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DRUCC Chorus for better Amenities/Security and large scale improvements to Hadapsar Terminus

PUNE: A terminus in Hadapsar, halts for express trains in Talegaon, provision for additional space for parking at Pune station, an additional rake for Pune-Lonavla local trains and security measures were among the various demands raised by the representatives of railway commuters in Pune railway division on Wednesday.

The demands were discussed during the Divisional Rail Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC) meeting at the head office of Pune railway division. The meeting was chaired by Divisional Railway Manager Suneet Sharma. About 15 members of DRUCC were present.

Suresh Dharmavat, one of the members, said, “Taking into account the increasing rail operations in the division, we sought an additional terminus at Hadapsar. The move will reduce the burden on the Pune station and benefit commuters in Hadapsar and adjacent areas, as they would not have to travel to Pune station to catch trains.”

“Besides, we also demanded to make provision for additional parking space at Pune station, as the existing space is insufficient. This is leading to a frequent tussle between the traffic police and people who approach the station to drop passengers,” Dharmavat said.

Another member Popat Bhegde expressed urgent need to provide stoppages to more trains at Talegaon station. “We want at least two trains – Sinhagad Express and Bhusawal Express – to stop at Talegaon because it is a residential area,” Bhegde said.

The members also demanded more frequency of local trains by providing additional rakes on the Lonavla route.

Sharma said the administration plans to install a foot overbridge at Pune and Kolhapur stations. As many as 50 additional chairs have been fixed at the station for the benefit of the commuters. About 927 additional coaches were augmented to various trains to clear commuter rush, Sharma said.

Passengers’ Demands:

  • Commencement of terminus at Hadapsar.
  • Stoppages to express trains at Talegaon.
  • Provision of parking space at Pune station.
  • Increase frequency of local trains to Lonavla.
  • Provision of additional rake for Lonavla.
  • Increase security arrangements at stations.

Political Crisis in Bangladesh to hit Indo-Bangla Railway Link project

Dhaka:  The current political turmoil in Bangladesh is likely to delay the execution of a new rail link between India and its neighbour, officials said Wednesday. “At a meeting in Dhaka Tuesday, the Bangladesh railway ministry officials indicated that it was difficult for them to complete the necessary survey and to start the actual work before the Jan 5 general elections,” a top Indian railway official, who did not want to be named, told IANS. “However, the Bangladesh railway ministry would start the initial work and prepare the DPP (detailed project proposal) by February next year,” the official added. The steering committee of the Agartala-Akhaurah railway project had met to discuss early completion of the 15-km railway link. The 8 member Indian delegation was led by joint secretary in the railways ministry, A.K.Sinha, while the Bangladesh side was headed by joint secretary (development and infrastructure), railways, Sunil Chandra Paul. Tripura’s Transport Secretary Kishore Ambuly, who was also a member of the Indian delegation, said that the Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) would lay the 15-km railway line on both sides of the border and IRCON (Indian Railway Construction Company) would be the project’s consultant. Earlier, it was planned that IRCON would construct the new railway lines.  While five kms of the track would be laid by IRCON, the remaining 10 km track would be constructed by the Bangladesh Rail as decided in a bilateral meeting held in Dhaka on Tuesday. Earlier, it was decided that the entire rail link would be laid by IRCON at an estimated cost of Rs 386 crore. However, the Tuesday meeting decided that Bangladesh Rail authority will undertake the construction work in its territory.  While briefing the media, Transport Secretary Kishore Ambuly said the land acquisition process from Agartala (India) to Gangasagar (Bangladesh) is expected to get completed by December itself. After completion of the land acquisition, a Detailed Project Proposal (DPP) would be sent to the competent authority for the final nod, he said adding that the actual work would begin by February next.  Though he did not say anything on the recent unrest in Bangladesh, there are apprehensions that the project might get delayed due to the political uncertainty in the neighbouring country.

“It was also decided that by February next year the Bangladesh railway authority and IRCON would separately prepare the detailed project proposals (DPR) before starting the actual work,” Ambuly told IANS. The next meeting of the steering committee would be held in Agartala in March next year. The new rail link would connect Agartala, one of the newest stations of the Indian Railways which came up on the country’s rail map in October 2008, with Bangladesh’s southeastern city of Akhaurah – an important railway junction connected to Chittagong port, resource-rich Sylhet and Dhaka. It would ease ferrying of goods to mountainous northeastern states from the rest of India and abroad via Bangladesh. Surface connectivity is an important factor as the landlocked northeastern states are surrounded by Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and China and the only land route to these states from within India is through Assam and West Bengal. But this route passes through hilly terrain with steep roads and multiple hairpin bends. For ferrying goods and heavy machinery to the northeast from abroad and other parts of the country, India has for long been seeking land, sea and rail access through Bangladesh. Agartala, for instance, is 1,650 km from Kolkata and 2,637 km from New Delhi via Guwahati and West Bengal, whereas the distance between the Tripura capital and Kolkata through Bangladesh is just about 350 km. The agreement for the new railway line, which will lie five km in Indian territory and the rest in Bangladesh, was signed between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina during her visit to India in January 2010. “Preliminary survey and alignment of the railway tracks have been completed. We expect the work for the vital railway line would start first part of next year,” said Ambuly, who returned here Wednesday. “The total cost of the proposed project is estimated at Rs.253 crore. The entire expenditure would be borne by the Indian government,” the official added. The NFR is now laying tracks to connect Tripura’s southern-most border town – Sabroom, 135 km south of here. From Sabroom, Chittagong port is just 72 km.

Special Train between Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi

Bhubaneswar (BBS):  Northern railways announced new special trains between Bhubaneshwar and New Delhi to avoid extra rush of passengers during the season. Following are the details

Train No. 02815 / 02816 Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi-Bhubaneshwar A.C. Superfast (Weekly) Special Express (08 trips):- Train No. 02815 Bhubaneshwar- New Delhi A.C. Superfast (Weekly) Express special train will depart from Bhubaneshwar on every Sunday from 08.12.2013 to 29.12.2013 (04 trips) at 08.10 a.m. to reach New Delhi at 08.45 a.m. the next day. Train No. 02816 New Delhi- Bhubaneshwar A.C. Superfast (Weekly) Express special train will depart from New Delhi on every Monday from 09.12.2013 to 30.12.2013 (04 trips) at 01.00 p.m. to reach Bhubaneshwar at 11.05 a.m. the next day.

Kerala planning to include Waynad in the Railway Network

Kalpetta (Kerala): Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said the government was planning to include Wayanad, which has no rail connectivity, in the train network.

The Railway Ministery has made a critieria that the government should provide 50 per cent of the total cost to start new railway lines.

The government would raise the demand before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his proposed visit to the state this month, though the government was facing financial difficulties, Chandy said at the Chief Minister’s Mass Contact Programme in Wayanad district.

He said there was no need for any anxiety on the Kasturirangan panel report on the Western Ghats as the government would take all the necessary steps to solve the issues that would adversely affect the farming community, before its implementation.

Various parts of the state had witnessed violent incidents after Central notification on Kasturirangan panel report last month.

Tight security arrangement has been made with nearly 2000 police personnel manning the security at the venue and outside.

A total of 10,243 petitions from people have been received seeking solutions.

Second meeting held in Dhaka over Agartala-Akhaura Rail Link

AGARTALA: The second steering committee meeting between India and Bangladesh over the construction of a 15-km railway track between Agartala and Akhaura ended in Dhaka on Tuesday. The meeting discussed a detail report of the proposed railway project and issues related to land acquisition on both sides of the border.

Tripura transport secretary Kishore Ambuly said a seven-member Indian team led by joint secretary, ministry of external affairs Ashok Kumar Sinha attended the meeting. Ambuly was part of the Indian delegation. “A discussion on the detail project report prepared by Rail India Technical and Economic Services was held at the administrative level,” Ambuly said.

The Bangladesh team was led by joint secretary, planning and development Sunil Chandra Pal.

During PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka in January 2010, both the countries had agreed to set up a second rail link through Agartala. Accordingly, an 11-member steering committee was constituted and the first meeting was held in Dhaka early this year and the second was held on Tuesday.

Bangladesh and India had signed a memorandum of understanding on February 16 for linking Agartala and Akhaura railway stations to connect Bangladesh railways with the northeastern states.

The survey for laying a 15-km stretch of tracks was completed and now the process of laying tracks will begin on both the sides of the border after getting clearances from the two countries, Ambuly said. The total cost of the project is Rs 271 crore, which will be borne by India. But, of the 15-km track, only five km falls on the Indian side and the rest is in Bangladesh.

The BSF has enhanced vigil and made extra deployment along the Tripura-Bangladesh border following the recent tension in Bangladesh ahead of the parliamentary election there.

Local train commuters fume as railway plies smaller rakes

PUNE: Daily commuters on Lonavla-bound local trains faced severe hardships in the last three days after some coaches were disconnected by the Central Railway Pune division. About 20 trips ran with nine coaches, instead of 12 coaches leading to overcrowding. Besides the removal of coaches, two trips on the Pune-Lonavla route were cancelled during rush hours on Monday.

Commuters said smaller rakes were plied without prior intimation.

Shailesh Chaudhari, a regular commuter on the route, said: “The commuters faced problems due fewer coaches. We were left clueless about the change since no announcement was made at stations. Besides removal of coaches, trains also ran late.”

