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Another train derails near Kanpur: 62 injured

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than 60 passengers were injured in Wednesday’s Ajmer-Sealdah Express derailment accident near Kanpur, raising serious questions on the safety of train passengers in the country. While the cause of the accident could not be ascertained, sources said railway fracture was suspected to be the possible reason for derailment of 15 coaches Ajmer-Sealdeh Express.The incident comes just a month after 150 people were killed and more than 200 injured when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express train derailed in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh on November 20. While the investigation report of that incident is yet to come out, initial report had suggested rail fracture as possible reason for that accident too. Incidentally, both these accidents occured in the early hours of morning.Wednesday’s mishap took place when the train was crossing a bridge overhead a dry canal in the area and reportedly two coaches of the train also fell in the canal. Some railway officials, who did not wish to be named, said it was almost miraculous that there were no casualties. They added that had the train been running on a high speed, the impact of the accident would have been much more. “The train had just pulled out of a railway station and its speed was rather slow. The train was travelling at a speed of 108km per hour,” an official said.Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced a thorough investigation into the accident and Commissioner Railway Safety of Northern Circle was put in charge of the inquiry. Sources in Railways said a possible fracture in the track appeared to be the prima facie cause of the mishap. Maintenance issues coupled with drop in temperature cause fracture in rails. A senior railway official, however, said that weather and fog had no role to play in Tuesday’s accident.There has been an increase in incidents of derailments this year. According to railways data, there have been 67 derailment cases this year since April while it was 52 in the corresponding period last year. Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohd Jamshed however, said that the total number of accident cases has come down in comparison to previous years though the railways’ plan of action is to achieve zero accident target. The total number of accidents was 137 three years back which has come down to 87 this year, Jamshed said. Prabhu announced ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 for seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for people with minor injuries. 62 people suffered injuries and 11 of them had grievous injuries, a railway official said.

Rail fracture suspected to be reason for Ajmer-Sealdah Express derailment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rail fracture is suspected to be the possible reason for the Ajmer-Sealdah Express derailment near Kanpur causing injuries to over 50 passengers. Though the real reasons behind the derailment would be ascertained after the completion of the inquiry, prime facie it seems a possible fracture on the track caused the mishap, sources in the railways said.Maintenance issues coupled with drop in temperature cause fracture in rails. The railways had witnessed a major train accident involving Indore-Patna Express which claimed 150 lives just 38 days back at Pokhrayan near Kanpur. While the final report about the mishap is yet to be submitted, initial report had suggested rail fracture as possible reason for it.Both train mishaps involving derailment of several coaches had occured in the early morning hours near Kanpur.However, while 14 coaches of Indore-Patna Express got derailed claiming lives of about 150 passengers on November 20, the railways said there was no casualty in today’s derailment involving 15 coaches of Ajmer-Sealdah Express.”There were no casualties and 53 passengers were injured in the derailment of 15 coaches of Ajmer-Sealdah Express,” said railway spokesperson Anil Saxena.He said an inquiry has been ordered into the Ajmer-Sealdah Express accident. Commissioner Railway Safety of Northern Circle will hold the inquiry and submit the report at the earliest.Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced ex-gratia for the injured passengers in the mishap. While those passengers with serious injury will get Rs 50,000 as ex-gratia, passengers with simple injury will get Rs 25,000.

Trains to and from Howrah and Sealdah diverted: Eastern Railway

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A number of mail and express trains of Eastern Railway were diverted through different routes on Wednesday owing to derailment of 15 coaches of Ajmer-Sealdah Express near Rura station in Kanpur-Tundla section. With both Up and Down lines having been blocked owing to the derailment, several trains to and from Howrah and Sealdah were diverted, Eastern Railway sources said in Kolkata.Both 12313 Up Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express and 12301 Up Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express were diverted via Kanpur Central-Jhansi-Agra Cantonment-Palwal route, the sources said. The 12308 Dn Jodhpur-Howrah Express has been diverted via Achhnera-Mathura-Kasganj-Kanpur Anwarganj-Kanpur Central, while 12260 Dn New Delhi-Sealdah Duronto Express was diverted via Khurja-Moradabad-Mughalsarai route.The 12382 Dn Poorva Express, which left New Delhi on Tuesday, would run via Palwal, while 12312 Dn Kalka Mail of Tuesday would travel towards Howrah via Moradabad. ER has opened helpline numbers at important stations of the zonal railway to provide information to the relatives of the passengers travelling by the ill-fated Sealdah-Ajmer Express that met with the accident this morning.The helpline numbers are — Howrah: 10724, Sealdah: 033-23503535, 033-23503537, Asansol: 0341-2306131, 0341-2304614, Barddhaman: 0342-2662535, 0342-2550705, 0342-2662534, Raniganj: 0341-2444022, 0341- 2442630, Durgapur: 0343-2557251, 0343-2557253.

Railways asks West Bengal govt to take charge of all ongoing & new projects

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Railways has sent a letter to the West Bengal government stating that from now on the state has to take responsibilities of all ongoing and upcoming projects of the suburban system as well as Metro Railway.According to a highly-placed source at the state secretariat Nabanna, the letter addressed to the Chief Secretary, the Transport Secretary and the Urban Development Secretary, was sent last week from the Railways Works Planning Directorate.It stated that the Railways, in the last few years had incurred losses of around to Rs 15,000 crore due to delay in projects including Metro Rail projects, which were either delayed or stalled because of various hindrances.In the letter, the Railways has asked the state government to take responsibilities about removal and rehabilitation of encroaches on its land, feasibility study of any proposed project and so on, the officer said.It has also proposed the state can utilise funds meant for urban transport projects or can levy different forms of taxes and development fees to releasing project costs, he said.Incidentally, a couple of months back the Centre had verbally given similar proposals to the state government, which the latter had dismissed, the officer added.

Domestic carriers not operating from T3 has hit airport Metro

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Domestic low-cost carriers not operating from Terminal 3 has been a “setback” for the Airport Express Line of Delhi Metro, DMRC chief Mangu Singh has said.Although the premium corridor has scripted a turnaround of sorts with daily ridership touching a high of 50,000 in August this year, Singh suggested that the numbers could have been more had things panned out as per plan.When the 23-km-long corridor was being contemplated, it was planned that complete flight operations, including domestic, will be from T3, he said, but “we do not know” why authorities decided to continue with Terminal 1. “This is really a setback because we believe that passengers of domestic carriers use public transport. T3 people mostly travel in their own vehicles. However, we are running a feeder service between the two terminals and that has helped to some extent,” Singh said.At the planning stage, it was also envisaged that property development would be a major source of revenue for the corridor but low ridership was coming in its way, which prompted metro to slash fares, he said. The idea was that when footfall increases property development will follow, Singh said.Fares were cut by up to 50% in September last year to popularise the relatively expensive line that connects New Delhi Railway Station to T3. The maximum fare has been reduced to Rs 60 from Rs 180 while the minimum is Rs 10 against Rs 50 in 2013.As metro already had a robust system in place, operating the Airport corridor was not much of a challenge when it took over the operations from a private concessionaire in July 2013. “We had one big advantage because we were already operating a system. There were many things that we could simply absorb. Control centre was shifted here, similarly maintenance staff was shared. We could bring in a lot of efficiency as per operational and maintenance cost is concerned,” he said.As per official data, the average daily ridership figure of July, 2013, was 10,069. It subsequently rose to around 12,000 in March 2014 and further to 19,466 a year later.On August 28, 2015, more than 32,000 people had taken the corridor, also known as Orange Line and a year later it recorded the highest-ever ridership of 50,000.

State, Railways yet to form joint venture firm for rail projects

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>State, Railways yet to form joint venture firm for rail projectsOver a year after railway minister Suresh Prabhu and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met in New Delhi to discuss rail infrastructure and the modalities of forming a joint venture (JV) firm or special purpose vehicle (SPV) to fast-track Maharashtra’s rail projects, a Right to Information plea by DNA has shown that no such JV or SPV has as yet been formed.In its RTI reply signed by VS Dahiya, joint director (Works), Railway Board, the railway ministry stated, “The ministry of railways and the Government of Maharashtra are in process to form a joint venture company for the development of rail infrastructure in the State of Maharashtra. GoM has communicated their willingness to sign a JV with MoR. Neither any JV agreement has been signed, nor any SPV has been formed as yet.”According to railway officials, the SPV or JV will streamline the construction of rail infrastructure in the state as a dedicated team would work to carry out various legal processes to kick-start a project. “It would be like the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), a SPV between the state and the railways, that has been overseeing Mumbai’s rail projects and has been acting as a bridge between the state, the railway ministry, Western and Central railways, and the World Bank. It has increased the pace of work since the early 2000s,” explained an official.During the Delhi meeting between Prabhu and Fadnavis on November 4 last year, it was mutually agreed to form a SPV with Prabhu, even asking the state government to finalise a funding model for the SPV.According to officials, work on the SPV should be expedited as Maharashtra has got Rs 4767 crores for rail projects this year, a 206 per cent increase from the average of Rs 1171.4 crores received by the state between 2009-14. “When the funds are in, the work shouldn’t suffer,” said an official.Earlier, in a statement released on November 30 this year, the railway ministry had said that as of now five state governments — Chattisgarh, Haryana, Gujarat, Kerala, and Odisha — had formed joint venture firms with the railways. A total of 16 states had also decided to share costs in 43 projects, the total cost of the projects at current prices being Rs 62,379 crores.

Fight against demonetization to continue despite govt’s tactics of browbeating my party: Mamata

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said her fight against demonetization would continue despite the “Centre’s tactics of browbeating my party.”Stating that TMC parliamentary party leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay has received three calls from CBI, she said “Nothing will deter us from the fight against demonetization”.When contacted Bandopadhyay said that he has received three calls from CBI.”I called them (CBI) back. They said you have to come to our office”, he said.Bandopadhyay is also the chairman of Railway Standing Committee.Banerjee had yesterday attacked Modi government saying it did not understand the hardship faced by people who had turned ‘fakirs’ after demonetization.”Realising the people’s difficulties, Venezuala withdrew the decision on demonetization, but the Modi government doesn’t listen to anyone”, she had said.

CBI calls senior TMC MP, Mamata says ‘vendetta politics’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said her fight against demonetization would continue and accused the Narendra Modi government of resorting to “vendetta politics” after TMC parliamentary party leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay was called by the CBI.”Why is BJP govt doing vendetta politics? Our party LS leader got 3 calls from CBI. Nothing will deter us from fight against #DeMonetization”, the Trinamool Congress supremo said in a statement. She further said, “I read that new rules were announced today also. Every day a decision is changed it means this is an unstable government”. “Imagine the situation in an area where there is no bank! There is cash crunch as well as bank crunch”, she added. Bandopadhyay told PTI that he has received three calls from CBI.”I called them (CBI) back. They said you have to come to our office,” Bandopadhyay, who is also the chairman of Railway Standing Committee, said. Refuting the TMC’s charge of vendetta politics, BJP asked why is TMC afraid of CBI investigation if it has done no wrong and urged it to cooperate.”CBI is an autonomous body. Bandopadhyay should cooperate with CBI investigation. It is TMC’s duty to do so. Instead of crying vendetta politics to gain sympathy, the party should cooperate with the probe,” BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said.

Maharashtra assembly urges Centre to add ‘Maharaj’ to names of rail terminus, airport

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution on Friday urging the Centre to add “Maharaj” to the international airport and railway terminus in Mumbai, already named after Maratha warrior king Chatrapati Shivaji.The resolution seeks to rename the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport as “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport” and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station as “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus”.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis moved the resolution in the Assembly saying the house recommends the Central Government to rename the two facilities. He also moved another resolution urging the Centre to change the name of Elphinstone Road Railway station in Mumbai to Prabhadevi. Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil seconded the resolutions. The entire house welcomed both the resolutions by thumping desks, with some members from the treasury benches raising chanting “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki jai”.The sprawling railway terminus, a marvellous structure and UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in 1887 in Bori Bunder area of Bombay (now Mumbai) to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and had for over a century been known as Victoria Terminus before it was renamed after Shivaji in 1996, months after Bombay was renamed as Mumbai. The Sahar airport in the Western suburbs was renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in 1999. Later, domestic airport at Vile Parle also came to be known as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

Gujarat: Three arrested with 219 fake currency notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In two separate incidents, police have arrested three persons in Surat and Kutch with 219 fake currency notes having a total face value of Rs 1,09,500. In Surat, police nabbed a person with fake currency notes of scrapped Rs 500 tender, having face value of Rs 50,000 during routine check at Surat Railway station on Wednesday morning.Railway police have found 100 fake notes of Rs 500 denomination from one Burhanuddin Sajjad(45), a resident of Mumbai. Sajjad came under suspicion of Railway Protection Force (RPF) jawans when he was loitering on platform No-1 of Surat railway station after arriving there from Mumbai, said Police Sub Inspector with Government Railway Police(GRP), Surat, MR Malek. “After his arrival at Surat railway station, Sajjad’s movements raised suspicion among RPF. When RPF jawans checked, these notes turned out to be the copies of old Rs 500 note. We have arrested Sajjad after he was handed over to us,” said Malek. Further investigations are on to find out the source of the notes.Meanwhile, Kutch police nabbed two persons with 119 fake currency notes of the new Rs 500 bill, which they had allegedly printed at their office in Madhapar village on the outskirts of Bhuj town and intended to circulate in the market. Based on a tip off, Local Crime Branch (LCB) raided the office of a Company at Madhapar late last night and unravelled a racket of printing fake currency notes of new legal tender of Rs 500, said a release by Kutch-West LCB.
ALSO READ Rs 33 lakh in new Rs 2000 notes seized, 5 detained While searching the office, police found 119 fake notes of Rs 500 having total face value of Rs 59,500. Investigation by the police revealed that the duo had printed these notes using a colour printer at their office and wanted to circulate these notes, the release said.

AC rake trial pushed back again

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The first set of field trials of the air-conditioned rake scheduled for the early hours of Wednesday was postponed after officials from the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) expressed their inability to carry out trials at the present moment, said Central Railway officials. According to CR officials, the postponement came about after a team from Netherlands-based Strukton Rail was to be in Mumbai to take part in the filed trials had to reschedule their trip.The electrical systems and the Train Control and Management System of the train has been jointly built by BHEL and Strukton under a transfer of technology arrangement the former has with the Dutch firm.”The plan was to take the rake from Kurla Carshed to Karjat and then run it on the 14km Karjat to Khopoli section so that several initial readings of the rake could have been taken. There are 7-8 readings that will be ascertained during the Karjat-Khopoli section. Once permissions come in, we can start field trials in other sections beyond Kalyan,” said a CR official.The chances of the rake being run on the section between Kurla and CST is remote, said officials, because the AC rake is taller at 4295mm than conventional rakes. With Christmas round the corner, more delays in the field trials cannot be ruled out, said officials, as the number of leaves of staff increases. The chances that the rake might not be commissioned this financial year ending March31, 2017 is now higher with these delays, said officials.The first of the static trails within Kurla Carshed, where the rake is parked, started on November 2. According to railway officials who oversaw the trials then, the rake was tested for ‘coherence’ among all its different components.The rake was supposed to cost Rs 43 crores when the layout was approved by the railway ministry in March 2014. It was finally finished in March 2016- two years later- at a cost of Rs 54 crores. The Rs 54 crore tag is a sizable 25 percent increase in construction cost. It arrived in Mumbai on April 5.

You may soon have to pay more for safer trains

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railways has decided to increase passenger fares for raising its resources in order to create a special safety fund. The proposal for total grant of funds for creation of the same has been rejected by the Finance Ministry, sources said. According to the new plan, a safety cess will be levied to generate funds for strengthening track and upgrading signalling system and elimination of unmanned level crossings among other safety-related works to prevent mishaps.Earlier, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had written a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking Rs 1,19,183 crore to create the special Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh for undertaking various safety works. Sources said the proposal has not been accepted by the Finance Ministry which has asked railways to raise its own funds by increasing fares.The Finance Ministry has, however, agreed to provide 25 per cent of the total amount required for creating the special safety fund.“Though, the Railway Minister is not in favour of raising fares at this juncture when passenger bookings are falling and fares of AC-2 and AC-1 are already on higher side, the reluctance of Finance Ministry to provide a bail-out package has left the minister with no option,” a source said.According to the plan, the cess on Sleeper, Second Class and AC-3 will be higher while it will be marginal for AC-2 and AC-1. Though, a final decision in this regard is yet to be taken and modalities are still being worked out, sources said.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu asks people to voluntarily give up their fare subsidy

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has asked people to voluntarily give up their railway fare subsidy, special weekend fares for some trains and last-minute discounts on vacant berths, according to a report in The Indian Express.

