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News Entry# 73904  

मोदी सरकार रेल बजट को आम बजट का हिस्सा बनाएगी। इसके साथ ही रेलवे बोर्ड के भीतर दो हिस्से बनेंगे। इसके तहत नीति और योजना निर्माण के कार्य स्वतंत्र विशेषज्ञों को सौंपे जाएंगे, जबकि बोर्ड के अधिकारियों के पास केवल ऑपरेशन की जिम्मेदारी रह जाएगी। उच्च पदस्थ सूत्रों के अनुसार केंद्र ने रेलवे की तमाम जिद्दी समस्याओं के स्थायी समाधान का मूड बना लिया है। इसके लिए जो सबसे पहला उपाय सोचा गया है, वह है रेल बजट का आम बजट में विलय करने का है। इसका मकसद रेल मंत्रालय के राजनीतिक इस्तेमाल की गुंजाइश को हमेशा के लिए खत्म करना है।
सरकार का मानना है कि पृथक रेल बजट का अब कोई औचित्य नहीं रह गया है। यह व्यवस्था 1924 में अंग्रेजों ने की थी। उन दिनों परिवहन में रेलवे की हिस्सेदारी 90 फीसद और यात्री परिवहन में 75 फीसद
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थी। आम बजट का अस्सी फीसद ब्योरा रेलवे से संबंधित होता था। अब हालात उलट गए हैं। फिलहाल यात्री परिवहन में रेलवे की हिस्सेदारी घटकर 20 और माल परिवहन में 40 फीसद रह गई है। इसी के साथ आम बजट में रेलवे की हिस्सेदारी भी घटकर महज आठ फीसद पर आ गई है। रेलवे से बड़ी हिस्सेदारी तो रक्षा मंत्रालय की है, मगर उसका बजट अलग नहीं है। ऐसे में रेल बजट अपनी प्रासंगिकता खो चुका है।
इसके बावजूद रेल बजट का आम बजट में विलय आसान नहीं है। इसके लिए कई मोर्चों पर मशक्कत करनी पड़ेगी। कानूनी और तकनीकी पेंच सुलझाने होंगे। इसमें समय लग सकता है। लिहाजा अगले बजट सत्र में यदि विलय संभव न हुआ तो उसे 2016-17 के सत्र से लागू किया जाएगा।
पूरी तरह बदलेगी कार्यप्रणाली
इसके अलावा पुनर्गठन के जरिये रेलवे की कार्यप्रणाली को पूरी तरह बदला जाएगा। बोर्ड में बाहरी (निजी क्षेत्र समेत) विशेषज्ञों को लाने की तैयारी है। इन्हें नीति और योजना निर्माण का दायित्व सौंपा जाएगा। रेलवे अफसरों के पास केवल ऑपरेशन संबंधी जिम्मेदारियां रह जाएंगी। रेलवे में इन अभूतपूर्व सुधारों के संकेत पिछले रेल बजट में ही मिल गए थे। इसमें रेलवे बोर्ड का पुनर्गठन कर नीति निर्माण और कार्यान्वयन को अलग किए जाने का प्रस्ताव किया गया था। उसके बाद जिस तरह बिबेक देबराय समिति गठित की गई, सदानंद गौड़ा की जगह सुरेश प्रभाकर प्रभु को लाया गया तथा मेट्रोमैन ई श्रीधरन को रेलवे अफसरों की जवाबदेही तय करने का काम सौंप दिया उससे रेलवे यूनियनों की नींद उड़ गई हैं। देबराय पहले ही कह चुके हैं कि पुनर्गठन में कुछ भी हो सकता है। हाल में रेल राज्यमंत्री मनोज सिन्हा ने भी यह कहकर खलबली मचा दी है कि रेलवे में जो सुधार होने वाले वाले हैं, वे बहुतों को बुरे लग सकते हैं, लेकिन ये होकर रहेंगे।

Today (7:05AM)  Govt Hints At 'Tough And Unpopular Steps' To Improve Health Of Indian Railways (www.siliconindia.com)
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IR Affairs

