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Parliament panel raises concerns over lack of infra in railways to deal with cybercrimes

A parliamentary panel has expressed serious concern over lack of infrastructure in the railways’ vigilance directorate to deal with cybercrimes, days after the CBI busted a ticketing scam in the national transporter.The Railway Convention Committee that submitted its report in Parliament today on vigilance in Indian Railways said they were not satisfied that the ministry’s vigilance directorate was foolproof as far as dealing with cybercrimes was concerned. “When there is no requisite infrastructure or expertise available with the railways to effectively deal with cybercrime and software manipulation, the e-tendering and e- auction system introduced by the ministry cannot be claimed to be foolproof,” the committee has said, raising doubts over the security of all e-platforms used by the railways.The committee has urged the ministry to induct persons with “ample experience” in handling cybercrimes, either through deputation or permanent absorption, so as to eliminate any scope of “manipulation of the system by vested interests”.The parliamentary panel, chaired by BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab has 12 members from Lok Sabha and and six from Rajya Sabha.The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday arrested its software programmer for developing an illicit software to subvert the railways Tatkal reservation system, allowing hundreds of tickets to be booked in one go.

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All railway stations in India to go LED by March 31, 2018: Ministry

In an eco-friendly measure to cut power consumption, the Indian Railways today said it planned to make all stations cent per cent LED lit by March 31, 2018.The railways said it was actively working to provide 100 per cent LED lighting for energy needs in railway staff colonies, stations and platforms.”Ministry of Railways has decided to make all railway stations 100 per cent LED lit by the end of current financial year by March 31, 2018. It is a huge initiative to provide energy efficient lighting which will eventually greatly help in the conservation of environment as well,” it said in a statement.LED or light-emitting diode bulbs are more energy efficient and have a longer lifespan than traditional lamps.Till November 2017, about 3,500 railway stations had already been provided with cent per cent LED lights. About 20 lakh such lights were installed.The initiative will reduce consumption by about 10 per cent of the total energy being utilised for its non-traction uses, conserving about 240 million units of electricity, which will save the Railways about Rs 180 crore annually, it said.The Railways has also issued directives to Zonal Railways to provide LED light fittings to residential quarters.Zonal Railways had distributed about 20 lakh LED lights to railway staff till October, 2017, under the government’s Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP) Scheme.The national transporter also aims at providing these lights on all coaches/EMUs. Already, the lights in 1300 non-AC second-class and 3-tier sleeper coaches have been fully converted to LED.

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South Central Railway proposes recreational tour to Singapore, Malaysia for its lowest-paid staff; to bear 75% expenses

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, non-gazetted employees of Secunderabad-based South Central Railways will be taken on a foreign trip on government expense purely for recreation purposes, a report said today. The South Central Railways (SCR) has proposed a six-day “recreation tour” of Singapore and Malaysia for non-gazetted serving employees, including gangmen and trackmen. Employees with lowest-pay level and those approaching retirement will be given preference for the tour, a circular said. Also read9 lakh seniors give up ticket subsidy in 3 months, Railways saves Rs 40 croreWhile the employees have been asked to pay 25% or Rs 15,000 via demand draft, the remaining 75% expense will come from the Staff Benefit Fund, a report in The Indian Express said. The zonal railway has tied up with a private tour operator selected for being the lowest bidder among three vendors for the tour. The total package is for around Rs 59,000 including airfare, hotel stay and entry fee to Universal Studios and the like, the report said. Also readShort-staffed Rlys extends age limit for re-engagement to 65The Staff Benefit Fund is created from railway coffers every year and given to all zones for philanthropical purposes but does not extend to a pleasure trip in a foreign land, the daily quotes sources as saying. The SCR gets Rs 800 per employee towards creation of this fund from the Railway Ministry through Budget for its estimated 80,000 employees. The ministry has alloted Rs 100 crore for the purpose which is distributed among all the zones. There are strict rules that govern the Staff Benefit Fund and for what purposes they can be used. “There is no provision of a foreign recreation tour in staff benefit fund. It is not done and can’t be done,” said Shiv Gopal Mishra, head of All Indian Railwaymen’s Federation, a union of Indian Railways employees.They are usually used for scholarships of wards of lower-rank employees, women empowerment activities including seminar, camps, training programmes and gender sensitization camps, recreation other than sports, recreational facilities at institutes and clubs among other purposes.

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Indian Railways to use GPS-enabled devices to fight fog this season

The Indian Railways has ditched the tried-and-tested method of tying crackers to the tracks to alert drivers of approaching signals, in favour of a system that can ensure trains no longer move at a snail’s pace in foggy weather.The device — Fog Pass (Fog Pilot Assistance System) or FSD — is GPS-enabled and can continuously calculate the distance of the train in relation to the next landmark, enabling drivers to know when exactly a signal is approaching.The national transporter has recently installed 4,920 such devices in the most fog-affected railway zones — northern, north-central, north-eastern and north-western.Plans are afoot to install an additional 1,175 such devices in two more zones by this Friday — east-central and northeast-frontier — to take the total to 6,095, covering the most-affected zones.”In the absence of this device, (the) crew has to reduce speed, often to walking speed in search for signals. With the deployment of FSDs, train pilots are able to know precisely and, in advance, about the location of signals, level-crossing gates and other such approaching markers,” an official said on Tuesday.Any approaching landmark will be announced by a recorded voice before 500 metres and three pre-fed marks are shown at a time on the display unit in bold letters, along with the distance to reach the first landmark. Speed and time are also displayed on the right-bottom corner. There is also a provision to cross-check history, the official added.

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IRCTC launches a contest to refund 5 winners for booking rail tickets through BHIM app

The Indian Railways has launched a monthly lucky draw scheme to encourage the people to book train tickets through the BHIM app or UPI by giving the winners an opportunity to travel for free.The catering arm of the railways, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), launched the scheme last month for those using the BHIM app or the UPI payment options on www.irctc.co.in while booking train tickets.The scheme will be effective for a period of six months.Also readIRCTC removes juice brand after former railway minister complains of contaminationIn the first week of every month, five lucky passengers of the previous month would be selected through a computerised lucky draw and the entire train fare would be refunded to them, the IRCTC today said in a statement.The names of the first five winners will be announced this month.Also readNo debit or credit card of any bank has been restricted for payment: IRCTC”A customer, who successfully books an e-ticket on the IRCTC website by using BHIM or the UPI payment options, will be called an eligible customer,” read the statement.It clarified that an eligible customer would be eligible for the lucky draw only in the month of his journey.Cancelled tickets and TDRs (Ticket Deposit Receipts) filed against PNRs will not be eligible for the scheme.From December 1, the railways has allowed passengers to book tickets through the BHIM app, which was promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi post demonetisation.
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Union Railway Minister wants railway to learn from Army

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal wants railway engineers from all 17 Indian Railway zones to visit Mumbai to see the work done by the Indian Army in constructing Foot-Over-Bridges (FOB) at Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivili stations, once completed. The minister wants the railway engineers to learn how to carry out work in crisis situations and under time constraints. “I have ordered that railway staff, especially from the engineering department from all 17 zones across Indian Railways will learn how to work under challenging circumstances. I have asked them to visit the three sites and learn from it once the work on FOB is ready,” said Goyal.The minister said this after inspecting the work on the foot-over-bridge that the Army is constructing at Elphinstone Road, following the stampede on an FOB at the station. Goyal said the reason he involved the Army is because he wanted to show the railway engineers how to tackle emergency situations. “The railways depend on contractors as they do not have their own manpower, unlike the Army,” added Goyal. The FOBs at all three locations are expected to be ready before the January 31 deadline set. The Army is expected to start work at Elphinstone on extending the FOB connecting Parel and Elphinstone Road stations by December 5, by when the girders will come in and shall be stored at the Kalyan carshed. Work on an entirely new 12-meter wide FOB connecting the two stations too will also begin soon, for which tendering and designing work is complete.Meanwhile work on an additional staircase on the FOB at Elphinstone Road, on which 23 people lost lives is already underway. They have placed metal sheet on which stairs will be built. “It will be widened and made ready by December 31,” said Ravinder Bhakar, Chief PRO, Western Railway.The elevated booking office there too will be demolished. Out of the five ticket windows, four have been shut down, three ATVMs have been made available and porta cabins allotted below for issuing local train tickets.The Army has assigned one platoon – comprising 50 army men – at each of the three stations of Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivali for carrying out the construction work. At Currey Road, there is a 180 sq meters plot belonging to a private owner who has not transferred it to the Army, BMC or Railways for carrying out work on the FOB. The cost of this land is around Rs 4 crore, that shall be given to the private company who owns it. Goyal, who visited Elphinstone Road and Currey Road stations on Monday afternoon, asked the authorities to buy out a MHADA building outside Currey Road station so that the plot can be taken over for landing of the FOB that will be constructed. The minister also wants the Railways and BMC to connect the FOBs with skywalks for faster access.

14 bogies of coal laden goods train derailed near Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur

Updated: Nov 24, 2017, 01:23 PM IST, ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 14 bogies of a coal laden goods train derailed near Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district on Friday.The incident occurred at 5:55 am, near Gauli station here.No casualties were reported.The Indian Railways informed that restoration of affected line is expected to be completed by Saturday.Earlier in the day, Vasco De Gama Patna Express derailed was also derailed in Uttar Pradesh’s Chitrakoot district claiming lives of three people and left seven injured.The CPRO of NCR region, Gaurav Krishna Bansal informed that 13 coaches of the train slipped off the track at Chitrakoot’s Manikpur station at 4:18 am when it was leaving from the platform.

Piyush Goel green signals Vasundhara Raje plea

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway minister Piyush Goel on Friday waived off haulage charges on all royal trains, including the Palace of Wheels. The move came during chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s meeting with the minister in New Delhi.The decision will lower the operative cost and the fare and directly benefit the passengers. Meanwhile, Raje also discussed the coal crisis with Goel which was deepened in October around Diwali.The state governments, including Rajasthan, that operate luxury trains and the Indian Railways were at loggerheads over haulage charges imposed on such trains, citing high operative cost. During the meeting, the minister said: “In future, no haulage charges will be applicable by the Indian Railways on royal trains. Also the ministry will help Rajasthan to operate new trains.”According to a statement released by the government, the CM had requested the minister to give relaxation in recovery of hauling charge for Royal Rajasthan Wheels train, operation of Palace on Wheels as a heritage train and not to uproot 70km old heritage railway track between Dholpur- Sarmathpura while laying a parallel broad-gauge line.The severe power crisis happened due to shortage of coal in Rajasthan in October was also part of the discussion between Goel and Raje. The CM asked the minister to increase railway racks so coal in adequate amount could be supplied to the power projects in Rajasthan. “This will be helpful to provide power supply 24/7 to people and farmers will get power without disruption for irrigation,” Raje said.Meanwhile the minister appreciated Raje for adoption UDAY scheme to overcome power companies from losses.OPIUM POLICYThanking union finance minister Arun Jaitely for reduction of GST on marbles, granite and Kota Stone, the CM requested him to change ‘Centre Opium policy’ and sanction a processing unit for opium in Rajasthan. In her proposal Raje explained that opium policy 2017-18 mandates 56kg opium harvesting per hectare average while the average of harvesting hangs between 49 and 52kg average in Dholpur and Jhalawar. She sought amendment in these norms.

