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Radhe Maa to Anupam Kher: 8 stars who ‘broke out’ in 2015

When a host of awards were being returned to protest ‘intolerance’, Anupam Kher and his band of angry men took out a ‘March for India’ where Kher claimed that he wouldn’t tolerate any talk of intolerance under his watch. He also directed some outrage at his colleague Dibakar Banerjee for returning an award that frankly he had no right to return (since it was the award for Best Film and belonged to the producers). All in all, Anupam Kher was the breakout ‘unexpected star’ of the year.

Arghya Roy Chowdhury
Nirmalya Dutta

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<!– /.block –>Government committed to electrification of villages: PM Modi <!– /.block –>
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Government committed to electrification of villages: PM Modi

“Against a target of 1,900, we have electrified over 3,000 villages in around 100 days,” Modi had said at the inaugural function of Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2015.

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<!– /.block –>Salman @ 50: I will always be 27 <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaModi’s surprise visit to Pak: What happened behind the scenes to make it possibleIndiaOver 120 artists to perform at Sunburn Goa beginning tomorrowIndiaParliamentary panel asks MHA to increase women in Delhi Police to 33%IndiaKashmir problem will be solved once Art 370 is removed: Anupam KherIndiaForeign hand trying to stall India’s atomic programme: AEC chiefIndiaLinking two most popular pilgrim centres, Railways starts weekly train between Tirupati and Shirdi <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Radhe Maa to Anupam Kher: 8 stars who ‘broke out’ in 2015<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Modi’s surprise visit to Pak: What happened behind the scenes to make it possible

“It is a positive step that he came … definitely … but we still have to move with caution,” he said. “It’s a new Modi in an old bottle; Nawaz Sharif should take it one sip at a time.”

reuters

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<!– /.block –>5 Reasons why we wait for Baahubali – The Conclusion? <!– /.block –>
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Parliamentary panel asks MHA to increase women in Delhi Police to 33%

The Standing Committee, meanwhile, also said that Delhi Police must ensure, through the education department of Delhi government, that all schools designate one teacher as road safety coordinator so that regular road safety programmes are organised for raising awareness among children in this regard.

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<!– /.block –>MF investment in equity markets at Rs 70,000 crore in 2015 <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaModi’s surprise visit to Pak: What happened behind the scenes to make it possibleIndiaOver 120 artists to perform at Sunburn Goa beginning tomorrowIndiaParliamentary panel asks MHA to increase women in Delhi Police to 33%IndiaKashmir problem will be solved once Art 370 is removed: Anupam KherIndiaForeign hand trying to stall India’s atomic programme: AEC chiefIndiaLinking two most popular pilgrim centres, Railways starts weekly train between Tirupati and Shirdi <!– /.block –>

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Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) 2015 – 2016 for Non Technical Graduates posts announced

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The Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) has announced notification to fill 18252 jobs in Indian Railways.

The Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) has announced notification to fill 18252 jobs in Indian Railways.The online applications are invited from Indian nationals for filling up various non-technical posts of various Railways /production units.Candidates who are willing to apply for these posts should apply on or before 25 January 2016.The detailed information of this RRB recruitment 2016 shall be available only on December 26, 2015.Candidates are requested to apply only online, there are no other modes for submitting the application.​Following are the name of the posts, number of vacancies and the name of participating Railway Recruitment Boards.​​<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Posts / vacancies1) Commercial Apprentice: 7032) Traffic Apprentice: 16453) Enquiry-Cum-Reservation Clerk: 1274) Goods Guard: 75915) Junior Accounts Assistant-Cum-Typist : 12056) Senior Clerk-Cum-Typist: 8697) Assistant Station Master: 59428) Traffic Assistant: 1669) Senior Time Keeper: 4Total Number of posts: 18252Name of participating Railway Recruitment Boards:Ahmedabad, Ajmer, Allahabad, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, chandigarh, Bilaspur, Gorakhpur, Chennai, Jammu – Srinagar, Guwahati, Malda, Kolkata, Mumbai, Muzaffarpur, Patna, Ranchi. Thiruvananthapuram, Siliguri, Secunderabad. These are the only RRBs participating in this recruitment.Official website of RRB Indian Railways: http://rrbappreg.net/

India is ready for bullet trains, and it has been ready for many years

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Viewpoint: Does India need bullet trains?

Does it make sense for India to have bullet trains?

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.

Shakur Basti row: Urban Development ministry asks DDA not to carry demolition drive in winter

The action follows the demolition drive by Railways in West Delhi’s Shakur Basti area where a seven-month-old infant was killed on Saturday, triggering a political storm over the incident.

People burning an effigy of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu during a protest over the demolition of a Shakur Basti slum, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Tuesday.

PTI
A day after a political slugfest broke out over slum demolition issue, Union urban development ministry directed the Delhi Development Authority to put a hold on all demolitions in the city till winter is over. The DDA has been told not to carry out any further demolition till the winter period is over, according to sources in the ministry.”DDA Chairman has been told to do the needful for banning all demolitions in the winter months. It has been done to prevent people from hardship during the winter months,” the sources added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The action follows the demolition drive by Railways in West Delhi’s Shakur Basti area where a seven-month-old infant was killed on Saturday, triggering a political storm over the incident. While the Railways said child had died before demolition, the AAP-led Delhi government claimed that the death took place during the drive.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had met Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday and got assurance that no further demolition on railway land will take place without rehabilitation of the affected persons.

Arvind Kejriwal meets Suresh Prabhu, says no rehabilitation without demolition

The report comes in sharp contrast to Railway minister Suresh Prabhu’s statements in Parliament on Monday, where he defended the demolition saying that the child had died before the drive began and that the encroachers in slum land had refused to vacate the land despite repeated notices.

The post mortem report of the seven-month old baby girl who died in the Sakur Basti area of Delhi post a demolition drive undertaken by the Railways on Saturday, stated that the death was due to shock, ‘as a result of chest and head injury due to blunt force impact. The report submitted by the department of forensic science and toxicology of Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital said the injuries were ante-mortem, which means the injuries were reported before death.The report comes in sharp contrast to Railway minister Suresh Prabhu’s statements in Parliament on Monday, where he defended the demolition saying that the child had died before the drive began and that the encroachers in slum land had refused to vacate the land despite repeated notices.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report stated that though the child did not have any external injuries, the internal examination of her body revealed that two to four of her left ribs were fractured, a petechia on the superior upper lobe of left lung and bruises on her scalp.Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday met Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, and announced that there will be no further slum demolitions without rehabilitation.”It was decided that there will be no demolition anywhere without rehabilitation in the coming days,” Kejriwal said after meeting Prabhu.He along with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia met Prabhu at Rail Bhawan. The meeting lasted for about 30 minutes. He said that it was decided that railways will give us the schedule in the next three/four years wherever railways wanted land for its development. “Delhi government will first rehabilitate them as per its rehabilitation policy. We will give houses to them to shift,” he said. “Currently we have given 594 houses to shift them in a peaceful manner with police. First rehabilitation and then the land will be transferred after being vacated,” Kejriwal said.

Shakur Basti demolition : Post mortem report says infant died due to shock and injuries on chest and head

As per the post mortem report, the six-month-old girl died due to shock and injuries on chest and head due to impact of blunt force and mentioned about fractures in ribs and head

Shakur Basti after demolition drive

PTI
A case of death due to negligence was on Monday registered, two days after a toddler died in a West Delhi slum cluster demolished by railways, triggering a political slugfest with ruling AAP targeting the Centre and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi coming down hard on both.As per the post mortem report, the six-month-old girl died due to shock and injuries on chest and head due to impact of blunt force and mentioned about fractures in ribs and head. Though the Railways maintained that the toddler died two hours before the demolition drive began along the train tracks at Shakur Basti, the parents of the child blamed the authorities for creating a situation leading to her death. As AAP government sharpened its attack on the Centre for death of the child and leaving hundreds homeless in biting cold, Gandhi visited the site and wondered why the Kejriwal dispensation was protesting despite ruling the city and assured the homeless that he will fight their “battle”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Modi sarkar and Kejriwal sarkar are responsible for what has happened. But now they are busy blaming each other. Instead they should provide help to the people who have been displaced & rehabilitate them,” Gandhi said on Twitter. Resolving to fight for the poor, Gandhi told the homeless, “Whenever a slum is about to be demolished, call Rahul Gandhi. He won’t let this happen. We will try to help you. As you know we are not in the government, it is AAP’s and BJP’s government. But we will try to protect you, we will fight your battle.”Gandhi’s comments drew a sharp reaction from Kejriwal. “Rahul Gandhi is still a child. His party probably did not tell him that Railway comes under the central government, and not under the Government of Delhi,” he said.Meanwhile, police probing the toddler’s death, said a case of death due to negligence against unknown persons have been registered at Punajbi Bagh police station on the basis of statement of her father Mohammad Anwar.”The case has been registered under Section 304 A (causing death due to negligence) at Punjabi Bagh police station,” said Pushpendra Kumar, DCP(West). According to police, Anwar, in a statement said a tied bundle of clothes fell down on the girl sleeping on the floor as the family was in a hurry to vacate their shanty. The post mortem said the toddler died 30 hours before the autopsy indicating she might have died around 9.30 AM. “As the officials came knocking, we started quickly packing our belongings. In the ensuing melee we did not realise when a heap of clothes fell on her which turned out to be fatal.”My child, who had just started seeing the world, would have been by my side today if the officials had given us little time and a prior notice,” the toddler’s father Anwar said. The couple has two more children, a girl aged five and a boy aged three. Severely critical of Railways and the police, the AAP government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the demolition drive and death of the girl. The Chief Minister suspended two Sub-Divisional Magistrates and another senior official for “failing to arrange” food and shelter for those evicted.In its reaction, Delhi BJP hit out at Kejriwal government accusing it of “indulging in politics” over death of the infant.”Politics over death of an infant is not the culture of Delhi,” Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay said. The demolition was carried out on Saturday in which over 1,200 slum units were removed, with the railways insisting that the action was necessary to clear the “encroachments” for expanding infrastructure. The railways said the demolition was carried out after three notices, the first one with the March 14, 2015 deadline.AAP and Trinammol Congress protested near the Mahatma Gandhi statue outside Parliament condemning the demolition. AAP also protested in Parliament over the issue after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected an adjournment motion moved by it. Terming the incident as inhuman, Delhi Minister Satyendra Jain alleged the demolition was carried out “to teach a lesson” to these people who had voted for Arvind Kejriwal.”Without making any alternative arrangements for them, their houses were demolished. The demolition was carried out to teach a lesson to these people who had voted for Arvind Kejriwal. “In the process an infant girl has died and the post-mortem has revealed that she had received severe head injuries and that her ribs had broken,” said Jain.

Railways should not have conducted demolition drive in winter, says Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said that the Railways should not have conducted the demolition drive in Shakur Basti area at the height of winter.

