Apr 28, 2014

Building MOM rail line will help revitalize region


While full superstorm Sandy financial aid grinds forward with the seeming dispatch of plate tectonics, another road to recovery and revitalization for Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties remains sidetracked — the long-anticipated/longer avoided Middlesex/Monmouth/Ocean (MOM) rail link.

Various governors and state representatives have incessantly railed over this apparent budgetary impasse, when the question should be why reinvigoration of central New Jersey has been put off for so long.

Rail patronage, as well as those opting to ride the bus, has grown significantly of late. Accordingly, the promise of worthwhile traffic levels looks to be in the offing.

Then there are the jobs that re-establishment of reliable rail service would bring to central New Jersey — in both initial construction as well as ongoing maintenance/service of rail travel. (Consider a substantial amount of track is already in place, wending northward from Lakehurst.)

Speaking of jobs, isn’t it reasonable to assume more commercial and industrial businesses might be persuaded to set up shop in our tempest-tossed communities if employee and/or product access and egress are vastly improved?

Indeed, getting from or to work deserves primary consideration, especially when one recognizes the full-time/fender-bending traffic jam that passes for normal vehicular traffic flow on Route 9.

Moreover, let’s not overlook the fact that improved access into and out of any area is often the single greatest contributor to (recovered) property values. As such, what homeowner — and/or municipal money manager — would turn a blind eye to this long-awaited largess?

In short, our penny-wise/dollar-foolish officials need to stop living in the past and start thinking about the present and future. It’s time to get the MOM line back on track!
Source - app

Riyadh industries gaining from rail cargo business

Saudi Arabia holds a vital position in the Middle East Region in terms of cargo movement via containers and it continues to grow, said Bader Abdullah Al-Suweidan, CEO and President of BAAS Ports Services — Riyadh Dry Port.
Compared to road transportation, rail transportation of container cargo is the cheapest and most economical. Many industries in Riyadh are taking advantage of this to export as it reduces their cost and provides a safe passage of cargo inside containers, Al-Suweidan told Arab News in an exclusive interview. 
Coupled with this, the Middle East economy is one of the strongest economies in the world and will continue to rise in the future. This will definitely have a cumulative effect in the shipping and transportation industry in the region in general and the Kingdom in particular, he said.
“The global container shipping industry will definitely rise in 2014 and we expect a huge volume of containers arriving at Riyadh Dry Port in the coming year. With the new port starting at Dammam next year, RDP is capable of receiving containers from both King Abdulaziz Sea Port and Saudi Global Ports (Dammam),” he added. 

Al-Suweidan speaks on key issues in the following interview:

Q: BAAS International Group has taken a number of innovative and pioneering steps to help elevate Riyadh Dry Port on the global map. Can you spell out the group’s plans for future?
A: Riyadh Dry Port (RDP) was started in 1982. BAAS International Group became the contractor for Saudi Railways RDP in March 2012. Since the beginning of April 2012, BAAS Ports Services (BPS) has taken a series of pioneering steps in elevating RDP as one of the top dry ports in the Middle East. Primarily in 2014, the whole yard will be reconstructed with newer roads and newer warehouses. This poses a primary challenge as we need to sustain the current growth while developing the yard to international standards. Newer machinery — RTGs — rubber tired gantry cranes and terminal tractors will be commissioned to sustain the growth of the container movement at RDP. To facilitate an increase in volume of export containers BIG has started its own trucking company BAAS Express. A website riyadhdryport.com has been launched and online container tracking feature has been enabled. Consignees, shipping lines, agents and brokers can now check for the latest and most updated position of the container in the website. RDP is the first port in the Kingdom to implement and Go Live with NAVIS N4 2.3 terminal operating system along with the SAP. RDP has the unique distinction of being the fifth port in the world to implement NAVIS N4 2.3 along with SAP and Psilog- Altai Wi-Fi devices. RDP is ISO 9001:2008 certified port in Saudi Arabia. RDP has the shortest dwell time in terms of container delivery among all other ports in the Kingdom. The truck turnaround time is only 11-12 minutes at RDP. Most of the operational activities are automated and in May 2013 a record of 26,000 containers were delivered in tandem with custom inspection and billing processes. This was for the first time in 31 years that such record figure had ever been achieved. We have achieved a growth of 15 percent as compared to 2011-2012. Currently, RDP handles around 500,000 TEU’s and we aim to hit 1 Million TEU’s by 2016.

Q: What are the opportunities and challenges seen in Riyadh Dry Port’s shipping and logistics industry?
A: Saudi Arabia is very well connected to Europe, Africa and Americas, and on the other hand it is connected to Asia. Riyadh being one of the largest economies in Middle East is a favorable destination to many prospective businesses. RDP will definitely play a pivotal role in up scaling the economy of Riyadh. The volume of containers at RDP is expected to be doubled with a new port — Saudi Global Ports Container Terminal — coming up in Dammam by mid-2014. The new port will be linked with RDP via Saudi Railways Network. New Export Section at RDP will facilitate traders and exporters in Riyadh to export products from RDP to the outside world. Sustaining the current growth while handling all key new developments will be a major challenge for RDP and for shipping and logistics industry. Most of the import containers at RDP arrive from Asia and the emerging markets while there has been a drop in imports from Europe and Americas since they are still recovering from the recession of 2008. We plan to reach out to the global players of Europe and America’s trading and commerce industry, and encourage them to do more business with Saudi Arabia.

Q: What are Riyadh Dry Port’s competitive advantages?
A: Cargo transportation between Dammam and Riyadh via Saudi Railways Wagon Trains is the most convenient, safest and cost-effective method of transporting containers. RDP is easily scalable and can accommodate higher volume of containers than it is currently done. Most of the consignees at RDP are from different verticals of businesses, including manufacturing, steel, pharmaceutical, engineering, logistics and chemical among many others. These industries are the driving force for improving the economy in Riyadh, and Baas Ports Services is committed to helping them achieve higher productivity increasing their revenues. A substantial increase in the number of inflow containers for these industries has motivated Baas Ports Services in maintaining higher standards of sustainability to ensure that its consignees are delighted. Since RDP is the only major dry port in Saudi Arabia, the onus to set an example to other upcoming dry ports is immense. BPS’ skilled management team focuses on strategy instead of administration. We maintain higher standards of service to all our stakeholders and believe in providing efficient, fast, reliable and seamless connectivity between our consignees, Riyadh Customs, shipping brokers and agents.