File image of Suresh Prabhu. AFP

File image of Suresh Prabhu. AFP

The report, however, also said that it may be complicated to ask people to give up their railway fare subsidy.

For example, under the petroleum ministry, the bank accounts of customers were linked to their LPG connections, which made it easier for the people to give up their cooking gas subsidies.

PTI had earlier reported that railways will continue to function as a department run commercial undertaking and a separate statement of budget estimates and demand for grant will be created for the national transporter after the merger of Railway Budget with the Union Budget from the fiscal 2017-18.

The merger of the Railway Budget with the Union Budget is based on the recommendations of the committee headed by NITI Aayog Member Bibek Debroy, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain had said in a written answer.

He had said that a committee with representatives from Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Railways examined the issues involved and worked out the procedural details. A single Appropriation Bill, including the estimates of Railways, will be prepared and presented by Ministry of Finance to Parliament and all legislative work connected therewith will be handled by Ministry of Finance.

The Railways will get exemption from payment of dividend to General Revenues and its capital-at-charge would stand wiped off. Finance Ministry will provide Gross Budgetary Support to Railways towards meeting part of its capital expenditure and the national transporter may continue to raise resources from market through extra-budgetary resources as at present to finance its capital expenditure.

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 14:13 IST

Indian Railways’ luxury ‘Anubhuti’ coach project falls by the wayside

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The luxury ‘Anubhuti’ coach project, first announced by then Railway Minister PK Bansal in his February 26, 2013 railway budget under the UPA dispensation, is becoming a fine example of the railways’ ‘raat gayi, baat gayi’ approach every time ministers and governments change.First touted as the ultimate in Indian Railway travel — hence the name Anubhuti or experience —this coach is yet to be built over three and half years later. Since the day Bansal announced it, not a single coach has been built for operations, a fact confirmed to DNA by the official spokespersons of Northern Railway, Rail Coach Factory-Kapurthala and the Integral Coach Factory-Chennai.Aiming high with the Anubhuti coach, the railways had laid down its specifications on October 1, 2013 and one of the prime criteria that the railways laid down was that “the design made by the Consultancy Agency for passenger coaches should have been implemented and running in developed countries at least for two variants and 50 coaches.”The railways even gave potential bidders a list of 42 developed countries led by Norway followed by Australia, New Zealand, United States, Ireland and rounded up by Barbados at number 42. Bansal, in interviews immediately after the budget in 2013, had said that the fares of the Anubhuti tier would be about one and a half times that of the First AC fare of Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.Earlier on June 6, 2013, a Production Planning and Review meeting held at the Railway Board decided, as per the minutes of the meeting, that the “Railway Coach Factory (RCF) Kapurthala will manufacture two Anubhuti coaches and supply 10 shells to Integral Coach Factory – Chennai and two shells to Northern Railway for Anubhuti coaches.”However as DNA has now learnt, nothing came of it.On January 1, 2014, a letter written by the mechanical directorate of the railway ministry asked RCF-Kapurthala to allot one shell to Northern Railway which the latter would give to its Jagadhri Workshop in Haryana to convert into an Anubhuti coach. As it turns out, this too didn’t end up in anything substantial.An RTI sent to ICF-Chennai by DNA revealed that the revised Coach Production Program, finalised on October 25 this year, has stated that for the current fiscal (2016-17) ICF would make 10 Anubhuti coaches for the current year at a cost of Rs 1.8 crore each. It would also make 8 shells for Anubhuti coaches at a cost of Rs 1 crore each. The total cost of the project would be Rs 26 crore.However some of officials that DNA spoke to said they are keeping their fingers crossed. “All coach production units like the ICF, RCF and the Modern Coach Factory in Raebareli are working overtime to ensure more LHB coaches can be rolled out. In such a situation, the Anubhuti coaches might not come into operation this year as well,” one official said.

West Bengal: Two dead & 6 injured in Capital Express train derailment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The engine and two coaches of Rajendra Nagar-Guwahati Capital Express derailed at Samuktala Road near Assam-West Bengal border on Tuesday night. The Capital Express train derailment left two passengers dead and six injured, according to a statement issued by the Northeast Frontier Railway. The accident that took place around 9.15 p.m. Of the two dead, one is male and the other female. Both are yet to be identified. The other six injured continue to be in a critical situation.The Accident Relief Train was at the site of the accident with railway doctors and relief materials when reports last came in. Divisional Railway Manager of Alipurduar Division Sanjeev Kishor is supervising rescue and relief operations. According to the statement issued by the Northeast Frontier Railway, the cause of derailment was overshooting of red signal by the driver of the train. However, a thorough probe will reveal the actual cause of the derailment.Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the accident. The 150 stranded passengers of the train were taken back to Alipurduar on the Khamakya-Alipurduar Junction Intercity Express.Helpline numbers at Samuktala accident site are 9002052957, 8585082833 and 03564-259935.With inputs from ANI.

Delhi HC seeks MoD’s reply on PIL on private sale of military apparel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing concern over private sale of army apparel and gear that have been used by terrorists to strike at military bases, the Delhi High Court today sought the Defence Ministry’s response on what it has done to address the issue. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), saying that “we want to know your response” and listed the matter for hearing on February 3 next year.”Yes, we know it is a serious issue. Otherwise we would not take it up,” the court told the lawyer, appearing for the petitioner NGO, who said the private sale of military apparel and gear was a cause for concern. The Pathankot Air Force base was attacked in January this year by terrorists dressed in Indian Army fatigues, leading to the death of seven security personnel including a Lieutenant Colonel, and a civilian.Last month, terrorists dressed in police uniform had attacked the army’s XVI Corps headquarters at Nagrota in Jammu district, killing seven security personnel including two officers.Advocate K R Chitra, who filed the PIL by NGO Fight for Human Rights, said the court on July 20 this year had asked the ministry to treat the issue raised as a representation and to take a decision within three months. She said that subsequent to the July 20 order, she had again made a representation to the government. However, no response was received and therefore, she has now again moved the court. She contended that the government has not taken any action to stop private sale of military apparel and gear. Chitra has claimed that as per a January 8, 2016 notification issued by the Indian Army, civilians and private shopkeepers have been directed not to wear or sell military apparel and gear. The NGO has sought steps to curb private sale and manufacture of military apparel, like uniforms, shoes, badges and other gear used by the armed forces which were being made by private industries in Ludhiana and Amritsar in Punjab and sold all over the country.One place where such articles are sold is at the Railway Market at Pathankot, the NGO has claimed.The PIL has also sought that MoD be directed to handle with immediate effect the responsibility of manufacturing, stocking and sale of military apparel and gear used by the armed forces, saying private shops do not check to whom they sell such articles.

Delhi bridge is India’s first to get intelligent measuring system

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The iconic old Yamuna Bridge of the Northern Railways (NR) is all set to become the country’s first railway bridge to have its camber tested electronically with the help of laser. Camber is a technical term for the upward deflection in girders of a bridge due to the stress exerted by traffic or trains moving on them. Confirming the development, NR Chief Spokesperson Neeraj Sharma said the contract to install the system, called the Intelligent Camber Measurement System, will be given in some time. The Expressions of Interest have already been called, he said.The old Yamuna Bridge was chosen as it fulfilled all the qualities the railways was looking for in this pilot project, a senior engineer from the NR’s Bridge Department told DNA. “It is old, carries a lot of traffic, is made of steel and is right within the limits of Delhi, making it easier to inspect. The project is being monitored at the divisional level, zonal level as well at the Railway Board. The offices of all these three set-ups are in Delhi,” he explained.At present, the camber measurement of bridges such as the old Yamuna Bridge is done manually, with the Engineering Department personnel having to walk on it with various measurement instruments and scales. “The disadvantage is that the measurements cannot be done in real time, that is when a train is passing on the bridge. With the Intelligent Camber Measurement System, however, real-time measurement of deflections on a bridge due to the forces exerted by a passing train can be recorded,” the official said. The officials are seeing the development as the railways’ slow but inevitable move towards the use of technology in matters concerning safety.On its edit page on November 22, in a ‘by invitation edit piece’ by Subodh Jain, Former Member (Engineering) Railway Board, DNA had highlighted the issue of over-dependence on humans for safety checking.Writing for DNA, Jain had stated: “The most striking feature of the Indian Railways is that no country operates such a massive system with so much technological backwardness. We are adding more trains year after year, more passengers are being carried from one place to another. The technological base of the system, however, remains the same as it was for the last several decades. Look at the way track fractures are checked even today by a single person walking in the wilderness in the cold night, with tools that have remained the same for years now.”

Man drives car onto Andheri station platform

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day before the eighth anniversary of the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) unit of Western Railway was left red-faced after a man drove his car right onto the first platform of Andheri station, one of the country’s busiest stations. Rajesh Yadav, 36, drove from a ramp in the north-west end of the station and then came onto platform number 6 — used by CST-Andheri Harbour trains — causing panic and amusement among commuters in equal measure. The incident happened around 3.15pm and Yadav was apprehended by RPF at 3.30pm.RPF officers said that the car — a Toyota Innova numbered MH-06-AF-7469 — has been confiscated. Yadav was charged under sections 154 (Endangering safety of persons travelling by railway), 145 (nuisance) and 147 (trespassing into railway territory) of the Railway Act, 1989. Incidentally, the RPF admitted that the portion of the station where the incident happened is not covered by any CCTV camera.”He works for a company as a driver. According to his statement, he had not slept for the past two days and due to that he could not make out the entrance of the railway platform,” said Deepak Devraj, Deputy Commissioner of Railway Police, Western Railway.Speaking to DNA, Shailesh Gupta, Additional Divisional Railway Manager of Western Railway, said: “This is a worrisome incident. It happened because several ramps that lead into the stations do not have barricades because we need to allow wheel chairs inside. However, now we have decided to barricade these ramps in such a way that at least four-wheelers can’t access stations.”But the fact that it caught the RPF napping was undeniable. Several of the top RPF officers of both the division and zone were unaware of the details of the incident even as late as 6pm. A message sent to Railway Protection Force Director General SK Bhagat on whether this was a massive security goof-up did not elicit a response.About driver YadavRajesh Yadav is a resident of Salim Chawl in the Guzdar Bund area of Santa Cruz and is employed as a driver with Gammon India, a construction firm with its office at Prabhadevi. Yadav told the police that while returning from the airport after dropping a company official, he lost his way which finally landed him inside the station. He was taken to Cooper hospital for a medical test.

Eight years after 26/11, wait for RPF commando centre continues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight years after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, which exposed the limited fighting abilities of the Railway Protection Force, the wait for a specialised commando training centre for the RPF continues to be trapped in the files. The latest plan, to build one at RPF’s Chink Hill facility near Solapur, requires a little over Rs4 crore to create the all-important ‘baffle’ walls. These walls ensure stray bullets don’t hit civilians while the force practices firing.Baffle walls are made up of reinforced cement concrete and steel-fibre infiltrated concrete which give the structure the strength to trap bullets from pistols to assault rifles, said officials.”The plan is to convert the Chink Hill facility into a Specialised Arms Training Centre where up to 60 RPF personnel can be trained in all kinds of firearms as part of their commando training,” explained Rambhau Pawar, Deputy Chief Security Commissioner of the RPF Zonal Training Centre, which oversees the Chink Hill facility.Messages sent to RPF director-general SK Bhagat on when the money for the baffle walls would be sanctioned or what would be the time frame for the completion of the commando training facility project elicited no response.The need for a commando training facility was felt after the nation was subjected to painful images of helplessness of RPF personnel during the 26/11 terror raid on Mumbai in 2008. RPF constables, armed with British-vintage .303 rifles, first tried to ward off the two terrorists at CST that day. But when most of the British-vintage .303 rifles jammed, these personnel had little choice but to duck for cover from the assault rifle fire from the terrorists.The preliminary planning for such a centre took almost two years and on December 9, 2010, the then railway minister of state KH Muniyappa told Parliament that a commando training facility for the RPF would be set up at Canning in the South Parganas district in West Bengal. A sum of Rs26.70 crore was sanctioned and railway construction firm Ircon was given the task of creating a blueprint. By 2013, the plan had to be dropped due to hassles in land acquisition, said officials.”The RPF plans to have a total of 22 commando companies raised from its present personnel and another 12 companies from each battalion of the Railway Protection Special Force. The hallmark of any good commando unit is training day in day out and for that a training facility is essential. Currently, RPF commandos are being trained at facilities as varied as Force One in Mumbai, the Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare Centre in Kanker in Chattisgarh among others. These centres have a long waiting period now,” explained an official.

Indore-Patna Express tragedy: Only 78 passengers eligible for insurance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Only 78 passengers of the ill-fated Indore-Patna Express are eligible to claim insurance money, out of whom five died in the mishap, IRCTC said on Thursday.According to IRCTC, a total of 209 passengers opted for travel insurance while booking tickets as of November 19. There were 128 passengers eligible for insurance, out of which 50 tickets were cancelled, leaving 78 eligible passengers.Five among these passengers died in the tragedy, in addition to seven cases of injury and hospitalisation and eight minor injuries. The optional insurance scheme offers travellers or their families compensation of up to Rs 10 lakh in the event of death or permanent total disability, Rs 7.5 lakh for permanent partial disability, up to Rs 2 lakh for hospitalisation expenses and Rs 10,000 for transportation of mortal remains in the event of death or injury from a train accident or other untoward incident, including terrorist attacks, dacoity, rioting, shoot-out or arson, as well as for short termination, diverted route and Vikalp trains.Processing of insurance payouts to survivors and families of the victims of the train eligible to receive compensation under the travel insurance scheme for passengers who booked their tickets through Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), are on the fast track, said a release .The affected passengers are covered under insurance companies – Royal Sundaram (32), Shriram (14) and ICICI Lombard (32).The claim for the five death cases has been provisionally approved by the insurance companies, and they are in touch with the families to complete the claim settlement formalities.Only one passenger had filled up the nominee details for the insurance while for the remaining four the claim settlement will be made with the legal heir as soon as the documents are provided. The families have requested time for providing the documents.For the seven injury cases, insurance companies are getting in touch with the passengers and their families. A few of these cases are for cashless hospitalisations or through TPA (third party administrator).In case of 36 passengers, the insurance companies are not able to make contact as the phone numbers provided are either switched off or not reachable. In these cases firms have sent emails on the given ID, inquiring about their well being and providing contact details of the representative of insurance company.

Toll mounts to 148 in Indore-Patna Express derailment, rail services resumes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The death toll today mounted to 148 in the Indore-Patna Express derailment here even as railway services resumed on Jhansi-Kanpur section after damaged tracks were replaced between Pukhrayan and Malasa stations.”The death toll has risen to 148 after fresh casualties were reported from the hospital. The deceased have not been identified yet,” Kanpur IG Zaki Ahmed said.Some of the injured are still in a critical situation, he said.The Railway official said that besides replacing rails, electrical works were completed to ensure train operation on the busy route. After conducting the trial run, train services resumed today, the official said.”The route became operational last night after the damaged tracks were removed from the site. A trial run was conducted on the tracks before the resumption of train services,” he said.A government helpline has been set up for the victim’s families in Kanpur.Earlier, four trains were cancelled and 14 diverted after 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed due to suspected rail fracture, disrupting traffic on the route.Officials had said that prima facie the cause of the accident could be due to track fracture.A high-level probe was yesterday ordered by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who promised “strictest possible action” against the guilty.Making a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha, he said a separate investigation will be held aided by latest technical and forensic analysis.

Patna-Indore Express tragedy: Doesn’t rail safety merit same zeal as demonetisation?

Some subjects — like railway safety for example — do not lend themselves easily to political stunts; jolts that are meant to create dramatic and transformative policy changes.

Consider this Sunday’s Indore–Patna Express accident that killed over 140 people and injured 200 more. Most of the dead and the injured belonged to India’s underclasses, which continue to remain dependent on the vagaries of the neglected Indian railway system. Even on the register of rhetoric, railway safety does not figure on the agenda of politicians and governments. And things are no different for the present dispensation.

Over 140 people were killed in the Patna-Indore Express tragedy. PTI

Over 140 people were killed in the Patna-Indore Express tragedy. PTI

The terrible accident occurred at a time when the Narendra Modi government has — in one fell swoop — overturned the country’s entire monetary system. One cannot help but wonder why the government did not invest the same missionary fervour and energy it has put into demonetisation, in ensuring safety for millions of passengers who travel by train, especially when train travel continues to be very risky for millions of ordinary passengers. With the expansion of the civil aviation sector and proliferation of airlines, the well–heeled hardly ever travel by train any longer. Not only has the government neglected the plight of millions, a few months ago, it even initiated a mechanism that would inflate ticket prices based on the number of seats being filled in certain classes of the train.

