May 5, 2014

Railways puts up 43,000 Sq Mts prime Bandra land for lease

बन्द्रा Bandra (BDTS): The railways has finally put one of the biggest land parcels it owns in the city — a 43,000 square metre plot at a stone’s throw away from Bandra station’s eastern fringe — on the block to raise money for the a plethora of railway projects.

The Railway Land Development Authority (RLDA) has put the plot for a long lease of 45 years and the winning bid will be declared on June 3, said officials. According to the railways, some of the criteria for the bidders have been framed in such a way that they weed out the non-serious and the fly-by-night real estate operators. One of the criteria is that the participating firms must have built at least one residential or commercial property with an area of 31,900 square metres in the past 10 years and also have built townships or commercial complexes in the past 10 years totaling 1,60,000 square metres.

“Moreover, the average gross revenue of the participating firms should be at least Rs1,220 crore in the past three years. These will ensure only the high-end real estate companies come in. After all, the plot is located in such a prime location in Bandra — close to the station and the Western Express Highway — that we are expecting some very good bids,” said a railway official. As per the rules governing the commercial exploitation of such railway land, one-third of the money that comes in will be spent on railway projects in Mumbai, one-third on railway projects in Maharashtra excluding Mumbai and the rest on railway projects elsewhere in India.

In November last year, WR applied for a property card for the land. The plot estimated to cost anything between Rs4,000 and Rs5,000 crore is crucial for the finance of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project’s (MUTP) phase two works and not being able to commercially exploit it would seriously jeopardise the progress of these works. The state owes around Rs250 crore to the railways as payment for work completed under MUTP phase two and the matter is already the subject of a string of letters being written by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation — the executing authority for the railway-related works under MUTP.

Dispute History

The plot of land has been possibly the most vexed and long-running land dispute between the state and the Central government — represented by Western Railway in this case — with the fight going back almost a decade. It started way back in September 2008 when the RLDA moved to auction the plot to garner revenue. The matter soon landed in court after the state claimed that the land belonged to it rather than the railways. The matter played out at the Suburban Collector’s office as well the office of the Divisional Commissioner of Konkan before the state revenue minister gave his order on December 2012 adjudicating that the plot belonged to the railways.

Source - Rail News

Heritage Nilgiris Mountain Railway cancelled due to landslide

कोयम्बत्तुर Coimbatore (CBE): About 180 tourists, including those from foreign countries, returned disappointed when the Coonoor-bound Heritage Nilgiris Mountain Rail cancelled its trip following a landslide on the track at Adderly railway station on Sunday.

Official sources said that the train, which started at 7.10 am from Mettupalayam near here, was stopped at Adderly around 8.40 am, when a big boulder and mud fell on the track.

They said that further journey was cancelled as the rack and pinion section of the track was found broken and passengers were sent either to Coonoor by bus or taken back to Mettupalayam.

Source - Rail News

Mishap on Konkan: 30 killed and 161 injured as train derails in Raigad

रायगड Raigad: At least 30 people were killed and 161 injured when a passenger train derailed on the Konkan Railway (KR) route in Maharashtra’s Raigad district on Sunday morning.

Local railway officials suspect that the cause of the accident may have been the sudden application of brakes by driver, whose whereabouts are unknown.

Railways has also started two helplines: Thane — 022-25334840 and Panvel — 022-27468 and passengers can call on 02352- 228176/228951/228954.

Following the mishap, services on the KR route were suspended and trains were diverted or terminated. Rescue operations were completed around 7pm. Meanwhile, Narendra Patil, Chief PRO, Central Railway (CR), was not available for comment as his mobile phone was switched off.

The accident occurred just outside a tunnel near Nidi village, when the engine and four out of 20 bogies of the Diwa-Sawantwadi passenger train derailed around 9.30am between Nagothane and Roha railway stations, about 120km from Mumbai. The passenger train was going to Sawantwadi from Diva.

Most of the victims were locals, who were visiting Roha for a weekly market. According to police, the 19 deceased were identified as Shraddha S Ukte (6), Shrutika S Ukte (30), Krishna Tukaram Shinde (70), Bharat B Surve (49), Surekha Jairam Nakti (35), Vikrat B Surve (22), Ganesh Ramchandra Chavan (32), Ganesh Narayan Chavan (32), Atul A Kharile (25), Hemant Pandye, Ajaykumar Madheriya (20), Prabhunath Rajghar (37), Rityam D Kaljavkar (42), Mithin Joshi (24), Rupesh Dagdu Narve (28), Kalpesh Chandrakant Chavan (60), Subhash Jadhav (42), Vasanti Kashinath Bhuvad (62) and Pintu Gosavi (30).