Q: What is the progress made so far in automation of operational activities?
A: Operations made a series of progressive steps to ensure a smooth movement of containers inside the dry port. Primarily the whole yard was segmented into different locations, namely storage, inspection and delivery. Each location was in turn divided into rows and columns with specific number. Hence a container could be easily located using the specific numbers. RDP also has the unique distinction of implementing Psilog-Altai wireless devices, namely radio data terminals, vehicle mounted terminals and mobile computers. These devices are in turn connected to NAVIS terminal operating system. Hence, when a container is moved, its updated location is automatically recorded in the system. The locations are recorded by tally clerks using RDT’s, and movements are recorded by operators using mobile computers and vehicle mounted terminals. So, at any point of time the most recent location of the container is traced. This type of technology has never been implemented at RDP and this is the first time that this technology has been started. This automation also helps in reducing the number of trips required by outside trucks to collect their specific containers. We operate in two shifts and each shift has specific job duties to perform, which in turn is reflected in their individual KPI’s at the end of every month. BPS has the unique distinction of being the only port in the Kingdom to have the shortest dwell time. From the time the container arrives in RDP, it only takes 4-5 days for the container to be delivered after custom inspection processes. Also the truck turnaround time is the shortest among all other ports. Consignee trucks only take 11-12 minutes to carry their delivery containers out after passing through X-ray machines. There is close competitiveness between employees to outperform each other.

Q: The global economy is recovering from a slump and the shipping industry is limping back to its glorious days. What is the outlook in 2014 for global container shipping industry and terminal industry?
A: The global container shipping industry will definitely rise in 2014 and we expect a huge volume of containers arriving at Riyadh Dry Port in the coming year. With the new port starting at Dammam next year, RDP is capable of receiving containers from both King Abdulaziz Sea Port and Saudi Global Ports (Dammam). Also in 2014, RDP started its export section and already has a huge number of containers that are being exported outside the Kingdom. Compared to road and rail transportation, rail transportation of cargo is the cheapest and most economical. Many industries in Riyadh are taking advantage of this to export as it reduces their cost and provides a safe passage of cargo inside containers. Coupled with this, the Middle East economy is one of the strongest economies in the world and will continue to rise in the future. This will definitely have a cumulative effect in the shipping and transportation industry. Saudi Arabia holds a vital position in the Middle East region in terms of cargo movement via containers and it continues to grow.

Q: What has been the impact of the Kingdom’s Nitaqat program on BIG’s operations and future plans?
A: BIG has taken numerous preventive steps to ensure that the project is not affected by the Nitaqat program. A large number of Saudi nationals were recruited in early 2013 and continue to occupy key positions in this project. More Saudi nationals are being recruited frequently. BIG is proud to be associated with the chamber of commerce in the Eastern Region and continues to play a vital role in providing more job opportunities for qualified Saudi nationals. 

Q: What are the career and training opportunities available for young Saudis?
A: BIG conducts regular interviews for qualified Saudi nationals to be part of the ever growing Riyadh Dry Port project. Once recruited, each employee undergoes a specific orientation and training program pertaining to his particular department. The Operations Training Team trains the employees concerning logistics movements of containers. IT employees get trained in planning and equipment controlling. Technical department train the employees related to machinery, namely straddle carriers and reach stackers. Once the probationary period has been completed and assessment done, every employee has to work according to the daily targets set forth by the management. There are numerous opportunities for all qualified and able Saudi nationals and BIG welcomes them to be part of Riyadh Dry Port’s growth contributing to the economy of Saudi Arabia.
Source - arab news

Bharat Pensioners Samaj Draft Reply to 7th CPC questionnaire for comments & Suggestions highlighting OROP, FMA, NPS Withdrawal, Merger of DR, Exemption from IT etc.

Ms Meena Agarwal
Secretary  GOI Seventh  Central Pay Commission
Post Box No 4599 Hause Khas
P.O. New Delhi -110016
e.mail: secy-7cpc@nic.in


Subject: 7th Questionnaire
Reference: D.O. No 7cpc/15/questionnaire   dated 9th April 2014
‘Bharat Pensioners Samaj’. One of the identified Pensioners Federation by GOI  M/O Personnel,  PG & Pensions-DOPPW and a stake holder. In its capacity as one of the oldest &  largest  Pensioners Organization with over 500 Affiliated associations, submits here under reply to items Nos 10.1 &  10.1.2 under the head ‘Pension’ in the questionnaire
However, as Pension is not independent of Salary suggestions for basic structure are for Salary/Pension.

Item No 10.1 New pension Scheme i.e The retirement benefits of all Central Government employees appointed on or after 1.1.2004 are covered by the New Pension Scheme (NPS). What has been the experience of the NPS in the last decade?

Withdraw New Pension Scheme: for following reasons:
(i) Pension of Govt. employees is a deferred wage. Since wage paid out to them during the course of work tenure is kept low by design, to cater for pension. 
(ii) He/She forgoes with interest 8.33% of govt. matching contribution to PF.
(iii) Pension is a social security measure & cannot be subjected in any way to Market risks (iii) It does not guarantee minimum return & thus lacks the basic fiber of Social Security Scheme (iv). It is in no way better than the existing Scheme (vi)It does not provide guaranteed Family Pension to dependents & disabled siblings which exist in present scheme, even in case of spouse & dependent parents where death of the employee occur in early years of service there is no adequate social security.

Item 10.1.2  i.e.  As for as pre 2004 appointees are concerned, what should be the principles that govern thestructure of pension and retirement benefits?