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said that the Railways should not have conducted the demolition drive in Shakur Basti area at the height of winter.”The Congress regime under chief minister Sheila Dikshit, in 2007 had proposed to build a railway terminal in Shakur Basti, and since then, efforts were on to do so,” Naidu told reporters.”There should be no politics in this case. It should be seen from a humanitarian angle and this demolition drive should not have been conducted in winter,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday reiterated his stand that the six-month-old child had died before the demolition drive had begun 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.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 today and held the Delhi Government and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Centre responsible for 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 reports to the Centre and not to the Delhi Government,” Kejriwal tweeted.

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 demolition: Rahul visits site, blames Centre, Delhi govt; says ‘I won’t let them break your homes again’

“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 a slum dweller.

Image Courtesy: Twitter

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Monday visited the razed Shakur Basti where the Indian Railways had conducted a demolition drive, uprooting around 500 jhuggis and promised the homeless slum dwellers that they would be provided aid at the earliest.Flanked by security and chanting Congress supporters, Rahul inspected the slum area and also interacted with affected families who told him of their woes, while a massive crowd followed him.While speaking to the slum dwellers, Rahul promised them that he would extend every help possible to alleviate them of their problems.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”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 a slum dweller.Speaking to the media later, he accused the Delhi government and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Centre for the razing of the slum and asserted that the law had been clearly broken during the demolition.”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,” Rahul said.Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hit out at Rahul for questioning the Aam Aadmi Party’s protest against the demolition, saying that he was still a ‘child’ in politics.”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. Rahul had demanded to know the reason behind AAP’s ‘dharna’ since they were the ruling power in Delhi.Earlier today, the AAP joined by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) protested outside the Parliament against the slum demolition.

Delhi: After controversial slum demolition, Shakur Basti dwellers battle extreme cold

The Delhi govt had yesterday ordered magisterial enquiries into the Shakur Basti demolition and the death of the six-month-old child.

A day after the Railways demolished more than 500 slums in the Shakur Basti area in the national capital, the dwellers are now being forced to live in freezing conditions and are battling the extreme cold.The dwellers are just provided with blankets and food, but still it is not sufficient, especially for the children and the elderly as they are most vulnerable to the chilly weather conditions.”They have given us blankets. But it is very cold and especially the kids are suffering in the open. People are coming and just having a glimpse, but no one is doing anything,” Mohd. Kuddu, one of the dwellers told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Another resident of the Shakur Basti, Mohd. Nizam, said that there were not adequate facilities and demanded that the government should provide them with shelters so that they can survive in this cold weather.Meanwhile, the Delhi Government had yesterday ordered magisterial enquiries into the Shakur Basti demolition and the death of the six-month-old child. Separate probes will be conducted into demolition drive and the child’s death.More than 500 slums were demolished in an anti-encroachment drive conducted by the Indian Railways in Shakur Basti on Saturday.Slum residents created an uproar after a child was found dead. They alleged that the child had died in the anti-encroachment drive.Railway sources, however, have denied the allegations, saying that the death of the child occurred in one of the slums around 10 am and had nothing to do with the removal of encroachments.

Demolition of slums triggers face-off between Delhi & Centre; Kejriwal to take up the issue with Prabhu

Arvind Kejriwal will take up the issue and death of a baby at the site with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as he was not satisfied with the ministry officials’ response.

A fresh face-off between the Delhi government and the Centre erupted on Sunday over demolition of a slum cluster by railways to clear “encroachments” and death of a baby at the site.The demolition of 1200 slum units at Shakur Basti in West Delhi was carried out, with the railways saying the action was necessary for expanding the infrastructure.The railways said the demolition was carried out after three notices, the first one with the March 14, 2015 deadline.Arvind Kejriwal will take up the issue and death of a baby at the site with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as he was not satisfied with the ministry officials’ response.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In the meeting, Railway officials told the CM said that there is no rehabilitation scheme before demolition. The Chief Minister completely rejected the claims of the Railways,” said a Delhi Government official. After meeting the evicted dwellers, Kejriwal said that those people had been living there since 1992-94, but in one moment, Railway demolished the shanties. “Those who have done this (demolition of shanties) are not humans, instead they are animals and bestial,” Kejriwal said.Sources said that the Railway officials failed to give satisfactory response in the meeting with the Delhi CM. “Railway officials failed to give satisfactory response as to why demolition drive was carried out when asked whether it was an emergency project,” sources said. They added when Kejriwal asked why proper rehabilitation measure was not taken before demolition, Railway officials said they will inform the their Board and Ministry about it.”CM was not happy with the Railway officials’ response and he would take up the matter with Railway Minister,” sources also said.The Delhi government ordered a magisterial probe into the demolition of 1200 slum units at Shakur Basti in West Delhi and planned to move court seeking FIR against those who ordered the action citing the Special Provision Act according to which no demolition can be carried out until government needs land urgently.The railways, on its part, said the removal of “fresh encroachment” was necessary for expanding the infrastructure and that the action had been taken after three notices, the first one with the March 14, 2015 deadline.The baby’s grandmother, however, said it was wrong on the part of the railways to deny any connection of the demolition drive with the death of the child, saying “the officials never informed us in advance”.

Shakur Basti demolition: AAP govt orders probe, Kejriwal to take up the issue with Suresh Prabhu

After meeting the evicted dwellers, Kejriwal said that those people had been living there since 1992-94, but in one moment, Railway demolished the shanties.

People collect their belongings after a demolition drive carried out by railways in Shakur Basti of Delhi on Sunday

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will take up the demolition drive in Shakur basti and death of a baby at the site with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as he was not satisfied with the ministry officials’ response.”In the meeting, Railway officials told the CM said that there is no rehabilitation scheme before demolition. The Chief Minister completely rejected the claims of the Railways,” said a Delhi Government official. After meeting the evicted dwellers, Kejriwal said that those people had been living there since 1992-94, but in one moment, Railway demolished the shanties. “Those who have done this (demolition of shanties) are not humans, instead they are animals and bestial,” Kejriwal said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said that the Railway officials failed to give satisfactory response in the meeting with the Delhi CM. “Railway officials failed to give satisfactory response as to why demolition drive was carried out when asked whether it was an emergency project,” sources said. They added when Kejriwal asked why proper rehabilitation measure was not taken before demolition, Railway officials said they will inform the their Board and Ministry about it.”CM was not happy with the Railway officials’ response and he would take up the matter with Railway Minister,” sources also said.The Delhi government ordered a magisterial probe into the demolition of 1200 slum units at Shakur Basti in West Delhi and planned to move court seeking FIR against those who ordered the action citing the Special Provision Act according to which no demolition can be carried out until government needs land urgently. The railways, on its part, said the removal of “fresh encroachment” was necessary for expanding the infrastructure and that the action had been taken after three notices, the first one with the March 14, 2015 deadline.A six-month-old baby died in one of the slum units, which the railways insisted had “nothing to do with removal of encroachments”, claiming that it occurred two hours before the demolition started at 12 pm. Police said prima facie the baby died due to suffocation after a heap of clothes fell on it when the parents were preparing to clear out of the jhuggi and hence no case was registered. The baby’s grandmother, however, said it was wrong on the part of the railways to deny any connection of the demolition drive with the death of the child, saying “the officials never informed us in advance”. “They had made a plan to demolish the shanty and had surrounded the area. There was chaos and when police started chasing us, we started running and in that moment the luggage fell on the child and he died after that. Had they informed us in advance, we would have not come in their way,” the victim’s grandmother said, adding “As police started chasing us and throwing our items, we panicked. We want rehabilitation.” Kejriwal, who visited the site late last night, slammed the railways for undertaking the demolition drive at a time when the temperature saw a sharp drop. He ordered officials to immediately provide blankets and food to those who were rendered homeless following the drive.Earlier in the day he told the reporters, “A child has died here. It is a very sad thing and I think that a murder case should be registered against the officers. Compensation will be taken from them. It should be deducted from the salaries of the officers who have conducted these raids.” In a series of tweets, Kejriwal had said, “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.”The Chief Minister said that he had spoken to Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, who was “not aware of this operation. He was also shocked. In a statement released later in the evening, the Delhi government blamed the railways for demolishing the shanties in Shakur Basti “without any survey/rehabilitation plan for the slum dwellers leaving them without shelter in cold weather.” “This is against the provisions of extant Slum and J J Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy of GNCTD. This policy has been framed as per the provisions of DUSIB Act, 2010; Special Provisions Act, 2011, Master Plan of Delhi 2021 and various landmark judgements of Supreme Court of India and High Court of Delhi,” it said.The AAP government also said this demolition is against the decisions taken in the meetings held between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and senior railway officers on May 8 and September 22 this year. “The Delhi Slum and J J Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy envisages that shanties in Delhi will not be demolished without rehabilitation of eligible dwellers as per provisions of the said policy. “Whether the dwellers are eligible for rehabilitation or not can be ascertained only after the joint survey and eligibility determination by Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) and Land Owing Agency, which in this case is Railways. But unfortunately no such survey was conducted by Railways before carrying out this demolition,” it said.It also alleged that railways did not even inform DUSIB about the demolition “thereby causing a great hardship to the dwellers as even the relief arrangement such as food and water etc. could not made for the victims of this demolition.”

Shakur Basti demolition: Prior notice was given, says Railways

More than 500 slums were demolished in an anti-encroachment drive conducted by the Indian Railways in Shakur Basti on Saturday

ANI Twitter
The Indian Railways, which has drawn major flak for demolishing slums in an anti-encroachment drive in Shakur Basti here, said on Sunday that the notice to vacate the shanties was given a long while ago. “We had given notice in March, September to vacate but they didn’t. We had no police support then,” said Delhi divisional railway manager (DRM) Arun Arora. “We have a joint report including police, RPF and our engineering officer’s signatures. We have informed this to Delhi Chief Minister today,” he added. More than 500 slums were demolished in an anti-encroachment drive conducted by the Indian Railways in Shakur Basti on Saturday. Slum residents created an uproar after a child was found dead. They alleged that then child had died in the anti-encroachment drive.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Railway sources, however, have denied the allegations, saying that the death of the child occurred in one of the slums around 10 am and had nothing to do with the removal of encroachments. The residents also insisted that their homes were demolished without any prior warning or notice. According to the Railways, a number of notices were issued to encroachers to vacate its land during the last nine months, but the locals did not vacate.

