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Today (6:58AM)  MAOISTS EXPLODE RAIL TRACK, PILOT ENGINE OF RAJDHANI DERAILS (www.thehindu.com)

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Major Accidents/DisruptionsECR/East Central  -  

News Entry# 186543     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
Maoists blasted a portion of a railway track between Ismailpur and Rafiganj section in Bihar, leading to derailment of a pilot engine running ahead of the Bhubaneshwar—New Delhi Rajdhani Express.
No casualty was reported in the blast that took place late on Tuesday night, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Magadh range, P K Shrivastava told.
Today (6:57AM)  Woman TTE manhandled on MMTS (www.thehindu.com)

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Commentary/Human InterestMMTC/Hyderabad MMTS  -  

News Entry# 186542     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
Three women, who were travelling without tickets, attack A. Kausalya for penalising them in an MMTS train
A woman Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) was allegedly manhandled by a group of women, who were travelling ticketless in an MMTS train at Secunderabad on Wednesday.
The TTE, A. Kausalya of Secunderabad division was checking tickets of travellers between Secunderabad and Begumpet when she caught three women Kumari (45), Padma (20) and Vegah (30), all hailing from Vijaywada for ticketless travel. The ticket examiner asked them to pay a fine to which they expressed their inability. “The TTE scribbled a challan and took away their mobile phone. The women picked up a quarrel with the TTE over the cellphone issue and got physical with her after an argument,” Hyderabad Railway police Inspector G. Lingeshwar Rao
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said. The women came to the city to attend a function at their relative’s house and boarded the MMTS at Secunderabad. Two of the women - Kumari and Padma were taken into custody .
Today (6:55AM)  Accident averted after Maoists blast rail track (www.thehindu.com)

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Major Accidents/DisruptionsECR/East Central  -  

News Entry# 186541     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
Decade-long safety procedures put in place by the Railways helped avoid a repeat of a major train accident in Bihar in which over 100 passengers lost their lives in 2002.
Railway authorities on Wednesday said a blast derailed a solitary engine, but saved the lives of many passengers in the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani that was following it. This pilot engine system was introduced after the Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani jumped tracks in 2002 and careened into a rivulet.
The accident had set off a controversy with Central authorities claiming a Maoist hand while the State government blamed the Railways for negligent patrolling of the tracks during the monsoon season. In order to avert recurrence of such mishaps, especially on the sensitive Gomoh-Mughalsarai section, the Railways introduced the pilot engine system.
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The Railways and the State government said Maoists blasted a portion of the track between Ismailpur and Rafiganj section in Bihar late on Tuesday night.
No casualty was however reported.
Today (6:44AM)  Senior Railway engineer booked by CBI in graft case (www.business-standard.com)

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Commentary/Human InterestCR/Central  -  

News Entry# 186540     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
The local unit of CBI has booked a senior Section Engineer of Central Railway after carrying out searches in his house and office in an alleged graft case involving a Kolkata-based company.
CBI conducted the searches at the residence and office of the engineer, R K Sharma, attached with Signal and Telecommunication Department, as part of its probe, a CBI statement said here.
Documents related to the case were seized, it said.
According to the FIR registered by CBI, Sharma allegedly agreed to accept bribe from the Managing Director of the company for showing official favours.
The statement did not provide further details of the case which is being supervised
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by Sandeep Tamgadge, Superintendent of Police, CBI-Nagpur.
Today (6:40AM)  Salines, syringes found dumped near railway track (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)

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Commentary/Human InterestSER/South Eastern  -  

News Entry# 186539     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
RANCHI: A consignment of medicines worth lakhs was found littered near the railway tracks in Argora early on Wednesday. Cartons containing packets of saline and syringes was first spotted by locals, who informed the local police immediately.
Argora resident Rameshwar Sahu said, "When I went out for a morning walk around 5 am, I came across medical items dumped here and immediately informed the police."
P K Das, officer in charge of Argora police station, said, "We rushed to the spot on receiving information. One of the locals told us that around 3-4am, a truck was found dumping the consignment. When they saw the onlooker, they sped away with the truck."
Das said the truck belonged to Ghaziabad-based pharmaceutical company, Albert David Ltd,
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and the consignment was being brought from their head office in Ghaziabad to the local office in Ranchi. However, the truck was seized by some miscreants in Lohardaga around 2am on Wednesday and an FIR was lodged at the Kuru police station of Lohardaga by the driver of the truck.
On being contacted, local head of the pharmaceutical company Mukesh Poddar said, "I got the information from a representative of another company who called me up and said goods of our company were dumped on the roadside. The truck was carrying goods worth rupees seven lakh, of which 25% was dumped in Argora."
Today (6:38AM)  Narendra Modi Government allays fears over FDI in Railways (www.dnaindia.com)

