No more Populist Stunts; take Decisions for Long-term National interest: ASSOCHAM

The Knowledge Chamber of India strongly suggest Railways recast its accounts into Business Accounting framework so that investors can actually see what kind of a financial performance they are getting in the railways in a transparent business accounting framework

assochamनयी दिल्ली New Delhi: The ASSOCHAM has impressed upon the government not to yield any more to populist pressures to roll back the hike in rail fares as the Indian Railways needs resources to modernise its operations even as it has piled up cost over-runs of Rs.45,600 crore on its planned projects.

“While the political pressure on commercial decisions is expected in a democracy, especially when elections (Assembly) are round the corner in some states such as Maharashtra and Haryana, a stable government at the Centre must hold its ground and stick to its decisions for the long-term national interest,” ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr.D.S.Rawat said in a statement here.

The Railways needs big-time resources and its implementation track record has been rather poor resulting in more than doubling of the costs of the projects it had to execute over a period of time.

Till March, 2013, the cost over-runs of 41 pending Railway projects had touched Rs.45,600 crore. Against the original estimates of Rs.28,000 crore, the cost projected had mounted to Rs.73,500 crore. In fact, the Railways itself ran cost over-runs of near about 50 per cent of the cost over-runs of all the 285 pending Central sector projects like steel, power, coal etc – which were running excess cost estimates of Rs.94,800 crore.

Mr Rawat said as per the interim Rail Budget for 2014-15, the Plan expenditure for the current fiscal has been pegged at Rs.64,305 crore and the bulk of which has been provisioned for the General Budget. The internal generations have been pegged at only Rs 13,500 crore – just about one-fifth of the Rail Annual Plan.

“Given the constraints on the General Budget itself, the Railways must raise higher resources internally to fund its expansions and reduce its dependence on the budgetary support, year after year,” the ASSOCHAM Secretary General said.

He said the cross-subsidisation of passenger fares by freight charges is not sustainable any more with over two-third of the total Railway revenue of about Rs 1.60 lakh crore being accounted for by the freight receipts.

The task of the fixing passenger and freight charges should be left to the Rail Tariff Authority, as was proposed earlier. The autonomous authority should not only consider requirements of the Railways but also engage with different stakeholders for a transparent tariff regime.

“Such a thing would lead to rationalisation of fares and freight structures for improving the fare–freight ratio and bringing down cross subsidization between different segments”.

Besides rationalisation of the fares, the Railways must increase its operational efficiency in terms of Operating Ratio which is about 90 per cent. “The OR should be brought down to 85-86 per cent in the short term and below 80 per cent in the long run if we want to make the Railways world class”.

Instead of going for further recruitments, the Railways should focus on training and re-deployment of its humungous work-force of 14 lakh employees and redeploy them.

“We are not against employees, but the Railways should primarily service its 14 million daily passengers and freight customers of business and industry. The focus should be on use of technology and not further increasing the headcount,” the ASSOCHAM Secretary General said.

In a courageous move, the government had announced a hike in the railway passenger fare by 14.2 per cent in all classes and freight by 6.5 per cent. However, the hike in sub-urban fares upto 80 km had to be rolled back following political opposition.

Indian Railways need Path-breaking Reforms: Rakesh Mohan, former RBI Dy.Gov

RakeshMohanModernisation is the need of the hour, there is no doubt about that but the question is how the government should go about it – is FDI good idea?

From FDI to Bullet-Trains, the Modi government has promised to change the face of Indian railways. Modernisation is the need of the hour, there is no doubt about that but the question is how the government should go about it – is foreign direct investment (FDI) good idea?

Also are investors interested to put their money into railways which has been making losses for many years?

Giving more clarity on these, Rakesh Mohan, former RBI Deputy Governor and Chairman of the Transport Policy Development Commission says, the Indian Railways are in need of path-breaking programmes and need to take drastic steps for capacity expansion.

According to him there is a requirement for restructuring and huge reforms in the accounting systems. A better accounting system will attract non-government investments, says Mohan.

He hopes that the NDA government gives more attention to railways.

Below is the transcript of Rakesh Mohan’s interview with Shereen Bhan.

Q: You had put out a report which was an integrated transport policy for the government. Nothing got taken forward. Let me ask you about your thoughts on the Modi governments current plans to try and revive and modernise the Indian railways, do you believe that FDI is the route forward? Do you believe that there will be takers as far as foreign investors are concerned for the Indian railways should the government decide to go down that route?

A: I am speaking as a former chairman of the National Transport Development Policy Committee and this has nothing to do with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). You mentioned that nothing has been done, the National Transport Development Policy Committee report, the India transport report was just submitted on March 1 2014. It has a long term perspective for a period of 20 years from now till the early 2030s. So, it is not something that something immediate needs to be done but I do hope that the government will indeed look at the recommendations in this very complex report that we have submitted.

Coming back to the railways, what is important to understand is that the railways has been losing traffic share for more than 60 years. In 1950 or thereabouts the railways had a freight share of around 90 percent in traffic and that has come down to about 30-33 percent or thereabouts. In the case of passenger traffic it had a share of about 70 percent in the early 50s and that has come down to just around about 10 percent.

The projections that we have done over the next 20 years suggest that assuming the country comes back to respectable growth rates above 7 percent per year over the next 5-20 years then the projection is that the passenger traffic will increase by a factor of 15 over the next 20 years and freight traffic by a factor of 7 over the next 20 years.

So, the key point really is that if we want to come back to kind of overall growth path that we had from around 2004 to 2012 then we do need to make a major investment in the railways in the next 5-20 years and it is essential if the country is to achieve the kind of growth that we are talking about.

Q: Do you believe that foreign investors will actually put money into the Indian Railways if the Foreign direct investment (FDI) route were to be opened up unless the railways undertake a structural reform which is what your report had suggested separating policy regulatory and management functions corporatising the entity that actually runs the railways without the crucial structural reforms and the functional reforms do you really believe that we can modernise the railways or attract any kind of private investment?

A: As I said I wanted to abstract from a specific focus on FDI because as you said there are much more important things to do to bring the railways back into the kind of financial situation which will induce investment either for public investment or private investment. Back in the year 2000, we started major road programs, there was National Highways Development Project (NHDP) on the one hand and the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana on the other and that has really transformed the phase of the country over the last 10-15 years.

What we need to do right now is to announce a similar path breaking program for railways’ capacity expansion over the next 20 years starting right now and just like we had this programmatic approach to the NHDP the national highway program as well as the rural roads program that we need to announce a major transformation of the railways now so that we indeed set the conditions under which different kinds of investments can come into the railways.

To give some numbers what is very interesting in the case of roads is that if you look back in the 1990s the annual investment roughly speaking in roads and railways were about similar overall; little under 0.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and around 4.5 percent of GDP.  What is interesting is that the total roads investment has indeed gone up from around 0.4 percent of GDP in the 1990s to around one percent now and this is very important because what we are recommending is that basically the road program is well underway, there are some problems of implementation but basically the overall structure of investment is clear and therefore thus continuing.

Therefore when we recommend that the investment to the railways which has remained at around 0.4 percent of GDP needs to go up to similar number like one percent of GDP over the next 10 years or thereabouts. It is not an unrealistic projection and that is the important point that if you could do it in roads over a similar period of time we can do it with railways if we put our minds to it.

Therefore as you were saying that this kind of expansion which we are talking about is a huge expansion taking railways investment to something at Rs 90,000 crore a year over the next five years or so from around say Rs 30,000 crore during the 11th plan, you can’t do this unless you do a major restructuring of the railways as you were talking about which does mean corporatising the railways as a whole, separating the policy functions from implementation functions and also a huge reform in the accounting system of the railways.

You can’t really expect private investment in the railways of foreign investment for that matter unless you recast the railways accounts into business accounting framework so that investors can actually see what kind of a financial performance they are getting in the railways in a transparent business accounting framework.

These were the recommendations that were similar to the railways reform committee that I had headed in 2000/2001. We also recommended and in fact the railways had accepted the reforms in terms of moving to business accounting framework but that has so far not been done. So that is absolutely essential if we want to get a non government investment in the railways in the years to come.

Q: You were talking about some of the reforms and some of those recommendations go back as you just pointed out almost a decade or more than that. There is your committees report, there have been several other committee reports that have recommended similar suggestions to modernise the railways. Do you believe that the Modi administration will perhaps take some of these measures forward this time in the railway Budget? Whether it is the setting up of the railway tariff authority which the previous government was also talking about, whether it is splitting up the functions of the railways. Do you believe that we are going to see finally some steps being taken by this government to move the reform agenda for the railways? Are you feeling confident and hopeful?

A: I can only hope that they will make moves in this direction because almost every committee that has been appointed has given similar recommendations if not exactly the same. So, it does seem to me that there is much greater consensus on the kind of things that need to be done.

One point I would make on the corporatisation issue is that already we have been doing different kinds of corporatisation. For example the dedicated freight corridor programme is being done after setting up Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation (DFCC). So, the general principle of appointing or setting up a corporate entity is to do public investment of this kind is something that is accepted. We do need to move a step forward which is to corporatize railways as a whole which could be done by setting up a holding company at the top because you already have a DFCCIL, you have IRFC the Indian Railways Finance Corporation and a number of other companies in the railways fold which can all be subsidiaries of a holding company.

Similarly the railways also has a number of manufacturing enterprises under its control which are also not separated out as corporations. We have so many other public sector manufacturing companies, so there is no reason at all why in the first instance the manufacturing companies can’t be corporatized. So, I do believe as you are saying that given that the new government has come with the kind of mandate that it has, it has emphasized the kind of attention it wants to give in infrastructure. Therefore I do hope that an absolutely crucial part of Indian infrastructure that is railways which has not got the kind of attention that it should have in the last 10-20 years that it does get it now.

As I said in the beginning if we don’t do this we cannot hope to get the kind of growth that we hope we will get back to.