Shakur Basti demolition: Kejriwal urged Suresh Prabhu to look into JJ dwellers issue in December 1 letter

In his letter to Prabhu dated December 1, Kejriwal assured that the Delhi Government will extend “full” co-operation for providing flats constructed under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for relocation of JJ dwellers

Shakur Basti demolition site

Image courtesy: ANI
Days before a fresh confrontation erupted between Delhi and the Centre over the death of a baby during an anti-encroachment drive by railways, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had written to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu urging him to look into the issue of rehabilitation of JJ dwellers staying along the rail track on “priority” basis.In his letter to Prabhu dated December 1, Kejriwal assured that the Delhi Government will extend “full” co-operation for providing flats constructed under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for relocation of JJ dwellers. “I would like to impress upon you to get the matter regarding rehabilitation of JJ dwellers squatting in the safety zone (15 metres on either sides of rail track) examined on priority.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) will extend full co-operation for providing flats constructed under JNNURM for relocation of these dwellers,” Kejriwal wrote. In the letter, the Delhi Chief Minister also drew Prabhu’s attention towards an old communication between the two regarding new Delhi Slum Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015, which is currently under Union Ministry of Urban Development’s examination.Kejriwal mentioned in the letter the issue of shifting six JJ clusters falling in the safety zone, which the Chief Minister said, is pending before Green Tribunal. “The Tribunal had sought appearances of DUSIB on October 7, 2015 (in the matter). Principal Secretary (Urban Development), Government of NCT of Delhi had convened two meetings on this issue on October 13 and November 9, 2015 to sort out the matter but it seems there are certain issues still to be decided at the Railway Board/Ministry level,” Kejriwal said in the letter.He further said Railways had deposited Rs 11.25 crore in the year 2003-04 for relocation of approximately 4,410 JJ dwellers but only 257 JJ dwellers could be rehabilitated as due to another court matter, the Slum and JJ Wing of MCD (now DUSIB) had to transfer approximately 8,000 developed plots for JJ dwellers to DDA on priority basis.”Now, DUSIB can adjust the amount already deposited by the Railways along with interest but rehabilitation can only be done as per the new/extant rehabilitation policy and at the cost of rehabilitation as per the policy,” the CM said. A fresh confrontation has erupted between Delhi government and Centre following death of a six-month-old baby in Shakur Basti area of West Delhi where the railways had undertaken a drive to remove encroachments yesterday. This had evoked angry protests from Kejriwal who wanted murder case to be registered.

Railways demolition: AAP accuses Centre of ‘selective targeting’

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Railways defend demolition drive after child dies in a slum

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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.

Chennai floods: Railways to run special trains to help stranded passengers

However, trains continued to be cancelled in large numbers and tracks remain submerged in many places.

PTI
With the waters receding slowly in some areas in Tamil Nadu, the Railways have increased their deployment to rescue stranded people, with around 10 to 20 special trains running everyday, evacuating people in large numbers.”The water has receded in some areas in Chennai and we are repairing the damages in tracks and bridges. We are using more of the special trains and are planning a massive deployment. We ran 22 special trains yesterday and have planned 10 special trains today. Additional coaches are on standby for the specials,” Railways Public Relations Officer Anil Saxena told ANI. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, trains continued to be cancelled in large numbers and tracks remain submerged in many places.”Even though the special trains are doing well, we hope that by evening we can restore long distance trains. Chennai Central still remains waterlogged, which is making things difficult. Around 130 trains had to be cancelled today and we have cancelled around 500 trains till now,” Saxena added. Around 66,000 people have been rescued through the special trains and food, drinking water and medicines are also being distributed in large number, while railway engineers and technicians are working hard to normalise the situation and provide rescue and relief to stranded passengers, he added. Meanwhile, in a positive note for stranded passengers, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said that commercial flights are expected to begin their services after December 6, once power is restored in the airport.”We started technical flights yesterday, but resuming commercial flights services will take time as the airport basement remains flooded and there is no power supply. We expect commercial flight services to resume after December 6,” Sharma told ANI.With the torrential rains having slowed down to light showers, rescue ops and relief works have intensified as the NDRF and the Navy are taking advantage of the situation to help the stranded people.

Over 1000 stranded passengers rescued from Chennai airport

The Minister also informed that it has been decided to start limited commercial flight operations from Rajali Naval Air base from tomorrow.

Evacuation operations are on at the Chennai airport, with over a thousand stranded passengers rescued on Thursday. “The remaining 150 passengers will be rescued by Friday morning. Some of the evacuated passengers have been sent by road to Bangalore while some others have been flown out from the nearby Rajali Naval Air base at Arakkonam,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation and Tourism and Culture Mahesh Sharma said in a press conference in New Delhi this evening.The Minister also informed that it has been decided to start limited commercial flight operations from Rajali Naval Air base from tomorrow. “Air India and some private airlines have agreed to operate 6 flights from Arakkonam tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Rs. 1000/ as fare will be charged for travelling to southern states and Rs. 2000/ will be charged for northern states,” Sharma added. “Manual ticketing for the flights will be done at the Rajali Naval Air base. Passengers can carry only hand baggage in these flights, check-in baggage will not be allowed. Railways will operate shuttle services from Chennai Beach station to Arakkonam,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister also said that the flight details of these limited sorties will be available on DGCA website.

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.

Chennai rains: List of trains cancelled/diverted

Due to water overflowing at the railway tracks in Villupuram – Tambaram section, Southern Railways announced a list of trains cancelled/diverted on Tuesday.

A man rides his motorbike through a flooded road during heavy rain in Chennai, India, November 9, 2015.

Reuters
A fresh spell of rain battered many parts of Tamil Nadu and disrupted normal life, submerging pockets of Chennai under water. Schools and colleges in Chennai were once again shut as a result of the continuous rain.The met office has forecasted scattered to heavy rainfall on Tuesday in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu following a trough of low pressure in the Bay of Bengal, closer to Sri Lanka.Due to water overflowing at the railway tracks in Villupuram – Tambaram section, Southern Railways announced that the following trains are cancelled/diverted on Tuesday.Trains cancelled ON December 1<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Train No.16105 Chennai Egmore – Tiruchendur ExpressTrain No.16713 Chennai Egmore – Rameswaram ExpressTrain No. 16115 Chennai Egmore – Pondicherry ExpressTrain No.12693 Chennai Egmore – Tuticorin Pearl City ExpressTrain No.12661 Chennai Egmore – Sengottai Pothigai ExpressTrain No.16101 Chennai Egmore – Rameswaram ExpressTrain No.16179 Chennai Egmore – Mannargudi Mannai ExpressTrain No.16177 Chennai Egmore – Tiruchchirappalli Rockfort ExpressTrain No.11063 Chennai Egmore – Salem ExpressTrain No.16175 Chennai Egmore – Karaikkal Kamban ExpressTrain No.16183 Chennai Egmore – Thanjavur ExpressTrains diverted on December 1Train No.15120 Manduadih – Rameswaram Express is diverted to run via Chennai – Perambur – Jolarpettai – Salem – Karur – Dindigul to RameswaramTrain No.22404 New Delhi – Pondicherry Express diverted via Perambur – Katpadi – Villupuram to PondicherryTrain No.12633 Chennai – Kanniyakumari Express diverted via Jolarpettai – Salem – Karur and DindigulTrain No.12642 Nizamuddin – Kanniyakumari Tirukkural Express diverted via Chennai – Jolarpettai – Salem – Karur – DindigulTrain No.16723 Chennai – Trivandrum Express diverted via Jolarpettai – Erode – Podanur – ErnakulamTrain No.12631 Chennai – Tirunelveli Express diverted via Perambur – Katpadi – VillupuramTrain No.12637 Chennai – Madurai Pandian Express diverted via Jolarpettai – Karur – DindigulTrain No.16859 Chennai – Mangalore Express diverted via Perambur – Jolarpettai – ErodeTrain No.12644 Tiruchchirappalli – Howrah Express diverted via Villupuram – Katpadi – Chennai –Train No.12638 Madurai – Chennai Pandian Express diverted via Dindigul – Karur – Jolarpettai to Chennai EgmoreTrain No.12632 Tirunelveli – Chennai Nellai Express diverted via Villupuram – Katpadi – Perambur to Chennai Egmore

Facing harassment, female passenger seeks help on Twitter, Railway Ministry comes to the rescue

On 26 November, a woman travelling alone on a outstation bound train in Maharashtra took to twitter to seek help in a harassment related issue.

The woman tweeted:

NDTV reported that a senior officer, Ved Prakash took notice of the tweet and told the Central Railway chief PRO, Narendra Patil to help the woman. Patil also replied to her tweet, seeking information about the train and she was also asked to contact the security helpline number 182. The Railway Ministry’s twitter account responded:

Patil is quoted in the website as saying, “the man had a wait-listed ticket and his behaviour and body language did not seem to be decent and since Mahajan was travelling alone, she felt terrified.”

The Times of India reported that as the train reached Bhusaval, she was helped by RPF Jawans. The male passenger was moved to another coach as he had a valid ticket to travel on the train.

Over 300 projects pending with railways, says NITI Aayog’s transport adviser

New Delhi: The Railways’ target of doubling of 12,000 km of existing corridors in the next five years, has been termed as “aggressive” by the transport advisor, who also said that more than 300 projects are still pending with it due to lack of resources and other constraints.

Transport Advisor in Niti Ayog, Manoj Singh said the track record of Railways has “not been very impressive” and multiple-gauging of 12,000 km of corridor will be challenging.

Pending projects in Railways. AFPPending projects in Railways. AFP

Pending projects in Railways. AFP

“12,000 kms of doubling in the next five years is very aggressive. They have not done it before. Railways has done only 3,500 kms in the past five years. So, against their historical record, it is aggressive. Also, in the sense of huge projects that they still have to complete,” he said.

Singh was speaking at an event during the ‘Urban Mobility India Expo 2015’ in New Delhi.

He said there are more than 300 projects that are pending with the Railways due to various reasons.

“Many projects have lacked behind schedule due to lack of resources. More than 300 projects including that of new line, doubling and gauge converging are pending,” he said.

Finding sufficient resources for projects and their timely execution are the two key challenges the railways has to deal with, he said.

“The resource requirement is mammoth. Around (Rs) 3 lakh crore is required for the pending projects. Another (Rs) 1 lakh crore is needed for the capacity expansion by doubling the corridors. So, total (Rs) 4 lakh crore is required, though Railway is confident of mobilizing it,” Singh said.

Singh said apart from the financial constraints, Railways has all the expertise to deliver the projects.

“There are a large number of Railway engineers working on major projects like the Konkan project, metro and the dedicated freight corridors. It has the technical expertise to deliver,” he said.

PTI

Tamil Nadu celebrates Karthigai Deepam today

The non-stop rains and waterlogging in Chennai seems to have put a spanner in people’s plans to attend the festival.