As an article in The Washington Post on Monday pointed out, despite having the world’s third largest railway system, the Indian railway system “lacks modern signaling and communication systems. Most accidents are blamed on poor maintenance, outdated equipment and human error.” Moreover, the massive territorial reach of the railways notwithstanding, train accidents continue to occur with alarming regularity, killing large numbers of poor people. A 2012 government report put the annual death toll in train accidents at 15,000.

Faced with such a grim situation, several questions come to mind. Why did the central government not prioritise railway safety over the recovery of black money? Why is there so little discussion in the corridors of power about protecting lives of people at risk for doing something as ordinary as travelling by train? Why did the Modi government (although all previous governments are equally culpable) not push through measures as drastic as the monetary measures we are now witnessing, to put the railways squarely at the top of government’s agenda?

The possible answers draw attention to the cynical ways in which contemporary politics is conducted and policies are implemented. Every move is turned into a theatrical spectacle or a policy stunt that aims to create racy, eye–grabbing headlines, or capture votes by the dozen. The government headed by Modi that loses no opportunity to assume the role of a preacher preaching from the pulpit, is no different in this matter than the many governments before it. In fact, it can be argued — especially after demonetisation — that the present regime has shown itself to be more driven by political stunts than it predecessor, the Congress–led United Progressive Alliance. After all, Manmohan Singh, with his sombre demeanour, could hardly hold a candle to the theatrical personality of Narendra Modi.

The fact of the matter is, of course, that the issue of railway safety does not cater to the politics of the spectacle in the same way as, say, the recovery of black money or the introduction of a uniform civil code. This government is all about the spectacle. The slogan of “Swachch Bharat”, for example, though focused on a ‘dry’ subject, was nevertheless easy to turn into a media event. Remember those images of Modi wielding a broom stick — and how they dominated the news cycle? We could also think, in this context, of the sudden and massive government initiative to popularise yoga. Once again, images of the prime minister performing yoga in Janpath, with senior ministers clumsily following in his footstep, were good material for social media campaigns and publicity.

The recent demonetisation drive falls into this same genre of politics that looks to produce ‘shock and awe.’ Railway safety, is, by comparison, boring and mundane.

It is the matter of stock–in–trade, conventional policy reform. The government remains unmoved by the sheer urgency of the situation. Never mind that safety measures would directly impact the lives of ordinary citizens.

Following the loss of lives in the latest accident, the Prime Minister tweeted that he was “anguished beyond words,” and promised to modernise Indian railways. One would be entirely justified in asking Modi why the railways are so low on the list of priorities for his government. But one also has the sneaky suspicion that until the issue can be turned into a photogenic event, not much will happen.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 08:43 IST

Indore-Patna Express derailment: Railways to decongest routes before running new trains

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the tragic derailment of Indore-Patna Express near Kanpur, the Railways on Monday decided not to run new trains on certain over-saturated routes before decongesting the section with capacity augmentation. Besides, the national carrier also decided to go for retrofitting of all old conventional coaches with enhanced safety features of anti-climbing technology, like the ones in the modern Linke Hoffman Busch (LHB) coaches.”It has been decided in the board meeting not to launch new trains on the over-saturated routes. New trains will be pressed into service on these routes only after decongestion and capacity augmentation in the section,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.There was a review of entire safety scenario at the Railway Board meeting in the wake of the Indore-Patna Express derailment near Kanpur which has claimed at least 146 lives. It was also decided to step up manufacturing of LHB coaches for the complete replacement of conventional coaches manufactured at Integrated Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai.LHB coaches have anti-climbing feature which prevent them from toppling and piling-up in case of derailment. However, since the old ICF coaches are being replaced in a gradual manner, it was decided to equip all new ICF coaches with modern safety couplers.Old ICF coaches have to be retrofitted with anti-climbing feature like LHB coaches, the official said. Railways also decided to increase the frequencies of ultra sonic flaw detection system and at the same time opt for a new technology based on ultra sonic ray system to detect rail fracture in the Moradabad-Allahabad section.

Indore-Patna Express tragedy: Toll mounts to 146, probe into derailment begins

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The probe into the Indore-Patna Express derailment, that has claimed at least 146 lives, began on Monday with Commissioner of Railway Safety PK Acharya visiting the accident site and inspecting the broken track and the mangled bogies.”The commissioner of railway safety (eastern circle) reached the accident site here and closely inspected the broken railway track and the damaged coaches,” Deputy General Manager North Central Railway (NCR) Amit Mishra said.The entire inspection as well as the accident site was videographed. Railway engineers and technical staff were asked questioned in connection with the derailment by the railway safety commissioner, he said.Mishra said people who were travelling in the train and have any information with regard to the accident, can share it with Acharya. He will be available at the Kanpur Railway Station from morning till evening on November 22 and 23 and will use the inputs while preparing the investigation report.Acharya’s visit to the site comes a day after Deputy Chief Safety Officer, Allahabad, Ram Surat Singh, wrote to the NCR about a “statutory enquiry” by the railway safety commissioner regarding the accident that took place between Pukhrayan-Malsa stations.The letter, while seeking necessary logistics arrangement for the probe, said the inquiry will be held at the office of the deputy chief traffic manager (CTM), Kanpur Central Railway station on November 22 and 23.Earlier in the day, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu told Lok Sabha that a statutory inquiry by the commissioner of railway safety has been ordered to find the cause of the accident as he promised “strictest possible action” against the guilty. He also said latest technical and forensic analysis will be used for a thorough investigation.14 coaches of Indore-Patna Express derailed in Kanpur Dehat in the wee hours yesterday due to suspected rail fracture.The commissioner of railway safety comes under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. At least 146 people have been killed and around 200 others injured, several of them grievously, in the Patna-bound train 19321, NCR PRO Amit Malviya said.Javed Ahmed, UP Director General of Police (DGP) said the bodies have been kept in the mortuary. “We are hoping that we will be able to shift the bodies very soon,” he said.A case is being registered and the investigation will follow, he said, adding that “obviously, many things have to be seen”.”Our focus was on rescue and is now on relief. Now, we will get into investigation and in the next one-two days, things will be clear. Rescue work has been completed and we are looking at other things,” Ahmed said.State Home Secretary Debasish Panda said, “We have been monitoring relief and rescue operations since yesterday. Our priority is to provide relief and hand over the bodies to the families after the due legal process including post-mortem.” He said that 123 of the deceased have been identified and the process to hand over the bodies to the families has been started.”Our RTO (Regional Transport Office) officers are also present to arrange vehicles for the families to take the bodies. A team from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh is here and we are coordinating with them,” Panda said. All the 14 derailed coaches of the Patna-bound train 19321 have been removed from the tracks. Many distraught people were sifting through the luggage and other belongings piled up at the site to look for any clue about their missing loved ones.”I am looking for my brother. Who knows what has happened to him? He may have changed his seat… we have searched everywhere,” said Ramanand Tiwari.After seeing bodies of three of his family members, Nirmal Verma was inconsolable.”Whoever I tried to look for is dead. My brother, my elder sister-in-law, daughter….I haven’t found my mother yet. I fear I will find her in the same condition,” said Verma who was to travel with his family to a wedding but couldn’t get leave from work and was supposed to join them later.While 120 bodies were pulled out till last night, some others were found as rescuers later cleared the wreckage.Chief Medical Officer Kanpur Ramayan Prasad said 133 bodies have been handed over to family members after postmortem and free ambulances were provided.24 bodies have been sent to Bihar, 25 to Madhya Pradesh and 56 in several districts of UP.83 of the 202 injured passengers were admitted in hospitals of Kanpur and neighbouring Kanpur-Rural districts while rest of them have been released, Prasad said, adding 73 of them were seriously injured.Amid scenes of tragedy, a number of good samaritans took it upon themselves to provide succour to the traumatised passengers and help out the rescuers and others on site and in hospitals by providing food and water.The volunteers visited injured victims and the distraught families in the hospitals and distributed drinking water, tea, snacks and fruits among them.Coaches S1 and S2 had telescoped into each other and most of the casualties were feared to have been in these two compartments. S3 and S4 coaches also suffered severe damage while an AC III tier coach was also affected but casualties in it were not heavy.

Indore-Patna express derailment: Crash raises concerns of underinvestment in railways

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rescue workers picked their way through the last of the mangled carriages of a derailed train on Monday to pull out more bodies from a disaster that killed at least 142 people and injured more than 200. The derailment was India’s deadliest train crash since 2010 and has renewed concern about the poor safety standard of the state-run network, which is a lifeline for millions but has suffered from chronic underinvestment.The largely colonial-era system, the world’s fourth largest, carries about 23 million people every day. But it is saturated and ageing badly. Average speeds top just 50 km/h and train accidents are common.Sunday’s crash is a stark reminder of how hard it will be for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fulfil his promise to transform the railways into a more efficient, safer network befitting India’s economic power. Modi this year pledged record levels of investment and has announced a new high-speed line funded by Japan, but little progress has been made on upgrading tracks or installing modern signalling equipment on the main network. He has also shied away from raising highly subsidised fares that leave the railways with next to nothing for investment – by some analyst estimates, the railways need Rs 20 trillion ($293.34 billion) of investment by 2020.Police at the accident site said they were still searching through the last of 14 carriages that derailed in the early hours of Sunday while most of the more than 500 passengers were asleep. “We have cleared 13 derailed carriages from the tracks but the last carriage is the most difficult to search,” said Amit Chaudhary, a senior police official at Pukhrayan, 65 km from Kanpur. “Maybe seven or eight bodies are in the last carriage.”Railway official Amit Malvi said more than 150 people had been admitted to government hospitals and several were in critical condition. Authorities are looking into the possibility a fractured track caused the train to roll off the rails on its journey between Patna and Indore. Modi on Sunday held a political rally about 210 km from the site of the derailment. Uttar Pradesh heads to the polls early next year in an election his Bharatiya Janata Party is vying to win.

Patna-Indore Express tragedy: Death toll rises to 133, rescue operations over

The death toll in one of the worst rail disasters in the country that took place when the Patna-Indore Express derailed near Kanpur, rose to 133 on Monday, officials said, as rescue operations were declared over.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

However, the toll could still rise as some passengers were in critical condition. So far, 58 victims have been identified.

Over 150 people were injured in the tragedy that occurred on Sunday when 14 coaches of the train ran off the rails near Pukhrayan station, about 60 km from Kanpur city.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday night visited the hospitals where the injured were being treated.

“High-level orders are being given to probe the accident,” Prabhu said, adding the Railway Ministry has collaborated with the Uttar Pradesh government to provide all necessary help.

Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha was also there at the accident site.

He had ordered officials to increase the pace of relief operations and better treatment to the injured.

“Strict actions will be taken against those responsible for the disaster,” Sinha added.

While the cause of the derailment is yet to be ascertained, Sinha had earlier said that the accident could have been caused due to rail fracture.

The worst hit were the sleeper coaches S1, S2, S3 and S4.

This was the worst train accident in the country after the May 2010 disaster in West Bengal involving Gyaneshwari Express in which some 170 people were killed.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 10:38 IST

Tracks take a pounding as Railways runs more trains

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway Ministry officials believe that prima facie cause of the accident of the Indore-Patna Express near Kanpur on Sunday could be ‘track fracture’ or in simple words breaking of a track. The grim part is that with Railways running more trains every year, the chances of more tracks developing such fractures cannot be ruled out. The need for track renewal is now imperative, these officials pointed out.This frenzy to run more trains is also taking a toll on the tracks. “The life of a track is evaluated by something called the Gross Million Tons which is the total weight- of train, passenger, freight- that has gone over the tracks. The maximum weight a track can manage in its entire lifetime is between 550 GMT—if it is 52kg standard rails- or 800 GMT if it is 60kg standard rails. Using a track beyond this limit is an open invitation to disaster,” said a senior Railway official.Statistics available with the Railway Ministry show that over the last two years, it ran a whopping 70,000 special trains. Moreover, during this period it introduced 308 new trains, extended 99 trains, increased the frequency per week (fpw) of 188 trains and permanently added 1,610 coaches to various trains. The Railways ran a little over 2.5 lakh extra coach trips in the past two years, ministry data shows.“All this adds berths to our system but also takes a heavy toll on tracks. The result could be track fractures and disasters like the one we are seeing in Kanpur. However, it is too early to say what caused the accident and only a full-level inquiry will tell us the truth,” said an official.A White Paper on the Railways health released by the government in February 2015 had a worrying fact on the status of track renewals. The report stated that out of the Railway’s total track length of 1,14,907 kms, about 4,500 km of track need to be renewed annually. However, due to financial constraints, the progress in track renewals is constantly coming down over the last six years, the white paper said. Arrears of track renewal are accumulating which will result in disproportionately high maintenance effort. This will also result in reduced reliability of assets, the White Paper noted.In a statement issued recently, the Railways said that 5,900 km of track renewal had been sanctioned, out of which 2,668 km is targeted for the year 2016-17 itself. Budget outlay in year 2016-17 has been enhanced from Rs 4,000 crore to Rs 7,500 crore to speed up the track renewal works in the country. Accordingly, physical targets have also been increased from 1,500 km to 2,668 km, the statement added.“As per norms, track renewal works are to be completed within two to three years of sanction,” said an official.It was in 2001-02 that a Special Railway Safety Fund (SRSF), with a corpus of Rs 17,000 crore was formed on the recommendation of the Railway Safety Review Committee. About 45 per cent of this fund was earmarked for track renewal.In March this year, while answering a query on track renewal, Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha told Parliament that works of Track Renewal and Upgradation and a host of other activities like bridge rehabilitation and improvement in trains would cost Rs 1,19,183 crore at current price level.

120 killed as Indore-Patna Express derails in UP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 120 passengers were killed and more than 200 injured, nearly half of them grievously, in the worst train accident in recent years when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed here, just a little after 3 am on Sunday due to a suspected rail fracture.Passengers were jolted out of their sleep as the Patna-bound train jumped tracks, badly damaging four ordinary sleeper coaches, in which hundreds were trapped.Of the four coaches, S1 and S2 telescoped into each other and most of the casualties were feared to have been in these two compartments.S3 and S4 coaches also suffered severe damage. Though an AC-III tier coach was affected the casualties were not heavy. As railway personnel, assisted by the Army, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the state police carried out search-and-rescue operations, the number of casualties kept on increasing by the hour.By 8 pm, 120 bodies were recovered from the mangled coaches and most of them were taken to the Mati mortuary in Kanpur rural, according to IG (Kanpur range) Zaki Ahmad, who said a few more passengers were feared trapped.”We have plans to work through the night. We have put up lights,” Army’s Kanpur Station Commander Brig BM Sharma said.Among the dead, 62 have been identified. At least 20 are from Uttar Pradesh, 15 from Madhya Pradesh and six from Bihar and one each from Maharashtra and Gujarat.Seventy-six passengers were seriously injured and 150 others received minor injuries, Ahmad said. “Over 150 injured people have been rushed to nearby hospitals in the area. More than 30 ambulances were pressed into service,” he said.Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha told reporters that it seems the cause of the accident is rail fracture. With several passengers feared trapped, rescue personnel employed cold cutters to break open the compartments as gas cutters produce excessive heat and suffocation and would hamper rescue efforts.”We saw death whisk past us,” was the common refrain from the survivors. Several passengers frantically looked for their loved ones.Ghazipur resident Pramod Biswakarma, who is getting married in 10 days, was one of the survivors. The 27-year-old groom-to-be was travelling from Indore to Varanasi, along with 10 of his relatives, he told WION/DNA. Biswakarma escaped with minor injuries and a broken little finger. But 16 hours after the accident, he isn’t sure if all his relatives have been rescued from the coaches.He lost Rs 30,000 and the clothes he was carrying for wedding. Thirty-two-year-old Archana Sharma and her husband, part of the wedding group, also escaped with minor injuries. Archana was on the upper berth of the S2 coach. “I woke up when the train shook suddenly. Just as I lifted my head to check what was happening, the wall of the train fell, pushing me from the upper berth to the floor,” she said.Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an inquiry into the accident. “Inquiry team will start investigation immediately. All necessary assistance provided to the affected, we are taking care,” Prabhu tweeted. Commissioner of Railway Safety (Eastern circle) PK Acharya, who is heading the inquiry, is scheduled to start his probe on Monday.What causes rail fractures?Poor track maintenance, lack of proper fittings and ballast on railway lines cause rail fracture. While a simple crack may not be of much concern, a severe fracture causing separation of tracks could lead to derailment.Could it have been averted?It seems the absence of Linke Holfmann Bush (LHB) coaches – the ones used in Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains – is one reason for the high death toll. According to an official, though the Railway Ministry made it clear three years back itself that LHB coaches are a must, the Railways has been reverting to coaches made at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF). LHB coaches, unlike ICF ones, do not climb over each other in the event of an accident as they have more in-built safety features that can absorb shock and the impact of derailment more effectively, he said. As to why the Railways are still using ICF coaches, he said one reason could be that LHB coaches would require redoing of tracks.

