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Hyderabad: Three youths planning to join ‘terror’ groups arrested

Earlier, in September 2014, Abdullah Basith and Maaz Hasan Farooq made an attempt to go to Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Palestine via Bangladesh, along with two others Abrar and Noman. However, police foiled their attempt at Kolkata and brought them back to Hyderabad, and counselled them in the presence of their parents and let them off.

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Seven coaches of Amrapali Express derail, Patna-bound trains diverted, canceled

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Anil Saxena, Railway PRO, has said that certain trains from Katihar-Malda-Jamaldaha to Patna are being diverted and some passenger trains canceled.

Amrapali Express

Image courtesy: Youtube
Seven coaches of Amrapali Express travelling from Katihar to Amritsar derailed near Khagaria in Bihar early morning on Sunday, reports ANI.The derailment happened at Pasraha station. No casualties or injuries have been reported so far. 5 sleeper coaches and 2 AC class coaches derailed. Anil Saxena, Railway PRO, has said that certain trains from Katihar-Malda-Jamaldaha to Patna are being diverted and some passenger trains canceled. Accident relief trains have already reached the site.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More details are awaited

9 injured as Kolkata metro escalator malfunctions

Metro Railway General Manager A K Kapoor ordered a high-level probe into the incident and asked for a report within two days.

Kolkata Metro
File Photo

At least nine persons were injured on Thursday when an escalator malfunctioned at Girish Park metro station in Kolkata, Metro Railway officials said.The escalator in the northern end of the station was moving in upward direction when suddenly it started moving downwards at around 8.30 PM, Metro Railway Senior PRO Indrani Banerjee said. Out of the nine injured persons, six were administered first aid at the station while three others were sent to a hospital, she said.Metro Railway General Manager A K Kapoor ordered a high-level probe into the incident and asked for a report within two days, Banerjee said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Bombay High Court gives Railways a month’s time to ensure women toilets on platforms

A division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice S B Shukhre, after going through a survey carried out by an NGO, Akshara, highlighting the lack of facilities at railway stations for women, said, “There can be overcrowding on trains and platforms. But for lack of basic amenities, Railways alone needs to be blamed.”

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Railways to ensure that women toilets on all railway stations be equipped with proper lighting, sanitation facilities and safety measures. The court has granted the Railways a month’s time to implement the same.A division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice S B Shukhre, after going through a survey carried out by an NGO, Akshara, highlighting the lack of facilities at railway stations for women, said, “There can be overcrowding on trains and platforms. But for lack of basic amenities, Railways alone needs to be blamed.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Advocate Rajeev Chavan, appearing for NGO Help Mumbai Foundation, said CCTV cameras are a must inside women compartments to ensure commuters’ safety.Asking the Railways to consider the same, Justice Patil said, “If government can consider running bullet trains with CCTV facilities, why can’t it implement the same in suburban trains.” It directed the divisional commissioner of Western and Central Railway to inform the problems faced by them in installing cameras during next hearing.The court also directed the Western/Central railways to provide proper signage, seating benches near woman compartments and to experiment seating spaces inside trains to reduce overcrowding at the footboard. It also suggested the railway to have non-slippery footboard pole to help passengers on crowded trains.

Don’t exempt women motorists from odd-even formula: Women Groups

According to the scheme, odd numbered vehicles will be allowed on odd dates and even numbered vehicles on even dates.

AFP photo
No exemptions under the odd-even scheme should be given to women motorists, a number of women groups have conveyed to Delhi government saying that they also want to be a part of pollution-clean drive.The Arvind Kejriwal government is, however, yet to take a final call on exempting women drivers under road-rationing experiment starting January 1.According to the scheme, odd numbered vehicles will be allowed on odd dates and even numbered vehicles on even dates.”Some women organisations have approached the government not to grant exemption to women drivers in the odd-even formula as they also want to be a part of this pollution-clean drive. However, government will soon take a decision in this regard,” the Delhi Transport minister Gopal Rai said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rai said the government will soon launch a campaign to encourage people to be a part of odd-even formula with the help of AAP volunteers, Civil Defence and NCC cadets so that people follow this formula. Later in the day, Rai held a meeting with MLAs seeking their suggestions on rationing plan of bus routes in their constituency ahead of odd-even formula.”We sought suggestions from MLAs on which routes numbers of buses should be increased in their areas so that people don’t have to face problems while commuting public transport during a 15-day trial period of odd-even scheme,” Rai said.Earlier this month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and PWD Minister Satyendar Jain had met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari respectively seeking Centre’s cooperation for the implementation of this scheme. Rai had also met Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to increase frequency of local trains on Ring Railway.

Shakur Basti demolition: Delhi HC pulls up authorities, calls it ‘pathetic act’

The bench also asked the Delhi government to “coordinate with the authorities and provide every possible support they can to people who have been put to risk of life in this winter”.

Stepping into the demolition row, the Delhi High Court on Monday came down heavily on the Railway Ministry and police for razing of a slum cluster in west Delhi and directed the authorities to immediately rehabilitate over 5,000 people rendered homeless in this biting cold.A bench of justices S Muralidhar and Vibhu Bakhru further said this is a “pathetic act” as “peoples’ lives are involved and we cannot be so casual”. “It is dire situation where life and liberty of the people are in grave danger,” the bench said, noting that an infant had died though railways has claimed that the incident had “nothing” to do with the demolition. Taking note that the counsel for railways have failed to produce the relevant communication on which police went to demolish the slum at Shakur Basti here on Saturday, the court asked them to file their report before December 16 on the way they have and will be rehabilitating those who were rendered homeless.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench also asked the Delhi government to “coordinate with the authorities and provide every possible support they can to people who have been put to risk of life in this winter”. Senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi government, agreed to it and said, “what needs to be done, we will do as we are not shying away from our duty”. He further said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal himself is monitoring the issue and has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the demolition drive and death of the six-month-old girl.The court’s direction came on a public interest litigation filed by senior congress leader Ajay Maken, who sought that the ministry and Delhi police should be restrained from carrying out any further eviction or harassment of people living in Shakur Basti until all appropriate rehabilitation has been provided. Maken, through his counsel Aman Panwar also informed the court that besides ministry and police, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) should ensure that all displaced persons are immediately rehabilitated in temporary relief camps and shelter homes.Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has also attacked the Centre and Kejriwal government over the razing of a slum, as he visited the site today and assured the homeless that he will fight their “battle”. The high court also said that there should be no further “violence” against those who have been left homeless. It asked the railways to give a survey report of the people living at Shakur Basti along with the number of people affected and who all can be rehabilitated.The court also issued notice to the ministry, Delhi police, DUSIB and Delhi government directing them to file replies on the plea, which alleged that the demolition drive was done in “complete haste”. The plea said that the “demolition is in violation of the Master Plan Delhi 2021…”. The court asked what was the “tearing hurry to demolish the cluster in December”.”You really don’t care about people, you just want to remove them. It is really a pathetic act. The attitude has to change. I do not know what the person thinks while passing such orders and the police also straightway follow such directions,” the bench said, adding that “every minute they are spending in the open is dangerous for them”.It said that how can people be evicted without having any rehabilitation plan. It asked the Delhi government to ensure that the children are given education during the rehabilitation program. All the concerned agencies have been told to give blankets, shelter, food, medicines to those rendered homeless. Meanwhile, the counsel for railways said Shakur Basti land was for building platforms and notices were issued to them in March

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu denies Kejriwal’s claim, says child died ‘before’ slum demolition

Amidst the blame game, Suresh Prabhu claims that the child died before the demolition had even begun.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu

File Photo
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday reiterated his stand that the six-month-old child had died before the demolition in Shakur Basti and not during the drive.Prabhu made his statement in the Lok Sabha on the encroachment drives where around 500 jhuggis were razed to the ground.”The child has died much before the demolition drive began and the encroachers did not vacate the place despite repeated notices. Such encroachments are the main source of garbage and safety hazard. Will meet Delhi Chief Minister today to discuss tackling encroachment in other areas too,” Prabhu said in his statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier demanded that a murder case be registered against the officers who were responsible for the demolition which caused the child’s death.”Railways have demolished 500 shanties in this extreme cold. One child has died. God will never forgive them. Had instructed the local SDM to arrange for food and shelter. They did not arrange the same, so have suspended them,” an enraged Kejriwal said in a series of tweets.Meanwhile, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi visited the demolition site on Monday and held the Delhi Government and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Centre responsible for the razing of the slum, while assuring the homeless slum dwellers that they would be provided aid at the earliest.”Call me if they try to break your homes again and I promise I won’t let it happen. I will help you in every way possible. You know we are not in power, it is Modi ji and Kejriwal ji who are at power. Your fight is our fight,” Rahul told the slum dwellers.”There is a way of doing these things and the law has clearly been broken here. The Modi Government and the Delhi Government are involved here and now they are engaged in a blame game. What they should be doing is help the hungry and the people in pain. They need to ensure rehabilitation and provide them shelter,” he added.Kejriwal had earlier hit out at Rahul for accusing the Delhi Government for the demolition and called him a ‘child’.”Rahul Gandhi is still a child. I don’t think his party has told him that that Indian Railways comes the Centre and not the Delhi Government,” Kejriwal tweeted.

Shakur Basti infant death: Railways defend demolition drive, officials to meet Kejriwal

After demolition drive in Shakur Basti

Under attack for its demolition drive during winter, Railways on Sunday defended removal of 1,200 slum dwellings in West Delhi, saying the action was taken after giving “several notices to the encroachers”.However, the demolition in Shakur Basti sparked a row after the death of a child in a slum. The slum dwellers including women and children were seen out in the open trying to collect their belongings. While some erected makeshift tents to protect themselves from the cold, others made temporary arrangements for cooking. Railways removed yesterday about 1200 slum dwellings and about 15 shops at Shakur Basti station after giving third notice to vacate before December 12, 2015.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have followed all procedures before removing those unauthorised constructions at railway land. Three notices were served to them and finally with police help we removed those encroachments near Shakur Basti station,” Delhi Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Arun Arora said here. Asked whether the child death incident has caused a setback to the railways demolition drive, Arora said, “No, the drive will continue as we want clear the encroachment near the track because it has become a serious problem for train operations.”He said there is no link between the demolition drive and the death of the child. “The child died before the drive started at 12 PM yesterday. The drive went on smoothly with the help of security personnel,” Arora said, adding “the encroachment could not be removed earlier because of the non-availability of policemen.” The demolition was carried out in the presence of Delhi police, RPF and CRPF personnel. Asked whether the demolition drive has got the nod from Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, the DRM said, “It is not required as the concerned authority is competent enough to carry out the task to keep the track areas free from encroachment.”Railways will apprise Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal about the development at Shakur Basti which has resulted in a confrontation between the Delhi government and the Centre. “We will be meeting the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to apprise him of the actual facts. We will tell him that we have carried out the drive after giving them enough time to vacate,” Arora said. Currently there are about 47,000 slums on railway land.”It is causing serious problem for train operations. National Green Tribunal has ordered us to keep the track clean of solid waste. So in order to keep it clean we have to remove the source of the solid waste.”We have also given Rs 11 cr to Delhi Slum Urban Improvement Board under Delhi government for relocation and rehabilitation of slum dwellers removed from railway land,” he said.

Japan to assist Indian Railways in strengthening safety measures

The agreement establishes areas for comprehensive technological cooperation, facilitating the participation of other institutions, organisations and ministries; conducting joint research and studies.

Japan PM Shinzo Abe and PM Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday.

PTI
The partnership agreement with Japan on rail sector will also address many issues including safety and research confronting Indian Railways for years.Besides, providing active cooperation in the bullet train project, Japan will also assist railways’ research and design capabilities to address future challenges, according to a senior Railway Ministry official. He said there are many crucial issues such as safety, cleanliness and research which will be addressed with Japan’s cooperation now.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Safety is a major issue for the public transporter with accidents happening on regular basis which can be tackled with the induction of advanced technology in train operation. There will be comprehensive technological cooperation including sharing of information and best practices; exchanges of officials and technicians; facilitating the participation of other institutions, organisations and ministries; conducting joint research and studies, as per the tie-up with Japan.Also read- Shinzo Abe in India: Japan’s 1.5-trillion yen ‘Make in India’ fund to push investmentsThe agreement establishes areas for comprehensive technological cooperation, facilitating the participation of other institutions, organisations and ministries; conducting joint research and studies. It also envisages cooperation in the areas of safety in train operation; advanced techniques of maintenance; use of environment friendly technologies.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu seeks global cooperation on rail security

He said there is a need to share information, ideas and best practices among countries to tackle the security issue.