One of the major exercises that we did in the transport committee was to look at the transportation of what we called energy commodities and also other bulk commodities. If you look at the kind of growth over the next 5-20 years the transportation of coal to produce power is going to be a major issue. The transport systems at present, the railways are already clogged in terms of their capacity to transport coal. If you grow at the rate of 7 percent plus the next 20 years, hopefully 8 may be 9 percent over the next 20 years if we do everything right then you will need to transport 2.5-3 times the volume of coal today.

We have made very detailed recommendations on the railways investment to do with this transportation of coal in addition to the transportation of iron and steel. However if you don’t do these things we can’t get the power generation increase that we need and hence we cannot then get the overall economic growth.

GE Transportation announces latest Rail Software Innovations

GE_TRansportation_LogoGE Transportation – a global provider of innovative rail products and services, hosted its 25th Annual Client Conference June 23 25. At the conference, GE Transportation announced new software solutions and services and recognized seven customers with the Fast Track Award for rail industry software excellence and innovation.

This year’s three-day conference offered more than 50 technical sessions by GE Transportation software engineers and subject matter experts, giving best-practices and instruction to maximize the use of GE Transportation’s software. Topics included advanced analytics, mobility, revenue management, operational efficiency and asset optimization. In addition, the conference included over 15 customer feedback forums and panel discussions, providing an open exchange of ideas and customer feedback.

GE Transportation keynote speaker Pete McCabe, Vice President of Global Services, highlighted RailConnect™ 360, a connected suite of solutions that provides railroads with data-driven insights to address key customer pain points like velocity, fuel, reliability, productivity and dwell. The RailConnect™ 360 suite leverages GE’s Predix platform  to use advanced software, powerful analytics and mobility to enable better decisions and improve outcomes along the entire rail enterprise. This is part of GE’s billion dollar investment in software to create an open, global network that connects people, data and machines – the Industrial Internet.

GE Transportation introduced several enhancements to its RailConnect™ 360 software products and services including:

  • RailConnect Transportation Management System and RailConnect Revenue Management System, a new user-friendly interface, intuitive menus and picks lists for easy navigation, time-saving custom quick links to regularly-used tools, and report automation, plus connectivity available from multiple browsers and devices.
  • Revenue Management Advanced Analytics, a new business intelligence offering, delivers powerful analytics and KPIs to help railroad accounting and management personnel work more effectively, improve decision making, and optimize revenue management performance.
  • ShipperConnect Yard & Transload Management offers graphical representation and multiple work views of facilities, track layout, and customized process flows to significantly improve the process of managing rail assets and inventory within a plant or transload facility. With a single click, users can view details on shipments, move rail cars within their plants, and load, unload or transfer inventory in railcars, piles, silos, bins, or containers, controlling inventory and managing customer orders. Integration with ERP systems and EDI data sources provides seamless inventory management and control.

GE Transportation also announced the addition of new capabilities for railcar demurrage management with the acquisition of Demurrage Management Systems Inc. The technology acquisition expands and strengthens software capabilities in the ShipperConnect Demurrage Management system. The comprehensive offering will manage and calculate railcar demurrage, detention, and storage charges, administer complex demurrage rules and contracts, automate demurrage calculation methods, administer complex rating structures, and manage unlimited exception criteria.

In addition, GE Transportation honored an elite group of customers who are leaders in the rail and rail shipper industry. These companies have raised the standard for operating performance by utilizing GE Transportation’s rail software and solutions to drive automation, increase productivity, and address mission-critical business issues:

  • Ferrocarril y Terminal del Valle de Mexico S.A. de C.V. (Ferrovalle)
  • Genesee & Wyoming Inc. Portland & Western Railroad
  • New York & Atlantic Railway
  • Pan Am Railways
  • R.J. Corman Railroad Company
  • Hi-Crush
  • Iron Horse Logistics Services

The GE Transportation’s 25th Annual Client Conference was held at the Westin Buckhead. Companies in every major segment of the rail industry attended the conference and included short line and regional railroads, Class I railroads, railcar leasing companies, rail shippers, and intermodal terminal operators.

About GE Transportation

At GE Transportation, we’re in the business of realizing potential. We’re a global technology leader and supplier to the rail, mining, marine, stationary power and drilling industries. Our innovations help customers deliver goods and services with greater speed and greater savings using our advanced manufacturing techniques and connected machines. Established more than a century ago, GE Transportation is a division of the General Electric Company that began as a pioneer in passenger and freight locomotives. That innovative spirit still drives GE Transportation today. It’s the engine of change that puts us at the forefront of innovation and technology, where we continue to realize new potential and keep our connected world moving forward. GE Transportation is headquartered in Chicago, IL, and employs approximately 12,000 employees worldwide.

JICA to survey Gurgaon-Manesar-Bawal Metro Rail project

गुड़गाँव Gurgaon (GGN): The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will start survey work on the Gurgaon-Manesar-Bawal metro rail project this September, a senior Haryana government official said here Thursday.

Haryana Chief Secretary S.C.Choudhary, who is also chairman of the Haryana Mass Rapid Transport Corporation (HMRTC), said the 108-km-long project will cost Rs.27,411 crore. He said a detailed project report of this project was being prepared. “The project would be jointly completed by the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC) and HMRTC. About 465 acres of land has been identified and notified for the project,” he said.

Under the plan, Japan would provide loan of Rs.23,217.80 crore at a cheaper rate of 0.5 percent for the project and the remaining amount of Rs.4,193.20 crore would be shared by the DMICDC and the HMRTC.

Slated to start in 2015, the project would be completed in four years. As many as 50 metro stations will come up under the project. The Gurgaon-Manesar-Bawal belt in Haryana, adjoining national capital Delhi, is an industrial corridor and a hub for software companies.

Railways caught the eye of Insurance Gaints for reasons other than the fare hike

yamrajinmumbaiमुंबई Mumbai: After the Central government’s Union Budget, Yamraj, the king of death in Hindu mythology, is expected to visit travellers in Mumbai’s largest local train network, Central Railway. Only this time, there is no cause for alarm.

Mumbai-based Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance plans to launch its railway safety campaign that bears an oxymoronic name, ‘Yamraj to the Rescue’ on the line that connects South Mumbai to the central and eastern suburbs and Thane district.

Some time ago, the company had run a similar campaign on the Western Railway that starts from Mumbai’s Churchgate station. The month-long safety awareness campaign revolved around an actor dressed-up as ‘Yamraj’ moving around key western suburban train platforms such as Churchgate, Dadar, Jogeshwari and Borivili, preventing commuters from crossing railway tracks, boarding a running train and travelling on rooftops.


Yamraj also prodded commuters to use the foot overbridge, to not use the cell phone while boarding and alighting trains and urged them to stand behind the demarcated yellow line on platforms and so on. Commuters were also handed out a card highlighting safety tips that should be ‘top of the mind’ while using railway services. “The railways are the lifeline of Mumbai. As there are high footfalls during workdays, this is a great place to have a presence,” says Ashish Morone, head-marketing, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance.


Some time ago, Aditya Birla Financial Services also used the railway track to send a strong message. People crossing the railway tracks illegally were handed out visiting cards of the life insurance provider, with the message that since they had already decided to put their lives under risk, the least they could do is get themselves insured.


Indian commuters are known for their callousness not just during rail travel but also while crossing roads, driving without seatbelts, talking on cellphones while driving and so on. Every year, road accidents claim more lives than terrorist attacks – estimated at 1.5 lakh lives annually. The track record of the Railways is no better. Ever year in Mumbai alone, 3,400 people lose their lives on the suburban railway tracks. In Chennai and Kolkata the numbers are in the range of 1,000 and 2,000, respectively.

a-person-dressed-up-as-yamraj-the-god-of-death-at-151085It’s not just the common men who are affected. A few weeks ago, veteran politician and newly inducted Union Minister Gopinath Munde met with a fatal car accident in New Delhi. While one reason being given by medical experts was that Munde, who was seated in the rear, was not wearing a seat belt, the other less spoken or debated issue was that the errant driver of the car that rammed into Munde’s vehicle had jumped a signal and come out of nowhere. But in India, if it’s early morning or late night, people consider it their birthright to jump signals.

Somewhere, a section of marketers who believe they have the power to alter social behaviour have decided to do something about it. Some weeks ago, ad agency Ogilvy launched a campaign for youth television channel Channel V using Indian transgenders. As many of them earn their livelihood by exchanging blessings for cash at traffic signals, Ogilvy chose to use them to remind reckless motorists at traffic signals of the basic safety measure they must practise – wear a seat belt. To make the lesson interesting and fun, the transgenders were dressed like airline crew and demonstrated the use of the car safety belt as if conducting a flight safety demo before take-off on an aircraft. “As the channel’s recently launched app, VithU, is all about safety, the campaign decided to educate reckless motorists who ignored the seat belt safety rule in a way that would create a buzz and grab attention,” says an agency statement.

The video of the activation that was posted on YouTube soon became a top trending video in India with nearly 4.4 million views. Marketers such as Edelweiss’ Morone believe that campaigns like these break the clutter. “It shook people out of their reverie. The entire communication was made interactive and even commuters started promoting the message,” says Morone.

But independent marketing consultants are not impressed. Biju Dominic, CEO, Final Mile Consulting, which has done extensive work on human behaviour at railway crossings and highways, says that most humans behave the way they do not because they are ignorant of the dangers but because they feel that the threat is for someone else and not for them. “People do not exhibit very linear and rational behaviour on the road, but a dynamic behaviour. Hence, one needs to appeal to them at a sub-conscious level rather than put out direct messages. Also, one solution will not fit all,” he says.

He believes that only solutions that are scalable across trespassing points all over the country and are not people-intensive will work.

Till someone finds that solution, Yamraj will continue to rule.