Good days of BJP, PM Modi over; bad days in offing: Mayawati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for addressing a party rally in Agra instead of visiting Pukhrayan in Kanpur Dehat district, the site of the rail mishap that claimed over 100 lives, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati on Sunday said had Modiji visited the injured, it would have give them some satisfaction, but “sharing other’s grief is not his nature”.”It is the BSP’s firm belief that the BJP and Prime Minister Modi’s good days are over, and bad days will be coming soon,” said Mayawati.”Similarly, if Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, instead of making statements, had he visited the accident site, it would have lessened their grief. But he too did not visit there. Any criticism would not be enough to deplore him,” she said.Stating that the BJP, which contests election on money provided by capitalists of the nation, is not going to win a single assembly election in the country, including Uttar Pradesh, BSP chief said, “The people of India, including the people of Uttar Pradesh, will take Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government to the task for implementing their demonetization drive without any prior planning.””Even the inaugurations and announcements made by the BJP government at the Centre now will not help them win even a single assembly election,” she added.Taking about the Kanpur rail tragedy during the launch of the “Pradhanmantri Grameen Awas Yojna”, an ambitious housing scheme for rural poor in Agra, the Prime Minister said, “This morning, there was a rail accident near Kanpur. The relief work is going on in full swing and the Centre will also investigate matter. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I wish those injured a speedy recovery.”More than hundred passengers were killed and scores of others injured when 14 coaches of the train derailed at around 3 am near Pukhrayan, about 100 km from Kanpur. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an inquiry into the accident. He said, the Commissioner, Railway Safety, will inquire into reasons behind the derailment.The railways has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 3.5 lakh each to next of kin to those killed, Rs. 50,000 for seriously injured and Rs. 25,000 for minor injury. President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed heartfelt condolences to families of deceased in the accident. They also prayed for speedy recovery of the injured. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed and Rs. 50,000 for those seriously injured.The Prime Minister spoke to Prabhu who is personally monitoring the situation. Meanwhile, Minister of State, Manoj Sinha has reached the spot. The Railways have released helpline numbers for the people- Ujjain – 07342560906, Ratlam – 074121072, Orai – 051621072, Jhansi – 05101072, Pukhrayan – 05113270239. The death toll may go up as some passengers are still feared trapped.

Patna-Indore Express train accident: Over 115 killed and more than 200 injured

Over 115 passengers were killed and more than 200 injured, nearly half of them grievously, in the worst train accident in recent years when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed in Kanpur rural area in the wee hours on Sunday due to suspected rail fracture.

The disaster took place just a little after 0300 hrs when the passengers were jolted out of their sleep as the Patna-bound train jumped the tracks, badly damaging four ordinary sleeper coaches in which hundreds were trapped. Of the four coaches, the S1 and S2 had telescoped into each other and most of the casualties were feared to have been in these two compartments.

S3 and S4 coaches also suffered severe damage while an AC III tier coach was also affected but casualties in it were not heavy. As railway personnel assisted by those of army, NDRF and state police carried out the search and rescue operation, the number of casualties kept on increasing by the hour.

By evening, 110 bodies were recovered and taken to Mati mortuary in Kanpur rural. The death toll is over 115, UP DGP Javeed Ahmad said. Among the dead, 43 have been identified, of which 20 are from Uttar Pradesh, 15 from Madhya Pradesh and six from Bihar and one each from Maharashtra and Gujarat. Post mortem of 27 identified bodies has been done and they were being handed over to the families. Ambulance facilities were also being provided to the families of the victims to transport the bodies, officials said.

An army man Prabhu Narayan Singh, Anil Kishore of BSF from Rohtas, Bihar, and UP police constable Lakhan Singh from Jhansi were among the dead. 76 passengers were seriously injured in the derailment, IG (Kanpur range) Zaki Ahmad said. 150 other passengers received minor injuries in the mishap. “Over 150 injured people have been rushed to nearby hospitals in the area. All hospitals have been asked to be alert. More than 30 ambulances have been pressed into service,” he said.

Indore-Patna train derailsIndore-Patna train derails

Officials said that prima facie the cause of the accident could be due to track fracture. Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha told reporters at the spot that it seems the cause of the accident is rail fracture. Member (Engineering) of the Railway Board will find out the cause of the mishap and action will be taken against those responsible, he said. With several passengers feared trapped, rescue personnel employed cold cutters to break open the compartments as gas cutters produced excessive heat and suffocation hampering their efforts.

A number of trapped passengers were rescued. Teams of army doctors, railway officials and personnel of NDRF, state PAC and other policemen were involved in carrying out rescue and relief operation. The Chief Minister instructed the DGP to personally monitor the relief operations and deploy traffic police along the route of the mishap site to ensure green corridor for ambulances to reach hospitals quickly.

More ambulances/roadways buses have been rushed to the spot for speedy relief operations, the CM said. DG Health and ADG (Law and Order) also rushed to the accident spot to monitor the relief operations. Buses were pressed into service to help passengers complete their journey, Kumar said.

North Central Railway General Manager Arun Srivastava said traffic on Kanpur-Jhansi section will be opened in 36 hours. NDRF Director General RK Pachnanda told PTI that a total of five teams of the special rescue force, comprising 45 personnel each, were pressed into action at the accident site. “The rescue teams are deploying cutters and hydraulic equipment to ensure that all the trapped passengers are evacuated safely from the rail bogies,” the DG, who reached the accident site, said. “As the victims are trapped inside the bogies, due care and diligence is being taken into consideration,” he said. NDRF responders were making all possible efforts to rescue the trapped victims with the help of multi-types of latest disaster management gadgets and tools. NDRF rescued at least 53 passengers including 16 badly trapped from the bogies. Among them were two children. Some additional teams are also put on stand by and shall be mobilised as per demand,” the force said in a statement.

President, Prime Minister express grief; announce ex-gratia

President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi led the nation in condoling the train tragedy in UP’s Kanpur Dehat district in which more than 115 people were today killed and over 200 injured. “I am sad to learn about the accident in which many have lost their lives and a number of persons are injured. I am sure that the state government is providing all possible assistance to the bereaved families as well as medical aid to the injured,” Mukherjee said in a message to Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik.

The Prime Minister in a tweet said, “Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families.”

He said Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is personally monitoring the situation and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured in the mishap from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. Modi observed two-minute silence to condole the loss of lives at the Rail Vikas Shivir at Surajkund on the outskirts of the national capital asking the railways to work toward achieving the zero accident target to make train journeys safe. Home Minister Rajnath Singh also expresseddeep pain over the loss of lives. He said there will be an inquiry into the incident to find out the detail cause of it.

Five NDRF teams were deployed to rescue passengers trapped in the mangled bogies of the train even as the Home Minister gave instructions to the force’s chief, R K Pachnanda. Prabhu has ordered a probe into the train tragedy and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 3.5 lakh for the families of those killed and Rs 50,000 for those grievously injured. Sonia Gandhi in her condolence message said, “Words can’t describe the pain and anguish of those who lost their near and dear ones and the entire country stands in solidarity to share this unbearable sorrow.” She also asked the local Congress unit to assist in the relief and rescue operations along with the authorities. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh will be paid to next of kin of the deceased.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who visited the injured in hospitals in Kanpur Urban, announced Rs 2 lakh for kin of each of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured.

“If the incident has taken place, first responsibility lies on the state government as hospitals, ambulances and the entire administration is of the state. We have fulfilled our responsibilities and our priority at present is to save maximum lives,” he said. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar cancelled a function to release a report card of his government on completion of one year in office and expressed grief over the mishap. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Assam counterpart Sarbananda Sonowal expressed condolence to the bereaved families.

Helpline numbers

Railways have made available the following helpline numbers
Indore: 07411072
Ujjain: 07342560906
Ratlam: 074121072
Orai: 051621072
Jhansi: 05101072
Pokhraya: 05113270239.

Train disasters of the past two decades

20 August, 1995

In India, 305 are killed and 344 injured in a collision between two trains at Ferozabad, near Agra in the north.

20 February, 2002

In Egypt, 361 people are killed in a train fire near the town of Al Ayatt south of Cairo.

24 June, 2002

In Tanzania, 288 die in a train accident near Dodoma.

18 February, 2004

In Iran, 328 people are killed by an explosion on a train carrying sulphur, petrol and fertiliser in the northeast.

26 December, 2004

In Sri Lanka, 1,300 are killed out of 1,500 passengers on a train between Colombo and Galle. It is struck by a giant tsunami which ravaged 11 countries on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

With inputs from PTI and AFP

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 19:33 IST

LIVE: Patna-Indore Express derails; PM Modi addresses Agra rally, says rescue ops on

Nov 20, 2016

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Kanpur: At least 96 passengers were killed and 226 injured, 76 of them seriously, when 14
coaches of the Indore-Patna express train derailed near Pukhrayan area in Kanpur Dehat district on Sunday, with railways officials saying the number of casualties could rise.

The incident took place at around 3 am near Pukhrayan, about 100 kms from here.

Over 150 injured people have been rushed to nearby hospitals in the area. All hospitals have been asked to be alert. More than 30 ambulances are pressed into service, the IG said, adding that over 250 police officials are helping carrying out rescue and relief operations.

Railways Ministry spokesperson Anil Saxena said several people have been rushed to nearby hospitals with injuries, and the casualties may go up.

Accident relief train was rushed to the spot, he said.

The mangled bogies of the train. PTI

The mangled bogies of the train. PTI

Northern Central Railways spokesperson Vijay Kumar said that doctors and senior railway officials have reached the spot. Rescue and relief operations were being carried out by district administration and railway officials.

Though the cause of the derailment was not known immediately, sources said the nature and timing shows that the accident was caused by a rail fracture. However, the exact reason would be known only after an inquiry.

Buses are pressed into service to help passengers complete their journey, Kumar said, adding that the S2 coach was severely damaged. Four AC coaches have also been derailed.

Meanwhile, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the train tragedy.

“All rescue relief work on to deal with unfortunate accident. All medical and other help rushed. Enquiry ordered. Situation monitored closely,” Prabhu said in a tweet.

Railways has also released helpline numbers — Indore 07411072, Ujjain 07342560906, Ratlam 074121072, Orai 051621072, Jhansi 05101072, Pokhraya 05113270239.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu told NDTV that an enquiry is being ordered while the situation is being monitored closely.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 16:06 IST

Indore-Patna Express derails: Over 100 dead; Centre announces Rs 3.5 lakh ex-gratia

Over 100 passengers were killed and 226 injured, 76 of them seriously, when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed near Pukhraya in Kanpur dehat district in the wee hours on Sunday.

Rescue officials on the spot where 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna express derailed, killing around 96 people and injuring 200, in Kanpur Dehat on Sunday. PTI

Rescue officials on the spot where 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna express derailed, killing around 96 people and injuring 200, in Kanpur Dehat on Sunday. PTI

Four coaches of the train – S1, S2, S3, S4- were badly damaged in the mishap that took place at around 3am near Pukhraya. Most of the passengers were jolted out of their sleep to find themselves among mangled remains of the bogies.

“More than 100 people have died, rescue operation is still underway,” Daljeet Singh Chaudhary (ADG, Law & order ,UP) told ANI.

He said 150 other passengers received minor injuries in the mishap. “90 bodies have been pulled out so far. There can be more bodies trapped,” Superintendent of Police, Kanpur Dehat Prabhakar Chowdhury told PTI over the phone.

Ahmad said, “Over 150 injured people have been rushed to nearby hospitals in the area. All hospitals have been asked to be alert. More than 30 ambulances have been pressed into service.”

A team of Army doctors and rescue officials have arrived at the spot. 250 police officials are also involved in carrying out the rescue and relief operations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the train tragedy. “Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” he said in a tweet.

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the train tragedy and announced ex-gratia for the families of the victims.

Rs 3.5 lakh exgratia will be given for the families of those killed in the derailment and Rs 50,000 for those grievously injured, he said.

Prabhu said the Commissioner of Railway Safety will probe the reasons behind the derailment.

“All rescue and relief work is on to deal with the unfortunate accident. All medical and other help rushed.

Inquiry ordered. Situation monitored closely,” Prabhu said. Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha along with four senior railway officials have rushed to the accident spot.

MOS Railway Rajen Gohain said a fault in the tracks may have led to the derailment.

“We haven’t seen an incident like this in Indian Railways for a long time because we have taken a lot of safety measures.

“Earlier these kind of accidents used to happen because of the negligence of the driver but despite taking all safety measures this tragic incident took place.This is a cause of concern and we are investigating the reasons behind it.

“There must be a fault in the track as 14 bogeys have derailed and this happened despite regular checking of the tracks,” he said.

Taking stock of the situation, Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked the Director General of National Disaster Response Force to rush to the spot.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announced ex-gratia for the families of those killed in the mishap.

While Rs 5 lakh each will be given for families of those killed in the derailment, Rs 50,000 will be given for seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for those with simple injuries.

The Chief Minister has instructed the DGP to personally monitor the relief operations and deploy traffic police along the route of the mishap site to ensure green corridor for ambulances to reach hospitals quickly.

Kanpur district officials have been instructed to take support of Indian Medical Association to avail the services of more doctors for extending medical support to train accident patients, the CM said.

More ambulances/roadways buses have been rushed to the spot for speedy relief operations, the CM said.

DG Health & ADG (Law and Order) have also been rushed to the accident spot to monitor the relief operations. Railways Ministry spokesperson Anil Saxena said several people have been rushed to nearby hospitals with injuries, and the casualties may go up.

Accident relief train has been rushed to the spot, he said. Northern Central Railways spokesperson Vijay Kumar said that doctors and senior railway officials have reached the spot.

Rescue and relief operations were being carried out by district administration and railway officials.

Though the cause of the derailment was not known immediately, sources said the nature and timing shows that the accident was caused by a rail fracture.

However, the exact reason would be known only after an inquiry.

Buses have been pressed into service to help passengers complete their journey, Kumar said, adding that the S2 coach was severely damaged. Four AC coaches have also been derailed.

Railways have made available the following helpline numbers — Indore-07411072, Ujjain- 07342560906, Ratlam- 074121072, Orai-051621072, Jhansi- 05101072, Pokhraya- 05113270239.

Talking to reporters here, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said the government will bear the cost of treatment of the injured, and they will be provided with the best facilities.

Sinha also said that two trains, one to Indore and one to Patna respectively will take passengers to their destination.

According to the information he received, the passengers felt a big jolt right before the train derailed.

The accident took place before the glitch in the track could be spotted, Sinha said, adding strict action will be taken against anyone implicated as a result of the investigation.

Meanwhile, NDRF Director General RK Pachnanda told PTI that a total of five teams of the special rescue force, comprising 45 personnel each, have been pressed into action at
the accident site.

“The rescue teams are deploying cutters and hydraulic equipment to ensure that all the trapped passengers are evacuated safely from the rail bogies,” the DG, who has reached the accident site, said.

“As the victims are trapped inside the bogies, due care and diligence is being taken into consideration.

NDRF responders are making all possible efforts to rescue the trapped victims with the help of multi-types of latest disaster management gadgets and tools.

So far, NDRF has rescued 53 passengers including 16 badly trapped from the bogies.

The operation is still in progress.

Some additional teams are also put on stand by and shall be mobilised as per demand,” the Force said in a statement.

Railway authorities ignored a passenger’s warning, night before the mishap

Even as the main cause of the train mishap which has now claimed 96 lives and injured over 200 is not known, a man from Mandsaur district who was travelling in the same train claims that the railway authorities ignored his warnings few hours before the incident took place.

According to this report by Pradesh 18, a regular traveller of the train Prakash Sharma, who was travelling in one of the now derailed coaches S-2, had informed the railway authorities that the wheels of the train are making more noise than usual. Sharma told the authorities that he sensed something was odd because he was a regular commuter of the train.