Suresh Prabhu

Describing rail security as crucial and a much larger concern, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday said global cooperation is required to tackle the issue as railways is considered a soft target by terrorists.Speaking at a conference to discuss the issue of rail security, Prabhu said an attack on railways might be local but the motivation is global. “Whether the attack on trains and stations in Mumbai or at a bar in Paris, the motivation is same,” he said. The conference, organised by International Union of Railways (UIC), was attended by delegates from many countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stating that security threat to railways is a common problem, Prabhu said, “Railways is considered a soft target by terrorists. It is not possible to frisk everybody. If people want to target India, they will attack railways. Some countries may not like India to grow.”He said there is a need to share information, ideas and best practices among countries to tackle the security issue. Highlighting the importance of assessing threat perception and intelligence gathering, the Minister said, “With proper assessment, a strategy can be worked out. We need to gather security related information as it is crucial for dealing with it.”Prabhu said safety and security are two big priority issues for the railways.”While travelling, passengers expect good services as well as a safe and secure journey. So safety and security are important for railways. Both are very important globally. While safety is an inbuilt system for railway operation, security needs to be put in place,” he said.Referring to the ideology behind terror attacks, he said, “Security threat comes from misconceived ideology. What is happening is a global phenomenon. So we need to evolve holistic management to look at it.”UIC, established in 1922 for promoting rail transport worldwide, is on a mission to promote interoperability, standardisation of rail transport, increased cooperation and sharing of best practices, and to propose improved technical and environmental performance of rail transport among others.

Train collision in Haryana’s Palwal leaves one dead, two injured

Medical teams have reached the spot, reports ANI.

Courtesy-Twitter
A local train rammed into the Lokmanya Tilak Haridwar Express amid foggy conditions near here on Tuesday, leaving the driver of one of the trains dead and two others injured.While the driver of the Palwal-Ghaziabad EMU was killed, the assistant driver of the train and guard of the express train were injured in the mishap, Northern Railway spokesperson Neeraj Sharma said.”There was fog in the morning and the EMU driver probably could not see the signal and hit the train from behind,” he said.Sharma said further details were awaited.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The mishap hit road traffic on the route, disrupting the movement of about 15 trains.General Manager of Northern Railway AK Puthia along with senior railway officials have rushed to the spot and are monitoring the situation.

IRCTC to dispatch 1 lakh Rail Neer bottles to Chennai

IRCTC, a PSU of railway, had supplied the packaged drinking water to the flood-affected people in Kashmir.

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will dispatch one lakh bottles of Rail Neer to Chennai, which is currently reeling under devastating floods. “In the first lot, we have dispatched 60,000 one-litre Rail Neer bottles to the affected people of Chennai, who are facing one of the worst natural calamities to hit the capital city of Tamil Nadu,” said IRCTC CMD AK Manocha. He said the bottles have been handed over to the corporation of Chennai and more such consignments will follow after assessing the requirements.IRCTC, a PSU of railway, had supplied the packaged drinking water to the flood-affected people in Kashmir, the earth quake victims in Nepal and Maldivian capital of Male where that country’s only desalination plant had caught fire. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>IRCTC’s five Rail Neer plants at Nangloi (Delhi), Danapur (Bihar), Palur (Chennai), Ambernath (Maharashtra) and Amethi – have a combined capacity of about 6.8 lakh litres of packaged drinking water a day.

Chennai floods: Over 50 trains cancelled, 200 trains affected in TN- Suresh Prabhu

“Senior officers have been deployed at major stations of Tamil Nadu. Over 10,000 food packets and water bottles were distributed to the stranded passengers. Food and drinking water stocks are available at major stations,” he added.

Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday said over 50 trains have been cancelled and around 200 trains were affected over a period of time due to the devastating floods in Tamil Nadu. “This kind of problem did not emerge in the last 100 years. The government is doing its best to overcome the situation arising from devastating floods. Over 50 trains have been cancelled and around 200 trains were affected over a period of time,” Prabhu told the media here. “Senior officers have been deployed at major stations of Tamil Nadu. Over 10,000 food packets and water bottles were distributed to the stranded passengers. Food and drinking water stocks are available at major stations,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prabhu also said the railway doctors have been deployed at various stations to check the deteriorating health condition of the stranded passengers. “Railway Doctors have also been deployed at various stations to check the deteriorating health condition of the passengers. Helpline number is already there but the people are also given basic information through public announcement,” he added.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who conducted an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas today, announced central assistance of Rs. 1,000 crore for rain-hit Chennai. He also met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.

North Western Railway cancels four trains due to rains in Chennai

Chennai-Bikaner Express and Bhagat ki Kothi-Munnargudi Express trains would not run on Thursday.

Representational Image

North Western Railway (NWR) on Thursday said that four trains from Rajasthan to Chennai would be cancelled due to heavy rains in the southern state, an official spokesman said. Chennai-Bikaner Express and Bhagat ki Kothi-Munnargudi Express trains would not run on Thursday, NWR’s Chief PRO Tarun Jain said. The Jaipur-Chennai Superfast has been cancelled for on Friday, while Bikaner-Chennai Express will not run on December 6 due to non-availability of rack, he said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

World Disability Day: Why limit the scope of the Accessible India campaign, asks activist Javed Abidi

On World Disability Day, Javed Abidi, the Global Chair of Disabled People International, speaks about the challenges and discrimination that still plague the differently-abled.

Javed Abidi

One of the foremost disability rights activists in India today, an inaccurate medical diagnosis had confined Javed to the wheelchair when he was very young. In December 1995, he led a massive protest, urging the Parliament to pass the People with Disability (PwD) Act the very same year. The Act is India’s only legislation for the rights of differently-abled people. In 2004, the Supreme Court took note of his petition to make elections disabled-friendly. As a result, the 2009 Lok Sabha elections was the first national election in which wooden ramps were set up for the differently-abled and Braille signs were included on EVM machines for the blind. But his journey for the rights of the differently-abled is far from over, he says. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Twenty years have passed since the People with Disability (PwD) Act, 1995 was passed. Do you see progress in the rights of differently-abled people?For the disabled people, almost half a century was wasted after India’s independence, as there was no law for the protection of their rights till 1995. After the PwD law was passed, there has been progress, but it has been very slow. Even now, the environment is hostile for disabled people in the country. Unlike earlier, students do not get turned away from elite institutions because they are disabled, but accessibility still remains one of the biggest challenges. Despite the Act mandating public institutions to have ramps, lifts and facilities to enable free mobility, disabled students still drop out of schools and colleges or are completely dependent on others for access to classrooms. Even after getting a good education, they don’t get good jobs. I believe that neither education nor employment is possible without accessibility. And neither of two are possible without effective law and policy. What is the real number of differently-abled people in India? The Census of India, 2011, says that the disabled people in India are 2.1 percent of the total population. But this number seems to be an understatement. I have a news report which says that the number of disabled people in the country was 4 percent. But somehow, this report never got official approval. Most of the neighbouring countries have ranged it between 4 to 6 percent. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) says 15% of the global population is disabled. Since most of the global load of disability is on developing countries, it is unlikely that the number of disabled persons in India is lesser than 4 percent of the total population. The recent historical data is not available, as the past five census’ have ignored this classification in their census. What is the biggest obstacle in achieving equal access for the differently-abled? The government needs to give up its paternalist attitude. It should create an enabling environment so that a disabled person can live a dignified life. The world is speaking laurels about ‘Digital India’, but the fact is that a blind person still can’t book a railway ticket or a passport appointment online on his own, as the websites are not disabled-friendly. The PwD Act, 1995 mandates public buildings, hospitals to have ramps, braille signs etc. Sadly, a disabled person cannot visit most government buildings without assistance. A wheel-chair bound person cannot get inside a railway coach, because the railway doors are not built wider by two inches. You would be aggrieved to know that many disabled people don’t eat for two days before a rail journey. They fast because they feel ashamed to take the help of co-passengers or relatives to go to the toilet. Why doesn’t the Railway Minister ensure that the design of the coaches is changed a little, so that a few seats in every bogie are disabled-friendly? Not just them, even wheel-chair bound senior citizens would benefit from this step. Isn’t livelihood one of the most important issues for differently-abled people? In India, only 2% of disabled people are self-dependent. Contrast this with our neighbour China, where 80% of disabled people can function independently. Many of our government’s vocational training classes for disabled people are obsolete. They are still taught cane weaving and envelope making. But the government alone cannot provide gainful employment to them. The private sector also has to come forward. Some private companies encourage disabled people to apply for jobs. Lemon Tree Hotels, for example, derives 10% of its workforce from disabled people. Many more such private companies should come forward to do so. Part of the problem comes from the lack of clarity in government policies. The PwD Act,1995 states that private companies, which derive more than five percent of its workforce from disabled people, be given incentives. But the nature of incentives has not been specified. If the incentives are attractive, more private companies will be encouraged to employ them. What are your thoughts on the Sugama Bharat Abhiyan Abhiyaan (Accessible India Campaign) that will be launched by PM Narendra Modi on 3 December? The original PwD Act mandated public establishments to be disabled-friendly. The Sugamya Bharat Abhiyaan to be unveiled, seeks to identify 50 to 100 existing public buildings in cities to be made fully accessible for disabled people. But why limit the scope to only a few buildings? Innumerable new buildings are coming up every day in India. On 3 December, India should also pledge that designs for buildings will not be passed unless they are made disabled-friendly. The PwD Act is often criticised for being toothless. If the lawmakers are serious about equality, they should pass the Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 in the current Parliament session. It seeks to correct most of the omissions of the PwD Act of 1995.

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa to conduct aerial survey of flood affected areas

Earlier, Jayalalithaa had sought Rs. 2,000 crore for flood relief work. The Centre released a financial aid of Rs. 939.63 crore. Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha members offered to donate a part of their MPLADS fund for rehabilitation and rescue work.

Chennai floods
File Photo
PTI
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa will conduct an aerial survey of flood affected areas of Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallu on Thursday.There is water logging in many parts of Chennai due to heavy rains and normal lives remains disrupted. More than 500 people have so far been evacuated in flood-hit Tamil Nadu by several National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, claimed OP Singh, NDRF Director General (DG), on Wednesday. “The teams have evacuated more than 500 people so far. Also, we are getting calls, messages from affected people and our teams are responding accordingly,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the Indian Air Force (IAF) lifted three NDRF teams from the Palam airport for flood-hit Tamil Nadu on Wednesday evening with relief materials. Earlier, Jayalalithaa had sought Rs. 2,000 crore for flood relief work. The Centre released a financial aid of Rs. 939.63 crore. Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha members offered to donate a part of their MPLADS fund for rehabilitation and rescue work.Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday took stock of the flood situation in Tamil Nadu and discussed it with his cabinet colleagues, including the Home and Finance Ministers. “I want to inform the House that today morning the Prime Minister met the Home Minister, Finance Minister and myself and discussed the flood conditions in Tamil Nadu. We exchanged information on the situation,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said in the Lok Sabha.The Indian Air Force has already deployed two MI-17 choppers at Tambaram and two MI-17s are being moved from Tirupati to Chennai for relief and rescue operations. Five Chetak helicopters are also operating from Tambaram. In addition, four MI-17 – two each at Bangalore and Nagpur – are on standby.The National Disaster Management Authority will coordinate the relief activities on behalf of the Centre. The authority has a round-the-clock Toll Free helpline number 1078 for this purpose.Heavy rains and water overflowing above the danger level at Railway Bridges in Chennai-Gudur section has impacted the functioning of trains following which the South Central Railway (SCR) has cancelled 12 trains and assured full refunds of fare for the same.Meanwhile, Tambaram railway station in Chennai has been turned into a makeshift shelter for the stranded passengers there. Chennai Airport will remain closed till Friday. From Thursday, Chennai bound flights will be landing at INS Rajali Airbase of Indian Navy at Arakonam which is about 60 kilometers from Chennai.