Indian Railways takes steps to identify absentee workers, Mazdoor unions resent

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A government job is said to be cushy as apart from salaries, perks, and regular bonus; they have 7-8hours work shifts or even less. However, on November 13, the Railway Board in Delhi ensured that the 14-lakh staff working for the Indian Railways come out of their comfort zone. For the first time, supervisors who head departments will be issuing certificates stating that an employee was present at work.’All employees in control of staff should give a certificate that they do not have any employee on their rolls who do not physically exist,’ states a circular issued by the Railway Board to all General Managers across Indian Railways.The circular issued by the Member (Staff) DK Gayen – who heads the Human Resources department for the whole of Indian Railways – also stated that random surprise checks should be conducted by inspectors of Personnel department and respective department. It has also asked for reviewing and listing names of unauthorised absentees in each department and unit. A copy of this is with DNA.The officers and supervisors approving the muster role will also have to give a certificate that all the staff who are getting their salaries where physically present on duty during the period. Not just this, every department will review the attendance sheet and weed out employees whose presence is based on mere proxy marking on the muster. Sources said that the Chairman of Railway Board, Ashwani Lohani when he assumed charge, had told that steps would be taken to monitor the performance of people.This is an important step as the coach production units, workshops, and car sheds where rakes are maintained and upgraded comprise of huge working staff. With lesser people actually on the ground for maintenance and upkeep of rail assets; the quality of coaches, basic amenities inside like seats, toilet blocks, fans and linen provided to passengers gets ignored.”These staffs are our eyes and ears. If they aren’t present then it is bound to have severe repercussions even in areas that come under safety category,” said a senior railway official.There are instances where people come to work in the morning, sign muster and leave after a couple of hours either for personal work or for the affiliated rail unions. The end result is that the number of people needed to ensure quality work be it in production and upkeep of rail tracks, coaches, cables and signaling systems is insufficient.This circular is also a jolt to the railway unions who have been playing an active role in shaping the Indian Railways. The unions at these places of work result in employees not giving the desired time and effort. The administration will be monitoring people to see if they are skipping work to balance out time for these registered unions. In fact, recently the General Manager of Western Railway AK Gupta had made a surprise check in his own office building at Churchgate where he caught women staff from another department, chit chatting even after lunch hours. Praveen Bajpai, general secretary, Central Railway Mazdoor Sangh said: The staff knows the responsibilities and job well. There is no need for anyone to monitor. Everyday railway men open ticket booking windows, loco pilots and guards run trains, gangmen maintain tracks and other employees do their work; without anyone from administration telling them. Rather the Railway administration should concentrate on filling up over 2.5 lakh vacant posts which are causing a burden on other rail employees.Ajay Singh, divisional secretary, Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh said: “This circular has asked to take action against those who go on unauthorised leaves of more than 21 days. It is not as if the staff sign on the muster and leave as there is a lot of work and the administration isn’t filling up posts which results in undue pressue”.

Mumbai: Western Railway to spend crores on cleaning garbage!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Next time you see someone throw a sachet of pan masala, or plastic bottle on rail tracks, remember that public money is getting wasted on cleaning and removing them. Following complaints made by various passenger associations over cleanliness to the Western Railway, the latter has told that they will be spending more than Rs 2 crore only for removing these plastic materials from rail tracks.”We had raised the issue of plastic bottles and covers choking the drains and had asked the rail authorities to clean them,” said Kailash Verma, member, Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh.Senior WR officials said that they will be spending Rs 2.02 crore on cleaning and removing plastic bottles, covers from rail tracks between Churchgate to Virar. “We have called tenders for the same,” said a WR official. On an average night, 10 train coaches of rubbish and muck are carted away from the city.These sachets, bottles and covers are one of the main reasons behind water logging on tracks during monsoon as they choke the drainage system and culverts criss-crossing the rail lines. During the recent high-level meeting chaired by Union Railway minister Piyush Goyal, the civic bodies were asked to co-operate with the Indian Railways as far as prevention of water logging on tracks is concerned for which removing these muck and garbage is essential.Recently the Indian Railways conducted a cleanliness check of 400 stations across Indian Railways where suburban sections of both Western and Central Railways fared poorly.

Aadhaar verified passengers can now book 12 railway tickets online in month

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Railways has increased the monthly cap on tickets booked on the ICRTC portal from six to 12 for Aadhaar-verified passengers, officials said.The move, which came into effect on October 26, is believed to be an innovative way for the railways to encourage passengers to link their Aadhar numbers to their online booking accounts on IRCTC.IRCTC officials said passengers can continue to book up to six tickets a month without validating their Aadhaar cards.If the number goes beyond six, the Aadhaar number of the user and one of the passengers should be updated in the IRCTC portal, an official explained.Users on the IRCTC portal have to click on Aadhaar KYC under the ‘my profile’ category and update their Aadhaar number.A one-time password (OTP) will be sent to the mobile number linked to Aadhaar and should be entered for verification.In addition, the Aadhaar number of any one of the accompanying passengers should also be updated under the master list . This will be validated through an OTP.Users can store the names of verified passengers accompanying them on the ‘master list’. This should be done before starting the process for booking more than six tickets a month, officials said.The move is expected to eliminate malpractices in ticket bookings as touts and travel agents cannot create fake user IDs anymore.In the IRCTC portal, six passengers can be reserved on a single ticket under general quota while Tatkal bookings allow four passengers per ticket.The railways had announced in December last year that registration of Aadhaar with IRCTC was mandatory to avail concessions from April 1, 2017, but dropped the idea after opposition from various forums.​

Officials mum on Hancock bridge rebuilding, pass the buck instead

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was in November 2015, that the 135-year-old Hancock Bridge near Sandhurst Road station was demolished by Central Railway and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. In the past two years now, there have been quite a few ideas proposed to rebuild this road-overbridge; which also included approaching the Army to construct it.In fact, in July 2016, the High Court directed BMC to seek help and the expertise of the Army “by way of last resort” for construction of a temporary foot-overbridge (FOB) at the site of the demolished Hancock bridge. Sources said that earlier this June, the Army informed the High Court that construction can be done provided there is availability of a clear site of at least 15-feet on either side.Yet, on ground, there is little progress. On October 31, when the Indian Railways and Indian Army decided to build FOBs at three different stations of Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivili; there was no word on the progress of how Hancock Bridge would be taken forward. Railway officials chose to pass the buck instead of mentioning the current status of the project.”We are taking help of the Army wherever needed. Union Railway Minister will be announcing the places where the Defence ministry will help us,” said Ashwani Lohani, Chairman Railway Board. Later, the announcement of FOBs, one each at Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivili, was made by Railway minister Piyush Goyal.Later, when Central Railway General Manager DK Sharma was asked if they will discuss with the Army about the possibility of a bridge at Hancock he said: “It is supposed to be built by BMC, ask them”.Earlier this June, the Army had stated to the HC that the Railways and BMC would have to provide the site free of encumbrances and subsequently they will carry out fresh reconnaissance to examine the feasibility of the site, work out construction time and prepare other details. They also said that the Railways will have to shut down rail traffic and power supply for a required period.”I have already complained to local police about the illegal demolition by the Railways. There was no structural audit done to prove that it had to be demolished,” said Kamlakar Shenoy, activist, who is following up on this issue.In the last two years, around 16 people have lost their lives at Hancock bridge post demolition. Many locals, including children, use the tracks to get across. This bridge was demolished as it had become too old and the CR was upgrading the power supply to 25,000 volt from 1,500 volt.

ED interrogates Tejashwi Yadav in corruption case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, son of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad on Tuesday in connection with its money laundering probe in the hotels-for-land corruption case. They is agency to grill Tejashwi’s mother Rabri Devi on Wednesday in the same case.Tejashwi was questioned for eight long hours about his accounts and the companies associated with him. Before entering into the headquaters office, Tejashwi told reporters, “I am not running away from any agency. I am here to answer all the queries of all the agencies. I have not done any thing wrong.”According to a senior ED officer, he appeared before the agency headquarters at 12 noon and was grilled for eight longs hours. The case pertains to Lalu’s tenure as railways minister and relates to the award of contract to maintain two IRCTC hotels in 2006.The ED had registered a money a laundering case against them on basis of the FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). In the same case, the CBI had already questioned Lalu and Tejashwi.The CBI had booked Lalu and his family members in July and carried out raids at multiple places. The CBI alleged that Lalu, as railway minister, handed over maintenance of two hotels run by IRCTC, a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, in Ranchi and Puri, to Sujata Hotel, a company owned by Vinay and Vijay Kochhar, in return for a plot of three acres in Patna.

IRCTC removes juice brand after former railway minister complains of contamination

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Railways’ catering wing, IRCTC, has delisted a juice brand after former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi complained that he was served a “contaminated” drink onboard a premium train.Trivedi, who was travelling on board the Kathgodam-Delhi Shatabdi on Dussehra on September 30, was served lemon juice of a well-known brand, which, he said, had ‘kachra’ (contamination).”The IRCTC (Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation) really needs to pull up its socks. The railways needs to put in checks and balances so that there is some accountability of its subsidiary departments,” Trivedi told PTI.The railways has reacted to Trivedi’s complaint swiftly and delisted the brand pending laboratory investigation, IRCTC spokesperson Siddharth Singh said.”We have delisted the agency pending lab investigation.The brand will not be seen anymore on any train for the time being,” he said.This incident comes months after a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) which revealed glaring lapses in rail catering services.Trivedi said the rail minister could not be blamed for such lapses as the departments need to be held accountable.He also rued that passengers do not protest enough about such issues and in a way they are also responsible for such a sorry state of affairs.”Action must be taken against the caterer as well as the brand concerned. How can this ‘kachra’ be allowed to be served on trains? There should be an inspection at the factory where the juice was produced to see under what circumstances the drink was being churned out,” he said.The TMC leader, who quit as the railway minister in 2012 after a controversy over his recommendation for the formation of a rail regulator to hike fares, said there must be surprise checks on vendors contracted by the national transporter.​

Need to continuously improve railway infrastructure: President Kovind on Mumbai stampede tragedy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On his birthday, which fell on Sunday, Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India, stressed on continuously improving every aspect of the Indian Railways, days after a stampede killed 23 people in Elphinstone Road station in Mumbai.President Kovind made these remarks in Shidi where he was inaugurating an airport, as well as the first Air India flight from Mumbai to the temple town.”The railway service is an important part of the everyday life of Mumbaikars. Every aspect related to railway services should be continuously improved,” he tweeted.Kovind had earlier expressed his condolences soon after the rail station tragedy on September 29.”Anguished by the loss of lives in the stampede in Mumbai. Condolences to the bereaved families; prayers with injured,” he had tweeted.Twenty-three people died and over 30 were injured in the stampede that took place on a narrow foot over-bridge that connects Elphinstone Road and Parel stations in Mumbai.With PTI Inputs

Central govt docs to retire at 65 years: Cabinet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a move that will benefit over thousand doctors, the Union Cabinet has extended the service of doctors serving in various central departments to 65 years.In order to mitigate the acute crunch of doctors across the country, the cabinet has sanctioned the extension of superannuation of doctors.These doctors belong to Indian Railways Medical Service. The cabinet will also enhance superannuation age for doctors working in Central Universities and Indian Institutes of Technologies (IITs) as well as doctors in major port trusts under the Ministry of Shipping.”The decision would help in better patient care, proper academic activities in Medical colleges, and also in effective implementation of National Health Programmes for delivery of health care services,” a press statement stated.The age of superannuation of doctors of Central Health Service was earlier extended to 65 years in May 31, 2016.The latest cabinet decision comes with a view to bring about parity between doctors serving in various cadres.The decision will benefit around 1,445 doctors of various ministries and departments of the Central Government would be benefitted.

