Apr 8, 2014

Passengers in Chirayinkeezhu may use NOTA option in Polls as a mark of protest

Chirayinkil (CRY): The railway passengers in Chirayinkeezhu may use the NOTA option this time in the Lok Sabha election as a mark of protest against the failure of all major political fronts to persuade the Railway authorities to allot stops for certain trains passing through the Chirayinkeezhu railway station.

According to commuters, Chirayinkeezhu railway station is well ahead of many other railway stations under Thiruvananthapuram Railway Division in terms of collection and number of passengers.

However, the passengers complain that the station had not got its fair share in terms of development and train stops. They blamed the MPs of both LDF and UDF who represented the constituency over the years, for the neglect.

The commuters have erected two flex boards on the platforms of Chirayinkezhu station.

“Why should the railway passengers from Chirayinkeezhu vote?” is the question on one flex board. Another flex board says that no development had taken place in the station for the last 15 years. The flex board claims that during this period though the total number of train services in Kerala had tripled only one train stop was allotted to Chirayinkeezhu.

According to commuters, in the last three months more than 50 new train stops were sanctioned in Kerala, but Chirayinkeezhu was ignored by the railway authorities.

Other long-pending demands of Chirayinkeezhu like overbridge are remaining a dream.

Even the temporary stops to trains which were sanctioned during the ‘Kaliyoot’ festival at Sarkara temple were withdrawn. As the Chirayinkeezhu- Kaniyapuram road has been included in the nationalised category, private buses are not allowed to operate on the route adding to the travails of commuters. According to the commuters, one-third of the more than 10,000 passengers depend on Chirayinkeezhu station for travelling between Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam and other far-off places.

The commuters who have erected the flex boards do believe in democracy and so insist that every passenger should vote.

Their message to the voters of Chirayinkeezhu is that they should press the NOTA button to cast their votes in protest.

However, the response from the political parties was quick.

The flex board on the first platform disappeared overnight and the second was destroyed the other day.

But the photographs of the flex boards are already a hit on social networks adding to the heartbeats of the candidates.

Arunachal finally on Indian Railway Map as First Train chugs in Itanagar

Itanagar ईटानगर: The train with 10 passengers and two goods compartments, towed by a diesel engine, left Dekargaon at 7 am and arrived in Itanagar at 12:30 pm, covering a distance of 181 kilometers.

“It is a great day for Arunachal Pradesh,” CD Sharma, who had bought the first ticket for Naharlagun at Dekargaon railway station for Rs 35, said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced introducing train service in his package for the state on January 31, 2008.

Informing about the arrival of the train, Chief Minister Nabam Tuki during an election rally in Itanagar on Sunday announced that Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express would be introduced soon to link Arunachal Pradesh to the national capital.

The ambitious 20-km railway line project had missed its target of December, 2011.

The engine made its maiden trial run from Harmutty to Naharlagun terminus on January 14 last while a high-level team led by Planning Commission member (North East and Power) BK Chaturvedi had inspected the Harmutty-Naharlagun on January
Source..Rail News

BJP’s Election Manifesto promises Bullet Trains, 100 new cities, introduces Rail Corridors

“India should no longer be limited by its infrastructure. In fact, we have to create robust infrastructure, which drives growth,” the manifesto says

New Delhi: BJP today promised to introduce high-speed bullet trains, build 100 new modern cities and expedite freight and industrial corridors to improve the country’s infrastructure and create employment.

In its election manifesto, the party said if elected the government will launch diamond quadrilateral project of high speed train network (bullet train).

“Work on the Freight Corridors and attendant Industrial Corridors will be expedited. This will result in the faster movement of people and goods. PPP would be encouraged to tap into private sector resources as well as expertise,” the manifesto said.

It said that its government will look at urbanisation as an opportunity rather than a threat and steps would be undertaken in transport and housing for ‘Urban Upliftment’ in India.

“We will initiate building 100 new cities; enabled with the latest in technology and infrastructure – adhering to concepts like sustainability, walk to work, etc, and focused on specialised domains. The approach to urban development will be based on integrated habitat development – building on concepts like Twin cities and Satellite towns,” it said.

To enhance Internet penetration, the party said Wi-Fi facilities will be made available in public places and commercial centres.

The manifesto also emphasised on the need to build infrastructure in a futuristic way.

“Growth of this sector means the growth of cement, steel, electricity and many other associated industries and directly leads to massive job creation… We shall modernise existing and operational airports, and build new ones,” it added.