However, the TC and authorities ignored his concern saying that it’s a regular thing.

Later, Sharma got down at Ujjain station on Saturday night. His fears were later confirmed when he heard the news of the mishap.

The Pradesh 18 report quoted him as saying that the railway authorities should have taken his concern seriously.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 15:21 IST

LIVE: Patna-Indore Express derails; over 100 dead, rescue operations underway

Nov 20, 2016

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Kanpur: At least 96 passengers were killed and 226 injured, 76 of them seriously, when 14
coaches of the Indore-Patna express train derailed near Pukhrayan area in Kanpur Dehat district on Sunday, with railways officials saying the number of casualties could rise.

The incident took place at around 3 am near Pukhrayan, about 100 kms from here.

Over 150 injured people have been rushed to nearby hospitals in the area. All hospitals have been asked to be alert. More than 30 ambulances are pressed into service, the IG said, adding that over 250 police officials are helping carrying out rescue and relief operations.

Railways Ministry spokesperson Anil Saxena said several people have been rushed to nearby hospitals with injuries, and the casualties may go up.

Indore_Kanpur_train_Indore_Kanpur_train_

Accident relief train was rushed to the spot, he said.

Northern Central Railways spokesperson Vijay Kumar said that doctors and senior railway officials have reached the spot. Rescue and relief operations were being carried out by district administration and railway officials.

Though the cause of the derailment was not known immediately, sources said the nature and timing shows that the accident was caused by a rail fracture. However, the exact reason would be known only after an inquiry.

Buses are pressed into service to help passengers complete their journey, Kumar said, adding that the S2 coach was severely damaged. Four AC coaches have also been derailed.

Meanwhile, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the train tragedy.

“All rescue relief work on to deal with unfortunate accident. All medical and other help rushed. Enquiry ordered. Situation monitored closely,” Prabhu said in a tweet.

Railways has also released helpline numbers — Indore 07411072, Ujjain 07342560906, Ratlam 074121072, Orai 051621072, Jhansi 05101072, Pokhraya 05113270239.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu told NDTV that an enquiry is being ordered while the situation is being monitored closely.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 13:48 IST

LIVE: Patna-Indore Express toll rises to 96; Railway Min Suresh Prabhu orders probe

Nov 20, 2016

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Kanpur: At least 96 people were killed and over 150 others injured on Sunday when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna express train derailed near Pukhrayan area in Kanpur Dehat district, with railways officials saying the number of casualties could rise.

The incident took place at around 3 am near Pukhrayan, about 100 kms from here.

Over 150 injured people have been rushed to nearby hospitals in the area. All hospitals have been asked to be alert. More than 30 ambulances are pressed into service, the IG said, adding that over 250 police officials are helping carrying out rescue and relief operations.

Railways Ministry spokesperson Anil Saxena said several people have been rushed to nearby hospitals with injuries, and the casualties may go up.

Indore_Kanpur_train_Indore_Kanpur_train_

Accident relief train was rushed to the spot, he said.

Northern Central Railways spokesperson Vijay Kumar said that doctors and senior railway officials have reached the spot. Rescue and relief operations were being carried out by district administration and railway officials.

Though the cause of the derailment was not known immediately, sources said the nature and timing shows that the accident was caused by a rail fracture. However, the exact reason would be known only after an inquiry.

Buses are pressed into service to help passengers complete their journey, Kumar said, adding that the S2 coach was severely damaged. Four AC coaches have also been derailed.

Meanwhile, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the train tragedy.

“All rescue relief work on to deal with unfortunate accident. All medical and other help rushed. Enquiry ordered. Situation monitored closely,” Prabhu said in a tweet.

Railways has also released helpline numbers — Indore 07411072, Ujjain 07342560906, Ratlam 074121072, Orai 051621072, Jhansi 05101072, Pokhraya 05113270239.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu told NDTV that an enquiry is being ordered while the situation is being monitored closely.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 10:30 IST

LIVE: Indore-Patna Express toll rises to 96; Centre announces ex-gratia of Rs 3.5 lakh

Nov 20, 2016

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Kanpur: At least 96 people were killed and over 150 others injured on Sunday when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna express train derailed near Pukhrayan area in Kanpur Dehat district, with railways officials saying the number of casualties could rise.

The incident took place at around 3 am near Pukhrayan, about 100 kms from here.

Over 150 injured people have been rushed to nearby hospitals in the area. All hospitals have been asked to be alert. More than 30 ambulances are pressed into service, the IG said, adding that over 250 police officials are helping carrying out rescue and relief operations.

Railways Ministry spokesperson Anil Saxena said several people have been rushed to nearby hospitals with injuries, and the casualties may go up.

Indore_Kanpur_train_Indore_Kanpur_train_

Accident relief train was rushed to the spot, he said.

Northern Central Railways spokesperson Vijay Kumar said that doctors and senior railway officials have reached the spot. Rescue and relief operations were being carried out by district administration and railway officials.

Though the cause of the derailment was not known immediately, sources said the nature and timing shows that the accident was caused by a rail fracture. However, the exact reason would be known only after an inquiry.

Buses are pressed into service to help passengers complete their journey, Kumar said, adding that the S2 coach was severely damaged. Four AC coaches have also been derailed.

Meanwhile, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the train tragedy.

“All rescue relief work on to deal with unfortunate accident. All medical and other help rushed. Enquiry ordered. Situation monitored closely,” Prabhu said in a tweet.

Railways has also released helpline numbers — Indore 07411072, Ujjain 07342560906, Ratlam 074121072, Orai 051621072, Jhansi 05101072, Pokhraya 05113270239.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu told NDTV that an enquiry is being ordered while the situation is being monitored closely.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 10:30 IST

Earlier Rail budgets were focused on pleasing parliamentarians: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asserted that previous Rail budgets were politicized as they were primarily focused to please the Members of Parliament(MP), adding that the decision of Railway Budget merger with General Budget has never been for the electoral gains.”The focus of our Rail Budgets has never been politics. We have worked towards a paradigm shift in the Railways. Usually the core focus of Rail budgets was which Member of Parliament (MP) was pleased by being given more stops in his/her seat, additional coaches etc,” he said. Expressing his nostalgia with railways at the inaugural session of the Rail Vikas Shivir at Surajkund near New Delhi via teleconference, the Prime Minister said that he has spent his childhood on rail platforms and he is equally a railway enthusiast as the dignitaries participating in the event.”My links with the Railways is strong. I always stay at the Railway guest house in Varanasi which is my constituency. My childhood was spent on rail platforms. That is all the more reason I want to transform railways,” he added. The Indian Railways is organizing the three-day Shivir from Friday. The aim of the Shivir is to generate numerous innovative ideas across most critical areas of the railway operations for substantial progress of this sector. Such brainstorming and large-scale planning involving all railway employees is taking place for the first time in the 163-year-long history of the Indian Railways.The Railway Ministry said the outcome of this camp would lead to rapid rejuvenation, transformation, modernisation, efficiency and productivity. Earlier, the government decided to do away with the practice of separate Rail Budget and merged it with the General Budget. The idea was mooted by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and the proposal was approved by the Union Cabinet in September this year. The practice of presenting a separate Railways Budget was introduced way back in 1924.

Swiss maglev pioneer, BHEL in talks for Indian journey

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One of the world’s foremost maglev firms – the Zurich-based SwissRapide and the country’s leading electrical systems major Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) are in talks to work jointly on urban rail projects based on magnetic levitation (maglev). Maglev is a transport system in which trains glide above a track, supported by magnetic repulsion and propelled by a linear motor, and move at speeds of upto 500 kilometres per hour.In an email reply to DNA, Aida von Schulman, Managing Director (business development) of SwissRapide said, “We are now in the process of establishing a partnership with BHEL, within the intent to approach the Ministry of Railways to start the feasibility study for an airport to city centre link project in Kolkata, Chennai or Hyderabad.”Incidentally, both SwissRapide and BHEL are among the six firms that answered the Railway ministry’s call for Expressions of Interest for maglev-based Ultra High-Speed Rail Systems in September this year.SwissRapide is currently building the 135-km high-speed line linking Bern, Zurich and Zurich International Airport using maglev technology, with line speeds planned at over 550 kmph. The start of commercial operations of the SwissRapide Express is planned for the end of 2017. It is also working on an ultra high-speed line between capital cities of Finland and Estonia, Helsinki and Tallinn respectively, christened FinEst Link.BHEL is an old hand in the field of railway power systems and has built several of the country’s train motors and locomotives. According to Schulman, the calling card for the maglev system could be reduced costs – compared to other forms of conventional high-speed rail systems, commonly called as bullet trains – in the longer run.”Since SwissRapide Ultra-Highspeed Maglev Rail is generally twice as fast point-to-point than conventional high-speed rail, for most service levels, our maglev rail then only requires single track construction, thus reducing the cost of maglev up to 30 per cent lower than conventional high-speed rail. Also, since our maglev rail is twice as fast as conventional rail, only half as many trains are required, which also reduces the overall costs,” Schulman said in her email reply.The firm plans to introduce the same kind of technology that powers the 30-km Shanghai Maglev Transrapid which has been tested to 505 kmph but uses 430 kmph as its cruising speed. It has travelled over 30 million kilometres, since its commissioning in January 2004.

TMC lashes out at Centre after purported CBI ‘message’ to senior leader

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Trinamool Congress on Sunday accused the Modi Government of “misusing” CBI for “vendetta politics” after its leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandyopadhyay received a text message purportedly from CBI indicating that he may get a notice.Bandyopadhyay received the text on his mobile seeking his email ID to send him a notice while he was seated beside West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a press conference where she criticised the Centre’s demonetisation move.. Banerjee was infuriated after knowing about the text message, according to a senior TMC leader.”Respected Sir, please provide me your e mail address since we have to send one notice,” read the text message with the name of an CBI officer of Kolkata. However, it did not say as to what was the notice about”I received the text asking for my email ID. I had sent it them,” Bandyopadhyay told PTI. “We feel that this is nothing but vendetta politics. What is the meaning of this message to Sudip-da, just at the time when a press conference is on? Sudip-da is a very senior leader and Chairman of Railway Standing committee,” said the TMC leader, who did not wish to be named.”It means that if you speak up against BJP, they will use CBI, ED to harass you. But BJP can’t stop TMC,” he said. The party has given a notice in the Rajya Sabha to discuss the demonetisation issue suspending business hour on November 16. “Saturday, Sunday, Monday are holidays. From November 16, the winter session of Parliament will begin and they are sending such texts via CBI. What notice will they send to Sudip-da? This is nothing but vendetta politics,” the TMC leader added.The CBI refused to comment on the matter. Some Trinammool leaders have come under scanner in the Saradha and Rose Valley chitfund scams.

Rs 500, Rs 1,000 note ban: Black money hoarders in Indore use railways help to bypass demonetisation

While the NDA government is patting its back on the “demonetisation” move to curb black money and corruption, its “masterstroke” seems to have inspired new forms of corruption in the country. And it’s not jewellery shop owners or traders who the Income Tax department was tracking in New Delhi and Mumbai all through Thursday evening, but according to reports, black money hoarders may be making use of railways ticket reservation services to convert black money it into white money.

According to a report published in Pradesh18, Indian Railway has put the Vijaynagar ticket booking counter in Indore under surveillance for booking tickets worth Rs 5.25 lakh on Wednesday.

Representational image. Firstpost

Representational image. Firstpost

The booking counter was used to book First Class AC tickets from Delhi to Trivandrum and Delhi to Guwahati worth Rs 5.25 lakh which alerted the railway officials, the Hindi news website reported. The railway officials believe that the said tickets will be cancelled at a later stage, it said.

For the time being, the confirmation of the tickets booked at the reservation counter has been blocked and the incident has been referred to the railway ministry for further probe, Pradesh18 added.

After announcing the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said on Tuesday that railway ticket reservation counters will continue to accept old notes of the said denominations to prevent any discomfort to travellers. The sudden move to demonetise the notes was announced to curb black money, corruption and remove fake currency notes circulating in the country.

According to the report, the ticket counter had booked 116 tickets between 8 am to 2 pm. The railway, however, has not revealed the names of the people who booked the tickets at the counter, it said.

Railway authorities swing into action after Renuka Shahane’s SOS tweet to Suresh Prabhu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has been getting a lot a praise of late for coming to the rescue of passengers in distress. Actress Renuka Shahane was the latest to thank him when her SOS tweet got a prompt response by the authorities.On October 22, Shahane, known for acting in iconic films like Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!, Masoom​ amongst many others, tweeted asking for medical assistance for the ailing sister of her husband, actor Ashutosh Rana.Soon, other Twitter users also began retweeting it, with suggestions as to who Shahane needed to tag to get the required help. This caught the attention of the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Mumbai and Delhi as well as the Railway Ministry, who swung into action.Before long, a doctor arrived to help the passenger. Speaking to The Financial Express, Kamini Gupta, Shahane’s sister-in-law, said,”All of a sudden, I experienced palpitations followed by pain in the chest. I asked fellow passengers to see if a ticket checker or other railway staffers were around, and contacted my family in Mumbai. Fortunately, we were just minutes away from Kota station where doctors treated me. I was given medicines and told to relax. I’m alright now.”When the issue was resolved, Renuka Shahane tweeted her gratitude in response.She even posted a message on Facebook.”Today my eldest sister in law while traveling on a train alone from Delhi to Mumbai suddenly started feeling unwell. There was no TC in sight & no doctor around either. I tweeted her details to our Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ji & also tagged the Rail Ministry about her predicament. I am so grateful to all the people who not only re-tweeted my distress message but also gave me valuable advise about whom to tag. Within 15 minutes the Rail Ministry had responded & sent a medical officer to look after my sister-in-law. This is the kind of prompt action we need for good governance. I thank our Minister Suresh Prabhu and his entire team for working tirelessly & helping people promptly. I’m deeply grateful. My sister-in-law is resting & I’m resting easy. Thank you.”Later, Suresh Prabhu himself, reached out.From arranging wheelchairs to providing milk, passengers seem to be impressed with the Railway authorities making use of social media to reach out to passengers in need. Let’s hope the good work continues!

PM Narendra Modi inaugurates Harni airport, says Vadodara will contribute to aviation sector

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Vadodara and inaugurated the international terminal at Harni airport.He congratulated the Harni airport for being a green airport. “I am happy that two airports in India have joined the green movement – one in Kochi and the other one in Vadodara,” Modi said.”The new aviation policy, released under this government, looks at growth of the aviation sector. We have limitless opportunities when it comes to tourism in India. I am sure that Vadodara will contribute to that a lot.Air connectivity is vital from point of view of tourism sector growth; better air connectivity means more tourists and better economic growth,” said ModiHe also said that India’s first Railway University will be in Vadodara. “​Many innovations have happened in the world; Rail is old, but we need to bring new technology to the Railways. India’s first Railway University will be in Vadodara, imagine the contribution the region is making,” said PM.He will also attend a programme to distribute artificial limbs and other implements to more than 8000 ‘Divyangs’ (disabled persons) in the city. This was Modi’s first visit to Vadodara after becoming PM in May 2014. In last Lok Sabha elections, Modi got elected from both Vadodara and Varanasi seats, but he retained latter. “After arriving in Vadodara tomorrow afternoon, the PM will first inaugurate the newly-built international terminal at the city airport and then he will attend Divyang camp at Navlakhi ground,” said an official of Gujarat Information Department.The state-of-the-art terminal, built at the cost of Rs 160 crore, is spread over 18,120 sq mt and can handle 700 passengers (domestic plus international) per hour. It will have 18 check-in counters. The airport is located in Harni area on the outskirts of Vadodara. After the function, Modi will head to Navlakhi ground, where artificial limbs, tri-cycles and other assistive devices will be distributed to over 8000 ‘Divyangs’. The event has been jointly organised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Kanpur-based Artificial Limb Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO), and Vadodara district administration, stated a government release. This will be Modi’s fourth visit in last three months to his home state, where Assembly elections are due next year.