Sick of snoozing co-passengers? Indian Railways just cut down sleeping hours!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Railways is trying to put an end to those tiresome quarrels that break out due to oversleeping passengers on the middle and lower berths by reducing official sleeping hours.According to a circular issued by the railway board, the passengers in the reserved coaches can only sleep between 10 pm and 6 am to allow others to sit on the seats for the rest of the time.Until the circular was issued, the existing permissible time for sleeping was between 9 pm and 6 am.“Sleeping accommodation between 2200 hours and 0600 hours and sitting accommodation for the rest of the period is provided for the passengers in the reserved coaches having sleeping accommodation,” said the circular, dated August 31.The circular, however, makes an exception for certain passengers.“Passengers are, however, requested to cooperate with the sick, persons with disability, and pregnant ladies in case they want to sleep beyond permissible limits,” it says.The new provision replaces paragraph 652 in the Indian Railways Commercial Manual, Volume I, which provides for sleeping accommodation between 9 pm and 6 am.“We had received feedback from officials regarding issues between passengers over sleeping arrangements. We already have a rule in place. However, we wanted to clarify it and ensure it is followed,” said ministry spokesperson Anil Saxena.This provision is applicable to all reserved coaches with sleeping accommodation, he said.Another railway official said the sleeping time was reduced by an hour because there were times when passengers went to sleep as soon as they boarded the train — day or night — leaving the co-travellers on the upper and middle berths high and dry.Conversely, officials said problems also arise when passengers on the middle berths refuse to get up so that those on the lower berths could sit comfortably.“It is a regular bone of contention among passengers. Once, there was a passenger on the lower berth who slept all through the journey from Kolkata to Delhi, while the man on the upper berth had to remain there and others on the middle berth sat perched in one corner of the lower berth through the trip.“All through the journey, they kept taking digs at the sleeping man and even poking him. This happens all the time on trains,” said Sachin Singh, a businessman, who travels frequently between Delhi and Kolkata for meetings.Officials said that the problem is more acute for side berths. The circular has clarified that a person booked on side upper berth will not have any claim of seat on the lower berth between 10 pm and 6 am.Ministry officials said the new directive will help Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) to resolve such disputes on board by preventing anyone from taking catnaps beyond the permissible time.

Hope to enjoy beautiful scenery of India from bullet train on next visit to India: Japanese PM Shinzo Abe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday said that he hopes to enjoy the scenery from bullet train on his next visit to India after he laid the foundation stone for India’s first bullet train at a ground at Sabarmati in Ahmedabad.”I hope to enjoy the beautiful scenery of India through the windows of the bullet train when I come back here in a few years,” Abe said after laying the foundation stone of the project.On the occasion, Abe also said the Indo-Japan partnership is special, strategic and global. “A strong India is in Japan’s interest and a strong Japan is in India’s interest.””My good friend Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a far-sighted leader. He took a decision two years ago to bring high-speed train in India and to create a new India,” he said.”If we merge Japan’s Ja and India’s I then it became ‘Jai’. If we work together nothing is impossible,” Abe said.The Rs 1.10 lakh crore train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai is expected to be completed by 2022. The train would cover the distance of over 500 km in around two hours.Japan has extended a soft loan for the ambitious project conceptualized by Modi.The project is a joint venture between Indian Railways and Japan’s Shinkansen Technology.

State, Rlys fail to agree on MUTP-2

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Railways and state government continue to be at loggerheads over the implementation of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) phase 2.On September 4, the Urban Development department had sent a letter to the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) asking them to give detailed explanation on the increase in cost of MUTP-2, status of the projects under it and status of the land next to Bandra railway station. The government has stated that they shall make the payments for MUTP-2 once they get the reply.As per understanding, the World Bank will pay 50 per cent of the cost and the remaining 50 per cent will be equally shared by the Railways and state. The cost of MUTP-2 has risen from Rs 5,400 crore to nearly Rs 8,000 crore now. Sources said that they have already sent a reply to the state government.The railways downplayed the matter by saying that there was no issue with the funding from the state, and that as of now they have received around Rs 2,000 crore.Meanwhile, the MRVC is struggling to get bidders for its prime plot at Bandra (E), worth over Rs 4,500 crore and the railways want to commercially exploit it.The projects under MUTP-2 are yet to be fully completed as they are yet to construct 5-6 lines between Kurla-CSMT, Thane-Diva, Borivli-Mumbai Central 6th line and extension of Harbour line till Goregaon station. The MRVC sends the bills to the state government for reimbursements depending on the projects that are completed.

Railways at ‘critical juncture’, safety to be priority: Board chairman Ashwani Lohani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Safety will be the focus area of the Indian Railways, which is at a critical juncture and faces an “image perception” problem, newly-appointed Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani has said.Lohani said in a letter to employees yesterday that Indian Railways had suffered a “serious dent” in the recent past due to “certain unfortunate incidents”.Lohani’s letter dated August 28 — before the fourth derailment in 10 days today morning — also indicated at reforms in the country’s largest passenger carrier.”At this critical juncture when we are facing a serious issue with the image perception of the railways, I expect all my fellow railwaymen to pitch in wholeheartedly to set this perception right,” Lohani wrote.The former Air India CMD made it clear that safety would be the principal focus area of the public sector behemoth which carries nearly three crore passengers per day”We have to always be on our guard to ensure the highest level of safety in train operations and instill a renewed sense of confidence in our esteemed passengers.”The great Indian railways has suffered a serious dent in the recent past due to certain unfortunate incidents. Such incidents often overshadow the great work that this organisation performs day in and day out,” Lohani wrote.He also identified quality of catering, linen and cleanliness, which he said was crying for attention, as other areas of concern and stressed on the need to adopt a mission mode to bring improvements in a very short time.”Our operating ratio needs to be brought down considerably, not only by reducing expenditure but by increasing freight loading and also finding other means of non-conventional revenue generation to achieve a spurt in revenues,” he added.In the fourth train derailment in the country in 10 days, the engine and nine coaches of the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express derailed between Vasind and Asangaon stations in Maharashtra early today following a landslide today. There were no reports of any injuries.On August 19, 14 coaches of the high-speed Kalinga Utkal Express jumped the tracks on August 19, with one of them crashing into a house adjacent to the track near Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district, claiming 23 lives and injuring over 60 people.On August 23, about 100 passengers were injured when 10 coaches of the Kaifiyat Express train derailed in UP’s Auraiya district after crashing into a dumper which strayed on to the tracks.On August 25, six coaches of the Andheri-bound local train derailed in Mumbai, injuring six passengers.

Mumbai: 4 coaches of Andheri-CST Harbor local train derails near Mahim, 3 injured

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If the Indian Railways isn’t already in doldrums, another derailment on Friday has made it worse. This time, a suburban local train derailed near Mahim station in Mumbai at 9.55am. Three commuters sustained minor injuries, railway authorities said. Railway authorities said that the train was heading for Andheri and was coming from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus on the Harbour line. It was manoeuvring a crossover and approaching Mahim station when four coaches derailed. “The OHE cables wasn’t holding power and so the motorman reversed the train. This is when derailment occurred,” said an official from the Western Railway. The local train belonged to the Central Railway but the derailment happened on the Western Railway’s jurisdiction. Sources said that the portion where the derailment took place has a neutral section – wherein there is no power supply from the OHE cables to the train – and so there is a possibility that when the train halted, it could not get electric supply and so the motorman had to reverse. “We have sent an accident relief train to the spot and it shall be soon re-railed,” said Ravindra Bhakar, Chief PRO, Western Railway. The exact cause of derailment is still to be investigated. Friday being the first day of the Ganesh festival and a public holiday, the railways expect less number of people to be affected. Yet, many were seen walking on the tracks to reach the nearest station.

Rlys planned additional, safer LHB coaches in July

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While an overhaul is expected in the Ministry of Railways, earlier last month the Indian Railways came up with a revised detailed roll-out plan for the next three years, a copy of which is with DNA. The number of conventional coaches to be manufactured — which are said to be accident-prone — has been further brought down to 802 coaches in 2017-18 from the earlier 1883 coaches for 2016-17.With the introduction of Tejas Express and Humsafar Express, the production of safer and superior Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches will be increased.In July 2017, the Railway Board came up with a revised coach production programme for 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20. They have categorically stated that March 2018 will be the last phase for manufacturing conventional blue-coloured coaches. The Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai will manufacture 601 coaches and Rail Coach Factory (RCF) in Kapurthala will manufacture 201 coaches in the last phase.The Utkal Express which derailed on August 19 comprised these conventional coaches, leading to the death of at least 27 passengers after the coaches collapsed. The decision to discard these conventional coaches was taken after the November 2016 Indore-Patna Express accident in which 150 passengers died. “From 2018-19, we will only be manufacturing LHB coaches and the conventional ones will be slowly phased out once its codal life of 25 years is over,” said a senior railway official.Meanwhile, for the first time the revised production list has mentioned the consistent need to manufacture air-conditioned coaches for Tejas Express — 39 coaches for the first two years and 40 coaches in the third year; and 200 coaches every year for Humsafar Express. The coaches for Tejas Express will be manufactured at the RCF and for Humsafar Express 100 coaches each shall be manufactured by RCF and Modern Coach Factory, Raebareli for the next three years.SAFETY MEASURESThe LHB coaches are designed with safety features like anti-climbing and anti-telescoping, so coaches would not plough into each other during a derailment or accident.

Train derailments have become associated with Indian Railways Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Congress on Wednesday said that rail accidents have become a part of Indian Railways history now, adding that Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu?s resignation should be accepted. ?One thing is very much clear and evident that rail accidents in India have now become a synonym of Indian Railways. Both Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Ministry of Railways have failed in doing their work drastically. Prabhu?s resignation should be accepted immediately,? Congress leader Randeep Surjewala told ANI. He added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi must tell everyone how he is taking care of the security issues. ?When will those 1,42,000 positions be filled in the Railways department and when the Centre will invest Rs. 46,000 crore in the tackling train accidents,? Surjewala said. Another Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said that the Indian Railways are a public trust and so many lives are lost with so many damages, it shows there is a management failure and somewhere along the line political accountability must follow. ?In the history, Lal Bahadur Shastri had resigned because of one Rail accident. We have seen nine in the last three years. I have high respect for Suresh Prabhu but if he feels that political morality should lead him in this direction then that is something which needs to be considered,? Tharoor added. Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hinted over Prabhu?s resignation stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take a decision on “whatever request” the latter has made. While addressing a press briefing, Arun Jaitley said, ?Accountability is a good system in the government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take a decision on whatever request the railway minister has made.” After two train derailments in five days, the Railway Minister, earlier in the day, met Prime Minister Modi and tweeted that he had taken full moral responsibility over the situation hinting that he had offered to quit. Later, Prime Minister Modi, he said, asked him to ?wait?. ?I met the Hon’ble Prime Minister @narendramodi taking full moral responsibility. Hon?ble PM has asked me to wait,? he tweeted. He further tweeted, ?In less than three years as Minister, I have devoted my blood and sweat for the betterment of the Railways?. Prabhu’s tweets came hours after Railway Board chairman A.K. Mittal resigned, citing ?personal reasons?. Earlier in wee hours of the day, 10 coaches of Kaifiyat Express heading towards Delhi derailed after colliding with a dumper near the Auraiya district in Uttar Pradesh and over 20 people have been injured. On August 19, more than 20 died and over 200 were injured after 13 coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express ran off the tracks in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Railways amending guidelines on safety checks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With yet another train derailment claiming 23 lives, the Railways is going back to drawing board, amending guidelines on safety checks to avoid repeat of such incidents in future. There have been at least 23 rail accidents across India since 2014.Sources opined that though one might see a proactive Railway ministry on social media, the ground situation speaks a different story. Now, with the rescue work at Utkal Express mishap site over, the Railways feels that it is time to plug the loopholes and fix the problem areas.”We will issue necessary safety guidelines once the Commissioner of Railway Safety is through with his probe report,” said Vinod Kumar, Advisor (Safety), Railway Board. The Central and Western Railway officials claim that they too are expecting some sort of guidelines on maintaining safety in the days to come.Guidelines apart, one of the possible causes behind this derailment is said to be the lack of coordination between the rail authorities and gangmen who maintain tracks. Sources said the gangmen alone cannot be faulted as across Indian Railways there is a practise of gangmen being asked to do personal chores at rail quarters and bungalows.Not just this, the Railways pays little heed to the rail representatives and associations. For instance the Railway ministry has appointed commuter representatives and formed committees who discuss problems related to train travel. These are called Zonal Railway Users’ Consultative Committee (for the entire zone like CR, WR), Divisional Railway Users’ Consultative Committee (Mumbai division), which are meant to discuss the issues faced by commuters.”For the last two years, there has been only two meetings with the Railways,” said Subhash Gupta, member, ZRUCC. These members take stock of the issues faced by people and then discuss it with the railway authorities.”Ideally, these meetings should take place once in every three months, but it rarely happens. Moreover, the rail authorities show scant interest in holding such meetings,” said Madhu Kotian, member, ZRUCC.Blaming the Railways for the accidents, they claim that the latter pay little heed to their suggestions concerning rail safety.

