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Aug 22, 2014
Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation works on solutions to shift underground utilities within metro stretch
LUCKNOW: On his formal joining in the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) office, the new MD Kumar Keshav was in full gear working on the possible challenges of metro's priority section from Transport Nagar to Charbagh railway station. He admitted to TOI that while most are worried about funding options, very less focus has been given on solutions to shift the underground utilities coming within metro stretch. Keshav is a former senior official from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
He spent the entire day inspecting the construction and depot site, identifying possible challenges and their solutions to meet a close approaching deadline of beginning construction by next month. He said, "None of the cities were planned to have metro as a public transport option in future. Lucknow is as congested as Delhi and the roads are much narrower. Public will face inconvenience during construction and we have to find ways to reduce their inconvenience."
He said LMRC has now entered a pre-construction mode where all arrangements have to be done timely to ensure that construction begins in time to meet the deadline of completing priority section by December 2016. "I know it's a huge challenge for us but we as a team will make all possible efforts to accomplish it. We are currently working on solutions to give minimum inconvenience to the public during construction", he said.
He said apart from roads being congested and shifting of utilities, LMRC has to also work on acquiring adjoining lands for providing alternative roads during construction. "Besides, in later stages we might also face resistance from people whose lands are coming under metro stretch. Also, we might need permission from different departments/agencies/trusts to remove any statue temporarily falling within the route. Acquiring land near Charbagh is another major challenge before us" , he added.
Source..times of india
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar today requested the Centre to talk to Bangladesh government for restarting railway services from Agartala to the neighbouring country. "Government of Bangladesh may be pursued to take all necessary actions and Railway Ministry may take up this (restoration of rail link) construction work with highest priority," Sarkar said at the conference of Chief Ministers of all North Eastern states.
"Prior to independence, towns in Tripura were connected by railway network with erstwhile East Pakistan, present Bangladesh and Agartala itself was serviced by Akhaura railway station," the Chief Minister said. Sarkar said for rapid economic development of Tripura, movement of people and goods through Bangladesh to North East and Eastern India is necessary.
"Prior to partition, Tripura was seamlessly connected to (rest of) India through Bangladesh by road, rail and waterways, which needs to be restored and made operational," he said.
There is an urgent need to establish connectivity with Chittagong Port in Bangladesh, he added. "Government of India may persuade Bangladesh government for allowing multi-modal transportation of goods through Bangladesh with Ashuganj as the port of call, including related infrastructure development," Sarkar insisted. The conference, which was attended by DoNER Minister V K Singh, was organised jointly by DoNER Ministry and Assam government here.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of ambitious Metro Rail Project in Nagpur on Thursday. Modi is also scheduled to inaugurate the Mouda Super Thermal Power Project Phase I and a flyover on National Highway 6, all in Nagpur.
The Prime Minister will be accompanied by Governor K Sankaranarayanan and Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal. However, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had decided to skip the event to avoid the embarrassment faced by fellow Congress CM of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda who was booed by BJP workers at a stone-laying ceremony at Kaithal on Tuesday.
Chavan himself had been by heckled by Bharatiya Janata Party activists at a function attended by Modi in Raigad earlier.
In a pre-election bonanza to Maharashtra, the Union Cabinet yesterday cleared a Rs 8,860 crore metro rail project in Nagpur, which will become the latest city in the country to have the modern transportation service.
The 38.215-km-long project, scheduled to be completed by March 2018, will be funded on equal sharing basis between the state and the Centre with the latter contributing Rs 1,555 crore as equity and subordinate debt.
Nagpur Metro will connect 19.658 km of north-south corridor and 18.557 km of east-west corridor.
The proposed north-south and east-west alignments are expected to provide much needed connectivity to commuters and would traverse through some of the densest and traffic- congested areas of the Orange city.
The alignments are also expected to bring connectivity to the Special Economic Zone (SEZ), educational institutions and logistic hubs in the city.