Sunil Tatkare, Guardian Minister of Raigad, was the first to reach the accident site. He reached the spot around 11.30am and spent around two hours there. “I have asked railway officials and the local administration to expedite the rescue operation,” said Tatkare. He also asked railway officials to disburse immediate relief funds to the victims. Home minister RR Patil reached at the spot around 2.30pm and supervised the rescue operation.

According to Nagothane locals, the railway rescue team reached around noon while the locals had already started to free the trapped passengers. “The local police officers reached the site and started the operation,” said Kazim Pansare, a local.

According to the Raigad police control room, the rescue operation started late. In the Primary Health Centre at Nagothane, 39 persons were brought, out of which 12 were dead and 12 were referred to Sion Hospital. “The condition of 6 patients is critical as they have multiple fractures,” said Dr GG Wadje, Medical Officer of PHC Nagothane. Eight of the injured were sent to Alibaug Hospital, out of which one died.

The condition was almost similar in Roha Hospital, where around 18 dead bodies were brought and 61 injured were admitted. Locals said that many injured went home without medical aid as the medical services were late in their arrival. However, Nagothane’s local doctors rushed to the local hospital to quickly deliver medical aide to the victims.

Railways ordered an inquiry and railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge announced an ex-gratia of Rs.2 Lakhs for those killed in the accident, Rs.50,000 for the grievously hurt and Rs.10,000 for passengers who suffered minor injuries.

Officials said Chetan Bakshi, Commissioner, Railway Safety, would conduct the inquiry into the accident. Vaishali Patange, chief PRO, KR, said that most of the trains had been either cancelled, terminated or diverted after the accident. “KR officials rushed to the spot to assist CR in relief and restoration work. One accident relief medical van and one accident relief train have been dispatched to the site by KR. All possible assistance, as requested by CR, is being extended for quick relief and early restoration,” said Patange.

She added that passengers, who had a valid train ticket for the cancelled/diverted/short terminated trains, were allowed to travel by bus towards Mumbai. The passengers would not be required to pay for the bus journey, railway authorities said.

While the railways’ plan to replace conventional coaches with German technology-based Linke Holfmann Bush (LHB) coaches for their enhanced capacity to absorb derailment impact is on a slow track, the coaches of the Diwa-Sawantwadi passenger train, derailed between Nagothane and Roha stations were conventional coaches, which are prone to capsize in case of derailment.’

The LHB coaches, equipped with advanced couplers and anti-climbing features, prevent capsizing and help minimize loss of life. While two coaches derailed, two coaches capsized after the derailment of the passenger train and the maximum casualties occurred in the capsized coaches, said a senior railway ministry official.

Currently, railways manufactures about 600 LHB coaches per year and about 3,000 conventional coaches.

Source - Rail News

‘Promotion Scam’ in Railways

Officials were being promoted to Higher Administrative Grade and Senior Administrative Grade status without having served the mandatory minimum of 16 years

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: A major irregularity in the promotions in two secretarial services in the Railway Board has come to light.

Some railway ministry officials have been found promoting officials in the two lesser-known services of the railways — Railway Board Secretariat Service (RBSS) and Railway Board Secretariat Clerical Service (RBSCS) — without following due procedures and bypassing Union Cabinet’s jurisdiction, official sources said.

Officials were being promoted to Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) and Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) by bypassing Group ‘A’ Railway Services like Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineer (IRSME), Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS) and even the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) without their having put a minimum of about 16 years of service, they said.

HAG and SAG is given to an Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary level officer, respectively.

At present, an officer belonging to Central Secretariat Service (CSS) is being normally given SAG after completion of an average of 23 years of service, a Group A railway service officer after 23 years and an IAS officer after putting in 20 years of service, the sources said.

A number of officials were being given SAG grade in RBSS, despite being recruited in group ‘B’ service, without following necessary requirement, they said.

Terming it a “serious lapse”, the Finance Ministry has recently written to the Railways to “revoke” its decision for promoting these officials, orders for which were issued almost a year ago. In a missive, the Department of Expenditure under the Finance Ministry noted that “while conducting the cadre restructuring of RBSS and RBSCS, the Ministry of Railways did not refer the matter to this department for approval and rather created five additional SAG level posts without the approval of the Cabinet”.