Draft emission norms for diesel locomotives in 2 weeks: CPCB

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has told the National Green Tribunal that the draft emission standards for diesel locomotives will be finalised within two weeks. The apex pollution monitoring body told a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar that it would place the interim norms before August 30, the next date of hearing. “The counsel appearing for CPCB submits that within two weeks the interim guidelines will be placed on record,” the bench noted. The lawyer appearing for CPCB said the emission standards for diesel locomotives were still to be decided and they would send to the MoEF after finalisation. The submission came in the wake of the green panel’s direction to set standards in this regard and ensure that the railway locomotive engines don’t cause pollution. The CPCB’s interim report, titled “Exhaust Emission Benchmarks for Diesel Locomotives on Indian Railways”, aims to fix standards and protocols for the sector to achieve the targets submitted by India under the Paris climate change agreement. According to the report, the contribution of emissions from the transport sector on the whole has risen 3.5 times since 1990 to stand at 250 million tonne carbon dioxide, or 13.5 per cent of the total emissions in 2013. The Railways contributed 9.7 per cent of this figure (24.7 million tonne). Globally, however, only 3.5 per cent of the emissions from the transport sector are attributed to the rail sector, CPCB’s report said. “The changes in the energy sources allowed for a reduction of the share of rail transport carbon dioxide emissions from 24 per cent in 1990 to less than 10 per cent in 2013, while rail activity doubled in the same period,” the draft report by CPCB said. Earlier, the tribunal had directed MoEF to hold a meeting with the CPCB and Railways and submit a report on emission standards for diesel locomotive within six weeks. However, when the matter came up for hearing, the Environment Ministry sought more time, saying “the standards are yet to be fixed and one year’s time is required for completion”. The Railways had earlier submitted international standards for emissions from diesel locomotive railway engines and filed a data sheet indicating the emissions from 30 railway engines. According to the data sheet, the emission levels in the tested 30 railway engines were much above international standards. The directions came during the hearing a petition filed by Dwarka resident S K Goyal about harmful emissions from diesel locomotives.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

L&T gets `758 crore contract for railway electrification in Rajasthan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A The Indian Railways has awarded the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts for electrification of Delhi-Sarai Rohilla-Rewari and Alwar-Bandikui-Jaipur-Phulera-Ajmer 353km section to Larsen & Toubro (L&T). The contract is worth Rs594 crore. The Railways will undertake the electrification work of Ringas-Jaipur- Sawai Madhopur 188km stretch through its own undertaking Rail India Techno Economic Service (RITES) at a cost of Rs163.73 crore.Thus Rs757.73 crore will be spent in electrification in North Western Railway in the coming years. The electrification of Delhi-Sarai Rohilla-Rewari and Alwar-Bandikui-Jaipur-Phulera and Ajmer and Ringas -Jaipur-Sawai Madhopur section once completed will improve the efficiency of movement with the faster electric locomotives replacing the diesel-driven engines.In an event for “Exchanging of Agreement with Stakeholders as part of “Mission Electrification” and ‘First EPC’ contract of Indian Railways” which was held in Rail Bhawan on Friday in the presence of the Minister of state for railways and communications (independent charge) Manoj Sinha and high Railway Board officials Rajeev Jyoti ,CEO of L&T (Railways business) exchanged agreement with SP Tripathi, General Manager of CORE which is the nodal agency for the electrification of the Delhi-Sarai Rohilla-Rewari and Alwar-Bandikui-Jaipur-Phulera and Ajmer section. Similarly, the General Manager of the North Western Railway Girish Pillai exchanged the agreement with the CMD of RITES Rajeev Mehrotra for the Ringas-Jaipur-Sawai Madhopur section.The Indian Railways has given higher thrust to infrastructure creation and electrification in the country. During the last four years years, total 103 railway electrification projects consisting of 16,815 route kilometre at estimated cost of Rs 17, 615 crore have been sanctioned. Out of this, 541km comes under the North Western Railway. The cumulative saving due to electric traction bill will be about Rs 26,000 crore in a decade which will be in addition to saving of Rs 41,000 crore planned to be achieved due to reduction in cost of power to railways.

Land acquisition for Agartala-Akhaura railway project begins

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Land acquisition for the 15 km long Agartala-Akhaura rail project to link Indian Railways with Bangladesh Railways, has started, officials said today. “We have served notices to 257 families to acquire 66 acres of land for the rail project and the land would be handed over to the railways by August end”, West Tripura District Magistrate and Collector Milind Ramteke told reporters. He said, the Central government has already released Rs 97.63 crore to acquire the land. The process of laying the 15 km long railway tracks to connect Agartala with Akhaura in Bangladesh will be completed in two and half years time after laying of tracks begin. Out of the 15 km track, 5 km would be on Indian side and the rest in Bangladesh. Ramteke said that the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) is the nodal agency for implementation of the project in Indian side. Bangladesh government has also started acquiring around 70 acres of land for the project, NFR officials said. Railway minister Suresh Prabhu and his Bangladesh counterpart, Majibul Haque had jointly laid the foundation stone here on July 31 last year. A flyover of 3.7 km would be constructed on the Indian side to save cultivable lands and the entire project cost would be borne by the government, he said. New Delhi is keen to establish the rail link as it would connect West Bengal and Tripura through Bangladesh. During Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina s visit to New Delhi, the two neighbours had agreed to lay the tracks between Akhaura and Agartala. The Agartala-Akhaura railway route would connect Indian Railways with Bangladesh Railways which would improve connectivity and boost trade between the two countries. The 1,700 km distance between Agartala and Kolkata which goes through the chicken s neck in Siliguri would be reduced by 350 km if passengers could move through Bangladesh, officials said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Railways to introduce designer, easy to clean blankets soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Plagued with complaints of dirty blankets, the Indian Railways has firmed up an action plan to increase the frequency of washing blankets and replace the existing ones with designer, lightweight blankets in a phased manner. Besides, used blankets would be sanitised on a regular basis before being given for further use. Though the directive is to wash the blankets every one or two months, a CAG report had recently highlighted the unhygienic condition of blankets which were not washed for even six months. However, smelly blankets may soon become a thing of past on trains. The railways have roped in the National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFT) to design lightweight blankets with less wool content. A trial of ‘thin, cold washable blankets’ is also being carried out in the Central Railway zone as a pilot project. “Our aim is to provide washed blankets along with fresh linen in trains for each journey,” said a senior Railway Ministry official in the housekeeping directorate who is involved in the task. Currently about 3.90 lakh sets of linen are provided per day comprising two bedsheets, a towel, pillow and blanket for each passenger in AC classes. The plan envisages increasing the frequencies of washing of blankets to begin with and replacing the existing ones with the newly designed lightweight blankets made of soft fabric in a phased manner, he said. Railways have already started changing the cover of blankets in some sections while frequency of washing is being increased from monthly to fortnightly and weekly, said the official. Railways had recently held a meeting on linen management which was attended by various stakeholders including mechanised laundry operators, suppliers of cleaning chemicals, linen suppliers and senior railway officers. It was decided to implement the plan for improvement of linen management with aim of providing clean, hygienic and good quality linen to passengers travelling in AC classes. Preparations are are being made to introduce lightweight blankets made of soft fabric and these will be washed after every use, the official said. There are about 50 mechanised laundries operational at the moment and ten more will be opened shortly.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

47 per cent rise in train theft cases in 2014-16: Govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The number of thefts on trains went up by 47 per cent from 2014 to 2016, the Lok Sabha was told today. A total of 17,925 cases of travellers’ belongings being stolen were registered in 2016. In 2015, the number of such cases was 16,180 while in 2014, the number stood at 12,161, the Minister of State for the Railways, Rajen Gohain, said in a written reply to a question in Parliament. The number of thefts had increased by more than 10 per cent from 2015 to 2016. “Except a marginal increase in the cases of theft of passengers’ belongings, incidents of robbery, dacoity and drugging decreased in the year 2016 as compared to the year 2015,” the minister said. The number of cases of robbery in trains in 2016 was 531 as compared to 805 in 2015. Dacoity cases went down to 40 in 2016 from 57 the year before and the number of passengers who were drugged from 346 in 2015 to 262 in 2016. “As per the present scheme of things, policing on railways is a state subject. Therefore, prevention of crime, registration of cases, their investigation and maintenance of law and order in railway premises as well as on running trains are the statutory responsibility of the state governments, which they discharge through the government railway police, district police,” Gohain said. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) supplements the efforts of the Government Railway Police (GRP) in providing better protection and security of passengers and passenger areas, he said. The minister also listed security measures taken by the Railways for passenger safety. He said around 2,500 trains on an average were escorted by the RPF daily in addition to 2,200 trains escorted by the GRP of the different states every day. “Surveillance is kept through CCTV cameras, provided at about 344 stations over the Indian Railways, to ensure safety and security of passengers. Security helpline 182 is made operational over the Indian Railways for security related assistance to passengers,” Gohain said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

UP: Lizard found in food served to a passenger on-board Poorva Express

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A dead lizard was found in a food served to a passenger on-board Poorva Express in Uttar Pradesh’s Chandauli.According to ANI, a passenger had complained to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Twitter.The incident comes days after the the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) came out with reports slamming the Railways for serving food which they deemed to be unfit for consumption.The Indian Railways did not take adequate steps to put in place infrastructural and other arrangements for improvement in parcel services, which was estimated to grow from Rs 1,644 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 8,000 crore in 2019-2020, the CAG said in a report.