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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 186538     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
Describing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode as a necessity, Government on Tuesday allayed apprehensions over allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Railways and said it will help big ticket projects like high-speed corridors and freight corridors.
Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda also answered questions over the feasibility of bullet trains proposed in the Rail Budget, saying those projects would be funded through bilateral agreements and FDI without putting any burden on the common man of the country. The Rail Budget was approved by the House though voice vote.
"There need not be any apprehension that the FDI would do some harm. FDI will be brought in such a manner that it will be used only in infrastructure development and not in operations," he said in reply to a debate on the
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Budget.
The FDI will be used in big ticket projects like development of high-speed corridors, suburban corridors and freight corridors, he said.
Gowda said the growth in Railway infrastructure will fuel the growth of manufacturing in the country.
Responding to the attack by various parties over 14.2% hike in passenger fare and 6.5% increase in freight charges effected ahead of the Rail Budget, the Minister said it was the decision of the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government which the current dispensation implemented.
Talking about demands made by various members for rail projects in their respective states, Gowda said he desisted from announcing any new projects as several projects are still incomplete. "My focus is to ensure completion of those ongoing projects," he said.
With many MPs criticising the Government's move to introduce bullet train between Mumbai and Ahemedabad at a high cost of about Rs 60,000 crore, Gowda said that the high-speed train project would be funded by FDI and bilateral funding.
He said that the expectation of every citizen is that the country should have a bullet train that matches with the speed of fast trains in the world.
Insisting that he has "cautiously stayed away from populism," Gowda said that Rail Budget focuses on resource mobilisation, harnessing new technology and new innovation. "I have focused on three fronts in the budget--first completion of projects, second, mobilisation of resources and third, passenger amenities and safety," the minister said.
Taking a dig at the Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad for saying that the budget has only repeated most of the schemes of previous UPA regime, Gowda reminded him that even the passenger fare and freight hike was a decision taken by the UPA itself.
He said that Interim budget of the UPA had factored in the hike.
Regarding the demands from Kerala MPs for more rail projects, he said that land acquisition in that state is more difficult. "We have decided to set up a joint study group consisting of railway officers and Kerala MPs from both Houses," Gowda said, adding, that he will work on it once the committee sends its report.
His refrain was same for the demand of a new railway zone and railway lines from Andhra Pradesh and Telengana MPs.
Railway Minister said that 4,000 women constables for RPF will be recruited to strengthen security of women passengers.
The Rail Budget has sanctioned 54% more funds for the Northeastern region than what was given in the previous budget, Gowda added.
Today (6:33AM)  Indian Railway plans to go green, to invest in wind and solar energy projects (www.indiainfoline.com)

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News Entry# 186536     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
Plans to generate 20% of its total power requirement through wind and solar power plants in the coming year
According to news reports, Indian Railways is planning to go "green" and is preparing blueprint to generate ~20% of its total energy through solar and wind power plants.
The Narendra Modi Government, which had the development of renewable energy as a major poll plank, has seemingly influenced the Railways to follow the Clean Energy path. If the plans are executed properly, Railways would be able to reduce its fuel bills by half. The current power bill of Railways is estimated to be approximately Rs. 11,000 crore, while the diesel bill is 22,000 crore.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his maiden Budget speech
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had advocated public-private partnership (PPP) model to bring about an upgradation in the railways. Taking a cue from this, the Railways plan to generate 500 MW of solar power and 200 MW of wind power this year through this model, the report added.
Today (6:32AM)  'Sky rail' to run from Lhasa to south Tibet (www.ecns.cn)

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Commentary/Human InterestINT/International  -  

