Nov 30, 2014

Lives and livelihoods at risk on railway tracks

A train rumbles down the tracks between vegetable stalls and grocery shops that carry out a brisk trade in the off-limits area inside the railway corridor in the Jurain area of the capital. The picture was taken yesterday 
Photo- Rajib Dhar

Jurain Rail Gate is as prone to accidents as ever despite a directive from the prime minister on October 23 to clear railway corridors of illegal squatters.

The railway corridor in the Jurain area of the capital is illegally occupied by shops and hawkers, but the track-side entrepreneurs say they have a right to run their businesses there because they have leased the land from the Bangladesh Railway.

Director General (DG) of Bangladesh Railway Tafazzal Hossain said people were always trying to claim ownership of government-owned land to run their businesses.

A prominent signboard that reads, “Land Leased from Bangladesh Railway,” greets visitors to Jurain Rail Gate New Supermarket and Jurain Rail Gate Bazar, two marketplaces located on either side of the tracks.

Not too far away, a large, official signboard, in Bangla, reads: “A minimum of 20 feet of land must be kept free of establishments on either side of the railway track. In this space no marketplace, temporary shop, slum or hawker is allowed. If any is found, it will be punishable under section 112, 124, 125, 126, 127 of the Railway Act.”

It goes on to offer this warning: “If any accident occurs because of an illegal establishment, the responsibility will lie with the transgressor and under section 131 of Act, the transgressor will be arrested without an arrest warrant.”

In the shadow of this stern warning, some 500 vendors hawk their wares on the track’s access paths.

The modus operandi for the hawkers and their customers is to run to safety when the signalman’s whistle warns of an oncoming train and then carry on with business when the danger has passed.

But running for cover is a risky business practice. On September 11 an accident at Karwan Bazar left four people including two women dead and several injured. After the incident at Karwan Bazar, hawkers quit the tracks for a week as railway authorities began an eviction drive.

But they are back in force and their businesses are in full swing.

On September 13 railway authorities drove hawkers from the railway corridor at Jurain Rail Gate, but three days later influential local leaders and market committee leaders told the evicted hawkers it was okay to return.

“All the hawkers are back on the railway tracks running their risky businesses like before,” said shop owner Amzad Hossain who has owned a shop in the Jurain Rail Gate New Super Market for the last 15 years.

A customer named Iqbal Hossain, who came to the bazar to buy vegetables and fruits, told the Dhaka Tribune: “The hawkers run their businesses in a very risky manner. The railway authorities should evict them permanently and give them a safe space elsewhere.”

The presidents of the cooperative societies of the two marketplaces, Abdur Rahim and Solaiman Hossain, both said they had leased their respective plots of land for commercial use from Bangladesh Railway in 1979.

When asked whether it is legal to do business within 20 feet of the railway tracks, something which is clearly prohibited on the official signboard, neither offered any answer.

Solaiman said hawkers increased the chance of accidents, not shops in the markets. He demanded hawkers be evicted from the tracks and rehabilitated in other places.

When asked about claims that the land alongside the Jurain railway track was leased out, the Bangladesh Railway DG said: “It is true that Bangladesh Railway leased out the land commercially but it never gave permission to use the land within 20 feet of the tracks.”

“We will drive illegal establishments off the Jurain railway track just as similar drives are being conducted on the Dhaka – Narayanganj line,” the DG said.

“First, we will look into the claims of the market committee presidents. Shops on land that was leased from Bangladesh Railway will not be destroyed. But I say again: No establishment can remain within 20 feet of the railway tracks.”
Source-dhaka tribune

Western Railway headquarters demand raises hackles

Sanjay Raut

The Shiv Sena and MNS have taken an aggressive stand against the demand by some BJP MPs to move the Western Railway headquarters from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has written a letter to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis demanding that the state government ensure that no important office is moved from Mumbai to Gujarat. MNS chief Raj Thackeray said he had already predicted such a move, but he was ridiculed then.

“The demand of MPs from Gujarat to shift WR headquarters from Mumbai to the neighbouring state is a conspiracy to weaken Maharashtra. You as the chief minister should pursue the matter with the Centre to stop the shifting of the headquarters,” Mr Raut said in the letter. The reaction from Sena and MNS came a day after Gujarat MP Kirit Solanki’s demand in the Parliament to move WR headquarters from Mumbai to Ahmedabad.

