Aug 19, 2013

dna exclusive: Railway spent Rs2 crore just on project publicity

Mamata Banerjee launched 29 projects in West Bengal

Public money worth a little over Rs two crore has gone down the drain, courtesy railway ministry’s pomp and show. For inauguration and foundation stone laying of 68 railway projects by various railway ministers, the ministry has spent over two crores in the last four years. Documents available with the dna reveal that most of the projects launched with so much fanfare have shown dismal progress since their launch.

West Bengal alone – which gave three railway ministers in succession beginning 2009 – saw some 29 such ceremonies accounting for about more than half of the total spend at Rs1.11 crore. Incidentally, all these 29 flagging off and foundation stone laying ceremonies were done during Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s regime as railway minister between May 2009 and May 2011.

Interestingly, after Mamata became the West Bengal chief minister in May 2011, no such projects were laid or inaugurated.

A sum of Rs5 lakh was spent in March 2010 for the foundation stone laying ceremony of Kanchrapara coach factory in West Bengal. As per the RTI response, only 2.3% of the total cost of the project at Rs19.79 crore has been spent in the last two years on the project. The total cost of the project is Rs860 crore.

Similar is the fate of the Rs26.26 crore nursing college and hospital project of railways at Majerhat, on which the ministry spent Rs seven lakh for foundation ceremony in June 2010. A mere Rs8 lakh have been spent on the project and the physical progress on the project is ‘zero’, as per the RTI reply. The office of the chief medical director, said in its response, “The architectural and structural drawing and design is under process.”

New line projects are in a shambles as zones across the country are facing lack of resources. Out of a total of Rs9,363 crore to be spent on ten new line projects launched during 2009-2011, the actual deployment is less than 10% at Rs847 crore. In case of four new line projects, only preliminary activities have yet been taken up. One project has been completed and the physical progress in others ranges between 3.7% and 34.47%.

The foundation for the Rs 3,380.58 Sivok-Rangpo new line project was laid in 2009 by the vice- president Hamid Ansari and the then railway minister Mamata Banerjee and the expenses of the ceremony were billed on railway PSU, Ircon International Ltd. Only preliminary activity has yet been done and the ministry has spent a mere Rs102 crore. Being asked about the delay and, the Railway Ministry said, “There is no delay. The projects will be completed in the coming years subject to availability of resources.”

Railways past records, meanwhile, show that project delay and cost escalation are routine. Some of the route expansion and line expansion projects launched in late 90s are still not complete and have seen ten-fold cost escalation.

Train timings revised

The Railways have revised the schedule of Vasco-da-Gama and Velankani Weekly Express till September 16. South Western Railway, Bangalore Division, in a release said that Vasco-da-Gama-Yeshwanthpur-Velankani Weekly Express (17315) will leave Vasco-da-Gama at 2.10 p.m. on Monday instead of 9 a.m., and arrive at Yeshwanthpur on Tuesday at 5.15 a.m. instead of 11.10 p.m. It will leave Yeshwanthpur at 5.30 a.m. instead of 11.30 p.m. to reach Velankani at 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday instead of 12.25 p.m.
Source..The Hindu

Rajkot gets yet another train to temple town

The city got its eighth train to the temple town of Somnath, with Rajkot MP Kunvarji Bavalia flagging off the Rajkot-Somnath local train from the city on Sunday morning.

Bavalia gave the nod to the train from Platform 4 at the Rajkot railway junction at 11 am in the presence of Congress MLA from Rajkot East, Indranil Rajyaguru and Rajkot divisional railway manager (DRM) Viany Babtiwale. "There has been a demand for this train from passengers and various organisations. We expect to see good passenger traffic on the new train," Babtiwale said.

The new train will leave Rajkot junction at 5.20 am every morning and reach Somnath at 10.20 am. On its return journey, the train will leave Somnath at 11 am and arrive at Rajkot at 3.55 pm, an official release said.