Basic structure of Pay/ Pension
1. Keeping in view the Socialistic structure of the country , constitutional provisions & to reduce vast  inequality between have & have lots, it is proposed:  The Ratio between maximum & minimum of Salary/ Pension be brought down to  9:1. Ensuring uniformly equal rise in Salary/Pension of all employees/pensioners, irrespective of pre- retiral status. By adopting common multiplication factor for revision of Pension/Pay, as raising the ratio between minimum & maximum of salary/pension to 1:12.85 by 6thCPC  , instead of reducing it,  was  unconstitutional .

In order to cater to the need of talent attraction in all cadres 7th pay commission is requested to  first workout the top most revised salary/pension, divide it by 9 to arrive at the minimum revised salary & then derive a uniform multiplication factor  by dividing minimum of revised Salary/Pension by minimum of pre-revised salary/Pension for  revision of  Pay & Pension with the condition that Pension shall not in any case be less than 65% & family Pension 45% of the last Pay  in Pay Band i.e. Pay in Pay Band+ GP  /Pay scale or of average of last 10 months emoluments (Whichever is more beneficial) as was worked out & recommended by TECS (Tata Economic Consultancy Services)  consultant to Vth CPC (Para 127.9 Vol III 5th CPC report)

2.One Rank one pension: ‘Justice must be equal for all’. Otherwise, it breeds contempt, discontentment, inefficiency, corruption & finally the insurgency. We have seen it happening in Tribal areas of N.E, Chhatishgarh, Jharkand, Orisa, MP etc.

Vast inequality of income and wealth between lowest & the highest paid, violation of Article 14 has already induced contempt, discontent, inefficiency & corruption, in Civil services.

Govt. granted One Rank One Pension (OROP) to Armed forces, Judges granted it to themselves even a period of private practice of lawyer judges, to be counted towards qualifying service. Higher Bureaucracy got it through modified parity.   All other Central Govt. employees & Pensioners are definitely not the 2nd grade citizens!  One Rank one Pension to all retirees is constitutional requirement to ensure equality.

Defence Pensioners:  As far as Armed forces are concerned they do the supreme sacrifice for the country & must be the highest paid .For them the ratio between highest & lowest paid must not be more than 1:5 and instead of being thrown out at an early age they must be transferred to paramilitary/police force after active tenure in armed forces. Otherwise, if these retired army personnel trained in all sort of weaponry are left uncared, they may fall prey to undesirable anti National outfits. In their case it is also essential that retirees from uniformed cadre & civilian defence Pensioners are treated at Par for all purpose

2.Dearness relief : 100% neutralization with automatic Merger with Pension whenever it goes to 50%  :The Pension of Central Government Pensioners undergo revision only once in 10 years during which period the pensionstructure gets seriously dis-aligned; 50% increase in price takes place even in less than 5 years. This results in considerable erosion of the financial position of the pensioner. DR does not adequately take care of inflation at this level. Working employees are getting automatic relief by way of 25% increase in their allowances with every 50% rise in Dearness Allowance. As pensioners do not get any allowances, they feel discriminated against. In order to strike a balance, DR may be automatically merged with Pension whenever it goes to 50% .

3.Additional old age Pension :  5% upward enhancement in pension be granted every five years’  after the age of 60 years & upto 80 years & thereafter as per existing dispensation.       As in the present scenario of climatic changes, incidence of pesticides and rising pollution old age disabilities/diseases set in by the time an employee retires and go on manifesting very fast, needing additional finances to take care of these disabilities and diseases, especially as the cost of health care has gone very high.

4. Pension to be net of Income Tax :  The purchase value of pension gets reduced day by day due to continuously high inflation and steep rise in cost of food items and medical facilities. Retired persons/Senior citizens do not enjoy fully public goods and services provided by Government for citizens due to lack of mobility and many other factors. Their ability to pay tax gets reduced from year to year after retirement due to ever-increasing expenditure on food and medicines and other incidentals. Their net worth at year end gets reduced considerably as compared to the beginning of the year. Inflation, for a pensioner is much more than any tax. It erodes the major part of the already inadequate pension. To enable pensioners, at the far end of their lives, to live in minimum comfort and to cater for ever rising cost of living, they may be spared from paying Income Tax.

5. Restoration of commuted value of Pension in 12 years: Commutation value in respect of employee superannuating at the age of 60 years between 1.1.1996 and 31.12.2005 and commuting a portion of pension within a period of one year would be equal to 9.81 years Purchase. After adding thereto a further period of two years for recovery of interest, in terms of observation of Supreme Court in their judgment in writ petitions No 395-61 of 1983 decided in December 1986, it would be reasonable to restore commuted portion of pension in 12 years instead of present 15 years. In case of persons superannuating at the age of 60 years after 31.12.2005 and seeking commutation within a year, numbers of purchase years have been further reduced to 8.194. Also, the mortality rate of 60 plus Indians has considerably reduced ever since Supreme Court judgment in 1986; the life expectancy  stands at 76 years now. Therefore, restoration of commuted value of Pension after 12 years is fully justified.

6. The 6th Central Pay Commission’s improved benefits, e.g. full pension for 20 years of service/10 years in superannuation cases, last pay drawn or average of last 10 months’ pay whichever is beneficial to the retiring employee as emoluments for computation of pension etc., have been limited only to post-1.1.2006 retirees.  This is in violation of the letter and spirit of Hon’ble Apex Court judgment in Nakara Case. 

We appeal to the 7th CPC to extend the above benefits to all pre-1.1.2006 retirees with monetary benefit from 1.1.2006 to do them equal justice. And that new/improved benefits which 7th CPC may recommend, too be made equally applicable to present & past pensioners

7..Medical facilities: “Health is not a luxury” and “not be the sole possession of a privileged few”. It is a Fundamental Right of all present & past Employees!
To ensure hassle free health care facility to Pensioners/family pensioners, Smart Cards be issued irrespective of departments to all Pensioners and their Dependents for cashless medical facilities across the country. These smart cards should be valid in
  • all Govt. hospitals
  • all NABH accredited Multi Super Specialty hospitals across the country which have been         allotted land at concessional rate or given any aid or concession by the Central or the State govt.
  • all CGHS, RELHS & ECHS empanelled hospitals across the country.
  • Medical attendants. For  reimbursement of bills for treatment & for hospitalization . No referral should be insisted in case of medical emergencies. For the purpose of reference for hospitalization & reimbursement of expenditure thereon in other than emergency cases Doctors/Medical officers working in different Central/State Govt. department dispensaries/health units should be recognized as Authorized medical attendant.