Representational Image

The important festival of Karthigai Deepam is being celebrated in Tiruvanamalai today. In lieu of the number of the thousands of people expected to attend the festival, the Southern Railways is operating special trains on November 24 and 25 between Chennai and Tiruvanamalai. The non-stop rains and waterlogging in Chennai seems to have put a spanner in people’s plans to attend the festival though. There were fewer people taking the special trains on November 24. The Southern Railways PRO told the media, “The number is comparatively less than last year. But it is very early to say how many people travelled as more people might take the special train tomorrow.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Around 20 lakh people are expected to be in Tiruvanamalai on Wednesday to attend the Karthigai Deepam. Tiruvannamalai Collector Gnanasekaran told the media at a press conference that security has been beefed up. He stated, “CCTV cameras have been set up in 56 arterial places with watch towers placed in 23 places. Eleven temporary bus terminuses have been created to cater the 2,400 special buses that will reach the town by tomorrow.”What is Karthigai Deepam? This is a festival observed during the month of Karthigai according to the Tamil calendar. When the moon is in conjunction with the constellation Karthigai or Pleiades and pournami, this festival is celebrated. The constellation appears as a group of six stars which according to Indian mythology are the six nymphs that reared six babies that formed the six-faced Muruga. He is thus called Karthikeya in this form and Karthiga Deepam is celebrated as his birthday. Lighting of the Tiruvanamalai Maha Deepam The Maha Deepam is usually lit after 6 pm. A copper cauldron which is about 6.5 feet in height is carried by men to the top of the Annamalai hill. The wick is made of gada material while ghee mixed with camphor is used for the lamp. This Maha Deepam is visible to people in a 30 km radius. As soon as the deepam is lit, the Tiruvanamalai temple is shut till the next morning. Special Trains: No 06033 Chennai Central-Tiruvannamalai: November 25 – leaves Chennai Central at 9.15am and reaches Tiruvannamalai at 3.15pm No 06034 Tiruvannamalai-Chennai Central: November 25 – Leaves Tiruvannamalai at 11pm and reaches Chennai Central at 3.30 am oN November 26.

Differently-abled candidates fail to give railway exams after shoddy arrangements

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered a probe after it was alleged that many disabled candidates could not reach the centres on Thursday for an online recruitment test which was held on the second and third floors of buildings with no lifts or ramps.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the case.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
An embarrassed Railways on Friday cancelled an exam at 12 centres and ordered an inquiry after differently-abled aspirants faced a harrowing time as their examination centres were located in on higher floors in buildings with no lifts or ramps.Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered a probe after it was alleged that many disabled candidates could not reach the centres on Thursday for an online recruitment test which was held on the second and third floors of buildings with no lifts or ramps. Some parents even had to carry their wards up the stairs for the exam which was organised by the Railways Recruitment Board on the orders of the Supreme Court as part of a special recruitment drive to fill up more than 450 seats.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Ordered to fix responsibility, if lapse in dealing with differentially abled, whom we respect & several schemes are in works for them,” Prabhu posted on microblogging site, Twitter.Railways have cancelled the examination at about 12 centres where inconvenience to candidates was reported, Railway Spokesperson Anil Saxena said.”All those who have faced problems in reaching the exam centres or failed to make it will be given another chance to reappear. The new date of examination will be intimated to them soon,” he said.There were 142 exam centres for about 1.5 lakh candidates across the country. Railways have blamed the private agency which was hired to suggest centres for the online examination for wrong selection of test venues. A senior railway official said action will be taken against the private agency

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.

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.

Suresh Prabhu, Devendra Fadnavis meet to boost Maharashtra railways, state to get Rs 4400 crore this year

Maharashtra will get Rs 4400 crores this financial year against the allocation of Rs 1560 crores during the 2014-15 period for railway projects falling fully or partly in Maharashtra. The announcement was made during a meeting between railway minister Suresh Prabhu and state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at Rail Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Maharashtra will get Rs 4400 crores this financial year against the allocation of Rs 1560 crores during the 2014-15 period for railway projects falling fully or partly in Maharashtra. The announcement was made during a meeting between railway minister Suresh Prabhu and state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at Rail Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday.Railway officials told Fadnavis that a total of 127 kilometres of new track would be commissioned by the end of financial year 2015-16. These include 86 km on Udhna-Jalgaon route, 26 km of Kasu-Roha section, 6 km on Godhani-Kolumna and 9 km on Hotgi-Tilati sections. The railways had commissioned 50 kms of new track in the financial year that ended on March 31, 2015.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Another important project, Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli New Line (261 km) project has been taken up on 50:50 cost sharing basis with the state government. The railways requested Fadnavis to release the Rs 160 crores (part of the state’s share) for the current year for the project.The railways also asked the state government to prevail upon CIDCO to ensure that the latter gives land for the Dedicated Freight Corridor’s western leg between JNPT Port and Dadri-Noida at market prices. CIDCO, according to railway officials, is charging three times the prevailing marker rates which is making the economics of the project ‘tough’. The DFC, whose target was revised to 2018- from the previous 2019, is the game-changer for the railways with targets of higher freight revenue than current levels.The meeting also gave a boost to the Wadsa-Gadchiroli (50 km) new line project falling in a part of the state severely affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE). The line, taken up by Railways at a cost of Rs 470 crore with 50% cost sharing by the State Government, will soon be declared a Special Railway Project. The railways would be approaching the Union home ministry for approval of the special mechanism under which such projects falling in areas affected by LWE are funded.

Railways to launch special safety app for women passengers

To curb crimes against women travellers, Railways today said an all-India mobile application service will be launched through which immediate help from the Railway Protection Force could be availed.

To curb crimes against women travellers, Railways today said an all-India mobile application service will be launched through which immediate help from the Railway Protection Force could be availed.”Some zonal railways such as Western Railway have launched mobile application for providing security to women passengers besides installing CCTV in trains,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said at the RPF Investiture Parade ceremony in New Delhi.The App, a security and safety measure, is being developed in coordination with RPF.Since railways is the soft target from unscrupulous elements and divisive forces, there will be a strategic cell for RPF to tackle the growing threat from such elements, a senior official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In order to assess the threat perception, RPF needs a strategic cell. We need a change in the system and for this adequate funds will be provided to RPF,” Prabhu said.Focusing the need for technology upgradation, he said, “sometime there are attempts to obstruct the economic development by obstructing the rail movement. There is a requirement for technology upgradation and training of RPF personnel to prevent such incidents.”Dwelling on the menace of without ticket travel in trains, Prabhu said, “there will be a massive drive against the without ticket travellers. A drive has already been launched against the touts involved in cornering tickets in illegal way.”Stressing the need for coordination with the state police, Railway Minister said he has written letters to all Chief Ministers requesting cooperation from states on the subject.”RPF along with GRP will also work to prevent theft in railways and there is a need for coordination with the state police to prevent theft in railways. I have written to all CMs for better coordination with the state police to check crime in trains effectively. There is a requirement of seamless policing for effective control of crime,” he said.

Waitlisted passengers will now get confirmed berth under new railways scheme

Known as Viklap, the alternative train accommodation scheme will take off in trains running on Delhi-Lucknow and Delhi-Jammu sectors from November 1, on a pilot basis.

Indian Railways

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Railways is launching a new scheme tomorrow under which waitlisted passengers can get confirmed accommodation in next alternative train if they opt for the option while booking their tickets online.Known as Viklap, the alternative train accommodation scheme will take off in trains running on Delhi-Lucknow and Delhi-Jammu sectors from November 1, on a pilot basis.Initially, Vikalp scheme will be available only for the tickets booked through internet for six months and option will be limited to mail and express trains on the two selected routes, said a senior Railway Ministry official. As per the scheme, waitlisted passengers of a train would be given option of getting confirmed accommodation in the next train running on the route.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway aims to achieve the twin objectives of providing confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers and ensure optimal utilisation of available accommodation by this scheme. While there is a huge demand for train berths in certain sector round the year, some routes witness increased rush during festive season.Describing the scheme as a “passenger friendly” move to provide confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers in alternative trains, the official said, the scheme will be extended to reservation booking counters and also on other routes after getting the feedback.Passenger, if opts for the Vikalp scheme while booking tickets online, will get SMS alert on their mobile phone about getting confirmed accommodation in alternative train. As per the scheme, there would be no extra charges taken from the passenger or any refund provided for the difference of fare.The name of passenger who have been provided accommodation in the alternative train will not figure in the waitlisted charts of their original train, the official said, adding a separate list of passengers transferred in alternative train will be pasted along with the confirmed and waitlist charts.

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.”

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.

Central Railways to run Mumbai-Hatia festive special trains from October 16

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The train will stop at Dadar, Kalyan, Igatpuri, Nashik Road, Manmad, Bhusaval, Akola, Badnera, Wardha, Nagpur, Gondia, Durg Raipur, Bilaspur, Jharsugada and Raurkela. It will consist of 18 coaches, including 16 general coaches, the release said.

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The Railways have decided to run about 12 trains of unreserved compartment from Mumbai CST to Hatia (Jharkhand) and back from October 16 to November 21 to clear extra rush of passengers during the festive season.Accordingly, train number 01213 will depart Mumbai CST on Fridays from October 16 to November 20 at 12.20 am and arrive in Hatia next day (Saturday) at 5.45 am. It will pass Wardha at 12.32 pm and Nagpur at 2.45 pm on Fridays, a release issued by Nagpur division of Central Railway, said today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Similarly, train number 01214 will leave Hatia on every Saturday from October 17 to November 21 at 6.20 am and reach Mumbai CST on Sundays at 1.15 pm. It will reach Nagpur at 9 pm and Wardha 10.42 pm on Saturdays.The train will stop at Dadar, Kalyan, Igatpuri, Nashik Road, Manmad, Bhusaval, Akola, Badnera, Wardha, Nagpur, Gondia, Durg Raipur, Bilaspur, Jharsugada and Raurkela. It will consist of 18 coaches, including 16 general coaches, the release added.

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Samjhauta Express cancelled due to local agitation, say Indian authorities

New Delhi: Rejecting charges that it had “stopped” Samjhauta Express, India on Friday said it was cancelled due to local agitation and Indian authorities had informed their Pakistani counterparts about it in advance.

The Indian response came as Pakistan summoned India’s Acting Deputy High Commissioner S Raghuram and expressed concern over the cancellation of operation of Samjhauta Express on Wednesday due to farmer protest on the Indian side, leaving over 200 passengers from both countries stranded.

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Asked about reports in the Pakistani media that the Samjhauta Express was “stopped” by India yesterday, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “Samjhauta Express was among 75 trains traveling through Punjab that were cancelled due to local agitation, including rail blockade.”

“Indian Railway authorities had informed in advance their Pakistani counterparts that the train would not be able to run in such a situation,” he said.

Swarup said as a number of Indians scheduled to travel to India from Pakistan could not do so, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad is in touch with the Pakistan government to ascertain their numbers and ensure that all necessary assistance is extended to them.

“MEA has requested Indian Railways to work with authorities concerned in Punjab to resolve the situation at the earliest, and put extra bogies for catering to stranded passengers on both sides for the next run of the train normally scheduled for 11-12/10,” he said.