Vishal Dauda, another commuter, said, “Male passengers were seen travelling in ladies’ compartments in the past three days. Many were not able to catch the train because of overcrowding.”

If railway administration in Mumbai can provide updates to commuters about sudden changes, then it can be done for trains on Lonavla route, he said.

About 40,000 commuters travel in local trains to Lonavla and Talegaon every day. The administration has allotted four rakes on these routes with each rake comprising 12 coaches.

An official from administration said: “Of the four rakes, one faced a technical problem due to which 3 coaches were removed on Monday. This rake was plied with nine coaches instead of 12 for two days. The problem was rectified on Wednesday afternoon. Efforts were made to restrict cancellation of trips. A team of technical experts were called from Mumbai to rectify the problem,” official said.

Hemant Tapale of Pune-Mumbai Railway Pravasi Sangh said an additional rake at Pune station can be used in a crisis.

Women RPF on board Ladies Compartments, to escort women in trains

5jamrpf-3_194824Adityapur (ADTP):  Women aboard long-distance trains departing from Tatanagar can hope for a safe ride, courtesy the Railway Police Force (RPF).

Inspector-general of RPF P.K. Agrawal, during a visit to Tatanagar and Adityapur railway stations on Wednesday, declared that from henceforth, women personnel would escort passengers on the trains.

The railways, he added, had already started the experiment by deploying women RPF personnel randomly on Odisha-bound trains. “A nine-member RPF team travels up to Rourkela, escorting passengers. The practice will start full-fledged soon,” said the inspector-general, who spent Tatanagar station for nearly four hours from 9am.

The RPF is also taking steps to make Tatanagar station premises a safe zone.

“We are going to launch an integrated security system at Tatanagar soon. Once this system is introduced, anyone entering the premises with any objectionable article like explosive or firearms will be nabbed. This way, the station will become a more secured place,” Agrawal told.

The senior RPF officer added that to introduce such a security system, they would have to plug in all entry points except the main one and erect a boundary wall.

“Except the main gate at the front of the station, all other entries, like the one from Loco side, will be closed. At the main gate, we will put up sophisticated scanners that will detect objectionable items,” said Agrawal, adding that the system would be in place by this fiscal.

The officer also said they would install 126 CCTV cameras in and outside the station to check entry of criminals. In the first phase, around 91 spy cams will be fixed and the rest will be installed during the second phase. The first phase is likely to be over by the end of next week.

After inspecting Tatanagar, Agarwal went to Adityapur railway station in the afternoon, where he spent over two hours. Apart from security measures for passengers, he also checked railway properties at the twin stations.

Pensioners’ Associations launch Special Drive on Pension Schemes on NFR

Dibrugarh (DBRG): The Dibrugarh branch of Northeast Frontier Railway Pensioners’ Association today said it would work to create awareness among the pensioners about various schemes introduced by the government for their benefit.

There are 33 branches of the pensioners’ association in the NF Railway, which are functioning under the aegis of the Delhi-based Bharat Pensioners’ Samaj. Pensioners’ association of other public sector units, including the BSNL, Post and Telegraph, Defence, are also working under the banner of the Samaj.

K.C.Nirmalia, working president of NF Railway Pensioners’ Association, Dibrugarh branch, today told reporters that most of their demands, which were put before the Sixth Central Pay Commission, have been accepted by the government.

According to him, the most important among their demands was lifetime family pension for unmarried daughters, widows and divorcee daughters, fixed medical allowance for pensioners and 20 per cent additional pension on attainment of 80 years.

Nirmalia said to redress the grievances of railway pensioners, pension adalats are being held twice a year in railway headquarters and once in railway divisions. There was also a proposal to hold quarterly pension adalats, he added.

“Many of these facts are unknown to the pensioners, so our association will work towards making the pensioners aware of these schemes,” Nirmalia said.

M.C. Khaklari, branch president of pensioners’ association, said according to the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill passed this year, those who joined service after 2004 will not get any pension.

“We opposed the bill and urge the Centre to amend the bill since under the new pension scheme there will be no social security for the employees,” he said.

Successful trial run on Udhampur-Katra track

Udhampur (UHP):  Chief Executive Officer, Udhampur-Baramulla rail section, SK Koul conducted the trial run of the engine from the Udhampur station and reached Katra yesterday, covering the 25-km track successfully. He was accompanied by a team of officials.

They started off at 9.20 am and reached Katra at 11.05 am. The engine, as per sources, travelled at a steady speed through the T1 and T3 Tunnels.

“After the successful trial of the engine through this route, we are all set to get our construction work inspected from the senior authorities, including the General Manager, Northern Railway, and the Commissioner Railway Safety (CSR) any time,” said a senior construction official.

“The General Manager (GM), Northern Railway, along with the head of departments will arrive to inspect the track on December 9. Thereafter, the GM will request the CRS to inspect and issue clearance safety certificate,” he said.

“As the trial engine successfully crossed the T1 and T3 tunnels, all doubts regarding the construction problems were put to rest and we hope the route will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister at the earliest,” said Choudhary Lal Singh, MP, who is also a member of the Railway Parliamentary Board.

Paucity of funds hampers Railway Works: GM/SR Misra

Melappalaiyam (MP):  Paucity of funds has affected execution of development works at railway stations as well as other railway works in a big way, General Manager of Southern Railway Rakesh Misra has said.

After inaugurating the work on converting Melapalayam railway station in Palayamkottai into a crossing station on Wednesday, Mr.Misra said the Southern Railway which received Rs.1,100 crore during the last fiscal for various works such as track doubling, gauge conversion and railway station development had been allotted only Rs.560 crore this year. The drastic reduction in fund allocation was due to the huge salary bills necessitated by the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations and the fuel price hike.

“We’ve to be extremely careful in identifying and executing works with this year’s allocation,” Mr.Misra noted.

On the completion of Madurai-Kanyakumari electrification work, he said train operation using electricity would commence on this track within the next three to six months.

As Melapalayam station does not have a raised platform, a removable ladder was fixed to the coach to enable Mr.Mishra to get down from his inspection car without difficulty.

Divisional Railway Manager (Thiruvananthapuram) Rajesh Agrawal and Tirunelveli MP S.S. Ramasubbu accompanied Mr.Misra, who also inspected Nanguneri and Valliyoor stations, and inaugurated waiting halls there.

Crossing stations

Later laying the foundation stone for the construction of two crossing stations at Nagercoil town railway station, Mr.Mishra said Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli stations would not be transferred to Madurai division from Thiruvananthapuram division. Regarding the operation of Nagercoil–Bangalore Daily Express, he said the decision would be taken by the South-Central Railway authorities.

Asked about the demand for extending Tiruchi–Tirunelveli Intercity Express to Kanyakumari, Mr.Mishra said the decision would be taken by the Railway Ministry.

Lok Sabha member J. Helen Davidson and Collector S. Nagarajan accompanied the General Manager.

Earlier, he inspected the infrastructure facilities at various stations such as Aralvoimozhi, Thovalai, Nagercoil town, Nagercoil junction and Kanyakumari.

Tuticorin District Passengers Welfare Association urge additional trains

Tuticorin (TN):  The Tuticorin District Passengers Welfare Association has urged railway authorities to introduce additional train services and extension of platform no. 1 to accommodate 24 bogies at Tuticorin railway station. M. Piramanayagam, secretary of the association, said here on Wednesday that a memorandum seeking these developments was handed over to General Manager of Southern Railway, Rakesh Mishra, who inspected Shencottah railway station in Tirunelveli district on Tuesday.In the memorandum, a demand was also made to operate the third platform at Tuticorin station with installation of signals. Besides, the association sought extension of Tirunelveli – Shencottah passenger train, which is expected to be introduced soon, up to Tuticorin via Maniyachi bypass line and also Dehradun – Madurai bi-weekly express to Tuticorin.

Bangladesh’s Political Chaos to delay Indo-Bangla Railway Link Project: Officials

Agartala (AGTL):  The current political turmoil in Bangladesh is likely to delay the execution of a new rail link between India and its neighbour, officials said Wednesday.

“At a meeting in Dhaka Tuesday, the Bangladesh railway ministry officials indicated that it was difficult for them to complete the necessary survey and to start the actual work before the Jan 5 general elections,” a top Indian railway official, who did not want to be named, told IANS.

“However, the Bangladesh railway ministry would start the initial work and prepare the DPP (detailed project proposal) by February next year,” the official added.

The steering committee of the Agartala-Akhaurah railway project had met to discuss early completion of the 15-km railway link.

The eight-member Indian delegation was led by joint secretary in the railways ministry, A.K.Sinha, while the Bangladesh side was headed by joint secretary (development and infrastructure), railways, Sunil Chandra Paul.

Tripura’s Transport Secretary Kishore Ambuly, who was also a member of the Indian delegation, said that the Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) would lay the 15-km railway line on both sides of the border and IRCON (Indian Railway Construction Company) would be the project’s consultant.

Earlier, it was planned that IRCON would construct the new railway lines.

“It was also decided that by February next year the Bangladesh railway authority and IRCON would separately prepare the detailed project proposals (DPR) before starting the actual work,” Ambuly told IANS.

The next meeting of the steering committee would be held in Agartala in March next year.