Listing earlier measures to shift some important government departments from Mumbai, Mr Raut said three departments of RBI have been shifted to Delhi and important traffic from the JNPT port has been diverted to Gujarat. Air India’s Nariman Point office was also shifted to Delhi, and the Coast Police Institute, which was supposed to come up at Palghar, was also suddenly moved to Gujarat, he said.

“Considering the past examples I wonder if all these efforts are to clip the wings of Maharashtra,” the Sena MP said in the letter. “Shiv Sena was formed to protect the interests of a united Maharashtra and to ensure importance of Mumbai. Shifting even a single important office out of Mumbai will be an insult to the 105 martyrs of the ‘Samyukta Maharashtra movement’,” the letter added.

On the other hand, rival MNS’ chief Raj said he had forewarned about measures to decrease Maharashtra’s importance. “I had said during the poll campaign that there were efforts to reduce the Maharashtra’s importance, but our own people opposed me then. They alleged me of changing the stand,” he said in Nashik on Saturday.
Source-asian age

Railway minister’s review meets in Kolkata

KOLKATA: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu will visit Kolkata for the first time after taking over the cabinet portfolio on Sunday. The visit will last a few hours during which he will meet the general managers of Eastern and South Eastern Railways and senior officers. During these meetings, Prabhu will review the performances of the two railway zones. The stress will be on passenger amenities and better services, officers believe.

"Over the last few months, we have made a lot of improvement so far as punctuality, cleanliness and safety are concerned. Eastern Railway has adopted several measures to ensure zero lapses in safe train running. General manager R K Gupta holds regular meetings with the principal heads of departments and divisional railway managers and emphasizes that there should be no tolerance or compromise on safety issues," a senior officers said.

ER has recently released a booklet on its disaster management plan. 'Gate Mitras' have been appointed at all unmanned level crossing gates over ER to prevent accidents. Disaster management exercises and mock drills have also been held at several locations, the officer said.

According to another officer, several steps have been taken to improve cleanliness on trains and at stations. Trains are being fitted with bio-toilets and pest and rodent control is being intensified.

In addition to this, en route surprise checks by officers and supervisors are being organized to monitor the cleanliness in train compartments.
Source-times of india

Canada Extends Order on Rail Shipment to Alleviate Grain Backlog

Canada extended an order that requires the country’s two largest railways to ship a minimum amount of grain each week until March 28.

The federal government said the measure is to ensure that the remainder of last year’s crop is moved along with this year’s and that normal operations of the grain supply chain are maintained, according to a statement. “Our government continues to act to ensure that grain and all commodities get to market in a timely manner,” said Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.

The government first imposed an order requiring Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. to move 500,000 tons of grain a week in March after a backlog of grain left as much as C$20 billion ($17.5 billion) of crops stuck on prairie farms. A similar order was made between Aug. 3 and Nov. 29 to prevent a recurrence of the backlog during the fall harvest.

Canadian National Railway, the country’s largest railway, said the government should have focused on encouraging greater supply chain collaboration and lifted the weekly grain volume requirements rather than extend them.

“CN believes that normal commercial relationships and a stable regulatory environment are essential for an effective, well-functioning rail transportation marketplace,” the company said in a statement. “More regulation threatens to increase costs, stifle innovation and potentially discourage investments that are critical to building strong, safe and resilient supply chains of the future.”

The new order sets new weekly quotas ranging from 200,000 tons to 465,000 tons depending on the week. Failure to do so could result in penalties of as much as $100,000 per violation, according to the government statement.
Source-bloom berg

Maneka Gandhi asks Railways to help in locating runaway children

Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi has sought Railways' help to rescue runaway children Getty Images

The Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry has found a new route to tackle the problem of runaway children, most of whom take trains to end up in big cities, and has sought Railways' support in this regard.

WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi said travelling ticket examiners (TTEs) have to be more vigilant as these children leave homes and take trains to reach major cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi.

"After all, these children are mostly above eight years and they come by trains. How is it possible that the TTEs do not notice a ticket-less traveller, a child roaming around the coach? After all, a child is not a luggage nor does he hide under the seat?" she asked.