9 coaches of goods train derail in Odisha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nine wagons of a goods train on Friday derailed between Maligura and Jarati stations in Odisha affecting train services on the Koraput-Jeypore railway section under Waltier Division of East Coast Railway.The goods train derailed on its way to Visakhapatnam from Bathili in Chhattisgarh Friday morning, a railway official said, adding that no loss of life or injury to anyone has been reported in the accident.Following the accident, six passenger trains were cancelled while Samaleshwari Express was short-terminated at Jeypore station and will return to Jagadalpur on Friday.Bhubaneswar-Jagadalpur Hirakhand Express will originate from Koraput instead of Jagadalpue.Visakhapatanam-Kiranul passanger left Visakhapatanam on Friday and will be short terminated at Koraput and return to Vishakhapatanam as Kirandul-Vishakhapatanam passenger from Koraput.Kirandul-Visakhapatanam passenger will be short terminated at Jagdalpur and return to Kirandul from Jagdalpur.The service of Vishakhapatanam-Kirandul-Vishakhapatanam will remain cancelled on Friday between Koraput and Jagadalpur from both the directions.Jagadalpur-Durg Express scheduled to leave jagadalpur on Friday will also remain cancelled while Durg-Jagadalpur Express scheduled to leave Durg on October 23 will also remain cancelled for cancellation of connecting train, an ECoR statement said.

How 1,200 trains running through India’s protected areas pose grave danger to its sensitive wildlife

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than 1,200 passenger and freight trains crisscross through some of the country’s most sensitive wildlife habitat, particularly protected areas and corridors in central and eastern India that are home to critically endangered tigers and elephants amongst other animals, reveal government figures.Highlighting the scale of threat to wildlife and their habitat from the vast Indian Railways network, amongst the largest in the world, information accessed through a Right to Information (RTI) query shows that these trains run multiple times a week, some of them every day.The Mascot quite ironically is Bholu, the guard elephantWhile passenger trains run daily or more than four times a week, the schedule for weekly trains varies from week to week, the data shows.
ALSO READ After NH-7, Gondia-Jabalpur rail line doubling allowed through Kanha-Pench tiger corridorThe Indian Railways – whose mascot quite ironically is Bholu, the guard elephant — is divided into 16 major railway zones. With the exception of a few, several routes cut through wildlife areas without speed restrictions, information from the ministry of environment shows.The heavy traffic takes its toll. According to the environment ministry’s landmark Project Gajah, trains passing through wildlife habitats and corridors killed 150 elephants between 1987 and 2010. Given that many serious accidents have occurred after that, the fatalities may have well crossed 200, environmentalists estimate.
ALSO READ NBWL clears road widening through sanctuary in Kanha-Achanakmar tiger corridorBesides elephants, there is poor documentation of tiger, leopard, bear and even reptile deaths caused by trains.“I am shocked. Remember, we are talking of barely 5 per cent of India – and even these ‘protected’ areas, are heavily stressed with various anthropogenic pressures… We cannot afford to further expand the railway network in PAs (protected areas), and critical wildlife corridors., It has a human cost too, in terms of escalating conflict, economic loss, safety issues,” Prerna Bindra, wildlife conservationist and former member of the National Board for Wildlife’s standing committee, told DNA.​Mapping damage potentialAn analysis of the data on railway routes in wildlife habitats throws up a worrying picture. A bulk of railway traffic is concentrated in wildlife habitats that are already shrinking and facing considerable fragmentation. This includes the central Indian landscape which is considered the most important source of meta-population among tigers, the eastern landscape, which is home to several elephant corridors, the Western Ghats, the Gir lion sanctuary and the east-northeast region of West Bengal and Assam.
ALSO READ Elephant deaths on tracks: Jairam Ramesh to take up matter with railwaysUnder the South East Central Railway (SECR) zone in Central India, seven railway routes run a total length of 166 km. These routes pass close to or skirt the edges of Nagzira, Navegaon and Tadoba tiger reserves in Maharashtra. In Madhya Pradesh, they pass through the Kanha, Pench and Bandhavgarh forest ranges, and even through the Achankmar forest in Chhattisgarh.To get a sense of the fragmentation of wildlife habitat, consider this: tiger populations that have grown in protected areas use the wildlife corridors to disperse to neighbouring habitats. The vast central Indian landscape is connected through major corridors such as Kanha-Pench, Pench-Satpura-Melghat and Kanha to Navegaon-Nagzira-Tadoba-Indravati that are spread across 1,09,400 sq.km. These tiger corridors have been officially mapped by the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Wildlife Institute of India. In fact, of the 227-km Gondia to Jabalpur line, a 77-km section between Balaghat-Nainpur cuts through the Kanha-Pench tiger corridor.The other concentration is seen eastwards, under the South Eastern Railway zone spread across West Bengal and Jharkhand, and under the East Coast Railway across Odisha. More than 700 trains pass through wildlife habitats in these states, which also explains the high elephant casualties. These regions are also home to tiger reserves in Palamu in Jharkhand, Buxa in West Bengal and Satkosia and Similipal in Odisha.
It doesn’t end here In March this year, the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) cleared the conversion of the 227-km Gondia-Jabalpur line between Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh from narrow gauge to broad gauge. The Indian Railways has also approved expansion of the 156 km Sambalpur-Angul railway line in Odisha that already fragments the Satkosia-Ushakoti-Badrama tiger and elephant landscape. Additionally, the National Board for Wildlife has cleared the new Sevok Rongpo new broad gauge line in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri under the North-Frontier Railway.According to experts, while wildlife deaths are a symptom of the threat posed by railway tracks, the larger worry is the lack of safeguards and increasing fragmentation of rich forests and wildlife habitats.“No new roads or railways projects have any consideration for wildlife. The saddest part of the development is that we are willing to spend thousands of crores on infrastructure projects but not a fraction of them on underpasses and overpasses for wildlife. Even the NBWL does not have the guts to object,” said P.K. Sen, former head of Project Tiger.

Maoist guerillas torch train carrying coal in Jharkhand

Maoist guerillas torch train carrying coal in Jharkhand

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Ranchi: Six Maoist guerrillas torched a railway engine in Jharkhand’s Bokaro district early Thursday, the state police said.

According to the police, the guerrillas boarded the engine of the goods train carrying coal at Dumri Bihar railway station of Bokaro district, which is around 130 km from Ranchi.

After few kilometres the Maoists thrashed the driver and his assistant and asked them to get down from the engine. They then poured kerosene and torched the engine.

Maoist guerrillas are active in 18 of the 24 districts of the state.

Lt Guv Najeeb Jung reviews Chikungunya, Dengue situation in Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the directions of Supreme Court, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Wednesday chaired a meeting at his official residence to discuss issues related to Chikungunya, Dengue and other vector borne diseases in Delhi. The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Health Minister Satyendra Jain, Union Health Secretary CK Mishra, Delhi Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary (Finance) SN Sahai, New Delhi Municipal Corporation Chairperson Naresh Kumar and other key officers.The Lt Governor asked for a feedback from all present on the directions issued by him in the previous two review meetings held at Raj Niwas, on 14 September 2016 and 26 September 2016, and the necessary follow-up and compliance of his directions.The medical superintendents of major hospitals, such as Hindu Rao, G B Pant, Lok Nayak, B S Ambedkar etc apprised the Lt Governor that the fever clinics, fever wards etc are operational round the clock and adequate supply of testing kits and medicines are available in all hospitals. They also stated that the rush of fever patients has come down by 40-50 percent in the last few days. This is a general trend across all hospitals.The NDMC informed about the preventive measures being taken by them to check mosquito breeding and other anti-larval measures, such as regular cleaning of dhalaos, ample fumigation, fogging etc. The municipal bodies also apprised about the publicity and awareness programmes being conducted by them in association with RWAs, Market Associations, Schools etc. They also informed of the preparedness of their hospitals, dispensaries, as also of medicines, testing kits etc available with them.Municipal Commissioners informed that they have drawn a roster for field visits by DCs, which is being followed strictly. Moreover, as per directions of the Lt. Governor, critical dhalaos in all municipal wards are being cleaned twice every day. The mapping of critical dhalaos has been done and shared with concessionaires so that garbage does not overflow in these dhalaos.The South MCD is the nodal agency for reporting and Commissioner (South) informed that in the week ending October 1, the number of cases have come down to 1600, which is a fall of 25 percent, compared to last week.The Divisional Commissioner informed that in compliance of the Lt. Governor’s directions, Deputy Commissioners (Revenue) of all districts are following a roster of inspections in their respective districts and reports of daily inspections are being submitted to him. Starting 5 October 2016, these reports shall also be made available online and monitored online. They shall also be sharing these reports with the Health department and MCDs. The IEC material to raise awareness is also being circulated widely in each district. The DCs are also ensuring that no EWS category patient is denied admission by private hospitals.The Health Secretary, GNCTD and DHS informed the Lt. Governor that as per reports collected at 10.30 a.m. on October 5, 2016 from across hospitals, 25 percent beds dedicated to fever patients are lying vacant. The CEO (DJB) too informed of the additional pumps deployed by them to remove sewage surcharge. The CEO (Delhi Cantonment Board) informed of the awareness programmes and the anti-larval measures undertaken by them. The DMRC was told by the Lt. Governor to ensure that no water collects in their construction sites and adequate sprinkling is done to check breeding of mosquitoes. Finance Member (DDA) informed the Lt. Governor of the inspections being carried out by the DDA teams in their colonies/markets, as also checking of water being collected in parks/nurseries etc.General Manager (Northern Railway) informed of the fogging operations in Railway colonies, as also about the mosquito terminating train with mounted spraying machine being run by them on the railway tracks. The Lt. Governor asked the GM (Northern Railway) to increase the frequency of the mosquito terminating trains on the tracks, since people living alongside the railway tracks are particularly vulnerable.Union Health Secretary CK Mishra informed the Lt. Governor of the meetings held with Health department, GNCTD and MCDs in the last six months, which focused primarily on larva control, ensuring adequate supply of drugs and testing kits, proper hospital management to take care of the rush of fever patients, including running of mobile fever clinics etc. Special Director General of Health Services stated that a Control room has been set up in Nirman Bhawan to take stock of the situation. He highlighted the importance of proper reporting of cases and of continuing fogging in the days to come as well.Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendra Jain informed the Lt. Governor that hospitals are equipped to handle fever cases and currently 355 fever clinics are running, including on Sundays.The meeting ended with the Lt. Governor insisting that all concerned must continue to put in their best efforts and in fact intensify them further, especially in the wake of recent rains in the city. The Lt. Governor insisted on making the awareness programme more robust since mosquito breeding has still not abated. He asked the health minister to hold a review once a week.

Western Railways: New timetable, additional halts, speeded-up trains

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the New West Zone Railway Time Table which comes in force from October 1, 2016, Western Railway has decided to run some new trains including Antyodya Trains, Uday Train and Hamsafar trains. Speed of some of the trains will be improved and the route of some trains will be extended. This timetable comprise of four zones- Western Railway, Central Railway, North Western Railway and West Central Railway.Salient Features of Western Railway- 124 WR trains will be speeded up ranging from 5 minutes to 170 minutes.- 26 WR trains will be renumbered after converting it into Superfast train.- 7 Pairs of DEMU services have been introduced between Indore – Mhow in the newly commissioned Broad Gauge section w.e.f. June 28, 2016. One pair of DEMU service running between Ratlam – Laxminagar has been extended upto Indore.- 14 MEMU trains on Dadar – Dahanu sections Trains converted into EMU Trains.- 26 WR trains (13 pairs) will be given experimental halts or their operational halt will be converted into commercial halts.New TrainsAntyodaya Trains- 22921/22 Bandra (T) – Gorakhpur Superfast Antyodaya- 15563/64 Udhna – Jaynagar AntyodayaUday Trains – 22923/24 Bandra(T) – Jamnagar Superfast UdayHamsafar Trains- 22913/14 Bandra (T) – Patna Superfast HUMSAFAR- 14715/16 Shri Ganganagar – Tiruchchirappalli HUMSAFAR via Vasai Road- 19424/23 Ahmedabad – Chennai HUMSAFARSankalp Trains- 59549/50 Vadodara-Ahmedabad Sankalp Fast PassengerOther New Trains- 19332/31 Indore-Kochuvelli Weekly Express- 19312/11 Indore-Pune Bi-Weekly Express- 22414/13 Nizamuddin- Madgaon Bi-Weekly Rajdhani Superfast Express- 11125/26 Indore – Gwalior – Jhansi Link Express- 79311/12 Ratlam – Laxminagar DEMU- 79313/14 Indore – Mhow DEMU- 79315/16 Indore – Mhow DEMU- 79317/18 Indore – Mhow DEMU- 79319/20 Indore – Mhow DEMU- 79321/22 Indore – Mhow DEMU- 79323/24 Indore – Mhow DEMU- 79325/26 Indore – Mhow DEMUAdditional Halts- 12951/52 Mumbai Central – New Delhi Rajdhani Express has been given additional halt at Nagda station.- 12283/84 Ernakulam – Nizamuddin Duronto Express has been given additional halt at Vasai Road.- 12297/98 Pune – Ahmedabad Duronto Express has been given additional halt at Vasai Road.- 12927/28 Mumbai Central – Vadodara Express has been given additional halt at Valsad.- 19568/67 Okha – Tirunellveli Express has been given additional halt at Hapa.- 19569/70 Porbandar – Muzaffarpur Express has been given additional halt at Hapa.- 22971/72 Jaipur – MDU Express has been given additional halts at Nagda & Ujjain.Change of Days- 14312 Bhuj – Bareilly Ala Hazrat Express will now run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday instead of Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday w.e.f. December 5, 2016.- 14322 Bhuj – Bareilly Express will now run on Sunday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday instead of Monday,Wednesday, Friday and Saturday w.e.f. December 4, 2016.Extension of Trains- 79311/12 Ratlam – Laxminagar DEMU extended up to Indore w.e.f. June 28, 2016- 17203/04 Bhavnagar – Kakinada Express extended up to Kakinada Port w.e.f. October 1, 2016.Diversion of Trains- 19061/62 Bandra (T)– Ramnagar Express is now running on diverted route via Kasgang, Bareilly Izzatnagar, Lalkuan and Kashipur stations.Change in Timings- Train no 19005 Mumbai Central – Okha Saurastra Mail will depart at more convenient time of 21.35 hrs instead of existing 20.25 hrs i.e. delayed by 1 hrs 10 minutes from Mumbai Central station. This train has been converted into Superfast Express & renumbered as 22945.- Train no 22903 Bandra Terminus – Bhuj Tri – weekly AC Express will arrive at 12.30 hrs at Bhuj instead of existing 13.15 hrs.- Train no 19131 Bandra Terminus – Bhuj Kutch Express will depart at 17.45 hrs instead of existing 17.10 hrs and will also arrive Bhuj at 08.50 hrs instead of 9.25 hrs. Also this train had been converted into Superfast and renumbered as 22955.- Train no 19017 Bandra Terminus – Jamnagar Saurastra Janta Express will arrive Jamnagar at 8.50 hrs instead of existing 9.30 hrs .- Train no 19203 Bandra Terminus – Bhavnagar Weekly Express will now depart at 15.25 hrs instead of 13.15 hrs i.e. delayed by 2 hrs 10 minutes for passenger’s convenience. The train has been speed up by 2 hrs 50 minutes and made into Superfast & renumbered as 22963.- Train no 19451 Bandra Terminus – Gandhidham Weekly Express will arrive Gandhidham at 15.30 hrs instead of 17.20 hrs i.e. speed up by 1 hrs 50 minutes. Also the train has been made Superfast & renumbered as 22951. – Train no 19059 Surat – Jamnagar Intercity Express will arrive Jamnagar at 23.40 hrs instead of 00.20 hrs. The train has been converted as Superfast & renumbered as 22959. – Train no 19053 Surat – Muzaffarpur Weekly Express will depart at 6.10 hrs instead of existing 5.30 hrs Ex Surat. This train has been speeded up by 40 minutes.- Train no 19453 Gandhidham – Puri Weekly Express will depart Ex Gandhidham at 21.55 hrs instead of 20.20 hrs. This train has been speed up by 1.35 hrs.- Train no 15046 Okha – Gorakhpur Weekly Express will depart at 21.00 hrs Ex Okha instead of existing 19.15 hrs. Late departure will help pilgrims attend late evening Aarti in Dwarkadheesh temple.- Train no 19132 Bhuj – Bandra Terminus Kutch Express will depart Ex Bhuj at 20.15 hrs instead of 19.50 hrs. The train will leave at 21.45 hrs Ex Gandhidham instead of 21.15 hrs. Also this train has been made Superfast & renumbered as 22956.- Train no 22904 Bhuj – Bandra Terminus Tri-Weekly AC Express will depart at 16.00hrs Ex Bhuj instead of existing 15.05 hrs. The timing will be more convenient for passengers boarding Ex Gandhidham at 17.20 hrs instead of existing 16.25 hrs. It will arrive Bandra Terminus at 5.15 hrs instead of 4.55 hrs.- Train no 19222 Veraval – Ahmedabad Express will depart at 21.35 hrs instead of existing 19.35 hrs Ex Veraval and will arrive Ahmedabad at 5.25 hrs instead of existing 4.25 hrs thereby benefitting pilgrims of Somnath Temple who will be able to attend late Aarti. Also this train has been made Superfast & renumbered as 22958.- Train no 19311 Pune – Indore Bi-Weekly Express will arrive at 11.45 hrs instead of existing 13.45 hrs i.e. 2 hrs early.- Train no 19418 Allahabad – Ahmedabad Weekly Express arrive at 00.05 hrs instead of existing 1.10 hrs. Early arrival at Ahmedabad will be more convenient for passengers.

