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May 21, 2014
Most trains under the Indian Railways have SLRD coaches attached. Photo by Mahendra Kolhe
Home dept bars police from using compartment meant exclusively for the physically-challenged, for transporting accused
This will bring cheer for all those people with disabilities, who depend on the Railways for their basic mobility needs. The Maharashtra Home department has issued an order to all police personnel, who often misuse the special coach meant exclusively for those with disabilities for transporting accused, prohibiting them from using it. The move comes after protests from the Social Justice department.
The special coaches were introduced after the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Right and Full Participation) Act, 1995, was announced by the Centre to ensure equal opportunities to persons with disabilities and their full participation in nation building.
On August 27, 2013, State Social Justice department officials passed a resolution, prohibiting the transportation of accused persons by police in coaches meant for disabled persons. Accordingly, on March 27, the Home Department's deputy secretary P H Wagde issued orders to the Director General of Police (DGP) to comply with the resolution.
The DGP's office then passed on the order to all police units in the state. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Jayant Naiknawre of Pune city police said, "After receiving instructions from the DGP's office, we have ordered our men not to misuse the special coach while transporting accused persons."
According to Railways officials, instructions have been issued that in all trains, the specially designed SLRD coaches should be treated as unreserved ones, earmarked for exclusive use of physically-challenged passengers.
In case of Garib Rath trains, which are fully reserved, these coaches are treated as reserved for booking by physically challenged persons travelling under the disability concession on payment of full fare of 3 AC Class of Garib Rath Express on a first come, first serve basis. Speaking to Mirror, a police escort said, "We travel without a plan, and, on most occasions, we do not get reservations.
Hence, we get into whichever coach we find space in, along with the accused persons." Another police officer said, "A disabled person can book reservation in other coaches, and many of them avail of that facility. So, the coach for disabled persons is less crowded, hence it is preferred over the general or sleeper coach."
The Indian Railways has made provisions for SLRD coaches, with wider entrance doors to allow a wheelchair to enter, wider aisles, modified toilets and four berths — lower berths for physically challenged persons and upper berths for attendants — have been attached in almost all trains, except Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Jan Shatabdi and Duronto Express.
Fully air-conditioned Garib Rath trains have also been provided a disabled-friendly compartment. Till now, the Indian Railways has manufactured 3,000 SRD/SLRD coaches.
►► We travel without a plan, and rarely get reservations. Hence, we get into whichever coach we find space in
VISAKHAPATNAM: A strong proposal is brewing in Indian Railways, particularly at the headquarters of East Coast Railway (ECoR) in Bhubaneswar, over the extension of 17015/17016 Secunderabad-Bhubaneswar-Secunderabad Visakha Express up to Paradip in Odisha by changing the train into Secunderabad-Paradeep-Secunderabad Visakha Express.
According to highly placed sources, a section of people, including railway officials and railway users in parts of Odisha, have been lobbying hard with the railway authorities to extend the train.
"The train is likely to be extended to Paradip from July this year or a little later," said a source from the Secunderabad-based South Central Railway (SCR).
If the proposal becomes a reality, it would leave railway passengers from the city high and dry as it would reduce the quota of seats for travel to Secunderabad and Hyderabad from Vizag. "Even now local passengers are not able to get sufficient seats in the train. If it is extended to Paradip, it will become even more difficult for Vizag passengers to get seats as they will be monopolized by Odisha passengers," admitted a senior railway official at the reservation counter of Vizag railway station.
Separate Railway Zone Sadhana Samiti convener and active member of the city railway users' welfare association, JV Satyanarayana Murthy, said that though they were not aware of the proposal they would protest against any such move.
"The ECoR authorities have been giving passengers of Vizag and its surrounding areas the short shrift. Visakha Express was first launched in 1996 between Vizag and Secunderabad and after a couple of years was extended to Srikakulam Road, then to Palasa and later to Bhubaneswar. Now, if they extend it to Paradip it will be unfair on Vizag passengers," said Murthy.
A railway passenger from the city, P Malleswara Rao, alleged that the railway authorities in Odisha were able to ensure that the proposal goes through as they have proved with the extension of many trains such as Vijayawada-Visakha passenger into Vijayawada-Rayagada passenger via Vizag and Bangalore-Visakha Prasanthi Express as Bangalore-Bhubaneswar Express via Vizag.
