Mar 27, 2014

Tracking the Spirit That Drives the Great Indian Railway

An exhibition to commemorate the 160 years of history was inaugurated at the Central Railway Station by P K Misra, Divisional Railway Manager, Southern Railways, here on Wednesday. The exhibition is on till March 28, and is open to the public.

On 16 April, 1953, the first journey on a steam engine driven train commenced from Mumbai to Thane. This first passenger train with 14 coaches travelling a distance of 34 kilometres marked the beginning of a heritage that would grow to become one of the the defining points of India itself, the Indian Railways.

After 160 years the Indian Railways now operates over 11 thousand trains every day travelling a distance equal to three times that of a journey to the moon from the earth and back, and catering to a population of 2.2 crore, which is greater than the populations of Norway, Sweden and Denmark put together. It is now the fourth largest railway network in the world, having tracks that span a length of 63,940 kilometres, covering all the places in India from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir to Kanyakumari at the Southern tip, all under one managing authority. The main tracks connecting the four metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata – known as the Gold Square, constitute only 16 per cent of the network but serves over 50 per cent of passengers and goods transport.

The Indian Railways is one of the top employers in the world boasting a strength of over 14 lakh employees who benefit from medical, housing, pension and education schemes. With the growth in economy, the Indian Railways has also developed to modernise facilties and increase the length and number of passengers on each train. Today, a train could have up to 24 coaches extending to half a kilometre and carry up to 1,500 passengers. A journey through the rail network could give one a glimpse of hundreds of languages and thousands of traditional delicacies.

The Indian Railways has been instrumental in the railway growth of countries like Tanzania, Iraq, Columbia and Mozambique. It manufactures and exports coaches to Thailand, Myanmar, Taiwan, Philippines, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Nigeria and Bangladesh. indian express

Hyderabad metro rail on KCR radar

TRS chief threatens to stall works at three spots as it poses danger to Hyderabad’s cultural heritage. He alleged the works were a conspiracy to erase the rich cultural heritage of Hyderabad.

TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao raked up another controversy on Wednesday by threatening to stall the Metro Rail works at Sultan Bazaar, Moazamjahi Market and Assembly.

He alleged the works were a conspiracy to erase the rich cultural heritage of Hyderabad. He said the Assembly is a heritage structure, while Sultan Bazaar and Moazamjahi Market are business centres. Nevertheless, Mr. Rao said, he got an assurance from L&T engineers whom he summoned on Tuesday that the works would not be taken up at these spots.

Urging people to brace up for power woes, he said electricity shortage was inevitable in the first two years of Telangana State due to supply-demand mismatch. He hastened to add that the TRS government would ensure 24-hour supply to agriculture after that. He said their government would enact a piece of legislation providing 12 per cent reservation to Muslims. The model of Tamil Nadu which has extended 67 per cent quota for weaker sections would be adopted.

He promised completion of Hyderabad-Karimnagar railway line and a corruption-free government. It was the TRS alone which understands the requirements of people, he said.

Mr. Rao was addressing a meeting to admit into TRS a medical doctor from Jagtial M. Sanjay Kumar for whom he announced a party ticket.

Mr. Rao promised to make Jagtial as a separate district of Telangana within six months of the party assuming power. In addition to the 10 existing districts, the TRS would carve out 14 more districts in the region for administrative convenience.

To increase the irrigated area of Telangana, Mr. Rao said the TRS will implement regenerated water technology aimed at sending back the runoff water from fields into river Godavari. The technology will increase the ayacut in Korutla Assembly constituency by 30,000 acres.

Earlier, followers of ticket aspirants of Narsapur created a scene at the TRS Bhavan raising slogans and holding placards demanding tickets for their leaders.
SOurce..the hindu

Clarification on the educational qualification for direct recruitment to the post of Health & Malaria Inspector, Grade-III in Pay Band of Rs. 9300-34800 (Grade Pay: Rs.4200)