The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is recognized as a fundamental right of all workers in terms of Article 21 read with Article 39(c), 41, 43, 48A and all related Articles as pronounced by the Supreme Court in Consumer Education and Research Centre & Others vs Union of India (AIR 1995 Supreme Court 922) The Supreme court has held that the right to health to a worker is an integral facet of meaningful right to life to have not only a meaningful existence but also robust health and vigour. Therefore, the right to health, medical aid to protect the health and vigour of a worker while in service or post retirement is a fundamental right-to make life of a worker meaningful and purposeful with dignity of person. Thus health care is not only a welfare measure but is a Fundamental Right.

            We suggest that, all the pensioners, irrespective of pre-retiral class and status, be treated as same category of citizens and the same homogenous group. There should be no class or category based discrimination and all must be provided Health care services at par .

8. Hospital Regulatory Authority: To ensure that the hospitals do not avoid providing reasonable care to smartcard holders and other poor citizens, a Hospital Regulatory Authority should be created to bring all NABH-accredited hospitals and NABL-accredited diagnostic Labs under its constant monitoring of quality, rates for different procedures & timely bill payments by Govt. agencies and Insurance companies. CGHS rates be revised keeping in mind the workability and market conditions.

9.Fixed Medical allowance (FMA): As is recorded in Para 5 of the minutes of Committee of Secretaries (COS) held on 15.04.2010 (Reference Cabinet Secretariat, Rashtrapati Bhavan No 502/2/3/2010-C.A.V Doc No. CD (C.A.V) 42/2010 Minutes of COS meeting dated 15.4.2010) which discussed enhancement of FMA: CGHS card estimates for serving Personnel since estimates are not available separately for pensioners M/O Health & Family Welfare had assessed the total cost per card p.a. in 2007-2008 = Rs 16435 i.e. Rs.1369 per month for OPD. Adding to its inflation the figure today is well over Rs 2000/- PM. Ministry of Labour & Employment, Govt. of India vide its letter no. G-25012/2/2011-SSI dated 07.06.2013 has already enhanced FMA to Rs 2000/- PM for EPFO beneficiaries. Thus, to help elderly pensioners to look after their health, Adequate raise in FMA will encourage a good number of pensioners to opt out of OPD facility which will reduce overcrowding in hospitals. OPD through Insurance will cost much more to the Govt. As such the proposal for raising Fixed Medical allowance to Pensioners is fully justified and is financially viable.

            We suggest that FMA for all C.G. Pensioners be raised to at least Rs 2000/- PM without any distance restriction linking it to Dearness Relief for automatic further increase. We further demand that FMA be exempted from INCOME TAX: Fixed Medical Allowance (FMA) is a compensatory allowance to reimburse the medical expenses. As Medical Reimbursement is not taxable, FMA should also be exempted from Income Tax.

10.Grievance redressal Mechanism: Pensioners/Family Pensioners are exploited, harassed and humiliated by their own counterparts in chair, who at the sight of an old person adopt a wooden face and indifferent attitude. Pensioners do not have representation even in Forums & Committees wherein pension policies and connected matters are discussed. The forum of Pension Adalat too is not of much avail as it meets only once a year which is too long a period for an elderly nearer to his end. Moreover, these Adalats deal with settlement claims only. SCOVA too meets only twice a year for about 3 hours at each occasion. Moreover, the scope of SCOVA is limited to feedback on Government policies. DOP (P&PW) is perceived as a toothless authority which lacks direct Service Delivery Capability. It has been striving over the years to redress the Pensioners’ grievances through the ‘Sevottam’ model of the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public grievances; in the absence of strict timeline with punitive clause it is, however, proving to be a failure. Grievances are either not resolved for years or closed arbitrarily without resolving.

We therefore, appeal that for resolving Pensioners complaints of all pensioners,

(i) A strict time line with punitive clause be introduced in “Sevottam model”
(ii) Grievances are not allowed to be closed without resolving.
(iii) SCOVA be upgraded to JCM level covering all Pensioners by introducing suitable legislative amendment if required.

11. Representations in various committees : As recommended vide Vth CPC report Vol III para 141.30 Pensioners’ representatives should be included in various committees & other Fora of Govt where issues relating to the welfare of pensioners are likely to be discussed &debated: Discussing, debating and deciding the matters / Policies relating to Pensioners, with representatives other than those of pensioners, is unfair & against the Rules of ‘Natural Justice’. At present various Committees like National Anomaly Committee (NAC) and JCM (on Pensioner matters), are there wherein matters / policies relating to pensioners’ welfare are discussed and decided, but they do not have pensioners’ representatives with the result their viewpoints, hardships & anomalies are not properly represented. As pensioners are a homogenous class, there is an urgent need to constitute separate Committees for pensioners wherein matters / policies / anomalies relating to pensioners of all Groups, categories &departments may be discussed.

With regards
Truly Yours,

Secy.Genl. Bharat Pensioners Samaj

Copy: Sh.Shiv Gopal Mishra Secretay JCM (Staff side) for necessary favourable action.

Secy. Genl. BPS

Delhi’s old railway stations are filthy, unsafe

दिल्ली Delhi (DLI): Some of the oldest railway stations in the national capital are in a shambles while others have dark, unsafe zones within their premises. Even as 10 April to 16 April was observed as the Railway Week, Delhi’s busiest railway junctions are found to be failing on several counts. They lack basic amenities and hold several unsafe spots. The traffic management around the stations is erratic in a manner such that it hampers passengers’ movement.

