Dec 23, 2013

Grant of full sets of Post Retirement Complimentary Passes (PRCP) after 20 years of railway service - RBE 132/2013.

India to provide Financial Assistance to Nepal’s Mechi-Mahakali Railway project

SARLAHI (Nepal): The Nepal government has started land acquisition process in Sarlahi district for the construction of the highly prioritized Mechi-Mahakali Electric Railway project. The ambitious railway track will be 1,318 kilometer long. It has been learnt that India is likely to provide financial assistance to the government for the railway track construction, including electrification.

The District Administration Office has already issued a public notice on the acquisition of private lands in several villages in the district.

“In the first state, we are acquiring land for the construction of 502-meter long corridor from Suljor River to the eastern part of the village. Likewise, a site allocation survey is underway for the proposed electric railway project in the other areas of the district,” said Mohan Bhatta, chief of a site office of the Railway Department in Bardibash.

He said that the railway tracks would be 300 meter to 3 kilometer from the East-West Highway. And the corridor for the electric railway service will be 50 meter wide.

“In the current fiscal year, we will accomplish the land acquisition process for the railway service. We will provide fair compensation to those whose land will be acqisitioned,” said Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, chief district officer.

To expedite the proposed railway construction, the railway department has established its site offices in several districts in the eastern part of the country. The department is working for the construction of the Bardibas-Simara railway line.

The railway project, which will be constructed under public-private partnership model, is estimated to cost around Rs. 800 billion. Bhatta informed that the Mechi-Mahakali highway will be interlinked with the Janakpur-Jayanagar Railway.

Likewise, preparation is under way to extend the Janakpur-Jayanagar railway to Bardibas. “The railwayservice is in a poor state. We are working to improve the service and extend railway tracks to Bardibas.”

Finally, Nilambur Railway Station to be upgraded

Nilambur Road (NIL): The amenities for passengers at Nilambur railway station is going to be improved. Various development works including renovation of the platform and opening of new booking counter will start soon at the station. The contract to start the work was awarded to a private firm.

As the development for the Nilambur station has been delayed for last several months, passengers had protested against the Railway authorities, who had recently opened a newly constructed platform at the station.

But the commuters and organizations had protested saying that there is no shelter for the platform and absence of ticket counter at the new platform affects passengers. The floor works of platform were also incomplete, adding to the woes.

The additional divisional railway manager (ADRM) Mohan A Menon said: “The contract for the work was already awarded and the work would be commenced soon. The second platform would be developed as a high-level 18 coach length platform and tiles would be paved in new platform,” he said
The total cost of the works that are to be carried out soon in the railway station is Rs 1.25 crore. ADRM said that the fund crunch is the major issue being addressed by the railways and the station would be developed into national standard in a phased manner.

Meanwhile, the proposal for the new railway station building is still under the consideration of Railways.

The Nilambur rail action council had approached MPs MLAs and Railway officials several times, and had submitted a memorandum demanding to speed up the works of new station building to the divisional railway manager, during his recent visit at station.

RTI pleas proves Central Railway’s claim on train punctuality false

Nagpur Jn (NGP): Maintaining punctuality of trains plays a key role in introducing trains. While the railways have been doing it on the pretext of operational efficiency, in reality most trains are not punctual causing grave inconvenience to passengers.

The Nagpur Central Railway claimed it achieved target of about 95.9% punctuality during five months from April to August 2013. Based on this claim, information sought by consumer rights activist Avinash Prabhune under the RTI Act for a cluster of six trains for two months (August-September) show that all is not well with punctuality of trains.

Prabhune had sought data of actual arrival and departure timings of trains at Ajni and Nagpur stations. The trains included Kolhapur-Gondia-Kolhapur Maharashtra, LTT-Howrah Shalimar, Santragachi-Nanded, Kamakhya-LTT and Howrah-Shirdi.

The period for which information was sought revealed that Maharashtra Express never reached Ajni on its scheduled arrival time of 4.03pm. There was always a delay of 9-126 minutes (average delay of about 37 minutes). It means that more than half-hour of passengers was wasted.

“I feel administration is equally responsible for maintaining train timings en route. Majority of the passengers get down at Ajni. Besides this, the timetable maintained in minutes by railways gives a strong perception to people about its commitment to punctuality,” said Prabhune.

However, during the same period the train reached Nagpur right time at 5.20pm. The time shown to cover three-km distance from Ajni to Nagpur is 75 minutes. Central Railway PRO P D Patil was unavailable for comments to explain railway’s stand.