The new rail link would connect Agartala, one of the newest stations of the Indian Railways which came up on the country’s rail map in October 2008, with Bangladesh’s southeastern city of Akhaurah – an important railway junction connected to Chittagong port, resource-rich Sylhet and Dhaka.

It would ease ferrying of goods to mountainous northeastern states from the rest of India and abroad via Bangladesh.

Surface connectivity is an important factor as the landlocked northeastern states are surrounded by Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and China and the only land route to these states from within India is through Assam and West Bengal. But this route passes through hilly terrain with steep roads and multiple hairpin bends.

For ferrying goods and heavy machinery to the northeast from abroad and other parts of the country, India has for long been seeking land, sea and rail access through Bangladesh.

Agartala, for instance, is 1,650 km from Kolkata and 2,637 km from New Delhi via Guwahati and West Bengal, whereas the distance between the Tripura capital and Kolkata through Bangladesh is just about 350 km.

The agreement for the new railway line, which will lie five km in Indian territory and the rest in Bangladesh, was signed between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina during her visit to India in January 2010.

“Preliminary survey and alignment of the railway tracks have been completed. We expect the work for the vital railway line would start first part of next year,” said Ambuly, who returned here Wednesday.

“The total cost of the proposed project is estimated at Rs.253 crore. The entire expenditure would be borne by the Indian government,” the official added.

The NFR is now laying tracks to connect Tripura’s southern-most border town – Sabroom, 135 km south of here. From Sabroom, Chittagong port is just 72 km.

Agartala–Akhaura rail link work to commence from Feb, 2014

Agartala – Akhaura rail link work to commence from Feb, 2014

Agartala (AGTL): Work for laying of 15.054 km railway tracks to connect Agartala and Akhaura in neighboring Bangladesh would start from February, 2014; official sources said on Wednesday. The decision was taken after a review meeting which was held on December 3, 2013 in Dhaka between officials of External Affairs and Railway ministries of India and Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh delegation was headed by Sunil Chandra Pal, Joint Secretary of Development & Planning and the Indian side by Alok Kumar Sinha, Joint Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Informed by Transport Secretary of Tripura, Kishore Ambuly, who is a member of Project Steering Committee formed with the official representatives from India and Bangladesh.

Earlier it was decided that both countries would complete works in their side. IRCON, an undertaking of Indian Railway, would work as consultant and External Affairs Ministry of India will bear the cost of the project. India has sanctioned Rs 252 crore for laying the railway tracks.

Of the 15.054 km railway track, only 5 km fall in Indian side and the rest is in Bangladesh. The tracks would be laid in meter gauge on broad gauge format so that it could be converted into broad gauge when necessary. New Delhi is keen to establish the rail link as it would connect West Bengal and Tripura via Bangladesh.

During the last few years, there have been significant developments in technology and management practices on both the Railways. The Governments of India and Bangladesh have recently signed the Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) on February 16, 2013 in Dhaka for construction of new rail link between Akhaura (Bangladesh) and Agartala (India).

One bi-weekly passenger train, Maitree Express, runs between Kolkata and Dhaka Cantonment. Its transit time has been reduced from 12 hours to 101/2 hours and its days of running have been changed to suit the travelling public from both ends. Its popularity is gradually increasing.

RITES association with Bangladesh Railway in field of supply of Locomotives, maintenance of Rolling Stock and training of Bangladesh Rail Personnel continued since 1984

– See more at:

State indecision delays Mumbai Metro-III, holds up Funds

MUMBAI: Indecisiveness on the part of the state government has upset the schedule of the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro Corridor and held up funds from the Centre.

Also known as Metro III, the project may be delayed by at least a year because of dilly-dallying in the formation of a special purpose vehicle and appointment of the board of directors to execute the public transport project.

As these procedures are yet to be fulfilled, the Centre has withheld its share of Rs 160 crore for this financial year. Even the Japan International Cooperation Agency is willing to release funds, but is held back by lack of progress in the project.

The original date of completion for the Rs 23,136 crore project is December 2019.

The state urban development department headed by chief minister Prthiviraj Chavan is blamed for the mess by those familiar with the project processes.

The crux of the problem is the failure to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will transform the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) into a 50:50 joint venture between the state government and the Centre; the joint-venture MMRC will then be the special purpose vehicle to execute the project.

The state is yet to approve the MoU for the joint venture even though the draft was sent on September 30.

“The special purpose vehicle has had neither a managing director nor a full-time board even though the Centre has already nominated its member on July 30,” an official said. “In this situation, bids can not be finalized or funds used.”

On September 16, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had invited pre-qualification bids for detailed design and construction of underground stations and association tunnels. The process was supposed to be finalized by December so that it would be possible to invite bids by January.

The MMRDA has already extended the last date for submission of bid documents for this stage of the project twice.

“On November 29, the MMRDA extended the due date to accept bids to January 10 as the new board for MMRC has not been constituted,” the source said. “The deadline has already been extended by a year and more delays will cause cost overruns.”

A source said if things did not move fast, the project would get further delayed as a poll code would be imposed in February or March for polls scheduled in May.

Source said, “The project also has to received the approval of the state cabinet even though the note was sent on Aug 14. Without this, the state cannot release funds. Moreover, issues like acquisition of land and Relief and Rehabilitation cannot be handled effectively. Last heard, the cabinet note was with finance department and will later move to the legal department. At this pace, the project is likely to get further delayed.”


The funds could have helped start preparatory work by state of next financial year so that the work on the ground could have begun after monsoons in Oct 2014. However, the delay will disrupt the entire time table. Some officials said that government and MMRDA should learn from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation ( DMRC) model, which delivered almost all project on Schedule because the clock starts ticking as soon as the project is approved.

11.25% FIRR projected for Pune Metro: Secretary/Union Urban Development Dept.

Pune:  The city’s metro dream may have not taken off yet, but it turns out that it won’t be a white elephant, with the Centre pegging the project’s Financial Internal Rate of Return at 11.25%. This not only assures good returns to investors but also improves the project’s financial viability.

Sudhir Krishna, Union Secretary, Union Urban Development Department, while speaking during the Sixth Urban Mobility India Conference that started in New Delhi on Tuesday, said that metros can contribute to generation of funds and announced that the Pune Metro plan has a projected FIRR of 11.25%. “Metro systems should no longer be looked upon as a drain on resources as metros can contribute to generation of funds,” he said.

The UDD has prepared a report on metro projects in major cities for the conference. The report concludes that it is important to have a multimodal approach to facilitate urban mobility, ranging from metro projects to BRTS, monorail, state-of-the-art buses as well as other modes of regional transportation.

The announcement has given project planners much to look forward to. “An FIRR of 11.25% clearly means that Pune metro will be a profitable project. E Sreedharan has asked the state government to ensure the project is financially viable to attract investors. Private players will be interested in the project only if FIRR is compatible. Generally, private investors look for a 15-18 % return, but in a metro, the FIRR is not more than 3 – 4 %. The Centre had earlier sanctioned metro rail projects with less than 8% FIRR, but the implementing agencies showed reluctance to take part in them,” said a senior state official.

Ketan Gokhale, Railway Expert and former Managing Director of Konkan Railway Corporation said, “We have to look into the details on how the FIRR is calculated. An FIRR of 11.25 % is quite high for metro project. This is an important index for evaluation of the project as it gives a clear picture of returns in next few years.”

Shashikant Limaye, officer on special duty for Pune metro project, was not available for comment.

A senior civic official, involved in metro planning, explained that FIRR is the money that the operating agency will get from metro railway and if this amount is low, the project will not succeed. “In the Pune model, the state and the Centre are tapping various resources. The major economic activity in this project is the Floor Space Index (FSI) of four. This is going to change the face of the city. Non-fare revenue has been increased in the plan by commercial use of space and other avenues,” he said.

The DMRC has proposed four FSI on either side of metro corridors so that greater population densification through vertical development of residential and commercial properties can be achieved. Also, the mass transport project will be economically viable by generating the all-important funds, stated the DMRC report.

The Working Group on Urban Transport (WGUT) appointed by the Planning Commission has said that public-private partnership (PPP) in metro rail projects should be permitted “if a project is found to be fit and viable for this approach on account of ridership alone”. The view is likely to allow private players to play a major role in building metro projects in cities like Pune. The WGUT, among other things, stated that the PPP “should not be linked with providing land for property development beyond what is needed for the operation of rail transit.”

Railways a hurdle for Belapur-Pendhar Metro Rail

Without the permission from the railways, the CIDCO officials can’t go ahead with the work at Panchanand

metroBelapur CBD (BEPR):  Even as construction work for the Belapur-Pendhar Metro line continues to gather steam, it seems the Indian Railways is a big hurdle about to put a stop to the work. City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO) officials are worried that they will be missing the 2015 deadline as well, as they are yet to receive an approval from the Indian Railways.

Even though 60 per cent of civil work and 30 per cent of station work has been completed, officials are finding it hard to meet their deadline. Speaking about their troubles, an official explained that about 300 square metres of land in Panchanand, the tenth station on the Metro line, belonged to the Indian Railways. This land is essential, as eight piers will be built here. CIDCO authorities said that they had sent a letter seeking permission to begin work last August, but were still waiting for a reply granting permission for the same.