The oldest railway junction in the national capital is the Old Delhi Railway Station or Delhi Junction and is housed in a heritage building established in 1864. It was opened to the public in 1903 by the British Indian Government. However, the station over the years has come to be synonymous with filthy platforms, persistent stench, poorly maintained civic amenities and bad management of trains. Once the most important and only connecting link to other states, this station has now been reduced to operating mostly low-grade trains. The junction that handles 250 mail and passenger trains witnesses a footfall of over 3,00,000 passengers every day. Passengers must weave their way past the manually-pulled carts carrying huge cargo cartons.

“It is almost a stampede-like situation here on each platform. Passengers boarding often stumble over the goods carts haphazardly kept in the middle of the platform. Many people have complained about this problem to the station manager, however the situation remains unchanged,” said Sanjay Kaushik, who frequents this junction for his business tours to Kanpur.

When this correspondent visited the spot, the station’s white roof and walls on platform number 1 were freshly painted. However, it could not hide the patches of the leaking roof and spider webs in its corners.

Many platforms were broken in the middle and at the corners while some had been dug up for maintenance work since quite a few months. Heaps of waste could be seen on the platforms and the stench of urine emanating from the tracks was almost unbearable.

“The walls were painted a few days ago because of the impending railway week. This station was renovated some time back, but has returned to its old, neglected form,” said a railway worker, who has been working here for the last 30 years.

Elevators, including those to the waiting room and station exits, were not functional.

“Though the escalators to platforms are running, the huge rush on it makes it difficult for the elderly to step on it. My grandmother had to walk up the long flight of stairs, as the lifts here remain out of order most of the times,” said another commuter who lives in the nearby Chandni Chowk.

However, a Northern Railway official denied that the station has been in a state of disrepair since long. He said, “Plans are in pipeline to refurbish the station and the connecting rail bridges.”

The Sarai Rohilla Railway Station on the New Rohtak Road is another place that raises serious questions on passenger security and lack of basic amenities. Built in 1872, as a halt terminal, the station has not been upgraded over the years. There are no elevators or escalators to its six platforms.

“One of the two main entry points to the station has a large abandoned field next to it, which has become a hub for anti-social elements. There are no police barriers erected nor any police personnel guarding this vulnerable entry/exit point,” said a member of the local railway passengers union.

Even the interiors of the station have deserted corners adjoining a dilapidated building and huge bushes around the corner. The washrooms are filthy with broken ceilings and are located far from the platforms.

The scan machines for security check at the entry to Anand Vihar Railway Terminal often remain non-functional while at times the RPF has to carry out searches without the use of metal detectors. The terminal does not even have a taxi stand and passengers have to walk a few kilometers before they can avail public transport.

Meanwhile, the VIP entry to platform number 1 of the New Delhi Railway Station on the State Entry Road remains a dark zone even after the horrific incident of gang rape of a foreign national here this year.

RPF to form detective dog squad in Villupuram junction

Second station in Tiruchi Railway Division to have such a squad

विल्लुपुरम Villuparam Jn (VM): The Railway Protection Force (RPF) will soon raise a detective dog squad at Villupuram Railway Junction, a major station falling under the limits of Tiruchi Railway Division, as part of an effort to enhance security.

Villupuram will be the second station after Tiruchi Junction to have a dedicated detective dog squad in place.

A newly established kennel to house the sniffer dogs has already been opened at Villupuram Junction from where several long distance trains bound for different destinations branch off.

The squad will have two sniffer dogs to start with — one trained in detecting explosive and inflammable substances and the other would be a “tracker” used for crime detection.

Four field-level RPF personnel would be deputed as handlers to maintain the canines.

A proposal in this regard has already been forwarded to the Inspector General-cum-Chief Security Commissioner, RPF, Southern Railway, Chennai for approval. Funds for maintaining the canines have already been sanctioned.

RPF sources here told that the Villupuram dog squad would be utilised for anti-sabotage and other missions at places including Villupuram, Puducherry, Tiruvannamalai, Cuddalore, Mayiladuthurai and Vellore stations.

At present, dogs from Tiruchi squad were sent across the division that encompasses over 10 revenue districts in Tamil Nadu besides the Union Territory of Puducherry. The idea of forming a dog squad at Villupuram is cater to emergency requirements swiftly at the station and for those situated few hours from Villupuram without having to take the canines all the way from Tiruchi, a senior RPF official here said.

The RPF, which is entrusted with the responsibility of escorting passenger trains, providing security on platforms, passenger and circulating areas besides protecting railway property, has already brought Villupuram and Tiruchi Junctions under the scope of the Integrated Security Scheme to fortify security.

3 GRP constables suspended for assaulting 5 Journalists

इंडोर Indore Jn (INDB): Three policemen were today suspended for allegedly attacking five journalists causing them injuries at the Government Railway Police station here.

The five journalists were injured and admitted to hospital when they were allegedly assaulted by the policemen at the Government Railway Police station here.

“After watching the video-footage of the incident, a head constable and two constables were suspended,” the Superintendent of Railway Police, R C Burra told.

The incident took place late last night when some TV journalists had a dispute with the men employed by the parking contractor near the Indore railway station. A group of scribes reached the GRP station on the premises, demanding immediate arrest of those involved in the dispute.

As the GRP personnel were not ready to entertain the complaint, a heated argument ensued, in which three of the policemen allegedly attacked the mediamen with sticks.

Five journalists were injured and three of them admitted to a private hospital.

Later, on the intervention of senior officials, a case was registered against two of the parking contractor’s men for manhandling and abusing.

It may take 5 years for Central Railway to modify rakes

मुंबई Mumbai: After the Bombay high court asked the suburban railways to have a separate coach for senior citizens, railway authorities have said that they would require five years to modify the trains to include a separate coach for senior citizens. The Bombay HC had asked the railway authorities to come up with a plan within six weeks to make travel more comfortable for senior citizens. The order came on Wednesday as a PIL had asked for separate coaches like the ones provided for the handicapped.

A CR officer, on condition of anonymity said, “We have around 1,700 coaches in the suburban system, it will take us a minimum of five years to make the modifications that the PIL asks for.”
“This will also mean that the new rakes will have to incorporate these modifications as well. Currently the designs of the 72 new Bombardier trains are being finalised and they will also have to be restructured,” added the official. Fearing that they may be asked to add a separate coach, officials are tight-lipped about what they are going to suggest.