RailTel bags prestigious MPLS-VPN Order from Karur Vysya Bank

RailTelसिकंदराबाद Secunderabad (SC): Southern Region of RailTel Corporation of India Ltd (RailTel) have bagged the prestigious order from a private sector banking organisation – Karur Vysya Bank for connecting 190 branch locations spread across the country. The total value of the deal could be more than INR 7.00 Crore, said the source.

RailTel will offer a premium class of services to Karur Vysya Bank in 190 branch locations on the MPLS-VPN, of which, 46 sites will be implemented in Phase-I within 7 weeks from the Purchase Order, and within 16 weeks another 144 sites under Phase-II will be rolled out.

The delivery of MPLS VPN links at 190 branch locations will be in two phases – in the first phase, RailTel will deliver the links which are found to be feasible from its existing towers. It is said that M/s. Primatel had already conducted the region-wise feasibility study and submitted the report to RailTel. RailTel is envisaging to make these first phase links up on the MPLS-VPN within 7 weeks.

The MPLS-VPN bandwidth range in multiple granularities from 256 Kbps to 512 Kbps and, 1 Mbps to 60 Mbps.  The aggregation point is at the Data Centre of Karur Vysya Bank located at Chennai and the Disaster Recovery site at Hyderabad.  Both the DC-DR locations will be connected through primary and secondary optical fiber connecivity with last in a ring to be sourced from RailTel’s separate POPs and distinguished till Bank’s DC/DR Network rooms.  RailTel shall provide optical multiplexers for terminating the fiber connectivity and provide optical Synchronous Transport Module (STM) handoff for router connectivity without any additional cost to Bank.  The lastmiles at DC-DR will be on self healing high availability mode.  As part of the execution of the project RailTel shall also ensure that the physical interfaces and interface type (Optical/UTP/FE/GE) whichever required at DC and DR locations router connectivity are provided while Karur Vysya Bank will provide the required IP Addresses for DC-DR locations and 190 locations, routing type whether static or dynamic (ASN in case of BGP) etc to RailTel during the implementation and commissioning stage.

The delivery at branch sites is envisaged through OFC/RF whichever is feasible.  However in RF connectivities, RailTel shall use its existing Digital/Analog Microwave towers as well as by constructing new GBTs with the help of M/s.Primatel – Rate Contract System Integration partner of RailTel.

The balance sites in Phase-II will be commissioned by erecting new GBTs in which case, RailTel can commission many of the links by using its existing infrastructure.  RailTel will issue the work order for the survey of all the 190 sites on Primatel for GBTs to be erected, the height of poles at branch premises etc. Based on Primatel’s report, the locations for erecting GBTs will be finalized for which RailTel have to take necessary approvals from respective Zonal Railways for erecting GBTs which is going to be the most critical activity in the implementation.

RailTel is also paralelly working on RailWire project roll out across the country in a phased manner. Once RailWire is commissioned, the connectivity can be established even in the remotest parts of the country.

With only rail route shut, Tripura to get foodgrain from Andhra via.Bangladesh

अगरतला Agartala (AGTL):  Landlocked Tripura is set to get its foodgrain supply from mainland India through sea, land and river routes via Bangladesh.

Such a move was necessitated with the monsoon rain lashing the state will be likely a six-month ‘mega block’ of the only rail link between Guwahati and Agartala from October.

The Food Corporation of India (FCI) will send 10,000 tonne of foodgrain — rice and wheat — as a pilot from Andhra Pradesh to Tripura via Bangladesh. The transportation is likely to take two weeks and if the “experiment works well”, then the process will continue for eight months.

Saumitra Bandopadhyaya, special secretary and director of food and civil supplies in the Tripura government, said the Ministry of External Affairs has already worked out the formalities with the Bangladesh regime to carry out smooth movement of the first consignment of 10,000 metric tonne of foodgrain.

“Once this experiment works well, we will be able to move our requirement through Bangladesh till the Lumding-Badarpur broad guage conversion work is completed by March-April 2015,” Bandopadhyaya told The Indian Express over phone.

The consignment will move in two barges from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh by sea route and arrive at the Ashuganj river port on Meghna in Bangladesh, from where the foodgrain will be loaded on trucks bound to Agartala across the International Border check point at Akhaura, only 10 km from the Tripura capital.

The transhipment, however, will be a daunting task, especially in the last leg from Ashuganj to Agartala.  “Though Bangladesh government has deployed trucks to transport the foodgrain, the fact remains that trucks in that country are bigger than those plying on our roads. While Bangladeshi trucks are of 25-30 tonne capacity, those that ply on our roads are only of 12-15 tonne capacity. Moreover, the police will have to work overtime providing security cover to the trucks inside our territory as they move from Akhaura to the FCI godowns in Agartala,” he said.

Tripura, which requires 33,000 metric tonne of foodgrain — of which about 1,600 to 1,700 tonne is wheat and the rest is rice —every month, has to transport the entire bulk from the FCI godowns in Guwahati and Lumding through the metre-guage Lumding-Agartala rail link. The Lumding-Badarpur section, built in the mid-19th century by the British, and popularly called the Hill Section, is the most treacherous, particularly when monsoon rain causes landslides. The Hill Section is being relaid and converted into broad guage, with the railways announcing a “mega block” from October to March 2015, during which they plan to complete the conversion.

Bangladesh had, in 2012, allowed Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to ferry heavy machinery, turbines and cargo through Ashuganj port for the 726-MW power plant at Palatana in south Tripura.

BMRCL awaits Centre’s nod for 5 new licences for Radio Frequencies to run trains

बंगुलूरु Bangalore (SBC): Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is awaiting Centre’s approval for five new licences for radio frequencies to run trains.

BMRCL officials said initial ten licences were sought from the ministry of telecommunication and approval was granted for five. Since then the matter has been pending with the ministry. With the change of guard at the centre, BMRCL officials are hopeful the remaining licences will be granted soon.

Officials said licences are required to operate secure system called TETRA which will enable communication between train drivers and central control room over specialised handsets like mobile phones.

Since communication has to be through safe and secure system, regular mobile phones cannot be used and specialised handsets which work in a specific radius over a particular frequency are used.

So far, Namma Metro has five pairs of frequencies which are just adequate to run the trains which are running currently namely Reach 1 between Baiyapannahalli to MG Road and Reach 3, 3A:between Swastik and Peenya.

However, to run more trains between other reaches, Namma Metro requires the remaining five pairs of frequencies.

Only for five pairs

BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola said: “We had sought ten pairs of frequencies and granted licences five pairs.”

“Currently, for the number of trains being run, frequencies are adequate. But to run new trains, we will require the remaining licences before we open the Reach 3B and Reach 2. We are hopeful of getting the clearances soon.”

Naidu to intervene

Officials are hoping of getting the licences soon, after Union Urban Minister Venkaiah Naidu, during his recent visit, assured Namma Metro officials he will take up the matter with Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is heading the ministry.

He said he was aware that licences have been pending with the ministry and will take it up with Prasad so that it does not hamper the opening of new lines.

Kerala Govt asks Cenre to implement Sabari Rail Project as planned

Sabari Rail project would be beneficial to millions of Ayyappa devotees from the state and outside

sabari_rail_656093eतिरुवनंतपुरम Thiruvananthapuram (TVC): The Kerala government wanted the Centre to implement the Sabari rail project as it was difficult for the state to bear a portion of the cost to a tune of Rs 900 crore.

Replying to a calling attention on the issue in the Assembly, minister in-charge of railway, Aryadan Mohammed, said the state had already informed the Centre its inability to become a partner in the project.

Mohammed while giving details of the project proposed from Angamaly in Ernakulam district to Azhutha near Sabarimala, said the Centre had asked the state to bear 50 per cent of the total cost of the project. The cost of the project when conceived in 1997-98 stood at about Rs 570 crore and now the estimated cost of the project was more than Rs 1,500 crore.

12tvark02-Sabari_ra_922387eThe Centre’s request was not unjustifiable as the state could not bear such a burden, Mohammed said, adding, the state had already informed the Centre about its position.

Kerala would continue to put pressure on Railways to implement the project as planned earlier, he said. Moving the motion, Joseph Vazhackan (Cong) brought to the notice of the House the difficulties faced by the people of Ernakulam and Idukki districts due to the uncertainty of the project.

The rail link if materialised would be beneficial to millions of Ayyappa devotees from the state and outside who make the annual pilgrimage to hill shrine of Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala.

Railways to power its Network with 2000 km Track Electrification plan

Acting on the recommendations of the Rakesh Mohan panel on the transport sector, the railways is likely to carry out electrification of around 2,000 km of its tracks this fiscal

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  The Rakesh Mohan committee had suggested that the railways take up electrification on a priority basis and said it should be seen as a means of cutting use of fossil fuel energy for rail transport.

Acting on the recommendations of the Rakesh Mohan panel on the transport sector, the railways is likely to carry out electrification of around 2,000 km of its tracks this fiscal. Most of this will be done on the never-tried-before annuity model. An announcement is likely to be expected in the rail Budget on July 8.

At present, the railways has almost 38% (24,800 km) of its network electrified that carries almost 67% of the freight traffic and 51% of the passenger traffic. The power bill of the railways at present is Rs 10,880 crore whereas its diesel bill is around Rs 22,000 crore. This shows how important is faster electrification in reducing the national transporter’s expenses on energy and also cutting the country’s oil import bill.

The cost of electrification is around Rs 1.5 crore per kilometer.

“Route electrification could be the most successful of the public-private partnership (PPP) projects being undertaken by railways. At present, running on diesel is more than two times costlier than the electric route. So, whatever the railways save on the fuel can be paid to contractors annually. We understand that such projects have good traction and returns on investments are faster which will interest foreign technology giants,” a railway board official said.

The cash-strapped railways will carry out a part of this electrification drive on the annuity-based PPP model. As a pilot project, the railways has proposed four routes to be electrified under this model. Under the annuity model, the railways will pay contractors in annual installments. In the 12th Plan, the railways has set a target of electrification of 6,500-km route and it hopes to exceed the target with the annuity-based PPP route.