“Receiving permission from the Indian Railways is the biggest hurdle, as of date. Not a single brick can be laid until we receive their go-ahead. Hence, no work has begun. Although we will try to make up for lost time, there are high chances that if the permission is delayed, our project work will be affected,” said aCIDCO official.

Confirming the same, V C Kamble, superintendent engineer, CIDCO, said that work on all other Metro stations except for Panchanand had begun.

“We have asked for permission from NH-4 and Sion-Panvel highway authorities, but the letters we have written to the rail authority haven’t been replied to till date.

We cannot begin any kind of work until we get a green signal from them, as they can take strict action against us. Our MD and Joint MD have had meetings with the DRM. So, we are waiting for their reply soon,” he said.

He added that they were expecting a reply within two months and anticipated to start work latest by March.

First trial run only by July 2016:  Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the project on May 1, 2011. Speaking on the occasion, Chavan had asked the authorities to ensure that the line was operational within the next three years — by 2014. However, thanks to different issues, the project has missed its deadlines. A CIDCO official said the line would witness its first trial run in July 2016.

Railways speak:  “Anything that passes through railway lines needs an approval from the Commissioner of Railway Safety, without which we cannot give permissions. Also we have asked them to submit a comprehensive plan, which they have not done,” said a senior Central Railway official.

Nilgiri Mountain Railway services to resume today

674d22c0f326c212f1f0a3cb2d1dca5cMetupalaiyam (MTP):  Train services between Coonoor and Mettupalayam on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) line will resume on Thursday, according to a railway press note on Wednesday.

Following boulders falling on the track near Adderlie on November 24, train services on the sector had been suspended for three days. Since the damages were heavy and the rain had continued the resumption was postponed by a week.

An inspection of the sector, which was most vulnerable to natural calamities, was carried out on Wednesday. The decision of the Southern Railway has been welcomed by the hospitality sector.

N.Chandrashekar, secretary, Nilgiri Hotels and Restaurants Association, said that usually around this time of the year there was a rise in the inflow of foreigners and couples on honeymoon particularly from North India.

Pointing out that many foreigners visit The Nilgiris to experience a ride on the steam train, K.Natarajan, founder of the Heritage Steam Chariot Trust, welcomed the move to resume services.

Big Dreams, Small Reality: Secunderabad-Hyderabad MMTS plagued by a variety of issues

The common refrain is that the authorities should organise schedules in such a way that two hours each in the morning and evening are spared for local trains, so that majority of commuters stand to benefit

Secunderabad (SC):  When the Multi-Modal Transit System (MMTS) was launched way back in 2003 with 48 services, it was seen as an answer to the rising public transport needs of the capital. Ten years hence, with many new residential and commercial locations mushrooming on the train routes, passenger footfall has seen a rise from the 25,000 a day mark in 2003 to over 1.5 lakh in 2013. However, the MMTS’ development seems to have lost it way, with it being low on priority with the South Central Railway (SCR).

Right from lack of dedicated lines, failure to augment existing services, delay in taking up Phase-II, poor punctuality and absence of feeder bus services to many stations, MMTS is plagued by a variety of issues.

Revenues have increased from Rs.70,000 in 2003 to Rs.4.70 lakh per day in 2013, and yet the SCR could add just 80 new services. Presently, as many as 121 services are conducted a day on three routes including Falaknuma-Lingampally, Lingampally- Nampally and Nampally- Secunderabad.

Being an affordable mode of transport, many commuters prefer MMTS to buses, but most end up arriving late at their respective destinations. “Take any route, one thing stands out, and that is poor punctuality, and we have to think twice before boarding the train,” complains Balakishore, a commuter.

Also, commuters charge poor monitoring and lack of dedicated lines for frequency problems. For a system, which has over 121 services and 1.50 lakh passengers’ patronage everyday, there is no special officer or team to monitor its functioning.

When MMTS was introduced, the SCR had many plans, including feeder bus services, cafeterias, ATMs, book stores and other amenities at stations and even a GPRS-enabled service. But, most of them are yet to fructify or have not yielded the expected results like the feeder services.

Combined Pass Ticket

Though the SCR and the APSRTC launched the combined pass ticket in 2007, they have been at loggerheads over ticket prices. The Railways put the common pass ticket at Rs. 450, with the RTC’s share being Rs. 290. But, this entailed a loss of Rs. 50 to the RTC, as its general bus pass used to cost Rs. 340 then. Though 80 services were operated initially, most were gradually withdrawn owing to poor occupancy.

Presently, the combined pass ticket costs Rs. 700 per month, but with lack of feeder connectivity to Borabanda, Sanjeevaiah Park, Necklace Road, Hafeezpet, Chandanagar, Hitech city and Lingampally stations, hardly 3,000 tickets are sold a month.

From lack of dedicated lines, failure to augment existing services, delay in taking up Phase-II, poor punctuality and absence of feeder bus services to many stations, MMTS is plagued by a variety of issues

A Basic Question of Connectivity

Suvarna, 19, a student of an engineering college in Bandlaguda, commutes all the way from Sitaphalmandi to Falaknuma by MMTS train everyday and spends Rs. 10 on the two-way journey.

But, her predicament begins when she gets down at the Falaknuma Railway Station. She has to shell out another Rs. 20 to reach her college, barely 2 km away. “There is no bus service from the station, and scores of my colleagues are forced to walk about a kilometre to catch the bus, so we opt for sharing autos,” says Suvarna.

Later, auto-rickshaws flock to the college to ferry students back to the railway station. “They make about Rs. 80 for a trip, as against Rs. 30 they should actually get, if they go by the meter,” says Navneet, a management student. While MMTS services are a blessing for scores of travellers everyday, lack of bus connectivity is causing hardship to many commuters. Many such services have been discontinued, with “lack of patronage” being touted as the official reason.

Inadequate number of ticket counters is another issue. At Dabeerpura, Yakutpura and Uppuguda railway stations, there is just one counter. “Many a time, the train departs before we manage to take the ticket, or we are forced to run to board it,” Qasim, a commuter, maintains.

Safety is another factor. “Tipplers get into the trains from Secunderabad and Vidyanagar and sleep on seats. They are very rude and often end up quarrelling with fellow riders,” says another traveller.

‘Most trains operate on time now’

The South Central Railway attached great importance to the improvement of MMTS services and the completion of phase two of its expansion, a spokesperson said.

SCR spokesperson K. Sambasiva Rao claimed punctuality had “improved considerably”, that “most trains were being operated as per schedule” in recent times.

“All measures are being taken up to ensure a comfortable journey. We are running the Matrubhoomi ladies special too,” Mr. Rao said.

He said complaints of trains falling behind schedule were mostly about trains on the Lingampally-Nampally route.

“This is mainly because there are only five platforms at the Hyderabad station and not all 24 coach trains can be accommodated.

Hence, at times, MMTS are stopped for a while to make way for long-distance trains, over safety concerns and because of operational constraints.”

On phase two of the MMTS, Mr. Rao said work was set to commence shortly as the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) had finalised the bid for the project. RVNL had invited bids for MMTS phase-II on April 11 this year, in three separate packages for work worth Rs. 389 crore, while the total project cost is estimated to be about Rs. 819 crore.

The work would include quadrupling of track for the sections between Ghatkesar-Moula Ali and patch doubling between Moula Ali-Sitaphalmandi.

All measures are being taken up to ensure a comfortable journey. We are running the Matrubhoomi ladies special too – SCR Spokesperson

Tiruchi-Dindigul Track Doubling works taken up on two stretches

80 minor bridges constructed on the two sections

04ty_rail_map_c_04_1673594eTiruchirappalli (TPJ):  The Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) has taken up track doubling works on two stretches beyond Tiruchi as part of the ongoing doubling project from Villupuram to Dindigul.

Works are under way in the nearly 25-km stretch from Manapparai to Kolathur and in the portion from Dindigul to Vadamadurai (16 km).

The RVNL, a special purpose vehicle and a wholly owned government company, is executing the doubling project in different portions in the 270 km section from Villupuram to Dindigul at a cost of around Rs. 1,200 crore.

Railway officials said the track linking works in the Manapparai – Kolathur and Dindigul – Vadamadurai stretches had commenced following completion of earthwork and construction of new bridges.

About 80 minor bridges had been constructed in both portions with loco trials on the newly laid second track expected to be done before March.

The organisation would approach the district administration authorities seeking land that was required for executing the project, said an official.

A new station building would be constructed at Kalpattichatram between Manapparai and Dindigul Junction while additional buildings would come up in the existing stations falling within the two stretches.

The officials said the ongoing track doubling work in the 25-km portion from Kallakudi Palanganatham to Ariyalur, falling in the Tiruchi–Ariyalur BG section, was apace.

New station buildings have been constructed at Kallagam and Sillakudi and doubling works were expected to be completed by February after which the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) would be invited to inspect the second track.

The RVNL had commissioned the double line between Valadi and Kallakudi Palanganatham (25 km) in July upon obtaining the mandatory clearance from the CRS.

The organisation had taken up doubling work in the Valadi–Kallakudi Palanganatham–Ariyalur (50 km) portion on priority as it was a crucial segment in the Villupuram–Tiruchi chord line section and to reduce congestion especially at night.