Referring to a recent report which states that as many as 700 runaway children lands in Delhi stations every month, she said, adding "this is an epidemic".

The minister has, in a recent meeting, asked the Railway authorities to set up public call offices (PCOs) at railway stations so that these children can contact child helpline number 1098 in time of distress.

"We have requested the Railways to set up PCOs as there is none left at stations now. So, even when a child wants to call on the helpline number 1098, he is helpless. Posters containing the helpline number are all there at railway stations," she said.

Gandhi said her ministry will also deploy its own teams to track down such children. Though there are non-governmental organisations working on the field, a large number of children remains untraceable.

"These children run away from homes at slightest provocations. They take trains to go to Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Once they reach these major cities they are at high risk of abuse like drug addictions, sexual abuse, thefts and odd jobs. They also get trafficked," the minister said.

At least 70,000-120,000 children arrive in 50 main railway stations across the country every year, according to the book 'Rescuing Railway Children: Reuniting families from India's railway platforms', released in June.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, almost 60,000 children were reported missing in 2011. A report by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) says nearly 11 children go missing every hour, and at least four of them are never found.

According to BBA, the number of missing children could be as high as 90,000 per year.

Railway tracks claimed over 18,000 lives this year

The HinduMain reasons for death of persons on railway tracks are trespassing, falling off trains, accidents and suicides. File Photo

The number of deaths on railway tracks has been on the rise in the past few years despite several measures taken by the authorities to contain such incidents.

While 14,973 deaths occurred on railway tracks in 2011, the number increased to 16,336 in 2012, according to Railway Ministry data. The number increased further to 19,997 in 2013.

According to the data prepared by safety wing of the national transporter, railway tracks have claimed 18,735 lives till October this year.

Main reasons for death of persons on railway tracks are trespassing, falling off trains, accidents and suicides, a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the safety wing said.

Railways has taken a series of steps to prevent deaths on railway tracks including regular announcement through public address system at important stations urging the passengers to use foot over-bridges and to avoid crossing of rail lines.

“We are also carrying out various passenger awareness programmes to educate and create awareness among general public about the fatalities involved in crossing rail lines,” said the official.

At present, railways has 11,563 unmanned level crossings.

The official said trespassing into railway premises including the track is a punishable offence under Section 147 of the Railways Act and regular checks are being conducted against unauthorised entry into railway premises as well as lines.

Railways has decided to eliminate all unmanned level crossing in phased manner by closure, manning and also by constructing rail over-bridge and under-bridge.
Source-the hindu.
Source-gov employees

Work on two railway links under way

KATHMANDU, NOV 30 - With India pledging to build five cross-border railway lines, construction work is under way on two—Jogbani-Biratnagar and Jayanagar- Bardibas.

Other proposed railway links are Nautanwa-Bhairahawa, Rupadiya-Nepalgunj and New Jalapaiguri-Kakarbhitta.

The government has acquired land for the Nautanwa-Bhairahawa section, and is in the process of acquiring land for Rupadiya-Nepalgunj. As for the Jalapaiguri-Kakarbhitta link is concerned, survey design is yet to be completed, according to Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.

The two countries signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of the rail links during President Ram Baran Yadav’s India visit in February 2010. India will invest an estimated IRs 13.27 billion to construct the 183.06km railway, according to the Indian embassy’s website. Secretary Tulasi Prasad Sitauala said work on Jogbani-Biratnagar rail link has been moving ahead smoothly and it is expected to be completed within the next year.

However, a land acquisition-related problem has surfaced in Katahari, Morang, where a railway station has been planned. The work has stalled after the land owner filed a case demanding higher compensation. “Besides the work on the station, every this is ok,” he said. There will be two stations on the Nepali side of the border. India’s railway board has appointed IRCON as the project’s implementing agency.

The contract for Jayanagar-Janakpur-Bardibas was awarded recently, according to the ministry. “The work is under way in Janakpur area,” said Sitaula. However, a station planned on the banks of the Rato Khola in Bardibas will be relocated.

According to Sitaula, the Indian side said a railway station on riverbank would not be feasible. As the station was originally planned to be built on public land, the government now has to acquire private land, which is expected to increase the project’s cost. There will be three rail stations along this route—in Janakpur, Jaleshwor and Bardibas.