Railways is expecting private companies such as Alstom, Siemens, KEC and its own PSUs such as IRCON and RITES to invest in the electrification projects.

Railways and Intelligence agencies cross-fingured on suspicious train derailments

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: There have been two derailments in Bihar overnight, not connected to each other, but raising serious questions on their causes. At least four passengers were killed when the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed near Chapra in the early hours of Wednesday. And not very far from there, 18 bogies of a goods train derailed at Motihari.

What is worse, three live bombs were discovered at a place about 20 km from Chapra. While the Railway administration seems convinced that the derailment of the Rajdhani was possibly on account of sabotage, the local administration, including the Bihar police, insists that prima facie there was no sabotage. Pictures of the derailment paint a serious picture of the accident, and considering it happened around 2.15 a.m., and eyewitness accounts that the driver did apply the brakes suddenly, an element of suspicion does creep in: was the track cut, or did the track give in because of the derailment? The first issue that needs to be sorted out in the probe by the Commissioner of Railway Safety is whether or not this derailment was a case of sabotage.

The Railway authorities, whose view even the Minister, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, echoed, was that given the bandh called by the Maoists, and looking at the condition of the rails, sabotage cannot be ruled out. In the other incident, the goods train went off the tracks, possibly because of sabotage.

The Railways may find it convenient to blame the Maoists for the mishap to avoid taking any responsibility for the accident. And the local administration for its part would like to protect itself from any blame on the law and order front. However efficient the rescue and relief operations of the Indian Railways may be, focus on prevention of accidents assumes greater significance.

Especially in the case of a high-speed Rajdhani Express, the inquiry must find out about the maintenance and inspection of tracks on the route, more so because of the bandh call. With the goods train derailment being not far from this site, and unexploded bombs having been discovered at another place, the picture that emerges is a disturbing one.

Even if the Railway Minister has partially rolled back his fare increase to favour the suburban commuters, the recent hefty hike in fares and freight tariff definitely raises expectations among rail users about a clear direction in the first Railway budget of this government — a focus on safety, security, and passenger amenities.

A sense of security and confidence needs to be instilled in rail users. The General Budget and the Railway Budget need to allocate substantial resources to improve safety on the rails and for the replacement of worn-out coaches and tracks. Consolidation and modernisation should take precedence over expansion.

PM announces additional ex-gratia relief from PM’s Relief Fund, for those affected by the Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express Accident

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs. 2 lakhs from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund, for the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express accident near Chhapra in Bihar. This is in addition to the relief assistance given by the Railways.

An ex-gratia relief of Rs. 50,000 has also been sanctioned for those who were seriously injured in the accident.

No progress in selecting PPP partner for INR 550 Cr Kanjikode Coach Factory project

पालाक्कड़ Palakkad (PGT): It has been two-and-half years since the foundation stone for the railway coach factory was laid at Kanjikode on February 21, 2012.

There has not been any progress in selecting the private partner for executing the Rs 550-crore project that is proposed to be implemented on the public-private participation (PPP) model. Only the work on the compound wall of the factory has been completed yet.

In the initial global tender floated for the coach factory, only one firm, based in China, had bid for the project. The Railway Board is yet to take a decision on it.

According to sources, two firms, one a local rail coach manufacturer and another an European MNC, have reportedly shown interest in the project. They have also made presentations in this regard to officials in the State Government.

Under the PPP model, the Railways will hold 26 per cent stake in the project while the private partner will have the remaining 74 per cent.

The coach factory was announced in the 2008-09 Railway Budget. A total of 230.10 acres of land was acquired by the Railways for the project, spending Rs 32.44 crore. The Railways has also requested the Forest Department to allot a 92 acre-land for the project, which requires clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

A compound wall, extending over 3.9 kilometres, has been built at a cost of Rs 3.45 crore.

The compound wall has been constructed on three sides of the proposed factory, and the fourth side is having wire-fencing.

The wire-fencing will be removed once the Environment Ministry grants clearance for the forest land. Once the clearance of the Environment Ministry is received, the State Government will have to de-notify the land. Then, a joint survey will be done by the State Government and the Railways.

Around two months ago, Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar had said in New Delhi that the issues related to the implementation of the coach factory would be settled within a month.

Recently, M B Rajesh MP met Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda, and urged him to speed-up the implementation of the Kanjikode coach factory project.

Gaurishankar Bisen meets Railway Minister, seeks Balaghat-Jabalpur gauge conversion

Agriculture Minister Gaurishankar Bisen called on Railway Minister Sadanand Gowda in New Delhi on Tuesday. He was accompanied by Jabalpur MP Rakesh Singh
f1नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  Besides urging the Railway Minister for conversion of Balaghat-Jabalpur route to broad gauge from narrow gauge, Bisen and Singh discussed other problems of the region.

Bisen informed the Railway Minister that Balaghat-Jabalpur railway line has been converted to broad gauge from Gondia to Balaghat. If the 14 kilometer section from Katangi to Tirudi is converted then conversion of entire line from Balaghat to Nagpur will be complete much to the benefit of all. He also urged to construct over-bridges on all the railway crossings after broad gauge conversion. MP Rakesh Singh said that this is long-pending demand of people of the area. The work was started during the regime of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but is still incomplete.

Bisen said that Jabalpur-Gondia broad-gauge project was launched by former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the cost of Rs. 511 crore and was to be completed in 5 years. But, its cost has escalated to Rs. 1300 crore now. This project was also mentioned in the party manifesto for Lok Sabha elections. Therefore, it should be completed at the earliest.

Bisen informed the Railway Minister about the need for infrastructure development of 24 rake points for smooth transportation of fertilisers in the state. He also urged to set up new rake points at Obaibdullahganj, Singrauli, Batwa and Budhni.

Former MOSR Adhir stage protest rally in Kolkata – Demand immediate roll back of fare hike

DE26-RAILPROTEST_1968402fकोलकत्ता Kolkata (KOAA): There were protests in several districts of the State in protest against the hike in railway fares that was implemented across the country on Wednesday.

The president of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee and former Minister of State for Railways Adhir Rajnan Chowdhury led a protest rally in the city demanding an immediate roll back of increased fares.

Mr. Chowdhury dubbed the increase in fare hike as “anti-people” and said that bad days were ahead for the people under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government at Centre.

“The way the rail fare has been increased is not right. It will put added burden on the people’s life and livelihood. The central government should immediately roll back the decision,” he said. “Within one month of forming the government they have taken such an anti-people decision. We have information that within days to come many more anti-people policies are likely to be implemented,” Mr Chowdhury said, taking a dig at the BJP’s ‘Ache Din’ slogan.

“Narendra Modi after coming to power had said that good days are here. But now it seems that bad days are here,” he added.

Commenting on the accident of Rajdhani Express in Bihar, he said that the Centre should ensure passenger safety instead of making political rhetoric. Meanwhile there were protests in different parts of the State over the fare hike. The Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) held protests at Purulia and Berhampore Railway Stations.

The supporters of the party also blocked Railway lines in the State’s North 24 Parganas and South 24 parganas district.

In certain areas passengers protested against the protests and forced those squatting on the tracks to lift the blockade.

Delhi Metro’s Mandi House-Central Secretariat line starts

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: DMRC added anotehr feather in its cap when the Central Secretariat to Mandi House route thrown open to public on Thursday.

Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu flagged off the train from Mandi House station at 9:30am.

The section is the first line to be become operational under phase III of Delhi Metro, which when complete is expected to benefit 70,000 additional commuters.

The three kilometre-long underground corridor consists of two stations – Janpath and Mandi House – where interchange facility with the currently operational Line 3 (Dwarka Sector 21-NOIDA City Centre) is provided.

Earlier commuters had to change at the busy Rajiv Chowk metro station to use the Noida-Dwarka line but the opening of this section will provide a huge relief to those travelling on the route to Noida or Dwarka.

Ghorpadi-Mundhwa Railway Over-Bridge: Panel fails to submit report in 15th Loksabha

घोरपड़ि Ghorpuri (GPR): The 15th Lok Sabha’s Parliamentary Committee on Petitions failed to submit its report on the Ghorpadi-Mundhwa railway overbridge issue. The panel had made an on-the-spot inspection of the Ghorpadi-Mundhwa area in September last year.

Bhartruhari Mahtab, sitting Cuttack MP of Biju Jananta Dal (BJD) and one of the members of the above mentioned committee admitted that the panel could not prepare the report and submit it to the previous Lok Sabha before it was dissolved. “The committee had sought a written response from the Railways on the issue. But the latter did not respond in time.  Hence, the committee was unable to prepare and submit the report,” Mahtab said. According to him, now the matter will be taken up by the new Committee of Petitions which will be constituted for the 16th Lok Sabha.

Ghorpadi-Mundhwa railway overbridge areaThe previous committee, which is now dissolved, met all stakeholders, including officials from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Pune Sub Area, Headquarters Southern Command and members of the Ghorpadi-Mundhwa Railway Over Bridge Committee (GMROBC). Taking a note of the residents’ complaints, Shirur Shiv Sena MP Shivaji Adhalrao Patil had approached this committee which visited the area in September last year.

Interestingly, it was the MoD which had not given its permission to part with its land for the construction of ROB in the area.

“The matter has to be taken up by the new committee which will be formed soon,” said Adhalrao Patil.

Railway Price Hike to add 25-50 bps to CPI inflation: Bank of America-Merrill Lynch

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: The Bank of America-Merrill Lynch has mentioned in the research report that railway price hike – 14.2% for passenger fares and 6.5% for freight rates – should add 25-50 bps to CPI inflation under reasonable assumptions in the absence of firm CPI data. At the same time, a more precise calculation is not possible because the government does not publish the break-up of transportation head in CPI inflation.