Chennai floods: 4 trains between Tamil Nadu, Kerala cancelled

he Chennai-Egmore-Thiruvananthapuram Ananthapuri Express and Chennai Egmore-Guruvayoor Express and their pairing trains have been cancelled, the railways said in a release here.

With heavy rains in Chennai leaving tracks inundated, Southern Railways today cancelled at least four trains between the Tamil Nadu state capital and Kerala. The Chennai-Egmore-Thiruvananthapuram Ananthapuri Express and Chennai Egmore-Guruvayoor Express and their pairing trains have been cancelled, the railways said in a release here.Meanwhile, the Kanyakumari-Bangalore Express, which was scheduled to leave Kanyakumari at 12.10 hours today, has been rescheduled to start at 1600 hours today as the pairing train is running late, the release added. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related read: Chennai floods: Here are the helpline numbers from South Central Railway Also read: Chennai floods: Here is the list of 12 trains cancelled by South Central Railway

Chennai floods: Here are the helpline numbers from South Central Railway

The SCR has set up the following Help Line Numbers at various major stations to provide information to the passengers and minimise inconvenience.

PTI
Heavy rains and water overflowing above the danger level at Railway Bridges in Chennai-Gudur section has impacted the movement of normal train services following which the South Central Railway has cancelled 12 trains and assured full refunds of fare for the same. “Due to unforeseen circumstances such as breach or flood, the ticket is surrendered within three days excluding the scheduled day of departure of the train full refunds of fare shall be granted,” tweeted South Central Railway (SCR).The SCR has set up the following Help Line Numbers at various major stations to provide information to the passengers and minimise inconvenience.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Here are the helpline numbers:Secunderabad : 040-27786170 (On PF No:1)040-27700868, 040-27786539, (On PF No:10)Vijayawada : 0866 2575038Guntur : 0863-2222014Gudur : 7842307029

Shashi Tharoor calls death penalty an ‘aberration’ in democracy, call for its abolition again

“We should abolish death penalty to uphold the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi,” he said

Contending that death penalty has mostly affected the marginalised people, the Congress leader said the state should not become killer.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday demanded abolition of death penalty, describing it as an “aberration in a healthy democracy”. Raising the issue during Zero Hour, he said hanging people does not deter crime and there is a lot of subjectivity in application of death penalty. “It (death penalty) is an aberration in a healthy democracy,” Tharoor said, adding that instead preventive and reformative measures should be strengthened to prevent crimes.Contending that death penalty has mostly affected the marginalised people, the Congress leader said the state should not become killer. “We should abolish death penalty to uphold the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi,” he said.According to him, around 70 per cent of the UN member nations have abolished death penalty. M B Rajesh (CPI-M) urged the government to review the hike in cancellation charges for railway tickets saying it is creating great difficulties for the passengers. The “exhorbitant hike” in cancellation charges is exploitation of passengers and the Railway Minister should have a re-look at the matter as well as restore the old charges, he said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (Cong) claimed that over 200 tea workers have died in the last two months in West Bengal and alleged that the workers are not given the minimum wages. He voiced concern over the deaths and said the Centre and state government should work together to address the situation. Chowdhury said since Prime Minister Narendra Modi “boasts” of being a tea-seller in his childhood, he should help in giving a fair deal to the tea plantation workers. Keshav Prasad Maurya (BJP) alleged that law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh has deteriorated and demanded the dismissal of the Akhilesh Yadav government. He said many BJP workers have been killed in the state but action has not been taken by the state government. Dushyant Chautala (INLD) sought amendment to MPLADS rules as he alleged that officials are delaying implementation of programmes that are funded with money from it.The rules need to be amended to ensure that programmes under it are implemented at the earliest, he said. He was supported by members cutting across party lines. AIADMK leader P Venugopal said many people have been affected by heavy rainfall and floods in Tamil Nadu and the central government should immediately release more funds for relief works in the state. His party colleague V Sathyabama urged the Centre to establish a knitswear board in Tamil Nadu at Tirupur, which has a big knitswear industry. Sumedhanand Saraswati (BJP) said the Centre should look at setting up a sports university in Rajasthan.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu proposes online program for tracing missing kids

Seeking support of the people, Prabhu said that it is also the responsibility of the society to ensure that the children do not get lost or run away from their homes.
File Photo
PTI
Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday proposed setting up of an online registration program in collaboration with the Women and Child Development Ministry to help parents trace their missing or runaway children rescued at railway stations.”I suggest that we launch an online registration program under which pictures of children rescused from railway stations would be uploaded so that their parents can easily get to know about them and these children get united with their family at the earliest,” said Prabhu here as he along with the WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi released Railway Posters for Child Protection and inaugurated a booth where a lost child can seek help at the Platform No 1 of New Delhi Railway station.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He further said that the Government Railway Police ( GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel will be trained to deal with such rescued children.Seeking support of the people, Prabhu said that it is also the responsibility of the society to ensure that the children do not get lost or run away from their homes. On her part, Gandhi said that a large number of children get kidnapped or run away from home, most of who take trains to end up in big cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi and get introduced to alcohol, drugs, tobacco and other bad habits.”These posters which have been released today will be put up in railway stations and boggies. They have the childline number 1098 printed on them and anybody who finds a child alone, scared or in an uncomfortable situation with adults, they can report it on this number,” she said.Gandhi said that these posters and kiosks have been set up at 20 stations and the government aims to set it up in 200 more stations and over the time in 12,000 staions across the country.

NGT irked over dirty New Delhi railway station; seeks report

The Tribunal’s direction came on a petition filed by lawyers Saloni Singh and Arush Pathania, which had said that the railway authorities have failed to perform their statutory duties and were indirectly responsible for causing pollution on railway properties, particularly on the tracks

AFP
Perturbed over the “miserable condition” existing on railway platforms in the national capital, the National Green Tribunal on Monday appointed a local commissioner to inspect the New Delhi Railway Station.”Keeping in view the miserable condition that is prevailing despite specific orders of the Tribunal, we are of the considered view that some urgent action needs to be taken against the erring authorities or the persons engaged for conducting the work,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar said. The green panel appointed advocate Sanjay Upadhyay as a local commissioner in the matter and asked him to inspect the New Delhi Railway Station today itself.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He is at liberty to prepare videography or take photographs on his own. He shall be accompanied by the counsel appearing for the Railways. All proper arrangements including security should be provided forthwith,” the bench said, directing the local commissioner to file a report in three days. The matter is listed for next hearing on December 22.The Tribunal’s direction came on a petition filed by lawyers Saloni Singh and Arush Pathania, which had said that the railway authorities have failed to perform their statutory duties and were indirectly responsible for causing pollution on railway properties, particularly on the tracks. Cracking the whip on those littering on railway platforms and tracks, the Tribunal had announced a fine of Rs 5,000 on individuals spotted littering or throwing waste on the platforms and tracks.

Congress ignored Uttar Pradesh, Bihar for 65 years,alleges Suresh Prabhu

The Minister said a bridge on the Ganga river in Bihar would be constructed soon and e-tendering system was being put in place to check corruption

Suresh Prabhu

PTI
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday said that many areas in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are lagging far behind in development as successive Congress governments ignored such states for the last 65 years.”Congress ignored states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.This is the reason many areas of the two states are still backward. Our effort is to bring UP and Bihar forward,” Prabhu said while flagging off a new train, Sushashan Express, between Balrampur and Gwalior. He said the works which were not done in the last 65 years were completed by the NDA government in just one-and-a-half years.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Minister said a bridge on the Ganga river in Bihar would be constructed soon and e-tendering system was being put in place to check corruption. Prabhu said once cash-strapped railways was now cash-surplus. The Minister also inaugurated 107-km long broad gauge between Badhni and Gonda.

7th Pay Commission: RPF group ‘A’ officers hail the recommendations

Seventh Pay Commission fulfilled the demand of Group ‘A’ officers of the Railway Protection Force to bring parity with other Group ‘A’ services in the Ministry of Railways.

Railway Protection Force (RPF)
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Hailing the recommendations made by the Seventh Pay Commission, the Group ‘A’ officers of Railway Protection Force have said that when it is implemented, they would have a “synergised integration” with railway operations, resulting in a win-win situation for all.In its report presented to the government on Thursday, the Seventh Pay Commission fulfilled the demand of Group ‘A’ officers of the Railway Protection Force to bring parity with other Group ‘A’ services in the Ministry of Railways.The report stated, “We are of the opinion that it would be erroneous to bracket RPF officers with officers of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs). Hence, we recommend that RPF officers should be treated as railway officers for all purposes, under the full control of Railway Board.” Hailing the decision, a senior RPF officer from Central Railway said, “As of now, we were treated as outsiders in the railway system, but when this will get implemented, the entire railways would have a synergised integration and experience of an RPF officer would be utilised better in the smooth operation of the railways.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The officer said when the new pay commission is implemented, the pay, promotion and transfer policies of railway officers would be similarly applicable to RPF officers.”In the railways, officers normally do not get transfer for initial 15 years, while RPF officers get transferred almost 8-10 times in the same job period. Now, the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations would iron out the transfer anomalies too,” said the officer.In the RPF, Group ‘A’ officers are recruited along with other three Group ‘A’ services – Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) and Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS) – through the Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC. These officers have since long been demanding to absorb them in the main cadre of the railways.Another senior RPF officer in Western Railway also welcomed the decision saying, “Since long we were being deprived of our basic rights and facing embarrassment, not only at official level, but our family life was also affected. And now, we officers are feeling that finally justice has been done to us.”

IRCTC’s Desert Circuit, Heritage Circuit semi-luxury trains to run from December-April

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will commence the two premier train services for travelers from mid-December 2015.

IRCTC logo

IRCTC Logo From Twitter Page
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will start two premier train services for travelers to enjoy the charm of the country’s sprawling deserts and heritage.Both semi-luxury trains will depart from New Delhi with an array of deluxe facilities across its five days of round trip dotted with sightseeing facilities. Desert Circuit will cover Rajasthan’s famed cities of Jaisalmer and Jaipur, while Heritage Circuit will take the passengers to Varanasi, Khajuraho and Agra.Operated by IRCTC, the mini ratna PSU of the Railways, the two trains will run eight trips individually till summer sets by next April.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Desert Circuit will begin service from mid-December 2015 and wind up on April 21, while Heritage Circuit will commence from December 20. Its last trip will start on April 24.With the start of the tourist season, we expect good occupancy, said IRCTC Chairman and Managing Director Dr A K Manocha. He further added that the tariff for the journey is competitive as well as all-inclusive.The package prices of Desert Circuit starts from Rs 36,900, Rs 33,900, Rs 32,900 (first AC single, double and triple occupancy respectively), Rs 28,025, Rs 25,025, Rs 24,525 (second AC) and Rs 24,125, Rs 21,125, Rs 20,625 (third AC).As for Heritage Circuit, the rates will be Rs 35,900, Rs 32,900, Rs 31,900 (first AC single, double and triple occupancy respectively), Rs 26,200, Rs 23,200, Rs 22,700 (second AC) and Rs 21,790, Rs 18,790, Rs18, 290 (third AC).The package, which includes intercity transfers, also features accommodation in 3-star hotels, all meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner), sightseeing and local transfers by AC deluxe vehicles, entrances at the monuments, service of English and Hindi-speaking guide, travel insurance, 24×7 security and CCTV surveillance onboard the train besides hygienic kitchen-car facility, medical facility, transportation by AC vehicles and wi-fi service.The Jaisalmer stop of the Desert Circuit will cover the city Fort, Sand Dunes, Gadi Sagar lake and Patwon Ki Haveli. At Jaipur, the sights shown will be City Palace, Jantar Mantar observatory, Chokhi Dhani, Amer Fort and Hawa Mahal.The Heritage Circuit will stop at Varanasi, take the passengers to Sarnath, besides a boat ride on the Ganges and experiencing the dusk-time Aarti ceremony. The Khajuraho stay features visits to Eastern and Western group of Temples.

