Oct 28, 2013

“I know more about Trains than Railway Ministers from Bihar”, says Narendra Modi

Patna: Although there have been many rail ministers from Bihar, he knew more about the railways than any of them as he had once sold tea on trains, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi claimed today.

“As a seller of tea on trains in childhood, I know more about the railways than many of them,” Modi told the gathering at the massive ‘Hunkar Rally’ at Gandhi Maidan here.

“As a tea seller, I knew the difficulty of entering trains after cajoling travelling ticket checkers and police,” he said.

Among the leaders from Bihar who have served as railway minister are Congress leaders LN Mishra and Kedar Pandey.

In more recent times, Ram Vilas Paswan had led the ministry as part of the United Front government under HD Deve Gowda.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had himself held the top chair at Rail Bhawan as part the NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav was a high-profile Railway Minister in the UPA-I government who used to call himself “Prime Minister of the Railways”.

Prasad had won accolades for not effecting any rise in passenger fares during the five years between 2005 to 2010 when he was the Rail Minister.

Source..Rail News

Serial Bomb blasts in Patna Railway Station ahead of Modi’s Hunkar rally

Patna: Five people were killed and 83 injured in eight crude bomb explosions in Patna before Narendra Modi’s arrival in the city to address a rally in the city.

The Bihar police have arrested one person in connection to the blast.

According to sources, the suspect was picked from near Gandhi maidan where Modi held his rally. He was seen moving around suspiciously‎ around the venue when the police picked him up. The police are not yet giving out the name of the arrested suspect as it could hamper the probe.

Based on his statements, the police have detained three more suspects and are questioning them. He said that he was one of the eight people, who was given the task to plant bombs across the city.
The confession comes close on the heels of an unexploded bomb being found under the dais at Gandhi maidan where Modi held a rally, said insiders.

Four of the eight blasts occurred on the outer periphery of the Gandhi Maidan. People were seen rushing the injured to the hospital as the explosions sparked panic.
An hour before that, a bomb exploded in a newly constructed toilet at the Patna railway station. “One person succumbed to his injuries after a bomb explosion at platform number 10 of Patna railway station,” Additional Director General (law and order) S K Bhardawaj said. Sources told that not much damage has been reported at the railway station.

The bombs at the railway station, according to sources, were fitted with a timer device.‎ However, bombs were not packed to cause any major damage and it appears that the aim was to scare the people.

Even as Bihar police officials rule out a terror angle, Intelligence Bureau said that there are chances that the motive was to divert attention from Modi’s rally.

IB officials say that a preliminary look at the blast points towards political rivalry. Such an attack creates panic and many may prefer to stay indoors.

The Bihar police said that it would explore all angles. “We are looking into the matter and as of now all we can say is that crude bombs were used,” informed Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj. “The area has been sanitised and the situation is now under control,” the police claimed.

Immediately after the explosion, the bomb disposal squad swept the area and discovered two more crude bombs, Railway Superintendent of Police Upendra Kumar Sinha said. One security personnel was injured while defusing a bomb recovered from the toilet, he said.
At the rally, plumes of smoke billowed from a couple of sites even as BJP leaders, including its prime ministerial candidate Modi, addressed the crowd.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the blasts and appealed for calm. He spoke to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and asked him to speedily probe the blasts and ensure that perpetrators are punished.

The home ministry has sought a report from the Bihar government on the explosions and is sending teams of National Investigation Agency and National Security Guard to the state.

“We are in regular touch with authorities in Bihar and have offered them all necessary assistance. We are trying to get more information,” Minister of State for Home R P N Singh told in Delhi, adding the Centre was ready to provide additional forces to maintain law and order.
The ministry has asked the state government to send a report about the nature of the bombs, suspected persons or organisations which could be behind it and steps taken to maintain law and order, official sources said.

The Centre also decided to send a team of explosive experts of the NIA to help the Bihar police in post-blast investigation, they said.

Station Manager of Patna Junction Raju Kumar said eleven trains booked by the BJP for the rally had arrived much before the blast. Patna City SP Jaykant said that security arrangements had been scaled up there.