News Entry# 201966     
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Posted by: Pp**  4788 news posts  
Promising to transform the railways soon, the government hinted at taking "tough" and unpopular steps to improve the condition of the cash-strapped largest state-run transporter.Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to transformation of the railways and "I assure you it will happen soon," Minister of state for railways Manoj Sinha said at the India Rail Summit. He went on to add, "Some tough steps will have to be taken for restructuring of railways. Though many will not like it but we have to do it."The minister, however, did not elaborate on the measures, saying, "When the steps are taken, you will see it yourself."
The railway is incurring losses to the tune of about Rs 25,000 crore in the passenger segment. At present, this is cross-subsidized by freight earnings.
The NDA government
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is looking at FDI, public-private-partnership besides internal resource mobilization for improving the condition of the railways.
The government recently set up a committee headed by noted economist Bibek Debroy to suggest ways to restructure the Railway Board and increase efficiency.
Noting that changes have not happened in railway sector as fast as in other sectors, Sinha said, "We are on the job."
Seeking private participation in rail projects, he said, "Being an industry-friendly is not anti-poor. More you converse with industry, it is better for Railways." He noted that the NDA government has changed rules to allow 100% FDI in railway projects.
"In the last rail budget, we have consciously taken the decision not to take any populist measures," Sinha said.
Currently railways is focusing on completion of existing projects coupled with a plan to build diamond quadrilateral network of high speed rail, connecting major metros and growth centres of the country. He said passenger and freight loadings have gone up and it will increase further.
At present, railways carry approximately 36 percent of the total freight traffic while for U.S. and China these are 48 percent and 47percent respectively.

Today (7:05AM)  Akhilesh to visit Ghaziabad (www.thehindu.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestDMRC/Delhi Metro  -  

News Entry# 201965     
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Posted by: rdb**  89477 news posts  
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will visit Ghaziabad on December 10 to launch two ambitious projects -- construction of the Delhi Metro extension project and an elevated road from U.P. Gate to Raj Nagar Extension.
Though there has been no official confirmation, the district administration and the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) have started preparations for the visit, sources said on Thursday. GDA officer on special duty D. P. Singh said the Chief Minister would launch the two projects on that day.- IANS

Today (7:04AM)  Show material used in passenger coach interiors, SC tells railways (post.jagran.com)
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IR Affairs

News Entry# 201964     
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Posted by: Pp**  4788 news posts  
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Indian Railways to place before it the material used for furnishing the interiors of railway coaches so that it could get it tested by labs to ascertain its qualityThe bench of Chief Justice HL Dattu, Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice AK Sikri asked for the material and names of the labs where it could be tested, as petitioner Abhay Singh alleged that the railways was using substandard material that endangered passengers' lives during incidents of fire.The petitioner, who appeared in person, alleged that the substandard and inferior materials used in cushions, cushion covers, curtains, flooring and wood partitions in the interiors of the railway coaches release toxic fumes, causing the deaths of passengers due to asphyxiation during a fire.
Additional Solicitor General NK Kaul contested the claim and sought to know what was the
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source of the information.
Kaul said if what the petitioner was saying had a sound basis, then the railways would not hesitate in taking necessary remedial steps.
He asked the petitioner to disclose the labs which gave him such reports.
The petitioner said, "The nexus between the officials and the suppliers to the Indian Railways is quite apparent and disturbing."
"It is unbelievable that the officials of the Indian Railways are unaware of the formation of a cartel," he said.
The plea sought that the matter be investigated and resolved at the earliest as the hapless passengers were risking their lives while travelling in trains, which are considered a safe and affordable mode of travel.
It said that in the recent past, there have been several accidents where many passengers were charred to death. The deaths were caused due to asphyxiation on account of inhalation of toxic gases which engulfed the passenger coaches.
The apex court had issued notice on February 28 to the railways and the Centre on Abhay Singh's plea.
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Today (7:03AM)  Acquire land for Metro by December, says task force (www.thehindu.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestHM/Hyderabad Metro  -  

News Entry# 201963     
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Posted by: rdb**  89477 news posts  
Chief Secretary-led panel reviews project progress, silent on alignment change
Carefully skirting the raging issue of the Metro Rail’s change of alignment, a special task force led by the Telangana Chief Secretary on Thursday set a stiff deadline of December 2014 for the acquisition of 283 properties and complete road-widening to ensure right of way for the construction.
Attended by top officials of the government, police and Metro Rail officials from both Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) and L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad, the high-powered committee was informed that construction activity was in progress in 45 kilometres of the three corridors.
Foundations for 43 km, casting of piers for a length of 40 km, viaduct erection for 30.5 km were completed and construction of 27
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stations was also in progress. Viaduct, track, traction system of stage-1 (Nagole to Mettuguda) was complete and test runs for the trains are also successfully going on, HMR managing director N.V.S. Reddy said.
Among the decisions taken were requesting railway authorities to hand over affected land between Lekha Bhavan and Oliphenta Bridge for road-widening and construction of Metro Rail, and also to build the approach road for Alugaddabavi road underbridge.
The RTC had agreed to provide space for taking up construction of MGBS interchange station at Imlibun, while the police department was told to hand over properties at Chikkadpally traffic police station and Gopalpuram police station and quarters at the earliest.
The Water Board and power utility firms were advised to complete shifting of pipelines on priority.
City Police Commissioner Mahender Reddy was instructed to allow construction on more work fronts after a joint inspection. Dr. Sharma reiterated to the members the resolve of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao to ensure that the project was completed as per schedule.