Hyderabad: VHP, Bajran Dal activists protest after student abused for observing Ayyappa Deeksha

The college principal has reportedly refused to suspend the teacher.

A first-year student of Railway Degree College in Secunderabad was allegedly verbally abused by his PT teacher for observing Ayyappa Deeksha. Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal activists protested against this on Wednesday, demanding that the college suspend the teacher. A report in The New Indian Express states that protesters gathered outside the college demanding the teacher’s suspension and accused him of making objectionable comments against the student, G Pratish. The student reportedly claimed that the teacher asked him to leave the class as he had taken ‘deeksha’ and also used derogatory language. The teacher allegedly asked the student if he came to college to study or to perform puja. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pratish then filed a complaint with the Osmania University police station, says the report. V Ashok Reddy, station house officer, OU police station, has been quoted as saying, “The physical education teacher passed some objectionable remarks and asked the student to get out of the college. We have taken the complaint against the teacher and are conducting investigations. No case has been registered as of now.” The college principal has reportedly refused to suspend the teacher.

After being battered by rains for four days, Tamil Nadu breathes a sigh of relief as normalcy returns

Chennai: Much to the relief of people of Tamil Nadu, the fury of North East monsoon has subsided with only a few districts experiencing rains and life has been gradually limping back to normal.

The death toll in rain-related incidents across Tamil Nadu stands at 79.

Tiruvallur district along with some areas around Madurai had experienced moderate showers even as the severely affected Kancheepuram was inching back to normalcy. In Chennai, civic authorities were pumping out water from inundated localities in south suburban Velachery, one of the worst affected, with boats being used to transport people to safer places.

Image courtesy: APImage courtesy: AP

Image courtesy: AP

Boats had also been deployed at Velachery, Perumbakkam, Saidapet, Thoraipakkam and Nandambakkam to rescue people. Meanwhile, areas in Korattur in the city were still in knee-deep water and according to authorities it could take a couple of days for water to dry up fully. Suburban areas in the city were still inundated.

In Kancheepuram district, the Army and Air Force were deployed since Tuesday to rescue stranded citizens as torrential rains left residents marooned. Respite from rains for the last two days enabled people to venture out to buy essential commodities. The Navy and Coast Guard had also joined rescue operations.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has already announced an allocation of Rs 500 crore towards relief and rehabilitation besides a solatium for the next of kin of the dead.

According to the Met office, there could be rains in the neighbouring union territory of Puducherry besides moderate rain in some areas of Chennai on Wednesday. The state has largely been spared of any outbreak of diseases after the incessant rains following precautionary measures launched by authorities.

Vegetable prices, especially in the affected areas, have skyrocketed following poor arrival of the produce from other states.

Southern Railway had on Tuesday cancelled over 15 trains bound for various destinations due to water-logging on tracks. A few trains were also cancelled today.

Most of the schools and colleges in Chennai and suburbs remained closed on Wednesday.

PTI

Tamil Nadu rains: More trains to Chennai diverted and some partially cancelled

Waterlogging at the Chennai Central Railway Station and in certain areas has caused the Southern Railways to cancel or divert some trains.

Indian Railway workers pumping out the rainwater from tracks at inundated Vyasarpadi railway station after heavy rains in Chennai on Friday.

PTI
Waterlogging at the Chennai Central Railway Station and in certain areas has caused the Southern Railways to cancel or divert some trains. A press release was issued on Monday to this effect. The Hindu reported that Train No.12077 / 12078 Chennai Central–Vijayawada-Chennai Central Janshatabdi Express was cancelled on November 16. The report also contained a list of trains diverted and those partially cancelled.Trains partially cancelledTrain No. 12711 / 12712 Vijayawada-Chennai Central-Vijayawada Pinakani Express is partially cancelled between Gudur and Chennai Central. Train No. 57240 / 57239 Bitragunta-Chennai Central – Bitrgunta Passenger is partially cancelled between Gudur and Chennai Central.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trains divertedTrain No. 16864 Manargudi – Bagat Ki Kothi Express is diverted to run via Chennai Egmore, Perambur, Renigunta; Train No. 15902 Dibrugarh–Bangalore Express is diverted to run via Renigunta, Melpakkam; Train No. 12515 Trivandrum Central –Guwahati Express is diverted to run via Melpakkam, Renigunta; Train No. 12851 Bilaspur – Chennai Central Express is diverted to run via Gudur, Renigunta; Train No. 16032 Mata Vaishno Devi Katra – Chennai Central Andaman Express is diverted to run via Gudur, Renigunta; Train No. 12269 Chennai Central – Hazrat Nizamuddin Duronto Express is diverted to run via Renigunta, Gudur.Also Read: Educational institutions shut today, circular issued to all schools on safety measures

Tamil Nadu rains: Southern Railways diverts some trains, cancels others

A press release was issued on Sunday on the status of some trains by Southern Railways.

The Southern Railway has announced that some trains have been cancelled and others partially cancelled due to the heavy rains across Tamil Nadu.A report in The New Indian Express states that Chennai Central – Vijayawada Jan Shatabdi express (No.12077) scheduled to leave at 7.35 am and Vijayawada – Chennai Central Jan Shatabdi express (No.12078) have been cancelled.The Vijayawada – Chennai Central Pinakini express (No.12711) has been partially cancelled between Gudur – Chennai Central. The Chennai Central – Vijayawada Pinakini express (No.12712) scheduled to leave at 2.05 pm has been partially cancelled between Chennai Central – Gudur states the report.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Mannargudi – Bhagat-Ki-Kothi express (No.16864) is now being diverted via Renigunta, Melpakkam; and Thiruvananthapuram-Guwahati (No. 12515) will now be diverted via Melpakkam, Renigunta. Train no 15902, the Dibrugarh – Bangalore express, for today has been diverted via Renigunta, Melpakkam.

Swachh Bharat cess: Over 4% hike in upper class railway fares from tomorrow

The levy will not be applicable for general and sleeper class travel.

Railway fares for travel in the upper class categories will go up from tomorrow as a service tax levy of 14 per cent and a Swachh Bharat cess of 0.5 per cent become effective. According to a rail ministry circular, fares will go up by 4.35 per cent for First Class and all AC Classes from November 15. There was a notification by the government for imposing a Swachh Bharat cess on all taxable services on November 6. “Service tax of 14 per cent and Swachh Bharat cess of 0.5 per cent are chargeable on 30 per cent total passenger fare equivalent on 30 per cent of total passenger fare equivalent to 4.35 per cent of the total fare on first class and all AC fares,” the circular said.However, the service tax will not be applicable for tickets issued before November 15.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The levy will not be applicable for general and sleeper class travel. With the hike, AC-I fares on mail and express trains from New Delhi to Mumbai will go up by Rs 206 while the rise is of Rs 102 for AC-III fares from New Delhi to Howrah. On the Delhi-Chennai route, the increased fare works out to about Rs 140 for the AC-II segment.According to an estimate, the service tax levy and the Swachh Bharat cess are expected to fetch about Rs 1,000 crore in a year. Annual earnings for railways from the passenger segment are estimated to be at about Rs 35,000 crore.

Odisha: 3 trains catch fire at Puri railway station

Train services to and from Puri railway station had been suspended for the time being, an official said.

A high-level probe has been launched into the incident and efforts are on to ascertain the circumstances that led to the fire, the CPRO said.

A fire broke out on Thursday in three express trains at Puri railway station here, damaging at least four bogies, but no one got injured in the incident, railway officials said. Some bogies of New Delhi-Puri Nandankanan Express and Tirupati Express were damaged due to the fire, but there was no report of injury, Chief Public Relations Officer of East Coast Railway JP Mishra said. The fire first started in coach No 11 and 12 of the Nandankanan Express shortly after it arrived at platform No 4 from New Delhi and the passengers had disembarked, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a short while, fire erupted in the Tirupati Express which was on platform No 2 and fire tenders were called in to control the blaze, officials said adding there were no passengers in these trains. Thereafter, a fire also broke out in the Puri-Howrah Express which was scheduled for departure tonight, triggering successfully panic among passengers, they said. A high-level probe has been launched into the incident and efforts are on to ascertain the circumstances that led to the fire, the CPRO said.Train services to and from Puri railway station had been suspended for the time being, he said. At least six fire tenders where called who successfully controlled the fire. Also, railway officials are working on war footing to restore normalcy. Meanwhile, Railway Protection Force personnel have detained a man on suspicion of his complicity in the fire incident.

Watch: Huge fire engulfs culvert below railway tracks in Mumbai

A fire broke out in a culvert below railway tracks at Goregoan railway station in Mumbai at around 10.45 pm on Wednesday.

Image courtesy: Jay Mehta/Firstpost

Image courtesy: Jay Mehta/Firstpost

According to a report in The Times of India, a Western Railway official said that the fire broke out because “someone seems to have burnt a heap of garbage which was thrown in the culvert and the flames blew towards the railway tracks.”

Jay Mehta of Firstpost, who was at the site when the incident took place, said that the people in the local trains, which were halted, were getting out and heading back to the Goregaon station because the fast-train lane was working.

A motorman said that the entire problem would be resolved in ten minutes. However, trains remained halted for about an hour after the fire broke out.

Rail Neer scam: Court grants bail to Railways official accused of corruption in the case

Special Judge Vinod Kumar granted the relief to Silas, a 1984-batch IRTS officer, on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 with one surety of the like amount considering that his statement has already been recorded by CBI in detail and he has given the explanation with respect to his alleged role in the case.

CBI has claimed that in order to make undue gains, private suppliers were allegedly supplying cheap packaged water, other than Rail Neer, available in the market at a rate of Rs 5.70 to Rs 7 (approx) per bottle, thereby making a profit for themselves and loss to the exchequer.
File Photo

Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officer Sandeep Silas, arrested along with two others in connection with alleged corruption in supply of packaged drinking water in Rajdhani and other superfast trains, was granted bail by a Delhi court on Tuesday.Special Judge Vinod Kumar granted the relief to Silas, a 1984-batch IRTS officer, on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 with one surety of the like amount considering that his statement has already been recorded by CBI in detail and he has given the explanation with respect to his alleged role in the case.”I have considered the submissions and I have also perused the case diaries and police record. The statement of accused Sandeep Silas has been recorded by investigating officer (IO) in detail in which he has given explanation in respect of his role in the present matter,” the judge said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Without expressing any opinion on the merit of his explanation, I am of the opinion that it would not be appropriate to withhold the benefit of bail to the applicant especially when he fully cooperated with IO in his five days police remand,” the judge said.The court had earlier granted bail to co-accused M S Chalia, also an IRTS officer of 1987 batch. It had, howver, dismissed the bail plea of businessman Sharan Bihari Aggarwal, owner of R K Associates. These three accused were arrested by CBI in the case in which it has alleged that supply of other brands of packaged water had resulted in a loss of Rs 6.25 crores to Railways.CBI has alleged that Silas and Chalia had conspired with Aggrawal and instead of taking Rail Neer, they had allowed some private firms to supply bottled water in the trains, which resulted in a loss to the exchequer. It has said that searches were conducted during the probe in which approximately Rs 28 crore cash was recovered, out of which around Rs four lakh was counterfeit.Besides them, CBI has also registered case against seven private companies – RK Associates Pvt Ltd, Satyam Caterers Pvt Ltd, Ambuj Hotel and Real Estate, PK Associates Pvt Ltd, Sunsine Pvt Ltd, Brandavan Food Product and Food World – under Prevention of Corruption Act.CBI has alleged that the two accused officials, who held the position of Chief Commercial Manager, had shown favour to these private firms in supply of cheap packaged drinking water other than ‘Rail Neer’ which is mandatory in premium trains, including Rajdhani and Shatabdi. It has said that the Railway Board had prescribed that IRCTC shall provide Rail Neer at the rate of around Rs 10.50 per bottle to private caterers and they would be paid (approx) Rs 15 per bottle for supplying the same to the passengers in the premium trains.CBI has claimed that in order to make undue gains, private suppliers were allegedly supplying cheap packaged water, other than Rail Neer, available in the market at a rate of Rs 5.70 to Rs 7 (approx) per bottle, thereby making a profit for themselves and loss to the exchequer.

