Sep 8, 2014

Law will take its own course: Rail Minister Gowda on son absconding in rape case

New Delhi: "Law will take its own course" was the terse reply of Railway Minister Sadandada Gowda on Monday when he was asked about his "missing" son who is wanted by police in a case of rape lodged against him by a Kannada actress.

Rail Minister Sadananda Gowda said that law will take its course over charges against his son. Agencies

"I have spoken about it several times. Law will take its own course. I have nothing more to say," he told reporters at a press conference organised to share his ministry's "achievements" in the first 100 days of the BJP government.

His son Karthik Gowda has been accused of rape by the actress who has alleged that he developed relations with her after promising to marrying her. She went to police after he was engaged to another girl.

The minister declined to comment on the CBI probe into the contract between Indian Railways-owned IRCTC and the tainted company Saradha Group for operating tourist services to different destinations.

"CBI is investigating. Further comments from me would be interference in investigation," he said.

The contract came about when TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister was the railway minister. Some of her party leaders are being investigated for their links with the company accused of cheating people.
Source..first post

J'khand: Maoists blow up rail tracks, 2 injured

The explosion was heard by locals living within the radius of around five kilometres.

At least 24 bogies, including the engine, of the goods train were derailed after running on the damaged track despite the drivers’ efforts to stop the train after they saw a crater caused by the explosion on the railway line.

The driver and the assistant driver, however, escaped with minor injuries in the mishap.

The Maoists, numbering around 20-25, also took the driver Kamlesh Kumar, assistant driver Chandan Kumar and the guard Manish Kumar captive for nearly two hours before setting them free and guiding them towards the Latehar railway station at about 4.00am. They were earlier taken into the nearby jungle.

“We saw a crater caused by the IED explosion and put dead breaks to stop the train. We are fortunate to have escaped death first in the train mishap and then from the clutches of the Maoists,” driver Kamlesh Kumar, who received minor treatment for his injuries at Latehar railway station, told reporters later.

The Maoists also left behind scores of pamphlets denouncing the capitalistic policies of the government and terming it as anti-poor.

They also urged the working class not to repair the track as the entire area was strewn with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Railway employees were also asked to refrain from restoring the traffic till their further orders.

Watch: Goods train derails after maoists blast track in Jharkhand

Rail traffic was disrupted on the route after the blasts. All trains plying on the route were either stranded at different stations or have been diverted to other routes.

Senior railway officials have reached the blast site. A joint team of local police and the Central Reserve Police Force, led by the Latehar superintendent of police Michael Raj, is also camping on the site.

Latehar is one of the worst-hit districts affected by Maoist violence in the country.

Following a directive from the Centre, a massive manhunt has been launched for the rebels in the district since the last one week.

Agencies have warned the government that Maoists may carry out major strikes in their strongholds to divert the forces’ focus.

Fury as rail fares in the north rise by up to 162% from today

Thousands of commuters will see rail fares double today.

Changes imposed by the Government on the main rail company in the north of England mean some people will be paying 162 per cent more than they did on Friday.

Commuters in Chancellor George Osborne’s constituency of Tatton in Cheshire will be among the hardest hit, along with travellers in Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam seat.
The Chancellor George Osborne (above) said fare increases would be capped at 2.5 per cent but this will be of little comfort to Northern Rail customers facing ‘stealth’ rises

Mr Osborne chose yesterday to announce that countrywide fare rises planned in January will be limited to 2.5 per cent – not 3.5 per cent as previously thought.

But the cap will be of little comfort to Northern Rail customers facing ‘stealth’ rises from today.

The increases come as the Government forces Northern Rail to introduce evening peak ticket restrictions on local services. This is to plug the gap caused by the cost to the taxpayer of the West Coast franchise saga in 2012.

From today, off-peak tickets will no longer be valid on some trains between 4.01pm and 6.29pm on weekdays, which means sharp increases in some fares.

A day return from Styal in Tatton, Mr Osborne’s constituency, to Manchester is £7.90 instead of £5.20, an increase of 52 per cent.

And a day return from Dore and Totley in Sheffield Hallam, Nick Clegg’s seat, to Sheffield will be £3.30, up 43 per cent from £2.30.

From today, off-peak tickets will no longer be valid on some trains between 4.01pm and 6.29pm on weekdays, which means sharp increases in some fares

Someone travelling from Rochdale to Wigan will pay £11 for a day return, an increase of 162 per cent.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said: ‘These changes will help us achieve our long-term plan of building a rail network that is better for the passenger and better value for the taxpayer.