From lack of ammunition to food served on trains unfit for consumption: Key observations by CAG

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Comptroller Auditor General of India in its audit reports tabled in Parliament has flagged critical shortage of ammunition in the Indian Army to poor quality of food served on trains. Here are the key observations made by the CAG.1) Lack of ammunition, Navy’s safety and delayed projects ail Defence infraCritical deficiencies in ammunition, anti submarine warfare projects lagging behind time and lack of safety mechanism in the Navy are some of the glaring gaps in the country’s defence readiness pointed out by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in different reports on Friday.The report also said that ammunition depots with shortage of fire-fighting staff and equipment remained accident prone. Read More2) NRHM funds diverted in six statesIn six states, funds amounting to over Rs 36 crore, meant for National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), were diverted to other schemes, the Comptroller Auditor General of India’s report reveals.The states in which fund diversion was reported were Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Tripura. In 27 states, the unspent amount has increased from Rs 7,375 crore to Rs 9,509 crore in 2015-16, the report states. Read More3) Nearly 60% of flood-forecasting stations non-operationalOut of 4,862 large dams in the country, only 349, a mere seven per cent, had emergency disaster action plans in place, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India’s performance audit report on flood control and management schemes of Water Resources Ministry revealed. The country’s top auditor also found out during the inspection that there were inordinate delays in flood management works, non-operational flood forecasting stations, and inflated costs. Read More4) Student overstaying cost FTII loss of Rs 11.83 cr:Coming down heavily on The Film Institute of India (FTII) in Pune, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India on Tuesday stated that students overstaying at the institute has resulted in the institute incurring a revenue loss of Rs 11.83 crore. Read More5) INS Sindurakshak explosion was due to leakage of oxygen from torpedoIndian Navy’s frontline submarine INS Sindurakshak had exploded in 2013 in Mumbai due to leakage of oxygen from a torpedo, the Comptroller and Auditor General said in a report, revealing the reasons causing the major accident.The CAG cited the report of a high-level inquiry by the Navy into the explosion on board the submarine on Aug 14, 2013 following which it had sunk. The accident is considered one of the biggest in recent times for the Navy in which 17 personnel were killed. Read More6) Food served by Indian Railways’ catering services unfit for consumption The Indian Railways did not take adequate steps to put in place infrastructural and other arrangements for improvement in parcel services, which was estimated to grow from Rs 1,644 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 8,000 crore in 2019-2020, the CAG said. Read More 7) Six telecom majors understated revenues over a period of 5 yearsSix private telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular, understated revenues by over Rs 61,000 crore over a period of five years, resulting in short payment of nearly Rs 7,700 crore in statutory dues to the government, the Comptroller and auditor general (CAG) said on Friday. Another Rs 4,531.62 crore was due from the six operators as interest on the short paid revenue share. Read More8) Writing off Kingfisher dues to BIAL ‘untenable’The Comptroller and Auditor General termed a request from the Bangalore airport operator to the government to waive more than Rs 9 crore owed by the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines as “untenable” and an “undue favour”.The CAG also censured the government for failing to ensure that the airport operator recovered over Rs 17 crore from various airlines. Read More

India train food ‘not fit for human consumption’

Government auditors say food is contaminated and stored in the open, attracting flies and rats.

Railways to promote small entrepreneurs in big way

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Railways has taken a big step to promote micro and small enterprises by reserving 358 items including cleaning apparatus, stationery and leather items exclusively for procurement from the MSE sector. Besides, in a relief to the MSEs, the sector has been exempted from paying tender cost and earnest money deposit for participating in the railway tender. “Though earnest money is required to be deposited in all modes of tendering, we have decided to exempt the MSEs from depositing it with the tender document,” said a senior Railway Ministry official. The growth of small business is crucial for India’s economic development and the support of the formal and organised sector like railways will help it unleash its true potential. There are a total of 9,973 MSE vendors registered on the Indian Railways procurement portal and Rs 4,400 crore worth of materials are procured in a year from the sector. The state-run transporter has firmed up an action plan to increase participation of the MSE sector in the public transporter’s procurement. In addition to the 358 items including handicraft and painting brushes exclusively reserved for procurement from MSEs, railways will now allow the sector in procurement of several other items also. The official said MSEs will be now encouraged to participate in the business of maintenance and operation of rolling stock and also in procurement of cables, linen, paints, coupler body, wall panelling, cutting and drilling machines. Recently the national transporter has organised a meeting to increase the participation of micro and small enterprises in railway procurement. The meeting was attended by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and senior officials from the ministry and the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) besides MSE vendors. Stakeholders from railways were advised to extend their support to MSEs and take steps for their development. The Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), the research wing of the Railways, was advised to extend its support to MSE vendors on technical issues and SIDBI was advised to provide financial support to MSEs.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Annual investment in Railways has doubled since 2014, says Suresh Prabhu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Railways has been actively pursuing modernisation and expansion, and it has taken a number of reforms to improve transparency and efficiency. Union Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu, in an exclusive interview with Sanjay Jog, spoke at length on a number of topics including investments in the sector, private sector participation, various projects undertaken and the response Railways has received under the Make-in-India campaign.You have talked about huge investment proposed in Indian Railways during 2016-2021. What is the present status?Indian Railways has suffered because of underinvestment which led to poor infrastructure growth in the rail sector. We focused on improving investment in Railways with a view to create infrastructure and augment capacity. We have a Rs 1.5 lakh crore funding facility with LIC. For our projects, we have also taken loans from the World Bank, Jica (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and ADB (Asian Development Bank). We are also proposing to set up a fund which has been structured with the assistance of the World Bank, wherein investments will be pooled from various investors for financing projects in the sector. In 2015, we had prepared a medium-term investment plan of Rs 8.56 lakh crore. We have considerably ramped up the investment made annually in Railways. The average investment between 2009 and 2014 was only about Rs 48,000 crore. As against the same, we achieved investments of Rs 93,000 crore and Rs 1.1 lakh crore in 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively. In the current year, we propose to spend Rs 1.3 lakh crore.What are the key areas in which both private and public sector investment is expected?We are very keen to engage with the private sector because of the efficiency of service delivery that they can bring into the Railways. A lot of our work is outsourced, but we would like the private sector to come in and develop our stations, goods sheds, logistic parks. Two loco factories are already being developed in the PPP (public-private partnership) mode and we hope to award one coach factory also through a similar process to the private sector. We have good success in private freight terminals with 45 terminals having already been commissioned and now we have a target to take this number to 100. Indian Railways has taken up station redevelopment in a big way in PPP model. In fact, it launched one of the largest transit-oriented development programmes across the world worth Rs 100,000 crore.We have created a dedicated organisation for this purpose, namely Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC). Redevelopment of 400 stations will be done on e-bidding on “as is where is basis”; 12 stations have been handed over to IRSDC for redevelopment. Habibganj railway station in Bhopal has become the first railway station to be entrusted to a developer by a transparent bidding process. This station is under the management of the developer from March 1 this year. The work of redevelopment of Gandhinagar (Gujarat) railway station has started from January 9, 2017.Tenders for Anand Vihar, Bijwasan (Delhi) and Surat have been opened. 23 stations are to be bid out by this year. Out of these 23, 6 are in Maharashtra – Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Pune, Thane, Mumbai Central, Bandra Terminus and Borivali. In the case of Pune, Bandra, Malaysian companies have expressed interest in bidding. It must be appreciated that station redevelopment process is a complex activity as it is to be undertaken even while the station is functional. Foreign countries have also expressed interest in the redevelopment of railway stations.Can you throw light on the response from the global investors, especially under the Make-in-India campaign?Two loco factories are already being developed in Bihar under Make-in-India initiative. Electric and diesel locomotive factories at Madhepura and Marhowra have been awarded to Alstom and GE, respectively. These two projects would be one of the highest foreign direct investments in India amounting to order book of almost Rs 40,000 crore. The entire bid process has been conducted in a fair, transparent and competitive manner which has drawn international attention. Construction of both the factories and maintenance depots has been started and prototype locomotives are expected in 2018.Under these two projects, some limited number of locomotives will be imported and a majority of locomotives will be manufactured in India itself. The contract provides suitable economic drivers which would ensure complete indigenisation of the manufacturing, which, in turn, will lead to a substantial development of ancillary manufacturing units and indigenisation of the locomotives, making it a true ‘Make in India’ proposition. The projects would also lead to the development of the region where the factory would be set up and also those where the maintenance facilities would be set up. In sum, the projects would bring in substantial development in these areas and also lead to the generation of direct and indirect employment.How are you engaging states in the expansion of railways?Ministry of Railways (MoR) signed joint venture (JV) agreement for the formation of companies with nine state governments including Odisha, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. So far, companies have been formed with four states, namely, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala and Odisha. The formation of a company with Maharashtra is at advanced stages and will be concluded by next month. JVs would undertake project development works for an identified basket of projects, which will inter-alia include surveys, preparation of detailed project report (DPR) and getting requisite approvals, processing for sanctioning of identified projects and monitoring.What reforms are being implemented in Railways?We have taken a number of reforms. Powers were delegated and decentralised for improvement of efficiency and transparency with the effective implementation of e-tendering, e-auctioning, e-ticketing, e-governance, e-freight demand, e-catering, e-wheelchair, e-concierge.Rail Development Authority (RDA) is being set up and it will act within the parameters of the Railway Act, 1989. RDA will determine tariff, ensure fair play and level playing field for stakeholder investment in railways, set up efficiency and performance standards and disseminate information on global best practices and benchmarking.Besides, a web-enabled grievance redressal machinery (Nivaran) for both serving as well as retired railwaymen has been developed. An ERP (enterprise resource planning)-based human resource management system is proposed to be implemented all over Indian Railways and Rs 339.72 crore has been sanctioned for this purpose.What is the target for laying kilometre track per day?Indian Railways commissioned 2,855 km of broad gauge (BG) lines, highest ever in 2016-17, which is 7.82 km per day. Our target is to increase BG line commissioning to 3,500 km in 2017-18 which means 9.6 km per day. We intend to further increase the pace of railway line commissioning by keeping the target of 15 km a day in 2018-19 and then 20 km a day in 2019-20. With state JVs coming into being, this pace will further accelerate substantially.What is the present status of dedicated freight corridors being proposed?Dedicated freight corridors (DFCs) are expected to be commissioned by 2019. For both eastern and western DFCs, implementation schedules have been drawn up and are being monitored on a regular basis. These DFCs entail an investment of Rs 81,459 crore including land cost approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in June 2015. The cost for the project will be funded by a combination of debt from bilateral/multilateral agencies, equity from Ministry of Railways and public-private partnerships. The capital structure of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) will entail a debt-equity ratio of 3:1.In my Budget Speech 2016-2017, I have announced 3 new DFCs (i) East-West Corridor (2,328 km) (Kolkata-Mumbai), (ii) North-South Corridor (2,343 km) (Delhi-Chennai), and (iii) East Coast Corridor (1,114 km) (Kharagpur-Vijayawada). The studies are on.

Railways to offer options on senior citizen fare concession, looks to shed subsidy burden

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Now senior citizens will have the option to avail either the full concession provided to them on rail tickets or half of it.The Railways is exploring ways to reduce the Rs 1,300 crore subsidy burden in the senior citizen category. The new system will be operationalised shortly after upgrading the ticketing software. The Railways bears 43 per cent of the cost of train fare even as the state-run transporter incurs a loss of about Rs 30,000 crore a year in subsidising passenger fares out of which Rs 1,600 crore is for concessional fares. Though there are many categories of passengers including sportspersons and differently-abled persons who avail concessions, the major beneficiaries are in the senior citizen segment. The total amount of concessions given in the senior citizen category is about Rs 1,300 crore a year, said a senior Railway Ministry official.At present, male senior citizens get 40 per cent while women get 50 per cent concession on the total fare. Earlier, the Railways had given all senior citizens the option of either availing the full concession or foregoing it altogether while booking tickets. Now a senior citizen will be asked whether he or she wants to avail 50 per cent or 100 per cent concession while booking tickets, the official said.Recently, a passenger travelling from Jammu to New Delhi saw the message written on his ticket about the 43 per cent subsidy borne by the Railways. He then decided to forego the subsidy and sent a cheque of Rs 950 to the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) for a similar train journey undertaken by him and his wife on the Jammu Rajdhani.He sent the cheque along with a letter addressing the railway minister stating that “he will never avail such financial benefits in future”. However, the national transporter had to return the cheque as there was no provision to accept such an offer. Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena also clarified that there is no move to appeal to general passengers to forego subsidy in passenger fares on the lines of the ‘Give It Up’ campaign targeted at LPG consumers. The Railways recovers only 57 per cent of the expenses incurred for passenger transportation through sale of tickets of all classes.