India gets its first blind-friendly railway station in Mysuru

The station also has platform numbers written on walls in Braille making it easier for visually-challenged people to find their platform

Mysore Junction Railway Station. Image credit: Christopher J Fynn

Wikimedia Commons
The country’s first railway station that is blind-friendly is now in Mysuru, Karnataka. A report in The Hindu states that the railway station now has transit maps and train schedules in Braille at various points across the station. The maps indicate the layout of the station as well as distances to utilities like toilets, staircases, platforms etc. These maps are on display across the station as well. The station also has platform numbers written on walls in Braille making it easier for visually-challenged people to find their platform. The report adds that even the menu card at the canteen will be available in Braille soon. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the report, a private company has sponsored this project and they are taking inputs from a visually challenged association to implement it. They are looking at roping in NGOs and volunteers as well. Non-AC conventional coaches that have been manufactured after 2013 now come with Braille-embedded metal signage on berths, toilets, washrooms, door, etc. The Braille-embedded displays in the station will carry this integration further.

Japan offers India soft loan for $15 billion bullet train in edge over China

Tokyo was picked to assess the feasibility of building the 505-kilometre corridor linking Mumbai with Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.

Rerpesentational image

Japan has offered to finance India’s first bullet train, estimated to cost $15 billion, at an interest rate of less than 1 percent, officials said, stealing a march on China, which is bidding for other projects on the world’s fourth-largest network. Tokyo was picked to assess the feasibility of building the 505-kilometre corridor linking Mumbai with Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, and concluded it would be technically and financially viable. The project to build and supply the route will be put out to tender, but offering finance makes Japan the clear frontrunner. Last month China won the contract to assess the feasibility of a high-speed train between Delhi and Mumbai, a 1,200-km route estimated to cost twice as much. No loan has yet been offered.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Japan’s decision to give virtually free finance for Modi’s pet programme is part of its broader push back against China’s involvement in infrastructure development in South Asia over the past several years. “There are several (players) offering the high-speed technology. But technology and funding together, we only have one offer. That is the Japanese,” said A. K. Mital, the chairman of the Indian Railway Board, which manages the network. The two projects are part of a ‘Diamond Qaudrilateral’ of high speed trains over 10,000 km of track that India wants to set up connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. Japan has offered to meet 80 percent of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad project cost, on condition that India buys 30 percent of equipment including the coaches and locomotives from Japanese firms, officials said. Japan’s International Cooperation Agency, which led the feasibility survey, said the journey time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad would be cut to two hours from seven. The route will require 11 new tunnels including one undersea near Mumbai. “What complicates the process is Japanese linking funding to use of their technology. There must be tech transfer,” said Mital. RICKETY RAIL JICA declined to comment on the details of its offer. “The report has already been handed over to India, and the Indian government is now in the process of making a consideration,” a spokeswoman said. Toshihiro Yamakoshi, counsellor in the economic section of the Japanese embassy, said Japanese companies were keen to collaborate with their Indian counterparts on the rail project as part of Modi’s Make-in-India programme. He said it was too early to provide details of the cooperation. Tokyo’s push in India comes just weeks after it lost out to China on the contract to build Indonesia’s first fast-train link. Beijing offered $5 billion in loans without asking for guarantees, an Indonesian official said, ending a months-long battle to build the line linking Jakarta with the textile hub of Bandung. Japan’s NHK broadcaster quoted Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii as saying that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had instructed him to step up exports of transport systems to India and Southeast Asia. “It is very regrettable that a high-speed railway project in Indonesia was awarded to China,” he said. China won the Delhi-Mumbai survey after securing clearance from Indian security agencies long worried about China’s involvement in Indian infrastructure. The two neighbours fought a war in 1962 over a border dispute that remains unresolved, though trade between them is booming. India’s cabinet will take a decision on the Japanese proposal over the next few weeks, an Indian railway official said. He said there were lingering concerns about whether the billions of dollars required for high-speed rail might be more usefully spent in modernising the railway system. “There is a lot of money involved in this. The different departments are weighing the implications. Should we be committing all our resources to a single high-speed line,” the railway official said on condition of anonymity.” “The railways have not attempted anything as big as this before in terms of costs,” the official said. India’s rickety state-controlled rail system, which moves 23 million people a day, has a poor safety record and is in desperate need of funds to modernise it. The average speed of trains is 54km/hour, and rail experts have argued that the priority ought to be to improve the speed and safety on existing trains and routes.

CBI begins probe into Vyapam recruitment officer’s death

Bhubaneswar: Railway officials in Odisha were on Tuesday questioned by a CBI team in connection with the mysterious death of Bijaya Bahadur Singh who served as an observer in some Vyapam recruitment tests in Madhya Pradesh.

“They asked us several questions like from where the body was recovered, who was the ticket collector in the particular coach, whether the victim was immediately taken to hospital and how we came to know about the incident,” N Pradhan, the station master of Belpar Railway Station.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Singh’s body was recovered from railway tracks in the early hours of 15 October. The 1978 batch retired IFS officer Singh, who was travelling by Puri-Jodhpur Express had reportedly fallen from the locomotive.

He along with wife Nita Singh and daughter, was returning to Bhopal, and his wife had filed an FIR at Bilaspur after he was initially found missing

The CBI office here refused to divulge anything about the visit of the agency’s team to Jharsuguda in connection with Singh’s death.

Singh was appointed in various committees of the Vyapam (Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal or Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board MPPEB) from 2010-13. He had served as an observer in these committees.

The Supreme Court had handed over the probe into Vyapam scam to CBI in July. The premier investigating agency is probing into the scam and cases related to death of over 40 persons linked to the scam, including accused and witnesses.

PTI

47-year-old teacher, students give Matunga railway station a bright makeover

Make a Difference foundation, which adopted the station, is also planning to draw murals

The foot over bridge at the Matunga station.
Abhinav P Kocharekar

Matunga railway station is not the same since Sunday. Regular commuters will find that the foot over bridge on the southern end at the station has undergone a colourful and bright makeover.If you are delighted, thank 47-year-old teacher Haresh Shah and his group of 30 volunteers. Shah’s Make A Difference (MAD) Foundation now plans to give the entire station a complete makeover.It was in April this year that MAD approached Western Railway to adopt the station and it received the permission by September.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have been running coaching classes for 20 years and several of my students are studying architecture. Together, we made a presentation for the makeover of the station and we started off was with the foot over bridge,” shares Shah.While painting the bridge, they also started cleaning all the grime and muck, from October 10.Shah informs after the initial painting, they decided to use bright red, yellow, blue and green for the stairs. On Sunday, they managed to complete the task giving the bland bridge a lively look.”We used bright colours to create a positive mood at the station for those heading to work, college or returning home. Next, we plan to take up the ramp on the Borivli end. That too will be completely painted bright and the cement sheets on the sides will adorn butterflies, which will glow in the dark,” added Shah. The work is carried out using funds from donors.As per the foundation’s plans, the area around the station’s booking windows on the Borivli end will also be painted and there will be murals depicting places of interests in Matunga.”The murals will consist of iconic places like Ruparel College, Kashi Vishveshwar Temple, Sandesh Hotel and other places. At another location, we will put up vinyl, above the ramp, depicting seven Indian festivals – Navratri, Diwali, Eid, Christmas, Dahi Handi, Holi and Baishakhi,” said Shah.While all this will give the station a new look, they will also concentrate on the basics like providing dustbins and even plantations between tracks and boundary wall, where currently garbage is dumped.Members of the foundation informed that they plan to finish all these within a week as they plan to hold the inauguration ceremony by inviting Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Shailendra Kumar as well as some celebrities.”I have been working with youngsters in the age group of 18 to 25 and it was my aim to use their enormous energy to bring about a change. Hence, I initiated this MAD Foundation and the entire work of Matunga station is being done by the youth. In fact, within two days, we have started getting a phenomenal response on social media as students and several other commuters are seen taking selfies and pictures on the bridge,” stated Shah.Since the bridge was painted bright, littering and spitting have reduced, he said.A railway official from WR stated: “Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has encouraged more people and foundations to adopt railway stations. The work at Matunga is eye-catching and we hope more people to get inspired to adopt stations and help us encourage commuters to keep the premises clean and beautiful.”

Railways’ only own brand water at stations diktat raises commuter fury

The demand for Rail Neer was about 2,500 cases (each case holds 12 bottles) before the circular. Now, it is between 10,000-12,000 cases. IRCTC officials admit that it will take some time to revv up production.

Commuters take water from a public tap following a shortage of packaged drinking water at railway stations.

It’s double whammy for suburban railway commuters. As if the searing October heat is not enough, thousands of commuters are left with parched throats since Sunday, thanks to an ad hoc decision by the railways to sell only its own Rail Neer brand (manufactured by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) of packaged drinking water at stations.Both the Central and Western Railways have issued the circular that warns of penalties, if stall owners violate the diktat. Since one of the four Rail Neer plants nation-wide, at Ambernath, which supplies drinking water to the western zone, has been under-utilised, bottled water was unavailable at almost all railway stalls.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The demand for Rail Neer was about 2,500 cases (each case holds 12 bottles) before the circular. Now, it is between 10,000-12,000 cases. IRCTC officials admit that it will take some time to revv up production. The ‘only-Rail Neer’ diktat came after the CBI raids on a couple of senior Northern Railway officials and seven private firms – accused of thwarting Rail Neer supply at stations for bribes from private bottling firms and caterers. Dipesh Tank, a regular commuter, said: “On Sunday, I was surprised that the entire Vile Parle railway station did not have a single bottle of packaged water. Stall owners told me that there was no supply. Since I was very thirsty, I got off at Andheri. I got the same answer there also. Finally, I had to go out of the station to buy water.” Tank added that he saw several people asking for water but being told that there was none. Minesh Shah, a Borivli resident, too, had the same experience. “I was shocked on being told by a stall owner at Bandra that there was no bottle of water and he offered me water kept in a dirty-looking mug that I refused. How can the railways take decisions without keeping commuter interest in mind? The railways knows that since only railway stalls sell bottles on MRP, several people would prefer to buy water from platforms.” Meanwhile, senior railway officials said that the IRCTC-run Rail Neer plant has already increased production and will be able to meet the rise in demand. “It was a circular in 2001 that made it mandatory for all railway stalls and pantry cars to sell only Rail Neer, but post the CBI raids, the railway board issued a new circular. Since there was a scam involved, no one wants to take a chance and it has been implemented,” said a senior railway official. On water shortage, an IRCTC official said: “Our staff that used to work in a single shift is now working in three shifts. While we are able to produce high quantity of Rail Neer, supply to every station on WR and CR and other logistics need fine-tuning. It will take a couple of more days.”

Rail Neer scam: CBI arrests two railway officials and businessman

Sandeep Silas, a 1984-batch Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officer, and MS Chalia of 1987 batch were taken into custody late last night along with Sharan Bihari Agrawal, owner of R K Associates, in connection with the scam, CBI sources said on Sunday.

Picture Courtesy: Wikipedia
CBI has arrested two senior railway officials and a businessman for alleged corruption in supply of packaged drinking water in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and other superfast trains.Sandeep Silas, a 1984-batch Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officer, and MS Chalia of 1987 batch were taken into custody late last night along with Sharan Bihari Agrawal, owner of R K Associates, in connection with the scam, CBI sources said on Sunday. The arrests came after CBI recovered Rs 27 crore cash from Agrawal and his sons Abhishek Agrawal and Rahul Agarwal during searches last Friday.The two railway officials and Sharan Bihari Agrawal were produced in the court on Saturday which has sent them to one day police custody.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI spokesperson said they would be produced in Patiala House court tomorrow again. Both the officials were immediately suspended after CBI carried out searches at their residences on October 17.CBI has registered a case against Chalia, Silas and seven private companies RK Associates Pvt Ltd, Satyam Caterers Pvt Ltd, Ambuj Hotel and Real Estate, PK Associates Pvt Ltd, Sunsine Pvt Ltd, Brandavan Food Product and Food World under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.It is alleged that the two officials, who held the position of Chief Commercial Manager, had shown favour to these private firms in supply of cheap packaged drinking water other than Rail Neer which is mandatory in premium trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi.CBI had said that the Railway Board had prescribed that IRCTC shall provide Rail Neer at the rate of around Rs 10.50 per bottle to private caterers and they would be paid (approx) Rs 15 per bottle for supplying the same to the passengers in premium trains.However, in order to make undue gains, the private suppliers were allegedly supplying cheap packaged water, other than ‘Rail Neer’, available in the market at a rate of Rs 5.70 to Rs 7 (approx) per bottle, thereby making profits for themselves and loss to the exchequer.”The accused public servants allegedly did not take any action against the private parties providing catering services in premium trains despite repeatedly being informed by IRCTC about non-picking of allotted quota of Rail Neer by them,” the CBI spokesperson said.CBI said directions of Railway Board to ensure supply of ‘Rail Neer’ in premium trains were also ignored by the officials thereby causing undue pecuniary advantage to the private parties and corresponding loss to the IRCTC.