‘Such restrictions are relatively common on other parts of the network, including in the Merseytravel area, and we expect only a minority of passengers to be affected.’

Labour’s transport spokesman Mary Creagh said: ‘This is a direct result of the Government’s West Coast franchise fiasco and commuters travelling to Leeds, Manchester, Bradford, Sheffield and Newcastle are paying the price.

Many Northern Rail passengers will see their fares jump 162 per cent this weekend

‘People shouldn’t have to choose between paying more or waiting until after dark to travel.’ She called for a strict cap on fare rises and reform of the railways.

The botched franchising of the West Coast line cost taxpayers more than £50million and meant the Government had to negotiate extensions to existing franchises, including Northern Rail. Yesterday, Mr Osborne announced the annual New Year fare rise will be 2.5 per cent, not 3.5 per cent.

This year’s July RPI inflation figure meant that regulated fares would have risen by an average of 3.5 per cent in January 2015.

Mr Osborne is also scrapping the ‘flex’ system where companies could raise some fares by up to two percentage points. He said more than 250,000 season ticket holders will save £75 across 2014 and 2015.

But Mick Cash, acting general secretary of the RMT transport union, said: ‘The announcement from George Osborne does not stack up to a freeze for millions of people whose incomes are stagnant due to austerity.’
Source..daily mail

Rail fares rise limited to 2.5%

Long-suffering commuters are to be spared some of the pain of next January's rail fare rise.

This year's July RPI inflation figure had meant that regulated fares, which include season tickets, would have risen by an average of 3.5% in January 2015.

But Chancellor George Osborne announced today that he was, for the second year running, knocking 1% off the annual rise, meaning that the new-year increase will be limited to 2.5%.

The new-year rail fare increase will be limited to 2.5%.

He also announced that he was scrapping the "flex" system whereby train companies could raise some fares by up to 2% above the permitted average.

The announcements mean that no season ticket will rise by more than 2.5% in a move that will cost £100 million.

The Government said that, as a result, more than 250,000 annual season ticket holders will have made a combined saving of about £75 over 2014 and 2015.

Mr Osborne said: "Support for hard-working taxpayers is at the heart of our long-term economic plan.

"It's only because we've taken difficult decisions on the public finances that we can afford to help families further."

But Labour and rail unions appeared less than impressed with the Chancellor's move.

Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh said: "Commuters suffering under the cost-of-living crisis will take this with a pinch of salt.

"David Cameron's Government has hit passengers with inflation-busting fare rises of 21% since 2010, adding to the cost-of-living crisis.

"The Tories have no plan for the railways: this won't deal with the costs of their bungled franchise extensions and won't deliver the change passengers need."

Mick Cash, acting general secretary of the RMT transport union, said: "The announcement from George Osborne does not stack up to a freeze for millions of people whose incomes are stagnant due to years of austerity.

"To try and dress this up as benefiting working people is pure fraud on the part of the Government.

"If you are an MP like George Osborne about to scoop a pay increase of 9%, then of course you can meet the soaring costs of rail travel as the tab is picked up by the taxpayer.

"Tomorrow, RMT will be out at stations across the north where some off-peak fares will double overnight."

Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, said: "The Chancellor has some brass neck in presenting this 2.5% increase as a good news story when it means he will have increased rail fares by a huge 24% since moving into Number 11 Downing Street in 2010.

"If he was genuinely interested in helping passengers who have seen their real wages fall over the past four years he would have actually frozen fares, not hiked them upwards again."

Michael Roberts, director general of rail industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: "We support the Government's decision to ensure a real-terms freeze in next year's season tickets and other regulated fares.

"The rail industry will continue investing in more trains, faster services and better stations while getting more out of every pound spent."

David Sidebottom, passenger director at rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus, said: "The capping of rail fare rises by inflation will be welcome news to passengers in England, especially those who rely on the train for work, as will the ban on train companies increasing some fares by more than the average.

"It is something we have been pushing for, for several years now and we are pleased that the Government has recognised the need to act to relieve the burden on passengers."

Martin Abrams, public transport campaigner at the Campaign for Better Transport, said: "This announcement will be a welcome relief to millions of people who were finding their rail fare rise outstrip their wage rise by up to four times during this parliament.

"Hopefully it's an indication that the Government will now implement a coherent plan of much-needed investment which removes the burden from passengers.

"Fares need to be held down for the long term while wages catch up, and the inflation formula finally needs to change from the Retail Price Index to the lower, fairer Consumer Price Index to bring it in line with other measures."





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