For next generation infrastructure, “we will set up Gas Grids to make gas available to households and industry and set up a National Optical-Fibre Network up to the village level”.

It also promised to launch an Integrated Public transport project and develop national logistics network for faster movement of goods.
Source..Rail News

Elevated Rail Corridor only till Bandra will be ‘Unviable’ – RITES

Bandra बांद्रा (BA): The state government’s suggestion that the Western Railway (WR) elevated corridor be terminated at Bandra may make the project unviable because of low commuter volume.

After a meeting of the chief minister and the PM in November last year about the elevated corridor project, which was stuck because of differences among the railways, the Planning Commission and the state government, a study on passenger projections was commissioned. The reason was that Metro III was to partially run on the same alignment as the initially planned elevated corridor.

“The study was of passenger volume projections if the elevated corridor was allowed to operate only between Virar and Bandra,” said a state government official. “WR commissioned Rail India Technical And Economic Services (RITES), a consultancy arm of the railways, to carry out the study. RITES was also asked to ascertain the drop in passenger numbers owing to the elevated corridor running alongside Metro III (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) and Metro II (Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd).” The existing WR corridor has a ridership (passenger volume) of 35 lakh people per day. The study estimates the ridership of the Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor as 9 lakh passengers per day at 2013 levels.

“This figure was arrived at after it was estimated that around 50% of first-class passengers and 20% of second-class passengers will shift to the elevated corridor. Effectively, this translates into a 23% commuter shift from the existing WR corridor,” said an official.

But the ridership figure for a Virar-Bandra elevated corridor at 2013 levels is estimated at 5.50 lakh passengers per day, said a source. “The loss in ridership is estimated to be 40%, which will make the project financially unviable.”
Source..Rail News

Next Govt should view Indian Rlys as a Strategic Tool, not Legacy Problem: Sanjeev Sanyal

Since the mid-nineties, the experience of travelling around India has changed dramatically. One by one, the old, creaky, paan spit-smeared airports have been replaced by gleaming modern infrastructure. Travellers can now choose from among a number of full-service airlines and budget carriers. The major highways, too, have become much better – and there are some segments that can now be considered to be of international quality. The quality of cars, buses and hotelshas also slowly upgraded itself.

One may still complain that highway expansion has not kept up with the expansion of traffic or that the creation of the infrastructure involved corrupt practices, but one cannot deny the change. There is one area, however, in which there has been almost no change – the Railways. Travelling in today’s trains reminds me of my childhood in the early eighties. The same chaotic stations, the same bogies leisurely clattering along, the same blue rexine bunks in air-conditioned two-tier, and the same coolies in red shirts carrying luggage on top of their heads. Indeed, in many cases, the infrastructure was built in the 19th century.

Indian Railways may be great for nostalgia, but it is failing as the country’s infrastructure backbone. Before Independence in 1947, undivided British India had a railway network of around 69,000 kilometres, of which 55,000 km was inherited by India. Today the network stands at around 65,000 km – an expansion of a mere 18.5 per cent over 66 years!

Contrast this with China, which had a network of just 27,000 km in 1949 (half of it in Manchuria) but now has 110,000 km – a tenth of which is capable of supporting high-speed trains running at 250 km an hour, and some segments up to 350 km an hour.

Forget 21st-century China, India’s post-Independence performance is poor compared to what Victorian engineers were capable of 150 years ago. In the 1870s, they added an average of 749 km of lines per year, with 1,440 km being added in a single year, 1878. And they were not just adding tracks; they also built Victoria Terminus in Bombay (completed in 1887) and Howrah station in Calcutta (completed in 1905) – both extraordinary pieces of architecture. It must be accepted that we have added nothing comparable and, with a few exceptions, continue to use the same crumbling stations that the British left us three generations ago.

Not surprisingly, people are avoiding travelling by Indian Railways wherever other alternatives are available – passenger bookings, excluding the suburban sector, declined by four per cent during April-December 2014. This is quite shocking for a country in which demand for all other infrastructure grows naturally from population and purchasing power growth.

In the last few years, the success of the Delhi Metro has sparked interest in rail as part of the public transport mix of major cities; but there is a need for a much broader relook at Indian Railways as the infrastructure backbone for India as a whole. It is not just that rail transport remains the most efficient way of moving goods in bulk around a big country (only water transport is more efficient); the Railways can play an active role in guiding the way the country urbanises.