Over 200 Indian and Pakistani passengers of Samjhauta Express were stranded on Wednesday at the Wagah railway station for over five hours after the train was not allowed to leave for Attari because of the farmers’ protest on rail tracks in Punjab.

A Pakistan Railways spokesman said the Samjhauta Express, which ferries passengers from Pakistan on Mondays and Thursdays, would now leave for Attari on Monday.

PTI

Samjhauta Express cancelled due to local agitation: India

The Indian response came as Pakistan summoned India’s Acting Deputy High Commissioner S Raghuram and expressed concern over the cancellation of operation of Samjhauta Express yesterday due to farmer protest on the Indian side, leaving over 200 passengers from both countries stranded.

Rejecting charges that it had “stopped” Samjhauta Express, India on Friday said it was cancelled due to local agitation and Indian authorities had informed their Pakistani counterparts about it in advance.The Indian response came as Pakistan summoned India’s Acting Deputy High Commissioner S Raghuram and expressed concern over the cancellation of operation of Samjhauta Express yesterday due to farmer protest on the Indian side, leaving over 200 passengers from both countries stranded.Asked about reports in the Pakistani media that the Samjhauta Express was “stopped” by India yesterday, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “Samjhauta Express was among 75 trains traveling through Punjab that were cancelled due to local agitation, including rail blockade.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Indian Railway authorities had informed in advance their Pakistani counterparts that the train would not be able to run in such a situation,” he said.Swarup said as a number of Indians scheduled to travel to India from Pakistan could not do so, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad is in touch with the Pakistan government to ascertain their numbers and ensure that all necessary assistance is extended to them.”MEA has requested Indian Railways to work with authorities concerned in Punjab to resolve the situation at the earliest, and put extra bogies for catering to stranded passengers on both sides for the next run of the train normally scheduled for 11-12/10,” he said.Over 200 Indian and Pakistani passengers of Samjhauta Express were yesterday stranded at the Wagah railway station for over five hours after the train was not allowed to leave for Attari because of the farmers’ protest on rail tracks in Punjab.A Pakistan Railways spokesman said the Samjhauta Express, which ferries passengers from Pakistan on Mondays and Thursdays, would now leave for Attari on Monday.

Railways to earmark four lower-berth seats for senior citizens and pregnant women

The increase, however, will not be applicable in the AC three tier and AC two tier coaches where the quota earmarked for them will remain at two for the lower berths.
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In a relief to senior citizens, female passengers above the age of 45 and pregnant women, the Railways on Wednesday decided to increase the lower-berth seat quota earmarked for them to four from the current two.The increase, however, will not be applicable in the AC three tier and AC two tier coaches where the quota earmarked for them will remain at two for the lower berths.”Recently, this accommodation earmarked in sleeper class has been enhanced to four lower berths per coach instead of two lower berths per coach as per earlier provision. There is, however, no change in the number of lower berths earmarked in 3AC and 2AC classes,” the Railways said in a statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The reservation quota of two lower berths per coach for these passengers in all trains with sleeping accommodation had come into force in 2007. The move came following complaints received by the Railways that in case two senior citizens (husband and wife) booking berth under this quota, were denied this facility despite both passengers being senior citizens.”It was, therefore, being requested that this facility should be provided even when two senior citizens are going together,” the statement said.While earlier senior citizens/female passengers above the age of 45 years/pregnant women could book accommodation under this quota only when travelling alone but now they will be able to book accommodation even when two passengers of these categories are travelling, the statement added.

Special train between Nanded and Pune to ease festival rush

The special train between Nanded and Pune will run every Thursday.
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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

Ahead of Rail Roko in Punjab, Railways cancel and divert trains between October 7-10

As many as 12 trains will be diverted on October 9, including Amritsar-Bilaspur Express, Amritsar-Nanded Express, Kalka-Shirdi Express, Chandigarh-Madurai Express, Jammu Tawi-Madras Express and Bilaspur-Amritsar Express.
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A day ahead of Punjab farmers’ ‘Rail Roko’ protest, Railways on Tuesday announced cancellation and diversion of several trains due to non-interlocking work being carried out at Asaoti in Delhi Division. Railways announced cancellation of six trains and diversion of nine on October 7 and 8, an official release issued said.Among the trains which were cancelled are Amritsar-Indore Express, Ferozpur-Mumbai Central Express, Indore-Chandigarh and Mumbai Central-Ferozpur Express. Among the diverted trains are Amritsar-Bilaspur, Nanded- Amritsar and Bilaspur-Amritsar Express, it said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railways have also announced cancellation of 7 trains, including Chandigarh-Indore Express, Ferozpur-Mumbai Central Express, Kochuveli-Amritsar Express and Yasvantpur-Chandigarh Express on October 9 and 10, it said.As many as 12 trains will be diverted on October 9, including Amritsar-Bilaspur Express, Amritsar-Nanded Express, Kalka-Shirdi Express, Chandigarh-Madurai Express, Jammu Tawi-Madras Express and Bilaspur-Amritsar Express.

As Premium trains crash, railways ride Suvidha

The railways, having jumped on to the Suvidha train bandwagon, is now, at least in private, admitting that the earlier avatar of the scheme – the market-controlled dynamic fare premium concept — was ‘illogical’ and ‘extremely passenger-unfriendly’. Started in December 2013 on the Mumbai-Delhi route, Premium trains hit passengers’ pockets deep. Fares often crossed the Rs 10,000-mark. dna gives a break-up of why the concept was the most illogical one. The Premium train loot: Independent class structureSingularly, the most illogical system. Under this structure, all classes — 2AC, 3AC and Sleeper — were considered as separate units while calculating the base price of a particular day or time of booking. Since people prefer lower classes – a hallmark of almost all developing economies – this structure created a situation where 3AC fares exceeded those of 2AC. For example, if 20 people are vying for a 2AC ticket costing Rs 1,500 and 30 people for a 3AC ticket costing Rs 1,000, the computer formula would decide that the demand for 3AC tickets had reached its peak and would promptly increase the price of 3AC tickets to the maximum Rs 3,000 – three times the fare. The same formula would decide that the demand for 2AC tickets are still away from peaking and would set its price at Rs 2,000. So, there will be hundreds of passengers buying 3AC tickets for Rs 3,000 and hundreds of others buying 2AC tickets for Rs 2,000.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Absolute secrecy in fare formulaCloaked in absolute secrecy, the fare formula of Premium trains was set in a ‘take it or leave it’ manner on the IRCTC website. Even today, most railways officials are unaware of the nitty-gritty of how the formula for the day’s fare is calculated. Moreover, the railways never informed passengers the rates for different classes at the time of booking. In fact, one of the instructions in the railway commercial circular 33/2015 on Suvidha trains is that ‘information should be displayed to the passenger during booking, in case the fare of the lower class becomes higher than the higher class’. Abuse of monopolyBlatantly abusing its monopoly, the railways decided that there would be no refund, once the ticket was booked, whatever be the reason (except only if the service gets cancelled). No pantry car, yet pay catering chargesThe Premium train fare would include catering charges, despite the fact that several premium trains were overnight ones and some others did not even have pantry cars. The result was that when other trains were running fully packed, with long waiting lists, Premium trains were running at 30 per cent occupancy levels. This left 70 per cent seats to perish, though there were twice that many passengers on the waiting list for other trains. On silent modeIn private, officials admit that the premium fare concept and its lack of logic just showed how incompetent several senior commercial as well as Railway Board officials were when it came to trying to get the railways out of the financial mess it was in. Mails sent to railway minister Suresh Prabhu and messages sent to Kundan Sinha, member (traffic), railway board, did not elicit any response. The Suvidha schemeThe new Suvidha scheme, running since end-July and expected to peak during the forthcoming Diwali-Dussera-Christmas season, appears logical, at least on paper, though it is still early days. The fare system follows the ‘bucket’ format. It means that the entire ticketing is broken up into five parts – or buckets- with a proportionate increase for every bucket. The base fare is fixed at the tatkal fare of the top-most train on the same route. The first 20 per cent tickets will be sold at this price. The next 20 per cent will be 1.5 times the base fare. The third bucket of 20 per cent will be 2 times the base fare, the fourth 2.5 times, and the last 20 per cent 3 times the base fare. The Suvidha system provides for refunds, RAC tickets and non-compulsory catering charges.

New all-India railway timetable comes into force from today

The Ministry of Railways has released its new All India Railway Time Table known as TRAINS AT A GLANCE (TAG) 2015-16 which came into effect on Thursday.

Indian Railways

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The Ministry of Railways has released its new All India Railway Time Table known as TRAINS AT A GLANCE (TAG) 2015-16 which came into effect on Thursday.All 17 Zonal Railways have also released their new timetables from October 1, reports Zee Media. The Railways has retained all the user-friendly features of Trains at a Glance, i.e. ow to read a table, route map, station index, trains between important stations, station code index, Train number index, Train name index, commercial information of passenger use and interest viz. advance reservation period, reservation through internet, Tatkal scheme, Refund rules, disaster management, rail travel concessions etc.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Zee Media reports that the public grievance mechanism has also been upgraded. An online public grievance redressal portal i.e. www.coms.indianrailways.com.in has been launched, which is a web-based complaints and suggestions application. Passengers now can also lodge complaints and make suggestions through SMS on 9717630982.Six new express trains which were introduced recently have been included in the new timetable. Some train timings and terminals have been changed. This is especially true in areas like Jammu, Delhi, Patna, New Jalpaiguri and Bengaluru. Moreover, some trains have been speeded up. Some trains have been renumbered and/or renamed. The 12723/12724 Hyderabad – New Delhi AP Express has been renamed to Telangana Express and 17035/17036 Secunderabad – Sirpur Kaghaznagar Express has been renamed to Kaghaznagar Express. The 22415/22416 Visakhapatnam – New Delhi Express has been named to Andhra Pradesh AC Express.You can access the new timetable will all changes at www.indianrailways.gov.in

Google to provide wi-fi at 500 Indian railway stations

Google will collaborate with Indian Railways to provide wi-fi services at 500 stations by next year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced as he visited the headquarters of the search engine giant here.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Sundar Pichai, Larry Page, Eric Schmidt at the Google headquarters PMO twitter page.

