Dec 13, 2013

Private Investment for Development of Railway Infrastructure

New Delhi: A number of policies have been notified to attract private investment for the development of Railway Infrastructure. Some of these are:

Participative policy for capacity Augmentation notified on 10.12.2012 provided five models for building rail infrastructure. These models are: (i) Non-Government Private Line Model (ii) Joint Venture model (iii) Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model (iv) Capacity augmentation with funding provided by customers (v) Capacity augmentation through annuity model.
  1. Development of Private Freight Terminal (PFT) scheme
  2. Automobile Freight Train Operator (AFTO) scheme
  3. Special Freight Train Operator (SFTO) scheme
  4. Liberalized Wagon Investment Scheme (LWIS)
  5. Wagon Leasing Scheme (WLS)

The Participative Policy notified on 10.12.2013 has received good response. ‘In Principle’ clearance has been given for rail connectivity to ports of Jaigarh (Maharashtra), Astranga (Orissa), Rewas (Maharashtra), Dighi (Maharashtra), Hazira (Gujrat) and Tuna (Gujrat) port, while rail connectivity to Dhamara port (Orissa) has been commissioned. Two coal connectivity projects in state of Chhatisgarh are also being undertaken through joint venture route under the policy.

Encouraging response has been received to Private Freight Terminal (PFT) policy and investments for procurement of rolling stock. So far 45 proposals have been received, out of which, notification for 18 Private Freight Terminal has been issued. ‘In principle’ approval has been given for 23 Private Freight Terminals.

Approval of 54 rakes has been given under Liberalised Wagon Investment Scheme (LWIS). Out of these, 17 rakes have been procured/inducted and are running on the system.

M/s GATX and M/s TOUAX have been registered as Wagon Leasing Companies under Wagon Leasing Scheme (WLS)

Approval of 3 rakes has been given under Special Freight Train Operators Scheme (SFTO)

12th Five Year Plan mentions that areas for undertaking Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects are: Logistics Parks, PFT and Freight schemes, Captive Power, Renewable Energy, Energy Conservation, Loco and Coach Manufacturing, Station Redevelopment, High Speed Corridor (Mumbai-Ahemdabad), Elevated Corridor (Churchgate-Virar), DFC (Sonnagar-Dankuni) and Port Connectivity to ports/coals areas.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.


GRP questions four passengers over TTE’s death

Mantralayam Road (MALM): A TTE died under suspicious circumstances while on duty at Mantralayam Road Railway station in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh and four passengers are being questioned by GRP over the death.

The death of Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) Sanjeeva Rao (57) triggered protests by railway employees at Secunderabad and other stations in Kurnool as it was initially alleged that he died following assault by some rail passengers of Chennai-Shirdi Express train, GRP officials said today.

However, based on preliminary investigation, the GRP said he died around midnight yesterday after collapsing on the platform of the station due to “cardiac arrest,” though they were also questioning passengers Vamsi Krishna, Ambarish and two others in connection with the incident.

According to a senior GRP official, some passengers of an AC coach on the train had a verbal duel with the TTE over lack of water and supply of “dirty” blankets. They also argued with him for “behaving in an arrogant manner rather than addressing their grievances.”

As Rao was in plain clothes, the passengers argued with him that he had unauthorisedly entered the AC coach and when the train reached the Mantralayam Road station, they complained to the Deputy Station Manager regarding this.

The Deputy Station Manager summoned Sanjeeva Rao who replied that he was asked to join the duty at the eleventh hour in Dharmavaram of Anantapur district and hence he could not wear the uniform. The manager cross checked this with higher railway officials and found the TTE’s version correct.

In the meanwhile, Rao, who was sitting on a chair suddenly collapsed on the ground and fell unconscious even as a railway doctor who examined him pronounced him dead, the GRP official explained.

“We have booked a case of suspicious death under 174 CrPC and picked up four passengers as part of investigation. We are probing into the matter through medical and circumstantial evidences,” he said, adding no evidence was found into reports that the TTE was beaten up by passengers.

Meanwhile, a release from South Central Railway said Sanjeeva’s body was handed over to his family members after postmortem. The exact cause of death can be ascertained only from the postmortem report, it said.

The railways also appealed the passengers not to put “undue” pressure or behave harshly towards the onboard railway staff, especially the TTEs.

K. Sambasiva Rao, Chief Public Relations Officer, South Central Railway, Secunderabad, appealed to passengers to use the number 81212-81212 to send messages and get their grievance redressed. This facility he said, was tested and messages would be acted upon, by a senior official who would pass it on to the concerned for redressal.


Bomb scare at Muzaffarpur railway station, one held

Muzaffarpur Jn (MFP): The Government Railway Police (GRP) had to search every nook and corner of Muzaffarpur railway station on Thursday following an anonymous call that some bombs had been kept at the railway station. But, after a daylong effort to locate the bombs, the GRP have suspended the search operation. However, the force has been kept on high alert.