It is now widely recognised that India is urbanising rapidly and that it will be an urban majority country within a generation. Around 325 million extra people will have to be accommodated in Indian cities by 2040. This means that existing cities will expand and many new cities will be built. If this transition is done purely on the back of highway-based transport infrastructure, we will end up with urbanisation taking place in ribbons along these highway corridors. This is a very inefficient urban form that uses up a lot of land and smears development in a way that makes it very difficult and expensive to supply urban services to a diffuse population. Moreover, the process is self-defeating; the highway soon gets clogged with local traffic and can no longer function as a long-distance artery.

In contrast, urbanisation based on a railway backbone has the advantage that it forces dense urban clusters around designated hubs. The authorities have far greater control over these hubs and can guide urban expansion as well as supply urban services in a more concentrated way. In other words, the railway network can have a big impact on the evolution of India’s rapidly evolving urban geography.

So what needs to be done? For a start, the next government should treat Indian Railways as a strategic tool for supporting next-generation growth rather than as a legacy system that just needs to be kept going somehow. This means that the authorities will have to think about upgrading everything – the designs of the trains, the signalling system, the stations and so on.

Luckily, a lot of this can be made to pay for itself. It is not merely that it is much easier to get people to buy train tickets than to pay road tolls. Indian Railways sits on huge urban land banks that can be monetised in a variety of imaginative ways. Moreover, the government can leverage revenues from other urban amenities/utilities in densely clustered urban hubs much more easily that a dispersed ribbon along a highway. Hopefully, the government that comes to power in May will focus on these issues.

DMRC Interview 2014 results for various posts out

Delhi: Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Ltd has declared Interview results for recruitment to the posts of Assistant Manager (Finance) and Account Assistant (Finance) on Direct Recruitment basis, and for the post of Legal Assistant.

The Interviews for the post of Assistant Manager (Finance) were held on February 25 and 26, 2014, for the post of Account Assistant (Finance) from March 12 to 14, 2014 and for the contractual post of Legal Assistant the Interview were held on March 11, 2014 in DMRC office.

Based on the performance in the screening tests including Interviews, 37 candidates – 13 for Assistant Manager (Finance) in the pay scale of Rs 20600- 46500 on direct recruitment basis, 21 for Account Assistant (Finance) in the pay scale of Rs 10170 – 18500 on direct recruitment basis and 3 for Legal Assistant (Legal) in the pay scale of Rs 13500-25520 on contract basis for a period of one year; have been provisionally empanelled for selection in DMRC.

The final selection will be done after candidates clear the medical test.

The selected candidates are requested to report at DMRC Office ‘Metro Bhawan, Fire Brigade Lane, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi-110001′ on April 16, 2014 with 6 recent passport size photographs and all origional documents for medical examination.

Country Club allege irregularities in land allotment to Hyderabad Metro Rail

Hyderabad हैदराबाद (HYB): The Country Club of India Limited (CCIL) on Thursday said it would move the high court seeking a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in land allotment to the Hyderabad Metro Rail project.

CCIL was responding to a notice by Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) to partially demolish their corporate office in Begumpet. Addressing the media, club chairman Rajeev Reddy said the move was illegal as the HMRL had given a no-objection certificate (NOC) for the office. HMRL was going ahead with the demolition process despite the high court staying the construction on the premises of the CCIL, he said.

“The CCIL had spared over 1700 sq yards for the Metro Rail project in 2006, following which the HMRL issued an NOC to build the corporate office. We built the office only after receiving the NOC. But now the HMRL has issued a notice to partially demolish the building,” Rajeev Reddy said.

Apart from CCIL, buildings including White House, Lifestyle and Varun Motors face the threat of demolition .

Charging HMRL with deviating from norms and changing the alignment of the project to save properties of some vested interests at the cost of the traders in Begumpet, Reddy said there were irregularities in the land acquisition and allotment. “

I see vested interests of real estate sector behind the move.

We will request the High Court to order a CBI probe into it,” Rajeev said.
Source..Rail News

ECR to run weekly Premium Special Train between Patna-Bangalore

Patna पटना (PNBE): East Central Railway (ECR) has decided to run a weekly premium special train (02353-02354) between Patna Junction and Bangalore Cantt from April 17 to clear rush of passengers. The idea of premium special trains was announced in the interim rail budget this year in Lok Sabha.

This particular train is being introduced on the directive of ECR GM Madhuresh Kumar following requests by various organizations. Its fare will be dynamically charged, similar to air fare from passengers seeking berths at the last hour.