400 detonators sticks Seized, one Person arrested at Kamakhya Railway Station

Kamakhya Jn (KYQ):  Over 400 detonator sticks along with fuse wire were recovered from a person travelling by train at Kamakhya railway station in Guwahati today, railway police sources said.

The detonators with 50 metres wire were seized from the person identified as Malu Sethi from Orisssa, the sources said adding the consignment was probably meant for terrorist activities in Tinsukia district in upper Assam.

Sethi has been taken into custody and interrogated, they added.

Meghalaya CM seek PM’s nod to include rail connectivity as national project

Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Wednesday sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s nod to include the railway link, along the state’s border with Bangladesh, connecting Assam at both ends as a national project.

“There is an urgent need to take up rail connectivity from Agia to Badarpur via Meghalaya along the Indo-Bangladesh border,” Sangma said in his presentation to Singh.

He said the connectivity would accelerate trade and commerce with Bangladesh. According to Sangma, the area along the International border in the state is rich in minerals besides connecting Barak Valley in Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and all land custom stations in these states.

Seeking immediate implementation of the upgradation works of NH 127(B) connecting Srirampur in West Bengal and Nongstoin in Meghalaya via Dhubri in Assam, Mukul said the road has the potential to transform the region’s socio-economic landscape.

The state had earlier sought Rs 3000 crore special package from the Prime Minister, over and above the Rs 4151 crore plan approved by the Planning Commission, to support the state’s flagship basin development program, for construction of a new Assembly complex and creation of new township to ease congestion of the state’s capital.

पूत रेलवे दिसंबर में चलाएगा स्पेशल ट्रेनें

Bhubaneswar (BBS) भुवनेश्वर:  दिसंबर में होने वाली जाड़े की छुट्टियों में ट्रेनों में भीड़भाड़ बढ़ने की संभावना देख पूर्वी तट रेलवे की ओर से स्पेशन ट्रेनें चलाने का एलान किया गया है। इन स्पेशन ट्रेनों में भुवनेश्वर-नई दिल्ली, टाटानगर-विशाखापट्टनम, सियालदह-पुरी, हटिया-यशवंतपुर, भुवनेश्वर-यशवंतपुर, विशाखापट्टनम-कोलम प्रमुख हैं। पूत रेलवे सूत्रों से मिली जानकारी के अनुसार 8 दिसंबर से 29 दिसंबर के मध्य 02815 भुवनेश्वर-नई दिल्ली सुपर फास्ट अतिरिक्त ट्रेन हर रविवार को सुबह 8.10 बजे भुवनेश्वर से रवाना होगी, जो सोमवार सुबह 6.05 मिनट पर नई दिल्ली पहुंचेगी। जबकि यह 02816 सुपर फास्ट ट्रेन सोमवार को दोपहर 1 बजे नई दिल्ली से रवाना होकर मंगलवार सुबह 11 बजे भुवनेश्वर पहुंचेगी। इसी तरह भुवनेश्वर-यशवंतपुर सुपर फास्ट ट्रेन 02845 भुवनेश्वर से प्रति बुधवार 7.45 बजे रवना होगी जो गुरुवार दोपहर 12.10 बजे यशवंतपुर पहूचेगी। यही रेल वापसी के समय गुरुवार रात 23.20 बजे यशवंतपुर से खुलकर शनिवार 3.30 बजे भुवनेश्वर पहूंचेगी। े पू.त.रे सुत्रों के अनुसार इससे यात्री भीड़ पर नियंत्रण पाने से सफलता मिलेगी । उसी तरह सियालदह- पुरी, टाटानगर-विशाखापट्टनम, हटिया-यशवंतपुर, विशाखापट्टणम-कोलम केमध्य भी विशेष रेल गाड़ी चलाई जाएगी।

आधुनिकीकरण की दौड़ में रेलवे

रेलवे का इंजीनियरिंग विभाग हाईटेक होने जा रहा है। विभाग की प्रत्येक जानकारी आनलाइन होगी। संपत्ति से लेकर डेली वर्किंग तक सभी जानकारी अधिकारी एक क्लिक पर जान सकेंगे। इससे जहां विभाग में पारदर्शिता आएगी, वहीं प्रबंधन भी सुदृढ़ होगा। उच्च अधिकारियों को नीति व योजनाएं बनाने में सहूलियत होगी।

आधुनिकीकरण : ट्रेक मैनेजमेंट सिस्टम (टीएमएस) के तहत रेलवे के इंजीनियरिंग विभाग को हाईटेक किया जा रहा है। सेंटर फार रेलवे इन्फार्मेशन सिस्टम (क्रिस) विभाग को आनलाइन करने में लगा है। यह कार्य तीन चरणों में होना है। पहले चरण में इज्जतनगर मंडल से रेलवे की संपत्ति का ब्योरा मांगा गया है, जिसे आनलाइन फीड किया जाना है। सीनियर सेक्शन इंजीनियर विभाग (पीडब्ल्यू) ने इस ओर काम शुरू भी कर दिया है। रेलवे की पटरी, स्लीपर, वैल्डिंग, फिटिंग्स आदि सभी एसेट्स (संपत्ति) की जानकारी एकत्रित की जा रही है। दस-दस मीटर पर पटरी को नापा जा रहा है। स्टोर की जानकारी भी फीड की जा रही है। प्रथम चरण में फीडिंग का कार्य पूर्ण होते ही दूसरे चरण में कन्फर्मेशन तथा तीसरे चरण में योजना को लागू कर दिया जाएगा।

पारदर्शिता : टीएमएस को रेलवे के लिए मील का पत्थर माना जा रहा है। इस मैनेजमेंट सिस्टम से इंजीनियरिंग विभाग में पारदर्शिता आएगी। अधिकारी आसानी से स्टाक से लेकर डेली वर्किंग तक की जानकारी हासिल कर सकेंगे। कार्यालयों में मोटे-मोटे रजिस्टर रखने से भी छुटकारा मिलेगा। इस प्रणाली को इस तरह डिजाइन किया गया है कि अधिकारी कंप्यूटर पर बैठे अपने अधीनस्थों के कार्य पर नजर रख सकेंगे। संपत्ति की जानकारी अपडेट रहने से चोरी या डैमेज पर भी नजर रखी जा सकेगी।

ट्रेनिंग : सेंटर फार रेलवे इन्फार्मेशन सिस्टम रेलवे की केंद्रीय संस्था है। रेलवे को आधुनिक बनाने में इस संस्था की अहम भूमिका है। टीएमएस के लिए इज्जतनगर मंडल से आठ सेक्शन इंजीनियरों को 6 दिसंबर को ट्रेनिंग दी जानी है, जिसमें हाथरस भी शामिल है। इन्हें टीएमएस के साफ्टवेयर आदि के बारे में समझाया जाएगा।

इनका कहना है  –  रेलवे में टेक्नोलॉजी अपग्रेडेशन किया जा रहा है। विभाग को आनलाइन किए जाने की प्रक्रिया चल रही, जो कि शीघ्र ही पूरी होगी।
-राजेंद्र सिंह, पीआरओ, इज्जतनगर मंडल, पूर्वोत्तर रेलवे।

अम्ब रेलवे स्टेशन पर वाशिंग सेंटर की स्थापित करवाएंगे

तलवाड़ा: सांसद अनुराग ठाकुर ने कहा कि प्रदेश में रेल परियोजनाओं के लिए केंद्र सरकार की ओर से सदैव सौतेला व्यवहार किया जाता रहा है। नंगल-तलवाड़ा ब्राडगेज रेललाइन भी केंद्र सरकार की ओच्छी राजनीति के चलते चार दशक बाद भी पूरी नहीं हो पाई है। आगामी लोकसभा चुनाव के बाद केंद्र की सत्ता पर भाजपा के काबिज होते ही इस रेल लाइन को प्राथमिकता के आधार पर पूरा करवाया जाएगा। बतौर सांसद उन्होंने प्रदेश के राष्ट्रीय राजमार्गो के रखरखाव के लिए इन पांच साल में बाइस सौ करोड़ रुपये मंजूर करवाए हैं जबकि कई बड़े शिक्षण संस्थान भी उनके प्रयासों से ही प्रदेश को मिल पाए हैं। अनुराग ठाकुर बुधवार को गगरेट में आयोजित पूर्व सैनिकों के सम्मान समारोह में बोल रहे थे।