The two corridors, together, are expected to bring about a total transformation in the city's urban transportation scenario by considerably reducing traffic congestion and bringing in a fast, comfortable, safe and affordable mass transportation system for the people of Nagpur.
To execute the project, the Cabinet approved setting up of Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation, a senior Urban Development Ministry official said.
While Urban Development Secretary will be the Chairman of the corporation, the Managing Director will be nominated by the Maharashtra government. The company will have 10 nominee Directors on its Board. These would be five nominees of the Government of India and five nominees of the Government of Maharashtra.
Nagpur with a population of 24 lakh people is the third largest city of Maharashtra and 13th largest in the country.
The project is scheduled to be completed by March 2018. Metro services are operational Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore and under various stages on construction in cities including Jaipur and Kochi.
Looking to tap into the large mass of passengers that do not have access to internet banking or debit cards, a pilot project for cash on delivery of train tickets will start next month from Delhi. Within six months, the service will be extended to over 150 cities.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has tied up with a private player for 'e-dakiya' cash on delivery services on a separate portal, bookmytrain.com. The domain name is registered with Anduril Technologies, which will manage the project, according to IRCTC executives.
The service will cost more as the private player will charge Rs 60 for delivery of a ticket in an air-conditioned compartment and Rs 40 for a ticket in ones without air-conditioning. These charges are over and above the IRCTC's service fee, bank charges and other taxes.
Tatkal tickets can be bought and no preference will be given in the booking process to the private player. This company will act as a travel agent without blocking availability of tickets for passengers buying e-tickets.
At a time when e-commerce players are plagued by high product returns ordered through cash on delivery, IRCTC says it is guarded against this risk. "The private partner will pay IRCTC upfront for all booked tickets. The risk related to collecting cash and delivery lies with the private player," said an IRCTC executive.
IRCTC books more than half of all reserved train tickets. In 2013, about 140.6 million e-tickets were booked on the IRCTC portal.
"The idea is to reach consumers who do not have debit cards or who are not comfortable sharing bank details online. This project can take a lot of load off booking counters as more people will booking online," said an official from the information technology department of the railways.
IRCTC earlier provided an i-ticket service where tickets were delivered to passengers who paid for them online. But soon after e-ticketing took off. The i-ticket service was taken off the new IRCTC portal because very few people used the service, said IRCTC executives.
A new e-ticketing system developed by the Centre of Railway Information Systems was launched by IRCTC recently with a capacity to book 7,200 tickets per minute.
HYDERABAD: The TRS government's proposal to change the alignment of Hyderabad metro rail project is likely to land in a legal quagmire.
The proposal is contrary to the affidavit filed in the high court by Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd (HMRL) which said it was not advisable to change the design of the project sidestepping the detailed project report (DPR).
Moreover, if the government insists on diverting the alignment to save the livelihood of the traders of Sultan Bazar, the move is likely to provide ammunition to the traders in Ameerpet who have already moved the high court complaining that HMRL changed the alignment in the stretch between Greenlands and Jubilee Hills Check Post in order to save properties of certain influential individuals at the cost of their own properties.
"We welcome the government's sympathy to the traders of Sultan Bazar. But, we expect the same sympathetic gesture towards us too. After all, we are not stepchildren of the government," said A N Shankar, spokesperson of Greenlands Ameerpet Madhuranagar Yousuguda Srikrishnanagar Join Action Committee (GAMYS JAC).
"If the alignment is changed at Sultan Bazar, then we will bring this to the court's notice. And we will move the high court with a fresh petition," Shankar added.
The HC has reserved its judgment on the case filed by the GAMYS JAC after staying the works in the Ameerpet area.
Interestingly, the high court rejected the plea to stay the works at Sultan Bazar citing 'no merit' in the petition filed by the traders from that area.