Railway officials said the train has been sanctioned by the Union Railway Ministry and the Railway Board after representation from Bavalia, a Congress MP.

In the rail budget 2013-14, Rajkot division was not awarded a single new train. However, following representation by the MP, the division was allocated Rajkot-Somnath local train, while the Morbi-Wankaner DEMU train was extended till Rajkot.

Besides, a new super-fast weekly train, Rajkot Nizamuddin, and a weekly Okha Nathdwara were also announced.

This will be the city's eighth train and the third one exclusively connecting the city to Somnath in Junagadh district. Before the new train, Dwarka-Somnath (12.50 am), Ahmedabad-Veraval Express (2.30 am), Rajkot-Somnath (7.50 am and 6.20 pm) Saurashtra mail (11.15 am), Jabalpur-Somnath (1.15 pm), Ahmedabad-Somnath intercity (3.15 pm) have been plying on this route.

Demand for level crossing

People of Sathankulam and surrounding villages staged a demonstration here on Saturday, demanding a level crossing near the railway subway and revision of timings.

Led by MP J.K.Ritheesh and N.Malaikannu, Railway consultative committee member and district secretary of the DMK’s Labour Progressive Front (LPF), the agitators urged the railway authorities to provide a manned or unmanned level crossing at Munianvalasai, near Sathankulam, as the existing subway was of no use to the people of about 20 villages. Mr. Malaikannu said as the subway was only six-foot high, only cars and autorickshaws could pass through it. Students had take a circuitous 5-km-long route to reach their schools in buses, he said. The agitators called for changing the timings of Sethu Express, which leaves Chennai at 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Chennai-Rameswaram Express which leaves Chennai at 9.40 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.
Source...The Hindu


On a roll:On an average, it is estimated that 43,000 passengers use the escalators a day at the Secunderabad railway station.– Photo: By Arrangement

Secunderabad railway station now has the distinction of being the first major station of the Indian Railways to have escalators on all 10 platforms and two lifts on both the entry points – the main entrance and the Bhoiguda entrance on the last platform.

The South Central Railway (SCR) authorities last week commissioned the seventh escalator on platform no. 4 and 5 and two lifts – one each on platform no. 1 and 10.

The SCR has spent about Rs. 6.60 crore towards establishing the seven escalators in the station, civil engineering works and electrical power supply arrangements etc. and Rs.98 lakh for setting up two lifts on the two main entrances.

While, the capacity of each lift is 20 persons, the rated carrying capacity of each escalator is 180 persons per minute.

On an average, it is estimated that around 43,000 passengers are using the escalators per day in the station.

These escalators and lifts facilitate easy and quick movement of passengers, especially the elderly, sick, and physically challenged persons from one platform to other, said a press release.

Meanwhile, the SCR authorities penalised about 7,200 persons in July 2013 for affecting cleanliness on the railway premises and nearly Rs. 14.61 lakh was realised from them towards penalties.

Of the 7,200 persons, 1,393 persons were detected in Secunderabad division, 573 persons in Hyderabad division, 2,393 persons in Vijayawada division, 716 persons in Nanded division, 1,306 persons in Guntakal division, and 836 persons in Guntur division.

In all, from April to July this financial year, 27,000 persons were caught for committing the offence of littering, spitting etc., on the railway premises and Rs. 54.32 lakh was realised towards penalties from them, according to a press release.
Source..The HIndu

Delhi Metro to induct first 8-coach train on Blue line

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is pressing the first ever eight-coach Metro train into commuter services on its Dwarka Sector 21 to Noida City Centre/Vaishali route from Monday.

"This eight coach train will be introduced into service from Dwarka Metro station at 8am tomorrow and will go towards Noida City Centre," a DMRC spokesperson said on Monday said.

This will be the first of a total of 31 eight coach trains, which will be introduced on Line-3/4 (Dwarka Sec-21 to Noida City Centre/Vaishali) in a phased manner, the spokesperson added.

Source - Hindustan times





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