When contacted, ECoR chief public relations officer at Bhubaneswar, JP Mishra admitted that though there was a proposal for extending Visakha Express to Paradip from Bhubaneswar, it was rejected by the authorities.
Source-times of india
Indian Railways is now offering to its passengers computerised booking of retiring rooms at 67 stationsacross the country.
An official press release said the rooms can be booked on computer terminals placed at these stations as well as on the internet here.
Currently, booking, cancellation, upgradation and extension are available in the retiring room application.
The release said the rooms can be booked upto 60 days in advance, based on the booked PRS ticket PNRNumber, at the source and destination stations.
The facility of booking of retiring room is available only on Confirmed and RAC tickets. The rooms can be booked two days in advance based on UTS tickets, Railway Passes and other travel authorities only on terminals at stations.
HYDERABAD: The South Central Railway (SCR) is against zonal bifurcation as it feels that creation of a new zone will come with its own set of problems. However, the same is inevitable following bifurcation of the state.
SCR general manager PK Srivastava feels that bifurcation of the zone is not good and could lead to problems in terms of finances. Single zone leads to efficiency but a zone within a zone will lead to complications, he opined.
The Railway Board has already constituted a committee to study the feasibility, he said adding that the Committee has two senior members from the SCR.
Srivastava pointed out that the decision will be tough as railway unions will have to be given proper hearing. Besides there will be operational issues which have to be studied indepth.
The decision, however, will be taken by the Railway Board which will submits its recommendations in a month or so. Prior to that several higher officials from the railways are likely to visit the state for discussion on the bifurcation of the Railway zone.
The GM said there was a fall in earning receipts by Rs 5,000 crore and net increase in expenses by another Rs 5,000 crore. In addition there is a heavy burden of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations due to which the financial conditions are not very conducive.
Source-new indian express
HYDERABAD: The South Central Railway has decided to expand Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) on a largescale by installing as many as 487 ATVMs to cover all major stations in a phased manner, SCR general manager, PK Srivastava has said.
The new ATVMs will be set up soon at an estimated cost of `26 crore. These include 312 smart card-based ATVMs to be procured at a cost of Rs 5.4 crore and 175 versatile ATVMs to be procured at a cost of `15 crore.
The procurement of these ATVMs is being handled by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS). The plan envisages installation of these ATVMs in phases at more than 150 railway stations across the six zones - Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntakal, Guntur and Nanded on SCR in the next 2 years.
Speaking to media at Secunderabad station on Tuesday, Srivastava said that with passenger demand growing at 12 per cent for MMTS in the last three months, the SCR has already provided real time arrival and departure facility and now planning to add ATVMS which will not only create job opportunities but would be passenger-friendly.
At present, 71 ATVMs are functioning at 26 MMTS stations in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Around 9,000 tickets are being issued from these ATVMs benefiting over 12,000 passengers on an average per day.
With a view to encourage patronage amongst the rail users, 34 facilitators (service agents) have been posted at major stations to enable sale of general and platform tickets through ATVMs. Following the encouraging feedback and response from the public, SCR has drawn up a plan to expand this facility so as to cover all major stations in the six divisions.
Elaborating on the project to set up ATVMs across SCR on a big scale, Srivastava said that required number of officers and staff will exclusively be deployed for this project for taking up works in a focused manner. With plans to employ facilitators at ATVMs on need basis for servicing the passengers, the project will help in generating indirect employment opportunities too. This facility will ease congestion, queues at general booking counters at stations which see heavy rush of public purchasing general, unreserved and platform tickets.
BOOKLET: Srivastava also said that the SCR will come out with an information booklet which will contain useful information about public facilities available at the railway stations in addition to interesting reading material on history, architecture, etc about the railway stations. It will cost Rs 20 per copy.
About freight movement he said that railways had moved 107 million tonnes of freight this year and is targeting 114 million tones in the current financial year. He said that there was no industry slow down as there was demand for movement of cement, clinkers exports has come up in a big way.
He expressed hope of increased freight traffic with a 20,000 MW power plant coming up at Krishnapatnam in view of which there will be huge demand for coal export and thanks to cement industry there is good demand for wagons. He said that the new Union railway minister will have a tough task as railways is not passing through a good phase.