Sitaula said construction has almost completed on the Indian side. Once all the five railway links are completed, Nepal will have a total of six such links, including one that connects the Birgunj Dry port. He said these rail links would help smooth flow of goods, thereby boosting bilateral and multilateral trade.

Sistema to install Wi-Fi hotspots at 3 Indian railway stations

The hotspots will come up in 2015 at the main railway stations in Varanasi, Agra and Ahmedabad. The Russian company is also looking at providing wire free internet in the up-coming metro systems in Indian cities
The Agra Cantonment railway station will have a MTS Wi-Fi hotspot. Source: Alamy Images

AFK Sistema’s Indian unit Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (SSTL) will create Wi-Fi hotspots in three major railway stations in India, the Economic Times said on Thursday. The Russian company, which operates under the MTS brand in India, has entered into a tie-up with Indian Railways, according to the report.

“We have got approval for putting up Wi-Fi hotspots at Agra, Ahmedabad and Varanasi railway stations and are working on proof of concept,” SSTL Chief Executive Dmitry Shukov told the paper in an interview.

The paper cited the Russian company as saying that the deal with the railways has just been signed, and it would be premature to comment on modalities and tariff at the moment.
SSTL, which introduced free Wi-Fi services in the Gurgaon Metro, would like to replicate this in cities such as Jaipur and Lucknow, where metro systems are being built, the paper said. The Russian company initially provided free Wi-Fi access to commuters for six months before charging them.

“We are exploring opportunities so that success at Rapid Metro, which was experimental, can be reproduced,” Shukhov told the paper.

The Russian company is also looking at the Mumbai metro, of which three new lines will be constructed over the next 6 years. The only active line of the Mumbai Metro was built by the Anil Ambani Reliance Group and has Reliance Wi-Fi connections. The Moscow Metro constructor is incidentally looking to build the third line of the Mumbai Metro, an underground route connecting the north and south of the city.

Smart Cities

Earlier this month, India and Russia agreed to finalise the proposal for establishment of a ‘Smart City’ in India by Sistema. The details of this project will be revealed once the formal agreement is signed during the annual Indo-Russian bilateral summit, which will most likely be held on December 11-12 in New Delhi.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for the creation of 100 smart cities in India. So far $1.2 billion has been allocated for the project. Sistema is already in the process of constructing a smart city on the outskirts of Moscow.

Just the ticket: the joy of England’s railway stations

‘The topographic romance of Newcastle starts with its curving station’: Newcastle’s railway station was opened in 1850. Photograph: Alamy

When William Tress, architect to the South Eastern Railway, designed a station for Battle in Sussex, he decided to do it in gothic. He gave it pointed gables, the odd buttress, rough coursed stone walls and large windows with churchy tracery, all out of respect to the nearby Battle Abbey and field of the Battle of Hastings. You can’t see the station and the abbey in the same view, but Tress still felt the need to travel back centuries for his style. This was in 1852, the year after the Crystal Palace had shown the world the possibilities of building in glass and steel.

Tress was following the usual approach of the railway age. The stations may have been serving the most powerful and world-changing technology of their time, but the most important thing was to evoke some older, safer period, and to make the buildings look domestic. In the 19th century railways were trebly frightful – they caused terrible accidents, devastated urban and rural environments and prompted gigantic financial collapses and swindles – which was all the more reason to make their public faces look like reassuring old houses. Above all, the horses were not to be frightened, those beasts that were being put out of work.William Tress’s gothic 1852 station at Battle. Photograph: English Heritage

So this iron monster was decorated with Jacobean manors, medieval vicarages, Italianate villas, baroque cupolas, a quattrocento arcade in Cambridge, a homage in Huddersfield to the stretched facade of the nearby stately home of Wentworth Woodhouse. This habit went up to the biggest termini, such as St Pancras in London, whose polychrome bespired front looks like the city hall of a fantasy metropolis that the middle ages themselves never got round to creating. A hundred years of critics, from Augustus Pugin to Nikolaus Pevsner via John Ruskin, reviled these stations’ pretension and deceit. “Railroad architecture,” said Ruskin, would have its own dignity “if it were only left to its work. You would not put rings on the fingers of a smith at his anvil.”

