alone. But many passengers could not utilize Indian Railways services for nearly 10 days due to the disruptions in train traffic due to these three key reasons this month.

Admitting to the losses, Waltair Divisional Railway Manager Anil Kumar said the losses would be more than Rs 10 crore just on account of disruption of passenger traffic. “I have instructed my staff to prepare a report on the losses to the division due to passenger train disruptions. In terms of freight traffic, though the division did not face any track damages, particularly on the Kirandul-Kottavalasa railway line like it did last year due to Cyclone Nilam, it suffered losses on the KK line due to lack of cargo movement during the torrential rains as no mining activity was carried out by National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) at Bailadilla in Chhattisgarh during the period,” he said.

“The division, which has 38 railway stations under the three north coastal districts in addition to a couple of stations in neighbouring Odisha, on an average earns Rs 1 crore daily from passenger traffic. But because of disruptions for nearly 10 days due to the protests and track damages due to rains and cyclone Phailin, the division roughly incurred nearly Rs 10 crore losses from passenger traffic,” a senior railway official said.

The Indian Railways regulated 17 key trains, including 12 cancellations and five short-terminations, due to the strike by the electricity employees of APGenco, APTransco and Eastern Power Distribution Company of AP Limited (EPDCL) to protest against the bifurcation of the state. The supply of 25KV power to the electric traction overhead was suspended due to the strike. As a result, all the 17 trains could not move on the Chennai-Howrah main railway line passing through Vizag, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam Road under Waltair division in the first week of this month, a senior railway official said.

While the main railway track between Palasa and Ichchapuram railway stations in Srikakulam district were damaged due to rains and cyclone Phailin, the railway line was also damaged at Yelamanchili and Narsingapalli railway station limits in Visakhapatnam district due to the recent torrential rains.

The railways were forced to suspend around 61 trains passing through Visakhapatnam to various destinations for 10 days — on October 7 due to no power, from October 11 to 13 due to cyclone and from October 24 to October 29 due to rains. Most of the trains were diverted via either Vijayawada or Vizianagaram railway stations when the railway traffic was suspended between Palasa and Ichchapuram due to heavy rains caused by Cyclone Phailin as well as the northeast monsoon.

Vijayawada Railway Division realises Rs 684400 in ticket check drive

An amount of Rs 6,84,400 was realised as fine, after a massive ticket checking drive conducted in and around Vijayawada railway station yesterday detected 1303 cases of passengers traveling without tickets and carrying of luggage that wasn’t booked, railway officials said here today.

“As a result of these checks, 1303 cases of passengers traveling without tickets and carrying luggage that wasn’t booked were detected and an amount of Rs 6,84,400 was realised. Services of 25 ticket checking staff of squads, in-charge supervisors, Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel were utilised for the purpose,” a release from the Vijayawada Division of South Central Railway (SCR) said here today.

Rs.3000 Crore deficit between Apr-Sep will be recovered: Mallikarjun Kharge

02BG_P3_RAILWAYSTA_1639814fBANGALORE: For a change the Yesvantpur railway station looked cleaner and decked up on Friday. Reason, the railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge was slated to inaugurate new waiting rooms, visitors lounge and food plaza at the Yesvantpur station. He also opened the underpasses near Judicial Layout for people to go to Yelahanka as the work for the railway over bridge (ROB) started at Allalsandra junction.

Mallikarjun Kharge admitted that the railway is going through Rs 3,000 crore deficit in the April to September period. “We hope to make it up before the financial year end. This requires efficiency in our systems, fare hike to match up with the increasing fuel costs and rampant checking of ticketless passengers,” he said.

Kharge said that more new trains connecting districts headquarters in state and new trains will be started. “We will inaugurate the Chikkaballapur-Kolar train on November 8 and Kadur-Chikkamangalur train will be opened in third week of November. But the clearance for Bidar-Honnavvar is awaited,” he said.

He added that 52 ROBs across the state are in pipeline of which work on 16 has started. The works will take one year each. He also directed the officials to finish off the work at Allalsandra within a year while the timeline for the project is given as 18 months.