News Entry# 186535     
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Further railway expansion to connect Nepal, Bhutan, India by 2020
A railway linking Lhasa and Shigatse in Tibet Autonomous Region, known as the "closest stretch of railway to the sky," is to open to traffic in August after finishing its 14th track test on Tuesday.The launch of the railway that extends 254 kilometers from Lhasa westward to Shigatse, will be the first in the southwestern area of Tibet.Construction on the Lhasa-Shigatse line began in September 2010.It is an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway that runs from Xining, Qinghai Province to Lhasa. It will include 13 stations with altitudes ranging from 3,600 to 4,000 meters.The trains are expected to run on the extension line at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour.It is the largest infrastructure project during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) with an investment of more than 10.8 billion yuan
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($1.7 billion), said Yang Yulin, deputy director of the railway office of the Tibet government.
"It will accelerate transportation of the mineral products, which could only be transmitted through highways that often risk being cut off during rainy seasons or see vehicle turnovers," said Zhu Bin, a manager with a mineral company based in Lhasa told People's Daily.
Soechung, a Tibetan writer based in Lhasa, told the Global Times that the railway will help more local Tibetans get out of their hometowns and exchange with the outside world.
He also said more tourists will be attracted to the area.
Yang revealed that during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) period, the construction of a railway connecting Shigatse with Gyirong county, which has checkpoint connecting Nepal and with Yatung county, a trade center bordering India and Bhutan, will start.
Another railway linking Lhasa to Nyingchi in the east is also expected to start construction soon.
Wang Chunhuan, professor at the Tibetan Academy of Social Sciences in Lhasa, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the network will play the role of continental bridge in South Asia and promote economic and cultural exchanges.
She also noted that the development of Shigatse is crucial to boost the development of western Tibetan areas which have been lagging behind.
The railway, apart from boosting economic development, will contribute to solving border disputes between China and India in the South Tibet region, observers say.
According to the Chinese foreign ministry, there are a total of 125,000 square kilometers of disputed area between China and India, of which, 90,000 square kilometers are in the South Tibet region, known as "Arunachal Pradesh" in India.
Liu Zongyi, an expert of Indian studies with the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the Global Times that Indian authorities would certainly care about the operation of the Lhasa-Shigatse Railway that is very close to the disputed area.
"The Indians have lately been working on adding infrastructure in the South Tibet region, in order to strengthen control," said Liu.
"They have been sensitive to how the Chinese government moves in the southwestern area of Tibet," Liu told the Global Times.
"Arunachal Pradesh" was put on India's railway map in April, 2014, though of 27 roads India planned to build in the area, only one is finished so far.
Rajeswari Rajagopalan, a senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi told The Diplomat in June that "tremendous improvements" China has made over the past decade in linking South Tibet to the rest of the country.
Liu said that the bargaining chips will be increased on the Chinese side if people in the South Tibet region see better economic development in southwestern Tibet.
The growing railway network will increase Chinese activities in this area, balancing Indian moves, Liu said.
The Lhasa-Shigatse railway was built across 90 kilometers of Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon and through 29 tunnels.
Yang said that the environment alongside the railway is very fragile and in order to protect the environment, the construction team has transplanted 3,000 square meters of plants and had been using clean energy.
Today (6:29AM)  Rail budget has nothing new: Cong (www.indiatvnews.com)