Google will collaborate with Indian Railways to provide wi-fi services at 500 stations by next year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced as he visited the headquarters of the search engine giant here.Modi, who took a tour of the Google campus seeing the latest products and forward-looking researches, was given a presentation of Google Earth in which the ghats of his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi were shown.He appreciated and encouraged Google to develop Apps which could benefit the common man as he participated in Hackathon under which its employees sat for 15 hours straight to devise such Apps for use in India.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Making brief remarks to the Google employees, most of whom are Indians, Modi announced that “Indian Railways and Google will collaborate to provide wi-fi at 500 railway stations in India.”Earlier, India-born Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the seach engine giant will provide high speed internet services at 100 railway stations in India initially and then expand it by 400 more by next year.Recalling his young days when he used to travel by train from Chennai to Kharagpur, Pichai noted that 25 million people daily ride the Indian Railways which has 7500 stations.He also pointed out that the lenght of Indian Railways is twice the distance between Earth and Moon.Modi pointed out that the network of Indian Railways is equivalent to a country in Europe.43-year-old alumunus of IIT-Kharagpur, Pichai said the wi-fi services will be provided to support Modi’s ‘Digital India’ campaign.He also announced that Google will launch an Android next month enabling users to type in 11 Indian languages, including Modi’s mother tongue Gujarati.Appreciating Google employees for Hackathon, Modi hoped that such a culture develops in India also.Noting that technology has given new power to democracy, he urged Google employees to look for solutions to problems like poverty.The Prime Minister expressed confidence that technology will bring qualitative change in life with time and through its proper utilisation.In a lighter vein, he said technology was born to save time but what happened was just the opposite.”Today, everybody spends maximum time on the internet… Even when a child asks him mother to give milk, she says ‘wait, first let me forward this WhatsApp’,” Modi said, evoking laughter all around.Pichai said that there was immense “hunger” for technology in India which was reflected when Google launched Chrome browser some time back and India was the first country to adopt it in major way.During his tour of Google campus, Modi asked that Khagaul in Bihar to be shown on Google Earth when he was given a glimpse of the unique tool. Khagaul near Patna is where the great ancient astronomer Aryabhatta had an observatory.Pichai explained navigational, safety and other uses of Street View and Google Earth to Modi.Another project that was shown to Modi was Project Iris, smart lens that measure glucose levels. Before leaving Google, Modi had a group photo with its top officials.

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.
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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.

Railways to seek Rs 1 lakh crore for safety upgrade after series of train accidents

Chairman Railway Board (CRB) AK Mital said Railways is finalising a safety plan at an estimated cost of about Rs 1 lakh crore.

On August 5, 2015, 29 people were killed as two express trains derailed within minutes of each other on flooded tracks while crossing a railway bridge in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh.
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Picture Courtesy: PIB
Rattled by a spate of train accidents in which several lives were lost, Railways on Tuesday said “enough is enough” and any “laxity on safety front is not acceptable” as it decided to seek Rs 1 lakh crore funds from the Finance Ministry for safety upgrade.Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, expressing serious concern over the derailments in the recent past, asked general managers of all zones to “pull up their socks”.”Negligence and carelessness will not be tolerated. Safety is not negotiable. There should be safety audits at all levels and action taken on the audit reports should be followed up and monitored regularly,” Prabhu is understood to have said here at the GMs meet called specifically to review safety after the series of train mishaps.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking “accountability” in case of safety failure, he also asked the GMs and Railway Board to fix the responsibility at every level. While four persons including two foreign nationals were killed in two accidents last Saturday, there were twin derailments in Madhya Pradesh on August 7 in which 30 passengers died.Mumbai suburban rail service also witnessed two derailments in two days though there was no casualty.Addressing the safety meeting, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha took strong exception to the series of mishaps and said “Enough is enough. Now time has come for taking hard decisions.” He asked GMs to make necessary changes, if necessary in safety drill. “If you want to make any changes in the safety functioning then do it. We are with you for it.” He also asked for filling up safety posts on a priority basis.Chairman Railway Board (CRB) AK Mital said Railways is finalising a safety plan at an estimated cost of about Rs 1 lakh crore. “We are preparing a comprehensive safety plan which include elimination of all level crossings, strengthening of the track and bridges among others and it would cost about Rs 1 lakh crore,” Mital said.The Finance Ministry will be approached for the special safety fund to upgrade the safety in rail network, he added.

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.
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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.

Britons killed as India train derails

At least two British tourists are killed and at least five people are injured after a chartered train derails in northern India, officials say.

Eight trains derail in 2015: Modern infrastructure is alright, Mr Prabhu; what about passenger safety?

In 2015 alone, there have been eight train accidents due to derailment. Nearly 190 people have lost their lives in these accidents this year alone, with hundreds others injured, and thousands others displaced due to disrupted services and diverted trains.

Twin accidents in Harda district in Madhya Pradesh in August 2015.

Atleast two people have lost their lives, and eight others have been reported injured in the Mumbai-bound Duronto Express train accident on Saturday morning. The train derailed in Kalburgi, Karnataka in the wee hours of Saturday, September 12th.Nine compartments of the Duronto Express derailed at Martur village station, about 20 kilometres from Kalburgi between 2.15 am and 2.20 am, the Kalburgi Superintendent of Police Amit Singh said.This is the second train accident in the first 12 days of September alone. On September 4, atleast 42 people were injured after six coaches of the Chennai-Mangalore Express derailed in Tiruchi area near Poovanaur district in Tamil Nadu. While the incident did not account for any casualties, atleast three people were seriously injured, and train services to Chennai Egmore from south Tamil Nadu were disrupted for several hours due to the accident.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>August accounted for a shocking twin train accident in Madhya Pradesh, where Kamayani Express from Mumbai to Varanasi, and Mumbai-Jabalpur Janata Express – derailed at a gap of seven minutes, about 30 kilometres from Harda district in Madhya Pradesh. Six coaches of Kamayani Express and three coaches, including the engine of Janata Express derailed as the base material of the train tracks was washed away after a sudden flash floods. 29 people lost their lives in the accident, and the central railway had cancelled 57 trains, while Western railways had cancelled 22 trains till the tracks were restored.A top railway officer had later said that “Regular monsoon patroling was not being done between Khirki and Bhirangi section as the officials did not find it vulnerable to accidents in rainy season going by the past history.”ALSO READ: Madhya Pradesh train tragedy: Railways skipped monsoon patrolling at mishap spot?8 trains have derailed in 2015
Feb 13: 12677 Bangalore – Ernakulam Intercity Express derailed near Anekal at 7.35 am. 12 people lost their lives and and 100 were reported injured.

Mar 1: 12617 Ernakulam – Hazrat Nizamuddin Mangala Lakshadweep Express derails near Pen station, Maharashtra; no one is injured.
March 20: Dehradun-Varanasi Janta Express derails in UP’s Rae Bareli. 39 people lost their lives, and 150 were reported injured.
May 25: Muri Express derails in UP leaving four dead and over 50 persons injured.
Aug 4: 11071 Mumbai Varanasi Kamayani Express details, bogies fall into Machak river after flash floods caused the tracks to misalign. ​
Aug 4: Mumbai-Jabalpur Janata Express derailed at the same spot after seven minutes. The twin accidents killed 29 people, and left 100s injured.
Sep 4: Chennai-Mangalore express detailed in Tiruchi area, injuring 42, including fatally injuring 3 persons.
Sep 12: Mumbai-bound Duronto Express derails in Kalburgi, Karnataka, leaving two persons dead and eight injured.
The year 2015 has seen eight train accidents due to derailment. Nearly 190 people have lost their lives in these accidents this year alone, with hundreds others injured, and thousands others displaced due to disrupted services and diverted trains.Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has laid out an ambitious budget plan for the Indian Railways, calling for an investment of Rs 1 trillion in this financial year, and Rs 8.5 trillion over the next five years, from both, public and private companies, and from foreign investors.In June, Prabhu, while comparing the Indian and Chinese railway network, had said that there hasn’t been enough investment in railways in the last forty years.Prabhu also expects nearly Rs 9.28 lakh crore ($140 billion) investment from Japan to modernize railway stations.The first aforementioned investment has been earmarked for easing railway traffic — Prabhu says that most railway lines are running at 100% capacity, leading to heavy congestion. He said that laying a one kilometre rail link will cost Rs 10 crore, and doubling or tripling of an existing railhead will cost Rs 6 crore.Apart from this, Japan will be helping India modernize 400 railway stations by participating in the Indian Railways’ Rs 9.28 lakh crore ($140 billion) investment over the next five years. Prabhu had met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Ab, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso, among other ministers and senior officials.While there is a need to set up new rail lines to reduce congestion, and an even more dire need for modernizing our railways stations, maintaining existing railway lines and tracks, and an upkeep of the existing infrastructure cannot be ignored. Doing so has already proved to be fatal. India has the one of the world’s largest railway networks in the world, in terms of length. Keeping this in mind, it is easy to guesstimate the magnitude of investment that will be required to maintain and upkeep the existing railway lines so that such accidents can be avoided going ahead. There is an immediate need for the ministry to focus on this.

2006 Mumbai train blast case: Quantum of sentence to be announced on Monday

On July 11, 2006, a series of seven blasts was carried out over a period of 11 minutes on suburban trains in Mumbai, claiming 187 lives.

In this photograph taken on July 11, 2006, rescue workers search for bodies inside the mangled compartment of a blast affected local train at Mahim railway station in Mumbai.

AFP
The Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Friday has held 12 of the 13 accused arrested in 2006 serial train blast case guilty under UAPA, damage to public property, Railways act, Explosives Substances Act and the IPC. However, the one acquitted has been cleared of all the charges. The court will decide on the sentencing on Monday.On July 11, 2006, a series of seven blasts was carried out over a period of 11 minutes on suburban trains in Mumbai, claiming 187 lives. In the last nine years, the case witnessed countless twists and turns. In fact, the prosecution dropped many of its theories that it had relied on initially.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence advocates said, “Earlier, the prosecution had claimed that some people, who looked Kashmiri, had visited a shop to buy pressure cookers to put the explosives in. None of the arrested accused, however, looked Kashmiri. So they dropped the pressure cooker theory and said the accused had used a rexene bag.”According to the police, highly sophisticated explosives had ripped through the first-class general compartments of seven suburban trains, all headed towards distant western/northern suburbs. Two of the blasts – in Mahim and Borivali – took place while the trains were nearing the stations. The remaining took place in trains moving away from the platforms. The explosions were so powerful that they ripped the double-layered steel roofs and sides of each of the seven compartments, throwing injured and dead passengers out.At Mahim and Borivali stations, apart from the passengers in the compartment, the explosions killed and injured people waiting on the platforms and even those travelling by trains in opposite directions. A few panicked passengers had jumped off the trains on hearing the explosions, only to get killed under the trains on the tracks.The quantum of punishment will be announced on September 14, Monday, by the judge after hearing arguments of the both sides.