RBE No.27 /2014
No. E(NG)-11/99/RR-1/91. New Delhi, Dated: I8/03/2014.
The General Manager (P),
All Zonal Railways/Production Units
Sub: Clarification on the educational qualification for direct recruitment to the post of Health & Malaria Inspector, Grade-III in Pay Band of ~9300-34800 (Grade Pay: Rs.4200).
References have been received from zonal railways seeking clarification whether candidates in possession of Diploma from following institutions can be accepted for direct recruitment to the post of Health & Malaria Inspector, Gr.11I in Pay Band of Rs. 9300-34800 (Grade Pay: Rs. 4200) vide instructions contained in Board’s letter No. E(NG)II/2007/RR-l/49 dated 30.5.2008 :-
(a) Diploma in Public Health & Sanitation Technology awarded by Institute of Public Health & Hygiene, Mahipalpur, New Delhi; and
(b) Diploma in Health & Sanitary Inspection awarded by Vinayaka Mission University, Salem.
The issue has been under examination of this Ministry and it has now been decided that aforesaid Diploma cannot be accepted in lieu of the prescribed qualification for direct recruitment from open market to the post of Health & Malaria Inspector, Grade-III in Pay Band of  Rs. 9300-34800 (Grade Pay: Rs. 4200).
Please acknowledge receipt.
(Hindi version will follow).
{This disposes off Southern Railway’s letter No. P(S)268/Vlll/lndents/HI/Vol.IlI dated 29/10/2012, 07/2/2013, 27/3/2013 and 20/5/2013 and South Western Railway’s letter No. SWR/P.563/VIlI/H&MI/Med/Vol.lI dated 18/1/2013}.
(Harsha Das)
Director Estt. (N)-II
Railway Board

Ayodhya Nagar post office gets city's 1st railway ticketing counter

NAGPUR: Five years after it was announced in the rail budget, the city's first railway reservation counter to function from post office opened in Ayodhya Nagar in Sakkardara area on Wednesday. The counter will function between 8am and 2pm. It was commissioned by South East Central Railway (SECR) divisional railway manager (DRM) Alok Kansal. Nagpur post master general (PMG) Vandita Kaul was also present.

The facility will go a long way in benefiting residents of South and East Nagpur areas who used to come to reservation counters at either main station or Ajni. SECR has reservation counters at Motibagh and Itwari. Railway reservation facility through post-offices was first announced in 2009 by then railway minister Mamata Banerjee.

Earlier, Central Railway had proposed five counters at GPO, Shankar Nagar, Hingna MIDC and Kamal Talkies Chowk post offices. However, the proposal was dropped by the railway headquarters in view of city already having sufficient number of railway's own counters. "Our focus is on post-offices in rural areas and accordingly we have opened counters in Shahapur and Sarni in MP. Two more are proposed in Betul and Bhaisdehi in MP," said Central Railway PRO PD Patil.

Patil said in Nagpur there are 17 reservation counters besides 12 authorized rail travel service agents (RTSA). "Though we have kept all options open, there is greater need for such counters at post-offices in rural parts where people have to come a long way to book tickets," he added.

However, Patil failed to explain rush of passengers at the counters. ZRUCC member Basant Shukla said the rush was due to closure of 50% counters at main station and Ajni. More counters were needed looking into the increasing number passengers and trains, he said.

Central Railway sources countered this saying more counters were not needed in view of increasing number of e-tickets. Of every 100 tickets sold , 45 were e-tickets and their number is growing. "You need to justify counters through ticket sales, which is just 110 daily at each counter at Nagpur and Ajni. It should be over 200," said an official.
Source..Times Of India

Titwala derailment: Railways blame state, MMRDA for teen's death

The death of 18-year-old Dhaval Lodaya has once again brought to the fore the pathetic road infrastructure and lack of planning in Mumbai’s transport system.

Dhaval Lodaya’s parents show a picture of their bleeding son during the protest at CST. The family submitted a letter to the DRM, blaming the railways for a delay in fetching an ambulance to the accident spot, which resulted in their son’s death. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

Dhaval’s family and friends protested on Monday and blamed railway authorities for failed disaster management; after the accident, his friends had tried hard to get an ambulance to their bleeding friend, but the tracks were not accessible to the vehicle.

Even after it managed to reach the victims, the vehicle was stuck in a traffic jam. The road between Kasara and Kalyan is in terrible condition, as it is dug up in long patches, causing long lines of vehicles to line up frequently. Railway officials claim they have written several letters to the state government and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). “When there is any problem on the suburban rail, it is a headache for us, too.

We feel helpless, as ambulances cannot make their way towards the accident site on time, which, at times, results in victims dying. We have written several letters to state government agencies to improve the roads along the rail tracks, but nothing has happened,” said a senior official from Central Railway (CR), who didn’t wished to be named.

