Feb 10, 2014

WR may allow men to board ladies’ coaches after 11pm

Mumbai: In what is considered to be the most contentious issue relating to women’s safety on local trains, the Western Railway will be studying the prospects of turning the middle coach for women into a general compartment after 11pm so that men can board it between 11pm and 6am. Currently, this middle ladies coach is reserved for women for all 24 hours.

The railway police and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) have suggested to turn the middle coach for women into a general compartment after 11pm for safety of women passengers.

The issue has always been a tough one for the railways with several women’s groups in the past opposed such relaxations – currently the practice is in force in some first class ladies coaches – saying the presence of men in these coaches after 11pm do nothing for the safety of women. Shailendra Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager confirmed the suggestion.

“We want the opinion of the public. If need be we will carry out a survey to find out how many women travel during these hours and what are their views on allowing men into the coaches after a certain time in the day. Decision will taken only after considering public opinion,” said Kumar.

The suggestion from security agencies comes on the back of an acute shortage of manpower that is now allowing either the railway police or the RPF to post its men in all the ladies’ coaches between 9pm and 6am. While two of the ladies’ coaches in a local are being manned by either railway police or RPF personnel, the third is generally entrusted to a home guard.

The WR uses 87 rakes to run its daily routine of 1,310 services. According to an official, on an average each 12 coach train has three ladies coaches, including one first class. A 15-coach one has four such ladies coaches while a 9-coach has two ladies coaches.

A survey carried out last year by the RPF showed that WR’s RPF unit – with a strength of 1,200 men and another 500 vacancies – would need anything between 128 to 160 men to escort the 50-odd rakes that ply at night between 10pm and 6am.

The shortfall on WR is being replenished by the deployment of home guards but railway authorities said the training of home guards left a lot to be desired and that they couldn’t be considered full-fledged policemen.

Source..rail news

Height of platforms will not change: WR authorities

Navi Mumbai: Railway authorities have revealed that there are no plans to increase the height of platforms at stations despite the spate of accidents in the city.

“All City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) built stations in Navi Mumbai don’t require height increase. Out of 74 stations on the Central Railway corridor that have been identified for repair, none of them are from Navi Mumbai. We did track lifting during monsoon, due to waterlogging in low lying areas, and now they are fine,” said a high-ranking Cidco official.

The subject of unequal platform height came into focus again last week, when 25-year-old Gautam Salve slipped into the gap between the station and train on platform no 2 in Vashi. He was taken to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries. The CR, however, are refusing to acknowledge that the accident was due to the gap.

“The exact reason of the death of the passenger at Vashi station has not been established. It was not due to the gap between the platform and rake, as all the platforms in Navi Mumbai are okay including Vashi,” said a CR official.

But activists claim CR and Cidco officials are shrugging their responsibility. According to CR rules, the height between platform and rake should not be more than six inches, “But currently, across four platforms in Vashi, the gap ranges from 6-18 inches,” an official said.

It was earlier reported that stations across the city were sinking as they had been built on marshy land and if corrective measure was not taken soon, accidents would occur with alarming frequency.

“Almost all platforms in Navi Mumbai stations are in bad shape. None of the platforms conform to the latest height norms. The new trains create the mismatch. It’s high time the railways took action and reduced the gaps,” said Dinesh Parekha, an activist.

Commuters said they feared for their lives and had to take special care while boarding trains.

“This negligent attitude on part of the railway officials will only invite a number of disasters in the coming days,” said a commuter.

The “international standard railway stations” in Navi Mumbai have been left neglected and ignored by railway officials who are in no hurry to take adequate measures and avoid accidents, said activists.

“Authorities are yet to learn from the commuter’s death in Vashi,” said Anita Singh, a member of Rail Pravashi Sangh.

Source..rail news

Bengaluru-Nagercoil Express via Karur and Namakkal receive Good Response

New train enthuses commuters enroute

Nagarcoil (NCJ): Operation of the new Bengaluru-Nagercoil Express via Karur and Namakkal has received a good response from the public in the region. Though delayed, the launch of the new service via Karur-Namakkal-Salem section would benefit people from Karur and Namakkal districts immensely.