ICICI and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation announce to launch ‘ICICI Bank Unifare Card’

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  ICICI Bank Unifare Card’ combines the benefits of a debit/credit card along with a Delhi Metro Smart Card and has the added facility of auto top-up of fare balance.

ICICI Bank Limited, India’s largest private sector bank, and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) announce the launch of the ‘ICICI Bank Unifare Card’, co-branded debit and credit cards in association with MasterCard, offering exceptional value to commuters of Delhi Metro.

‘ICICI Bank Unifare Card’ combines the benefits of a debit/credit card along with a Delhi Metro Smart Card and has the added facility of auto top-up of fare balance. To support both functionalities, the ICICI Bank Unifare Card has a Delhi Metro transit chip embedded along with the debit/credit card chip. The customer will only have to swipe the card at the station instead of waiting in queues at ticket windows/vending machines to purchase tokens or to recharge the ‘Smart Card’ balance. The unique auto top-up facility on the card automatically recharges the amount on the transit chip when the balance drops below a certain specified threshold limit. The auto top-up is triggered at the start of the customer’s journey when the transit chip makes contact with the Delhi Metro servers at the entry gate. Existing credit or debit card customers can apply for this card by placing a request at ICICI Bank’s 24 hour customer care helpline. Others can apply for these cards by sending ‘UNIFARE C’ for credit cards or ‘UNIFARE D’ for debit cards to 5676766. Applications can also be made through the bank’s branches.

Rajiv Sabharwal, Executive Director, ICICI Bank said, “Our continuing adoption of innovative technology is part of our commitment to strengthen our relationship with customers. Over the last one year, we have built significant expertise in the field of transit payment solutions and are now partnering with some of the most successful transport operators in India. The ‘ICICI Bank Unifare Card’ is a revolutionary product which is being introduced for the first time in India and it will change the way transit payments of the future are made in the country. We are happy to launch the card in partnership with DMRC, and are confident that this will go a long way in making the lives of our customers more convenient and rewarding.”

Mangu Singh, MD, DMRC, said “We aim to provide hassle free travel to our commuters and seamless payment options are an integral part of that proposition. The ‘ICICI Bank Unifare Card’ is the next step in providing that convenience.“

Ari Sarker, Division President – South Asia, MasterCard, said “We are committed to providing convenient and safe payment options to the consumers. The ‘ICICI Bank Unifare Card’ marks another important step in our efforts to expand the use of electronic payments which are more efficient, secure and inclusive. It will offer a faster and hassle-free way of accessing the Delhi metro along with added value and benefits to the consumers offered to Platinum MasterCard cardholders.”

ICICI Bank has tied up with metro rail operators to launch similar cards for metro commuters in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

The ‘ICICI Bank Unifare Card’ offers several other benefits including the redemption of reward points accumulated on this card for free metro rides. For example, if a cardholder spends Rs. 12,000 on the card in a month on his regular purchases and shopping, he stands to get metro travel by redeeming the reward points earned.

In addition, the card also offers:

  • 10% discount on travel fare at Delhi Metro, as available on metro smart cards
  • 2.5% fuel surcharge waiver across HPCL pumps (on ICICI Merchant services machines when the card is used for transactions less than Rs. 4,000)
  • Minimum 15% discount on dining bills at leading restaurants across India with the ICICI Bank’s ‘Culinary Treats’ programme

Vodafone India to offer in-rail 3G services on Ahmedabad-Mumbai route in Shatabdi

अहमदाबाद Ahmedabad (ADI): India’s No.2 telco seeks to engage commuters with seamless 3G data services between Ahmedabad and Mumbai Central on the train, the company said in a statement.

“Thousands of our customers who travel to Mumbai can enjoy continued connectivity, stay informed and entertained through the duration of their journey on the super-fast Shatabdi Express,” said Brajesh Bajpai, Business Head – Gujarat, Vodafone India. “It is a great platform to get our message across to an estimated 300,000 eye-balls each day along its route.”

Earlier in 2013, the Indian Railways launched free Wi-Fi-based Internet services on New Delhi – Howrah Rajdhani train.

Minister questions existence of Karnataka Railway Infrastructure Development Corpn

बेंगलुरु Bangalore (SBC):  Karnataka Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar, in the Legislative Council on Tuesday, questioned the existence of Karnataka-Railway Infrastructure Development Corporation (K-RIDE) and expressed concern over the State government spending huge funds for railway infrastructure projects through the body.

The present requirement for the projects already committed was around Rs.10,000 crore in addition to land acquisition, he said, and added that it was time to have a re-look at the existence of the corporation. Mr. Shivakumar said that the government did not have the capacity to fund railway projects as it was the responsibility of Union government to create railway infrastructure in States.

The issue cropped up when Captain Ganesh Karnik (retd.) of the BJP tried to congratulate Railway Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who also served as Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, during the Zero Hour.

Ruling party members exploited the opportunity to congratulate Congress Floor Leader in the Lok Sabha and former Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge, and JD(S) member M.C. Nanaiah suggested to include all those elected to the Lok Sabha while adopting a congratulatory motion.

When V. Somanna of the BJP tried to credit the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa for initiating K-RIDE, ruling party members argued that the credit of setting it up must go to the former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna.

Intervening in the debate, Mr. Shivakumar said those instrumental in floating K-RIDE had committed a mistake.

AP to seek new Railway lines

विजयवाड़ा Vijayawada (BZA):  Social Welfare Minister R. Kishore Babu on Wednesday said the State government readied plans, including new railway lines, to be presented to the Centre to enable the State to emerge as a logistics hub.

At a press conference here, Mr. Babu said while the State had four ports and 13 more are to be developed, these should be connected to the hinterland through railway lines including dedicated freight corridors.

He said these proposals would be taken up with Centre during Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s two-day visit to Delhi tomorrow. Mr. Naidu would press for inclusion of these proposals in the coming Railway Budget and some of which will pave way for development of Rayalaseema.

Mr. Kishore Babu, who was entrusted with finalising proposals for railway lines and who will accompany Mr. Naidu to Delhi, said railway projects worth Rs.12,000 crore have been finalised for the State.

The list of railway projects for which budgetary allocation will be sought from Centre include new lines between Nandyal-Yerranguntla, Nadikudi-Srikalahasthi line, Kotipalli-Narsapur, Kadapa-Bangarupeta, Kakinada-Pithapuram, doubling line between Guntur-Guntakal and Gooty-Dharmavaram.

Activists seek probe into Pune Light Rail project

पुणे Pune:  A group of activists have demanded an inquiry into the light rail project, which was approved by the civic standing committee on Tuesday. The activists have alleged that the committee members approved the project, initiated by a Japanese firm, after a “personal tour to Japan”.

“The corporators have not revealed the details about their meeting with the Japanese company, which they conducted during their visit to Japan. Hence, there is scope to doubt the intention of the elected members. The proposal should be cancelled,” Vijay Kumbhar, founder of citizens’ group Surajya Sangharsha Samiti, said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The standing committee of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) approved the light rail project on Tuesday, despite the civic administration’s reservations regarding the feasibility of the plan.

The proposed train route from Shivajinagar to Hinjewadi will have 21 stations in between and will cover 21.6km. Of these, 6.35km will be in Pune city. The train route will be elevated as well as along the road.

The Japanese company has provided financial support to design the project and will also prepare a detailed feasibility report. The train is aimed at connecting core city areas to locations with high concentration of information technology companies.

The civic administration, in its review reply on the feasibility of the project, has raised several questions on the proposal, keeping in mind the metro rail project planned for the city in the same areas. The queries were about financial viability and the use of different technologies for the metro and light rail projects.

The corporators had visited Japan in May this year to study development projects. They had also attended a conference on infrastructure development and conducted meetings with companies interested in the light rail project.

Chennai Metro Rail shifts office to Koyambedu permanently

CMRL OFFICEचेन्नई Chennai (MAS): Chennai Metro Rail shifted its office from the earlier rented premises to its own administrative building in Koyambedu, near Poonamallee High Road, on Monday.

A Chennai Metro Rail spokesman confirmed that they had vacated their earlier premises in Harini Towers, Gopalapuram, and shifted to the new premises. The work on the administrative building, also known as the Operations Control Center (OCC) of Chennai Metro Rail, is still going on. Even the general consultants, who had their office at Alwarpet, have moved into the new office, the spokesman said.

Once the work on the Operations Control Center building in Koyambedu is complete, it will monitor all the trains of Chennai Metro Rail including those in the elevated and underground stretch. The office will provide information to the stationmaster and train operator. It will have the facility to track passengers at all times through surveillance cameras and station control  rooms, at every station.

A Metro Rail spokesman said that around 200 staff had moved into the new office in the administrative building. This is just a temporary move, he added. He said that Metro Rail office would soon move out from the Operations Control Center to new headquarters, which is coming up in around 10-acre plot of land in Nandanam.

Chennai Metro Rail sources told CE that plans for the multi-storied building were in the initial stage. It could be a 20 to 25 storey building. It is believed that the work on the building will kickstart once it gets clearance from Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and the Airport Authority of India.

Meanwhile, the trains for Chennai Metro Rail are being inspected by Research Designs and Standard Organisation (RDSO). This is the first inspection by the officials. “Once they inspect the trains, they will send in a report from Lucknow. Then we will try to comply with the report. After that there will be another inspection by the officials,” the official said.

Konkan Railway all set to face monsoon challenges

कोलाड Kolad (KOL): Konkan railway is all geared up to face the monsoon by completing all its planned safety works on its route from Kolad after Roha station of central railway, to Thokur, before Mangalore junction. Patrolling by self propelled Rail Maintenance Vehicles (RMV) will be done from sunset to sunrise between Kolad and Thokur. Excavators have been kept ready at all nominated points for quick movement in case of any emergency.

