Dec 5, 2013

India should revoke offer to train Lankan naval officials: DMK

CHENNAI: DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Tuesday demanded that India revoke its offer to train Sri Lankan naval officials and said the act raised doubts if the Centre was going easy on some issues to retain its neutral character worldwide.

"Despite promises by the Centre to assist our demands, some have doubts whether the Centre is easy on certain issues only to retain its neutral character among countries world over," he said.

He stated this while referring to frequent media reports over training of Lankan personnel despite repeated demands by political parties in Tamil Nadu against it.

Recalling similar incidents in 2012 when the parties opposed training of Lankan personnel at Wellington in south Tamil Nadu and the personnel were sent to other states for training, he said, "Our demand is India should not train Lankan armed forces personnel anywhere in India. But the Centre is not coming forward to accept this demand, contending Sri Lanka is a friendly nation."

"If Sri Lanka is a friendly nation, is Tamil Nadu not a state in India? Don't they have to think of the sentiments of Tamil Nadu in the first place? While India is calling Sri Lanka friendly, is that country considering India a friendly nation? Is it respecting the voice of India?" he asked.

He referred to a reported interview of Lankan minister Susil Premajayantha to BBC, responding to finance minister P Chidambaram's comments on the Lankan Tamils issue.

Citing a report in an English daily today which said Premajayantha had called on external affairs minister Salman Khurshid on bilateral naval relations, he said the Centre should consider doubts of the people of Tamil Nadu and whether it considers Lankan relations more important than those with Tamil Nadu and revoke its offer.

"As a symbol, it should openly announce its decision not to train Sri Lankan officials," he added.

Indian naval chief Admiral Joshi had recently met Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo.

Source..times of india

India’s offer to train Lankan navy personnel should be scrapped, says Karunanidhi

CHENNAI: Demanding that the Centre scrap its proposal for training Sri Lankan Naval personnel in India, DMK president and former UPA ally, M Karunanidhi, on Tuesday said there was misgivings in the minds of people in Tamil Nadu whether the government considers friendship with the Rajapaksa government more important than their welfare.

In a statement laced with sarcasm, he said the Union government should respect the sentiments of people in Tamil Nadu "which is part of India". "If Sri Lanka is a friendly nation, is Tamil Nadu not a part of India?" he asked.

"Despite promises by the Centre to assist our demands, some have doubts whether the Centre is going easy on certain issues only to retain its neutral character among countries world over," he said in the statement which alluded to frequent media reports over training of Lankan defence personnel despite repeated demands by political parties in Tamil Nadu against it. "While India is calling Sri Lanka friendly, is that country considering India a friendly nation? Is it respecting the voice of India?, he asked. He alluded to the recent meeting of Lankan minister Premajayantha with external affairs minister Salman Khurshid and the Indian Naval Chief calling on Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently.

Earlier in the day, after an all-party meeting convened by Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar to ensure a smooth session of Parliament, DMK chief M Karunanidhi told reporters that his party MPs would join a debate on India's participation in the Commonwealth summit, if the matter was allowed for discussion.

Source..times of india

New York train wreck engineer suspended without pay

NEW YORK: The engineer driving the commuter train that went off the rails in New York City last weekend has been suspended without pay. 

A spokesman for Metro-North Railroad said on Thursday that William Rockefeller is "out of service, and not being paid." 

According to his lawyer and union representative, Rockefeller experienced a momentary loss of awareness as he zoomed down the tracks. 

Four people were killed and more than 60 others injured when the train derailed inches from the river in the Bronx early Sunday.

Source..times of india

Pensioners’ Associations launch Special Drive on Pension Schemes on NFR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source..Rail News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source..Rail News

Local train commuters fume as railway plies smaller rakes

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

Commuters said smaller rakes were plied without prior intimation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source..Rail News

Second meeting held in Dhaka over Agartala-Akhaura Rail Link

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source..Rail News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Jan, railways to use new software for local train timetables

In what is seen as a move, which will improve operation of suburban railways and help run more services during peak hours, the Mumbai suburban railways will use 'Railsys' — a train timetable software — from January 2014. Currently, the Central Railway and Western Railway together run more than 2,000 daily services on a biannual timetable.

The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation, which procured the software from a German firm R M Con, is conducting trials of the software. Confirming the trial, a MRVC official said, "We have already fed different parameters involved in the suburban railway operations into the software for testing. The software will be ready for use in a month."

Railsys is a software used for preparing timetables, simulating real life conditions, planning infrastructure and track work required for a railway network.

According to railway officers the software will help railways plan more services, especially during peak hours. "Under the manual timetabling method it is very difficult to gauge whether services can be increased or not. However, the software will automatically reflect the possibility of services which can be run once it prepares the schedule," said a senior railway officer.

A batch of 12 railway officials have already undergone training to handle the software. Once parameters such as signalling, track conditions and availability of coaches are fed into the system, it automatically prepares the best possible schedule.

Problems specific to Mumbai suburban like disruptions due to roof top travel, trespassing have been put under the unscheduled category which will also be including while preparing the timetable, said a MRVC officer.

Source - indian express.





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