Jan 7, 2014

Kharge urge State/Centre for 18% quota in



Bangalore (SBC): Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday said reservation in government jobs for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is not commensurate with their population.

He appealed to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to set it right on priority basis. At a convention of the KPCC’s SC/ST wing here, he said at present, reservation in government jobs for SC/STs is 15 per cent.

The government should fill all backlog for SC/STs and ensure 18 per cent reservation in state governmentjobs, he said.

Such neglect is also there in the Union government. There are 16 railway zones, 5 production plants and 63 Divisional Railway Managers, but not even a single person from SC/ST community is heading any one of these.

Of the 20 Principal Secretaries to various departments at the Centre, there is none from the reserved category, he regretted.

He said compared to other states, the situation is somewhat better in Karnataka. The SC/ST community stood behind the Congress solidly right from the days of Independence. He said the downtrodden should remain united to assert their rights.

He said partymen should first be proud of being Congressmen rather than identifying with caste or community. AICC general secretary and party in-charge of Karnataka Digvijay Singh promised that the state government would take all steps to address issues of the SC/STs on priority basis.

He urged the Chief Minister to constitute a Cabinet sub-committee to look into the problems being faced by the SC/STs. Singh said the Congress owes largely to the downtrodden for their continued support.

He also urged SC/ST communities to increase the talent and the skill-sets to keep themselves abreast of the innovations and technological advancements. He pointed out the fact that SC/STs despite being given a lot of facilities by the Centre and State governments are failing to fall in the talent pool in commensurate with the population. It is time to aggressively focus in such technologically advanced areas and urged upon the community to work hard in nurturing the skill-sets that which will ultimately empower the community at large in the prevailing global competition. “This is very much a necessity now”, he added.

He lauded the state government’s decision of waiving all outstanding loans availed from various state-owned corporations by SC/STs and minorities.

AICC SC/ST wing national president Raju, Union Minister of State for MSMEs K H Muniyappa, Revenue Minister V Srinivas Prasad, PWD Minister H C Mahadevappa and Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya also spoke.

Source..Rail News

Railways all Set to Wash 'Dirty Linen'


Bad experiences with bug-infested bedsheets, soiled pillow covers and sheets in the A/C compartments on trains are not uncommon. Numerous complaints have been made on this count and the Railways is all set to address the issue.

In a bid to ensure cleanliness and hygiene of the bedding material distributed on board long-distance trains departing from the state, the Southern Railway has decided to set up a high-tech mechanised laundry unit at the Ernakulam Junction railway station soon.

The unit which is a first-of-its-kind venture of the Southern Railways in Thiruvananthapuram division will see to it that clean, pressed and packaged railway linen reaches the passengers who avail themselves of the facilities. The move is also part of the decision taken at the higher level to keep off incompetent contractors and bring the laundry segment completely under the control of the Railways.

“For years, the Railways has entrusted the responsibility of laundry service to private agencies, on contract. In Thiruvananthapuram Division alone, the service was handed to several contractors based on the different trains departing from Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam. It was noticed that cleanliness and hygiene were often compromised upon which, in turn, triggered the ire of the public. We hope that once this sector is departmentalised under the Railways directly, the service will improve,” said Ernakulam Railway Area Manager P L Ashok Kumar.

The unit will be centralised and cater to trains leaving for different locations from the state.

He added that they have already identified the location for the proposed unit, near the Ernakulam Marshalling yard. Tenders have been invited for the machines. The project will be set up in a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis. A single contractor monitored by the Railways will run the unit for some years after which it will be transferred completely to the Railways. Most probably, the staff under the Mechanical Department of the Railways will be operating the service.

Southern Railways Mazdoor Union (SRMU) president P Unnikrishnan pointed out that as linen cleaning is currently handed on contract, the Railways was unable to keep a tab or punish those responsible for the shoddy work. Though the Railway Board passed an order in 2010 to bring the laundry service under their Mechanical Department, the Thiruvananthapuram division failed to do so.

The laundry system will consist of a washing system with features including pressing using hydraulic press and a drying system. A mechanical conveyor system will be used to transfer linen from one stage to another. This will be done with optimal usage of water, power, steam and chemicals. After the procedures are completed, the linen will be packed neatly in environmental-friendly bags and supplied on the trains.

The first hi-tech laundry system of the Southern Railways was introduced in Salem.

A similar one will also be set up in Thiruvananthapuram railway station.

Source -newindianexpress

Gaps in Rail Passenger Service




The modal share of railway’s passenger traffic in India is on a decline. Planning Commission’s Approach Paper on Eleventh Plan states that the share of rail transport in passenger movement which was 85% in 1950-51 has decreased to 13% by 2004-05, while that of the bus transport has gone up from 15% to 87% over the same period. It also mentions that in 2004-05, railways had just 1 per cent share in India’s GDP as against 4.5 per cent of the road, which has now emerged as the dominant segment in India’s transportation sector.

The National Transport Policy Committee (1980) erred in estimating that by the end of the 20th century, the modal share of road for passenger traffic would be only 48 per cent. It had held a view that in the years to come, long-distance inter-city and heavy metropolitan commuter traffic would be carried by the railways. However, even as early as five years ahead of the timeline, the road share had jumped to 80%.

Notwithstanding the above, the volume of passenger traffic by rail, in absolute numbers, has been rising steadily over years. It grew at an annualised rate of 4.16 per cent in the 9th Plan, 4.15 per cent in the 10th Plan and is estimated at 6.2 per cent in the 11th Plan. The year 2011-12 saw as many as 8,224 million passengers travelling over Indian Railways.