"The government appears determined to help traders in Sultan Bazar even when the court refused to stay the works there. If this happens, then the case of traders in Ameerpet will only get strengthened. The government will then have to consider their demands too," noted a lawyer who is closely following the case. There is probably bigger trouble in store for the government in the affidavit filed in the high court by NVS Reddy, managing director of HMRL, wherein he said, while refuting the charges of the GAMYS JAC, the alignment had never been changed and it could not be changed even in the future.
"It is submitted that the selection of routes and alignment of all the three metro rail corridors was done by DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) with a lot of care and after conducting techno-economical surveys, traffic studies etc.
As mentioned therein, traffic OD (origin and destination) patterns; location work centres and CBDs (Central Business Districts) road right of way ( RoW) play an important role in the selection of metro rail routes and finalization of alignment," NVS Reddy has said in the affidavit.
Citing the delay factor caused due to change in the alignment, NVS Reddy said in the affidavit, "at 13 per cent interest rate, a day's delay in project implementation increases the project cost by Rs. 5 crore a day."
While the project cost which was originally estimated at Rs.14,132 crore is understood to have already reached Rs 20,000 crore due to various factors including delay in kick-starting the works, inflation, and fluctuation in interest rates, NVS Reddy's affidavit would prove costly for the government if it goes ahead with its proposal to change the alignment at the Sultan Bazar area and near the legislative assembly building.
"The change in alignment comes with various factors including fresh land acquisition and survey which would not only come with a price, but also result in escalation of the project cost due to delays," said C Ramachandraih, a professor at Center of Socio-economic Change ( CES) who is spearheading a civil society struggle against the HMRL. He said the cost factor includes the force majeure clause that the operator Larson &Toubro might invoke according to which the government has to pay penalty on account of effecting the change of the course of the project which is estimated at Rs. 6000 crore.
Officials in the municipal administration & urban development (MA&UD) said the government was still examining the proposal to divert the metro alignment to take it behind the assembly building.
They said that the Sultan Bazaar stretch and Mozamjahi Market stretch of the project would not be touched. The route will be changed from Badi Chowdi to Tilak Park to the northeastern side of Women's College in Kothi where it will be connected to Chaderghat. "The alternative plan has almost been finalized and we are waiting chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao's return from his Singapore visit on August 25," the officials added.
According to N V S Reddy, "The diversion is minimal and it will not affect our original alignment or the commuters on the route."
The earlier proposal had a linear direction wherein the metro rail went straight along the road and touched all high traffic zones from Lakdikapul, assembly, traffic police office to the Nampally stretch. There are many government offices along the route and the diversion must be able to ensure that it caters to this traffic.
Source..times of india
VADODARA: Members of Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh (WRMS) held a rally against the government's decision to allow hundred per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in railways and privatization of Indian Railways. WRMS members held a rally at divisional railway manager's office at Pratapnagar on Wednesday.
Addressing the railway men, National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) vice-president and WRMS's general secretary J G Mahurkar said, "The primary goal of private companies is profit, not service or performance. They will come to make money and will not shy away from corrupt practices. There will be no sense of responsibility and accountability left."
Mahurkar along with NFIR's general secretary M Raghavaiah had recently moved a proposal on ?Right to strike and stopping privatization' at the plenary session of International Transport Federation (ITF) World Conference at Sofia in Bulgaria.
According to WRMS, a NFIR affiliate, introducing 100 per cent FDI in railways will mean selling railways to private companies.
"Privatization will endanger safety standards. When regular railway men were working, the quality of performance and service was commendable. Hiring people on contract basis has led to unmanned level crossings where innocent people are killed in accidents," said Mahurkar, who informed the gathering that ITF leadership too has appreciated the concern of NFIR to stop FDI and privatization.
WRMS has also demanded resolution of local problems of the railway men in Vadodara. "The upgradation of trackmen from the category of 1800 grade pay to 2400 grade pay and 2800 grade pay is not being implemented by the Vadodara division," said Mahurkar.
Source..times of india
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