According to Konkan railway, special attention has been laid on geo-safety works, like flattening of slopes, rock bolting, shot-cretin inside tunnels, storm water drain cleaning/ lining, construction of RCC retaining walls, and loose scaling. As a result of the large scale geo-safety works executed along the railway line in last 10 years, the incidents of boulder fall and soil slip have significantly reduced, thus ensuring safe running of trains.

Konkan railway will conduct 24X7 monsoon patrolling to ensure safety along the track. About 700 personnel will be patrolling the Konkan railway route from Kolad to Thokur during the monsoon. Vulnerable locations will be patrolled round the clock and stationary watchmen will be deployed for 24 hours at critical locations. Speed restrictions will be imposed at vulnerable locations. Instructions have also been issued to the loco drivers to impose speed of 40kmph in case of heavy rainfall impairing visibility. All trains passing by KR route between Kolad and Thokur will be foot-plated by officers / supervisors during the monsoon. Self propelled ARMVs (Accident Relief Medical Van), with provision for operation theatre and providing emergency medical aid are kept ready all the time at Ratnagiri and Verna (Goa) along with ART (Accident Relief Train).

Mobile phones have been provided to loco pilots, station masters and other field officials, including Executives of various departments. Both loco pilots and guards of trains have been provided with walkie-talkie sets as well as every station on Konkan railway is equipped with 25 watt VHF base station. This enables wireless communication between the train crew as well as train crew and station master. Emergency Communication (EMC) sockets have been provided at a distance of average 1km along the Konkan railway route (spacing reduced to 400 metres inside long ventilated tunnels), that enables the patrolmen, watchmen and other field maintenance staff to contact station master and train controllers during any emergency situations in train operations. Satellite phone communication has been provided in ARMV situated at Ratnagiri and Verna stations for contacting headquarter control when ARMV is pressed in service. LED signals are being provided in a phased manner, to begin with, for improving signal visibility at difficult locations.

Geology of the Konkan region being such that the strata is formed of lateritic rocks (which is rock solid initially and over a period of years tend to loosen and flow like soil during monsoon), interspersed with red soil that destabilizes slopes, the strata is capable of throwing surprises during monsoon. Lateritic soil, which is porous, absorbs water which weakens the cuttings. Cuttings which have no history of failure suddenly collapse. It is a relentless fight against nature.

However with the measures taken above, Konkan railway aims to ensure a safe travel to its passengers in the coming monsoon.

राजभाषा प्रगति के लिए सक्रियता कायम रखें – श्रीवास्‍तव, महाप्रबंधक/दक्षिण मध्‍य रेलवे

सिकंदराबाद Secunderabad (SC): दक्षिण मध्‍य रेलवे की क्षेत्रीय राजभाषा कार्यान्‍वयन समिति की 144 वीं बैठक की अध्‍यक्षता करते हुए महाप्रबंधक श्री पी.के.श्रीवास्‍तव ने कहा कि इस रेलवे में राजभाषा के क्षेत्र में काफी अच्‍छा कार्य हो रहा है और राजभाषा संगठन, राजभाषा प्रगति के लिए काफी सक्रिय है. इसे और उत्‍तम बनाने के लिए नियमित रूप से बैठकों और संगोष्ठियों का आयोजन किया जाए जिससे अधिकारी और कर्मचारी राजभाषा में कार्य करने के प्रति रुचि लें. उन्‍होंने अपने उद्बोधन में कहा कि प्रत्‍येक विभाग द्वारा अपने-अपने विभाग में प्रयुक्‍त टैम्‍प्‍लेटों का एक संकलन तैयार किया जाए और इसे कंप्‍यूटरों में लोड किया जाए जिससे कंप्‍यूटर के प्रयोग के प्रति हम सजग होंगे और हमारे कार्यों में गतिशीलता आएगी.

उन्‍होंने कहा कि समपार फाटकों में प्रयुक्‍त फाटक संचालन नियम की भाषा का सरलीकरण किया जाए और फाटकों पर कार्यरत रेल कर्मियों को इसके प्रयोग के बारे में उन्‍हें हिंदी में समझाया जाए.

राजभाषा अधिनियम की धारा 3(3) के अंतर्गत आनेवाले कागज़ातों को कैलेंडर के रूप में प्रकाशित किया जाए जिससे अधिकारियों और कर्मचारियों को इस्‍तेमाल करने में सुविधा हो और इससे हमारी संवैधानिक आवश्‍यकता की पूर्ति हो सके. उन्‍होंने बताया कि रेलवे बोर्ड में दक्षिण मध्‍य रेलवे में किये जा रहे राजभाषा के कार्य को काफी सराहा जाता है और हमारी जि़म्‍मेदारी और भी बढ़ जाती है. कारखानों तथा लोको शेड, जहां चतुर्थ श्रेणी कर्मचारी कार्यरत हैं, वहां पर उनके कार्य को समझाने वाली संगोष्ठियां आयोजित की जाएं और उनसे सीधे वार्तालाप किया जाए, जिससे उनकी कठिनाइयां दूर की जा सके.

इसके पूर्व, मुख्‍य राजभाषा अधिकारी श्री कबीर अहमद ने महाप्रबंधक

श्री पी.के. श्रीवास्‍तव व अपर महाप्रबंधक श्री सुनील अग्रवाल का पुष्‍प-गुच्‍छ से स्‍वागत किया. उन्‍होंने अपने संबोधन में कहा कि राजभाषा का कार्य सेवा भावना से किया जाना चाहिए और देश के संविधान में विनिर्दिष्‍ट राजभाषा नियमों का पालन करना हम सभी का दायित्‍व है. उन्‍होंने आगे कहा कि दक्षिण मध्‍य रेलवे राजभाषा के क्षेत्र में की जा रही प्रगति से ही संतुष्‍ट न हो कर नये-नये लक्ष्‍य बनाकर काम करना चाहिए. सभी विभाग अपने-अपने विभागों में विभागीय बैठकों और संगोष्ठियों का आयोजन अवश्‍य करें, साथ ही राजभाषा विभाग राजभाषा प्रगति के लिए एक बनाई गई कार्य योजना के अंतर्गत कार्य करते हुए राजभाषा के क्षेत्र में नये आयाम स्‍थापित करे. इसके लिए उन्‍होंने जनसंपर्क पर ज़ोर दिया.

बैठक के आरंभ में वरिष्‍ठ राजभाषा अधिकारी श्री लक्ष्‍मण शिवहरे, उपस्थित अधिकारियों व राजभाषा अधिकारियों ने प्रधान कार्यालय/मंडलों में हो रही राजभाषा प्रगति विशेषकर, फाटक तथा स्‍टेशन संचालन नियमो, जनसंपर्क की सामग्री आदि महाप्रबंधक को दर्शायी. उन्‍होंने इसकी काफी सराहना की.

अपर महाप्रबंधक श्री सुनील अग्रवाल ने आगे कहा कि सभी विभागों के रजिस्‍टरों तथा फाइलों के शीर्ष का द्विभाषी में होना आवश्‍यक है. उन्‍होंने यह भी कहा कि स्‍टेशनों पर विभिन्‍न समितियों के सदस्‍य आते रहते हैं, इसलिए स्‍टेशनों में राजभाषा नीति का पालन अवश्‍य होना चाहिए.

इस बैठक में महाप्रबंधक श्री पी.के.श्रीवास्‍तव के कर-कमलों से यांत्रिक विभाग में प्रयुक्‍त टैम्‍प्‍लेट की एक पुस्तिका तथा मुख्‍य चिकित्‍सा निदेशक डॉ. एस.के.गुप्‍ता के काव्‍य संग्रह फुहार का विमोचन किया गया. उन्‍होंने कहा कि यह कार्य उत्‍कृष्‍ट कोटि का है.

बैठक में सतर्कता विभाग के श्री गजानन माल्‍या, वरिष्‍ठ उप महाप्रबंधक, इंजीनियरी विभाग के श्री श्रीहरि, प्रमुख इंजीनियर, यांत्रिक विभाग के श्री दुर्गा प्रसाद, उप मुख्‍य यांत्रिक इंजीनियर, परिचालन विभाग के श्री जे.एन.झा, मुख्‍य परिचालन प्रबंधक, वाणिज्‍य विभाग के श्री जी.लक्ष्‍मीनारायण, मुख्‍य वाणिज्‍य प्रबंधक, विद्युत विभाग के श्री जे.एस.पी.सिंह, मुख्‍य विद्युत इंजीनियर, सिगनल व दूर संचार विभाग के श्री उपेंद्र सेठी, मुख्‍य सिगनल व दूर संचार इंजीनियर, लेखा विभाग की श्रीमती उषा ए. कुमार, वित्‍त सलाहकार एवं मुख्‍य लेखा अधिकारी, भंडार विभाग के श्री उमेश सिंह, भंडार नियंत्रक, सुरक्षा विभाग के श्री अरुल ज्‍योती, उप मुख्‍य सुरक्षा आयुक्‍त, चिकित्‍सा विभाग के डॉ. एस.के.गुप्‍ता, कार्मिक विभाग के श्री शेषसाई, मुख्‍य कार्मिक अधिकारी, सामान्‍य विभाग से श्री नीलकंठ रेड्डी, उप महाप्रबंधक/सामान्‍य, जनसंपर्क विभाग से श्री पी.सांबशिव राव, मुख्‍य जन संपर्क अधिकारी, मंडलों में से सिकंदराबाद मंडल के श्री बी.सिगय्या, अपर मंडल रेल प्रबंधक, हैदराबाद मंडल के श्री एल.के.राजकुमार, अपर मंडल रेल प्रबंधक, गुंतकल मंडल के श्री पी.वी.सत्‍यनारायण, अपर मंडल रेल प्रबंधक, नांदेड मंडल के श्री पी.वी. निनावे, अपर मंडल रेल प्रबंधक, गुंटूर मंडल के श्री डी.वी.चंद्रशेखर राव, अपर मंडल रेल प्रबंधक तथा कारखानों में, लालागुडा कारखाना के श्री एस.एस.मिश्रा, मुख्‍य कारखाना प्रबंधक, रायनपाडु कारखाना के श्री बाबू राव, उत्‍पादन इंजीनियर, तिरुपति कारखाना के श्री एस.जयचंद्र नायक, उत्‍पादन इंजीनियर, मेट्टुगुडा कारखाना के श्री बी.हनुमंत राव, उप मुख्‍य सिगनल व दूर संचार इंजीनियर तथा जन शिकायत के श्री ए.के.सिंह उपस्थित थे. सभी अधिकारियों ने अपने-अपने विभागों में किये जा रहे राजभाषा कार्यों के बारे में महाप्रबंधक श्री पी.के.श्रीवास्‍तव को बताया तथा भावी कार्यक्रमों की रूपरेखा प्रस्‍तुत की.