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News Entry# 186534     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
Contending that the rail budget offers nothing new, Opposition Congress today said it is just a copy of UPA’s budget and looks like fresh only because of “packaging” in which “we are zero, you (NDA) are hero”.
Participating in a debate on the rail budget in Rajya Sabha, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, without naming Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said “you have experience of running a state. But, running a Federal government is a difficult task.”
“Whatever promises you have made, it is very difficult for you to fulfil,” Azad said.
The former Union Minister said the UPA government had done so much work which the NDA dispensation would not be able to match even after 10 years, and it would
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take more than five years for them to inaugurate projects initiated earlier.
“The Railway budget presented by NDA is a copy of what the Congress-led UPA had presented in its budget in 2013 and interim budget in 2014. There is nothing new,” he said.
“There is no match to your packaging. You can match any global top advertising agency. We are zero, you are hero in packaging,” he said.
Azad said the government has made a lot of promises and shown lofty dreams to the people but the experience of running a state is far different from that of running a Federal government.
“The Prime Minister has said UPA has done nothing, but in the last few months has launched four big projects in the country which were initiated by our government. UPA has launched so many projects that it will take more than five years for NDA to inaugurate them,” he said.
Derek O’Brien (TMC) asked “what is the major proposal that you (government) have proposed in this budget”.
“Mamata Banerjee had proposed introduction of Duronto trains. The proposal of even bullet trains will take years to fructify,” he said.
Claming that a sound foundation was laid by the UPA during the 11th Five Year Plan alone, Azad said 2207 kms of new rail line were laid, 2,758 kms converted into double lane and 4,556 kms electrified.
Also, 64,575 new wagons, 1258 diesel locomotives and 1,218 electric locomotives were added during the Plan, he said.
“We even exceeded the target in 2013-14 by laying 1,532 kms of new lines,” he said.
The UPA government has the privilege of joining the select group of billion plus club in freight movement as the freight transportation crossed one billion tonne, he said.
Azad accused the NDA of presenting old wine in a new bottle saying in May 2013 former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Japanese Premier has inked a pact for joint feasibility of Bombay-Ahmedabad high speed train which was coined as “bullet train” by the NDA regime.
The work on high speed trains with a speed of 160-200 km per hour on Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Chandigarh routes etc was also initiated during the UPA regime, he said adding the 2013 budget also speaks clearly of the “public-private-partnership” in railways.
Charging NDA of taking advantage of all its programmes and showcasing them as its own, Azad said Interim Budget clearly mentioned “a proposal is under consideration to allow FDI in railways for world class international travel.”
Azad said whether it be green initiative claims, cleanliness measures, IT initiatives, online booking for railway retiring rooms, dedicated freight corridors or workstation concept—all were introduced by the UPA government.
“It was Sonia Gandhi who as a matter of fact conceived bio-toilet concept in 2013 and there was a proposal to increase it to 2500 coaches,” he said.
Azad said if the government was really interested in sector’s reforms and progress, it could have initiated steps to augment freight transportation which could have garnered much revenue and reduced burden from highways therby minimising pollution and accidents.
He suggested the government could eye revenue through scrap disposal and use of railway land.
Today (6:05AM)  HMRL reps meet top cops on security models (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)

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Commentary/Human InterestHM/Hyderabad Metro  -  

News Entry# 186532     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
HYDERABAD: Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) and L&T representatives met city police officials for the first time to discuss various metro rail security models on Wednesday.
The meeting held at the Hyderabad police commissionerate, Basheerbagh, was attended by senior officials of Hyderabad and Cyberabad, HMRL MD NVS Reddy and representatives of L&T.
Briefing the media about the meeting, Hyderabad police commissioner M Mahender Reddy said that it was a preliminary review meeting to discuss the security frame work to be adopted for Hyderabad metro rail.
"As part of metro rail security, we have discussed various issues like security system needed to be in place, including CCTV cameras, emergency alert mechanism, video analytics, manpower deployment and firearms requirement. This is the preliminary meeting and,
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in future, more such meetings will take place before finalizing the plan," Mahender Reddy said.
The participants also discussed the idea of creating a special force comprising officials from state police units or deployment of paramilitary forces like CISF, which is presently guarding airports. "It could also be a combination of personnel drawn from civil police, specialized police units and private security personnel. The aim of these meeting is to identify various options though the state government will take the final call on which model is best suited for the metro rail," the police commissioner said.
Mahender Reddy also said that adequate security arrangements had been made for Ramzan month. He said that video surveillance was there at all crowded areas and police presence was increased at communally-sensitive areas and popular places of worship.
Today (6:04AM)  Centre steps in break metro rail logjam (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)

