Jan 10, 2014

RPI Activists objects to embossing of ‘Reliance Metro’ in the logo of Mumbai Metro

Mumbai: Reliance Infrastructure, involved in Mumbai’s metro project, today faced the ire of Republican Party of India (Athawale) for using its brand name and logo on metro trains and stations, but defended its action.

Workers of RPI, part of Shiv Sena-BJP-led Opposition alliance in Maharashtra, staged a protest at a metro station in suburban Andheri and blackened the name of ‘Reliance’.

The private company condemned the “unlawful” act of RPI workers, who it said destroyed metro property.

RPI President Ramdas Athavale objected to the embossing of ‘Reliance Metro’ on trains as well as platforms and demanded that it be replaced with ‘Mumbai Metro’ instead.

Athavale told reporters that he has asked Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Reliance Infrastructure officials to make the necessary changes with in seven days.

“Otherwise, we will stop the ongoing work (on metro project),” the former State Minister warned.

The Anil Ambani-owned infrastructure firm owns a majority (69 pc) stake in Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL), which has been incorporated for implementing the project.

State-run Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) holds 26 per cent equity share in MMOPL, while the rest (5 pc) is held by Veolia Transport RATP Asia.

MMRDA has also objected to Reliance Infrastructure’s name being used on trains and platforms and served a notice to the company in this regard.

Athavale said his party would launch a signature drive in support of its demand.

When contacted, a MMOPL spokesperson defended the use of Reliance Metro logo on trains and platforms. “MMOPL has been rightfully using the Reliance Metro logo. That is within the contract condition and as per industry practice,” he said.

“Today, outside one of our metro stations, a few people affiliated to a political party created a ruckus and destroyed metro property. This act was unlawful and highly condemnable. We brought this to the notice of authorities concerned like Police and MMRDA,” he added.

The first phase, covering Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar section, was awarded on Public-Private-Partnership basis to RInfra-led consortium in 2007. The contract entails design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of about 12km elevated metro with 12 stations enroute.

Source.. Rail News

Tata Steel Europe announces track supply deal with French Rail operator SNCF

Tata Steel has won a two-year contract to supply more than 200,000 tonnes of track to French rail operator SNCF.

The contract will see Tata Steel supply the majority of SNCF’s rail requirements in lengths of up to 108 metres from its plant in Hayange, Northern France.

The order was secured following a €35 million investment by Tata Steel in 2011 which allowed the Hayange mill to produce 108m lengths of rail that SNCF will use throughout France’s standard and high-speed networks. The new order is an extension of a previous contract with SNCF.

Henrik Adam, Tata Steel’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We know that by working with customers we are able to innovate and develop products they want. We made a significant investment in Hayange to be able to produce the 108m long rail required by SNCF. Our heat-treatment facility means we are also now able to produce highly wear-resistant rail in lengths up to 108m – a key requirement of most of our European customers.”

The Hayange rolling mill is supplied with steel from Tata Steel’s Scunthorpe steelworks in the UK.

As well as the new 108m-long rail, Hayange is also able to roll shorter lengths when required by customers. The shorter lengths can be processed in the heat-treatment facility, allowing rail operators toenhance performance and reduce costs associated with more frequent worn rail replacement.

Gérard Glas, Rail Sector Head, Tata Steel, said: “We are committed to serving the needs of our customers and SNCF is Hayange’s largest and most important customer.

“We have worked closely with SNCF to understand their requirements and have invested in both our plant and technical areas to ensure we can continue to meet their needs. This contract helps to justify the confidence Tata Steel placed in the Hayange mill when the company invested in 108m rail and more recently in 108m ‘stress-free’ heat-treated rail.”

The news comes just weeks after the unveiling of the new €12 million heat-treatment facility at the Hayange plant, built as part of Tata Steel’s customer-focused approach to the market.

Heat-treated rail can last up to three times longer than standard rail when used in high wear conditions such as heavy traffic, high axle loads or tight curves. The newly opened facility will allow Tata Steel to more than double its annual output of heat-treated rail from 55,000 to 125,000 tonnes.

About Tata Steel in Europe

The European operations of Tata Steel, whose main steelmaking sites are in the UK and the Netherlands, comprise Europe’s second largest steel producer. They supply steel and related services to construction, automotive, packaging, rail, lifting & excavating, energy & power, aerospace and other demanding markets worldwide. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the world’s largest steel producers, with an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 29 million tonnes and approximately 80,000 employees across four continents.

Source.. Rail News

Railways to plan for Crowd Management for Magh Mela

Allahabad (ALD): To ensure safety of passengers during the coming Magh Mela, railway administration has made plans for proper crowd management. In this connection, entry will be permitted only through certain gates.

There are about five gates at the Civil Lines side of Allahabad railway junction for the movement of the passengers and vehicles. However, during the mela period, gate number 8, 9 and 11 will be permanently closed. Gate number 7 and gate number 10 has two lanes. One of the lanes of these two gates will remain closed one day prior and one day after the main bathing day while one of the lane will remain open. Exit of passengers from Allahabad railway junction will be allowed through these gates but entry of the passengers through these gates will be restricted.

On the city side of the Allahabad railway junction, gate number 1 will be closed while gate number 2 will remain open. In addition to this, VIP gate will also be closed. Entry and exit of passengers through gate number 3, 4 and 5 will be allowed. Tickets will be sold near gate number 4. Gate number 6 located nearpost office will be opened for the movement of RPF personnel. tnn

For meeting emergency situations, one stretcher will be placed at every platform of the Allahabad railway junction. Further, about 4 to 5 ambulances will be placed on the Civil Lines side of the Allahabad junction to meet any eventuality. Arrangements of first aid have also been provided at the junction.