Kharge cleared that metro and commuter railway are state subject but railway ministry will offer all support that it can. He insisted that BBMP must handover the land which ever is required to expand railway platforms and lines to improve facilities hinting at the long pending Binny Mills land near Bangalore City Railway station. The three acre land is demanded by the Railways in exchange of Okalipuram land given to BBMP to widen road as a part of signal free corridor.

While the big boss remained clueless that Baiyappanahalli railway station was slated to be upgraded to world class station, the Bangalore railway divisional officials said that the whole project is yet to begin. “Railways have just finalized to rope a Belgian consultant as financial consultants. The project includes five stations nationally including one in Bangalore. We have built a coaching terminal and two pit lines at the station and halting many more express trains to upgrade the facilities,” said a railway official.

Has Bangalore city railway station missed the boat for upgrade?

02BG_P3_RAILWAYSTA_1639814fPromise for development of station was made in 2006 but Kharge says he is unaware of it

Lalu Prasad Yadav, Railway Minister, in 2006 had proposed to make Bangalore city railway station “world class”, but seven years later, it would appear that was a nonstarter; and Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge says he is unaware of any such proposal.

Speaking to presspersons here on Friday after laying the foundation stone for a road overbridge (RoB) at Allalasandra level crossing, Mr. Kharge said he would ask general manager of South Western Railway (SWR) Ashok Kumar Mital to provide details on the matter.

Despite Mr. Yadav’s announcement, Bangalore city railway station saw little development of note. Instead, the Railways decided to develop Byappanahalli railway station in East Bangalore.

Mr. Mital said the Railway Board had empanelled a Belgian consultant to prepare detailed project reports (DPRs) to develop five railway stations, including Byappanahalli, into world class ones. For now, Byappanahalli is being developed into a coaching terminal to handle a couple of trains from Bangalore, he said.

Earlier, Mr. Kharge laid the foundation stone for the Rs. 23-crore RoB at the level crossing on the Bangalore–Yelahanka–Doddaballapur Road at Allalasandra. The 17.6-m wide, four-lane RoB would be built in a year, according to SWR.

According to a survey, the level crossing witnessed 4,63,320 train vehicle units (TVU) in April 2012. Both the railway line and the road have heavy traffic flow and the RoB is to ease it.

The Minister also opened a road underbridge (RuB) connecting National Highway 7 and Judicial Layout, close to Allalasandra. The project was taken up at a cost of Rs. 7 crore. The BBMP is contributing Rs. 19 crore towards both the projects, while SWR will bear the rest of the cost.


Mr. Kharge along with D.B. Chandre Gowda, MP, also inaugurated the renovated building of the Yeshwanthpur railway station (market entry).

The Minister opened the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’s (IRCTC’s) food plaza on platform 6 (Tumkur Road side). IRCTC has leased out the plaza to P.K. Shefi, who will operate the non-vegetarian section. The vegetarian section has been sub-leased to Kamat Yatri Nivas (for a la carte and meals) and Maiya’s (for snacks, bakery items and sweets).

Facilities at Indian Railway Cancer Institute to improve soon

CRIVARANASI: The facilities at Indian Railway Cancer Institute are likely to improve in near future. Efforts are being made to chalk out the work plan in this regard. This was claimed by Divisional Railway Manager, Varanasi, Mr.Ajay Vijayvargiya while launching a new 24 hour ambulance service on Wednesday.

He said that the hospital is considered one of the best for cancer patients and will soon be equipped with modern facilities. The new air conditioned ambulance will render service of carrying patients from their home to hospital round the clock.

Meanwhile, a six monthly newsletter was also released by the cancer hospital. Director, Cancer Institute, Dr PK Mishra, chief medical officer, divisional hospital, North Eastern Railways (NER), Dr Anand Tandon and several others were present on the occasion.

Belgium firm to ready DPR for new Baiyyappanahalli Railway Station

After a long gap, the proposed Baiyyappanahalli railway station, which is to be developed into a world-class one, has inched one step closer to reality with the Railway Board deciding on a Belgium-based consultancy service for the preparation of a detailed project report.