The BJP demanded a probe into the blasts even as the incident triggered a political slugfest between the saffron party and its former ally Janata Dal-United.
“This blast cannot stop the youth from being part of Modi’s rally. There is anger among people and they want to get rid of Congress and also other parties who are standing with it,” BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said. “Investigation should be done so as to find out who is behind it,” he said.

JD-U leader Sabir Ali questioned why “such incidents were happening after the JD-U parted ways with BJP”.

“There is something suspicious. I can feel. They will divide the nation, divide the people only for power,” he said.

A group of angry BJP workers and supporters protested against the explosions near Patna police control room and attacked police vehicles. The BJP in Bihar has expressed its anguish over the manner in which the case was being handled. Former Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi tweeted, “On hearing the explosions I called the DG of the state who told him not to worry, as it was a truck tyre that had burst.”

Source..Rail News

Low turnout in RRB exam in Kanpur

KANPUR: Railway Recruitment Exam was held at 58 centres in the city on Sunday. The turnout of the candidates was far too less than the rush normally witnessed in various RRB exams across the country.

In the first shift, the attendance was 38.49% and in second shift it was 36.19%. The examination was held from 10 am to 11.30 am and from 3 pm to 4.30 pm.

According to the railway administration, the examination passed off peacefully.

An official said that out of 26,549 candidates, only 10,218 appeared in the examination. In the second shift, out of 26,551, only 9,609 candidates appeared.

There are 1,800 vacancies and those passing the examination would be eligible for the second round.

The railway authorities had made extensive arrangement for the examinations. Tight security arrangements had been made at Kanpur Central Railway Station. RPF personnel were manning the station. The GRP cops also remained alert.

Special trains had been introduced for the candidates. These trains were Allahabad-Kanpur, Allahabad-Jhansi, Allahabad-Mughalsarai and Allahabad-Chopan were run to facilitate the candidates .

Meanwhile, the Kanpur Central railway station remained crowded with the examinees on Sunday evening. The aspirants had reached the railway station for boarding the special trains for reaching their destinations.

The trains were given extra stoppage at the prominent railway stations like Kanpur, Allahabad, Mughalsarai and others. Extra ticket counters were made at the railway station.

Source..Rail News

South Eastern Railway cancels more trains to South

KOLKATA: At a time when the South Eastern Railway (SER) had hoped to resume normal train running to the south, the situation took a turn for the worse on Sunday with a major breach being detected on the tracks between Bayyavaram and Narsinghapalli stations in Andhra Pradesh. As a result, SER was forced to announce the cancellation of trains and reschedule several others.

“The trains cancelled on Sunday include the 12841 Howrah-Chennai Coromandel Express, 22855 Santragachi-Tirupati Express, 12867 Howrah-Puducherry Express and 16324 Shalimar-Thiruvananthapuram Express. The 02863 Shalimar-Yeswantpur Special and 22605 Purulia-Villupuram Express scheduled for Monday have also been cancelled. Several trains have also been diverted,” an SER officer said.

Several trains have also been rescheduled and are running late. The biggest problem for SER is the late arrival of empty rakes from south India. “The trains are running via diverted routes and reaching their destinations late. On their return journey, they are again getting delayed. This is happening as the diverted routes are already congested with regular trains. By the time the rakes are arriving back at Howrah or other stations, it is too late to run the trains. There aren’t sufficient drivers and guards to take the diverted trains through the new routes. Even passengers are facing a lot of trouble as catering facilities aren’t available everywhere,” the officer added.

On Sunday, there was report of Howrah-bound passengers demonstrating against the lack of sufficient food and drinking water. Zonal railways admitted that they are fast running out of supplies to maintain so many trains. While larger stations have the facilities to cater to additional passengers, smaller ones don’t. Given the prevailing situation, SER officials believe that it will take a few more days for services to normalise even if the weather holds, the water from the tracks recede and all repairs are completed.

Source..Rail News

Passengers in Patna Railway Station have a harrowing time

PATNA: Railway Passengers had a harrowing experience at Patna Junction due to heavy rush of rallyists who had come to Patna by 11 special trains from different places to attend BJP’s ‘Hoonkar Rally ‘ at Patna Gandhi Maidan on Sunday.