Presently, road connectivity beyond Thane is poor and cannot take load of vehicles, especially during rail disasters. Similarly, on the Western Railway (WR), the road network is pitiable after Borivli, towards Virar. “We have written reminders to carry out vital work on the roads from time to time. But, there is hardly any improvement,” said a WR official.

Lack of coordination
With the dismal coordination and communications arrangement between railways and the government, life becomes difficult for the common man. Transport planners claim that in cities across the world, road networks are meticulously planned and actually created.

“Alternate modes of transport and planning to expand the road network here is simply on paper,” said A V Shenoy, a transport expert. “At the very least, 4-lane roads need to be created along railway lines, so that during emergencies dispersal can happen,” added a government official.

Family meets railway accident committee
The family of Dhaval Lodaya, who died in the Kasara-CST train derailment, met the Railway Accident Monitoring Committee yesterday at Dadar to discuss the issues involving the care of Railway accident victims.

The role of this High Court-appointed committee is to raise railway related issues on accidents on tracks, discuss them, arrive at a solution and give a report to the HC and Indian Railway.

Based on the report, the court then directs railways to carry out necessary work for improving travelling conditions on suburban rail systems. The committee comprises Central and Western Railway officials (divisional medical officers and engineers), railway police, NGO representatives and commuter activists.

First, Jay Lodaria, Dhaval’s friend who was travelling with him, narrated the entire incident. Members then asked questions to learn further details. Family members also put forth these suggestions to ensure such incidents don’t occur in future:

>> Stretchers to be kept in the guard and motorman’s cabin for accident victims
>> Stationmasters and their staff to be trained to handle accident victims
>> Proper disaster management team to be made available at every station to take care of such situations.

MMRDA speak
Dilip Kawathkar, spokesperson for MMRDA, said, “If the local municipal council sends a proposal to us for any specific development, we will surely look into it.”

Russia's Brunswick Rail raising $150 mln via EBRD deal

Russian railcar leasing company Brunswick Rail is raising up to $150 million by issuing preference shares to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), it said, signalling some appetite for financing despite the Crimea crisis.

The company said on Thursday the preference shares were a "pre-IPO equity instrument" to give Brunswick Rail an alternative source of equity capital from a new strategic investor, in a deal "tailor-made" for its funding requirements.

A source close to the company said Brunswick Rail still saw an IPO as an option for the medium term.

Brunswick Rail, which leases its fleet of more than 24,500 railcars to corporate clients, has been considering going public for the last couple of years, sources have said.

But several Russian companies have put IPO plans on ice after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine and the United States and European Union imposed sanctions on Russian individuals, plunging East-West relations to a post-Cold War low.

"The completion of this deal shows that, despite current market sentiment, there is still appetite to finance high quality corporate stories where there are clear growth opportunities," said CEO Alex Genin in a statement.

The company needs $400 million to $500 million to fund its growth, a source close to the company said.

Of this, $150 million is being raised via Thursday's transaction, up to $300 million will likely be from a rouble bond - which includes $100 million refinancing - and up to $100 million will come from free cash flow.

The EBRD will be able to allocate $30 million of the preference shares to international investors, Brunswick Rail said.

In 2012 the company raised $600 million in a five-year Eurobond, with proceeds to be used to fund growth. [ID nL1N0C44JI]

History of Indian Railways on display

The HinduA photo exhibition on 160 years of Indian Railways at the Central railway station in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: S. Gopakumar

The web of railway tracks crisscrossing the nation has rightly earned the description of being a ‘lifeline.’ Everyday, over 11,000 trains chug their way to nerve-centre cities and the remotest villages in the country. The fascinating history of Indian Railways has been encapsulated at an ongoing exhibition at the Central Railway Station at Thampanoor, commemorating 160 years of the organisation. Additional Divisional Rail Manager T. Kuppan inaugurated the exhibition on Tuesday morning.

Old photographs and snippets on landmark achievements of the national rail network has been arranged on the walls of the VIP lounge on platform one. Railways are now said to host 22 million passengers every day, which is more than the total population of Norway, Sweden and Denmark combined.