‘Rail Neer’ racket: CBI seizes Rs 20 crore during raids; case against two former Railway officials

The probe agency conducted searches on premises atleast seven private firms based in Delhi and recovered rupees 20 crores in cash.

The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday registered a case against two former Chief Commercial Managers (Catering), Northern Railways for allegedly showing favour to private firms which provided cheap packaged drinking water (PDW) to premium trains instead of the mandatory “Rail Neer”. The probe agency conducted searches on premises atleast seven private firms based in Delhi and recovered rupees 20 crores in cash. According to the agency, these firms were providing their product to premium trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express after coming to an agreement to do so with the help of the accused managers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “Searches are being conducted today at 13 places in Delhi and Noida which led to recovery of cash amount of more than rupees 20 crore. A large number of incriminating documents have also been recovered,” said Devpreet Singh, CBI spokesperson. Among the firms that have been accused in the conspiracy are family owned RK Aggarwal Pvt Ltd and Brindavan Food Products, both based in New Delhi. Agency sources said that said amount was recovered from the two firms. Sources told dna that some of the money was recovered from the residence of the owners of the private firms. According to officials the Railway Board had prescribed that IRCTC shall provide “Rail Neer” at a rate of rupees 10.50 per bottle to the private caterers who in return would be paid rupees 15 per bottle for supplying the same to the passengers in premium trains . The private caterers however in order to obtain undue gain were allegedly supplying cheap PDW brands instead of “Rail Neer” which were available in the market at a rate of rupees.5.70 to rupees seven per bottle. The agency said the total amount of loss to the exchequer is yet to be calculated “The accused public servants allegedly did not take any action against the private parties providing catering services in the premium trains despite repeated requests of IRCTC for non-picking of allotted quota of “Rail Neer” by Private Caterers and directions of Railway Board to ensure supply of “Rail Neer” PDW in premium trains, thereby causing undue pecuniary advantage to the private parties and corresponding loss to IRCTC,” said the CBI spokesperson.

CBI busts Rail Neer racket; Rs 20 crore seized from suppliers

The sources claimed cash recovery of Rs 20 crore was made from the residence of Shyam Bihari Agrawal, his sons Abhishek Agrawal and Rahul Agarwal who own RK Associates and Brandavan Food Product.

The private suppliers were allegedly supplying cheap packaged water, other than “Rail Neer”.

CBI on Friday recovered Rs 20 crore in cash during searches at 13 locations against two former Northern Railways officials and seven private firms in connection with alleged corruption in supply of packaged drinking water other than mandatory ‘Rail Neer’ in premium trains. CBI sources said a case has been registered against the then Chief Commercial Managers (PS and Catering) of Northern Railways M S Chalia and Sandeep Silas.The agency has also booked private companies RK Associates Pvt Ltd, Satyam Caterers Pvt Ltd, Ambuj Hotel and Real Estate, PK Associates Pvt Ltd, Sunsine Pvt Ltd, Brandavan Food Product and Food World under Prevention of Corruption Act provisions. Silas has served as the private secretary of a former Union Minister.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The sources claimed cash recovery of Rs 20 crore was made from the residence of Shyam Bihari Agrawal, his sons Abhishek Agrawal and Rahul Agarwal who own RK Associates and Brandavan Food Product. It is alleged that the accused had shown favour to these private firms in supply of cheap packaged drinking water (PDW) other than mandatory ‘Rail Neer’ in premium trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express.CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh said it was further alleged that the Railway Board had prescribed that IRCTC shall provide Rail Neer at a rate of Rs 10.50 (approx) per bottle to the private caterers and the private caterers will be paid Rs 15 (approx) per bottle for supplying the same to passengers in premium trains.However, the private suppliers in order to obtain undue gain, were allegedly supplying cheap packaged water, other than “Rail Neer”, available in the market at a rate of Rs 5.70 to 7.00 (approx) per bottle, thereby causing gain to themselves and loss to the exchequer, the official said.”The accused public servants allegedly did not take any action against the private parties providing catering services in the premium trains despite repeated requests of IRCTC for non-picking of allotted quota of ‘Rail Neer’ by Private Caterers,” the spokesperson said.CBI said directions of Railway Board to ensure supply of “Rail Neer” in premium trains were also ignored by the officials thereby causing undue pecuniary advantage to the private parties and corresponding loss to IRCTC.”Searches are being conducted today at 13 places in Delhi and Noida which led to recovery of cash amount of more than Rs 20 crore(approx) and a large number of incriminating documents,” the spokesperson said.

Pakistani family refused accommodation in Mumbai, leaves dejected

On Wednesday afternoon, they reached Mumbai Central Railway Station by Suryanagri Express from Jodhpur. Their ordeal began soon as they were refused accommodation by several lodges and hotels which they approached in South Mumbai.

A Pakistani family which arrived in Mumbai to visit the Haji Ali ‘dargah’ to pray for their mentally challenged son was refused accommodation by several hotels in the city following which they spent the night on a pavement.A sub-inspector of Railway Police Force (RPF) provided some succour to the family of around five members after they reached the Mumbai Central Railway Station on Wednesday but the family failed to find accommodation in any hotel or lodge, its senior inspector R K Arya said.On October 4, the Pakistani family had arrived in India on a 40-day visa.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Wednesday afternoon, they reached Mumbai Central Railway Station by Suryanagri Express from Jodhpur. Their ordeal began soon as they were refused accommodation by several lodges and hotels which they approached in South Mumbai.”The only reason for refusal by lodges and hotels was that they (hotels) didn’t want to complete the formality of filling ‘Form-C’, which is to be submitted to a government department if people from outside the country come to the city on visa and stay in their lodges and hotels,” said RPF sub-inspector Mahesh Chauhan, who helped the family in their time of distress.”They also said that the owners of the lodges and hotels told them that they were very small establishments and have no manpower to do the extra work of filling and submitting the Form-C,” he said.After checking and verifying the family’s documents, Chauhan took them to a cabin at Mumbai Central Police Station, located just outside the railway station, and told them to rest for sometime, besides offering them tea and snacks, Arya said.The family stayed near the police cabin till around 1-1.30 AM yesterday, Chauhan said.They spent rest of the time sitting on a pavement outside the railway station before heading back to Jodhpur.Due to their experience in the city, the family cut short its trip and left yesterday.The family members told Chauhan that they had arrived in the city to visit the Haji Ali dargah to pray for their 12-year-old son who was mentally challenged.They visited the dargah yesterday and later left for Jodhpur via Loksatti Express (from Bandra Terminus) by cancelling their earlier return tickets for October 18, the sub-inspector said.

Bihar Polls 2015: After complaint, Modi, Shah and others posters removed from Patna Airport

Leaders of the grand alliance had on Wednesday petitioned the EC in Delhi seeking the removal of banners and posters of the Prime Minister and the BJP chief from the Patna airport

All poll banners and posters were on Thursday removed from the premises of Patna Airport here, a day after grand alliance moved Election Commission for removal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah’s posters, saying they are “flagrant violation of norms”.”All election banners and posters have been removed from the premises,” Deputy General Manager, Patna Airport N K Chaudhary told PTI. He said the action was taken in accordance to the rules.But, Bihar Election Office said it would ask the Airport authority as to why was it not followed earlier? “We will certainly query Patna Airport authority about not following their own rules of not allowing posters and banners of elections,” Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Lakshmanan said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leaders of the grand alliance had on Wednesday petitioned the EC in Delhi seeking the removal of banners and posters of the Prime Minister and the BJP chief from the Patna airport. A delegation comprising of K C Tyagi (JD-U), R P N Singh (Congress), Manoj Jha (RJD) alongwith eminent lawyer KTS Tulsi submitted a memorandum to the Chief Election Commissioner giving details of such posters and banners carrying the pictures of BJP leaders and its election symbol at the airport.With the elections in the progress in Bihar, Airport and Railway stations had become happy hunting ground for the political leaders for campaigning. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has also on many occasions pointed to the misuse of Airport, Railway stations and Petrol pumps by NDA leaders for poll campaign.

Special train between Nanded and Pune to ease festival rush

The special train between Nanded and Pune will run every Thursday.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
The Railway will run seasonal Special train between Nanded and Pune to ease the extra rush during upcoming Dussehra and Diwali festivals from tomorrow till December 4.Nanded-Pune special express (train number 07622) will run on every Thursday and depart Hazur Saheb Nanded station at 9:20 PM evening and will arrive at Pune next morning at 11:00 AM. It will reach Parli Vaijnath at 12:10 AM.Train number 07621 Pune-Nanded special express will run on all Friday (upto December 4, 2015). It will depart from Pune station at 7:55 PM and reach Nanded station on Saturday morning at 9:25 AM. The train, on the route, will arrive at Parli station at 5:40 AM. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Tuesday, Central Railways had announced 28 air-conditioned superfast bi-weekly special trains between Manmad and Hazrat Nizamuddin to clear the extra rush of passengers during festival season. Bookings for these trains on special charges will open from October 8, 2015. Also read: Ahead of festival rush, Central Railways to run special superfast AC trains

Nashik detour for Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train ‘not feasible’

The much-hyped but slow-moving Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project has hit a new problem. While chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told dna that he wants Nashik to be part of the high speed train route, officials overseeing the project said a Nashik detour for the bullet train was not feasible. In a reply to a query from dna, chief minister Fadnavis said, ” I have requested now to make it (Nashik) part of the Mumbai-Ahmadabad corridor, although the alignment is already finalised. But still I have requested the rail minister and Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> But SC Agnihotri, chairman-cum-managing director of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd, the railway PSU that is in charge of building the bullet train corridor, told dna: “It is not feasible to have Nashik as part of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (HSR) corridor.” City-based railway officials are surprised at CM Fadnavis’ late move on the project though the route was under study by Western Railway’s construction department and the JICA since mid-2010. While the project report made by JICA was submitted to the railway ministry in July and is currently under consideration of the Railway Board, officials said the alignment suggested in the report appears the most feasible. They said that the bullet train will, as per current understanding, move from Bandra-Kurla Complex to Thane then to Virar and run parallel to the existing Mumbai-Ahmedabad conventional line. “Bringing in Nashik as a new destination at this moment means the project almost certainly going back to the drawing board. That is because the Mumbai-Nashik route has a very steep ghat section and new technologies will have to be tried out if the bullet train has to have a Nashik leg. The current cost – pegged at Rs 90,000 crore — will also take a huge surge of almost 50%. It, in fact, has the potential to derail the project,” said a top railway official. Railway officials pointed out that the Pune-Mumbai leg of the bullet train was dropped for the same reason. “The cost of constructing and running a high-speed rail in the ghat section isn’t easy. So, the Pune-Mumbai leg was dropped,” said an official. Vinoo Mathur, former member, Railway Board and consultant to JICA on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, told dna that Nashik could be a destination in the Mumbai-Nagpur bullet train route currently being studied by the railways. “I am not aware of any proposal of routing the Mumbai – Ahmedabad HSR via Nasik,” the bullet train expert said.