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News Entry# 186531     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
HYDERABAD: In an apparent bid to rein in the TRS government that has threatened to create hurdles for the Hyderabad Metro Rail project, the Centre has summoned Telangana chief secretary Rajiv Sharma for a meeting in Delhi on Friday in which representatives of the concession partner Larson & Toubro and authorities of Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) would also take part.
Sources said the Centre has taken a serious note of the developments in Telangana. Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had stated recently that the alignment of corridor from LB Nagar to Miyapur should be changed so that the rail line goes underground near the assembly building. After KCR's statement, sources said the TRS regime has been mounting pressure on L&T to stop the works following which the concessionaire partner suspended the construction activity near the assembly building four days
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ago.
After the threat from the TRS government, L&T complained to the Centre and Friday's meeting of all concerned parties in Delhi is an outcome of that. Sources said the Union finance ministry called for the meeting because the state government did not comply with its direction issued a few days ago that it must cooperate with the concessionaire partner and ensure that the work schedule was not disturbed. While confirming the meeting, officials in the Telangana municipal administration and urban development department (MA&UD) said principal secretary S K Joshi is also likely to take part in the meeting. "We have received the notice for the meeting, it is yet to be decided as to who are all going to represent the state government," Joshi told TOI. NVS Reddy, managing director of HMRL, and V B Gadgil, chief executive and managing director of L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited, are likely to attend the Delhi meeting.
This is the first time that the Centre is intervening after the Hyderabad Metro Rail project was cleared and the works started in July 2012. "It is significant to note that the Union finance ministry is intervening at a time when finance minister Arun Jaitley highlighted his government's priority to encourage public private partnership (PPP) in infrastructure development. The Hyderabad Metro Rail project is being executed under the PPP model and the complaint is that the TRS government is harassing the concessionire partner and delaying the project which will make it unviable," said the sources.
Apart from asking L&T to take the rail underground near the assembly building, KCR wants to save the Sultan Bazar traders from eviction and has asked the concessionire partner to change the alignment of corridor 2 from the original plan so that the shops in the bazar are saved from demolition.
The MA&UD officials said the CM's insistence of changes in the alignment could lead to L&T invoking the 'force majeure' clause and claim a hefty penalty of approximately Rs 6,000 crore. L&T's contention is that a change in design would result in further delay resulting in escalation of the cost of project which has already gone up from the original Rs 14,132 crore to over Rs.20,000 if inflation, currency fluctuation, and fluctuation in the rate of interest are factored in. According to the sources, per day's delay would increase the cost of the project by Rs 5 crore. Incidentally, the metro rail project construction took off on July 4, 2012, almost two years behind schedule.
"It is alarming that the cost of project is escalating due to various factors. That is the reason why the Union finance ministry has convened the meeting. Otherwise, it is related to the Union urban development ministry," said the official. Interestingly, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who holds urban development portfolio, is mum on the issue and the sources said he is nudging the finance ministry to take the initiative for local political reasons. The officials said the Centre was intervening in its capacity as a stakeholder as it has invested Rs1,458 crore in the form of viability gap fund.
Waking up to the seriousness of the issue, the CM has called a meeting of officials on Thursday to explore the avenues to convince the Centre on his government's stand. Officials from HMRL, MA&UD, GHMC, HMDA, and other departments concerned are likely to attend the CM's meeting.
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Today (6:03AM)  Metro forced to cut length of shunting neck (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)

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Commentary/Human InterestKMRC/Kochi Metro  -  

News Entry# 186530     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
KOCHI: With Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) and revenue authorities failing to provide the required land, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is set to cut down the shunting neck at Aluva by more than half the proposed length. The Metro agency will shorten the shunting neck to 70m from 170m.
As per the original plan, the shunting neck, an extended viaduct to help trains switch tracks or change directions, with a length of 170m was to be constructed between the Aluva terminal and river Periyar on the opposite side of the terminal. "We can't wait forever for the land. Our priority is to complete the project on time. So, we are left with no other option but to cut the length of the shunting neck," sources said. Since the trains are expected to run less frequently initially, shortening the shunting
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neck may not be a problem.
Some owners had raised objections against acquiring their land for the shunting neck. "In the absence of rules to acquire land when objections are raised by owners, it is difficult to take over land. Earlier, we would have been able to do so after depositing the compensation with the court as per the old Land Acquisition Act. Now, it is not possible," KMRL spokesperson said. The state government has not yet framed rules for the new LA Act. The plan to construct the foot overbridge, connecting the Aluva terminal station and national highway, has also been abandoned, according to sources. The plan was scrapped after the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) denied permission to build the overbridge. This would force passengers to cross the road on foot.
Land acquisition problems have stalled Metro work in other areas such as Premier Junction and Edappally. Apollo Tyres, Kalamassery, had demanded compensation on par with other land owners for the 1.5 acres in their possession required for the Metro station and parking. When revenue officials finally conceded, the state government raised objections saying that the land was acquired earlier by the government for the company. Since land once acquired cannot be acquired again, the company is not eligible for any compensation, government pointed out.
Today (5:57AM)  Metro Rail stations in Hyd to have airport level security (www.business-standard.com)