All of which makes train stations the archetypal Victorian product, bold and dissimulating at once. Railway magnates were happy to rip through cities and landscapes, make thousands homeless, stink and pollute, but God forbid that anyone approaching their buildings should think that anything had changed. It was like clothing piano legs, but on an urban scale and more productively: hypocritical though they may be, stations like Battle and St Pancras are delightful.The neoclassical facade of Huddersfield station. Photograph: Alamy

And then it turned out that these creations of capitalist and industrial savagery would come to represent the localities into which they had barged. There are few better places to check the pulse of a big city or a country town than its station. The topographic romance of Newcastle starts with its curving station. Brighton’s vaults seem to be breathed upwards by sea air. The atrocious ugliness of the postwar Birmingham New Street tells you something about the pragmatism of Brum.
St Pancras station opened in 1868. Photograph: Alamy

They became cultural and social entities. They forced the synchronisation of previously fractional time zones – Barrow, for example, was 13 minutes behind London – and were points of connection with the telegraphic systems that ran along the tracks. They grew hotels, and defined the class system with segregated waiting rooms, eating places and sometimes entrances. For better or for worse, WH Smith opened its first station outlet in the year of revolutions, 1848. Stations became settings for art and films: William Powell Frith, Brief Encounter.

They eventually became objects of nostalgia and preservation, when the energies that sustained them deflated: the loss in 1961 of the Grecian propylaeum known as the Euston arch was the defining defeat of the conservation movement, the later rescue of the nearby St Pancras its defining victory. Hence a new survey from English Heritage, The English Railway Station, written by the historian and scholar of stations Steven Parissien, which informatively recounts their rise and fall.

He describes how competing railway companies would define themselves with architectural styles, rather than the rivalrous repulsive graphics they use now, which contributed to the proliferation of gothic, Italianate, baroque, Tudor and Greek. He tells how the inability of these companies to cooperate led to the wasteful proliferation of non-connecting stations in close proximity to one another. In other European countries and the US, city governments insisted that everyone use the same unified central stations, but in Britain commercial interests were too strong for this seemingly sane idea.
The futuristic station at Southgate, built in 1933. Photograph: English Heritage

Parissien’s book favours smaller places such as Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Boxhill and Westhumble, and the local “chalet” stations created by Brunel, over the grand termini. He describes the Bethlehem stable of ferroequinology, the small brick house adapted to become the world’s first station by the Stockton and Darlington Railway. He tells how in the early days goods were seen as more profitable than passengers, and stations were therefore provisional and modest. He later moves beyond the heyday of stations into the 20th century to include such things as the art deco wonder of Surbiton station and London Underground’s Southgate of 1933, whose illuminated low cylinder makes it into a UFO before its time. You feel Parissien’s pain at the destruction of redundant buildings and his lack of enthusiasm for later works, like the “dismally uninspired” Telford Central of 1986. As it happens, British Rail’s architects’ department produced some not bad late-Miesian stations into the 1980s, but you don’t get much sense of them here.

It is, however, the 19th century that dominates, which was not only the boom time for railways but also the era about which Britain has long had the most complicated feelings. It is our daddy century, a time of exceptional power and creation, but also blatantly wrong and absurd in crucial respects. Train stations capture all of this, so their fascination endures. Parissien quotes one James Scott as saying in 1911 that “no one visits railway stations to look at architecture”. Now they do, and then they write books.
Source-the guardian

Death on railway tracks on rise;18,735 lives lost in 2014 till October

The number of deaths on railway tracks has been on the rise in the past few years despite several measures taken by the authorities to contain such incidents.

While 14,973 deaths occurred on railway tracks in 2011, the number increased to 16,336 in 2012, according to Railway Ministry data. The number increased further to 19,997 in 2013.

According to the data prepared by safety wing of the national transporter, railway tracks have claimed 18,735 lives till October this year.

Main reasons for death of persons on railway tracks are trespassing, falling off trains,accidents and suicides, a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the safety wing said.

Railways has taken a series of steps to prevent deaths on railway tracks including regular announcement through public address system at important stations urging the passengers to use foot over-bridges and to avoid crossing of rail lines.

"We are also carrying out various passenger awareness programmes to educate and create awareness among general public about the fatalities involved in crossing rail lines," said the official.

At present, railways has 11,563 unmanned level crossings.