Source.. Rail News

Railway portfolio ‘a Political Tool’ often given as a Bribe to Allies by Mainline Parties

New Delhi: Nine deaths in Wednesday’s Bandra-Dehradun Express fire tragedy, just within one week of Bangalore-Nanded tragedy once again exposed the kind of mess that the Indian Railway system is in. There are various factors which have contributed to an absolutely-unsafe Rail system. The railway portfolio has become a political tool and has very often been given as a bribe to the allies. Further, there are also instances where the ministry is given to senior leaders when they are unable to become Chief Ministers of a state. The Railways has become a victim of politics and has been treated as a personal property.

The point in the making is that the portfolio should be with someone who understands the Railways and also one who cares. If political parties play dirty politics with the Railways then it is clear that they have no feelings for the people. There is no improvement happening on safety and worse there is no money to run the system. It is going the Air India way. The biggest worry is that there is a great deal of demoralisation that has set in among the employees.

The Railways clearly faces a huge loss on a daily basis and this has led to poor payment of salaries to the railways employees. It is very obvious that these people will get demoralised. Moreover, the fact that there is no money in the Railways has also led to safety measures being compromised.

“There is a huge exodus in the Railways too. They are not getting the best of the engineers due to whichtechnical difficulties are not addressed. Moreover, the younger lot are leaving the Railways in search of better jobs or have been asking for transfers into other departments.

When this is the mindset and state of the department it is obvious that it would not function properly. This is such an important mode of transport for the common man. Those who die in rail accidents are always the poor and all they get is an ex gratia of Rs.5 lakh. Is the worth of a human life just Rs.5 lakh? Is it correct not to care about the safety and then equate the lives of people with money?

There are no easy solutions to the problem. But the most important way forward for those in power is to at least be concerned. There are many prescriptions that have been given, but what is the point if it is not followed.”

“The entire Railway Board is demoralised and witnessing a collapse. We need to act fast and the need of the hour is to have a national railway policy irrespective of which party is in power. You need a robust system and also railways cannot be used a personal & political property.

The time has come to look beyond politics where the Railways is concerned. The ministry is still a lucrative one and often it feels that there is more demand for this portfolio than the post of Prime Minister. It helps those who work on the Railways in their respective constituencies.

There are politicians who come up and tell the Railways Minister to focus on their constituencies and there is no end because each one appears to be bothered about their constituency. We need to look at it as a whole and start doing for others if this scenario has to improve. If no action is taken then it would go from bad to worse in the coming years.
Passenger Safety, Must be Topmost Railway Priority

That fires continue to occur in the railways raises serious questions over the national transporter’s preparedness. Nine people were killed early on Wednesday after a fire broke out in the Mumbai-Dehra Dun Express in Thane. In December last, an air-conditioned coach of the Bangalore-Nanded Express caught fire, killing 26 people. Though railways claim to have taken various measures to prevent fire in trains, recurrence of such mishaps is a matter of concern for the government.

In 2012, the railways had appointed a committee of safety under scientist Anil Kakodkar, which made several recommendations. Among these was the installation of a flame detection system as the smoke alarm system often proved ineffective. The panel said there should be hooters in the coach so that its sound could alert passengers in case of a fire and help them escape. It recommended that the railways should consider linking the hooters with the alarm chain so that the train could immediately be brought to a halt, besides calling for the transporter to set a standard to evacuate passengers from a coach. It gave the example of aviation safety standards, where the evacuation time of all passengers is 90 seconds in case of any emergency during take-off and landing.

In its report to Parliament in March 2013, the railways said it had set up fire safety audit teams, besides ensuring three tiers of protection in case of a short-circuit. It also claimed to have installed fire alarms, smoke detection systems in some rakes. But the latest incident has revealed that even basic measures were ignored. Survivors complained that the emergency windows were nonfunctional. While there are many other factors responsible for rail mishaps, it is unfortunate that no one in the Railway Board is exclusively in charge of passenger safety. It is time the government gave primacy to safety by restructuring the board.

Source.. Rail News

Railways should erase ‘Fear Psychosis’ building in the people over rail travel

New Delhi: A major attitude-change is required in the mindset of the Indian Railways administration if the fear psychosis building in the people of India over taking an overnight train is to be arrested. There were at least five major fire accidents in running trains in 2013 and the New Year has not begun too auspiciously with a fire in the Bandra-Dehradun Express killing nine people. Passengers must be feeling nervous about train travel.

A systemic change is needed while fancy talk of an inter-city Bullet train system that costs several lakh crores is nipped in the bud. It is shocking to read that 1,42,311 posts lie vacant in the safety category. Ironically, of the sparse funds that are set apart for train and passenger safety by an eternally cash-strapped railway, up to 35 per cent has been known to have gone unutilised in a recent financial year, the only reason being sheer administrative apathy. The least Indian Railways can do is spend what it has meaningfully.

The need for a member on the Railway Board to specifically drive and monitor safety preparedness — there is no member among six charged directly with this task — has been felt for long. It is high time the ministry prods the monolith that runs one of the world’s biggest rail networks into action on safety. The accident rate may seem to have fallen over the years but this may be the result of running more trains, more manned level crossings and more kilometres covered than any direct improvement in maintenance or safety standards.
Source.. Rail News





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