The worst sufferers were those who had come to Patna Junction to board trains early in the morning. As the railway had closed the main entrance from Mahavir Mandir side, passengers wanting to enter the station premises from the main gate struggled hard to reach the nominated platforms to board trains. Surprisingly, there were hardly any railway porters at any platform of Patna Junction during the morning hours.

Several aggrieved passengers told they had to engage private persons to carry their luggage from the station premises to the nominated platforms in the morning. A few passengers were forced to take a detour to reach Patna Junction from Karbighaiya end.

Shocked at the bomb blast at platform number 10, some passengers sought refund of their tickets. A railway official of Danapur division confirmed refund of tickets by passengers at Patna Junction due to rally rush.

Patna Junction also witnessed a rush of examinees who had come to appear at railway recruitment board examinations held at different centres in Patna on Sunday. The rush of rallyists and examinees created a chaotic condition at Patna Junction.

Railways was frequently announcing on public address system the arrival and departure of trains at Patna Junction. But, it was hardly audible to majority of the passengers waiting on platform numbers 6, 7, 8 and 9 for their respective trains.

The rally special trains started leaving Patna for their respective destinations from 7pm on Sunday, sources said, adding railways had also kept in readiness two additional rakes and a few coaches at Danapur to clear the rush of rallyists.

Source..Rail News

Central Railway RPF/GRP Cops going off track?

The Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) cops are supposed to protect passengers and maintain law and order on stations and trains. However, they seem to have switched jobs with thieves and miscreants on Central Railway, with an alarming increase in complaints of cops extorting money and assaulting passengers “who refuse to grease their palms”.

What’s more alarming is that no action is being taken against such cops by the railway administration. If fact, activists allege that victims who approach the police or senior railway officials to complain are threatened with dire consequences and forced to “settle the matter”.

This “anarchy” at the Pune Railway station was highlighted by the incident on October 23 when a BPO employee was allegedly beaten up by two home guards on RPF duty and a RPF constable when he refused to give them bribe. Devashish Charan Patnaik (22) was beaten so badly that he had to be admitted to a hospital.

This is not an aberration. The complaint books at the station are full. However, very few of these translate into formal FIRs with the police, as per activists, being “extremely reluctant” to lodge offences against RPF and GRP men.

For instance, on October 7, Shivaji Vitthal Shinde, a resident of Solapur was allegedly abused and beaten up by GRP men on night duty when he refused to pay them Rs 300 as demanded by them. He submitted a written complaint to the station manager, who disposed it of with the following note: “We summoned the GRP officials seeking an explanation but they refused to come. The GRP officials also refused to give the names of the constables who were on duty when the alleged incident took place.”

According to activist Harsha Shah, these incidents are more frequent but few gather courage to register complaints in the station master’s book. “GRP and RPF cops target persons who look illiterate and won’t create any hue and cry. They check the mobile phones of the passengers waiting on the platforms, though they don’t have any authority to do so, and if they find any obscene content in the phone, they threaten the possessor with prolonged jail sentence or a penalty of lakhs of rupees. The people then pay off the cops. If somebody refuses to pay up, they beat him up,” said Shah, adding, that if anyone approaches the police station, the cops refuse to file a complaint against their colleagues.

Despite several complaints registered with the station manager and criticism by the activists, the GRP and RPF bosses deny any wrongdoing on part of their juniors.

Abhay Parmar, Police Inspector (Pune Station), GRP, said, “I haven’t come across any such complaint in the past three months since I have taken charge. I have instructed my staff that passengers security is our topmost priority and they should not face any inconvenience because of us.”

Ashok Kumar Ray, Divisional Security Commissioner (RPF), said, “There are some genuine complaints about harassment of passengers at the hand of RPF cops. However, there is also a considerable number of false complaints. There are instances when a passenger breaks rules and to avoid punishment pays off bribe to the cop on duty. However, he then goes ahead and files a complaint with the station manager that he was robbed by the cop. If there’s a genuine complaint, we certainly take action against the erring cop.”

On the inquiry in the October 23 incident, which he is conducting on directives of Divisional Railway Manager Suneet Sharma, Ray said: “I was busy with the Railway Recruitment Cell examination and the visit of the railway minister. I will start the investigation and file the report as soon as possible.”
Source..rail news





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