May 18, 2014

16th Lok Sabha will be richest, have most MPs with criminal charges

The HinduTelugu Desam Party MP Jayadev Galla, with an asset of 683 crore, is India's riches MP. File Photo: K.V. Poornachandra Kumar

This Lok Sabha will have the highest proportion of MPs with criminal cases against them and will also be the richest, since 2004, when declaring criminal cases became legally mandatory in India.

Over a third, or 34% of new MPs face criminal charges, data from the Association for Democratic Reforms' (ADR) analysis of election affidavits filed before the Election Commission of India (ECI) shows, as against 30% in 2009 and 24% in 2004, that was the first Lok Sabha election for which the filing of election affidavits became compulsory following a PIL filed by ADR.

Among the major parties, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), with all of its four MPs facing criminal charges, led, followed the Shiv Sena (15 of 18 MPs) and the Nationalist Congress Party (4 of 5 MPs). Over a third of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) new MPs face criminal charges and over a fifth face serious criminal charges. For the Congress, the proportion is lower at 18% and 7% respectively.

Across parties, candidates with criminal records were more than twice as likely to win as compared to candidates with a clean record, ADR data shows. Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have the highest proportion of candidates with criminal records.

With 82% of its members worth over Rs. 1 crore each, this will also be the richest known Lok Sabha, compared to 2009 (58%) and 2004 (30%). Crorepati candidates are ten times more likely to win than a candidate worth less than Rs. 1 crore.

The three Andhra Pradesh parties — the TDP, TRS and YSRCP — have the richest MPs, with the average assets of each of their MPs being over Rs. 50 crore. India's richest MP — Jayadev Galla of Guntur — is worth Rs. 683 crore and is also from the TDP, while the three next richest MPs are also from Andhra Pradesh. The average Congress MP is worth over Rs. 16 crore, BJP candidates over Rs. 11 crore and the CPI(M) has the poorest candidates, with average assets of Rs. 79 lakh. India's poorest MP is Uma Saren of the Trinamool Congress.
Source-The Hindu

The Integral Coach Factory (ICF) : the great train factory

 A view of Roof Jig of a train coach being assembled at the main assembly shell at Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai on May 07, 2014. Photo: V. Ganesan.

Luxury trains, Metro coaches and sleeper compartments are all made here

The Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Perambur is a mini city that never sleeps.

Women and men work through the day, and night, with clockwork precision, under extreme conditions — hammering, welding and painting massive steel plates until the end product comes out gleaming.

The next time you travel in an overcrowded suburban train compartment or a plush airconditioned coach on a long-distance express train anywhere in India, remember there are 12,000 people behind its design and fabrication.

ICF, where most coaches of the world’s largest rail network have been manufactured without a break, is truly Chennai’s pride.

At the main assembly line, S. Mary Flower hammers a sheet of stainless steel soon after it has been put together by her colleague, S. Padmini, a welder. Mother of three, Ms. Flower secured the job after the death of her husband, an ICF employee, who died in harness.

Far away, in a corner of the furnishing unit, a group of young technicians huddles together to piece electric cables within a shell (an unfinished coach), in its final stages of completion.

In between, there are hundreds of workers who do not rest even for a minute as they race against time to meet deadlines of severalclients, from various zones of Indian Railways to overseas government agencies too.

The painting of the external frame of the coaches is fully automated and the colour combination and pattern varies according to the type and requirements of the client.

Once the coaches are complete, with everything put in place, it is passed through a ‘shower chamber’ as part of a leak test to ensure not a drop of water enters inside.

Dedicated to the nation 59 years ago, ICF recently rolled out its 50,000th shell. World leaders — Leonid I Brezhnev, Queen Elizabeth and Zhou Enlai, to name a few — have visited and recorded their impressions of ICF being a model factory, worthy of being emulated.

“The work is challenging, yet so satisfying,” says Ms. Flower, echoing the mood of the rest of the 12,000-odd workforce.
Source - The HIndu

CEC Greets the New Prime Minister Shri. NARENDRA MODI

Dutch Railways to introduce Wind-powered Trains to replace Traction

अमस्टर्डम Amsterdam: All traction power for the Dutch railway network will come from wind turbines under a new energy contract signed on May 15 between power company Eneco and Vivens, an energy procurement joint venture which includes Netherlands Railways (NS), Veolia, Arriva, Connexxion and railfreight operators.

Under the contract, which runs from 2015 to 2025, wind will provide 100% of traction power on the ProRail 1.5kV dc electrified network from 2018 onwards, compared with around 50% today. The contract forbids the sourcing of electricity from the existing energy market, meaning only new-build wind farms can be used to meet the 100% target. It is estimated that after 2018 about half of the electricity demand will need to be covered to be covered by foreign, wind farms.

The total consumption of electricity on the Dutch rail network is about 1.4 terawatt hours (TWh) per year, and NS reportedly consumes 1.2TWh of this.

