Jun 22, 2014

IISc Scientists submit Theoretical Study on Solar Powered Trains to save IR from Fuel Burden


बेंगलूर Bangalore (SBC): Scientists have asked the railways to consider installing rooftop solar power panels on train coaches to meet their electricity needs and curb the country’s diesel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, have sent their proposal to the Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala, Punjab, after showing through a theoretical study that solar panels can save up to 90,000 litres of diesel per rake per year.
They have estimated that a single rake — made up of five air-conditioned coaches, 12 other coaches, a pantry car and two power cars — relying on rooftop solar panels and making 188 forty-hour trips during a year could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 239 tonnes.
Their study has indicated that the additional cost of the solar panels could be recovered within three years.
“Given our huge oil imports, every possible option to reduce dependence on oil must be explored — this is one such option,” Jayaraman Srinivasan, professor at the Divecha Centre for Climate Change at the IISc and a co-author of the study, told.
The study, accepted for publication in the journal Current Science, published by the Indian Academy of Sciences, examined the feasibility of installing solar photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight into electricity on a type of rail coach produced at the RCF, Kapurthala.

Special Metro round trip tickets today in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL) has introduced 'round trip tickets' for commuters to enjoy a hassle-free ride on the Metro, this weekend.

An MMOPL spokesperson said, "The decision has been taken keeping in mind the weekend commuter rush for fun rides. MMOPL will also continue its free ride for kids this weekend."

Those with the round trip ticket, priced at Rs 20, can avoid queues at the token counters for their return. One part of the ticket will be retained at issuance; the other two parts will be given to commuters for their journey, to and fro.


Next up: Chennai Metro

A Metro train (extreme left) leaves for test run from the CMRL shed in Koyambedu, Chennai. Photo: V. Ganesan
Experts, however, stress the need for feeder services, better pedestrian facilities around Metro stations, and competitive shopping options

The countdown has begun. By the end of October, Chennai Metro will zip through the city’s corridors, from Koyambedu to Alandur.

Instead of a painful, sweaty, 45-minute ride to traverse this near 10-km stretch on the city’s bottlenecked roads, you may want to opt for Chennai Metro that promises to cover the distance in just about 20 minutes.

Steps are afoot to speed up the construction of stations along this corridor, said an official of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL).

“At stations such as Koyambedu, CMBT and Arumbakkam, the structural work and installation of lifts and escalators are complete. Now, work on the interiors is rapidly progressing at these stations,” said the official.

At other stations such as Ashok Nagar, Ekkatuthangal and Alandur, structural work is complete but the installation of lifts, escalators and other interior work is on, he said.

But it may not be enough to merely complete the construction of stations, said experts. Several other elements associated with the running of Metro Rail have to be in place before it takes off.

CMRL expects 40 per cent of its commuters to be pedestrians. So, if the footpaths in and around the stations continue to be in a dismal state, commuters may not want to walk up to the stations.

Officials said they have held discussions with the Chennai Corporation and plan to start work on it soon.

“Feeder buses should run along this corridor, covering the interior areas, as soon as Metro Rail starts functioning. We cannot have feeder buses introduced at a later point in time,” said V. Subramanian of Traffic and Transportation Forum.

But it is not clear if feeder buses will become operational as and when the Metro Rail service begins.

However, people commuting on this stretch may see a marked improvement in mobility. But that does not mean we will get rid of traffic congestion, said K.N. Krishnamurthy, chairperson of Integrated Road and Transport Development Association.

“Feeder services and improved footpaths apart, they should have competitive shopping facilities by the time the services begin. If they don’t have these facilities, Metro Rail could end up being another MRTS,” he said.

Additional coach in 2 trains

CHANDIGARH: Giving a facility to passengers during the summer vacation, the Ambala railways division has installed one additional sleeper coach in two trains running to tourist destinations.

The facility has been provided in Chandigarh-Kochuveli Express and Chandigarh-Goa (Madgaon) Express till June 30.


Mumbai: Local fare hiked; auto, taxi fare may rise

In a double whammy for Mumbaiites on Friday, suburban railway season ticket rates doubled and autorickshaw and taxi fares were hiked by Rs. 2. While the new railway ticket rates will come into effect from June 25, autorickshaw and taxi fares will need the Bombay high court’s nod before drivers start charging them.