Divisional Railway Manager however stated that currently they are evaluating all the options and would reply once all options are completed.

Mysore Rail Museum set for expansion

The Railways hope to make the museum a landmark for tourists visiting Mysore

मैसुर Mysore (MYS): Steam engines with its rhythmic beats, belching smoke and rolling wheels will be the highlights at the Mysore Rail Museum that is set for expansion at a cost of about Rs.4.62 crore.

Rajkumar Lal, Divisional Railway Manager, told that the work on embellishment of the museum had begun.

The Railways hope to make the museum a landmark for tourists visiting Mysore. The icing on the cake will be a sound and light programme on steam engines. “The work on the renovation of the meter gauge brake van and the rail bus has begun. I have written to divisional railway managers across the Indian Railways to identify railway artefacts that can be displayed at the museum,” Mr. Lal said. Efforts were on to procure steam locomotives to expand the existing collection here, he added.

The area of the railway museum will be increased to accommodate new exhibits, for which land in the adjoining area is being developed. Existing exhibits including the Maharani’s Saloon would be spruced up without marring the heritage value, Mr. Lal said. Established in 1978, the museum was the second in the country after the National Rail Museum in New Delhi. It has a small but diverse collection of railway artefacts including meter gauge steam locomotives.

These vintage beauties chugged across the length and breadth of the country until they were supplanted by diesel engines. A few were preserved, while the rest went under the auctioneer’s hammer to be sold as scrap.


NIT, Rourkela conferred Honorary Degree to Metro Man Sreedharan

रौरकेला Rourkela (ROU): Padma Vibhushan Engineer Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, popularly known as Metro Man, was conferred with honorary degree of D.Sc. by NIT, Rourkela (NITR) at a special convocation held in Bangalore.

The convocation was chaired by BS Sudhir Chandra, FNAE Chairman, Board of Governors and attended by Prof SK Sarangi, Director, Prof KK Mohapatra, Dean (AR) and SK Upadhyay, Registrar of the institute. Dr Sreedharan was conferred the D.Sc in recognition of his contributions to the nation particularly in developing the Metro Rail Project of Delhi. All the scheduled sections of the Delhi Metro were completed by their target dates or before and within their respective budgets.

Later, Dr Sreedharan was appointed Principal Advisor of the Kochi Metro Rail Project and Chief Advisor for the proposed Lucknow Metro Project.

Rail Land Development Authority to recruit for 14 posts

Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) has invited applications from dynamic, experienced and motivated persons working in Central government/State Government/Indian Railways/Public Sector Undertakings/Statutory Authorities for the under mentioned posts on deputation basis.

RLDA is a statutory authority under the Ministry of Railways set-up by an amendment to the Railways Act, 1989, for development of vacant railway land for commercial use for generating revenue by non-tariff measures.

Rail Land Development Authority

Vacancies: 24
GM/Projects : 01
JGM/Civil : 04
JGM/Finance and Accts : 02
Manager/HR: 01
Manager/REUP : 01
Manager/Projects : 02
Manager/Vigilance : 01
Accounts Assistant : 03
Office Assistant /HR : 01
Office Assistant / Projects: 01
Private Secretary 03
Hindi Translator 01
Draughtsman 02

Educational qualification and work experience required for different posts is different. Candidates should be a Central government/ state government/ Indian Railways / PSU/ statutory authority employee on a mentioned grade pay. Candidates must have completed academics as per the post applied for. Check advertisement for details on eligibility criteria.

How to Apply:
Intended candidates may download the application proforma from the official advertisement present at the official website under the ‘Career’ section.

Fill it carefully with all the important details such as Present Grade/Pay (on regular basis) (IDA/CDA), name of present organisation with complete address, date of initial appointment (government), substantive post/grade/pay (IDA/CDA).

Attach all the mandatory enclosures along with a duly filled form with last five years SPE/DAR/VIGILANCE clearance certificates.

Send it at the below mentioned postal address.
Joint General Manager (HRD),
Rail Land Development Authority,
Near Safdarjung Railway Station,
Moti Bagh-I, New Delhi-110021

Important Dates:
Last date for submitting application form : May 26 , 2014

Official website link:


Lucknow Metro to convene urgent Board of Directors’ meeting today

लखनऊ Lucknow (LKO): Following chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s clear instructions to complete the first phase of the project before December 2016, Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) is left with no option but to speed up decision making and execution of the project on a priority basis.

The corporation has put its foot down on the matter by calling an urgent meeting of its board on Monday under the chairmanship of chief secretary Jawed Usmani .

Responding to the delay, a senior official in the housing and urban planning department said “after Sreedharan suggested hiring technical hands as MD and directors of LMRC, we worked on criteria of qualifications, seniority , past track record and expertise .”

Trials for fire-detection tech in non-AC coaches from May

लखनऊ Lucknow (LKO): From next month, the Indian Railways will conduct trials for a new technology that will automatically detect and prevent fire in non-air-conditioned coaches. For past several years, the Railways has been focussing on such technology for only AC coaches.

Unlike the controlled environment of the AC coaches, the chances of false alarms are thought to be high in case of non-AC coaches. Similarly, detection in such coaches is also a challenge.

“The challenge is to differentiate between actual fire and smoke coming in from outside or some errant passenger smoking or lighting a match,” said a senior Railway Board official.

An offshoot of an Italian technology, which is being modified by the research arm of the Railways — Research Design and Standards Organisation, Lucknow, the new technology is based on sensing the size of the smoke particles and the length of the time from a source of fire to intelligently differentiate between actual fire and false alarms. Once it is able to detect the fire, the system will be designed to either trigger an alarm or activate mist spray or both, depending on the trial results.

The cost is expected to be around Rs 2.5 lakh, almost same as that used in an AC coach. Around two-third of the 60,000-odd passenger coaches in circulation are non-AC. Fire in non-AC coaches — sleeper and general classes — has been cause of concern for the Railways mainly because a majority of the incidents in these coaches have been result of human errors as opposed to short-circuit in AC coaches.