So far, people of Namakkal district lacked direct connectivity to southern districts and with Bengaluru. They were forced to travel either to Erode, Salem or Karur to catch trains for southern destinations involving a time consuming process.

The Railway Ministry had announced in the previous budget that a superfast express service connecting Bengaluru and Nagercoil would be introduced. Though the supposed timing of the train was scheduled, there was no sign of the train. It was under these circumstances that the Railways suddenly decided to launch the new service from Bengaluru on Friday.

Train number 17235 leaves Bengaluru at 5.00 p.m. and travelling via Bengaluru Cantonment, Hosur, Dharmapuri, Salem and Namakkal, the service reaches Karur at 12.35 a.m. and after a five minute halt proceeds via Dindigul, Madurai, Virudhunagar, Sattur, Kovilpatti, Tirunelveli and Valliyur to reach Nagercoil at 07.50 a.m. the day after. On return, train number 17236 leaves Nagercoil at 4.25 p.m. and reaches Karur Junction at 11.40 p.m. and reaches Bengaluru at 9.05 a.m. the next day.

“The train is a surprise gift to the people of Namakkal and Karur districts as we get additional and direct train to southern destinations. The service is the first direct long distance train via Salem-Karur broad gauge line, and we expect some more services in the sector now,” said K. V. Parasaran, a vegetables exporter based in Karur and Dindigul.

Another frequent traveller and textile entrepreneur who cater to domestic destinations P. Dinakaran observed that many small and medium textile manufacturers would benefit from the service as it connects two major markets in southern districts and Bengaluru.

Source..rail news

President inaugurates KRISHI VASANT-2014: Railway runs 21 Special Trains

Nagpur (NGP): Krishi Vasant, the biggest ever farm exposition so far, was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee in a glittering ceremony yesterday. The President lauded the ‘new dimension and new direction’ provided to Indian farming in the last ten years, which has seen the country achieving food security and becoming a top exporter of foodgrains. In this period, special initiatives taken for increasing foodgrain production in the eastern part of the country, production of pulses and oilseeds and provision of credit to farmers have resulted in second agricultural revolution in the country, he said.

Central Railway and South East Central Railway have made arrangements for berthing of trains carrying farmers from various parts of the country for the national agriculture fair and exhibition KRISHI VASANT-2014. Railways have deployed staff and supervisors at Nagpur, Ajni, Khapri and Butibori stations for guidance of farmers coming for this exhibition.

The officers and staff and additional security is deployed at stations to managing the extra rush of passengers.

The various trains that are coming to city are Igatpuri-Butibori, Belvandi-Nagpur, Ahmednagar-Nagpur, Ahmednagar-Ajni, Pune-Ajni, Pune-Nagpur, Satara-Ajni, Navapur-Khapri, Madurai via.Chennai-Nagpur, Trichi-Nagpur, Kochhuvelli-Nagpur, Gorakhpur-Nagpur, Lucknow-Nagpur, Allahabad-Nagpur, Varanasi-Nagpur, Saharanpur-Nagpur and Baribrahman-Ajni.

Apart from this, 10 additional coaches will be attached to various trains running via.Nagpur. Other than this, five trains will arrive on Nagpur Division of South East Central Railway at Itwari and Kalumna stations from different parts of the country. They are Hatia-Itwari, Shalimar-Kalumna, Sambalpur-Kalumna, Bhubaneshwar-Itwari and Brahmapur-Kalumna expresses.
Farmers block train in Salem

Demanding that berths be given to them for their journey, about 60 farmers blocked the Trichy – Nagpur special train at Salem Railway Junction here on Saturday. Farmers from various parts of the State had been selected by the Government to undergo training in Nagpur. Hence farmers boarded the special train in Trichy. When the train arrived at Salem junction in the late hours on Saturday, farmers blocked the train. They alleged that instead of being given berths in the trains, they were allowed only to travel in seats for their 36-hour-long journey to their destination in Nagpur. They demanded that they be provided berth facility for the duration of the journey. The blockage by the farmers continued till late in the night, because efforts by the railway officials and the Government Railway Police to resolve the issue did not yield any result. After about an hour, the train left after the farmers were assured of berths.