उन्होंने कहा कि बतौर सांसद उन्होंने नंगल-तलवाड़ा ब्रॉडगेज रेललाइन का मुद्दा कई बार संसद में उठाया और उनके प्रयासों से अब रेल मंत्रालय ने ऊना-अम्ब रेललाइन का विद्युतीकरण करने पर सहमति जता दी है जबकि अम्ब में वाशिंग सेंटर की स्थापना के लिए भी प्रयास जारी है। रेल मंत्रालय अम्ब में वाशिंग सेंटर न होने का राग अलापते हुए नंगल तक आने वाली रेलगाड़ियां अम्ब से शुरू कर पाने में असमर्थता जाहिर कर रहा था लेकिन उनके द्वारा यह मुद्दा रेल मंत्रालय के साथ उठाने के बाद रेल मंत्रालय अम्ब में वाशिंग सेंटर की स्थापना के लिए राजी हो गया है। अम्ब में वाशिंग सेंटर की स्थापना व रेल लाइन का विद्युतीकरण होने के बाद नंगल तक आने वाली सभी रेलगाड़ियां अम्ब रेलवे स्टेशन से शुरू की जाएंगी। नंगल-तलवाड़ा रेल लाइन के निर्माण को केंद्र सरकार द्वारा एकमुश्त बजट जारी न करने के कारण इसके निर्माण में देरी हुई है। आगामी लोकसभा चुनाव के बाद भाजपा के सत्ता में आते ही इस रेललाइन के निर्माण को तरजीह दी जाएगी ताकि उक्त रेललाइन को पठानकोट से जोड़ा जा सके। इसके साथ ही इस रेललाइन को अगले साल तक दौलतपुर चौक तक पहुंचाया जाएगा। प्रदेश के राष्ट्रीय राजमार्गो के रखरखाव को उनके प्रयासों से बाइस सौ करोड़ रुपये का बजट पांच साल में मिल पाया है। गगरेट-नादौन राष्ट्रीय राजमार्ग के निर्माण के लिए भी सौ करोड़ रुपये का बजट स्वीकृत करवाया गया है और दिसंबर 2014 तक यह मार्ग बनकर तैयार हो जाएगा। इसके अलावा देहरा में सेंट्रल विश्वविद्यालय, ऊना के लिए आइआइआइटी सहित कई प्रमुख शिक्षण संस्थान भी उनके प्रयासों से ही आ पाए हैं। इस अवसर पर पूर्व सैनिक प्रकोष्ठ के जिला अध्यक्ष साधु राम, प्रकोष्ठ के मंडल अध्यक्ष करनैल सिंह, भाजपा मंडल अध्यक्ष राममूर्ति शर्मा, महामंत्री संदेश डोगरा, शादीलाल गोस्वामी, नरेश शर्मा, विश्वजीत सिंह पटियाल व भाजयुमो अध्यक्ष अजय ठाकुर आदि मौजूद रहे।

रेलवे अस्पतालों में मरीजों को मुफ्त भोजन बंद

Kharagpur (KGP) खड़गपुर (प.मेदिनीपुर): रेलवे को घाटे से उबारने व अनावश्यक खर्चो में कटौती के लिए रेल प्रशासन की ओर से तमाम उपाय किए जा रहे हैं। इस क्रम में स्वास्थ्य सेवाओं को भी शामिल किया गया है। रेलवे अस्पतालों में अब मरीजों का मुफ्त भोजन रेल प्रशासन की ओर से बंद कर देने का निर्णय लिया गया है।

दक्षिण-पूर्व रेलवे अंतर्गत रेल मुख्यालय गार्डेनरीच अस्पताल व खड़गपुर स्थित रेलवे मुख्य अस्पताल सहित जोन के तमाम अस्पतालों में अब पे स्केल के आधार पर ग्रुप डी रेल कर्मियों व परिजनों का मुफ्त भोजन बंद कर दिया गया है। पहले ग्रुप सी कर्मियों को भी मुफ्त में भोजन दिया जाता था, लेकिन उनके परिजनों को भोजन के लिए भुगतान करना पड़ता था, जबकि ग्रुप डी कर्मियों के अलावा उनके परिजनों को भी भोजन मुफ्त में मिलता था, लेकिन छठे वेतन आयोग में बढ़े वेतन के बाद पे स्केल के आधार पर अब रेल प्रशासन ने ग्रुप डी कर्मियों व परिजनों को मिलने वाले भोजन का शुल्क लेने का निर्णय लिया। रेलवे प्रशासन के इस निर्णय का रेलवे से संबंधित सभी ट्रेड यूनियनों ने विरोध करना शुरू कर दिया है। मेंस कांग्रेस के पूर्व नेता दामोदर राव, खड़गपुर वर्कशॉप के को-ऑर्डिनेटर रंधीष चक्रवर्ती, मेंस यूनियन के अजीत घोषाल व डीपीआरएमएस नेता पीके पात्र का कहना है कि यूनियनों की ओर से इसका विरोध किया जाएगा, वही दपूरे के मुख्य स्वास्थ्य निदेशक डॉ. अरविंद राय का कहना है कि पे स्केल के आधार पर ग्रुप डी कर्मियों को भोजन बंद किया गया है। पे स्केल के आधार पर ही मरीजों सेभोजन का शुल्क लिया जाएगा।

Deadlock at Talcher coal mines hits ECoR traffic

Kolkata:  The recent deadlock in Odisha’s Talcher mines under Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) has cost the East Coast Railway (ECoR) dear.

For about five days from October 28, there was no production, loading and despatches of coal from the mines.

In normal situation, ECoR loads at least 10 sidings at Talcher totalling 36 rakes a day valued at Rs 8 Crore approximately. In other words, in five days, ECoR lost 180 rakes of traffic valued at around Rs 40 crore.

Global Coal Siding

That is not all. A much greater loss is being suffered at Spur 3 and 4 under global coal siding of MCL. Loading in these spurs has remained suspended since October 17 due to dispute over the appointment of a new transport contractor by MCL authorities.

The average daily loading in two spurs being around 10 rakes, ECoR has already lost traffic worth 470 rakes valued at around Rs 100 crore.

With no sign of an early resolution of the stalemate, the loss, it is feared, will only keep on rising. In fact the root of the five-day deadlock affecting the entire Talcher mines could be traced to the problems at Spurs 3 and 4, according to informed sources.

Coal Transportation

The loss to the economy in these five days has been much larger as coal transportation by MGR (merry-go-round) systems for NTPC’s Kanhia plant and Nalco’s Angul plant too remained suspended.

Even transportation by the conveyor system to Talcher Themal Power Plant too could not take place. In short, it was a complete deadlock.

Inquiries with ECoR reveal that the work at the mines is limping back to normalcy since Tuesday (yesterday) after noon. But what has been particularly worrying for the railway and others is that the stalemate at Spur 3 and 4, the epicentre of the trouble continues.

The Talcher mines account for 100 per cent of ECoR’s loading of domestic coal. However, the share of Talcher mines in ECoR’s total coal loading is around 50 per cent with the balance 50 per cent being accounted for by loading of imported coal at the ports of Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Gangavaram and Dhamra.

The Swanky new Mumbai MetroOne Rail

MMOPL gives a sneak preview of its Metro Rail stations on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor

As the deadline draws closer for the formal launch of commercial operations on Mumbai’s first Metro Rail corridor between Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar, the Mumbai Metro One Pvt. Ltd. (MMOPL) for the first time gave a sneak preview of its swanky modern Metro Rail stations on the route. Besides the gleaming Metro Rail coaches, the posh looking modern stations on the VAG corridor rival those at Delhi and Kolkata.
4322_1024px-ST-Petersburg-Metro-Kirovsky-Zvod-jpg_104227The most beautiful of them – the Verosva station – has an expansive concourse replete with latest modern gadgetry. Each of the Metro station has a lift, escalator for the senior citizens to access platform level, easy-to-understand sings that ask the commuters to desist from smoking, bringing dogs, spitting, carrying inflammable goods etc.

A close watch on the station and platform premises will be kept through CCTV cameras. Commuters passing through ticketing counters will have a novel experience. Instead of the usual train indicators on suburban rail network, commuters will experience train destination display with LCD screens fitted on the platforms.

What’s up! Was Railway Minister ignored on Top Postings at Railway Board?

New Delhi:  Was Mr Arunendra Kumar appointed Chairman of the Railway Board (CRB) without the concurrence of railway minister Mallikarjuna Kharge? After the railways refused to provide the file notings on the appointment of the CRB under a Right to Information (RTI) Act application, it is being seen among a section of officials that Mr Kharge did not have his way in the selection process.

Again, after Mr Kharge appointed former CRB Vivek Sahay as his Adviser, it is believed that Mr Kharge was ignored in the selection process of the Head of the Railway Board.

RTI activist Subhash Aggarwal, through an application under the law, had sought copies of file notings in the appointment of Mr Kumar to the post of the CRB. While not sharing the file notings, the railways informed the “applicant may specify the documents required instead of using vague expressions like complete information, etc., in order to enable the PIO to consider supplying the information”.

The selection of the new CRB after Mr Vinay Mittal retired had turned contentious, as reports had come out that the prospects of a number of officials were scuttled. Mr Aggarwal has challenged denial of information by the railways with the appellate authority.

Meanwhile, the appointment of Mr Sahay as the adviser to the minister has fuelled talk within the railways over creation of two power centres and as an attempt by the minister to counter Mr Kumar in the Railway Board. “Has the minister appointed Mr Sahai as his advisor to counter Mr Kumar because he was the choice of another Union minister? It is indeed an irony that the railway minister has no say on appointment of the CRB,” noted Mr Aggarwal.

After Mr Mittal had retired on June 30 amid the cash-for-promotion scandal involving the nephew of former railway minister Pawan Bansal, the government had appointed Mr Kumar as the CRB for an interim period for three months and was later formally given the post. A top contender, R.S. Virdhi, had lost in the race for the top post after a decade-old vigilance case was reopened during the fag end of Mr Mittal’s time in the board.

Railway Police set up vigil against Naxalites and Ultras

NAGPUR: The railway security forces are on high alert in view of the ongoing People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) week, which began on Monday, in Naxal affected regions. Sources said that the police department in Gondia, where Naxalites have strong support base, have alerted the government railway police (GRP) and railway protection force (RPF). Naxalites observe this week in the memory of their martyred cadres.