The bomb scare created panic among passengers during the search operation despite every attempt by railway administration to pacify the passengers. One, Sonu Hussain was arrested by the GRP from West Champaran district in this connection. Sonu had allegedly called up at 100 to inform the police that bombs had been kept at the Muzaffarpur railway station.

Arms, liquor factory found in Paroo: A police team headed by Additional SP (Operations) Rana Brajbhushan on Thursday recovered a countrymade pistol, a sword, a large machine for making spurious liquor besides pouches and liquor-packing materials following a raid near Chintamanpur village by the side of Sharda “moin” (reservoir) under Paroo police station.

The police team had gone there to conduct a raid in connection with the loot of Rs 31 lakh from a bank van on Rewa road bridge under Saraiya PS on Tuesday but stumbled on the liquor factory. The police searched a house located at a secluded place and found firearms there whereas the liquor making machines were concealed inside some straw bundles kept in a field. The material seized from the field indicated that spurious liquor was being manufactured there for some time.

The police also seized a water motor pump but could not immediately find the diesel generator set which might have been used for providing electricity to the spurious liquor factory.


Trains stop 100 metres short of disaster

Kolkata (KOL): Hundreds of suburban commuters had a narrow escape after two trains came face to face in the railway yard outside Sealdah station on Thursday morning. The incident occurred after the loco pilot of the 53173 Sealdah-Lalgola Passenger train allegedly overshot a red signal and came in the way of a Down Bongaon local that was cleared to enter Sealdah. Fortunately for passengers, both trains were travelling at a very slow speed and came to a stop barely 100 metres from each other. Eastern Railway’s Sealdah Division has suspended Asit Hore, loco pilot of the Lalgola Passenger, and his assistant P Sil. An inquiry has started.

At 8.10am, the starter signal of Platform 7 at Sealdah turned amber, granting permission to the loco pilot of the Lalgola Passenger to begin his journey. There is another signal at a distance that was apparently red. Hore allegedly ignored this and moved towards the Up line. To do this, he had to pass over a short stretch of the Down line that the Bongaon local was to use to enter Sealdah. When Hore crossed to the Down line, he spotted the Bongaon local in front and applied brakes. There was no way he could cross over to the Up line as the local train was in the way.

“This happened at 8.17am. As soon as the error was noticed, the train was reversed and brought back to the platform at Sealdah. It resumed its journey at 9.32 with a new crew. The loco pilot and assistant loco pilot were suspended. The Bongaon local also entered the station safely. The loco pilot and assistant loco pilot have been suspended for overshooting a red signal. If the charge is established, they stand to lose their jobs,” said R N Mahapatra, CPRO, ER.

According to an official, given the layout of the yard outside Sealdah, there was no way that both trains could have moved in and out of the station together. Platform 7 needed to be cleared for use by Down suburban trains during the peak morning hour. A decision was thereby taken to grant permission to the Lalgola Passenger to start but stop it at the next signal. By this time, the Down Bongaon local had been stopped at the Home signal. After the Lalgola Passenger received a red signal in the yard, the Home signal for the local train turned to amber. The motorman started moving towards Sealdah when he spotted the Lalgola Passenger in front and slammed the brakes.

“There are several signals beyond the starter signal of the platform which we call the yard or intermediate signals. The loco pilot overshot an intermediate signal and came close to the local train. A probe is in progress,” said Suchitto Kumar Das, Divisional Railway Manager, Sealdah. Officials denied that there was any panic among passengers.


FDI policy for Railways likely to be delayed

New Delhi: The Government’s plan to permit Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Indian Railways may be delayed. The Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry has asked the Railway Ministry for greater clarity on the scope of the policy and the preferred route for bringing in the foreign investment.

“The Railway Ministry’s response to the draft Cabinet note is confusing and leaves a lot of room for interpretation regarding the route through which it wants the investments to come (in from) and the areas that it wants to open up,” an official in the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) told Business Line.

SPV route

DIPP, which formulates foreign investment policies, had circulated a draft Cabinet note in September proposing 100 per cent FDI in the Railways, but the Railway Ministry had sought several changes.

According to the DIPP’s proposal, foreign investors would be allowed to hold 100 per cent stake in special purpose vehicles (SPVs) meant for construction of port connectivity projects and railway lines connecting mines and industrial zones to the existing rail network.

The Railway Ministry, however, wants to go beyond FDI in connectivity projects, to areas where it has PPP (public-private partnerships). Private investors have so far largely ignored the PPP projects. The Railways hopes to attract Rs 6,000 crore through the PPP route this year. The Railway Ministry had approached the DIPP in May urging it to permit FDI into the sector. But it had clarified that the investment was being sought only in construction and maintenance of projects, and not for running its operations.

The DIPP official said the Railways Ministry had to be more precise in pointing out the exact areas where FDI was needed. It also has to make clear whether it wanted investments through the automatic route or bring it in through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

While the FDI policy at the moment does not incorporate railway transport, the Indian Railways has a policy that invites private investment, both Indian and foreign, in rail connectivity projects with prior approval from the FIPB.





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