Source..rail news

It’s now ‘Mumbai Metro’ and not ‘Reliance Metro’

Mumbai: The Versova–Andheri–Ghatkopar will now be officially called as ‘Mumbai Metro’ and not ‘Reliance Metro’.

For almost a year now there have been differences between the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Reliance Infrastructure Ltd over labelling the 11.46 km long first metro corridor.

“Yes, Reliance Infrastructure Ltd has agreed to rename metro rail project as ‘Mumbai Metro’ from ‘Reliance Metro’. The changes in project name at the stations and other locations will start soon,” confirmed UPS Madan, Metropolitan Commissioner of MMRDA.

The development authority is part of Mumbai Metro One Private Limited, the consortia consisting of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd and Veolia, who is implementing the first metro rail project.

According to RInfra, the logo and brand name ‘Reliance Metro’ had got finalised back in July 2013 as the MMRDA had not responded to the designs and logos submitted.

During end of 2013, the MMRDA had kept its foot down by asking Reliance Infrastructure Ltd to change project name to ‘Mumbai Metro’, which Reliance Infrastructure Ltd was not ready for. The private player’s claim was that it had a majority stake in the project, thus making it eligible to name the entire project after the company.

The reworked logo will not be devoid of the name of Reliance Infrastructure or MMRDA as Madan added that, “Reliance and MMRDA shall be mentioned below the logo.”

Earlier this year, Republican Party of India as well as Shiv Sena too staged protests asking that the project should be named after ‘Mumbai’. Even Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan was of the same opinion.

The foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on June 21, 2006, but ground work began on February 8, 2008. Reliance Infrastructure Ltd had promised to complete the project by December 2010, but missed the deadline. The concession agreement mentions that deadline as March 2012, which was missed due to lack of Right of Way.

Having also witnessed cost escalation from Rs.2356 crore to Rs.4321 crore, the Mumbai’s first metro rail is now slated for commissioning by March this year provided all the safety clearances and approvals are received for the 11.46 km corridor.
Source..rail news

407 acres of Railways land retrieved from land grabbers

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Railways have retrieved 407 acres of land worth billions of rupees from land grabbers as part of its measures to eradicate corruption and ensure good governance in the department.
The department is also engaged in devising a mechanism for future according to which high value land would be leased out on identification of “In House Consultant” and through transparent manner to generate maximum revenues.
According to Pakistan Railways here on Sunday, the present government has adopted numerous measures to eradicate corruption and introduced a scrap policy to override corruption in sale of scrap. Scrap will be sold out through open advertised competitive bidding supervised by a committee of Principal Officers to ensure transparency.
The department said through consistent efforts of railway administration, the ticketless traveling has been controlled to larger extent while theft of electricity in Railway offices and houses has been controlled by raiding at odd and peak hours. 
Around Rs.17 million have been recovered during last six months whereas four FIRs have been lodged against main culprits.
Moreover, local purchase system is also being improved by issuing Procedure Orders to follow instructions of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PEPRA) and Stores Codes. The department has introduced Automation System for Pensioners to eliminate ghost pensioners as a pilot project in Lahore and would be expanded to entire system.
Similarly, transfer and posting of choice which was a source of corruption, has been controlled through transfer and posting on purely on merit, efficiency and void of any political influence.
The allotment of houses, another source of corruption and mismanagement, has been streamlined and now houses are allotted strictly in accordance with priority list.
The procurements in railways including Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) portfolio used to be contractor driven and its priority was determined by the contractors, but now the PSDP projects are executed according to the priority of Pakistan Railways in the best national interest.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has been involved and requested to accord top priority to investigate and finalise the Pakistan Railways cases.
Furthermore, as part of the measures, officers/officials of high integrity and good reputation are posted against key positions to ensure good governance and transparency in all discipline of the organisation.
The present authorities have also activated Railway Police to make off and on raid to detect corrupt practices and not only lodge FIR, but actively follow these in courts with full evidences for early finalisation.





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