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News Entry# 186529     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
Airport level security arrangements will be provided at all metro stations of Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR), a top official said here today.
"Fool-proof security will be in place which include access-controlled passenger entry with baggage scanning, CCTV cameras among other surveillance,"HMR Managing Director NVS Reddy was quoted as saying in a release.
Reddy had a preliminary meeting on security plan for Hyderabad Metro Rail project with city police commissioner, M Mahender Reddy and other top police officials, security experts, L&T officials among others, here today.
"Passenger security will be the topmost priority of HMR and it will be ensured through access control and installation of CCTVs at all stations, sensors and alarms for monitoring of unmanned areas, checking and frisking of passengers at
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concourse gates, installation of intrusion detection systems, on-board surveillance through video recording in trains, anti-sabotage checking among other security measures," the release said.
The 72-km-long project, with 66 stations in three corridors, is scheduled for completion by June 2017 and the 8-km Nagole-Mettuguda stretch (stage I), which will have seven stations, is expected to go on steam by March 2015.
The CCTV system will cover areas like platforms, concourse, ticketing, parking, skywalks, viaduct, entry/exits to stations, vicinity areas, inside and outside saloon of the trains, he said.
The meeting also discussed various aspects of security arrangements for Metro rail stations, parking and circulation areas, viaduct and track, trains, depot areas, vital installations and machinery, Operations Control Centre (OCC), besides the security arrangements already in place at different Metro rail systems like Delhi and Bangalore.
"The security arrangements are being finalised in consultation with the Hyderabad Police with guidance from the Ministry of Home Affairs. Various options were discussed and the final requirements will be worked out soon," an HMR release said.
Meanwhile, city police commissioner M Mahender Reddy told reporters that different models on deployment of security forces and security equipment for the Metro Rail stations were discussed in the preliminary meeting.
Today (5:49AM)  Close Shave for Rajdhani Train After Maoists Blow up Track in Bihar (www.ndtv.com)

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News Entry# 186528     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
A major disaster was averted after a pilot engine detected a damaged railway track near Gaya in Bihar just hours before a Rajdhani train was to pass though that area. Maoists had allegedly blown up the track last night.
The incident happened around 11 pm last night when the driver of the engine alerted authorities about the track between Islampur and Rafiganj. It was running ahead of the New Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani as also a Rajdhani that was headed from New Delhi to Bhubanewswar.
A pilot engine, as part of a basic safety precaution, runs on the track an hour before passenger trains as a way of ensuring the tracks are intact. In this case, it was done in view of a bandh called by Maoists to protest the death of two people
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in alleged police firing in Aurangabad district a few days ago.
"The engine of the petrol train derailed by all wheels because there was a blast on the track which uprooted the rail for four meters length... There was no casualty of any type... but we could save a major calamity by a very timely action," said Arunendra Kumar, Chairman of the Railway Board.
Several trains have been delayed due to the damage to the tracks. Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda has sought a report on the incident.
Four people were killed last month after a Rajdhani Express headed from Delhi to Assam derailed in Chapra, 75 kilometres from the state capital of Patna. Officials had then ignored an alert sounded by a police officer after Naxal insurgents called a strike in the area. (Bihar Cop's Warning, Sent Hours Before Train Derailed, Went Unheeded)
Since a mega attack on a train in Bihar in 2002 in which more than 100 people were killed, the central government had ordered that pilot trains - either an engine with a driver or a freight train - will precede passenger trains which are routed through areas dominated by Naxals. For NDTV Updates,
Today (5:49AM)  Cabinet to mull govt stand on WTO, FDI in high speed trains today (www.business-standard.com)