Maharashtra: Central Railway starts digital transaction facility at 15 stations in five divisions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following mission Cashless India, Central Railway has started digital transaction facility at 15 stations in five divisions, said a senior official.”Central Railway has enabled 100% digital transactions at 15 nominated stations in all the five divisions including Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and Thane station in Mumbai division, Pune, Miraj and Shri Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Terminus (Kolhapur) on Pune division.
”Solapur, Kopargaon and Sainagar Shirdi on Solapur division, Bhusaval, Amravati and Nasik Road on Bhusaval division and Nagpur, Ballarshah and Wardha on Nagpur division,” said Sunil Udasi, Chief PRO of the Central Railway.
He said all Passenger Reservation Systems (PRS), Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS), luggage, parcel, goods shed counters and departmental catering units in the above stations have been provided with POS (Point of Sales) machines to enable digital transactions.
Beside, private contractors have been instructed to avail facilities like Paytm to enable digital transactions, Udasi said.
Indian Railways has tied up with the State Bank of India (SBI) for this exercise, which has also stepped up its efforts in installing the PoS machines.
Sainagar Shirdi station of Solapur division has the distinction of being the first station on Central Railway to enable 100 per cent cashless transaction, Udasi said.
This facility (of cashless transaction) will also be extended to other stations very soon, he added.
With a view to promote cashless transaction on Indian Railways, ministry has decided to install 10,000 POS machines in association with State Bank of India at various locations of Indian Railways ie PRS locations, UTS locations, parcel or goods locations.

Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains to get makeover by October

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains are slated to receive changes from October this year including trolley service for catering, polite uniformed staff and on-board entertainment.The Indian Railways has undertaken a complete makeover exercise in 30 trains, 15 Rajdhani and 15 Shatabdi, at an estimated cost of Rs 25 crore, aiming to enhance the experience of passengers travelling by these premiere trains.Railways have launched a three-month programme under Project Swarn (gold) to refurbish coach interiors, improving toilets and cleanliness in coaches while targeting the festive season which begins from October.
ALSO READ Operation Swarn: Rs 50 lakh towards Rajdhani, Shatabdi Express train upgradationIt has been decided to improve services in these premier trains significantly owing to the complaints pertaining to catering, punctuality, toilet cleanliness and quality of linen among others in these trains. Accordingly, the Project Swarn has been launched with a three-month timeline, said a Railway Ministry official involved with the project.The project also envisages strengthening of security system in trains with adequate escort personnel by RPF.Among the 15 Rajdhani trains selected for service upgradation are Rajdhani Express meant for Mumbai, Howrah, Ranchi, Patna and Bhubaneshwar. The trains selected for Shatabdi include the Howrah-Puri, New Delhi-Chandigarh, New Delhi-Kanpur, Howrah-Ranchi, Anand Vihar-Kathgodam trains.According to the official, steps will be taken for improving punctuality by reducing delays in premier trains. The catering will also be a focus area beside cleanliness, the staff will be specifically trained on hygiene and use of trolley for serving food in premier services as part of the makeover exercise.A new uniform has been designed for staff in the premier trains.Films, serials and music, among other facilities will be offered to the passengers as an on-board entertainment package.

Bihar protesters vandalise railway station over demand for job

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Students vandalised the Sharif Railway Station in Bihar’s Nalanda district on Friday over a demand for jobs in the Indian Railways. The protesters, who are preparing for competitive examinations, attacked and blocked the railway track. They also burnt a police vehicle and vandalised railway property. Station Master Shyamu Chaudhary told ANI, ?When media reached the spot, the students also attacked them and snatched their mobile phones. To control the situation, Railway Police personnel air fired two rounds in the air for self defence. So far, 25 people have been arrested.? Students had earlier stopped the Sharmjeevi Express at the station. Many trains on this route have been stopped and some have been diverted. A large security detail has been deployed in the area to bring the situation under control.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Railways implementing projects worth over Rs 40000 cr in NE

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To boost infrastructure development in the Northeast, the Indian Railways has undertaken 20 major projects worth over Rs 40,000 crore in the region. Twenty-nine new trains have also been launched to facilitate movement of the people of the region. The railways has laid emphasis on improving its infrastructure in the Northeast, said a senior railway ministry official. The projects involve laying of 12 new lines and doubling of four lines at an estimated cost of Rs 43,771 crore. These projects will add 1,664km tracks in the region. The northeastern region consists of eight states — Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya and Sikkim. Barring Sikkim, rail connectivity exists in all seven states. For, Sikkim, a 44-km new line between Sevoke and Rangpo has been sanctioned. The entire metre-gauge section in the region has also been fully converted into broad-gauge line, the official said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rlys most litigious department, doesn’t accept any orders: HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court today rapped the Indian Railways on its functioning saying it was the “most litigious department” which was not even respecting circulars of a central ministry. “Problem is Railways does not accept any order of anyone. That is why you are the most litigious department. Your trains are running slow, your tracks are dirty and you do not have the political will to deal with it. You are carrying on at 40 km per hour, you carry on like that,” the court said. The strong words by the high court came while hearing a plea by the Railways challenging an attachment order issued by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) demanding Rs 48.73 crore as service charge for servicing railway staff colonies. The court issued notice to the corporation and the Delhi government seeking their stand on the Railways’ plea seeking quashing of the attachment order of June 7. According to the corporation, its order was based on a circular of the Ministry of Urban Development that said if the corporations are providing all services, normally provided to residents of other areas, in a government colony then service charge equivalent to 75 per cent of the property tax has to be paid to the MCDs. The Railways has contended that its colonies are entirely self sufficient and hence it has to pay only 33 and one-third per cent of the property tax. It further told the court that it has already paid Rs 9 crore to the NDMC. The bench, however, was not swayed by the arguments as it said that “ordinary citizens who get zero services from the MCDs still pay their taxes”. “Secretary, Urban Development (in his circular) has said that pay 75 per cent. So you have to respect that. It is apparent that you do not follow anyone’s orders,” it said and added “there cannot be a civil war between Railways and the MCD”. The court said the attachment order would be vacated only after the Railways pays 50 per cent of the amount demanded by the corporation and listed the matter for hearing on August 30. The bench passed the order after the lawyer for the Railways said the officials present in court cannot give an undertaking that payment of 50 per cent of amount would be made in four weeks. “Give the undertaking and we will vacate the attachment order,” the bench said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rlys will soon become more environment-friendly: Suresh Prabhu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Railways will soon become more environment friendly and will cut down its dependence on conventional fuel such as diesel by further track electrification, said Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday. He was speaking after releasing the 2016-17 annual report on ‘Environment sustainability of the Railways’, on the occasion of World Environment Day. The Minister also released a new water policy to ensure efficient use of water by the Railways.”Reducing dependence on conventional fuel is our priority for environment conservation and we are targeting electrification of the railway tracks so that the use of diesel may get nominal,” said Prabhu adding that track electrification will reduce emissions by a significant extent.The Minister also said that the Railways has created a separate environment directorate and is working with the United Nations Environment Programme. Stressing on “going green”, the Minister said the environment conservation can help in boosting the economy.”The Railways will be saving Rs 300 crore a year through a concerted effort to conserve water and restore water bodies on rail land across the country,” Prabhu said.The minister also advocated use of other forms of the renewable energy and said, “We are switching to other renewable sources of energy like solar and wind energy.”

Finalise emission norms for diesel locomotives: NGT to MoEF

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal has directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to finalise the emission standards for diesel locomotives within two months. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar passed the order after the counsel for the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) refuted its own earlier submission that the emission norms, prepared by it, have been sent to the MoEF for approval. The lawyer appearing for CPCB told the tribunal that the statement made by him on May 22 was not correct and the facts were not brought to the notice of the tribunal. The CPCB counsel said the emission standards for diesel locomotives was still to be finalised and they would send to the MoEF within four weeks. The submission came in the wake of the green panel’s direction to set standards in this regard and ensure that the railway locomotive engines don’t cause pollution. “MoEF should finalise the same within four weeks thereafter. We make it clear that in the event of default we would be compelled to pass orders while imposing cost upon the defaulting departments,” the bench, also comprising Expert Member Bikram Singh Sajwan, said and fixed the matter for hearing on July 25. The CPCB’s interim report, titled “Exhaust Emission Benchmarks for Diesel Locomotives on Indian Railways”, aims to fix standards and protocols for the sector to achieve the targets submitted by India under the Paris climate change agreement. According to the report, the contribution of emissions from the transport sector on the whole has risen 3.5 times since 1990 to stand at 250 million tonne carbon dioxide, or 13.5 per cent of the total emissions in 2013. The Railways contributed 9.7 per cent of this figure (24.7 million tonne). Globally, however, only 3.5 per cent of the emissions from the transport sector are attributed to the rail sector, CPCB’s report said. “The changes in the energy sources allowed for a reduction of the share of rail transport carbon dioxide emissions from 24 per cent in 1990 to less than 10 per cent in 2013, while rail activity doubled in the same period,” the draft report by CPCB said. Earlier, the tribunal had directed MoEF to hold a meeting with the CPCB and Railways and submit a report on emission standards for diesel locomotive within six weeks. However, when the matter came up for hearing, the Environment Ministry sought more time, saying “the standards are yet to be fixed and one year’s time is required for completion”. The Railways had earlier submitted international standards for emissions from diesel locomotive railway engines and filed a data sheet indicating the emissions from 30 railway engines. According to the data sheet, the emission levels in the tested 30 railway engines were much above international standards. The directions came during the hearing a petition filed by Dwarka resident S K Goyal about harmful emissions from diesel locomotives.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

HC concerned on quality of drinking water supplied in railways

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Dehi High Court today asked the authorities about the steps they have taken to improve the quality of drinking water at the Northern Railway stations and at their platforms. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra asked them to inform it about the implementation of the suggestions given by the petitioner in this regard. “Inform us about the steps you (Northern Railway) have taken for providing safe drinking water in the trains, at the platforms and related establishments,” the bench said. The court was hearing a plea by NGO — Centre for Public Interest Litigation — which has sought “an independent and preferably court-monitored probe into the neglect of the quality of the drinking water supply and the manipulations in the award of contracts for supply of chlorination plants for past several years.” Advocates Prashant Bhushan and Govind Jee, appearing for the NGO, submitted that suggestions were given, but that has not yet been implemented. The bench sought the responses from the authorities concerned by next date of hearing, September 12. The NGO has contended that while the Indian Railways, which has an independent water supply system all over the country, is able to keep trains running by meeting the requirement of water for washing and cleaning of trains, tracks and platforms, it is “failing to supply safe and wholesome drinking water to millions of railway passengers and its staff who live in the railway colonies”. It alleged that Indian Railways has “continued to neglect the quality of water supply for so many years” as records which have come to light recently show that water quality has been very unsatisfactory for the past several years. The plea alleges “the water treatment infrastructure for disinfection of water by chlorination has almost completely collapsed and level of contamination in the entire supply network from the source to the top is alarming.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Double-decker overnight AC train to be launched in July