The official said trespassing into railway premises including the track is a punishable offence under Section 147 of the Railways Act and regular checks are being conducted against unauthorised entry into railway premises as well as lines.

Railways has decided to eliminate all unmanned level crossing in phased manner by closure, manning and also by constructing rail over-bridge and under-bridge.
Source-dna india

Finally, Meghalaya is on India's railway map: PM Modi flags first train in state

Guwahati: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday flagged off the first passenger train from Mendipathar in Meghalaya to Dudhnoi in Assam, thereby putting Meghalaya for the first time on India's railway map. He compared the northeast region to Goddess Lakshmi, and said development of the region will help the rest of India.

The prime minister, who kick-started a three-day four-state tour of the region, also laid the foundation stone of a new broad gauge railway line between Bhairabi and Sairang in Mizoram.

"Vaastu Shastra claims that if one keeps the Eshan (northeast) corner of a house in order, it boosts the prosperity of the house. Similarly, I believe that if we can keep India's northeast in order, it would help the rest of the country also," Modi said in his address to thousands of people at the railway stadium in Guwahati.
Representational image. AFP

Modi, on his maiden visit after becoming prime minister, said infrastructure was the key to development.

"If we can develop the infrastructure of the region, development will follow. The northeast region will achieve new heights of development if infrastructure like rail and road links are developed," he said.

Modi compared the eight states of the region with Ashta Lakshmi (the eight different forms of Goddess Lakshmi), and said proper development of the Ashta Lakshmi will help develop other parts of the region too.

Referring to his recent visit to Myanmar, Modi said he has already taken up the issue of railway link between the northeast and Myanmar.

"They say this is the century of Asia, and if it is true, the northeast must have its share of it. My government's effort will be to establish rail links between the region and Myanmar and other Asian countries, which will boost the potential of the region," he said.

"Once the region is linked with other Asian counties, the youth of the region do not need to go to Bangalore and other places to look for opportunities," he said.

The prime minister also stressed the need to modernise the railways and said his government has decided to invite private investment in railways and privatise the railway stations to make them economically viable.

"The railway connects. But it also expedites the speed of development. It is in fact the spine of the country's economy," he said.

"Unfortunately in the past, railway budgets have been only about adding a compartment and adding new tracks. I want to develop the railways, both vertically and horizontally.

"While the railway network will be spread to more areas, services will also be upgraded," he said.

Modi said his government has also decided to establish four railway universities in the country.
Source-first post

Railways must take steps to control overloading to boost revenues


The Comptroller & Auditor General has asked the Railways to take steps to control overloading of cargo, to reduce loss of potential revenue.

The Government auditor observed that out of 1,176 loading points in the Railways, 759 did not have their own weighbridges. They were largely (65 per cent) dependent on privately-owned weighbridges, especially for bulk consignments such as coal and iron-ore, the CAG report said.

The performance of weighbridges was not being checked regularly by the Railway administration, it observed adding that this has increased risk of revenue loss in carrying freight of bulk consignments. Audit also noticed deficiencies in their proper up-keep and maintenance, CAG said in its report.

In another chapter, the CAG said by managing scrap sale better, the Railways can increase revenues and pay lower dividend to the Centre. This, would improve the Railways’ profitability, the CAG said.

In 2013-14, the Railways earned ₹3,004 crore by selling scrap, accounting for about 2 per cent of Railways’ total revenue of ₹1,39,500 crore.

“An asset created from the capital support from the Centre carries a dividend payable by the Railways to the Centre. The rate of such a dividend was six per cent, five per cent and four per cent during the years 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively,” it said. When such an asset is disposed off after being declared as scrap, the original cost of the same is required to be written back to capital, so that the total capital at charge is reduced, thereby reducing the amount payable by railways as dividend to the Centre.

When Railways condemns rolling stock funded from capital, an estimate should be prepared writing down the original cost of such stock from capital. But, different railway zones delayed making relevant accounting adjustments — writing back the rolling stock scrapped — which resulted in “avoidable dividend payment of ₹7.8 crore”.
Source-the hindu business line

RPF’s ‘eagle eyes’ to help women in distress at railway station

VADODARA: With eagle eyes, Railway Protection Force (RPF) will keep a watch on mischief-mongers and miscreants harassing women at Vadodara railway station. 