Ajmer-Puri Express Derails – train services affected on Sambalpur-Angul section

जरापादा Jarapada (JRPD): Movement of trains in Angul-Sambalpur section of East Coast Railway (ECoR) was affected on Sunday afternoon after two coaches of Ajmer-Puri Express got derailed on the Jarapada-Boinda Chhak section about 38km from Angul.

The mishap took place on the level-crossing intersecting NH-55 between Boinda and Jarapada stations at about 2.20pm.

Mercifully, there were no reports of any casualties or injuries in the incident.

According to sources, the train stopped on the level-crossing after the derailment of the coaches leading to congestion of vehicles on both sides of the road for nearly two hours.

“After two hours, the technical team came from Sambalpur and separated some coaches facilitating the engine to run to Angul station with the attached bogies. The traffic on the NH too started moving then,” said a source.

The officials in ECoR informed that the divisional railway manager (DRM) Mr Debaraj Panda reached the spot with relief and rescue teams. “The passengers of the two affected coaches were shifted to the other unaffected coaches and the train dispatched from the spot on priority. Though railway medical team reached the site with full preparedness, no medical attention was required due to no injuries reported,” claimed an official.

Following the accident, some trains were cancelled, diverted and short-terminated.

The 18304 Puri-Sambalpur intercity express from Puri was cancelled, while the 18106 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela intercity express ran via Jakhapura and Jaroli towards Rourkela. The 18425 Puri-Durg express ran via Vizianagaram and Rayagada instead of its scheduled path.

Similarly, the 12894 Bolangir-Bhubaneswar intercity express was short-terminated at Sambalpur and remained cancelled between Sambalpur and Bhubaneswar. The 58131 Rourkela-Puri passenger was short terminated at Rairakhol and remained cancelled between Rairakhol and Puri.

Meanwhile, the railways has ordered a high-level enquiry to find out the exact cause of the derailment.
“The report of the enquiry committee is expected to be available within seven days,” said an official.

NR implements best Energy Efficiency norms; saves Energy with Automatic Lighting System

With the new system, 70 per cent lights at platforms where sensors have been installed will go out after the departure of trains and come on automatically with the arrivals of trains!

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: The Delhi division of Northern Railway has installed automatic lighting systems at some railway stations in the Capital and other stations across the division in order to conserve energy.

With the new system, 70 per cent lights at platforms where sensors have been installed will go out after the departure of trains and come on automatically with the arrivals of trains. Railway officials said the system has been installed on one platform at each station and on an average the new system cuts down the energy demand at the platform by half.

The automated system has been installed at New Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Delhi Cantonment and Sabzi Mandi railway stations in the Capital, and Panipat, Kurukshetra and Meerut City railway stations in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

“The system has been installed on platform nos. 10 and 11 at New Delhi railway station.,” said a Northern Railway official.

“At the other stations, the system is connected with the home signals of platforms,” he added.

Installation cost

The official said the average cost of installing the energy conservation system at one platform is Rs.90,000- Rs.95,000.

The energy saving mechanism will be extended to other stations depending on availability of funds.

Apart from the automatic lighting system, authorities have also installed energy saving lights in the three high mast towers at New Delhi railway station premises.

“Nine fittings of 400 Watts each have been installed at each of the three towers. On an average, each of the high mast tower now consumes nine units of power less than usual,” said the official.

DMRC gives nod for 3 new Metro Lines from Greater Noida, Noida and Delhi NCR Region

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has given a nod to construct three metro lines for a direct metro connectivity from Greater Noida, Noida and Delhi NCR region. Noida Industrial Development Authority (NIDA) claims of no more delay as the roadblocks in the project have been cleared and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is slated to be signed soon.

There is a dire need to have a direct metro connectivity from Greater Noida, Noida and Delhi NCR region for which NIDA has proposed to construct three metro lines. Noida Industrial Development Authority (NIDA) claims that there will be no more in this project in Noida as DMRC has approved this suggestion floated by NIDA. They also mentioned that the roadblocks in the project have been removed and a final report has been sent to the Uttar Pradesh government.

“Final report was sent to the state government for approval and we are hopeful towards government’s approval,” says VK Pawar, Additional Chief Executive Officer (ACEO) of NIDA said. ACEO also told that state government have forwarded some queries which would be submitted within a week. The official also stated that DMRC has agreed to sign the memorandum of understanding (MoU).

On the occasion of the Noida foundation day, Chairman Rama Raman mentioned to start the project very soon. “NIDA has prepared all required documents and reports and has sent it to DMRC and state government. There will be no more delay in project.” He also added that the MoU will be signed soon as the government has assured of speedy approval.”

This move has been taken to have a direct metro connectivity form Greater Noida, Noida and Delhi NCR area for which construction of three metro lines is in pipeline. DMRC will develop a 3.962 km long metro line between Kalindi Kunj and Botanical Garden, Noida at a cost of Rs 845 crore.

Another extension will be made from Sector 32 to Sector 62 at a cost of Rs 600 crore. This will be 6.675 km long metro track.The third metro will be from Noida City Center, Alpha-2 to Greater Noida. This 30 km long metro track will be developed at a cost of 5000 crore. According to officials, Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC), a newly-formed company, will undertake the construction of the 30 km metro line between Noida Sector 37 to Alpha-2 in Greater Noida. “Noida authority will bear 80 per cent of total cost while 20 per cent remaining will be allotted by the central government. The cost for the construction in Noida and Greater Noida will be shared by both Noida and Greater Noida authorities as per the proportionate area,” VK Pawar, ACEO, NIDA concludes.