Passenger train collides with a goods train at Cuttack killing 1, 22 injured

Bhubaneswar: At least one person was killed and 22 others injured, two of them critically, in a collision between Bhubaneswar – Bhadrak passenger train and a goods train near Kathojodi station at Cuttack this evening, East Coast Railway officials said.

A passenger and a goods train collide at Cuttack. PTI

A passenger and a goods train collide at Cuttack. PTI

The passenger train (number 78408) hit the goods train (BCN-DANKUNI) running on the same track, leading to derailment of two coaches, Chief Public Relations Officer of East Coast Railway (ECoR), JP Mishra said.

“One body has been retrieved from the mangled coaches of the passenger train as rescue operation was taken up on a war footing,” said Cuttack District Collector NC Mishra who visited the accident site. As many as 17 persons injured in the accident have so far being brought to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack and the condition of two is stated to be very critical, said hospital emergency officer BN Maharana.

Police and ECoR authorities undertook rescue operation and the injured were shifted to hospitals. Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) personnel have also joined them. The number of injured is likely to go up as some passengers were stated to be trapped in the mangled coaches and efforts are on to pull them out, officials said.

Train services between Bhubaneswar and Cuttack have been severely affected, railway officials said. Senior railway officials including DRM-Khurda Road and Chief Safety Officer of ECoR rushed to the spot. District officials as well as Commissioner of Police and other police officers have also joined the rescue operation.

The passenger train was unusually overcrowded due to a strike by bus operators in the state, district officials said. An ECoR report said some trains including Puri-Durg Express, Chennai-Howrah mail, Puri-Talcher Express and Puri-Sealdah Duronto Express will now be diverted via Naraj instead of Cuttack.

A relief train from Khurda Road have been rushed to the spot. Besides, a railway medical van and 10 ambulances were pressed into service, ECoR officials said. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has expressed concern over the accident and directed state government officials to ensure free treatment to the injured. Meanwhile, the railways have opened help line – 0674-2490670, 0674-2301525, 9437579238 – for information about the accident victims.

Separate Railway Budget scrapped: How will it impact fiscal management and what is the political fallout?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved three significant proposals related to the country’s fiscal management by merging the separate Railway Budget with the General Union Budget, ending distinction between Plan and Non-Plan funds and also to complete all budgetary processes by March 31, by advancing Budget session of Parliament.Even though there was consensus on completing budgetary processes early, to allow all tax proposals to get effective by April 1, it was decided to fix the date of Budget session for 2017, as per the schedule of assembly elections. “In principle the proposal was approved, but for 2017, we will have to take the calendar of assembly elections into consideration,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, soon after the meeting. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had been insisting on ending past conventions to streamline the processes of budget making.The Cabinet’s decision to end the 92-year-old practice of presenting a separate Railway Budget will impact fiscal management. Now the Finance Minister will present it as part of the General Budget. FM Arun Jaitley said the practice of a separate Railway Budget was started in 1924, since the Railway expenditures used to be more than the General Budget. But now, many other ministries like the Defence, parts of the Union Budget have more expenditure than the Railways. Also, if the expenditure entailed on projects coming under the public-private partnership (PPP) model is added to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, its Budget also adds up to more than that of the Railways.The political fallout of the new arrangement will be that the Railway Minister’s political stature will diminish and the hot race to occupy Rail Bhawan will end up. In 2004, when the UPA-I took over, two of its stalwarts Ram Vilas Paswan and RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav fell apart, as both were vying for the Railways portfolio. The portfolio ultimately went to heavy weight Yadav. It has been observed that instead of priorities, the funds and resources were being allocated for political reasons. Officials here believe this practice will end with the merger of the budgets. Immediately after the decision, chief minister of Bihar and former Railway Minister Nitish Kumar said the move will affect the Railway’s autonomy. “Merging rail budget and general budget won’t do any good, it will lose its autonomy.”According to the government, the move will come as a relief to the Railways, which, until now, has been reeling under an additional burden of Rs 40,000 crore from higher salaries, following implementation of the 7th Pay Commission. It also has to bear close to Rs 35,000 crore of subsidy burden. The Railways will get rid of the annual dividend of Rs 10,000 crore it has to pay for gross budgetary support from the government. The government used to hand over Rs 2.27 lakh crore to the Railways every year, which now ceases to be a liability.Both, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Finance Minster Arun Jaitley were at pains to explain that the step has been taken only for presenting a common budget and will in no way affect the financial autonomy of the Railways.Earlier, Niti Ayog in a 20-page note sent to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had also argued in favour of doing away with the Railway budget. The note, titled ‘Dispensing with the Rail Budget’ and jointly authored by Aayog member and economist Bibek Debroy and Kishore Desai, Officer on Special Duty, argues that the exercise had failed to be of use to the sector and had become a “mechanism to announce popular measures”.“The Railway Budget became a mechanism to announce popular measures, new trains, new routes, new rolling-stock manufacturing factories etc., with no concomitant focus on addressing Railways’ structural requirements, implementation of the ‘grand’ announcements, or funding needs,” states the note.The Cabinet also approved a proposal to remove the existing Plan and non-Plan expenditure classifications from future Budgets. “We will be switching to a more globally relevant system of classifying spending as revenue expenditure and capital expenditure,” said an official. All the administrative spending will come under revenue expenditure while capital spending and grants for creation of capital assets will be classified under the same broad category.“In the backdrop of the abolition of the Planning Commission and setting up of the NITI Aayog, the classification of expenditure as Plan and non-Plan had lost its relevance. If the accounting of expenditure is classified broadly under revenue and capital, I think this is where the expenditure is focused,” an official said. In 2011, an experts’ committee headed by C Rangarajan had proposed that the distinction between Plan and non-Plan expenditure be abolished for both the Centre and the states.In another proposal, a cabinet note had proposed to hold the budget session of Parliament early from January 27 (Friday) and present the union budget on February 1 instead of the past practice of it coming only on the last day of February. Jaitley said the proposal was approved in principle, but for 2017 will be linked to the schedule of assembly elections for want of availability of MPs who will be busy in campaigning. This will help budget proposals and fund flow to states start right from April 1. Since the full budget gets approved by May, some proposals are rolled out by September.A tentative calendar has been drawn up to have the recess from February 17 to March 20 to enable the department-wise standing committees of MPs deliberate on the budget proposals. Both the Houses will sit up to February 17, a Friday, and then assemble on March 20. The government contemplates to get the budget passed in March itself to put an end to the practice of the vote-on-account for four months for the financial business in the new financial year that begins on April 1.

Union Budget overhaul ends British legacy but will throw up major challenges on data

The Union Budget for FY18 will be very different from the ones presented hitherto. Three changes have been accepted by the Cabinet which will have far reaching implications for the way in which fiscal business is conducted. To top it all if the GST is a reality in April 2016, then it would be an icing for this new format.

The three changes that we will witness are that the date of presentation will no longer be February 28. Second, the railway budget will be merged with the Union Budget, and last the distinction between plan and non-plan expenditure will go. To begin with it must be said that there is nothing wrong or right in any such change in system and the points for discussion are only their implications as it will mean substantial changes in the way in which we formulate and execute the Budget.

PTIPTI

PTI

First, the advancement of the timing of the budget is a big change as it will mean moving even further away from the new financial year. There has been some talk earlier on whether the date should be closer to March 31, to be more realistic. But then this thought has been kept aside on grounds that given the Parliamentary processes to be followed, it could lead to a delayed implementation as it would go well past April of the next fiscal year. Hence, holding the budget in January or early February provides that much time for both house of the Parliament to discuss and pass the budget.

The issue with such advancement is that a lot of data which is required when drawing up the Budget would not be available and hence there could be several guestimates rather than estimates. The GDP numbers of the first half would be firm, while the third quarter may not be out and the fourth quarter performance would be based on even more distant estimates. GDP growth is essential for all fiscal ratios as revenue is based on how we think the economy will grow while the two vital indicators of prudence, revenue and fiscal deficit are linked with the GDP. The risk we have is that the numbers could be way off-mark. The counter-argument is that since we are anyway making guesses for the year, it may not really matter if we are distant by another month.

While the future will be fraught with uncertainty, the past too would be hard to guess. The previous year’s numbers serve as benchmarks for the future projections. Hence, FY17 (revised) serves as the basis of FY18 (budget). There is nothing really amiss here except for the fact that since we are overwhelmed by the fiscal targets, on account of this uncertainty, there will be a tendency for us to be more conservative with expenditures. The way it goes is that when the government has to meet a target of 3.5 percent for fiscal deficit and on February 28, we know that we are at say 4 percent then we cut back on expenditure in March to ensure that this target is met. Now, with the Budget being announced one month in advance, this number will be more uncertain and there could be a situation where all departments could be asked to cut back their expenses one more month in advance to meet the commitment.

As such, the March 15, advance tax payments causes uncertainty, which often leads to delays in refunds for the year. This could get exacerbated now. Hence, while having it early makes implementation easier, reconciling the present flows with the committed targets can cause to veer us towards over-caution.

The second change would be the merger of the Railway Budget with the Union Budget. This has been a long standing demand as it really did not add value to have separate budgets, which was more of a legacy issue. The final ‘net numbers’ did enter the Union Budget and hence it made little sense to keep them separated. The Railways Budget was introduced by the British to gauge their own capex for creating a railway system which was part of their own strategy to move troops and goods across the country. There can hence be no case against merging the budget now.

However, in terms of accounting the analyst will have a challenge as the numbers will come into the main accounts in terms of both earnings and expenditures. Some question marks would be on how would the overall borrowing of the government look like as the Railways are always borrowing? Second, would there be comparable numbers given for the past? For example, the salary bill will go up substantially now in FY18 as the Railways are the largest employer in the country. Third, will the fiscal deficit number be affected? Will the borrowings of railways from the government be treated separately? Therefore, there will be several accounting issues that need to be understood while interpreting the FY18 Budget.

Third, the declassification of expenditure under the headings of Plan and non-Plan was very much on cards and in a way it is good that it is being brought in. With the Planning Commission being closed and the concept of five year plan being done away with, having such a classification did not really fit in and looks anachronistic. In fact, there is a school of thought which believes that all expenditure is essential and by calling some categories ‘non-plan’ gives an incorrect impression. However, once again the government would have to provide comparable figures for the past 2 years to begin with where this classification is done.

The other issue is how the states are able to respond. Ideally all of them need to move in the same direction as there is substantial flow of funds from the centre to the states. Further, the state of preparedness is critical, both in terms of having the discussions that go into its preparation to the formulation of the same. Hence, there is a logistics dimension to it. Last, while there is discussion on moving the financial year to January-December, it could become less relevant now that the budget process is being geared to moving a distance from March.

On the whole these are good moves, which have to be followed up with reconciliation of data for the past with the current dispensation. But the possibility of government departments becoming even more conservative with their spending due to such advancement can make government expenditure shaky in the second half of the year.

Cabinet approves major Budget overhaul: Here’s how it can boost infra spending

The Union Cabinet has approved advancing the date for presenting the Union Budget by a month, paving way for one of the major overhauls in the budgeting exercise in the last several years and also in the process taking a step that has the potential to boost infrastructure spending.

The Cabinet has also decided to merge the Railway Budget with the Union Budget, a reform sought by many experts for long. A decision has also been taken to remove the classifications for expenditure to make the exercise simpler.

The proposals were cleared by a meeting of the union Cabinet chaired by prime minister Narendra Modi.

The change has been touted as a break from the colonial past.

PTIPTI

PTI

Here are the key facts about the entire exercise:

1) The move is aimed at getting all the legislative approvals for the annual spending and tax proposals before the beginning of the
new financial year on April 1. Accordingly, the beginning of budget preparation will be advanced to early October. The government is likely to convene the Budget Session of Parliament before 25 January 2017, a month ahead of the current practice. The pre-Budget Economic Survey will also be advanced.

2) The advance estimates for GDP will have to be made on 7 January instead of 7 February and mid-year review of expenditure by various ministries is proposed to be completed by November 15. However, a report in The Business Standard on Wednesday said the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, which releases the data, has told the finance ministry that it may be able to give only some data that early.

3) Once the rail and general Budgets are merged and the date of presentation is advanced, there will be no requirement of separate Appropriation Bills as well as Vote on Account, as is the current practice.

4) With the advancement of the Budget and completion of the legislative processes before 31 March, the budget cycle will itself will be advanced. This will enable ministries and departments to ensure better planning and execution of schemes from the beginning of the financial year. Until now Budget was presented on the last day of February and it is not until mid-May that the Parliament approves it in two parts. And with the monsoon arriving in June, most of the schemes and spendings by states do not take off until October, leaving just half a year for their implementation. The change in budget presentation date has been decided so that the all proposals can be implemented and expenditure started from 1 April itself. This is expected to ensure better implementation.

5) The government will have to start pre-budget consultations with industry and other stakeholders without much delay as these will have to be ended by 25 December. The ministries and departments will also have to present their detailed demand for grants earlier to parliament.

6) The Cabinet also approved removal of distinction between Plan and Non-Plan expenditure as the present classification resulted in excessive focus on former with almost equivalent neglect to items such as maintenance which are classified as non-Plan. The Cabinet felt it is the total expenditure, irrespective of Plan or Non-Plan, that generates value for the public. Plan expenditure was for the first time presented separately in the budget for 1959-60.

7) Once the rail and general budgets are merged, Parliament will have approve only one Appropriation Bill. Usually, the government introduces the Appropriation Bill, which gives it the authority to incur expenditure from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India, after the debate on the Budget proposals and Voting on demands for grants. This will have to be taken up in Parliament on or before 24 March 2017.

8) The case for abolishing a separate Budget for the Railways has been argued many times earlier. “Like a defence budget or a civil aviation ministry budget, the railway budget does not require a speech to be made, only a set of accounts to be presented to parliament once a year, since the undertaking is owned by the people of India,” Firstpost columnist and Swarajya editorial director R Jagannathan had written in this article in July 2014.

“The budget of a commercial undertaking is no different from that of a corporation like Infosys or a public sector company like Bharat Heavy Electricals. There is need for account-keeping, budgeting, and the presentation of annual reports, but there is no need for a railway budget speech or the hype and hoopla associated with such events,” he points out.

9) However, according to a PTI report, even after the merger of the railway budget, the Indian Railways would continue to maintain its distinct entity status as a departmentally run commercial undertaking as at present. Also, the Railways would be allowed to retain its functional autonomy with delegation of financial power rules to continue as is the case now. Finance minister Arun Jaitley said in the press conference that Parliament have separate discussion on the Railways.

10) The most important fact is that after the merger, the Railways would not have to pay dividend to the central government and its capital at charge would stand to be wiped off. The Railways used to pay up to Rs 10,000 crore as dividend to the government. The Railway Convention Committee, which reviews the rate of dividend payable by the railways to the government, will be disbanded. Currently, the panel also suggests the level of appropriation to various funds of the railways such as depreciation reserve funds, development fund and pension fund.

11) Explaining the likely impact of the overhaul, DK Srivstava, chief policy advisor, Ernst and Young, said the advancement of the Budget presentation dates and processes will have tangible benefits. According to him, it would enable the govt to release its capital expenditure before monsoons, which is an important development.

“Under the present system, infrastructure spending, which is the government’s key spending, usually gets delayed as the rains start soon after the budget is approved. The whole exercise gets delayed 4-5 months as during the rainy season not much work in this sector happens. Under the new system, the funds can be released as early as April. This will give the government at least two-and-a-half to three months to spend on infrastructure, before the rain starts. This is the main advantage and has potential to boost the economic growth in the long run,” he said. He also said the move will help improve the quality of revised Budget estimates.