There is a reference to the ‘Golden Square,’ a network that connects New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata — a distance that is merely 16 per cent of the total network but carries nearly half the total number of passengers. Other impressive statistics include the 1.4 million strong workforce of the Indian Railway and the longest route, travelled by the Vivek Express which extends from Kanyakumari, right at the southern-most tip of the nation, to Dibrugarh in Arunachal Pradesh. This journey now takes 82 hours and 4,200 km between the two stations.Stunning landscapes

The exhibition also shows the stunning landscapes through which the trains pass. The sheer range of scenes visible right outside the window is shown, including the mist-shrouded mountains plied by the Kalka-Shimla, Darjeeling-Himalaya railways, which have been declared as UNESCO heritage sites. Information on resources and production centres of rail components are also displayed.

Historical facts figure prominently among the 25 boards. There is a photograph of the first train journey in the country in April 16, 1853, from Bori Bandar (now, Mumbai) to Thane – that comprised 14 coaches and covered 34 km. However, all the display boards are in Malayalam and for the many tourists passing the train station, the information is lost.

The exhibition will continue till March 28.
Source..the hindu

Ponekkara bridge: railway gets ready to begin works

The HinduPeople dangerously crawl beneath trains to reach the other side, at Edappally Railway Station in Kochi. This will be a thing of the past once the Ponekkara bridge comes up. Photo: Vipin Chandran
The HinduThe bridge will span over seven railway tracks and there will be no pillars supporting the bridge's rail portion. Photo: Vipin Chandran

RBDCK to follow suit once land acquisition is over

The work on an overbridge proposed near Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) at Ponekkara is expected to gain pace with the Southern Railway inviting tenders for constructing the bridge’s span over railway lines.

The bridge will be a boon to commuters and thousands of patients who visit AIMS daily. Patients and others visiting the hospital now travel around 3 km extra through narrow roads to reach the hospital. The demand for the bridge grew louder as many people crossing railway tracks to avoid the circuitous route have been knocked down by trains.

With Lok Sabha polls at the footstep, people of the area have come out in the open demanding speeding up of bridge’s construction.

The railway portion of the bridge would be around 55 metres long — among the longest in the State. It is estimated to cost Rs. 5 crore. “There will be no pillars supporting the bridge’s rail portion, which would pass over seven railway tracks,” said Dani Thomas, the Chief Administrative Officer (Construction) of Southern Railway.

Railway had given administrative sanction for the bridge in 2011 and approved the revised design about a year ago. A regular bridge would come up in place of what was conceived as a small bridge. The total project cost is expected to be around Rs. 30 crore, which rose from Rs. 12 crore in 2011.

Land acquisition for the project is minimal since vacant land is available on one side. Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK) is expected to build the bridge’s side spans.

A senior RBDCK official said the land acquisition process and the agency’s work on side spans would be hastened since the railway has invited tenders for the rail portion (which is expected to be built by year-end). “The State government will bear the full project cost since the bridge is not over a level-crossing (in which case the railway would have shared the cost).”

Resume road link

The two-lane bridge will link what was once the Edapally-Paravur highway, which got severed after railway tracks were laid. It would provide a shortcut to Paravur from Palarivattom and motorists need not touch the crowded Edappally Junction, said K.A. Francis, the treasurer of Ernakulam District Residents’ Associations’ Apex Council (EDRAAC) and former general secretary of Mahatma Gandhi Residents Association, Edappally, which spearheaded the campaign for the bridge.

“Minister for Public Works V. K. Ibrahim Kunju has promised to allot funds for speeding up the project,” Mr Francis said.

People of the area and commuters have been demanding removal of encroachers from the road that leads to AIMS, since they often hold up ambulances and vehicles transporting patients in critical condition to the hospital.
Source..the hindu.

BJP likely to promise urban push, railway quadrilateral

The BJP vision document is likely to promise a golden quadrilateral project based on the railway network as part of the measures to push for urbanisation and pull up investment in the economy.

The plans for the Railways seek to replicate the success BJP enjoyed while in power between 1998-2004 when it had pushed for a rapid expansion of roads as a key to revive investment in the economy.

At least two sources associated with the drafting of the document said this will be executed by corporatising Railways as a means for job creation and serving the expanded urbanisation of the economy through support for public transport. A corporatised Railways can attract foreign direct investment without having to go through Parliament. The UPA government, too, at the fag-end of its term had planned to amend the rules to bring in 100 per cent FDI in Railways.

The Indian railway network has an investment backlog of over Rs 14,00,000 crore as per its own vision document prepared in 2012. While it has a track length of over 64,000 kilometres, none of it can support trains with speeds of over 150 kms per hour. The Railway’s blueprint had estimated that it needs three times more locomotives, wagons and coaches than it currently operates to come close to the performance standards of the best rail networks in the world.