Operators are trying to reduce their traction energy consumption through the procurement of new trains and the adoption of more efficient driving techniques. NS claims that since 2005 the consumption of electricity per passenger kilometre has been reduced by about 30%.
Source-Rail News

CRIS makes Indian Railways systems more customer responsive

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Established in 1986, the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Railways. It is headquartered in Delhi with regional offices in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Secunderabad.

The company develops and manages the Indian Railways’ (IR) technology applications. It also provides applications for other government and public sector organisations. Currently, its project portfolio includes a host of functions of IR, including passenger ticketing, freight operations, train dispatching and control, crew management, e-procurement, management of the railways’ fixed and moving assets, and production of rolling stock.

The projects under execution include the development of a ticketing system on mobile phones, linking tickets to the Aadhaar facility, tracking trains in real time through the global positioning system, rolling stock using radio frequency identification, and setting up a geospatial database for the railways and a data centre to house the company’s communication system. With the aim of streamlining information throughout its network, IR adopted a step-by-step approach to modernise its communications set-up.

Communications Infrastructure

According to S.S.Mathur, General Manager, Corporate Coordination, CRIS, IR had established electronic data processing (EDP) centres in the 1960s for batch processing of payroll, inventory control and revenue management. However, these data centres had no connectivity until the 1990s.

Today, the EDP centres are being used for payroll and financial applications. They are connected to local area networks via the Railnet network, which functions on IR’s and RailTel’s optic fibre cable backbone as well as copper networks for last mile connectivity.

In the 1980s, the passenger reservation system (PRS) used DECNet, a suite of network protocols created by the Digital Equipment Corporation, and 9600 bps channels connecting all the servers to each PRS counter. In 1997, this set-up was upgraded and a core network using 64 kbps leased lines was established to connect the central servers to provide ticketing facilities. Although this system is still in use, its bandwidth has increased manifold.

Currently, ticketing services are offered through a resilient and hierarchical two-tier IP network. The counters for the reserved and unreserved ticketing systems are connected via Ethernet and 2 Mbps leased lines to the central servers, which are interconnected through a network of leased lines.

The network comprises IR’s existing leased lines and those obtained from RailTel Corporation, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and other telecom vendors.

Other railway applications such as the freight operations information system (FOIS), integrated coaching maintenance system, crew management system and control office application are launched through a mesh network running on redundant leased lines with VSATs to connect remote network nodes. Last mile connectivity is achieved via digital subscriber lines.

The FOIS is the primary logistics management system of IR. Its components include a rake management system, a terminal management system, an e-payment gateway and web query systems. The system is used for electronic data exchange with partner organisations, ensuring interface with other information systems, and data analytics and warehousing.

The leased line network consists of about 30,000 nodes. The company has also installed dedicated high-bandwidth networks for data replication, which is critical for disaster readiness.

The central data centre is secured through the use of firewalls and intrusion protection systems with a demilitarised zone separating the secure zone from the internet. A high-bandwidth gateway is provided by several telecom vendors to access the internet as well as private secure networks.

Moreover, several customer-centric applications such as the SMS gateway are being used to provide various updates to customers. In addition, there are initiatives for purchasing tickets through mobile phones.

Challenges and Benefits

“Being a large organisation which works 24x7x365, the implementation of multiple telecom and IT applications was challenging for us,” says Mathur.

However, these upgraded communications networks have helped the company become more responsive to its customers. “For instance, tickets can be purchased online and passengers can avail of information on the internet and through SMS. Internally as well, accurate information is made accessible to managers to help them in quick decision-making. In addition, facilities such as SMS alerts and kiosk-based sign-on/sign-off have simplified the processes.”

Going forward, several initiatives such as deploying mobile ticketing services, setting up self-service ticketing kiosks, collecting field data through mobile devices and wayside equipment, and launching mobile applications for the maintenance and operating staff have been proposed. (Courtesy: TeleNet wing)
Source-Rail News

MTS to provide free Wi-Fi services to commuters on Rapid Metro Gurgaon

गुरगाव Gurgaon (GGN): Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited (SSTL) has partnered with Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon Limited (RMGL) to provide free Internet over Wi-Fi starting Wednesday on all trains operational on the six-station Rapid Metro corridor in Gurgaon.

Apart from the 5.1 km Rapid Metro stretch, SSTL, which provides services under the brand MTS, will also provide free Wi-Fi access at four other locations in Gurgaon — Sikanderpur, IndusInd Bank Cyber City, Phase II and Micromax Moulsari Avenue, a company statement said

Through this initiative, 30,000 daily commuters of Rapid Metro will get to experience Internet speeds of up to 9.8 Mbps, it said.

The service will remain free for six months.

“This one-of-its-kind service will enable commuters to access fast and consistent data speeds of up to 9.8 Mbps on MTS` 3GPLUS network,” Dmitry Shukov, chief executive officer, MTS India, said.

MTS had commissioned an internal research to gauge consumer interest in using Wi-Fi services while travelling in Rapid Metro.