CPI(M) slams PM Modi over removal of bureaucrats

File picture

The CPI-M on Sunday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the “abrupt removal” of bureaucrats in the Central government, saying it only bred uncertainty about job security.First, it was Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, then SPG chief Durga Prasad and now Home Secretary LC Goyal, the party said in an editorial in party mouthpiece “Ganashakti”. “A dissent in brewing among bureaucrats in the central government. This abrupt removal of bureaucrats proves that no officer has a job security. Any day he can either be asked to take voluntary retirement or be fired,” the editorial said.The party pointed out that there were allegations that the government was not taking into confidence senior bureaucrats of respective departments.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It came into the fore after the Home Secretary said he is not aware of the nitty gritties of Naga accord. In the last one year, several senior officials of Railways, Human Resource development, Road transport had been abruptly removed or transferred either they were not like by the respective minister, prime Minister or the RSS,” the editorial said.The editorial went on to claim, “From the very beginning it was noticed that the Prime Minister had tried to control the bureaucrats. Secondly, mostly officers of the Gujarat cadre are being brought in and placed in senior positions. But the question is who is controlling the scenes from behind. Is it Modi or the RSS?” Senior IAS officer Rajiv Mehrishi was appointed as Union Home Secretary replacing LC Goyal whose tenure abruptly ended 17 months before the completion of his two-year tenure.Goyal had taken over as Home Secretary nearly seven months back on February 5 in place of Anil Goswami who was sacked after he allegedly tried to prevent the CBI from arresting former Union Minister Matang Sinh in connection with Saradha chit fund scam case. Earlier, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh was eased out of her office in January, six months before the completion of her two-year tenure.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis promises jobs, water to drought-hit farmers

Devendra Fadnavis says government will use railway wagons to supply drinking water to affected villages.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis

The government would be giving employment to farm labourers from all the drought-hit districts of the state and provide drinking water to such villages by deploying railway wagons.Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis assured the villagers in parts of Solapur district that his government would take all necessary steps to mitigate the worst ever drought being faced by the state. Fadnavis visited various areas in Solapur on Sunday and reviewed the situation during a meeting at the end of day-long trip. The Solapur unit of Bharatiya Janata Party donated Rs1 lakh towards chief minister’s drought-relief fund. Solapur resident Dr Jayant Golwalkar also donated Rs1 lakh towards drought-relief measures.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fadnavis went on to visit Kurnur dam in Akkalkot taluka. He also visited Kardehalli in Mohol taluka and Rampur to witness de-silting of a dam. In Malikpet in Mohol taluka, Fadnais met farmers whose cane crops were damaged due to lack of rains. He also met farm labourers working under the Employment Guarantee Scheme at Kardehalli and interacted with them.The chief minister assured the farmers that the state government would not spare any effort to help them in mitigating the worst ever situation faced by state due to drought. He said that the government has prepared a detailed plan to provide water to every village. He said that state government would take help from the Railways to provide water by railway wagons wherever necessary and feasible.Fadnavis informed the farmers that his government has decided to help their children by paying for their educational fees. This fees, he said, would include that of professional courses. He assured the farmers that the state has planned for providing employment to all the farm labourers in drought-hit districts so that they can have a livelihood despite the lack of rainfall.

23 Duronto trains to have commercial halts

“We have identified 23 out of 54 Duronto trains whose technical stoppages would be converted into commercial ones to increase patronage,” railways officials said.

At present, Duronto trains run from originating stations to the terminating stations without any halts in between.

Railways have decided to convert technical stoppages of 23 Duronto trains into commercial ones, thus enabling passengers to book tickets and board from such stops. “We have identified 23 out of 54 Duronto trains whose technical stoppages would be converted into commercial ones to increase patronage,” railways officials said. The 23 Durontos include the Howrah-New Delhi Duronto which would have commercial stoppages at Dhanbad and Kanpur.Mumbai Central-New Delhi AC Duronto would have stoppages at Vadodara, Ratlam and Kota. Yashwantpur-Delhi Sarai Rohilla AC Duronto would have stoppages at Guntakal and Secunderabad while Howrah-Yashwantpur Duronto would stop at Bhubaneswar, Vizianagaram, Vijayawada and Renigunta, officials said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Likewise, Delhi Sarai Rohilla- Jammu Tawi Duronto would have stoppages at Ludhiana and Chennai-Hazrat Nizamuddin Duronto at Vijayawada, Balharshah, Nagpur and Jhansi. Bhubaneswar-Delhi Duronto express would halt at Mughalsarai and Kanpur and Ernakulum-Nizamuddin Duronto would have stoppages at Kota, Ratlam, Vadodara, Panvel, Ratnagiri, Madgaon, Mangalore Jn, Kozhikode.A formal announcement of the stoppages and bookings at these halts would be made soon, officials added. At present, Duronto trains run from originating stations to the terminating stations without any halts in between.However, for operational reasons, they are provided technical stoppages at major junctions, though bookings are not allowed in these stations.

Modi’s strategic climbdown on land bill portrays him as a democrat, not a dictator

0The contentious ordinance on land acquisition will not be re-promulgated. It will now be allowed to lapse on 31 August.

In the 11th edition of his ‘Mann ki Baat’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi set a new precedent for himself and his government — make key policy announcements directly to the public.

While making this big declaration and adding that enhanced compensation benefits will be henceforth be given to farmers, he has sought to correct an anti-farmer perception about his government. The farmers whose land will be acquired in 13 other categories, were also exempt under various other Central laws as specified in UPA’s 2013 Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (RFCTLARR ). Modi also set a new agenda for the Lalu Yadav-Nitish Kumar-Sonia Gandhi ahead of the combine’s Swabhimaan rally in Patna, scheduled only two hours later.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a file photo. AFP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a file photo. AFP

The decision not to promulgate the ordinance on land acquisition for the third time is a big U-turn by the Modi government, and something that gives the Congress and other political rivals an opportunity to celebrate the beating of a retreat by the Centre. By choosing to make this announcement on the ‘Mann ki Baat’ platform, Modi has sought to give the impression that he is not dictatorial in his thoughts and action, something alleged repeatedly by his rivals. The message that he is a democrat and his government which “has an open mind” was “willing to accept any suggestion for benefit of farmers”, was made with a finger on the public pulse. This was also an admission and indication that his party and government had bungled on the subject and had the heart to admit it. It is also notable that he didn’t attach any personal ego or prestige to this policy issue.

Modi suggested that the ordinance and consequent amendments in the land acquisition bill were carried out with a good intent and purpose, but since perception mattered most in politics and governance, he was taking a step or two back. At the same time, he didn’t name the Congress for creating an impression “an atmosphere of confusion and fear” even though the suggestion for amendments had come from the states (including then Congress-ruled Haryana and Maharastra).

The reversal of a policy decision of this magnitude — where the entire leadership of the government and the party had put its collective prestige at stake — could not have been easy for Modi. Land acquisition was also considered to be a necessary component for fulfilling the development and job-oriented promises made by Modi in the run up to 2014 parliamentary elections.

By making a turnaround, he has faced criticism from business, industry and other related quarters that the government’s reformist resolve was weakening. But under the prevalent circumstances, the BJP believes that this is a politically prudent move.

Modi has gone a step ahead in listing the compensation benefits in 13 other categories — an area that the 2013 Act had left open to correction at a future date. Prior to the ‘Mann ki Baat’ address, the Union Rural Development Ministry issued a notification saying “as per the provisions of article 123 of the Constitution, the RFCTLARR (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2015 (5 of 2015) shall lapse on the 31st August, 2015, thereby placing the land owners at the disadvantageous position, resulting in denial of benefits of enhanced compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement to the cases of land acquisition under the 13 Acts specified in the Fourth Schedule to the RFCTLARR Act as extended to the land owners under the said Ordinance. Therefore, since the Central Government considers it necessary to extend the benefits available to the land owners under the RFCTLARR Act to similarly placed land owners whose lands are acquired under the 13 Central enactments specified in the Fourth Schedule, the Government has decided to uniformly apply the beneficial provisions of Section 105 of the RFCTLARR Act relating to the determination of compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement as were made applicable to cases of land acquisition under the said enactments in the interest of the land owners”.

The 13 Central enactments in fourth schedule include the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, Atomic Energy Act, Damodar Valley Corporation Act, Indian Tramways Act, Land Acquisition (Mines) Act, Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, The National Highways Act, Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, Resettlement of Displaced Persons (Land Acquisition) Act, Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition and Development Act,  Electricity Act and Railways Act.

He is also using this self-devised platform for reconciliation to address areas of social conflict such as the violence in Gujarat during the Patel reservation agitation which led to the loss of 10 lives and substantial damage to public and private property, and the lessons of love and harmony as enshrined in Sufi tradition. Youth, women, children and Clean India continued to be go-to areas in his ‘Mann ki Baat’. The fact that he talked about Dengue-related hygiene concerns — dos and don’ts — portrays an attempt to reach out to all sections of society.

His announcement of the acquisition of two sites related to Dr BR Ambedkar — one in Mumbai and the other in London — for the purpose of building memorials in his name, is politically and socially significant. Modi and the BJP are wooing the Dalit community in Bihar and UP, as also in other parts of the country. And now, while he may have ceded ground on the land bill, he has given himself a new talking point while campaigning for the BJP in Bihar elections.

Land bill: NDA may favour withdrawal of contentious amendments

New Delhi: Apparently keen to shed the “anti-farmer” tag ahead of assembly polls in Bihar, the NDA government is likely to favour withdrawal of all major contentious amendments in the land acquisition act of 2013 that it had brought through an ordinance last December.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Its decision to allow the executive measure to lapse is part of the larger plan as it is not keen to push for the changes in the UPA law, sources said.

However, Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, does not treat it as “defeat” for the government.

“It was never a matter of ego for us. We still believe that both the interests of farmers as well as the development should go hand in hand. The bill is still before the Parliamentary Committee. We will wait for its final report,” Singh told PTI.

He said that the government has already agreed to accept whatever unanimous recommendations the committee gives.

“The committee unanimously recommended that they are not in favour of removing consent clause and SIA (social impact assessment).

Moreover, our purpose that farmers whose land are acquired under the other 13 laws continue to get the benefits of compensation, relief and rehabilitation is served by this government order,” the Union minister said.

He was asked why the government did not promulgate the ordinance for the fourth time to maintain “continuity” as it did on previous two occasions after bringing the 13 other central acts under the purview of land bill through an ordinance in December 2013.

“The prime consideration behind our bringing ordinance was to ensure the compensation and relief and rehabilitation provisions of the 2013 land Act are also applicable to farmers, whose land is acquired under the 13 other Central Acts and that their interest must be protected.

“From January 1 till now, our efforts have been in that direction. The previous government did not do it. Hence we had to do it,” Singh said when asked why the government brought the ordinance at the first place if it had to finally dump the changes like removal of consent clause and SIA that were brought through the ordinance last December.

Giving up the ordinance route, the government yesterday issued an ‘order’ to include 13 Central Acts like National Highway and Railways Acts to extend benefits to those whose land is acquired under land law.

The ordinance also made significant changes in the Land Acquisition Act including removal of consent clause for acquiring land for five areas – industrial corridors, PPP projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.

