Jan 14, 2014

Conversion of 1500 Volt D.C. Into 25000 Volt A.C. Traction System Over Central Railway

The historic milestone has been achieved by the Indian Railways in the early morning hours of yesterday i.e. 12th January, 2014 with the conversion from 1500 Volt d.c. to 25000 Volt a.c. traction system over Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) to Thane (exclusive) via 5th & 6th line & Thane (exclusive) to Kalyam. This smooth and major transition has been achieved without traffic block and without any disruption or inconvenience to the travelling public. Out of total project cost of Rs. 1299.91 crore, the cost of this portion of conversion work is Rs. 147.70 crore. 

The major benefits of this conversion includes seamless operation on 25000 Volt electric traction services for 43 pairs of mail/express trains (including non-daily), coming/going from lgatpuri side to LTT and vice versa. This will release 20 WCAM3 (AC/DC Locomotives) thereby leading to saving towards lease charges of Rs. 14.5 crore per annum. Due to energy efficiency associated with AC traction system, energy savings of Rs. 51 crore per annum would be achieved, besides staff savings of Rs. 3.5 crore per annum. 

Another major benefit of this work is that incoming traction power supply has been shifted from Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) to TATA which is cheaper by Rs. 2.05 per unit, thereby resulting into annual saving to the tune of Rs. 12crore/annum. 

Therefore, total recurring annual savings would be about Rs. 81 crore. In addition, there will be other benefits which includes elimination of technical halt of 15 minutes at lgatpuri for 43 pairs of Mail/Express trains as Kalyan-Kasara-lgatpuri section has already been converted on 25000 Volt a.c. system, increased traffic flows, improvement in speed and sectional capacity, reduced cost of operation and substantially higher reliability. Trial run on a.c. traction services ahs been started on this section since 12.01.2014. 

To cater to the ever increased traffic requirement in Mumbai area and for better reliability to sub-urban services, the work of 1500 V d.c. to 25000 a.c. conversion was sanctioned in 1996-97 on Central Railway. The project cost is Rs. 1299.91 crore. The A.C. system has added advantage of substantial higher reliability, more than 30 per cent energy saving and substantial reduction in maintenance cost. 

Mumbai sub-urban section (Mumbai V.T. to Kalyan) was electrified in 1925 at 1500 D.C. traction system which was the only modern traction system available at that time. Since, then this system was catering to the sub-urban commuter services over the years. For any increase in services (i9ncreased frequency and longer trains), additional power is required. Over the years, 1500 V d.c. system was not able to handle any further additional power requirement on account of steep fall in reliability and increased propensity to fire hazards. Space availability for additional sub-stations also posed a serious limitation. 

History has been created by executing this challenging work of very complex nature in the busiest network of Indian Railways, without any disruption to sensitive commuter traffic. D.C. to A.C. conversion work has already been completed in Vasai-Diva-Jasai, Panvel-Karjat, lgatpuri-Kasara & Pune –Kalyan section. 

Source - PIB

EPFO raises interest rate to 8.75% for 2013-14

Retirement fund body Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on Monday announced a rise in interest rate on provident fund (PF) deposits to 8.75 per cent for 2013-14, to benefit 50 million subscribers.

The interest rate on PF deposits in the previous financial year was 8.5 per cent. The decision to raise the rate was taken by the Central Board of Trustees (CBT), the apex decision making body of the EPFO. 

"We have decided to recommend to the government an 8.75 per cent rate for 2013-14 to its subscribers," Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes, who chaired the CBT meet, said. The EPFO's recommendations would now be vetted by the finance ministry. Once the ministry gives its concurrence to the decision, the interest would be credited into the accounts of subscribers. 

EPFO Central Provident Fund Commissioner K K Jalan said: "We have estimated an income of Rs 25,048.5 crore for 2013-14. EPFO would require Rs 25,005.4 crore for providing an 8.75 pre cent rate of interest for this financial year and leave a surplus of Rs 43 crore."

EPFO also announced a 20 per cent cover increase in Employees' Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme as an interim measure. Under this scheme, the family of a worker can get a maximum sum assured of Rs 1,30,000 in case of his/her demise during the service period. After the raise, the maximum amount would be Rs 1,56,000. 

The CBT has also approved increasing minimum administrative charges for managing EPF Scheme and EDLI Scheme to Rs 500 and Rs 200 a month from Rs 5 and Rs 2, respectively. The charges for non-functional firms having no contributory members have also been increased to Rs 75 and Rs 25 per month, respectively, for the two schemes.

EPFO has a corpus of Rs 5 lakh crore. When asked about its plans to improve investments, particularly Special Depositor Scheme (SDS) which earns an eight per cent rate of return, Jalan said: "We will definitely take out money from SDS and invest in high-yielding instruments. We will soon work on a proposal."

On the labour minister's idea of deducing extra 10 per cent on basic wages by EPFO for providing housing to workers, the he said: "We will work on the proposal. He has a lot of experience." The CBT also initiated the process for selection of multiple fund managers and formed a panel to appoint a consultant for the purpose. CRISIL is providing consultancy services to the EPFO.

The trustees also asked the Finance, Investment and Audit Committee to look into the proposal that sought more freedom for the EPFO to trade and exit investments besides allowing it to refrain from investing in bonds of states.

The board also reviewed the performance of its four fund managers since August, 2011. The State Bank of India remained on the top by earning a return of 9.23 per cent on investments, followed by Reliance Capital Asset Management at 9.19 per cent. HSBC AML and ICICI Sec PD earned 9.18 per cent each, above the benchmark rate of 9.11 per cent.

The EPFO also launched an electronic return facility for exempted establishments (private PF trusts). It will benefit 3,000 exempted establishments which are now required to file their monthly and annual paper returns.     

These establishments which are otherwise managing the provident fund trust on their own will now get the facility of electronically reporting about their work. This electronic return will replace the earlier monthly and annual paper returns filed by exempted establishments.
SOURCE - business-standard





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