In one of the biggest hikes ever, the railway ministry on Friday announced a 14.2% hike in all passenger fares and a 6.5% increase in freight charges. The decision is expected to help the Railways mop up an additional Rs. 8,000 crore during this fiscal.

The move came a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country should be ready for “tough decisions” to improve the economy.

However, for Mumbaiites, who are already reeling under the hike in food and fuel prices, this is a bitter pill to swallow.

Local trains, considered the city’s lifeline, are used by 75 lakh people on a daily basis. The steep hike is expected to hit season ticket buyers — 80% of those using the suburban trains — the most, with the rates of monthly and quarterly passes rising by almost 100%.

According to the tentative ticket revision formula provided by Western Railway, a second class monthly season ticket from Churchgate to Virar will cost Rs. 645 as compared with Rs. 280 at present, while a first-class monthly season ticket for the same distance will cost Rs. 1,960 instead of Rs. 1,035.

As per the revised tariff, season tickets for longer distances will more than double.

The approximate i ncrease for a CST-Panvel second-class monthly pass will rise from Rs. 335 to Rs720, while a CSTKalyan second-class monthly pass will cost Rs. 645 as against Rs. 280 at present.

The hike in rates for long distance trains is not as high as the suburban rates.

A journey between Mumbai and Delhi on the Rajdhani Express will cost Rs. 4,073 instead of Rs. 3,567 in AC- I,Rs. 2,357 instead of Rs. 2,064 in AC-II and Rs. 1,617 instead of Rs. 1,416 in AC-III.

What added to Mumbaiites’ misery on Friday was the announcement of Rs. 2 hike in minimum fares (first 1.5 km) of autorickshaw and taxi fares. About 35,000 taxis and about 1.5 lakh auto rickshaws ply on city roads.

The minimum fare of autorickshaw will go up from Rs. 15 to Rs. 17 and the fare for taxis will be Rs. 21 as against Rs. 19 at present.

However, drivers can’t charge these fares immediately, as the new fares will come into effect only after a nod from the Bombay high court.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA), chaired by transport secretary SK Sharma, decided to approach the court as the issue is sub-judice.

The HC is hearing a petition of consumer outfit Grahak Panchayat, challenging the formula to fix auto taxi tariff.

While confirming the fare revision, Sharma told HT, “Date of fare hike implementation and other things like calibration of e-meters will be decided after the high court’s decision.”

Consumer activists hoped the HC would take a right decision and give relief to commuters. “Now, court will decide fairness of fare hike,” said Shirish Deshpande, activist of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.

Meanwhile, despite the fare hike, unions are disappointed with the decision. Taxi union leaders AL Quadros said the MMRTA has given them “just peanuts” without considering their demand of increasing basic distance to 2 km from the existing 1.5 km.

Auto union leader Sharad Rao said they haven’t received any official communication from the transport authorities, but there wasn’t any stay on reviewing fare hike.
SOURCE - hindustan times

Railways bleeding, says Law Minister, calls Hindi row an uncalled for issue

New Delhi: Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, a popular TV face of the BJP, justified the Narendra Modi government's move to raise the rail fare by a whopping 14.2 per cent saying it was a result of the policies undertaken by the previous UPA government.

While Prasad blamed the UPA II government for leaving Indian Railways in shambles, he said his government never knew that the Railways was bleeding, thanks to the Congress-led regime.

Accepting that the 14.2 per cent hike may be a bit harsh on the general populace, the Law Minister said, these 'hard steps' would cause uneasiness in the beginning but would ultimately benefit the people.

"Railways is suffering a heavy loss daily. To give better services, there is a need of resources," said Prasad.

"There will be a little unease to the people but ultimately this is for the benefit of the people," he added.

He asserted that it was too early to judge the new government and the "liability of 10 years of malfunction was being put on the NDA government."

Prasad said that there was a need to provide better services, which required resources, and hence the fare hike.

Speaking further on the 'Hindi row', the BJP leader rebuffed the entire controversy as uncalled for. He said that the circular from Home Ministry which has caught everyone's attention has been there since many years.