“This is a serious lapse on the part of officers responsible to place the factual position and rules and regulations before the decision-making authorities,” it said in a strongly-worded official memorandum to the Railways.

As per rules, approval of the Finance Minister is required for creation of posts below SAG level and for creating Joint Secretary and other posts above the level, approval of the Union Cabinet is required.

“It may be pertinent to mention that there are financial implications in a cadre review for which it becomes necessary to seek concurrence of the Department of Expenditure (DoE). The Ministry of Railways (Railway Board) has been apprised earlier also about this,” the communication said.

The DoE cited another instance where the Railway Board has sought its concurrence for conducting in-house exercise of cadre restructuring of Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ employees in the Ministry of Railways.

While conveying the approval then for in-house cadre restructuring of Group ‘C’ employees, “the Ministry of Railways was categorically informed that cadre reviews covering Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ services would continue to be referred to this ministry,” the missive said.

It is pertinent to mention that these officers of RBSS and RBSCS are responsible for cadre management of Group ‘A’ officers in the Railways. RBSS and RBSCS employees, about 500 in number, act as general administration staff in the railways ministry which has about 13 lakh employees — both gazetted and non-gazetted.

Source - Rail News

Two Railways Officials, 6 others Booked for Bribery

पटना Patna (PNBE): The CBI has registered a case against two senior railway officers and six others in a case of bribery. The accused include a chief administrative officer and a Chief Engineer (Construction), both working with North Eastern Railway (NER), a Chief Editor of a fortnightly magazine and five non-railway persons/contractors.

As per the case records, the private contractors, in conspiracy with others, had paid certain illegal gratification to the senior railway officials to manage contract worth Rs 58 crore related to the construction of three rail overbridge (RoB) between Maharajganj and Masrakh under NER in Bihar.

A CBI release said searches were conducted on the residence and office premises of railway officials and other accused at Gorakhpur (UP), Chhapra (Bihar) and Mumbai. During these searches, huge amount of cash, jewellery, bank accounts, fixed deposits, documents of properties and other incriminating documents were recovered. Certain documents relating to transfer and posting of railway personnel and awarding of railway contracts were also recovered during searches on the premises of a private person. “Further investigation is continuing,” a CBI official said.

Source - Rail News

Ministry of Finance overturns 5 Joint Secretary level posts created by Railways

MOF alleges that the Posts were created bypassing Cabinet, and without Ministry’s approval

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: While the dust is yet to settle on controversies regarding its high-level appointments, the Railway Ministry once again finds itself in soup for allegedly creating five joint-secretary-level posts bypassing the Cabinet and without necessary approval from the Finance ministry.

The Finance ministry has now written to the Railways citing serious lapse and violation of rules and has overturned the creation of the posts. Several news media also reported that they have a copy of the letter. “It is evident the Railways was aware that the approval of the Finance ministry was required. This is a serious lapse on the part of the officers responsible to place the factual position and rules and regulations before the decision-making authorities,” the letter from the Finance ministry’s Department of Expenditure says.

The Railways took the decision to create these posts in 2012, through a “cadre-restructuring” process of its Railway Board Secretariat Service and Railway Board Secretariat Clerical Service. Creation of new senior-level posts entails further creation of subordinate posts down the chain, opening up promotion avenues for a large number of people.

The Finance Ministry has pointed out that creation of posts means additional expenditure to the exchequer, more so in the case of joint-secretary level posts. Therefore, as is the rule, the concurrence of the Department of Expenditure is a must. For posts like these, the Cabinet is the authority.

The letter also mentions that according to the “economy instructions” issued by the government in 2013, there is a ban on the creation of plan and non-plan posts, and that the Railways has not been granted any exemption.

When this move was being prepared by the Railway Board two years ago, its own Finance directorate had raised objections saying it should be vetted by the Finance ministry and the Department of Personnel and Training. However such objections were bulldozed by the incumbent Railway Board Chairman, Member Staff and the political dispensation, sources said.

“The Railway ministry knows the rule because during the cadre-restructuring of groups C and D posts it sought the Finance ministry’s appro-val. But it was also written in that approval that for higher-level posts, they would have to approach the Finance ministry and the Cabinet,” a senior official said.

It is learnt that one of the first things Railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge was asked to take a call on was to approve the creation of these posts “internally”. The minister is learnt to have told the senior rail bureaucracy that an approval of the Finance ministry must be sought in retrospective effect as a case like this was “unheard of in Government of India”.

Source - Rail News





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