With the quiet burial given to the executive measure and the Joint Committee of Parliament headed by BJP MP SS Ahluwalia already favouring bringing back consent and SIA clauses in land bill, the NDA is unlikely to bring them back even in Winter session when the panel will submit a report, the sources said.

They said the realisation that changes introduced in UPA’s law will be difficult to implement for it had dawned on it by May when the issue saw a consolidation of non-BJP parties so much so that even allies of NDA joined the issue opposing the clauses of removal of consent clause of social impact survey through the ordinance.

“This is not a matter of life or death for me. And neither was it the agenda of my party or the government,” the prime minister said in last week of May summing up the mood of the government.

With NDA allies like Shiv Sena, Akali Dal and Swabhimani Paksha as well as four RSS bodies opposing the changes in 2013 land bill, the realization within the government was complete that continuing with the changes won’t be possible.

In August, the BJP members in the Parliamentary panel made a major climbdown and agreed to bring back the key provisions of UPA’s land law including the ones on consent clause and social impact assessment and drop controversial amendments brought by the Narendra Modi government in December last year through an ordinance.

“They were not opposing. They were only putting forth their point of views. Government had from the very beginning maintained that it is open to accept any suggestion, which is in interest of farmers. So where is the question of victory or defeat,” Singh asked.

Attacking the Congress for not bringing these 13 laws under the purview of UPA land Act, Singh said he was surprised as to why the previous government did not do so.

Singh, who had formerly been in Congress, had on many occasions said the land bill was passed by the UPA in a hurry keeping in mind Lok Sabha polls under Rahul Gandhi‘s push.

“It is beyond my understanding these 13 acts were left out when 2013 land law was enacted. All these are central Acts and should have been brought under the ambit of the UPA land law then itself. Why it was not made applicable to them then,” Singh said.

The Land Acquisition Act, 2013 had exempted 13 acts from its purview with the condition that they would be included under the purview of the act within one year. The NDA’s ordinance brought these 13 acts under the new land law.

These acts include the Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition and Development Act 1957, the National Highways Act 1956, Land
Acquisition (Mines) Act 1885, Atomic Energy Act 1962, the Indian Tramways Act 1886, the Railways Act 1989, the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958, the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act 1962 and the Damodar Valley Corporation Act 1948.

The other ones include The Electricity Act 2003, Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act 1952, the Resettlement of Displaced Persons (Land Acquisition) Act 1948 and the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act 1978.

PTI

Government issues notice to include 13 central Acts in Land Law

New Delhi: Giving up the ordinance route, government on Saturday issued an ‘order’ to include 13 central Acts like National Highway and Railways Acts to extend benefits to those whose land is acquired under land law.

The order issued by the government under the removal of difficulties clause (Section 113) in the Land Act now extends the provisions relating to the determination of compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement to all cases of land acquisition under 13 central acts which were left out in the 2013 law.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

By using the clause, government has done away with the need to issue the controversial land ordinance for a record fourth time. The ordinance will lapse on 31 August, six weeks after the commencement of the Monsoon session — 21 July.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi is understood to be in favour of issuing such an order, but the Law Ministry said only an ordinance can be brought to bring the 13 acts under the ambit of the land law.

Since a Joint Committee of Parliament is examining the amended land bill brought by the NDA government, it did not touch upon the controversial clauses which were part of the ordinance.

Congress, which has been opposing the amended bill, had fiercely attacked it when the Ordinance was last re-promulgated on May 31.

Since it is now decided that the ordinance will not be re-issued, government may not have to prorogue the Monsoon session which was adjourned sine die on August 13 amid indications that it may be reconvened to take up the GST bill.

The Land Acquisition Act, 2013 had exempted 13 acts from its purview with the condition that they would be included under the purview of the act within one year. The NDA’s ordinance brought these 13 acts under the new land law.

The ordinance also made significant changes in the Land Acquisition Act including removal of consent clause for acquiring land for five areas — industrial corridors, PPP projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.

Under the amended Act, 13 legislations, including those relating to defence and national security, to provide higher compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement benefits to farmers whose land is being acquired have been brought under the Centre’s purview.

Under the ordinance, the mandatory “consent” clause and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) will not be applicable if the land is acquired for five purposes.

These include,national security, defence, rural infrastructure including electrification, industrial corridors and building social infrastructure including Public Private Partnership (PPP) where ownership of land continues to be vested with the government.

PTI

Govt issues order to include 13 central Acts to give benefits to those affected by land acquisition

New Delhi: Giving up the ordinance route, government on Friday issued an ‘order’ to include 13 central Acts like National Highway and Railways Acts to extend benefits to those whose land is acquired under land law.

PTI

PTI

The order issued by the government under the removal of difficulties clause (Section 113) in the Land Act now extends the provisions relating to the determination of compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement to all cases of land acquisition under 13 central acts which were left out in the 2013 law.

By using the clause, government has done away with the need to issue the controversial land ordinance for a record fourth time. The ordinance will lapse on 31 August, six weeks after the commencement of the Monsoon session – 21 July.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi is understood to be in favour of issuing such an order, but the Law Ministry said only an ordinance can be brought to bring the 13 acts under the ambit of the land law.

Since a Joint Committee of Parliament is examining the amended land bill brought by the NDA government, it did not touch upon the controversial clauses which were part of the ordinance.

Congress, which has been opposing the amended bill, had fiercely attacked it when the Ordinance was last re-promulgated on 31 May.

Since it is now decided that the ordinance will not be re-issued, government may not have to prorogue the Monsoon session which was adjourned sine die on 13 August amid indications that it may be reconvened to take up the GST bill.

The Land Acquisition Act, 2013 had exempted 13 acts from its purview with the condition that they would be included under the purview of the act within one year. The NDA’s ordinance brought these 13 acts under the new land law.

The ordinance also made significant changes in the Land Acquisition Act including removal of consent clause for acquiring land for five areas — industrial corridors, PPP projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.

Under the amended Act, 13 legislations, including those relating to defence and national security, to provide higher compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement benefits to farmers whose land is being acquired have been brought under the Centre’s purview.

Under the ordinance, the mandatory “consent” clause and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) will not be applicable if the land is acquired for five purposes.

These include,national security, defence, rural infrastructure including electrification, industrial corridors and building social infrastructure including Public Private Partnership (PPP) where ownership of land continues to be vested with the government.

PTI

Land bill: Ball in the court of Joint Committee of Parliament, says Rural Development minister

He said that the Centre also wants to include the 13 central acts under the ambit of 2013 land law.

He said that the Centre also wants to include the 13 central acts under the ambit of 2013 land law (File Photo)

As Government weighs various options to wriggle out of the contentious land bill, Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh on Thursday insisted the prime consideration behind bringing an Ordinance on it was to bring land acquisition under 13 other excluded central acts under the ambit of 2013 land law.Singh, however, evaded direct answers when asked whether the government will, for the sake “continuity” or otherwise promulgate land ordinance for the record fourth time when it expires on August 31. He said the government has to wait for recommendations of the Joint Committee of Parliament headed by BJP MP SS Ahluwalia in order to replace the Ordinance with a law passed by Parliament. “The bill has been sent to the Joint Committee of Parliament and the Joint Committee at the fag end of the Monsoon session sought extension of time in a third row till the next session of Parliament. We have to wait for their recommendations,” he said when asked what the options before the government on land bill now when the panel is yet to submit a report and the Ordinance is expiring on August 31.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When asked whether the government will allow Ordinance to lapse, Chaudhary said,”that is to be seen. The ball is in the court of the Joint Committee. The entire thing is totally now in their court. Had the committee brought its report, we were ready to accept the recommendations. Prime Minister has already said it was not a matter or prestige for the government,” he said. The minister’s remarks come as the government is yet to announce its decision on land ordinance amid different views being expressed about its next move.While there is a view that the government may not like to re-issue the ordinance for the fourth time and give further ammunition to Opposition to attack it on farmer front when elections are to be held in agrarian state Bihar soon. The other view is that in order to maintain continuity of the law, the ordinance, which had brought under the land acquisition process under 13 other so far excluded central laws, has to be re-promulgated. “It is beyond my understanding these thirteen acts were left out when 2013 land law was enacted. All these are central Acts and should have been brought under the ambit of the UPA land law then itself. Why it was not made applicable to them then. “The prime consideration behind our bringing the Ordinance was to ensure the compensation package of the land Act is also applicable to farmers, whose land is acquired under the 13 other central Acts and that their interest must be protected. From January 1st till now our efforts have been in that direction,” Chaudhary said.The government had brought the ordinance making changes in UPA’s land law, removing consent and social impact assessment clauses from it and bringing land acquisition under 13 other central acts also under its ambit The provisions of the rehabilitation, resettlement and compensation provided in the land law will be applicable to the 13 existing Central pieces of legislation as long as they remain under the ambit of land law. If not done so, land could be acquired under these acts with no uniform central policy of rehabilitation and resettlement.Sources said the RD Ministry directly approached the Attorney General a few days ago to seek his views on can, without re-issuing the ordinance, the clause on removal of difficulties may be used to include the 13 central acts, which were kept out of the ambit of the Land Acquisition Act 2013.Sources said while is the AG is said to have said that it was possible, the Law Ministry has not found favour with it. Under the removal of difficulties clause, power is sometimes conferred on the government to modify the provisions of the existing statutes for the purpose of removing difficulties. When the legislative passes an act, it cannot foresee all the difficulties which may arise in implementing it. The executive is, therefore, empowered to make necessary changes to remove such difficulties.A senior functionary in the rural development ministry also said that such an step of seeking to bringing change in a statute passed by Parliament by a government order may not sustain in a court of law if challenged and hence this option may not be “legally untenable”. When asked repeatedly about the options before the government if it wanted to maintain continuity of Ordinance, the Rural Development Minister quipped “the state governments also have a role” but did not elaborate.He further said that the states should also frame the rules, which they have not done so far due to which the acquisition of land has not taken off in a number of states. The minister’s remarks came at a time when the government is weighing options to wriggle out of the contentious land ordinance and was toying with the idea of using clause to remove difficulty to bring 13 central acts under the ambit of land acquisition law without going in for a fresh executive order. These acts include the Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition and Development Act 1957, the National Highways Act 1956, Land Acquisition (Mines) Act 1885, Atomic Energy Act 1962, the Indian Tramways Act 1886, the Railways Act 1989, the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958, the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act 1962 and the Damodar Valley Corporation Act 1948. The other ones include The Electricity Act 2003, Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act 1952, the Resettlement of Displaced Persons (Land Acquisition) Act 1948 and the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act 1978.The Land Acquisition Act, 2013 had exempted 13 acts from its purview with the condition that they would be included under the purview of the act within one year. The NDA’s ordinance brought these 13 acts under the new land law.

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