The rape allegations against Minister of State, Chemicals & Fertilizers, Nihal Chand is one of the early issues to have stung the Modi government. The BJP president Rajnath Singh had on Friday asked all party spokespersons to stand by the Rajasthan Minister. Prasad, too followed the party chief's directives well as he defended the MoS saying he had not been mentioned in 2 FIRs filed in the said case.

He indeed, added that Nihal Chand was a good party worker.

India has to choose between world-class railway or ramshackled one: Jaitley on fare hike

New Delhi: Defending the steep hike in rail fare and freight rates as a 'difficult but correct decision', Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the railways can survive only if users pay for availing of facilities.

"The passenger services have been subsidised by the freight traffic. In recent years, even freight fares have come under pressure," he said in his first reaction to the 14.2 percent increase in passenger fares and 6.5 percent hike in freight rates.

Stating that the choice before the government was to allow the railways to bleed and eventually walk into a debt trap or raise fares, Jaitley said, "India must decide whether it wants a world-class railway or a ramshackled one.

"The railway minister has taken a difficult but a correct decision...The Indian Railways for the last few years have been running at a loss. The only way that Railways can survive is when users pay for the facilities that they avail." 
Jaitley, who will present the Union budget next month, said a loss-making railway would provide below-par services and would eventually not even have the resources to meet its expenditure.

In a Facebook posting titled 'The Truth of Railway Fare Hike', the minister said the decision to increase the rates was mooted by the Railway Board on February 5, when the United Progressive Alliance was in power.

The board proposed a 5 percent increase in freight rates and a 10 percent increase in passenger fares.

The proposal was to rationalise freight rates with effect from April 1 and passenger fares with effect from May 1, he said.

"Even as the Interim Budget of the Railways was yet to come, the date May 1, 2014, was chosen hoping that the general elections would be over by that day. The railways had proposed that this increase would give the railways an additional revenue of Rs 7,900 crore.

"Armed with this decision, the then Railway Minister Shri Mallikarjuna Kharge met the then Prime Minister Shri Manmohan Singh on February 11, 2014. The then Prime Minister approved the hike and suggested that both freight and passenger fares should be implemented with effect from May 1, 2014, itself," Jaitley said. 

The Railway Board, Jaitley said, accordingly notified this increase on May 16, when the election results were being declared. The decision gave effect "to what the Railway Board, the Rail Minister and the then Prime Minister had concurred."

However, Jaitley added, then Railway Minister Kharge "developed cold feet and in the evening of May 16, 2014, even after the UPA had been defeated in the elections, he countermanded the order of the Railway Board so that theoretically the decision taken by him and the then Prime Minister is implemented by the Railway Minister of the NDA government."

Jaitley said that by withdrawing the countermanding order, current Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda has taken a challenging decision.

"The choice before Shri Gowda was whether to allow the Railways to bleed and eventually walk into a debt trap by following the policy of the UPA government or implement the decision which the UPA government had taken to increase the fares for both passenger and freight but did not have the courage to implement."

Rail vs air: New tariffs good news for airlines

NEW DELHI: The steep rail fare rise at a time when Budget carriers are offering discounted tickets every other day, has now made flying cheaper than chugging along for travellers who latch on to airline offers.

While regular airfares remain significantly higher than Rajdhani second AC fares (the benchmark for low cost carriers or LCCs), travel industry insiders say that the airlines will drop advance purchase fares in the lean-travel months of January-March and July-September.

"The July-September lean travel season will see very competitive advance-purchase fares which will compare favourably with second AC fares. In peak travel months (April-June and October-December), the difference in train and airfares will be signifi cant and fl ying will be more expensive," said Kapil Kaul of the Centre for Asia Pacifi c Aviation.

For example, some LCCs recently had a limited period offer to fill up aircraft seats in the coming lean-travel season of July to September which saw fares starting from Rs 1,724. The all-inclusive one-way fares on the Mumbai-Kolkata, Delhi-Chennai and Bangalore-Delhi sectors under that offer was just Rs 3,499 — lower than the second AC Rajdhani fares after Friday's hike. Similarly, Delhi to Mumbai and Kolkata fare was Rs 2,999 — again less than the new second AC Rajdhani fares.

Source - TOI





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