In December 2006, the red cadres had burned an engine in Gondia. Police suspect that the derailment near Gondia-Chanda Fort section might be the handy work of Naxalites. The security agencies are not taking things lightly after the recent Naxal attack on policemen escorting a train in Bihar. Security sources also said that the Naxal cadres may use this opportunity to avenge the deaths of their leaders like Kishanji and Azad.

Security has been tightened along Adilabad section, Wadsa Desai Ganj in Gadchiroli and Chandrapur districts. Bomb detection and disposal squads have been pressed into actions round the clock at all crucial stations like Gondia.

Government railway police SP Shashikant Mane said more forces are being deployed at Ballarshah, Chandrapur and Gondia. “Patrolling has been stepped up. We have also strengthened our intelligence machineries,” said Mane.

DG Gour, senior divisional security commissioner, SECR, said security has been increased in trains especially during nights. “We have deployed gunmen along the tracks and tunnels to conduct patrolling,” he said.

RPF shuns ‘heavy’ Bulletproof Jackets

Many in the anti-sabotage units put on lighter riot gear vests and go unpunished as those are similar looking, find seniors in the force!

The Railway Protection Force authorities in Mumbai have chanced upon a dangerous trend among some of their personnel. The officials have found that several of their personnel in the anti-sabotage units, who should move around in bulletproof vests and helmets, armed with assault rifles are using riot gear vests instead of the bulletproof ones.

The reason, they have found out is that the riot gear vests are lighter, comes covered with disruptive pattern camouflage clothing, and decrease the load that the personnel otherwise have to carry. While the bulletproof vests came in almost two years ago, the riot gear vests came in a couple of months ago.

The danger, however, lies in the fact that these riot gear vests have polycarbonate plates in them, which can protect the wearer from stones, rods, crude bombs — the usual dangers faced in a riot — but are absolutely useless against both small firearm and assault rifle bullets.

“The total load of a fully uniformed anti-sabotage personnel can go up to 30 kilograms. Moving about at the stations at night, hopping onto and off trains, is tiresome. Now, with these riot gear vests the weight comes down considerably,” said a senior RPF official.

Officials on condition of anonymity told that verbal orders had been issued to RPF inspectors to ensure that the practice is stopped forthwith including handing out suspensions to the violators. Several RPF posts have begun to keep the riot gear vests and the bulletproof ones separately, so that the violation can be controlled. “The anti-sabotage checks are a routine affair, whereas a riot isn’t. So, an inspector should ensure that the riot gear comes out only when a riot-like situation is declared,” said an official.

“A soldier fully protected by a bulletproof combat gear feels far more confident psychologically in a terror firefight than one who isn’t. A soldier in a riot gear vest during such a fight will not be able to respond effectively since he knows that he will have to shield his body from bullets. It defeats the  purpose of having a fully armed frontline fighting mechanism to take on terrorists, if they try a repeat of 26/11 at CST,” said an official.

Overworked and Neglected, it’s a Tough Life for Sniffer Dogs with RPF

Pune (PA):  Sniffer dogs, who play a crucial role in helping the Railway Protection Force (RPF) secure trains and station premises, seem to be neglected and uncared for. Three sniffer dogs have died during service — two of cardiac arrest and one of kidney failure — in the last five years.
8b1c2d19-cd90-4722-958b-06310953ca98HiResInformation obtained by The Indian Express under the Right to Information Act, 2005, shows that not a single dog was retired by the Railway Protection Force in the last five years, though the RPF guidelines (standing order 84) stipulate that a dog should be retired if it is found medically unfit after reaching a certain age. Pune division officials, however, said no criteria had been specified for the retirement of dogs.

Other senior officials said the dogs were not retired as it would have created a shortage and it usually took the administration years to ensure replacements.

India ExplosionsThe sanctioned strength of the squad in Pune is of four dogs — one tracker and three sniffer. Two more dogs are at Miraj station. After sniffer Labrador Don’s death of cardiac arrest in October this year, the Pune squad was left with one sniffer (Dusky, 7 and a half years) and one tracker (Bali, 1 year and eight months). Three weeks ago, a sniffer puppy (Raj, 3 months) joined the squad as replacement for Changez, who died on September 28, 2012, of kidney failure at the age of 9 years.

It is learnt that a seriously ill Changez had worked for at least a year while he underwent treatment. A dog expert said sniffer dogs often developed serious respiratory disorders due to frequent exposure to explosives, adding that in the absence of proper care or in case of overwork, this might prove fatal for these dogs.

A 2008 report by a committee appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on augmentation of police dogs at railway stations had recommended one dog for every eight trains. By these standards, Pune should have at least 18 sniffer dogs.

“The dogs are also not given proper medical care and rest. We have reason to believe that overwork and neglect was responsible for the death of a dog recently,” said Harsha Shah of Railway Pravasi Group.

The officials have said in their reply to the RTI application that the squad does not have a vehicle to transport the dogs from their house in Shivajinagar to the Pune station for routine checks. The dogs have to be taken in an autorickshaw most of the times, causing inconvenience.

According to Shah, there should a be a dedicated vehicle for the transfer of sniffer dogs.

“Apart form causing great inconvenience to the dogs when they travel in auto-rickshaws, the absence of a dedicated vehicle also raises serious questions about the efficiency of the dog squad. In the heavy traffic of the city, if you don’t have a dedicated vehicle, finding an autorickshaw and transporting the dogs at the required spot should be really difficult,” she said.

Accident on Virar-bound local: Youths may have banged heads against Railway Pole

Virar (VR) / MUMBAI: The youth who died after falling off a Virar-bound local in the early hours of Tuesday is still to be identified, but the person who survived the fall with grievous injuries has been identified as Altaaf Shaikh (19).

“Both have sustained head injuries. There’s a possibility that they were hanging out and banged their heads against a railway pole. The station master informed us about them, following which we found the two on the tracks between two poles,” a GRP official said, adding, “They were bleeding and we rushed them to Bhabha Hospital in Bandra.”

A doctor said Shaikh has been admitted to the ICCU, where he is unconscious. “He was on the ventilator for a while. His condition remains critical. His family tracked him down to the hospital and they are in a state of shock,” the doctor added.

There is no CCTV coverage of the spot where the youths fell. “There were 40-50 people at the railway station and there’s a possibility that someone knew the two. But nobody has come forward to identify them,” said an official. The deceased is around 5.7 feet tall and dressed in a green shirt and red jeans. Officials said Shaikh had the words ‘PV’ and ‘Love Pooja’ tattooed on his arm. The Bandra GRP have recorded a case of accidental death.

The GRP has conducted numerous drives on pre-daybreak trains after receiving complaints about commuters performing stunts, hitting passengers and cops on platforms or robbing people inside compartments. “The offenders caught so far have been residents of north Mumbai and the extended suburbs. They reach the temple by midnight before returning to Dadar or Elphinstone Road station and camp there till 4am when services start for the day,” said an official.

जनरल कोच पर ताला लगाने से जोधपुर स्टेशन पर हंगामा

Jaipur Jn (JP) जयपुर:  जोधपुर से दिल्ली जाने वाली मंडोर एक्सप्रेस के लिए रेलवे ने जोधपुर में बड़ी संख्या में यात्रियों को अनारक्षित टिकट तो जारी कर दिए, लेकिन ट्रेन में एक जनरल कोच ही खुला रखा गया। दूसरे जनरल कोच पर ताला लगा था। ट्रेन में जगह नहीं मिलने पर यात्रियों ने हंगामा मचाया। माहौल बिगड़ता देख रेलवे ने कुछ यात्रियों को पहले जनरल कोच में तो कुछ को स्लीपर कोच में बैठाकर उन्हें शांत किया।  हुआ यूं कि जोधपुर में मंगलवार रात आठ बजे मंडोर एक्सप्रेस के रवाना होने से पहले यात्री अनारक्षित टिकट लेकर प्लेटफॉर्म पर पहुंचे तो पता चला कि ट्रेन में इंजन के पीछे लगा जनरल कोच फुल हो चुका था। वे ट्रेन के आखिर में एसएलआर से पहले लगे जनरल कोच पर पहुंचे तो उस पर ताला लगा था।  पूरी ट्रेन में एक ही जनरल कोच होने से यात्रियों को बैठने के लिए जगह नहीं मिली तो उन्होंने हंगामा मचाना शुरू कर दिया।   पता चला है कि मंडोर एक्सप्रेस में जयपुर से पैरा मिलिट्री फोर्स के जवानों को जनरल कोच में सवार होना था। उनकी सुविधा के लिए रेलवे ने जोधपुर से कोच को बंद कर भेजना ही उचित समझा। यदि कोच खुला रखते तो जोधपुर से यात्री सवार हो जाते और उन्हें जयपुर में उतारना मुश्किल हो जाता। यात्रियों का कहना था कि रेलवे को कोच की जरूरत थी तो अतिरिक्त कोच लगाना चाहिए था।

Kanpur accident, a Lesson – IR plans to deploy Rescue & Relief material at all Stations now

New Delhi:  The fatal accident in Kanpur where a woman train passenger died while trying to deboard comes nearly two years after a similar tragedy here. Around 9.45pm on November 16, 2011, businessman Bhagwan Porwal fell while boarding an Indore-bound train, and slipped into the gap between footboard of the train and the platform at the Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station, much like Sunday’s incident when the woman traveller reportedly lost her balance in an effort to alight before the train came to a stop, from the opposite direction.