While this may be a cause of some satisfaction, there are areas of concern also, and two of these deserve to be addressed by the railways urgently.

The first is the staggeringly high volume of passengers travelling on unreserved accommodation. According to a statement made by the railway minister in Rajya Sabha last year, 3,492 million passengers had travelled in the non-suburban unreserved segment. Published data also shows that during that year a total of 3,735 million passengers had travelled in second class. This meant that as many as 94 per cent of all second class passengers did not avail of the reserved facility, less by choice but largely because of non-availability of reserved accommodation. The House was further informed that there were 19,238 coaches’ general (unreserved) coaches in service on Indian Railways. These constituted 41 per cent of non-suburban passenger coaches available. It is highly disquieting that 94% of second class passengers have to be accommodated in only 41 per cent of coaches available. Consequently, they undergo a great deal of physical discomfort and suffering on account of overcrowding, especially when travelling long-distance; the remaining 6% passengers are able to enjoy the comforts of sleeper accommodation with a larger number of coaches for their use. The plight of passengers travelling in unreserved compartments is vividly portrayed in the following observations of a foreign tourist:

“India’s poorest people travel in second class, as well as those who haven’t been fortunate enough to secure a ticket in sleeper class. Reservations aren’t required and the concept of overcrowding really is taken to a new level. There’s sitting or standing room only, and any spare floor space is occupied by those willing to sleep on it. Most seats are simply wooden benches, although some trains do have padded benches the same as what are found in sleeper class. The unreserved second class is not recommended for long-distance train travel in India.”

Even the Rakesh Mohan Committee (2001) report, which had dealt with a vast array of issues confronting Indian Railways, failed to highlight the problem of over-congestion, and its attendant problems, in unreserved coaches, nor did it consider necessary to suggest measures that could be taken by the railways to remedy the situation. On the contrary, focusing more on finding ways to augment railway revenues, it actually advocated a reduction in the upper class fares because of the high price sensitivity of those patronising these classes. To quote: “the challenge is to increase traffic in segments that generate higher revenues; in other words, the revenue potential from the upper class needs to be exploited to the maximum extent”.

The other area, to which the railways should direct its attention, is to bring about an improvement in the average lead of travel, or the distance travelled by a passenger, on non-suburban sections. The period 1990-91 and 2010-11 did register an increase in the average lead, which rose from 147.6km to 234.4km during the period. However, the class-wise distribution shows that the average lead of second class (ordinary) passengers was 114km only. Passenger traffic can yield higher revenues if long-distance travel could be made less cumbersome for unreserved second class passengers. This could be achieved is by making available more number of coaches for unreserved class, provisioning them with cushioned seats, and regulating the number of passengers in each coach. Even a small percentage increase in the average lead of travel of such passengers, who form the bulk of railway users, can add substantially to the transporter’s coffers.

It must also not be forgotten that the competition from road is getting more intense, with new highways coming up and the buses getting improved in quality and substance. The inability of the railways to offer a larger share of reserved accommodation to the public further assists this process, with many of its potential users being compelled to use bus services to meet their transport requirements.

The average lead can also be increased by introducing high-speed trains for carrying passengers to medium and longer distances much faster than conventional trains. Indian Railways have already made a significant move in this direction by recently setting up the High Speed Rail Corporation for developing rail corridors which can run passenger trains at speeds up to 350km per hour. With a rise in industrialisation and urbanisation, and an unprecedented growth in inter-city travel, infinite possibilities have opened up for developing high-speed passenger corridors in the country. Railways must pull out all stops to ensure timely completion of these projects by creating opportunities for infrastructural investments and technological enhancements.

Aam Aadmi being the flavour of the day, the railways should also try to meet the travel aspirations of the common man and make his journeys more comfortable in the years ahead.
Source - new indian express

KHARAGPUR WORKSHOP WINS SER’S INTER DIVISIONAL CRICKET CHAMPIONSHIP


Kharagpur Workshop emerged champions in South Eastern Railway Inter Divisional o­ne Day Cricket Championship defeating Khargpur Divisionin the final by 22 runs at South Eastern Railway Sports Association (SERSA)Ground, S.E.Railway Headquarters, Garden Reach, today (06/01/2014).



Shri G.K.Mohanty, Chief Operations Manager, South Eastern Railway witnessed the final match and gave away the trophies to the winnersin a simple function held after the finals. Shri Manoj Pandey, Chief Personnel Officer, S.E.Railway and President, SERSA, Shri N.Kashinath, Chief Safety Officer and Smt. Tanuja Thakur Khalko, Dy. FA&CAO & Secretary, SERSA were also present during the final match and prize distribution ceremony.

The tournament organized by SERSA was inaugurated by Shri Prabhat Sahai, Addl. General Manager, S.E.Railway o­n 30/12/2013. Altogether 6 teams participated in the tournament viz. Kharagpur Division, Adra Division, Ranchi Division, Chakradharpur Division, Kharagpur Workshop and Kharagpur Wagon.

Highlights of Final Match:
In the final held today (06/01/2014), Kharagpur Workshop batting first scored 241 runs for 7 wickets in the stipulated 30 overs. In reply Kharagpur Division scored 219 runs for 8 wickets in 30 overs. Kharagpur Workshop thus won the match by 22 runs. Bhima Rao of Khargpur Workshop scored 70 runs in 51 balls and he has been declared Man of the Tournament.Souvik Mitra of Kharagpur Workshop scored 69 runs in 70 balls while Kranti Verma of Kharagpur Workshop took 3 wickets giving 23 runs o­nly.
Source - SE RLY

 

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