Madhya Pradesh: Woman dies after being pushed out from a moving train by TC

Her son Ravi and daughters Neha and Shalu alleged that the TC had pushed them and other passengers after they entered the reserved compartment as there was no place in the general coach.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
A 55-year-old woman was killed after being allegedly pushed out by a Ticket Checker (TC) from the sleeper coach of Malwa Express train at Bercha station. The woman identified as Om Kumari Temre. The incident took place on Friday, a railway official said on Saturday.Her son Ravi and daughters Neha and Shalu alleged that the TC had pushed them and other passengers after they entered the reserved compartment as there was no place in the general coach. Their mother lost balance and fell down and came under the wheels.Police post in-charge N Pathak confirmed the incident but said that whether Temre was pushed from the train or fell on her own is a matter of probe. Soon after getting information about the incident, Railway Police personnel from Maxi station reached the spot and took her body into possession.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The victim was on her way to Bhopal from Shajapur after visiting the bereaved family of one of her relatives along with her children. A few eyewitnesses said that when some of the passengers entered the reserved coach, the TC shouted at them and asked them to get down from the moving train at Bercha station. Temre lost balance while getting down and came under the train. Western Railway s Ratlam Division PRO, Jitendra Kumar Jayant, said “if the family members are alleging that she was pushed by the TC, then it can be ascertained only after the probe”.

Forensic report may acquit Sadananda Gowda’s son Karthik of rape charges

In a relief to Karthik Gowda, the Forensic Science and Laboratory (FSL) report has stated that sweat drops and semen found on the clothes of the small-time model were not of him.

Karthik Gowda

PTI
In a relief to Karthik Gowda, the Forensic Science and Laboratory (FSL) report has stated that sweat drops and semen found on the clothes of the small-time model were not his. Karthik, who is a son of Union Minister Sadananda Gowda, was accused of a rape and cheating by a model and small-time Kannada actress. Quoting sources, Deccan Herald reported, “FSL in the City has submitted a report to the police and report indicate that charges of rape against Karthik Gowda were obviously false.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The daily has also reported that the FSL is yet to submit its report on the voice identification and the mobile phone recordings of the conversation between the two.In August 2014, the model claimed that she got married to Karthik Gowda on June 5, 2014 after meeting him on May 8, 2014. She also said that she wanted his family to accept her as their daughter-in-law.Following which a case was filed against Karthik Gowda under Sections 420, 376 and 406 (charges relating to cheating, rape and dishonesty) of the Indian Penal Code.The model had said, “We have known each other since May 8. This was after election, before the result. We became very close friends. We met because my family was looking for a groom, so for that reason I met Karthik. So he promised me that he will marry me. So he got married to me on June 5, in his Mangalore house.”Speaking on the allegations being levelled at his son, the then Railway Minister had said that it was a clear case of “character assassination” of an individual.

Kashmir: Train services to remain suspended on September 26, 27 on occasion of Eid-ul-Azha

A Railways spokesman said that on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr in July, “incidents of vandalism and obstruction to train crew” had affected train services in the Valley.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
Train services in Kashmir Valley will remain suspended for two days on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha as part of precautionary measures to prevent any untoward incident.In a meeting with government officials on July 25, Railways had decided to “temporarily suspend train services between Banihal and Baramulla apprehending untoward incidents on the occasion of the Eid-ul-Azha on September 26 and 27”, a Railways spokesman said.He said that on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr in July, “incidents of vandalism and obstruction to train crew” had affected train services in the Valley.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Northern Railway also appealed to the people of the state to “discourage and prevent anti-social elements from indulging in mindless vandalism and obstruction of rail operations”, he said.

Mumbai: Seven coaches of a local train derail near Andheri, no injuries reported

Seven coaches of a Virar-Churchgate fast train derailed between Andheri and Vile Parle stations on the fast line moving towards Churchgate, on Tuesday morning.

Photo Courtesy: Twitter: (Sameer Majithia)

Seven coaches of a Virar-Churchgate fast train derailed between Andheri and Vile Parle stations on the fast line moving towards Churchgate, on Tuesday morning.Services on the fast corridor on Western Railway line have been affected,Officials said it will take several hours to restore normalcy. Western Railway divisional railway manager Shailendra Kumar told dna that at the moment there was no report of any injury to any passenger.Thousands of commuters have been stranded.
<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is the second incident of derailment in the last 24 hours. Thousands of commuters were left inconvenienced on Monday evening after a local train coming from Bandra derailed while entering platform number 2 at CST station.More details awaited

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu calls emergency meeting to review safety measures

The meeting is also expected to discuss an action plan and implementation strategy to make rail travel safer for passengers, sources said today.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Taking serious note of a spate of train accidents recently, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has called an emergency meeting of general managers of all 17 Zones here on Tuesday to review safety measures. The meeting is also expected to discuss an action plan and implementation strategy to make rail travel safer for passengers, sources said today.”Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has expressed his displeasure over the series of train mishaps recently. He has convened a meeting all general managers of 17 zonal Railways on September 15 to review safety related issues,” sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prabhu along with his junior minister Manoj Sinha and full Railway Board will address the meeting, they said adding, “The Minister has been emphasising on zero accident mission and giving top priority to safety.”Meanwhile, Prabhu, who was on week-long tour to Japan and South Korea returned to the capital today, sources said. Of late, Railways safety record has come under question with spate of train accidents.Two British nationals were killed and 10 others injured on Saturday when three coaches of a toy train that was carrying a group of tourists from Britain derailed near Parwanoo between the Kalka and Taksal station. Earlier the same day, two passengers were killed and seven others injured when nine coaches of Mumbai bound Duranto Express from Secunderabad derailed near Kalaburgi in Karnataka on Saturday wee hours.Late last month, a speeding granite-laden truck rammed into Bangalore-Nanded Express train after breaking the closed gate at a level crossing in Anantapur district on August 24 killing six persons and injuring two.On August 4, 29 people were killed when two express trains passing each other derailed while crossing a railway bridge struck by flash floods in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh, sending 17 bogies and one engine tumbling into a rain-swollen river.

Mumbai-bound train derails in Karnataka, 2 killed, over 8 injured

Kalburgi: At least two persons were killed and eight others injured when nine coaches of a Mumbai-bound train derailed near Kalburgi in Karnataka early on Saturday.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The incident took place at Martur village station, about 20 kilometres from Kalburgi. Two persons were killed and eight injured in the mishap, Amit Singh, Kalburgi Superintendent of Police, said.

“Two people died and eight others are injured after Mumbai-bound Lokmanya Tilak Express from Secunderabad derailed at Martur station,” he said.

Singh said nine coaches of the train derailed between 2 15 am to 2 20 am.

The rescue operations are on and the injured people have been rushed to Solapur Government Hospital in Maharashtra, Singh added.

An inquiry has been ordered by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu into the accident, Chairman Railway Board AK Mittal said.

The inquiry will be conducted by Commissioner Railway Safety (Central circle) to ascertain the exact cause of derailment, he said.

Railways has also announced ex-gratia relief of Rs two lakh to the next of kin of those killed, Rs 50,000 to each of the grievously injured, and Rs 25,000 to those with simple injuries, Mittal said.

“Rescue and relief operations are going on at the spot and medical teams have already reached and I am also rushing to the site to supervise,” Mittal said.

“Saddened by Duranto accident. Ordered enquiry. Immediate medical relief & other assistance rushed. Chairman Rail board asked to rush,” Prabhu tweeted while expressing grief over the accident.

Stating that all injured are being rushed to hospitals and are being treated by medical team, he said ex-gratia will be given to injured, and unfortunate families of dead.

Railways has operationalised helpline numbers which are Gulbarga 0847-2255066/2255067, Secunderabad 040-27700968, Solapur 0217-2313331, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus 022-22694040, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus 022-25280005, and Kalyan 0251-2311499.

Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena said the train has left for its onward journey and one line has been restored. Initially, both the lines were blocked due to the derailment but now one line has been made operational. No passenger was stranded.

PTI

Railways to tie up with ISRO for enhanced safety

“We will undertake a massive exercise of GIS mapping of the entire rail route and assets including buildings, land, workshops and other facilities in the network using geospatial technology,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with GIS mapping project

Indian Railways will join hands with ISRO to get online satellite images for improving safety and enhancing efficiency.”We will undertake a massive exercise of GIS mapping of the entire rail route and assets including buildings, land, workshops and other facilities in the network using geospatial technology,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with GIS mapping project. Geospatial technology involves GPS (global positioning systems), GIS (geographical information systems), and RS (remote sensing). The official said geospatial services will be available from satellite-assisted navigational support through the GPS aided geo augmented navigation (GAGAN) system of ISRO.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We will sign an MoU with ISRO shortly to avail the online satellite images to create a GIS platform,” said the official. The MoU will facilitate getting images and communications through the satellite system. While the images will help in mapping the area, communications will enable the introduction of wi-fi service in trains in a larger way. The technology will come in handy at the time of accidents when it can be used to ascertain the exact location of trains and the topography.Besides, it will also help railways in developing solutions for safety at unmanned level crossings with remote sensing facility. Safety at unmanned level crossings is a cause of serious concern for railways and the publictransporter is exploring various ways to address the issue. Remote sensing system can be used to warn road users by activating the hooters before the arrival of trains at unmanned level crossings, he said. The satellite images will also be used for geo-fencing of stations for paperless ticketing system.Geo-fencing is a virtual barrier which uses the global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries. Railways have started the paperless tickets in unreserved segment for suburban services in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. As per the plan, railways have decided to go paperless with regard to monthly season tickets and platform tickets.Geo-fencing of stations is a must for going paperless and the tie-up with ISRO will enable railways in getting the required back-up from satellite, he said. The technology is also expected to be used for tracking trains for disseminating information about their movement on real time basis which will be a great help to passengers. Currently train movements are tracked manually.

Telangana: After being ragged by seniors, engineering student commits suicide

The suicide note written in English and Telugu stated that “He died due to ragging by seniors.”
Representational Image

A first-year engineering student of a private college in Telangana allegedly committed suicide reportedly after being ragged by his seniors in Warangal district of Telangana. V Sainath (18), a native of Ramakrishnapuram in Adilabad district of the state, had left his hostel at Medchal here yesterday afternoon and was not seen since then, police said today.”We received a complaint from railway authorities at 12.20 AM stating that they had found a body on the tracks at 11.40 PM yesterday at Vaddepally. We went to the scene and found the head and body severed. It seems he laid down on the tracks and a train ran over him resulting in his death,” said Kazipet Railway Police Inspector Madhusudan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A suicide note purportedly written by Sainath was found from his wallet, which blamed ragging by seniors as the reason for his death, the officer said. The note written in English and Telugu stated that “He died due to ragging by seniors.”The note urged “Please stop ragging” and also stated that, “this situation would not have come had seniors not done like that,” the Inspector said, adding, there is no clarity on identification of the seniors Sainath was referring to.”We have not received any complaint that he was ragged and hence he resorted to the extreme step. However, we are inquiring into the matter. Whether he was ragged or if there is any other reason behind his death it is being verified,” ACP (Petbasheerabad Division) S Ashok Kumar told PTI.Sainath’s body has been shifted to a local hospital in Warangal for conducting postmortem and his father and relatives have been told that they can lodge a complaint in connection with the matter if they suspect any foul play, police said, adding, a case under section 174 of CrPC has been registered and further probe is on.