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Railways will launch in July the Utkrisht Double-Decker AC Yatri (Uday) Express, a special class service for overnight journey that will ply on high-demand routes. Equipped with comfortable reclining chairs, the 120- seater AC coach will have large automatic food and tea/cold drink vending machines for passengers. Uday service will ply on high-demand routes like Delhi- Lucknow and the fare will be lower than that of 3AC class in regular mail/express trains. There will be large LCD screens in every coach with Wi- Fi speaker system. The USP of the double-decker Uday is providing better passenger amenities in less than 3AC fare, said a senior Railway Ministry official. Since the train will have 40 per cent more carrying capacity than other trains, it will help the public transporter clear the rush in high-demand routes. Though it will not have sleeper berths despite being an overnight service, measures have been taken to make the journey comfortable with many added facilities, the official said. There will be comfortable seats with adequate leg space to relax at night. The interior of coaches will be aesthetically designed to give a modern look besides being equipped with bio-toilets. As far as catering is concerned, there will be facility for providing pre-cooked hot food from food vending boxes in each coach. The train announced in rail budget 2016-17 is slated to run at a speed of 110 km speed per hour on high density routes.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Karnataka: One engine, four coaches of Aurangabad- Hyderabad passenger train derail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Aurangabad-Hyderabad passenger train derailed on Friday. The train derailment took place between Khalgapur and Bhalki stations in Karnataka state. There has been no injury to the passengers.The incident took place on the Karnataka-Hyderabad border place, which comes under the Hyderabad railway zone. The Disaster Management, Senior Officers and General Manager are in action.A high-level enquiry has been ordered by the General Manager and he will be reaching the spot soon. The helpline numbers to get information about the accident have been announced: 040-23200865 for Hyderabad, 02446-223540 for Parli, 08416-252013 for Vikarabad and 08482-226329 for Bidar.Speaking about the derailment, Anil Saxena from Railways, said, “One engine and four coaches were derailed. No injuries or casualties reported.”The Aurangabad-Hyderabad passenger train accident is the latest in a string of derailments that have happened on Indian Railways. Just this month, eight coaches of the Rajya Rani Express derailed near Rampur in Uttar Pradesh while last month, at least 50 people were injured after Mahakaushal Express derailed, also in Uttar Pradesh.

Rlys worst operating ratios in 2016-17 and 2000-01, both under

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The problem of Indian Railways is deeper and it cannot be run as a government department, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said today while criticising the BJP government for the public transporter reporting the “worst” operating ratio in the last fiscal. “Railways worst operating ratio in 2016-17. Previous worst in 2000-01. Both under BJP governments! Despite well- meaning minister. Problem of Railways is deeper. It cannot be run as a department of government,” he said on Twitter. An operating ratio indicates how much the railways spends to earn a rupee. An operating ratio of 94.9 per cent means that the railways is spending 94.9 paisa to earn 100 paisa (one rupee). A lower figure of operating ratio is therefore regarded better and is indicative of better financial health of the system. The operating ratio of railways has seen deterioration in 2016-17 in comparison to previous years, indicating a higher operating cost. Minister of State for Railways, Rajen Gohain, had said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha that the operating ratio of railways in 2016-17 was estimated at 94.9 per cent. Officials, however, say this figure is tentative till final figures come. The last time Railways reported the worst operating ratio, 98 per cent, was in 2000-01 An operating ratio of 80 per cent or lower is considered desirable in the railways.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Railways to export locos, train sets worth Rs 680 cr to Lanka

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Railways will supply modern locomotives and train sets worth Rs 680 crore to Sri Lanka, in the largest export order for the public transporter. Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES), a railways PSU, has secured its largest export order from Sri Lanka Railways for the supply of 10 broad gauge diesel locomotives and six DMU (diesel multiple units) train sets. DMU train sets do not require separate locomotive as the engines are incorporated into one or more of its coaches. All locomotives and train sets would be equipped with state-of-the-art technology and manufactured in Varanasi and Chennai, said a senior Railway Ministry official. The contract will be funded under the Indian Line of Credit to Sri Lanka announced in 2011, and supplies will be made over the next two years, the official said. RITES, which also serves as the export arm of the railways, is at present executing a contract for the supply of 18 locomotives to Myanmar Railways. It had earlier exported 20 DMU train sets, three locomotives to Sri Lanka, besides providing expertise for setting up railway maintenance facilities and training of the island nation’s railway officials during the period 2008-12. Supplies of locomotives from Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) in Varanasi would be completed in 2017-18. RITES has also actively pursued exports of locomotives and passenger coaches to Bangladesh Railway. It has exported 120 LHB coaches from its Kapurthala factory. It has been the endeavour of RITES to facilitate rail infrastructure development in the South Asian countries, particularly in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. In order to foster regional cooperation with these countries, the government has been extending various lines of credit for funding railway projects for export of Indian Railways-manufactured locomotives and rolling stock.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Suresh Prabhu flags off new train coach with glass roof, GPS on Vizag-Araku route

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aiming to provide a delightful travelling experience to the picturesque Araku valley in Visakhapatnam, the Railways introduced a see-through Vistadome coach on its Visakhapatnam-Kirandul passenger train on Sunday.Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged-off the train through a video link from Bhubaneswar. The specially-designed Vistadome air-conditioned coach, claimed to be a first-of-its-kind on Indian Railways, has large glass windows and an observation lounge that offer passengers a panoramic view of the sites along the 128-km rail route from Visakhapatnam to Araku valley hill station.A unique feature of this Rs 3.38 crore 40-seat coach is the double-wide reclining passenger seats that could be rotated 360 degrees for a better sightseeing experience. The coach also has a glass-domed ceiling, automatic sliding doors and a multi-tier luggage rack, a railway release said.The tourists can now sit relaxed in their seats and get a clear view of the breath-taking Anantagiri ghat section, Lambasingi, Borra caves and the tunnels along the route, from the Vistadome coach, unlike the crammed train compartments.Only one coach has been attached to the train now on a trial basis while one more will soon be added. After the launch, Prabhu said the Vistadome coach was being introduced for the first time in the country to promote tourism. A similar coach would later be introduced on a route in northeast as well, he said.Visakhapatnam MP, Kambhampati Haribabu, attended the function along with Prabhu in Bhubaneswar, while Araku MP, Kottapalli Geeta, MLAs, Railway Division Manager (Visakhapatnam) Chandralekha Mukherjee and others took part in the launch from here.

Uttar Pradesh: Railways arranges buses for passengers stranded at Rampur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Railways has arranged buses for the passengers of Rajya Rani Express, which met and accident near Rampur on Saturday, for their onward journey.Northern Railway spokesperson said the facility is being provided to all stranded passengers of the train.”Water and eatables have also been provided to the stranded passengers,” he said.Eight rear coaches of the 22,454 Meerut City-Lucknow Rajya Rani Express derailed near Rampur on Moradabad- Shahjehanpur section of Moradabad division at 8.15 AM.The spokesperson said the railways has been able to clear one line and the train operation on this line has started, whereas efforts are on to restore the affected line.The Railways has announced a compensation of Rs 50,000 each for the two passengers who have received injuries in the incident.The Accident Relief Train and Medical Relief Trains have reached on the spot for relief and first-aid work.Pramod Kumar, the Divisional Railway Manager of Moradabad division, along with other senior railway officials, have reached the site to supervise the relief work.The Railways have operationalised helplines at Lucknow, New Delhi, Old Delhi, Nizamuddin, Moradabad and Bareilly to help relatives of affected passengers.

PAC finds irregularities in award of contracts in railways, recommends CBI inquiry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A parliamentary committee has recommended CBI inquiry into award of contracts of advertisements in the Mumbai division of the railways as it found serious irregularities in the award of contracts.The report on commercial publicity in Indian Railways stated that there was no transparency in award of contracts in Central Railway and Western Railway-zones under which Mumbai division of railway falls. “No station of Central Railways has been given (advertisement contracts) on FCFS basis out of a total 831 identified locations of hoardings at various stations and other locations,” the report said.The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that the advertisement contracts awarded in the Mumbai division for the last 25-30 years were in violation of the First Come First Serve (FCFS) policy. The PAC report, which was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, also recommended immediate termination of all such contracts which were allotted in violation of the FCFS policy.The committee said that though the alleged fraud has been inquired into by the Central Vigilance Commission and action has also been taken against a few officials, CBI inquiry was needed to look into the “the whole gamut of FCFS policy”. Advocating strict action for erring contractors and officials involved in the alleged fraud, the committee said, “Unless and until exemplary punishment is awarded to the corrupt officials from the top to the bottom, irregularities in commercial publicity in railways cannot be rooted out.”The PAC headed by Prof KV Thomas, in its report, also highlighted the “lackadaisical attitude” of the railways in utilising its vast resources for generating additional revenue through advertising. The report pointed out that delay in tender finalisation for advertisement at stations resulted in losses to the public transporter. It also slammed railways for the lack of coordination between various zones and said that railways should “shed the nonchalant approach of condoning delays” in finalisation of contracts owing to precautionary approach. The PAC also observed that the menace of unauthorised displays at the stations was a constant source of leakage of revenues of railways and the railways need to fix the problem.

Transport behemoth revives old wells, quenches summer thirst

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Railways effort to revive 1500 water bodies on its premises has got a boost as four restored wells in Hyderabad division have started yielding 4.70 lakh litres per day, promising a saving of over Rs 22 lakh per month. Looking beyond the tracks, the transport behemoth has been working on the revival of water bodies located on its premises and along the tracks across the country. There are 1,561 water bodies in the form of ponds, dams, reservoirs, wells and step wells existing on rail land, according to the latest data prepared by railways. While some ponds, wells and step wells have completely dried up, many water bodies are partly dried up and not in use. Implementation of the revival plan is underway as part of the water policy of railways to revive and conserve water bodies on rail land, said a senior Railway Ministry official responsible for the water conservation plan. Going ahead with the plan, four unused wells in Hyderabad division of South Central zone have been revived with expert help. Total yield from these revived wells is about 4.70 lakh litres per day and the division is expected to save Rs 22.80 lakh per month. All zones have been asked to undertake similar measures to revive water bodies, said the official. Emphasising on revival and protection of water bodies, railways have carved out a separate directorate to execute the water conservation plan in a focused way. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has given instructions to all zones, divisions, production units, workshops and RPF to revive and conserve water bodies in their respective areas and also carry out regular water audits to reduce water consumption substantially. The maximum water bodies are located in the Sealdah division followed by Kharagpur, Howrah, Moradabad and Agra, as per the railways’ data.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

48 pc rail tracks electrified,aim to double it in 5 years:Govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Railways has electrified 48 per cent of the country’s tracks and intends to double the same in the next five years, the Rajya Sabha was told today. “Electrification has the highest pay-back. The amount of electrification that we have done so far, we will be doubling the same in the next five years as it will give us immense returns by way of cost reduction,” Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said. Replying to questions, he said electrification of tracks should be for priority of Railways and this will help in pay-back and cost-saving for the public-sector behemoth as well as beneficial for it. “Electrification all over India is so far 48 per cent of the total route kilometres in the country. In case of Odisha because of concerted efforts, it is 71.4 per cent. Any new broad guage rail line project will be electrified,” he said. In his written reply, Prabhu said, “Indian Railways have prepared an action plan to electrify 24,400 route kilometres in five years from 2016-17 to 2020-21”. During the last three years 2014-2017 and for 2017-18, he said a total number of 93 railway electrification projects consisting 16,815 route kms at an estimated cost of Rs 17,165 crore have been included in the Railway Budget. The pace of electrification, he said, has been increased from the average of 1300 kms per annum to 2000 kms per annum which will further be increased to 4000 kms in 2017-18. “These efforts have been made to reduce the present traction bill on Indian Railways, thereby likely saving of about Rs 3,300 crore per annum is expected,” he said. Prabhu said the Railways has also tried to make rail transport greener by sourcing about 1200 MW of solar and wind power by 2020 and by fitting LED bulbs in railways, which will help in saving 1400 crore in traction bill of current year against that in 2014-15. To another question on SPVs set up jointly with Odisha government, he said now the state would not have to pay 50 per cent required under the agreement. He said various ongoing projects for Odisha have been announced and these are not a package but are real projects. “The state government itself acknowledged the fact that Odisha has received more than they have asked for,” he said. The Minister said Odisha has good resources in minerals and the state has tourism potential and can be promoted as a fantastic tourist spot. “Investing in Odisha is like investing in the future of the country,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