The Railways has a long-standing proposal to develop a world-class railway station at Baiyyappanahalli on the public-private-partnership model. As of now, however, the Baiyyappanahalli station is only a coach terminus with two operational pit lines. The State government has offered the required land for the project. Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday instructed BBMP officials to expedite the acquisition of land, with respect to Binny Mills for the expansion of the Bangalore City railway station.

“The existing platforms are clogged and the facilities at the station have to be expanded and thus the land has to be acquired at the earliest,” he said.

Asked about the ongoing Metro work in the City and starting commuter rail services, Kharge said that it was a State subject. “But, wherever the Railway Ministry’s help is required, we will be more than ready,” he told reporters.

The minister admitted that the Railways have had a deficit of Rs 3,000 crore in the past six months. “However, we are sure to make up for the deficit in the next month. We will be tightening the noose around the ticketless travelling. Also, there will be a parity between fuel cost and fares,” he said.

‘Expedite work’

Speaking at the sidelines of a foundation-stone-laying ceremony for a road overbridge at Allalasandra and the commissioning of road underbridge near the Judicial Layout, Kharge said: “I want all the works to be expedited and completed within a year — although the work is likely to take 18 months.”

While both the works were sanctioned in 2009-10, the combined cost of the two projects is Rs 30.19 crores which is being shared by the Railways and the BBMP. Prior to this, he inaugurated a new station building, waiting rooms, a VIP room on platform number 1 and a food plaza on platform number 6 at Yeshwantpur railway Station.

Kharge added that the much-awaited train link between Chikkaballapur and Kolar will be inaugurated on November 8 and the train link between Kadur-Chikmagalur will be opened in the first week of November.

“The train links between Bidar-Bangalore, Hubli-Gulbarga, Hubli-Hyderabad, Hubli-Mumbai, Shimoga-Mysore will also be taken up on priority basis just as the Bangalore-Tumkur rail link,” he said. He said that 52 railway overbridges have to be constructed across the State, out of which work has already begin on 16. Work on the remaining will start in an year.

Cops hold mock terror drill at Malad station

MUMBAI: A mock terror drill was conducted outside the Malad (W) railway station around 9.30pm on Friday. Citizens panicked on seeing teams of police personnel searching for and scanning a ‘suspicious object.’ The drill was conducted to test the terror preparedness of the force.

Western Railway staffer forges documents to help son get job, nabbed

MUMBAI: A senior section engineer with the railways was arrested for forging documents to secure employment for his son. The accused, Yasin Shaikh, was nabbed along with his son, Ataullah from their Mira Road residence following instructions from the Bhoiwada court to the NM Joshi Marg police earlier this year to conduct a probe.

Yasin (54) works at the Western Railway’s workshop in Lower Parel as a senior section engineer (mechanical). “Yasin’s son, 29-year-old Ataullah wanted to secure the position of a fitter in the railways. Yasin forged an ITI certificate to help Ataullah bag the job,” said a police officer.

The case came to light in 2011 when Yasin’s estranged son-in-law, Qayyum Siddiqui, filed a petition in the court. Siddiqui claimed that Ataullah had taken Yasin’s help to submit forged education documents that certified him to be a qualified turner-fitter. Siddiqui apparently wanted to settle a personal score; he reported the forgery only after Yasin’s daughter divorced him and married another man three years ago.

In June 2013, the court directed the N M Joshi Marg police to lodge a complaint and investigate. “We visited the institute where Ataullah was supposed to have studied and passed as a qualified turner-fitter. Our team discovered that Ataullah had never been a student of this institute. After a detailed probe, we arrested the father-son duo from their residence in Mira Road,” said a police official.

The accused, Yasin and Ataullah, have been booked for forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.

On being produced before a local court on Friday, they were remanded in police custody till November 4.

Central Railway will switch to AC power next Sunday

MUMBAI: After months of delay, Central Railway will be able to undertake conversion of traction from 1500V direct current to 25KV alternating current on November 10 between LTT-Thane and Thane-Kalyan.

