Nov 16, 2012

Railways to take control of Kolkata’s new metro rail project

A worker inside the tunnel of the East West Metro Rail in Kolkata (file photo).
A worker inside the tunnel of the East West Metro Rail in Kolkata

West Bengal Government to exit East-West corridor project

KOLKATA/NEW DELHI, NOV 15: The Railways will now be in charge of the East-West Metro Corridor project in Kolkata. The Railway Ministry will own 74 per cent stake in the project, while the Urban Development Ministry will hold the rest.

The move signals the exit of the West Bengal Government from the project.

The process of initiating the share transfer from the State Government to the Railways was discussed in a meeting in Delhi on Thursday.

The proposal has already been approved by the Union Cabinet. Earlier, the corporation was equally owned by the Urban Development Ministry and State Government.

The Rs 4,874-crore project is already running one year behind its completion schedule of 2014-15. The metro corridor will connect the IT city Salt Lake with the western fringes.

The West Bengal Government has been in talks to offload its 50 per cent equity stake from Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (KMRC) to the Railways for more than a year.

Incidentally, Railways completely owns the existing Kolkata Metro Rail system.

KMRC, a joint venture company formed by the Union Urban Development Ministry and Government of West Bengal, was in charge of executing the project.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the senior-term debtor of the project, is funding 46.22 per cent (Rs 2,253 crore) of the project cost for the East West metro with a moratorium of 18 years.

With the change in ownership, the articles of association of the company will be modified and a new Board of Directors will be selected.

In fact, the Thursday meeting in Delhi was called by the Urban Development Ministry and had representation from the Railway Board.

The West Bengal Chief Secretary also took part. “A process to appoint a CEO will be initiated soon,” said a source.

The Japanese lending agency will be on the Board with the change in ownership. There was no discussion on change in route alignment. “A route alignment change is likely to delay the process,” the source said.

In June, Subrata Gupta, former managing director of KMRC, had toldBusiness Line that 23 per cent of the project work was complete, including construction works on both elevated (6 km) and underground (9 km) portions.

However, sources in the State Government said the project has been on a slow track for quite some time over transferring of the State’s equity to the Railways.

The urban transit rail project had also faced opposition from its principal lender over realignment of its original route map, following land acquisition problems.

Source - the hindu business line

Work on Angadippuram rail overbridge to begin soon

MALAPPURAM: The issue of traffic congestionat the Angadippuram railway gate will soon be resolved as the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation (RBDC) is expected to begin the work on the railway overbridge (ROB) at Angadippuram, on the National Highway 213. RBDC has submitted the general arrangement drawing (GAD) for the final approval of the railways.

Railways has already informed the state government that the project would be given final approval once the GAD is submitted.

The railway gate on the Nilambur-Shornur route witnesses frequent traffic snarls. This has been causing trouble to motorists in the Kozhikode-Palakkad route. The ministry of road transport and highways (MRTH) had granted approval for the project, which was awaiting nod for more than six months, in August.

The DPR of the two-lane ROB was prepared by Kitco, after a detailed survey by the revenue department and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), amid protest from locals. Meanwhile, some organizations in the region have come up against the project alleging that it will adversely affect another major proposed project -- flyover-cum-bypass -- that is being planned at Manathumangalam, a few kilometres away from Angadippuram. But, authorities are hopeful that the ROB at Angadippuram will not affect the flyover-cum-bypass which is to come up at Manathumangalam.

Minister for urban affairs Manjalamkuzhi Ali, who is also the local MLA, told TOI that as the railways' stand on the project is positive the work can be started soon.He added that the work on the flyover-cum-bypass will also be started within months.
Source - times of india

Coming soon: CCTV cameras at Sec 17 rail reservation centre

With an aim of keeping a check on touts and an eye on working of its staff, CCTV cameras will soon be installed at the rail reservation centre in Sector 17. The cameras have already been installed at the reservation centre at the Chandigarh Railway Station. A proposal is on the anvil to get other busy stations in the region under the ambit of cameras.

The CCTV cameras are being monitored by the General Manager, Northern Railways, as well as Divisional Railway Manager, Ambala Division. In case they notice any irregularity, they give a call to the officials at the Chandigarh Railway Station to get the problem sorted out.

DRM P K Sanghi says, “The cameras enable us to keep a check on the problem of touts. In case any person at the reservation counter is not working properly or the people waiting there are not being attended to, this can be taken care of. It’s like a surprise inspection. There is a proposal to install cameras at other busy stations in the region like Bathinda as well. The aim is to ensure that the people getting tickets booked are not delayed or harassed.”

Around 30 CCTV cameras were installed at different locations at the railway station. There is a proposal to increase the number to enhance security here. The lax security at the station has been an issue of concern.

Several proposals for the uplift of the railway station have been mooted over the past few weeks since local MP Pawan Bansal has taken over as the Railway Minister. General Manager, Northern Railways, V K Gupta had also inspected the station on Monday.

A proposal has been prepared for extension of the platform shelters. This would provide more area for the passengers who have to wait for their trains. A large number of pigeons have made their nests in the platform shelters. This results in platforms getting littered. The new shelters would be designed in a manner that this problem is taken care of.
SOURCE - indianexpress

700 NSW rail jobs to go

Almost 700 extra RailCorp jobs will be axed under a NSW government plan to reform the train network.

NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian revealed further details on Friday of how the rail network will be streamlined under its Fixing the Trains program.

The cuts mean 450 of the state’s 4700 maintenance workers will lose their jobs over the next three years.

The new organisation structure will also result in 240 middle management jobs being cut by July 1, 2013. These are in addition to the 750 job cuts announced by the government in May.

The restructure will mean the abolition of station managers, with the role to be replaced by station customer managers responsible for overseeing a number of locations.

Ms Berejiklian said there would be no reduction in the overall number of station positions, although staff numbers at individual locations could fluctuate.

“The overall number of station staff remains the same. We have 1860 now, we’ll have 1860 after July 1,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

The changes will mean station staff will undergo training to improve their customer services skills, Ms Berejiklian said.

“I want to make sure every time a customer goes to a railway station, all the staff are out there on a platform, not forced to be behind a desk,” she said.

The reform program announced in May will split RailCorp into two separate bodies - Sydney trains and NSW trains - on July 1.

The restructure of the network’s maintenance operations will mean smaller depots will close down, with operations relocated to larger centres.

NSW currently has more than 200 depots, which compares to just eight in Victoria.

Ms Berejiklian denied that safety would be compromised by the cuts, which she said were necessary to improve efficiency.

“At the moment we have a lot of duplication... we are not using our staff effectively,” she said.

Under the changes, staff will assume more responsibility for responding to minor incidents at their stations.

Despite the detailed plan, Ms Berejiklian claimed the government did not have a monetary figure for how much money the cuts would save.

“My focus is not on the money it will save, but it’s about what positive customer service will happen.”





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