Two years hence, Hazrat Nizamuddin seems to have learnt its lessons. Porwal lay unattended for about 90 minutes before he was extricated and shifted to an ambulance in a wheelbarrow-there was no stretcher-which finally took him to AIIMS, where he succumbed to his injures. Officials at the station have now created an Emergency Equipments Room where freshly procured stretchers, wheelchairs, first-aid equipment and gas cutters are kept.

Station Managers say that first-aid equipment has been stored at several points throughout the station to ensure medical supplies in need. Railway officials claim to have a basic level of vigilance in place to address medical emergency at Delhi stations. However, without regular medical drills, their preparation is yet to be tested.

“We have set up a monitoring station with CCTVs and stationed an ambulance from 8am to 8pm. More stretchers have been procured, along with wheelchairs,” says a senior official. “We have our central and divisional hospitals and our medical staff, including doctors and nurses, can be pressed into service,” says Neeraj Sharma, CPRO, Northern Railway.

In Japan on July 22, a woman got trapped between the footboard and the platform but was rescued after 40 passengers pushed and tilted the train. Northern Railway says this may not be possible here as heavier composite material is used in Indian trains.

Development of Kolkata will be around areas near Metro -CREDAI

Kolkata: Future development of the city will mostly be centred on routes nearest to the Metro Railway, CREDAI Bengal President Harsh Vardhan Patodia said here on Tuesday.

According to him, areas on the outskirts or fringes, where Metro Railway connectivity has been announced, will see good growth in the coming days.

“Future development would include areas with Metro connectivity,” Patodia told reporters during a press conference.

Garia (located some 17 km from Kolkata) is one such area which has seen interest since Metro connectivity was announced. Apartment rates moved up — since Metro work began in the area — from around Rs 1,000-1,200 a sq foot to approximately between Rs 2,000 and Rs 2,500 a sq ft in 2011, when Metro work was nearing completion.

Post Metro connectivity, apartment prices are approximately at Rs 3,200-3500 a sq ft, industry sources said. Garia and adjoining areas were connected through the North-South Metro Railway line around 2011-12.

Work is already being carried out along the Joka-BBD Bag route that would connect the South-Western fringes of the city with its Central Business District.

Two other routes where work has begun include the East-West Metro Railway (connecting the twin city of Howrah to Kolkata’s IT hub in Sector V) and the New Garia-Airport line (for improving airport connectivity).

CREDAI Conclave

Meanwhile, CREDAI will organise a two-day national conclave in Delhi beginning December 13. Amongst the 9,000-odd members , some 900-odd are expected to participate in the national conclave.

Around 150 developers from Eastern India are expected to attend the conclave, Patodia said.

SCR propose Intercity Services to various Towns from Secunderabad

Inter-city service proposed to places from the city that can be reached in a couple of hours

Secunderabad/Hyderabad:  Major towns and cities that are located within a radius of up to 200 km from Hyderabad have been proposed for faster connectivity with the capital through a dedicated and efficient train network.

The Comprehensive Transportation Study for Hyderabad Metropolitan Area taken up on behalf of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) has mooted 11 commuter rail networks to connect the city with nearby towns and cities.

The inter-city service, however, has been proposed as emanating from the Hyderabad Outer Ring Road and establishing connectivity to places that could be reached in one to two hours on dedicated tracks.

The idea to have the inter-city services from the city fringes has been made to free and facilitate better use of the presently available rail tracks for intra-city services such as MMTS and suburban train operations.

Presently, the available inter-city services also use the same tracks but the increasing patronage for local train service required dedicated tracks, the report says.

Four new passenger terminals for inter-city operations have been proposed by the South Central Railway at Moula Ali and Edulnagulpalle, both to be operational by the year 2021, Manoharabad (2031) and Shamshabad (2041).

Directional terminals now proposed to cater to the needs of inter-city passengers include destinations such as Nizamabad, Mahabubnagar, Warangal, Sangareddy, Khammam, Adilabad and Kurnool.

HMDA Commissioner Neerabh Kumar Prasad, who recently presented the Comprehensive Transportation Study report for suggestions and objections from public, said the inter-city mass transit system has been proposed with the South Central Railway on separate lines. “The aim is to ensure that these destinations become reachable in an hour to two hours time,” he said.

Indo-Bangla Rail link on right track

Agartala (AGTL): India and Bangladesh continue to move ahead in strengthening bilateral relations through closer connectivity between the two countries.

Though passenger bus services between Agartala and Dhaka remained suspended over the past week because of political turmoil in Bangladesh, the steering committee of the two countries met in Dhaka today to discuss an early completion of the 15km Agartala-Akhaura railway link.

The seven-member Indian delegation was led by the joint secretary in ministry of external affairs, Ashok Kumar Sinha. Tripura’s transport commissioner Kishore Ambuly also reached Dhaka as part of the delegation. The Bangladesh side was led by joint secretary in their ministry of planning and development, Sunil Chandra Paul.

Before leaving for Dhaka, Ambuly said the joint steering committee meeting would discuss in detail the Agartala-Akhaura railway track, besides the concomitant task of land acquisition.

“In the accord reached by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, it was decided that the government of India would build at its own expense the 15km stretch of Agartala-Akhaura railway, of which 5km fall within Tripura while the remaining 10km fall in Bangladesh.

An 11-member joint steering committee comprising officials and technocrats of the external affairs ministries and railway boards of the two countries were also formed,” Ambuly said.

He added that the steering committee was originally slated to meet in Agartala tomorrow. But as the Bangladesh delegation would have found it difficult to reach Agartala by road because of the ongoing political unrest, the meeting was shifted to Dhaka.

Ambuly said the traffic chief of the Northeast Frontier Railway, Arindam Das, had inspected the 5km railway alignment within Tripura from Agartala to Nishchindipur where land acquisition work for laying railway tracks would begin after the steering committee meeting.

Similarly, the Bangladesh government will also start land acquisition work after today’s steering committee meeting from Gangasagar station to Akhaura.

“The central government has already sanctioned Rs 253 crore for the project and in the event of cost escalation, more funds will be available,” Ambuly said.

The Bangladesh government is also keen on the project as it will be a direct railway link between Agartala and Calcutta across Bangladesh, he added.

Metro-III in Mumbai hits heritage hurdle in South Mumbai

MUMBAI: The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ambitious Colaba-Bandra-Seepz metro line has hit a heritage hurdle.

The proposal that has come to the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) for permissions as a few areas through which the proposed metro is suppose to pass has a heritage structures. The MHCC has now formed a sub-committee to seek more details on the project from MMRDA.

A member of the committee said that South Mumbai is packed with heritage structures and the committee wants to understand the impact of the line on these ‘fragile’ buildings.

“Even if the line is underground the vibrations will also have a huge impact on these building and we need to consider all that before approving it,”said a member.

The Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro will be a 33.5-km corridor with 26 underground stations. The project cost is pegged at Rs 23,126 crore.

V Ranganathan, Chairman of the MHCC said that they have asked the MMRDA to come back to the committee with a few more details.

“The maps and details submitted by then didn’t mention the heritage buildings along the line of the metro line. We have also formed a sub-committee who will be taking a look at the project in detail and then decide,’said Ranganathan.

Some of the members said that the MMRDA which plans to embark on such a massive project, hasn’t bothered to come to the committee with detailed maps and plans.

“They have been asked to do this exercise again and come back to us with more details and to tell us how they will ensure that the near by buildings don’t have any effect on this,”said another member.

The centre in its approval for the project given on June 28 estimated that the Mumbai Metro III project is scheduled to be completed in six years by March 2019 from the date of start of work in the financial year 2013-14.

Boy Hurt as Miscreants Pelt Stones at Train

A ten-year-old boy from Kannur was injured on a moving train after he was allegedly pelted with stones by a group of miscreants near the Vaduthala railway gate here on Monday. The boy, who suffered a skull fracture, was admitted to a private hospital at Kalamassery, where his condition is said to be stable.

Ernakulam Railway Police officials said that they suspect a group of school boys to have committed the crime. The boy was travelling with his parents in the S3 coach of the Ernakulam-Madgaon Express when the incident took place. The train, which left Ernakulam at 1.50 pm, crossed the Vaduthala railway gate after 2 pm. The incident took place just after the train crossed the railway gate.

Ernakulam Railway Police SI P Vinod said that stones were probably pelted by a group of school boys who are regularly seen loitering in the area. Similar incidents have been reported in the past too. However, after several warnings, the incidents of stone-pelting on moving trains had subsided. “We suspect that this was a similar case and we are seeking information from the residents of the area. We are yet to find out the details,” officials said. The case is being investigated by the Ernakulam North police and the Ernakulam Railway police.

According to sources, though the parents of the boy and other passengers tried to pull the chain of the train after the incident, the train did not stop. The train only halted at the Aluva railway station. The injured boy was immediately taken to the Aluva Taluk Hospital where he was administered first-aid. Taking into consideration the seriousness of the injury, he was later admitted to a private hospital, where he underwent surgery for a crack on the skull. Hospital officials confirmed that his condition was stable.

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