Patel quota agitation: Gujarat continues to burn; nine killed, army called in

No let up in violence in Ahmedabad; toll in police firing, violence rises to six; Army called in, stages flag march

Police fire teargas shells to disperse Patidar community supporters at Bapunagar in Ahmedabad on Wednesday

PTI
Ahmedabad and many other places in the state continued to burn for the second straight day on Wednesday as there was no let up in violence and rioting, sparked off by the police crackdown on Patel protestors late on Tuesday evening. Death toll in the violence of the last 24 hours rose to six, even as the Army was called in to quell the rioting.Curfew was clamped in Ramol, Nikol, Bapunagar, Ghatlodia, Naranpura, and other parts of Ahmedabad city, and parts of Surat, Mehsana, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Patan and other cities. However, violence continued unabated throughout the day with protestors resorting to arson, stone pelting and attacks on public and private properties.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Many incidents of police attacking innocent citizens were also reported, even as Hardik Patel, who is spearheading the stir demanding reservation for Patels, said they would intensify protests in the coming days. Patel denied that the protestors started the violence, and said the police were responsible for the rioting.The violence has so far claimed six lives, including three in Ahmedabad. A father-son duo was killed in police firing in Ramol area of Ahmedabad. Two deaths were reported in Banaskantha and one in Mehsana, said officials.The violence surged even as prime minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Anandiben Patel appealed to the citizens to maintain peace.”I appeal to all brothers and sisters of Gujarat that they should not resort to violence. The only mantra must be peace. Violence has never done good for anyone. All issues can be resolved peacefully through talks,” Modi said in a televised address in Gujarati.The Gujarat bandh call given by the Patels to protest the police lathicharge on protesting community members was successful and brought life to a grinding halt as schools & colleges, shops, commercial establishments and factories remained closed across most parts of the state. Mobile internet and sms services were unavailable throughout the day, and are likely to be disrupted on Thursday too, according to authorities.At least 12 trains were cancelled and 19 trains were diverted inside Gujarat, Western Railway PRO Pradip Sharma said. Another five trains were diverted out of the state. Tracks were damaged in several places. At Sarbarmati railway station here, a mob tried to set fire to a freight train but the Railway police foiled the attempt.Union home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Anandiben in the morning and assured her full support to tackle the situation.About 5,000 personnel of paramilitary forces were rushed to the state to quell the violence. State DGP PC Thakur said a total of 133 companies of State Reserve Police as well as central paramilitary forces including CRPF and BSF had been deployed in the state.Later, the Army was also called in, which conducted flag mach on different routes in Ahmedabad city. Army companies were also deployed in Surat and Mehsana, the two places which also witnessed widespread rioting.However, once the army was gone, large crowds took to the streets in Patel-dominated areas such as Ghatlodia and Gota.

Five people die after being run over by speeding train in Patna

The bodies, which are yet to be identified, have been kept at Rajendra Nagar Station under Danapur division of East Central Railway.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
Five persons, including three women, were run over by a speeding train when they were crossing railway tracks near Rajendra Nagar terminal station in Patna.”The five were crossing the tracks and did not notice that a Patna-Islampur passenger train was approaching,” East Central Railway CPRO, A K Rajak told PTI. They were run over and killed at around 9 PM.The bodies, which are yet to be identified, have been kept at Rajendra Nagar Station under Danapur division of East Central Railway.More details are awaited. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

dna Must Read: Five top stories at 11 pm

The following quick read will take you through stories that are making news right now.

Here is a list of stories to get you updated on what is making news across the world at this minute. 1) BJP Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar stokes controversyUnion Minister for Steel and Mines Narendra Singh Tomar defended the government on the issue of rising onion prices on Monday and claimed that the BJP never coined slogans like “Acche Din Aayenge (good days will come)…The BJP never said that ‘Acche Din Aayenge’. During last Lok Sabha elections slogans like ‘Acche Din Aayenge’ and ‘Rahul Nani ke Ghar Jayenge’ (Rahul will go to his maternal grandma’s house) were was coined on the social media. People put these slogans in BJP’s mouth. However, we humbly accepted people’s feelings expressed through such slogans,” Tomar said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Read the full report here: BJP never said ‘Acche Din Aayenge’, claims minister Narendra Singh Tomar2) Now, Ahmedabad police seek to play moral police against couples”If a young girl and boy come to stay in a room without any bags and if they leave in two hours or less, then the concerned police station will have to be informed immediately. Their contact details like the cell-phone number and residential address should also be given to the police,” says a notification issued by police commissioner Shivanand Jha. Read more on this story here. 3) ‘Railway tracks are India’s largest toilets’ Terming the railway tracks as the “largest toilet” in the world, former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Monday said all political parties should come together to check the problem of open defecation. Over two crore people use its 60,000 coaches having 2.4 lakh toilets everyday and the excreta falls on tracks, Ramesh said at a programme in Patna on Monday on the problems of open defecation. To know what else Ramesh said, click here. 4) ‘Black Monday Mayhem’ again; 7 out of ten biggest crashes on MondaysThe Sensex on Monday closed for the day at 25,741.56, down 1,624.51 points — marking the biggest ever mauling it has received historically. The second highest closing fall for the markets was also on a Monday, January 21, 2008, when it closed for the day down 1,408.35 points. Read about ‘Black Monday Mayhem’ here. 5) Babus going to Bangkok asked to declare if they have AIDSBureaucrats interested in attending a month-long training programme in Bangkok have been asked by the government to submit a medical certificate confirming they are not suffering from AIDS or other infectious diseases. Read more here,

Ex-gratia will be given to injured and kin of dead, says Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu

The Bangalore-Nanded Express train collided with a lorry that was crossing the railway track in Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh.

Image courtesy: ANI
Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday said that the government will announce an ex gratia payment for those injured and to the relatives of the five persons killed in this Bangalore-Nanded Express-lorry accident in Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh.Prabhu’s announcement came soon after Anil Saxena, PRO of the Railways informed that some trains on the South Central and South Western Railway lines have been diverted because of the railway accident.The Bangalore-Nanded Express train collided with a lorry that was crossing the railway track in Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The collision resulted in the derailment of four coaches and claimed the lives of at least five persons and injured another 25, Saxena said.Preliminary reports confirmed that Karnataka MLA Venkatesh Nayak was among the five people killed.Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu is monitoring the situation closely, Saxena said.

Kolkata: Suresh Prabhu’s convoy blocked by protesters, minister forced to walk to venue

Prabhu was on his way to attend an event at a hotel in Park Street as a part of his two-day visit to the city, when youth wing supporters of Forward Bloc blocked his convoy.

Suresh Prabhu

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s convoy was blocked in Kolkata by youth wing supporters of Forward Bloc on Friday. Prabhu was on his way to attend an event at a hotel in Park Street as a part of his two-day visit to the city, when youth wing supporters of Forward Bloc blocked his convoy. The agitators showed him placards, posters and raised ‘go back’ slogans. Since the agitators resorted to an unannounced demonstration, the police were not equipped to handle the situation. The union minister had to get down from his vehicle and walk several kilometres to reach the venue of the event.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The minister faced widespread protests after the railway board conducted an examination for the year 2013-14 to recruit people in several positions of the Indian Railways but people who cleared the examination were not recruited, said agitators. “We urge the Railway Minister to carry out proper investigation into the irregularities in the recruitment process of the Railways. We have cleared the examination, still not managed to get a job,” said Mani Prasad Das, a Forward Bloc supporter. Later, the Minister assured agitators of a thorough investigation into the recruitment process.

A simple piece of paper derails Central Railway’s AC coach dreams

Just about no official is willing to give Sood what’s called a Proprietary Article Certificate (PAC) – a must for his plans. They are plain scared.

Central Railway (CR) general manager SK Sood is caught in a dilemma. Sood wants to attach at least 2-3 air-conditioned coaches to each of the CR’s existing fleet of Siemens rakes.But he finds himself alone. Railway officials know that Sood has only the best interests of CR’s 40-lakh-plus commuters in mind. Still, they are not ready to support their colleague.Just about no official is willing to give Sood what’s called a Proprietary Article Certificate (PAC) – a must for his plans. They are plain scared.A PAC is issued by a stipulated bureaucrat when an article has to be bought from a single firm — something fraught with tremendous dangers in the paper-heavy world of government procurements and purchases.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway rules stipulate that the name and designation of the official issuing the PAC has to be clearly mentioned in the certificate. This makes the official a ‘sitting duck’ for investigations, in case anyone alleges any impropriety in the deal.In an uncharacteristically frank admission, Sood said so much – that while he wants to attach at least 2-3 AC coaches to each of the existing fleet of Siemens rakes, no official is willing to issue a PAC.Even though it’s well-known that the coaches of a particular company best match its own rakes — in this case, Siemens – no one is ready to issue a PAC.”It is a technical necessity that these air-conditioned coaches have to be compatible with Siemens rakes. So, it is obvious that the coaches will have to be built in partnership with Siemens. This requires a PAC, which I am unable to get, possibly, because no one wants to get into this hassle,” Sood says.The onus of issuing a PAC is so completely on the officer that no one is willing to stick his neck out. The railway rules on PAC state: “Greatest care has to be exercised while issuing a proprietary article certificate. It can be issued only when the department officer is personally satisfied that the item of the required quality can only be obtained from the original manufacturer.”As highlighted by dna earlier, CR authorities are planning to have just Siemens rakes in their fleet for the sake of an easy and less expensive mechanism and giving its share of Bombardier rakes to Western Railway.Current calculations spelt out by Sood put the cost of each air-conditioned coach around Rs 6 crore. An entire air-conditioned rake could cost upwards of Rs 45 crore, he said.Sood is even ready to take the allegations of being ‘an agent of Siemens’. Even that is not helping.That then is the story of how a simple piece of paper can derail the hopes of over 40 lakhs.

Mumbai Metro fare row: Centre to seek law ministry’s opinion on State govt’s demands

The current law allows either the government or the private player to be the sole-decision maker, depending on the share-holding.

Mumbai Metro Train

As the dispute between Maharashtra government and the Reliance-led Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd over the metro fare hike continues, minister of state for home Ranjit Patil on Monday said the Centre had agreed to seek Union Law Ministry’s opinion on the demands of the state government. Patil and MMRDA commissioner U P S Madan had met the Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu and requested that the Mumbai Metro be taken out of the purview of amendments in the Metro Railway Act.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Centre’s amendment in the Metro Railway Act has a retrospective effect on Mumbai. We have urged the Centre to de-notify the Metro project from this Act as it does not allow the state to be the Metro Rail Administrator which has the power to fix fare,” Patil told PTI.The current law allows either the government or the private player to be the sole-decision maker, depending on the share-holding. Patil said with 26 per cent equity and investment of Rs 660 crore as Viability Gap Funding if the government still could not be the MRA and Reliance formed the fare fixation committee (FFC), then the company will take decisions in its own interest. “We cannot let this happen,” he said.”The Centre has assured us it will take the law department’s opinion. We have also demanded a CAG audit on the cost escalation which the company is claiming. The Centre is positive on that as well.”The Indian Tramway Act, which was in existence when the agreement between MMOPL and the government was signed, gave fare fixation powers to the state government. Three-member FFC led by a retired SC judge has recommended increasing the fare of the Mumbai Metro along the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar route up to Rs 110. The maximum fare currently levied is Rs 40.

MP twin train derailment: Death toll rises to 29

Bhopal (MP): The death toll in the twin train derailment in Madhya Pradesh’s Harda district has gone up to 29, with the recovery of one more body from the mishap site, a railway official said on Friday.

The villagers found one more body yesterday, thus taking the toll to 29 in the twin train tragedy, West Central Railway Public Relations Officer I A Siddiqui said. Out of the 29 deceased, 17 have been identified while efforts are on to identify the others, he said.

Image courtesy-news18Image courtesy-news18

Image courtesy-news18

On the day of the accident, 12 bodies were found inside the bogies of the two trains–11 from Janta Express and one from Kamayani Express– while the villagers had recovered bodies of 13 people from the vicinity, he said.

Later, a team of National Disaster Response Force launched a search operation and found three more bodies.

The two trains — Varanasi-bound Kamayani Express from Mumbai and Mumbai-bound Janta Express originating from Patna — while crossing a railway bridge struck by flash floods in Harda on August 4 before midnight had jumped off the tracks, sending 17 bogies and one engine tumbling into a swollen Machak river.

Nearly 900 meters of railway track got badly damaged in the heavy rains that lashed the region on that day leading to the base material beneath the rail line getting washed away, which was the main cause of the accident, Siddiqui said.

Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Bhopal, Alok Kumar said 800 railway employees and officers were working day and night to restore the tracks.

The rail traffic will resume in the section by Sunday evening, he said.

Out of the 29 deceased, 17, including 11 women, have been identified as Mathura Bai (60), Deepchand Rajak (40), Heerabai (35), Gendabai (65), Sushilabai (45), Renu Bathre (20), Sangita Bathre (17), Ansh Bathre (03), Anshi Bathre (6), Rajkumaribai (25) Soniabai (55) Jijabai (75), Vishra Meena (53), Farooq (23), Suraj Saini (25), Kanchan Devi (50) and Ramzan Shah (23).

PTI