With PTI

Uttar Pradesh: Five coaches of a train derail; no casualties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Tuesday afternoon, five coaches of the Doon Express derailed at Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh. The New Indian Express reported that there were no casualties. The train was going from Dehradun to Howrah, a Northern Railway official told IANS. The derailment lead to several other trains, like the 19709 Jaipur-Kamakhyaa Express getting stuck as a crucial Gorakhpur route came to a complete halt. The trains are now being diverted. Among the five coaches that were derailed, two were general and three were sleeper compartments.

dna exclusive: US firm offers 500 kmph Maglev at Rs 138 crore per km

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An American firm specialising in magnetic levitation (Maglev) trains has created a stir by joining the fray for the Ultra High-Speed Trains, with a proposal for a Maglev train with a top speed of 500 km per hour at a construction cost of Rs 137.5 crore per km.The Railways had called for Expressions of Interest (EoI) for Maglev trains and they were opened on September 6. As reported by dna, six firms had submitted proposals.A comparison with the bullet train project will make it clear why the US firm’s proposal is significant. The cost of construction of the 320 kmph Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail, commonly called bullet train, is Rs 140 crore per km, considering the 508-km line has a construction cost of Rs 70, 915 crore, including land acquisition.The current construction cost of the 33.5 Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro is Rs 540 crore per km. This is justifiable since it is a completely underground system being built deep inside Mumbai’s hard basalt rock core.In an email chat with dna, Tony Morris, chief executive officer of the Georgia-based American Maglev Technology (AMT), confirmed the development. “American Maglev is expressing interest to transfer new intellectual property in order to partner with the Indian Railways to create a uniquely new mobility solution for the Indian subcontinent as well as a new green high-tech export with thousands of jobs for Indians. At less than $22 million (Rs 137.5 crore) per km, this technology will have wide application on a global basis. The 137.5 crore-per km proposal is all-inclusive, except for land acquisition,” Morris said.”For Maglev, we propose an elevated fixed guideway with no grade crossings (level crossings in Indian Railway lingo) of any kind. These elevated structures will be built above the existing publicly owned land like roadways, rail, and other utility corridors,” he said.While a few Railway officials dna spoke to agreed that the US firm’s proposal could give the proposed bullet train projects a run for their money, it might not be the case for Metro corridors in urban landscapes like Mumbai. With the Right of Way for Metro projects always an issue in land-starved Mumbai, having a ramrod straight corridor, as is required by Maglev trains, might be a distant dream in Mumbai.”The key issue for Maglev is that it requires a detailed study on the exact route alignment and the ability to keep the route very, very straight, without having to buy lots of private land. At 500 km per hour, the route must be almost perfectly straight, or else passengers will experience unacceptable, uncomfortable and unsafe forces. In a curve, the speed is limited by passenger comfort, and there is no compromise on passenger safety and comfort,” Morris explained.

dna Exclusive: RPF to desist from posing with rescued children

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The days of security agencies posing for the media with runaway children rescued from railway premises- as well other places- will soon be a thing of the past. Responding to a DNA query on whether such publicity was harmful and stigmatising for the child, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has replied that it was.Stuti Kacker, chairperson of the NCPCR said that identification of a runaway child is stigmatising for the child. “As far as possible we must respect the privacy of such children. I will certainly direct the concerned stakeholders not to release pictures of rescued child once it is reunited with the parents,” said Kacker.The NCPCR is the custodian of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that agencies like the Railway Protection Force (RPF) as well as the railway police have to follow when it comes to the rescue of runaway as well as trafficked children found on trains and railway premises. The SOP, finalised between the railways, the Union Ministry of Women and Child Welfare and NCPCR, was issued on March 5 last year.Of late the Railway Protection Force (RPF), while doing a fine job with rescuing children in larger numbers than ever before, have also got into the habit of releasing these pictures as part of their good work on social media and other platforms like print and television media.”It does create an issue for the runaway child. Very often running away from home is an impulsive decision in which the child doesn’t give a deep thought at all. To punish him this way by releasing his pictures on social media where it has a perennial life is unfair on the child. It is indeed stigmatising if even after the child grows into a normal well-thinking adult who has completely understood the sheer stupidity of running away from home, the pictures of his rescue by security agencies are still floating on the internet,” said a psychiatrist.In 2013, the RPF rescued 4658 minors, in 2014 the numbers stood at 4448 minors while in 2015 the number of children rescued was a high of 7044.

Uttar Pradesh: Woman raped then thrown out of moving train

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a shocking incident, a 35-year- old woman was allegedly raped in a moving train and pushed out of it resulting in loss of her right leg in Mau district of Uttar Pradesh, which has earned the dubious distinction of recording the second highest number of crimes in railways after Maharashtra. Though the rape was yet to be confirmed, a Government Railway Police (GRP) official said the woman fell from the running train and lost her right leg in the mishap.”We are looking into the matter and the guilty will not be spared,” GRP official Sudhir Singh said on Sunday. The woman, who was screaming in pain, was noticed by villagers this morning near Khazakhurd railway station under Sarai Lakhansi police station. She was lying without clothes, indicating that she might have been raped before being tossed out of the compartment, they said.The woman alleged that she was going home in Shahganj area in adjoining Jaunpur district by Tamsa passenger train on Saturday night when two men outraged her modesty and threw her out of the moving train. The villagers brought her to Khurhat railway station for treatment at the district hospital, but since her condition was serious she was referred to Varanasi. Photographs of the woman went viral on news channels and social media.Earlier this month, a college girl received serious head injuries after being pushed out of a moving train by a man attempting to snatch her purse in Bareilly. The incident occurred near Abhaypura railway station on the Lucknow-Lalkuan section when the girl was going to college with her sister.Another woman passenger was robbed and thrown off a Lucknow-bound express train by unidentified persons near Chitbaragaon railway station on Chappra-Varanasi section in Ballia district last month. As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, there has been a 52 per cent rise in registered crimes on railways from 25,737 in 2011 to 39,239 in 2015.State-wise, the highest number of crimes in railways has been registered in Maharashtra followed by Uttar Pradesh. Prevention of crime, registration of cases and maintenance of law and order over station premises and trains is the statutory responsibility of states, which is being discharged by them through Government Railway Police (GRP). On an average, 2,000 trains are escorted by RPF personnel daily.

Falling from trains accounts for 49% of all rail injuries

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If there was ever a clear reason why trains require automatic closed doors, this is it. Statistics collated by the Untoward Incident Cell of the Railways in Mumbai shows that the maximum number of injuries to passengers is from them falling from running trains. In fact in the past five years (2011-2015), of the 20,258 passengers who were left injured due to untoward incidents in the Railways in Mumbai, Pune and Solapur division, a sizeable 9,856 passengers – about 49% – were those who fell from trains.The highest number of these passengers is in Central Railway’s Mumbai division – 5,454 passengers – followed by Western Railway’s Mumbai division at 3,742 passengers. This is, of course, because between them WR and CR run about 3,000 local trains each overloaded by as much as 58%.The largest passenger survey by the Railways a couple of years ago showed that during peak hours, there are 5,560 passengers in a 12-coach train with a capacity of 3,522 passengers. A train’s ideal capacity of 3,522 is arrived at by assuming two people stand for every one passenger seated. A normal 12-coach rake has 1,174 seats. Experts believe overloading of anything above 15% is inhuman.Falling down from trains is the second major cause of death as well. Out of the 21,565 passengers who died in these untoward accidents in these four divisions between 2011 and 2015, a total of 4,637 passengers – or about 21.5% – died after falling from running – and almost surely – overcrowded trains.Crossing tracks and getting knocked down, however, continues to be the biggest killer on the tracks. Of the 21,565 passengers who got killed in train incidents, 11,965 – or about 55.4% – died due to being knocked down by a train while they were crossing the tracks.The plan to have automatic closed door mechanism on Mumbai’s locals has so far been a non-starter. In March last year, WR tested this system in one of its women’s coaches but removed it soon after due to technical glitches. This July it again allotted Rs 1.3 crore to fit 22 such automatic doors in three coaches.The accidents in numbers:Accidental Injuries (between 2011 and 2015)Division Line Cross Fell Down Other Total1) Mumbai (CR) 1641 5454 3558 110872) Mumbai (WR) 982 3742 1840 68403) Pune (CR) 235 637 365 12634) Solapur (CR) 41 23 2 68Accidental Deaths (between 2011 and 2015)Division Line Cross Fell Down Other Total1) Mumbai (CR) 6055 2767 2228 111192) Mumbai (WR) 3487 1307 1193 61123) Pune (CR) 1476 401 939 28464) Solapur (CR) 947 162 368 1488(source Untoward Incident Cell/Railways and government railway police/ state government)

India should shed its concerns over pollution and allow Chinese industries: State media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India should shed its concerns over pollution and allow Chinese industries to shift their excess capacity to it which would be benificial to both countries, state media here said on Monday.”India may need to carefully think about whether it wants to resist or embrace the migration of China’s production capacity, which allegedly involves some investment in heavy polluting industries,” an article in the state-run Global Times said.Referring to reports of China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) starting operations at its joint venture plant in Haryana to manufacture and repair locomotives, it said, “the partnership is hardly surprising seeing as India has one of the world’s largest railway network, creating a huge demand for engines and other railway equipment”.”China’s train makers have an advanced production capacity and have been actively looking for cooperation ties in the world. What is odd is that the cooperation between the two countries has only just now come about,” it said.State-run Xinhua news agency reported that the plant was set up with an investment US $63.4 million and the Chinese side holds 51% of the share. The India plant will repair and manufacture railway locomotive engines.The Global Times article said, “there have been some obstacles restricting Chinese enterprises’ access into India, where some people worry that boosting India-China production capacity ties may also bring heavy polluting production into the country”.”But these concerns are unfounded. The venture plant in India will transform CRRC from a company that exports equipment to one that exports advanced production technology that includes more clean and green methods. Further, this move will boost India’s rail system and drive tax revenue for the local economy,” it said.”In fact, a considerable part of China’s excess production capacity could be conductive in boosting the local economy if they can be transported to India. A large number of Chinese manufacturers have acquired far more advanced technology than some local Indian firms despite those Chinese enterprises suffered problems of overcapacity domestically,” the article said.”India may want to consider offering more opportunities for Chinese manufacturers to invest in the country as both countries could enjoy great potential in production capacity cooperation,” it said.

Railways take ‘punctuality’ to a whole new track

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Do you believe Western Railway’s trains run at a punctuality rate of 94.88%? Or Central Railway’s at 93%? Or Konkan Railway’s at 88%?In case you don’t, you can’t be blamed. In an official reply to a query by dna, the railway ministry has replied that the “Indian Railways have no provision for third party audit of its train running or a punctuality data”. So, you will have to take at face value whatever figures the railways put out.The railways, in its reply, also mentioned that the entire calculation is a technology-heavy exercise, involving several in-house software programmes. “For calculating and maintaining train timings and punctuality figures, it resorts to a software-based solution called Integrated Coaching Management System, of which the Punctuality Analysis Module and the ControlOffice Application are in-built sub-modules. All data is fed from the field of operations (stations/divisions) on a real-time basis,” the reply said.It also stated that “punctuality is calculated on a terminating basis after the completion of a train’s journey cutting across rail networks.””The punctuality of all trains is closely monitored at all levels on a 24X7 basis by divisional branch officers in-charge of operations and divisional railway managers (DRMs), heads of departments and general managers at zonal levels. At the apex level (railway board), the punctuality of mail and express trains is monitored daily by the chairman, member-traffic and advisor-coaching”, it said.Officials involved with train operations, however, say it is far more complex. “As per rules, if a train (however late it is) enters a zone and crosses it as per the time it officially takes to clear that zone, that train is treated as 100% punctual for that particular zone. It is called Not Losing Time mechanism. This means that even if trains are late, particular zones can claim punctuality since the train cleared tracks under its jurisdiction in the time it usually takes,” explained an official.Secondly, delays due to agitations or other law-and-order problems are not taken into account since the railways terms these as events within the realms of the state government and beyond the control of railways. “So, a huge number of train delays get slotted under this bracket, keeping zones’ punctuality rates at a false high,” said a former operations official.

Infosys techie murder: Police release photo of suspect

A photo of the suspect in the murder of a 24-year-old woman IT professional was today released by the city police, four days after they made public CCTV images of the incident at a railway station here.Police released a ‘file photo’ of the man, saying it had been ‘developed’ by them. The photo shows a man wearing blue shirt and black pants, similar to what was seen in the CCTV footage released by the police on Sunday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>No further details were made available.Police are yet to crack the murder of S Swathi, who was hacked to death on Friday at the busy Nungambakkam railway station, prompting a furore by the civil society and political parties.The woman, employed with IT major Infosys, was allegedly killed by an unidentified man on a platform while she was waiting to board a train on her way to office around 6:30 AM.The Madras High Court had also come down on the state government, warning it of suo motu intervention if there was any slackness in the probe.The probe, originally done by the Government Railway Police, was later shifted to the city police who have now formed eight special teams to crack the murder.

Infosys techie murder: Probe trasnferred as High Court pulls up police

The investigation into the murder of a 24-year-old woman IT professional in full public view at a railway station here was on Wednesday transferred to a special team of city police hours after the Madras High Court warned of suo motu intervention if there was any slackness in the probe.The Tamil Nadu government made the submission about the transfer in the probe after a bench comprising Justice S Nagamuthu and Justice V Bharthidasan posed tough questions and summoned the Public Prosecutor to clarify a news report about alleged lack of coordination between Railway and city police in investigating the case.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Appearing before the bench, Public Prosecutor S Shanmuga Velayudham said the case had been handed over to a team of Nungambakkam Police headed by an Assistant Commissioner.”The DGP has passed an order transferring the investigation to Nungambakkam police. A team has been constituted, and it is headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police K P S Devaraj. The Deputy Commissioner is monitoring investigation, Cyber Crime and CB-CID are also assisting the investigation and a total of 25 police personnel are working to crack the case,” he said.The bench said it was satisfied for the time being (with the government’s response but cautioned the state, saying, “We will give two days time. If we feel there is slackness after two days, we will take suo motu proceedings after Chief Justice’s concurrence.”The victim, Swathi, employed with IT major Infosys, was allegedly hacked to death by an unidentified man on a platform in Nugambakkam railway station here while waiting to board a suburban train on her way to office around 6.30 AM on June 24.Earlier, Justice Nagamuthu lambasted the Police for not taking any steps for nearly two hours after the murder even to cover up the body of the woman.”Where were your police officers? Two hours on a platform.Even a dead person has got right to dignity under the Constitution. Even after death the girl s dignity cannot be denied. Why it was lying like an exhibition for more than two hours? It speaks volumes. Why it should take so much time for police to complete the formalities? he asked.The judge also asked the PP as to when the case was transferred for which the latter replied it was done today.Wondering whether the decision to transfer the case was taken after the court’s observations in the morning, the judge said, “The occurrence took place on Friday. Today is Monday, no breakthrough till now.”The issue appeared in newspapers and was debated very widely in the media. I have gone through various newspapers.They have reported that there is no coordination (between and that there is infighting,” Justice Nagamuthu said.Denying the lack of co-ordination, the PP said the City Police Commissioner and the DGP visited the Spot.Observing that the railway police was under the control of state government, the Bench said, “You should have immediately transferred the investigation… like justice, must not only be done, but also should appear to be done. We only express our concern. Justice must be ensured to the family.” The judges also asked the PP why there was no CCTV in the Railway Station. The PP responded that instructions had now been given for installing the CCTVs at all railway stations.Justice Nagamuthu observed “to induce one s thinking, we made one person to lay down her life.”

TN lawyers protesting Advocates Act arrested

Chennai: Scores of advocates across Tamil Nadu were arrested on Wednesday as they staged protests and blocked railway tracks demanding immediate withdrawal of the amendments to the Advocates Act.

Advocates were held in different parts of Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore and other towns, even as they boycotted courts, demanding withdrawal of the amendments.

The protesters raised slogans demanding unconditional withdrawal of recently amended rules to the Advocates Act, which among others provides for disciplinary action against erring lawyers.

File photo of TN police. ReutersFile photo of TN police. Reuters

File photo of TN police. Reuters

A Madurai report said around 200 lawyers blocked the Rameswaram passenger train at Railway Junction in the city for more than half an hour.

The protesting lawyers squatted on the railway tracks for a while blocking the Dhanbad Express, a report from Coimbatore said.

Madras High Court had last month issued a notification, making amendments to existing rules under the Advocates Act with a view to ensure peaceful conduct of court proceedings and suggest disciplinary action against erring advocates.

As the lawyers protested against the amendments, Chief Justice SK Kaul had later said he would not act against lawyers in pursuant to the amended rules, but he could not prevent the Bar Council of India from proceeding against bar associations if they continued their agitation.

BCI had last week warned lawyers that disciplinary action would be initiated against them for indulging in court boycott to protest against the amendments.

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