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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 186527     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
The Narendra Modi Cabinet is likely to make its intent clear on signing the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organisation later today, after international pressure mounts on India to ink the pact.Even then, India's stand on the issue may have riders attached to it. The Cabinet might show its intent of supporting TFA, provided talks on food security also moves on.TFA needs to be signed by all WTO members by July 31 to make it binding from next year. The agreement is to come into force from July 2015.Meanwhile, the WTO Negotiating Committee will meet in Geneva on July 24 to build a final consensus among all members.India has so far stuck to its stand that it will not sign the agreement till it gets assurance that the food security issue, concerning stockholding of food grains and subsidies under WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture, will be negotiated by...
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the 159 member nations.Leading WTO members such as US, Brazil, China, Africa and the G-33 group of developing countries have assured India that food security will be discussed.
They have also warned India that if it lost the opportunity on TFA now, it would be “very difficult” to get everyone back on the table to talk on food security.
The Cabinet may also consider a proposal on opening high-speed train systems, suburban corridors and dedicated freight line projects through private-public-partnership mode to foreign direct investment.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has proposed 100% FDI in these areas.
However, FDI will not be allowed in train operations and safety.
At present, there is a complete ban on any kind of FDI in various areas of the railway sector, except mass rapid transport systems.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is likely to discuss a proposal to sell 10 million tonnes of wheat from stocks of the Food Corporation of India in the open market.
The food ministry has proposed sale of wheat at the minimum support price plus freight charges to destinations.
The proposed wheat sale programme aims to boost domestic supply and check price rise. This move would also help in reducing storage pressure on the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
As on July 1, the FCI had a wheat stock of 40 million tonnes, against the requirement of about 20 million tonnes.
The country had produced a record 95.60 million tonnes of wheat in the 2013-14 crop year.
Today (5:01AM)  :Caution against carrying heavy loads near overhead electric lines (www.transreporter.com)

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News Entry# 186526     
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Posted by: Jayashree▪◙▪Amita**  22236 news posts  
The Salem division of Southern Railways (SR) has cautioned the public and road users against carrying heavy loads in lorries or other carriers to a height of about 4.67 meters and above since the electric overhead traction at all level crossings near Mercheri Road Railway Station have been energised.
The railways has in a release said that the 25 kV AC electric current passing through the overhead lines could result in risk of fire, damage to property and loss of life if electro-conduction materials are carried near the overhead lines or poles and has cautioned the public against carrying such material near the poles or overhead lines.
Today (4:56AM)  Welcome move, but more needs to be done: activists (www.thehindu.com)

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News Entry# 186525     
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Posted by: Jayashree▪◙▪Amita**  22236 news posts  
Disability activists have welcomed Southern Railway general manager Rakesh Misra’s move to inspect disabled coaches of trains and his warning to all division managers to ensure no one encroaches upon these coaches. However, they say, this should be implemented strictly.
“It is mostly railway staff, RPF personnel, government railway police personnel and season ticket-holders that encroach upon the disabled coach. They get together and behave as a mob, threatening any disabled person who dares to stand up to them. It is especially unsafe for disabled women,” said T.M.N. Deepak of the Federation of Tamil Nadu Differently Abled Associations, who led a three-day protest over this issue recently.
He added that trains originating in the Chennai division were usually checked, but those coming from the north or south invariably had non-disabled persons occupying
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the coaches.
Maheshwari Thangaraj, general secretary, State Forum for Rights of All Women with Disabilities, said they had hoped for a budgetary allocation for CCTV cameras in the disabled coaches this year, but that had not materialised. “Every three months we hold a leadership camp. But disabled women are reluctant to come as they are invariably abused, groped or made to sit on the floor of the coach meant for them,” she said.
“I am glad Southern Railway is now doing something about this issue,” she added.
Smitha Sadasivan of Disabilities Rights Alliance said she was happy to hear Mr. Misra’s announcement for stricter inspection. She added, “Often checks happen at the starting point like Egmore or Central station but are not seen through in subsequent stations,” she said. Staff need to be trained and sensitised to ensure such incidents do not occur, she added.
Today (4:53AM)  Chennai Monorail to be restructured (www.thehindu.com)