In comparison, the Congress manifesto, released on Wednesday, is much less gung-ho about the sector. While it says that the party plans to link all million-plus cities through high-speed rail and complete the Western and Eastern arms of the dedicated freight corridors, “which will revolutionise freight transport in India”, there is no talk of leveraging the sector in any other way. Despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s public support for more investment in Railways, the coalition partners in the UPA dried up cash flow to India’s largest infrastructure sector by keeping passenger fares unchanged for nine years.

The focus on the Railways is part of a four pronged strategy the BJP plans to adopt in its manifesto, due out soon. “The manifesto’s priorities, in this order, are jobs, investment, manufacturing and infrastructure,” said one BJP official involved in drafting the document was quoted by Reuters as saying. More investment in Railways will also support a quick revival of investment in the economy that has slipped to 32 per cent in FY 14. “Each zonal Railways can work as profit centres with the railway ministry only acting like the telecom commission now does, to vet policy decisions at the macro level”, said a source associated with the work on the document. Shailendra Mehta, professor (strategy) at IIM Ahmedabad said the BJP has been more constructive than the redistributive emphasis of Congress and that would show in its manifesto. “But the economic promises in all of those documents would still include an element of public noise, so one has to look carefully which way the promises go after the elections are over”.

But Shiv Sena member Suresh Prabhu said the plans on energy and public transport are viable blueprints their alliance partner would want to work on, if elected to power.

The document could also suggest ways down the role of Planning Commission to that of an advisory body and instead bring all fund transfer to the state gradually under the Finance Commissions which are set up every five years.
SOurce..indian express.

TRS for change in alignment of metro rail

HYDERABAD: Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday said the new Telangana government would change the alignment of Hyderabad metro rail project if his party is voted to power in the coming elections. He said the metro rail alignment must go underground near the state Assembly building, Sultan Bazaar and Mozamjahi Market to save shops and buildings from demolition.

"It is necessary to save the heritage structures such as Assembly building apart from protecting the traders of Sultan Bazaar and Mozamajahi market. While we require an infrastructure project like metro rail, we will ask the Larsen & Toubro, that is constructing the project, to take the stretch near the Assembly building underground," said KCR.
Source..times of india

Major US port eyes expanding Indian businesses

"With India's fast-paced economic growth, we see scope to grow 2-way trade between the Port and India through variety of commodities," port president and CEO said.

WASHINGTON: A major American port has entered into an agreement with an Indian shipping company to gain more business both in steel imports and capital investment. 

Located in the US state of Louisiana, the New Orleans port has reached an agreement with India's Samsara Shipping to represent the Port in India. 
Source..economic times

Delhi Metro on the heritage track

The HinduConstruction work in full swing at the Mandi House new Metro Station, in New Delhi on Wednesday. 

New Mandi House station will have artwork depicting history

Imbibing a history lesson on your way to work or college is what the Delhi Metro has in store for commuters at the new Mandi House station, which is expected to open soon.

Artwork inside the station, which is coming up next to the existing one, showcases the area’s transformation “from brick kilns to a culture circle”. The facade of the station, with its jaaliwork, blends in with the surroundings, which house theatres, galleries and other cultural institutes. Between the new station and the existing one, there will be two large backlit panels of 37 feet by 6 feet showcasing interesting facts and photographs from the Capital’s history. The panels, covered with protective sheets, have been provided by the Indian Council for Historical Research.

The exhibit includes old photos of present-day landmarks in areas like Modern School, Barakhamba Road. “This line from Central Secretariat to Kashmere Gate is basically a heritage line. There are many historical places on the line, so we wanted to reflect that inside the stations too,” said Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) spokesperson Anuj Dayal.

According to Metro officials, the 3-km Mandi House to Central Secretariat corridor will reduce the rush at Rajiv Chowk station by giving interchange facilities to commuters on the Violet Line. Currently, commuters coming from Badarpur have to change trains twice, at Central Secretariat and Rajiv Chowk, to take the Blue Line (Dwarka-Noida). The new Mandi House station will enable them to change to the Blue Line directly.

The civil work on the new station is complete and the finishing touches are on. The DMRC is awaiting clearance from the Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety to flag off this line. The new station is expected to have a daily footfall of 70,000, while the existing Mandi House station sees 10,000 commuters every day.

For Delhiites, the new station will bring the city’s past and future together.
Source..the hindu





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