The Commissioner of Railway Safety (Central Circle) has given a clearance to undertake the switchover that will enable savings in energy and less maintenance-related failure. Central Railway’s chief public relations officer Atul Rane said, “We will switch to AC traction on November 9 or 10. Details about train cancellations and block timings during the work are being finalized.”

The traction between Kalyan-Igatpuri and Kalyan-Lonavala is already on AC power. Though CR had carried out test charging of LTT-Thane and Thane-Kalyan stretch on AC traction in December last year, the permanent switchover had been held up. The commissioner of railway safety (CRS) had raised an objection claiming there was inadequate gap between the overhead equipment (OHE) wire and the base of foot overbridges, road overbridges and Parsik tunnel. The CRS had feared that any compromise would have affected the safety of transportation system.

CR is expected to save nearly Rs 120 crore per annum after it switches over to the AC system due to reduced transmission losses and regenerative braking system in the trains that can bring down energy consumption by around 33%.

Maintenance-related failures, too, will be lesser on the AC system as it has only 11 substations compared to 75 on the DC system. Moreover, the AC system needs lighter OHE wires, whereas the thicker and heavier contact wires and pantographs in the DC network are prone to faster wear and tear.

Sub-divisional Railway Hospital providing expired medicines

Ludhiana:  Despite several complaints by railway employees unions, the sub-divisional railway hospital here continues to allegedly provide expired medicines to patients.

In a fresh case, an employee at Electric Loco Shed Railways has alleged that the medicine provided by the railway hospital was expired.

“My hand got injured when I was working with a hammer while on duty on Thursday. I felt extreme pain in my hand, which had swollen. I therefore visited the railway hospital where a doctor prescribed me medicine for 10 days. But the medicine, Pepzol, given by a hospital staff carried an expiry date of October 2013,” claimed Brij Lal.

Daljit Singh, divisional secretary of Northern Railway Men’s Union, said, “I had talked to hospital officials regarding issuance of expiry medicines to the patients last month. We had asked them not to keep any medicine, which is going to be expire in a month as several cases of expired medicines had come to light.”

The retired railway employees also claim that they are being provided substandard medicines.

MS Gill, president of the city unit of the All-India Retired Railway Men’s Federation, alleged, “We had recently staged a protest against the authorities as substandard medicines were being provided to us at the hospital. The railway authorities have failed to take any step so far to redress our problems. Earlier two cases of providing expiry medicines had also been reported.”

Denying the allegations, Dr Chetna Kapoor, senior divisional medical officer at the hospital, said, “We do not have any old stock of ‘Pepzol 10′ medicine. The medicines which were about to be expired have already been discarded. However, I will look into Brij Lal’s case.”

Coimbatore-Mangalore train: Stoppage at Nadapuram, Mukkali extended

Mangalore:  The Palakkad division of Southern Railways has said temporary stoppage, provided for train nos. 56323/56324 Coimbatore Junction – Mangalore Central – Coimbatore Junction Fast Passenger at Nadapuram Road and Mukkali stations on an experimental basis, has been further extended for a period of six months.

The temporary stoppage would be available up to April 30, a statement said here.

Security beefed up at CMBT and Railway stations for Diwali rush

Chennai:  A large number of police personnel have been deployed at CMBT and the main railway stations in the city to ensure foolproof security and to control the huge crowd thronging these places during Diwali.

For efficient crowd management and to ease congestion in and around the CMBT area, a total of 300 special security personnel have been posted for activities ranging from traffic control to monitoring CCTV. They will work in two shifts with 150 police personnel in each shift.

Additional forces will be deployed during peak hours — 5 am to 11 am and 5 pm to 1 am. The police handling traffic have been provided with about 50 walkie talkies for easy communication, facilitating speedy operation. To ensure security inside the bus terminus, 40 CCTVs have been installed and are monitored by a special team. In addition to the police force, 100 home guards have been drafted for these duties.

In order to reduce traffic congestion during entry and exit of the buses, roadside shops and unauthorised parking have been removed.