22 suffer injuries in Mahakaushal express derailment accident

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> As many as 22 people have suffered injuries in the Mahakaushal express derailment accident that took place today. ?22 people suffered injuries in Mahakaushal express derailment accident, out of which 19 are discharged,? Anil Saxena, DG (PR) of Indian Railways told ANI. Eight coaches of a Delhi bound Jabalpur-Mahakaushal express had derailed near Kulapahar in Maharashtra?s Mahoba. The remaining coaches of the train will be moved forward towards Jhansi where eight additional coaches will be attached. Three buses were arranged for the passengers while the stranded ones are provided with water and biscuits.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

33 per cent sub-quota for women in railway food stalls: IRCTC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railways has introduced 33 per cent of sub-quota for women in the allotment of food stalls at rail premises as a special provision in the new catering policy. The new catering policy was launched recently by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as promised in the Rail Budget 2016-17. The allotment of quota for women in catering units aims to empower women economically, according to a senior IRCTC official. IRCTC, railways’ catering PSU, is responsible to implement the new policy. As per the new policy, a sub-quota of 33 per cent out of the reserved catering stalls would be alloted to women, he said. Currently 25 per cent of the minor catering units are reserved for various categories like SC (6 per cent), ST (4 per cent), BPL (3 per cent), OBC (3 per cent), Minorities (3 per cent), freedom fighters (4 per cent) and physically challenged persons (2 per cent) in major stations. While in other category stations, 49.5 per cent catering units are reserved for various categories like SC (12 per cent), ST (8 per cent), OBC (20 per cent) and minorities (9.5 per cent). The policy allows 33 per cent sub-quota for women in allotment of each category of minor catering units at all category of stations. Under the provision, Railways shall ensure that women participation does not fall below a specific level. The sub-quota reservation for women in each category shall ensure allotment of minimum 8 per cent stalls to women at major stations and minimum 17 per cent at other category stations, the IRCTC official said. There are approximately 8000 minor catering units in Indian Railways.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

TMC to form unions in railways, bank and insurance sectors

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Trinamool Congress (TMC) is all set to form employees’ unions in the railway, banks and insurance companies in a bid to tap the huge workforce base in these sectors. “On the directions of TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal Chief Minister), we have decided to form employees’ union in the Indian Railways that has 18 lakh staff. Each of the railway zones will have a unit of the union,” TMC all-India vice president Mukul Roy told reporters here today. “The national outfit will be called Indian Railway Trinamool Men’s Federation,” Roy said. “The unit for the Eastern Railway, will be called Eastern Railway Trinamool Men’s Congress; for South Eastern Railway, it will be South Eastern Railway Trinamool Men’s Congress and likewise for each zonal railway in the country,” the former Railway Minister said. “The party will form unions for banks and insurance companies in the public and the private sectors as well as for cooperative banks,” Roy said. It will be named All-India Bank and Insurance Employees’ Trinamool Federation, he said. The TMC leader said under his leadership a committee, which was formed by Mamata Banerjee, will oversee the formation of the unions. Apart from Roy, the committee will comprise former Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, TMC MPs Kakali Ghosh Dastidar and Sukhendu Sekhar Roy and MLA Manas Bhuniya. “We will try to ensure that the rights and benefits of employees in these sectors are maintained through negotiations with the employers instead of going on strikes and calling bandhs,” the TMC national vice-president said. Though TMC has had three Railway Ministers, including Banerjee, during the previous NDA and the UPA governments, it has had little presence in trade unions in the Indian Railways, which is dominated by the Left, the Congress and the BJP-leaning workers bodies. The bank and insurance sectors are dominated by Left-leaning unions, apart from Congress and BJP’s trade union wings. Roy said the process for getting the trade union bodies registered would begin soon.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maha polls 2017: Congress stronghold Latur votes for BJP, did ‘Jaldoot’ pave way for success?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When Maharashtra government first announced to send a ‘water train’ to drought-hit Latur in 2015, one would have remotely imagined that it would reap a major political success for BJP in the Congress pocket borough. Making a strong inroad, BJP is likely to win the polls to Latur Zilla Parishad with the party leading on 30 seats out of total 58.A Congress stronghold for the past six decades, Latur has been home to two former chief ministers and nine former Home ministers of Congress. The state government had in December 2015 envisaged the idea of supplying drinking water through rail service from Sangli district to parched Latur.BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam said, “We succeeded in giving a strong message of BJP cares for rural people and we can solve their issues. The water train was not only for the city but we provided (water) to neighbouring areas. We also undertook several works of Jalyukta Shivir. This perception benefited us largely.”Kadam was also the in-charge of Latur looking at the water train project. The train, named ‘Jaldoot’, was run jointly by Indian Railways and state government, carried 50 wagons of water from Miraj junction and traversed 340-kms away to Latur city.There, the water was collected in a well located near railway tracks and was further carried into the city. It would take nearly 14 hours to fill Jaldoot, carrying 25 lakh litres of water. Since its first trip on April 11, 2016, the train made 106 ferries till August to Latur.

Talgo could run by mid-2018: India head

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Spanish train manufacturer Talgo is in talks with the Railway Ministry to lease its trains for some short-distance routes, preferably under 500 kilometres, on a profit-sharing basis. In a telephonic interaction with DNA, Subrat Nath, Director, India and Asia-Pacific, Talgo said that if everything went according to plan, the rake could be in commercial operation by the middle of next year. Hypothetically speaking, Nath said, if the Railway Ministry accepts a proposal to have Talgo trains on lease by March 31 this year, then the rakes could come in by April 2018 and after a trials of a few months, it could be ready for commercial operation by August 2018. “A three-member team of the Railway Board consisting of additional members is looking into the feasibility of deploying Talgo trains on the Indian Railway network. Only after they submit the report can things move forward.There are two options, first of which is a global tender where there will be several more participants. That could take time. The other is the leasing model that we have suggested where our rakes can be leased over some routes on the Indian Railways on a profit-sharing basis. But as I said all the financial details can be made only after the three-member team submits its report,” Nath said.The current plan, according to him, is to provide just Talgo coaches to the Railways because the Spanish firm during the trials found the quality of Indian locomotives very good. “What we want to do is to provide Talgo coaches to the railways on lease and use locomotives from the railways to haul the train. The locomotives in the railways’ fleet are very powerful, capable of high speeds. That is why we believe the best value for the railways would be to have Talgo coaches hauled at higher speeds by Indian locomotives,” said Nath.Nath said that in case the Talgo is chosen by the railways, it will have to further undergo a full set of trials supervised by the RDSO (Research Design Standards Organisation- the railway’s apex technical authority) and also have to get the approval of the Commissioner of Railway Safety.

Indian Railways inks pact with Italian counterpart to improve safety

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an aim to improve passenger safety, Indian Railways on Thursday inked a pact with Italian government, who have promised to provide technological and expert guidance to Indian railways that has been witnessing a series of deadly derailments recently. The Italian counterpart will also review the infrastructure and transport management system for Indian Railways.The pact was signed by Renato Mazzoncini, CEO and Managing Director of Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (Italian Railways) and AK Mittal, Chairman of Indian Railways.“The Memorandum of Understanding that Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane signed with Indian Railways represents the beginning of a close cooperation between two of the most prominent railway companies in the world. We will provide all the know-how we developed the large-scale infrastructure and technological projects that have modernised Italy by connecting the country’s most important cities, Rome and Milan, in just three hours,” said Mazzoncini in an official press statement.The tie-up between the two entities will also enable co-operation on certification of technologies based on Safety Integrity Level 4 and staff safety training. Besides this, another MoU was signed between Italferr, the engineering company of FS Italiane and RITES, an engineering consultancy company of the Indian Railways. An important project that will be handled by the Italian counterpart of Indian Railways is the design and supervision of works for constructing the Anji Khad Bridge, a 750-metre-long bridge with a central span of over 260, suspended over a 200-metre gorge between Katra and Reasi.

Mumbaikars await details of rail budget

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbaikars may have to wait for at least two more days to get to know about the allocation made in Railway budget for their city as officials here today cited the code of conduct, in place for upcoming civic polls, and non-receipt of official record to express their inability to give details. This year, Railway budget was incorporated in general budget after a gap of over 90 years. According to officials, Maharashtra has got Rs 5958 crore in the budget. “We have got huge budgetary allocation to the tune of Rs 5958 crore for upcoming fiscal years, which is 408 per cent higher that the average allocation of last five years,” Central Railway General Manager D K Sharma said while addressing a press conference here. He, however, expressed his inability to disclose the details of the rail budget. “First, I would like to tell you all that Maharashtra is currently under the code of conduct imposed by State Election Commission (for civic and local bodies elections). “As we have not yet received the pink book of the budget, we would be able to tell you the details only on February 3, when we get the pink book,” Sharma said. Pink Book is that official record of Indian Railways which lays down the arrangement of fund allotment to different railway projects. Echoing Sharma, Western Railway General Manager G C Agarwal said the details about allocation for Mumbai could be revealed only on February 3. “We are not in position to disclose the minute details, but I can assure that this budget has all the provisions of last mile connectivity with adequate emphasis on safety, security and comfort.” “In this budget, Maharashtra has received Rs 5958 crore whereas in the last five fiscal years, average per year allocation was Rs 1171 crore. Comparing this, we have got enough money and I can tell you that shortage or paucity of funds would no longer be an impediment to execute the projects,” Agarwal said. He said Gujarat has got Rs 3,993 crore while Madhya Pradesh Rs 5367 crore for the upcoming fiscal years. Meanwhile, commuters of local trains demanded continuation of the old practice to present Railway budget separately as they couldn’t immediately know about allocation details. “Previously, we used to get clear picture as rail budget used to be presented separately. But this year, we are in dark. Moreover, separation of the rail budget would create fissures between rail ministry and finance ministry. The government should present next rail budget separately,” demanded Passengers and Traffic Relief Association (PATRA) member Mansoor Darvesh.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

News agency Press Trust of India’s (PTI) Twitter account hacked

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Wednesday, news agency Press Trust of India’s (PTI) Twitter account was reportedly hacked by a group calling itself Iran Crack. The group had posted a tweet which said: “Best channel in the telegram join to channel and learn something news.”This is a breaking story. More details awaited. Press Trust of India (PTI) is India’s premier news agency, having a reach as vast as the Indian Railways. It employs more than 400 journalists and 500 stringers to cover almost every district and small town in India. Collectively, they put out more than 2,000 stories and 200 photographs a day to feed the expansive appetite of the diverse subscribers, who include the mainstream media, the specialised presses, research groups, companies, and government and non-governmental organisations.PTI correspondents are also based in leading capitals and important business and administrative centres around the world. It also has exchange arrangements with several foreign news agencies to magnify its global news footprint. Currently, PTI commands 90 per cent of new agency market share in India. PTI was registered in 1947 and started functioning in 1949. Today, after 65 years of its service, PTI can well and truly take pride in the legacy of its work, and in its contribution towards the building of a free and fair Press in India.

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