“NIDA has prepared all required documents and reports and has sent it to DMRC and state government. There will be no more delay in project”, said Rama Raman, Chairman, NIDA

Southern-most tip of India urge for Urgent Doubling of 276 Km Madurai-Kanyakumari Section

कन्याकुमारी Kanyakumari (CAPE): The Chennai-Trichy-Madurai-Kanyakumari main line (738 km) is the most important route of the Southern Railway (SR) of Indian Railways, as it connects the entire part of Tamil Nadu, particularly the central and southern parts of the state with State capital Chennai in general and the other parts of India in particular. This line is also considered to be the back bone of the state as well as the Southern Railway, as this route generates maximum revenue to the SR while also being one of the most attractive tourist destination of India on Indian Railways, besides catering to other main artillery lines including the Madurai-Rameswaram, Dindigul-Coimbatore, Trichy-Nagapatinam, Virudunagar-Senkottai, Virudhachallam-Selam, Maniachi-Tuticorrin etc with many large scale industrial belts developed over a period of time along this route, and despite having huge potential of passenger and freight traffic, most part of this main line connectivity to Southern-most tip of India is currently a single line.

Considering the potentialities of this route, the Ministry of Railways allowed doubling for Chennai-Villupuram-Trichi-Madurai sections in different phases and the works are going on in different stages, which are expected to complete by 2015/16. The only left out portion of the Chennai-Kannyakumari main line which is now the Madurai-Tirunelveli-Kannyakumari section for which, the Ministry of Railways had already sanctioned the survey (2012-13 Railway Budget) for the doubling of this section. As announced, the survey has now been completed for the Madurai-Tirunelveli-Kannyakumari section including the Maniachi-Tuticorrrin (276 km) section and the Railway Board is believed to have principally approved the project and has forwarded the same to the Planning Commission for approval. The project has a rate of return of 8.095% which is above the minimum required value.

Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, industrialists, politicians, political groups and public strongly believe that if this project is approved by the Planning Commission and sanctioned in the forthcoming budget, the doubling work on this section would also be completed parallel with other sections of the Chennai-Kannyakumari route and the entire 738 Kms long Chennai-Kannyakumari main trunk route will get doubled by end of 2016 that which would facilitate the Indian Railways to operate more and more freight and passenger trains towards the Southern tip of Tamil Nadu from all over India.

This will also importantly boost the operational efficiency, tourism, increased freight and passenger traffic, industrialization in the region. Doubling of this section would strengthen and support the freight movement of Tuticorin port and the upcoming ports at Colachel and Vizhingam. It is also required to cater the freight movement from the upcoming Special Economic Zone at Nanguneri in Tirunelveli district and to accommodate the growing demand from people working at Koodankulam Atomic Power Station, and the Mahendra Giri unit of ISRO, and, moreover, it would also help to get the economically and industrially backward southern districts of Tamil Nadu into a developed region, at par with the Northern and Western Corridors.

What People’s Representatives say?

P Edward Jeni, secretary of Kanyakumari District Rail Users Association (KKDRA) said that if the project is completed it will boost the entire economic growth of the region. “The southern region has sound academic growth but lags behind in industrial development. The doubling will help the industrial growth of the area,” he pointed out. Besides, the travel time between Chennai and Kanyakumari can be reduced greatly. At present it takes 13 hours between these destinations which will come down to seven to eight hours, Jeni mentioned. Meanwhile, Colachel MLA, J G Prince has petitioned the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on various occasions to implement the project. Doubling work has been undertaken on the Chennai-Madurai section already and if Madurai-Kanyakumari is also undertaken immediately, the entire section may be completed by 2016. In addition to operating more trains, the doubling will be useful to support the freight movement of Tuticorin port and the upcoming ports at Colachel and Vizhingam. It is also required to cater the freight movement from the upcoming special economic zone at Nanguneri in Tirunelveli district and to accommodate the growing demand from people working at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant and the Mahendragiri unit of ISRO, Prince observed in his various petitions. PTKA Balasubramanian from Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee and President of Sattur Chamber of Commerce said that operating more trains to the southern region will remain in the paper without taking up this doubling project.

Nanguneri SEZ – prime growth corridor for the region to boost the freight traffic of Railways

One of the first SEZs located in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, Nanguneri SEZ was launched in 2001. But, subsequently the project was mired in controversy. It has now taken off with more than half a dozen units commencing production in the 2500-acre SEZ.

A separate 230 kv power sub-station has been completed now resolving electricity shortages and Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa is scheduled to inaugurate it shortly. Also, with Kudankulam nuclear power plant going on stream more power would be available for the SEZ shortly.

The proposal is to acquire an additional 1500 acre land around the area to ultimately convert it into a NIMZ, said minister of state for commerce and industry EMS Nachiappan.

“Nanguneri has been revived…We have suggested that it be further expanded to graduate into a NIMZ by acquiring an additional 1500 acres,” Nachiappan told RailNews.

The proposal is to expand the SEZ by acquiring land in nearby districts of Tuticorin, Virudhanagar, Sivaganga and Ramnad to create industrial clusters taking advantage of the 18 benefits available to such clusters in national manufacturing policy. It would then be graduated into a NIMZ. “We have requested the Tamil Nadu government to set up such clusters,” he said.

Nanguneri Special Economic Zone promoter AMRL Hi-Tech City has signed a pact with Great Shine Engineering, a subsidiary of Singapore-based Zynergy Capital to set up a Rs 1,500 crore modern facility for manufacturing solar power peripherals over 40 acres. A Japanese firm that is into, manufacture of high precision scales for use in research laboratories is in advanced stage of negotiations with AMRL to set up its base in the SEZ. Kerala-based surgical gloves manufacturers would invest around Rs 20 crore at Nanguneri SEZ. AMRL had concluded agreements with 15 industries including a Dubai-based company to take up around 45 acres so far. The SEZ consists of processing zone, spread over 1,780 acres with industries and non-processing zone spread over 740 acres, which would house social infrastructure.

Nachiappan said that negotiations are also on with Japanese agencies to implement the Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor. “Japanese are very much interested in the industrial corridor particularly because more than 2500 Japanese are already working in companies set up in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Tamil Nadu has one of the largest presence of Japanese professionals and 40 percent of Japanese investments in the country. With Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor being set up with Japanese collaboration, more countries like US, UK and Canada are keen to participate in such corridors in the country. United Kingdom has evinced interest in setting up the Bangalore-Mumbai corridor. “We proposed to set up two nodes (industrial townships) in the Chennai-Bangalore corridor initially,” he said.
Source-Rail News





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