“For the last one week we have been monitoring the traffic and are well equipped to regulate them. We have cleared the road side shops and vendors and removed unauthorised parking in Kaliyamman Street and 100 Feet Road. We have deployed special forces for this reason,” said Senthil Kumar, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Koyambedu.

He acknowledged the fact that traffic jams during Diwali were unavoidable, especially at the entry and exit points of the bus terminus. The reason according to him is the accommodation level of CMBT which is normally around 180 buses. Now that the shed at the back of the terminus has been cleared, CMBT could accommodate a maximum of 200 to 250, but not 4,000, buses.

As the request for more Special Forces is still pending, the Police Department has requested college students to volunteer assistance during this festive season. The Assistant Commissioner expressed his appreciation to the volunteers from the Presidency College, who were the first to step in to assist the cops. Nearly 75 students from Presidency College are at CMBT, assisting in traffic management in the evenings since October 29.

INTERVIEW: Funds Crunch won’t affect Passenger Safety: Kharge

Railway projects are capital intensive and have long gestation, which poses challenges for investors, Kharge said

The railways is keen to get more private investment and also wants the government to tweak the FDI Policy so that foreign investment can flow into the rail sector, Railway Minister Mr. MallIkarjun Kharge tells in an interview.

Railway Finances are in bad shape. Are populist measures going to continue in railways?

We are incurring losses in passenger segment because fares are kept low. But it would not be correct to do away with this in one day. It will put much burden on the poor. We have to think of the poor. At the same time, we have to make railways economically viable. We have to do a balancing act. Railways is a wonderful organization. It has been able to sustain itself over the years as there is good coordination between the employer and employees.

There is a revenue shortfall of around Rs 4,000 crore. Are you going to cut expenditure on safety-related works?

There will be no compromise on safety. There is improvement in passenger and freight earnings. We will cut expenditure on peripheral activities. We will also think about taking up construction of new railway lines.

Railways has set an ambitious target for private investment. What steps are being taken to attract private investors?

Railway projects are capital intensive and have long gestation, which poses challenges for investors. Public Private Partnership (PPP) models were announced for rail connectivity projects. In-principle clearance has been given for rail connectivity to ports of Jaigarh (Maharashtra), Ashtaranga (Odisha), Rewas and Hazira. We have also approved rail connectivity under private line model for Dharma port.

We are also implementing two coal connectivity projects in Chhattisgarh through joint venture route. An investment of Rs 3,800 crore for port connectivity, Rs 4,000 crore for coal mine connectivity and Rs 800 crore for iron ore mine connectivity is likely to be generated in the next few years. We are also working on the elevated rail corridor project in Mumbai through PPP with support from the state government. We have also invited bids for electric locomotive factory at Madhepura and diesel locomotive factory at Marhowrah, which are joint venture projects.

Another area is redevelopment of stations. We have set up Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC). The agency will take up redevelopment of stations to provide modern amenities such as segregated arrival and departure halls, shopping malls and budget hotels comparable to international standards by leveraging the development of real estate in and around the station. To begin with, the agency has taken up five stations — Chandigarh, Anand Vihar, Bijwasan (a greenfield station), Habibganj (Bhopal) and Shivaji Nagar (Pune). Contracts for these stations will be awarded by the end of 2013-14 fiscal.

What other steps are being taken to improve the financial health of railways?

Railways is keen to seek FDI in infrastructure projects. We have approached the commerce ministry with a proposal to make suitable changes in the existing FDI policy to enable us to attract FDI in rail sector.

Lok Sabha elections are due early next year. Are you going to continue with the fuel adjustment component?

Fuel Adjustment Component (FAC) was announced in the budget. It is going to be a permanent feature. It has Parliament’s approval.

In the past, Railway Ministers focused on their constituencies. Is Gulbarga going to get special attention?

The question is not about my area or your area. Entire India is ours. As a minister, I am performing a national duty. Projects worth Rs 1.75 lakh crore are pending. The focus is on prioritizing these projects and completing the unfinished work. Railways also has a number of cost sharing projects with state governments to bring in investment.

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