Train Partially Cancelled
Hyderabad: Due to late running of Kacheguda-Guntur passenger train by six hours, the following passenger trains have been partially cancelled. Guntur-Kacheguda passenger train scheduled to depart from Guntur at 05.15 a.m. on Wednesday has been partially cancelled between Kurnool City and Kacheguda and will run back as Kurnool City to Guntur on Thursday. Kacheguda-Guntur passenger train scheduled to depart from Kacheguda at 04.15 am on Thursday has been partially cancelled between Kacheguda and Kurnool City.
Source-new indian express
Months after Indian Railways rejected a number of candidates for being visually challenged, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has directed Northern Railways to publish a revised merit list and appoint the candidates, who qualified on merit as well as under the disability quota.
Nearly 10,000 visually challenged candidates had reportedly appeared in the examination in November-December 2013 after the railways advertised for 7,386 vacancies. All of them were, however, issued rejection letters before the results were announced for being “100 per cent visually challenged”.
In protest, the applicants filed a petition in CAT, arguing that they are eligible and entitled to be considered for the posts, both on merit as well as under reservation for visually challenged persons.
Arguing for the applicants, lawyer S K Rungta - himself visually challenged - said the Northern Railways’ recruitment cell must file complete results, including the results of 100 per cent visually challenged candidates, so that their merit position could be ascertained.
Rungta and lawyer Pankaj Sinha urged the court to direct the Railway Board to consider appointing the petitioners and other visually challenged candidates.
The railways responded by saying that the vacancies were for people with “low vision” and that 100 per cent visually challenged persons cannot be hired for the posts.
The tribunal, however, directed Northern Railways and the Railway Board to publish the complete results within two months and appoint the qualified candidates.
Northern Railways spokesperson Neeraj Sharma refused to comment. “The matter is sub-judice, so we cannot comment. But the railways will take appropriate action after consulting its legal department,” he said.
National Federation of Blind vice-president Inder Singh said the appointments would give the visually challenged a chance to live with dignity.
Arun (38), who belongs to Bihar and is visually challenged since birth, said he prepared for two years for the railway exam.
“When this post was advertised in 2012, I started studying books in Braille and audio CDs. My exam was very good. Barring some questions, I knew all the answers. So, when the rejection letters were issued, I was in for a rude shock,” Arun, who stays in a hostel for the visually challenged in Dakshinpuri, said.
His roommate Sonu (29) from Agra said since the basic qualification for the advertised posts were just matriculation pass, the syllabus was “quite easy”. “I am sure some visually challenged candidates scored more than the general candidates,” he said.
Uma Shanker (32), who hails from Bihar, lost his eyesight after a brief illness at age 10. He eventually came to Delhi and completed his schooling from Janta Adarsh Blind School in Sadiq Nagar, South Delhi.
“I want to be self-dependent. It’s a question of self-respect. Visually challenged people also have the intellect to share responsibility of the nation. I am single, my parents and siblings are doing well for themselves. I think the government just wants to create a situation, where the blind is enmeshed in litigation,” he said.
VISAKHAPATNAM: Amid growing demands for the creation of a new railway zone in residuary Andhra Pradesh, especially with Vizag as the headquarters, the Indian Railways has finally set up a committee to examine the feasibility of such a move in the wake of bifurcation.
According to sources, the committee, comprising nearly half a dozen members, is likely to tour the proposed areas, including Vizag, Vijayawada, Guntur and Rajahmundry over the next few weeks. The committee will take into consideration factors like operational feasibility, financial implications, administrative issues as well as infrastructural availability. At present, there are 17 zones in the country. "A committee has been formed to examine the feasibility of creation of a new railway zone in one of the big cities of residuary Andhra Pradesh. Two officers from SCR are part of the committee." PK Srivastava, general manager, Secunderabad-based South Central Railway (SCR) told TOI. He, however, refused to divulge details of when the committee would tour Seemandhra or the deadline for zeroing in on the headquarter of the new zone.
Meanwhile, railway sources revealed that certain sections, including politicians, are rooting for the creation of the new railway zone between Guntur and Vijayawada and have been lobbying for the same at the Centre and chief minister designate N Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra Pradesh.
Vizag-based Separate Railway Zone Sadhana Samiti convener JV Satyanarayana Murthy said though he is aware of lobbing for a new zone headquarter at Guntur or Vijayawada, he would be meeting Vizag MP Kambhampati Haribabu among others, to lobby for Vizag as the headquarter of the new zone since it has been a long-standing demand.
Source-times of india
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