Under a special initiative of Western Railway (WR), RPF is planning to create designated help posts directly in front of CCTV cameras to improve security for women. 

Women in distress can reach these posts where they will be spotted immediately by personnel monitoring the footage and help will reach them quickly. For the CCTV women passenger help points, signages with arrow symbols will be placed at various places of all the platforms to direct women in distress to reach the special help posts. 

"The duty officer in such cases will reach the spot and if the offence is under section 162 of the Railways Act which pertains to entering a place reserved for female, RPF will immediately register the offence," Kamaljot Brar, senior divisional security commissioner, RPF at Vadodara railway division told TOI. 

"If the offence pertains to molestation, eve-teasing or any other kind of harassment which falls under Indian Penal Code, RPF will call Government Railway Police (GRP). RPF will act as bridge between such female passengers under distress and GRP to ensure that safety of female passengers is ensured," said Brar. 

For the first phase, five additional CCTV cameras will be installed at these posts at Vadodara railway station which are already equipped with 36 CCTV cameras. 

Women in distress can also call the national helpline number 1322 apart from chowky's landline number at Vadodara 0265-2974822 or dial 9724091711 which will be attended to by a RPF inspector at Vadodara. 

WR believes that it becomes difficult for personnel to keep an eye on footage from all cameras at once. With the help posts coming in, they can focus and provide quick help to women in need. 

"The objective of these help points is also to deter criminals. Such elements will know that we are watching," said Brar, who will be also be holding 'Suraksha Sammelan' to sensitize RPF's force to provide quick response to help such female passengers. 

RPF's present strength in Vadodara railway division is 406 personnel. "Based on the response we get at Vadodara railway station, the project will be extended to Anand, Ankleshwar, Bharuch, Nadiad and Godhra railway stations which fall under Vadodara railway division," she said.
Source-times of india

Narendra Modi favours privatization, modernization of railway stations

GUWAHATI: Meghalaya on Saturday came on the country's rail map more than six decades after Independence, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagging off the first train to the northeastern state and favouring privatization of railway stations.

"Railway facilities are the same as they were 100 years back ... Privatize the railway stations and modernise them," he said after flagging off the first train linking Meghalaya.

"I will make it in 10-12 places. Stations should be better than airports as most travellers are poor people. We can easily have trains running below and commercial properties above (floor)," Modi reasoned.

At a time when real estate is very expensive, railways should leverage its properties by allowing private parties to build luxury hotels, restaurants and other facilities, he added.

He said once this exercise is completed in these places, the government will carry out modernization of stations across the country.

The Prime Minister on Saturday inaugurated the Mendipathar-Guwahati passenger train and laid the foundation stone of broad gauge conversion of Bhairabi-Sairang line in Mizoram.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) with Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi at the NF Railway Stadium in Maligaon, Guwahati, during the flagging off of first train between Mendipathar (Meghalaya) and Guwahati.

Modi said the Indian Railways have the potential to become the backbone of the country's economic activity.

"We will not be happy in just adding one coach or upgrading one station. We want both horizontal and vertical development of the railways. It can become the engine of Indian economy," he added.

The government has already allowed 100 per cent foreign direct investment to completely modernize the railway transportation in the country, he said.

Modi said the government has decided to open four railway universities in the four corners of the country where all aspects of railway service will be taught.

Modi, on efforts to modernize railways, said under new rail minister Suresh Prabhu (above) things will move ahead at a very quick pace.

He said railway can be a mode of eco-friendly mass transportation, which will be India's contribution to contain global warming.

Talking about connectivity to northeast, Modi said: "Infrastructure is the most important factor to develop northeast. If we want to develop India, we have to develop northeast."

Giving example of good roads in South Korea, he said India, particularly this region, should have better connectivity to leverage its potential.

"The upper middle class in India wants to go for visiting places once or twice a year. They keep searching for good places. If we have good connectivity, then they will come to northeast as it is full of natural beauty and lovely people.

"Once infrastructure is developed, rest all will be done by the public," Modi said.

The Prime Minister also favoured connecting northeast digitally by installing optical fibre network so that people in remotest area can also avail all facilities of the cyber world.

"We have to take forward 'Look Act Policy'. We have 'Look East Policy' and now we will have 'Act East Policy'. Northeast will be the centre of development," he added.
Source-times of india





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