इस बैठक में राजभाषा विभाग के श्री नागराजु, श्रीमती राजेश्‍वरी, श्रीमती शैला, श्रीमती लक्ष्‍मी, श्री लक्ष्‍मण जाधव, श्री महेश, श्री अनिल, श्री अरविंद प्रसाद, श्री जगदीश प्रसाद आदि ने बैठक को सफल बनाने के लिए परिश्रम किया.

बैठक का संचालन और आभार प्रदर्शन श्री लक्ष्‍मण शिवहरे ने किया.

How to get refund from Indian Railways?

You can easily get refund of a train ticket bought through the Railways passenger reservation system or PRS, either online or through a ticket window. There may be some delay in refund for tickets bought from private re-sellers

If there is one technology based product in India, which showcases domestic Indian skillsets as well as has a history of being able to very deftly and adroitly avoid falling into the trap of lop-sided foreign solutions, then it has to be the Indian Railway’s Passenger Reservation System, or PRS for short. Handling between 1.5 to 2.25 million separate transactions per day, each transaction being for anything from one to six passengers, covering over 2,500 trains with over 50 different classes of travel and no count on quotas, concessions and more – the PRS has set a benchmark all over the world, which some of us who have worked on databases as well as other technologies can only begin to understand.

But surely do we appreciate and feel proud of as Indians. Just imagine the complexities? I wish Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and Aadhaar had been handed over to Indian Railways, it would not have been the mess it is now, and the information would have stayed on in India.

That it gets stick from a variety of segments, from passengers to competitors to simply jealous entities, is par for the course when something is Indian and successful. Especially from Indians, and very especially from ex-pat Indian origin types, sadly, but true. Very bluntly, I do wish the Indian Railways would take time out to propagate this one aspect of technology, if for not only blowing their own bugle, but then also to be able to build some self-confidence in millions of other Indians who are daily subjected to all sorts of perception management tricks on forcing Indians to believe that they can not compete with the world.

Having said that, there are multiple problems faced by people using the PRS, not all of which are the fault of the service provider Indian Railways. Fact remains, things have only become better, and given the pace of lack of change mostly elsewhere, this is like being able to send a manned space mission to Mars from India.

Which does not in any way reduce the reality that yes, many people appear to and do have problems when seeking refunds, though here again, Indian railways score better than most other cash-handling utilities and services in India. Try getting a refund from an airline, for example? Also, for the 700-1000 million transactions per annum, refunds are a very small number.

Still, you bought a ticket, and now want a refund?

Obviously, when the numbers are so vast, this is not going to happen without checks and balances. We are assuming here that you want a refund in most cases for cancellations done well before departure time, at least four-six hours. What happens, then, when you need a refund for a railway ticket bought using the PRS?

1) Ticket bought for cash over the counter – refund is as fast as the queue will permit, subject to the complex rules regarding cancellation of refunds. It is good to learn about the rules before heading for a refund. They can be found written on the wall, in time-tables, and online.

2) Ticket bought online from IRCTC – My experience has been that for dozens of bookings a year, and about half of them resulting in cancellations, I have not had a single bad experience. Few times that there was some confusion, due to missing a train or other issues, there was nothing that a couple of emails did not resolve. Every paisa paid online is refunded, subjected to the rules prevailing – including service tax refunds.

3) Tickets bought through other private websites – These are the complicated and troublesome episodes, because here we have additional rules and fine print from the private website. I will be very frank, but the fine print with these private websites appears to keep changing all the time, and there is not much that an external agency can do to help since these terms and conditions are seldom available in printed hard copy form anywhere.

Which, in a way, is the solution we would expect from Indian Railways too – that they incorporate terms and conditions from private re-sellers on Indian Railways pages, both online and hard-copy. And that these terms and conditions, especially for refunds, be changed only after due information to the Indian Railways.

At the end of the day, I, as a railway passenger, am a customer of the primary vendor, Indian Railways. Any problems created and not resolved by their intermediaries with us as customers will only reflect badly on them.

And that is why many of us appear to blame Indian Railways when the real issue often lies with other vendors or providers. From crowds outside railway stations to sanitation to food to ticket refunds.

Clarity and accountability set by Indian Railways for all issues pertaining to PRS would be of great help not just for customers but also for the name and fame of Indian Railways too.

PS: What about refunds for tickets unused because of missed trains and connections?

Fear not, Indian Railways have pre-empted pretty much every contingency here, and from “Ticket Deposit Receipt” system both online and across the counter, to writing a letter, there is a rule and there is a refund. Look for it, send an email, ask around – and it will happen. Some extreme cases that I have resolved in my own experience include:

  • Child chewing up tickets before boarding the train.
  • Child floating the ticket away as “boat” in water gutter near platform.
  • Fell asleep on platform bench and train departed without me.
  • Whole group of school-children penalised for misspelling names.

There are a big lot of good human beings at Indian Railways, it is just that they expect you to take some time out to read and understand their rules and regulations, too. Fair enough?

(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves.)

Minister announces compensation for Delhi-Dibrugarh train accident victims

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Railway Minister Sadanand Gowda has announced a compensation of Rs.2 lakh for the deceased and Rs one lakh for those who were injured when the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani express derailed near Chhapra today.

The railway minister termed the incident as very unfortunate and confirmed that four persons had died while eight others were injured.

He told “Ex-Gratia of Rs 2 lakhs is announced for the person died, Rs 1 lakh for the person severely injured and 20 thousand for the person who have minor injuries. The reason for the incident is said to be a sabotage. There was preliminary information that Maoists had announced a blockade today. However, the exact reason is not known to me.”

Gowda also said that the Commissioner of railway safety will inquire about the matter.

He said, “Relief operations are on and senior railway officials are on the site. We have taken the passengers to the next station. We have arranged for the passengers to reach their destination today.

Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Accident: Latest Developments

छपरा Chapra (CPR):  At least four passengers were killed and eight injured when the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed at Golden Ganj station near Chapra early on Wednesday morning.  Here are 10 latest developments:

  1. Home minister Rajnath Singh rules out sabotage in the Rajdhani Express derailment. Five people died when the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed at Golden Ganj station near Chhapra on early Wednesday morning. Twelve coaches were derailed in the incident, a railway spokesperson said.
  2. While three passengers died on the spot, another succumbed to injuries in a hospital later, chief public relation officer of East Central Railway (ECR) Arvind Kumar Rajak said.
  3. 12 coaches were derailed in the incident at around 0200 hours on Wednesday, a railway spokesperson said.
  4. Five coaches-B-1, B-2, B-3, B-4 and pantry car-overturned in the derailment while seven other coaches-B-5 to B-10 and power car-got derailed at the station, about 75km from Patna.
  5. Railways initially suspected sabotage by Maoists behind the derailment.
  6. “Prima facie, it appears to be a case of sabotage. There was a blast on the track, which could have caused the derailment,” Railway Board chairman Arunendra Kumar said in Delhi. “Another goods train, 60km away from the station, also got derailed due to a blast. 18 wagons got derailed in the accident,” Kumar said.
  7. The Maoists have given bandh call on Wednesday to protest “strong armed” action by security forces against “innocent people” in the area on suspicion of being Maoists sympathiser.
  8. Railway has ordered an inquiry to be conducted by Commissioner Railway Safety, Eastern Circle to ascertain the cause of derailment.
  9. Railway minister Sadanand Gowda has announce ex-gratia of rupees 2 lakh for the family of each of the deceased, rupees one lakh for the grievously injured passengers and 20 thousand rupees for those with minor injuries.
  10. Gowda expressed grief over the loss of lives in the mishap. He directed the railway administration to render best possible treatment to the injured passengers.
  11. “Another goods train, 60km away from the station, also got derailed due to a blast. 18 wagons got derailed in the accident,” Arvind Kumar Rajak said.
  12. Lalu Prasad Yadav, a former railway minister in the UPA government said. “I know that a pilot engine is run 30 minutes ahead of Rajdhani Express trains. This is done to check whether the line is clear and tracks are safe. It seems this was not done in this case and the accident happened,” he said. “This is a clear cut case of negligence by railway officials. I want to know why the pilot engine was not run on the tracks before the Rajdhani Express was scheduled to cross the area,” he added.

Gulf’s first Metro and Rail Conference to be held in Oman

rail-488x400The GCC Metro and Rail Conference (GMRC 2014) will be hosted by Oman’s Ministry of Transport and Communications, in collaboration with The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf – Secretariat General.

The conference will be held in Muscat from 15 to 16 September 2014.

This conference is the first of its kind whereby the six GCC Member States come together in an effort to create strong manufacturing and services industries around the massive investments in rail and metro projects in the GCC.

It will also establish the vision towards a sustainable development of the GCC economies and diversification efforts.

The event will spell out the potential manufacturing, service and training opportunities available to investors and the private sector, including small and medium enterprises.

It will discuss the challenges and obstacles that stand in front of private sector active participation in the rail sector and consequently the development of policies and plans to overcome these barriers and stimulate the participation of the private sector.