Same was the case with Maharashtra Express from Gondia. The train’s scheduled arrival time at Nagpur is 10.35am and departure at 10.55pm. However, the train maintained these timings for 12 days only and on remaining 48 days there was a delay of 10-20 minutes.

Similarly, Shalimar Express never reached Ajni station on its scheduled time of 12.31pm during the two months. The Santragachi-Nanded Express, Kamakhya-LTT and Howrah-Shirdi, all bi-weekly trains, reached right time on 12 occasions and arrived late on 15 occasions.

“During the last one year, I travelled from Delhi to Nagpur by Rajdhani and Garib Rath at least five times. I’ve observed that on all occasions these trains reached Nagpur late by 30 to 60 minutes,” said Prabhune.

It appears that railways also does not care much for CAG reports which state that Indian Railways address punctuality purely from an operational point of view where trains handed over late by one zone to another were recorded as being punctual so long as they do not get delayed further. In addition, the zones reported wrong data in order to show that trains were punctual on 95% of the times.

The CAG states that trains were late on 54% of the times, while prestigious trains like Rajdhanis were late on 53%. Thus, there is a need to measure and report punctuality from passengers perspective.

Thousands turn up at Hazaribagh Railway station to glimpse the trail run of the Engine

Hazaribagh Road (HZD): Residents of Hazaribagh, a famous tourist spot in Jharkhand, finally saw light of the day on Sunday as for first time in history, whistles of railway engine were heard in city, which ran between the newly laid 40 kms track of Koderma and Padma, 20 km from Hazaribagh,on Saturday. To celebrate the successful trial run of an engine on recently constructed Koderma-Hazaribagh line, locals showed up at in massive numbers. Started in 1999, it took an effort of almost fifteen long years and expenditure of around six thousand crore rupees to complete the project. In 1998,the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee laid the foundation stone of the rail link for two routes viz. Hazaribagh-Koderma and Hazaribagh-Ranchi. Take a Look!

The trail run of the engine had started from Koderma station.Thousands of people had lined up both sides of the track and at the stations enroute such as Chandwara,Barhi,Chauparan and Padma to catch a glimpse of the train.

DMRC bans IJM-IJMII JV for Ph-III Metro Expn – Fallout due to defects in Airport Metro line

New Delhi: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has disqualified the IJM-IJMII joint venture from tenders for Phase-III of the Metro expansion. This comes months after the Airport Metro Express Line had to be shut down for repair of structural defects.

The IJM-IJMII, a Joint Venture company, had been awarded construction of the viaduct and Dhaula Kuan station for the Airport Metro Express Line.

In reply to a query in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Urban Development Deepa Dasmunsi said: “They have not been allowed to participate in the tenders of Phase-III. Their pre-qualification has also been put under suspension.”

The reply states that DMRC has conveyed that the performance security of the Airport Metro Express Line consultant, a consortium led by Oriental Consultants, Japan, amounting to Rs 5.8 crore, has also been forfeited.

The major blame has, however, been placed on improper execution of work by the IJM-IJMII. Listing failures indicated by the inquiry committee constituted by the Ministry, the reply states “this could be perhaps taken as the most significant failure”.

Dasmunsi said selection of the IJM-IJMII for the job was a failure since this joint venture had not performed well in an earlier project and bringing them in added to the problem on hand.

“The quality of grout work as also lack of control over its dimensions was the main reason for the failure…They (IJM-IJMII) were instrumental in getting the drawings of bearing arrangement changed to the one with grout… The availability of space for execution of job was known to them. They ought to have known the required precautions in placement of grout (like proper formwork and hole for escape of air etc)… They were equally responsible for the final output with SYSTRA, detailed design consultant (DDC), and ALC and cannot lay blame on the other parties that they accepted the constructional deviation… The list of failures is very long,” Dasmunsi said.

On the DMRC and project management, the reply states that “all reports were being received by DMRC and it was the capability of separating the important and urgent from the routine ones, which is somehow found missing”.

According to Dasmunsi, the concessionaire (Reliance Infrastructure Ltd) did not inspect the civil structure as per the prescribed timetable. “The inspection of civil structure was not done as per prescribed timetable. The absence of required information for such inspection can’t be fully accepted. Concessionaire was responsible for safe running of system during commercial operation and was required to ensure critical activities are undertaken. They can’t be blamed to a large extent but cannot be fully absolved either.”





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