According to ECR CPRO Arvind Rajak, this train will have a load combination of 20 coaches. It will leave Patna Junction every Thursday at 11.30pm and reach Bangalore Cantt on Saturday at 6.55pm. The train will have only five stoppages at Mughalsarai, Jabalpur, Nagpur, Vijaywada and Chennai Central, he said, adding it will be accorded the status of Rajdhani Express.

On return journey, the train will leave Bangalore Cantt every Sunday at 3.30pm and reach Patna Junction on Tuesday at 9.45am. The special train will run on April 17, 24, May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and June 5, 12, 19 and 26 from Patna end while it will run on April 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 25 and June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 from Bangalore Cantt end. There will be 11 trips of the train from both ends, he said.

According to Rajak, ticket booking for this train started from April 7 on the IRCTC site. There will be no waiting list for this train and no quota of berths from railway headquarters or defence quota either. In case of availability of berths even after preparation of chart, passengers could procure tickets from PRS and current reservation counters at Patna Junction or from Bangalore Cantt, he said.

The CPRO said in this train, 573 berths are available in sleeper class, 382 in 3AC and 88 berths in 2AC.

Indian Railways: Silent steps to reform

Several committees suggested a thorough reform of Indian Railways especially that of the Railway Board: Ms.Anusha Soni, Business Standard Correspondent, reports.. (Courtesy: Business Standard)

A friend once told me, if you wish to break a wall, there are two ways to it. Take a bulldozer and crush it in one go. If you can’t afford a bulldozer, buy a small hammer and start hitting on the cement that joins the bricks. One day the wall will fall by a mere push.

By analogy, Indian Railways seems to be hammering its way on the path to reform since it can’t bulldoze due to political compulsions. It is soon expected that train tickets could be expensive by few rupees at the physical counters much like the air tickets. And this development is not just about the expansion of internet and e-commerce but is also indicative of a larger silent process of reform that is underway in Indian Railways.

A variety of expert committees including the White Paper on Indian Railways have suggested a thorough reform of Indian Railways-especially that of the Railway Board. Key recommendations from across committees have been asking for diluting powers of the Railway Board, corporatizing the Railways under the Company’s Act like China, setting up a tariff board for rationalizing freight and passenger fares. But the fundamental question of ‘how’ remains to be answered.

But one can’t expect a revolution. Some Railway Minister will stand up to ‘revolutionise’ the functioning of the ministry and the Cabinet will oblige him. Political compulsions have rallied against reform in Indian Railways and will continue to do so. There is no rational for justifying the separate Rail budget other than the fact that we are following a British convention. The colonial power laid special emphasis on the Railway and network expansion for tapping the resources of the country. And like many others, the tradition has persisted without questions.

The tradition has been exploited for political advantages-Announcing unfeasible projects in home state of the Railway Minister, without checking on the fund reserve laying ambitious plans for new lines and trains. And the result is that Indian Railways currently has a backlog of projects over Rs one lakh crore.

But the silver lining is that there is a silent bureaucracy at work that is pushing step by step reform of the country’s largest employer. Passenger fare hike has moved out the Rail budget, making the procedure more rational and immune from electoral populism. The introduction of fuel adjustment component that would hedge the fuel price hike with freight rate was for the first time applied for passenger fares, though Railways is still absorbing majority of the losses on passenger side.

Premium trains introduced this year whose fares start with base tatkal fare and move along the demand curve is another reform step that boldly attempts to serve the demand and is not shy to earn few extra bucks, quite contrary to Railways traditional thinking of ‘social responsibility’.

And soon Railway ticketing would move largely online and special cess would be introduced at the physical counters and that is an indirect way of increasing fares. And all of this happened when the Railways had no uniform political leadership for four years. The Ministry had six Railway Ministers in the span of six years, indicative of the bureaucracy that is pushing the reforms.

But the resistance is not unfound. After much tiff between the Planning Commission and Indian Railways, the proposal of Plan Com found its way and the Rail Tariff Authority, pending an amendment in the Railways Act, 1989- will be a regulatory one armed with full powers to decide freight and passenger fares. An interim advisory body should be constituted by the year end.

Recently, a high level committee under Rakesh Mohan suggested that without the development of Indian Railways the required to boost to manufacturing sector and economy is impossible. Various experts have forecasted that the next big revolution is waiting to happen in the Indian Railways. And it wouldn’t be an Arab Spring but rather an tiring bureaucratic process full of resistance and drudgery.
Source..Rail News





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