The event will host in addition to the key decision-makers in the rail and metro sector in the GCC, renowned speakers and experts in the field of building industrial capacity.

It is expected that the conference will attract a wide range of companies and institutional investors in the GCC countries and the world’s leading companies in manufacturing and projects development.

Sabotage suspected in Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express mishap

छपरा Chapra (CPR): At least four passengers were killed and another eight were injured when the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed at Golden Ganj station near Chhapra on early Wednesday morning in a suspected sabotage by Maoists.

Twelve coaches were derailed in the incident, a Railway spokesperson said. Five coaches and the pantry car overturned in the derailment while seven other coaches and the power car got derailed at the station, about 75 kms from Patna, he said.

Railways suspected sabotage by Maoists behind the derailment. “Prima facie, it appears to be a case of sabotage. There was a blast on the track, which could have caused the derailment,” Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said, adding, “Another goods train, 60 kms away from the station, also got derailed due to a blast. 18 wagons got derailed in the accident.”

The Maoists have given a call for a bandh to protest security forces’ “strong armed” action against innocent people in the area on suspicion of being sympathetic to the Maoists.

Kumar said the authorities have ordered an enquiry to be conducted by Commissioner Railway Safety, Eastern Circle to know the causes of the accident.

Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda has announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the family of each of the deceased, Rs one lakh for the grievously injured passengers and Rs 20 thousand for those with minor injuries.

Passengers of the ill-fated train have been shifted to the nearby station to leave for their further destination.

Authorities recover three bombs 25 km away from train site

Investigating the train derailment at Chhapra, bomb squad authorities have recovered three timer bombs, 25 kilometre away from the accident site. Authorities said they are investigating the case from all angles and suspect it could be a sabotage by the Maoists.

India’s longest rail-cum-road Bogibeel Bridge face numerous challenges

fourth-rail-road-bridge-on-brahmaputraमोराँनहट Moranhat (MRHT): Originally scheduled to be inaugurated in 2009, Bogibeel Bridge, the country’s longest rail-cum-road bridge, is facing numerous challenges which have slowed the progress of work.

The stiffest challenge so far is the construction of guide bunds on the turbulent Brahmaputra river within the short time of four to five months a year because of the rainy season and flood, a top official of the Northeast Frontier Railway said.

“Construction of guide bunds has been the most challenging task of this project as it has to be completed up to the safe level …… during the very short working period of four to five months,” N F Railway General Manager, Construction R.K. Singh.

Bogibeel bridge awaits completion

Mr. Singh said that early flood in the river restricts the working season to a very short period of approximately five months, from November to March only.

“It demands huge mobilisation of equipment for execution of the massive work of the project,” Mr. Singh explained.

IN25_BOGIBEEL_1966904fAnother major challenge is transportation of concrete across river channels of 600m to 900m width from both the banks. However, it has been overcome by adopting pumping of concrete through pipeline laid over buoys with multiple concrete pumps, he said.

“The width of the river at the alignment location of the bridge was approximately 10.30 km. Approach embankments inside the dyke up to the abutments of the bridge were constructed before placing the guide bunds at the approaches of the bridge,” the railway official said.

25bridge7 The 4.94 km bridge, stated to be the lifeline of the Northeast, will facilitate connectivity between north and south banks of the Brahmaputra in the eastern region of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Situated 17 km downstream of Dibrugarh city, the bridge is being constructed for double line broad gauge track and a three-lane road, Mr. Singh said.

The national security of the country’s eastern region would also be further strengthened after commissioning of the bridge, he added.

25bridge6The bridge was sanctioned in 1997-98 and its foundation stone was laid by former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee on April 22, 2002.

The pace of work picked up after the bridge got the status of a national project in 2007.

25bridge5The project consists of construction of the bridge with 74 km rail link connecting the existing rail network and 29.5 km of road link as NH-52B from south bank to north bank.

The bridge will have 42 piers out of which 37 piers have been completed.

The rail link across the bridge will connect two existing railway networks running at south bank and north bank of the river with the present meter gauge railway network at north bank side undergoing conversion into broad gauge.

It starts from Chaulkhowa station and Moranhat station in south bank and joins in between Sisibargaon station and Siripani station of Rangiya-Murkongselek section at north bank.

25bridge2Mr.Singh said the bridge was designed to have a two-line railway track on the lower deck and a three-lane road on the top deck with the girder for the first time in the Indian Railways to have a “steel flooring system” for railway and “welded steel truss composite” with concrete deck for road on top.

He said the existing dykes on both banks of the river to protect the areas in its vicinity from flood had also been strengthened and raised as per the model study done at Irrigation Research Institute, Roorkee.

The latest projected date of completion of the bridge is June, 2017 and the estimated cost would be Rs. 4996.19 crore.

Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed in Bihar, four dead

छपरा Chhapra (CPR): In yet another train accident in the past few months, the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express got derailed, leaving four people dead and eight injured. The accident took place at Golden Ganj near Chhapra in Bihar.

According to the Railways, five out of 12 bogies of the train capsized while the remaining seven have derailed. Railway relief and rescue teams have reached the spot and the injured have been taken to the Sadar hospital in Chhapra.

The Railways suspect foul play behind the derailment saying that Naxals could have been behind the attack. However, the Home Ministry is ruling out the possibility of a Naxal attack. “I have spoken directly to the Railway and district officials on the spot. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been informed regarding all developments. Even he agrees that it’s too early to blame the Naxals. Let us wait for a further report on the incident,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.

Chhapra ASP Sushil Kumar said, “Prima facie there is no evidence of sabotage, we are looking at all aspects. The exact reason of the derailment not yet known. It is being investigated.”

“Once they pulled the brakes, the coaches derailed. Many have been severely injured and at least 7-8 people must have been killed,” said a passenger. “The medical team has reached and now the rescue operations have started. I saw a few dead bodies and many were injured. It was dark. Those who were seriously injured were somehow taken out from the derailed coaches. I was in coach number B3,” another passenger said.

Railways Minister Sadananda Gowda, who has left for the accident site, called the accident ‘unfortunate’ and has announced Rs 2 lakh as compensation for the families of the dead, Rs 1 lakh for the grievously injured and Rs 20,000 for people who suffered minor injuries. He also said that the Railways would investigate if there was any foul play involved.

Meanwhile, a goods train also got derailed at Motihari in Bihar and initial reports say this may have been a sabotage by the Naxals. The Home Ministry said that the Motihari derailment does look like a Naxal attack.

Helpline Numbers:
Chhapra station superintendent: 06152-243409
Railway helpline: 06279-65210, 06152-243409, 06152-237807, 09771443941
Muzaffarpur: 0621-2213034
Varanasi: 0542-2226778,0542-2224742
Gazipur city: 0548-2223435, 9794843922
Balia: 05498-223024, 09794843923

Partial Rollback: Hike in fares not applicable to Suburban Trains for travel up to 80km

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  In a partial rollback, the Railways on Tuesday announced that the recent hike of 14.2 per cent in passenger fares will not apply to second class suburban journey upto 80 kms, a decision that will give relief to lakhs of travellers mainly in metro cities.

In a revised order, the Railways also said that the fare hike in the unreserved segment shall come into force from June 28 as against June 25 when the increase will be implemented otherwise. Railways also gave some relief to monthly pass holders by reverting to 15, instead of 30, the number of trips for which they will have to make payment for travelling unlimited times in a month.

The revision to the June 20 notification came hours after the MPs from ruling NDA belonging to Maharashtra met Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda and demanded a rollback in the hike. Cash-strapped railways had announced on June 20 an increase of 14.2 per cent in passenger fares and 6.5 per cent in freight rates, just three weeks before the presentation of the Rail Budget. The revised rates will come into effect from tomorrow.

“There shall be no increase in second class suburban ordinary fare upto 80 kms,” said a Railway notification issued today. This will give relief to lakhs of people travelling daily in metros like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Delhi. As per the other amendment, the monthly season ticket (MST) holders will now have to make payment for 15 trips for travelling unlimited times during a month.

The Railways had earlier said that the pass holders will have to make payment for 30 days. However, the hike of 14.2 per cent in the fares will apply to the MST.

Mandi House-Central Secretariat section to be opened this week

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: The three kilometer long Central Secretariat – Mandi House section has received the much awaited mandatory safety clearance from the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety and the line is set to be opened for public use this week.

The entirely underground corridor has two stations Janpath and Mandi House. Though Mandi House is an operational station, a new line will be opened on the existing station which will directly connect it to Central Secretariat and now the passengers won’t have to interchange at Rajiv Chowk.

This will provide much needed relief to the heavily crowded Rajiv Chowk metro station. The entirely underground corridor has two stations Janpath and Mandi House

As part of its expansion plans, Delhi Metro will have 13 more inter change hubs compared to present nine interchange stations. Once Phase-3 becomes fully operational by 2016 interchange stations of Hauz Khas, INA, Rajouri Garden, Mayur Vihar phase-I, Azadpur, Netaji Subhash Place, Lajpat Nagar, Anand Vihar, Karkardooma, Welcome, Kalkaji Mandir, Botanical Garden and Mandi House will be operational helping commuters save time and bringing metro stations closer.

UP Govt to sign agreement for Lucknow Metro project with DMRC

लखनऊ Lucknow (LKO): Uttar Pradesh government will soon sign an agreement with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation for a metro rail project in Noida.

“An agreement will be made between Noida and DMRC for a metro rail project between Kalindi Kunj and Botanical garden. The CEO Noida has been authorised to sign it,” a spokesman said.

The decision in this regard was taken today at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. However, no date for the signing of the agreement has not been finalised yet.

“The distance between these two stations will be 3.962 kilometers. The entire cost of the project will be 845 crores. 80 per cent of the total expenditure will be borne by the UP government and the 20 per cent by the Centre,” he added.

The cabinet also approved new tehsils – Kaptanganj and Khadda – in Kushinagar district and Bangarmau in Unnao district.