The study, undertaken by AZ Research, highlighted that more than 95 percent of commuters wanted to have access to Internet while using the Rapid Metro. The percentage was highest amongst travellers in the age-group of 15-35 years.
Source-Rail News

Delhi Metro plans to loop Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is planning to extend the Blue Line from Noida City Centre into a 60 km-long loop, covering various parts of Noida and Greater Noida.

The loop line will also be linked with Line 8 (Janakpuri West-Botanical Garden) of Phase-III by a 9-km stretch connecting Sector-143 and the proposed station near Kalindi Bird Sanctuary on the banks of the Yamuna.

“The loop will consist of one extension from Noida City Centre to Gaur City Square in Greater Noida West, for which the Detailed Project Report (DPR) is currently being prepared. This will then be extended to Bodaki village in Greater Noida. Finally, Bodaki will be connected with Noida City Centre via stations at Pari Chowk and Sectors-147, 143, 85, 101 and 50 in Noida, among others,” a source said.

According to DMRC officials, the DPR for the Noida City Centre-Pari Chowk-Bodaki stretch has been approved and work is scheduled to begin in a couple of months.

Sources said the Noida Authority had asked the DMRC to prepare the DPR for the stretch connecting Line 8 and the loop about two months ago and that it was likely to be ready by October this year. The DPR for extension of the Blue Line to Greater Noida West too is likely to be ready by October.

Apart from these extensions, the Blue Line will also be extended to Sector-62 from Noida City Centre, for which the DMRC has received the requisite approvals, and then further to DPS Indirapuram in Ghaziabad.

Sources said the DPR for the 3.5-km Sector 62-Indirapuram stretch has already been prepared by the DMRC and was awaiting approval of the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA).

Santosh Yadav, GDA vice-chairman, said approval would be granted once work on the Sector 62-Noida City Centre stretch was complete, which was likely to take about two years.

After the completion of the loop, Vaishali is likely to be connected to the upcoming Dilshad Garden-Ghaziabad New Bus Depot line at Mohan Nagar, via a stretch along the Meerut Road.
Source-Rail News

Railway revenue up by Rs 2.15 crore with e-bookings last fiscal at Thane station

THANE: Long distance commuters are now switching over to online ticket booking rather than sweating it out in serpentine queues at Thane station's reservation counter.

Statistics from the Railways revealed a decline in the number of commuters coming to the reservation counter to book their outstation tickets manually. However, revenue through outstation tickets has shown an increase.

The Railway figures for 2012-13 fiscal show that 8,90,374 tickets were booked at the Thane reservation counter while the following fiscal saw a dip with only 7,90,908 tickets booked. Interestingly, the revenue showed a jump of around Rs 2.15 crore.

While Rs 40.83 crore was earned from sale of long distance tickets in 2012-13 fiscal, the same shot up by 5.2 per cent to touch Rs 42.99 crore in 2013-14.

Officials and activists attributed this to the growing popularity of the online ticket disbursal system.

"The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is a popular booking site for railway tickets followed by several other travel sites that are a hit with the young travellers. Online transactions save a lot of time and effort though one needs to pay service charges," said a travel agent.

A railway official at Thane says commuters staying far off prefer to book online rather than spending money to come and book tickets at station or at Vartak Nagar.

Commuters said that the reservation counter at the station doesn't have adequate amenities.

"The space is often crowded. Though there is a token system, one has to wait for a considerable amount of time to purchase tickets," said Sonali Pathak, a resident of Kalwa.

Sunil Dubey, a commuter from Ghodbunder Road said that he used to spend Rs 150 only to travel to the station and spend over two hours to get tickets. "This year I opted for online booking for my summer travel. The transaction was smooth and I didn't have to wait in serpentine queues to get my ticket. No hassle of tendering change either," said the commuter.
SOURCE-times of india

Radio taxi stands at airport, railway station soon

LUCKNOW: Till now, to hail a radio taxi one had to ensure that it was booked well in advance. Even then, there were cases of people waiting at the airport or railway station without any assurance that the driver would turn up. This problem may however be over soon with the Uttar Pradesh transport department planning to set up permanent radio taxi stands in the near future. 

"Both the city's airport as well as the railway station will be equipped with permanent modern radio taxi stands," said deputy commissioner, transport department, Lucknow zone, Gangaphal. "The decision has been taken by the transport department to ease out inconvenience caused to passengers travelling to and fro Lucknow and to ensure the security of the public at large," he added. 

He also informed that on May 19, a meeting is scheduled wherein senior transport officers of UP would be present to decide the hike in number of radio taxis required in this context. 

"Looking at the increasing demand, the city needs not less than 500 radio taxis and it is therefore essential that more and more private operators come up with their proposals as we promise to extend them maximum support," said Gangaphal. 

Regional transport officer Jai Shankar Tiwari said, "The demand for radio cabs is slowly picking up. In fact, we can now see a shortage during arrival/departure of VIP trains like Shatabdi Express and Lucknow Mail," he added.
Source - TOI





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