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News Entry# 186524     
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Posted by: Jayashree▪◙▪Amita**  22236 news posts  
The State government has decided to restructure the Chennai Monorail project to attract potential developers for implementation under public-private partnership.
Transport Minister V. Senthil Balaji told the Assembly on Wednesday that the project would be restructured for a length of 43.48 kilometres, consisting of two corridors, to attract private bidders.
The first line will run to 20.68 km from Poonamallee to Kathipara. This will have a link from Vadapalani to Porur. The second line will link Vandalur near Tambaram to Velachery, crisscrossing 22.80 km.
The monorail has been in the news for years. The AIADMK government, in its previous tenure, had announced its intention to launch the project.
After the party returned to power
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in 2011, the project got a fresh lease of life with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa keen on going ahead with its implementation. Early this year, the routes were realigned. The government is also keen on introducing a monorail in Coimbatore.
According to a Transport Department policy note, the selection of a consultant for carrying out a feasibility study is under way.
Smart travel cards Smart travel cards — prepaid tickets that can be topped up — will be introduced for passenger comfort. The system will be first introduced in Chennai, for which the bidding is on.
Today (4:49AM)  Tamil Nadu to restructure mono rail to woo developers (economictimes.indiatimes.com)

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News Entry# 186523     
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Posted by: rdb**  82332 news posts  
CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Government today said it has decided to restructure the proposed monorail project for the city in a bid to attract potential developers under the Public Private Parnership (PPP) mode.Stating this in the state assembly, Transport Minister V Senthil Balaji said the length of the network under the project would be approximately 43.48 km with two corridors.While one will be from Poonamallee to Kathipara junction with a link from Porur to Vadapalani (20.68 kms), another will be between Vandalur and Velachery (22.80 kms), he said.
"To attract potential developers for the implementation of the Chennai Monorail project under the PPP mode, the government has decided to restructure the project," he said adding
In respect of introduction of mono rail in Coimbatore, selection of consultant for the preparation of feasibility study
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"is under process," he added.
CPI(M) floor leader A Soundararajan urged the government to extend the monorail project to North Chennai areas as there was a need for such transport solutions in that region.
In 2011, after taking over the reins of power, AIADMK government announced a monorail network of 111 km in the first phase to reduce traffic congestion in the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA). It was said the network would eventually cover 300 km in the CMA.
Today (4:39AM)  Passengers say railwayfood is ticket to illness (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)

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News Entry# 186522     
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Posted by: Jayashree▪◙▪Amita**  22236 news posts  
LUCKNOW: Cockroaches in lunch packs and piece of jute rope in samosa! These are some of the stuff found recently in the food served to rail passengers onboard trains including premium ones like Rajdhani Express.
Railways has increased passenger fare but the quality of food served has deteriorated. Passengers prefer to avoid it fearing they might fall ill. The common refrain is food served is "stale, tasteless and of poor quality and cleanliness is hardly taken care of."
TOI spoke to the passengers of some prominent trains like Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Neelanchal Express at Charbagh station and found that dissatisfaction with railways catering services was widespread.
"A friend of mine fell ill after consuming food served on train. After looking at the dish
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in which the food was served, even I decided to skip my meal," said Archana Pradhan, who arrived at Charbgh station from Shatabdi Express. Bina, who too was on the same train, said, "I thought of drinking butter milk but dropped the idea when it came because it had a foul smell."
Rail passengers do not have many choices. Either they have to accept the food served or skip it and remain hungry throughout the journey. "There is no option for travellers who want to eat food without onion as the menu is the same for all. Since I do not eat onions I had to skip meal and other snacks provided in the train even after paying for them," said Ravinder, a homemaker travelling in Neelanchal Express.
Travellers also complain about lack of hygiene in pantry cars. Another passenger SK Mishra said, "Food served in Shatabdi Express is now pathetic. No attention is paid to hygiene and cleanliness. Besides coaches, pantry cars also remain unclean in most of the trains," said SK Mishra, a passenger.
Many passengers TOI spoke to said they have carrying home cooked food in journey. At least, we won't fall sick after eating it, said several passengers.
"After reading news about dirty condition of pantries and bad quality of food provided in premium trains, I have become all the more conscious about food served in trains. I carry home made food .It is better to take care and avoid harm that can be caused by consuming food prepared in dirty conditions or stale food which is served by the caterers," said Smriti Sharma, a regular traveler. Post a comment
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