Today (7:02AM)  An unexpected encounter (www.thehindu.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 201962     
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Posted by: rdb**  89477 news posts  
When an empty prepaid counter welcomed train passengers
Passengers alighting at the Ernakulam Town Railway station were in for an unpleasant surprise on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning when they found the prepaid counter in front of the station empty.
Autorickshaw drivers working from the prepaid counter went on strike following an argument with drivers of five new autorickshaws that began operating from outside the station on Wednesday evening.
“Five auto taxis just showed up outside the station. They placed a flagpole outside the station and started operating outside the gate,” said a representative of an autorickshaw drivers’ union. Those stationed at the prepaid counter got into an argument with the newcomers and told them to leave. The issue soon reached the police
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and in no time, the drivers declared a strike. They alleged that the newcomers positioned outside the gate were blocking the route out of the station. Passengers arriving the station were left stranded for a while.
The city police soon convened a meeting of different unions and the strike was withdrawn after police agreed to remove the newcomers.
INFLEXIBLE DECISIONS

Today (7:01AM)  Pachalam ROB work resumes amid protests (www.thehindu.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestSR/Southern  -  

News Entry# 201961     
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Posted by: rdb**  89477 news posts  
Pachalam witnessed a fresh bout of protest on Thursday as attempts to resume the construction of the controversy-ridden Railway Overbridge (ROB) were met with stiff resistance.
The protests began around 8.30 a.m. in the morning when a group of about 50-odd people, including women and children, staged a march to the worksite amidst heavy police security and prevented the workers from commencing work. Following this, District Collector M.G. Rajamanickam held a discussion with the protesters.
But the talks failed and the protests resumed by 3 p.m. with more protesters converging at the location. Soon, the police intervened and the works resumed at the eastern end of the bridge after the protesters were forcibly removed from the site. They were released from police custody later in the evening. The police registered a case
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against about 60 protesters, including 20 women.
“The decision to restart work on the ROB follows a High Court order and the police will be providing necessary security cover to the construction site and also for the workers. The work has resumed and no interference from outside will be allowed from here onwards,” the Collector said.
According to him, the district administration has assured the protesters that it will expedite payment of compensation to the evictees and that the land of Kattungal temple will not be used for the project. “They, however, are insisting on stopping the work before further discussions, but we are not in a position to permit this,” he said.
A decision on restarting the project, which had come to a standstill two months back, was taken at a high level meeting convened by the District Collector on Monday. The meeting also decided to seek the help of the police force, if necessary, to provide security to the workers.
Meanwhile, the agitators warned of more protests if the authorities attempted to resume the work. “At any cost, we will not let the work resume and are ready to face any consequences,” said Abiju Suresh, general convener of the Janakeeya Samara Samithi, which leads the protests.

Today (7:01AM)  Railway recruitment (www.thehindu.com)
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EmploymentSCR/South Central  -  

News Entry# 201960     
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Posted by: rdb**  89477 news posts  
The Railway Recruitment Cell (RRC), Secunderabad is conducting written exam to fill the erstwhile Group-D vacancies. Call letters (Hall Tickets) were sent by post and also made available on SCR website www.scr.indianrailways.gov.in for candidates to download. Candidates can call 09701370626; 040-27830039 and 040-27822852 for any clarifications.

Today (7:00AM)  ‘Acquire land for Metro by December’ (www.thehindu.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestHM/Hyderabad Metro  -  

News Entry# 201959     
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Posted by: rdb**  89477 news posts  
Carefully skirting the raging issue of the Metro Rail’s change of alignment, a special task force led by the Telangana Chief Secretary on Thursday set a stiff deadline of December 2014 for the acquisition of 283 properties and complete road-widening to ensure right of way for the construction.
Attended by top officials of the government, police and Metro Rail officials from both Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) and L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad, the high-powered committee was informed that construction activity was in progress in 45 kilometres of the three corridors.
Foundations for 43 km, casting of piers for a length of 40 km, viaduct erection for 30.5 km were completed and construction of 27 stations was also in progress. Viaduct, track, traction system of stage-1 (Nagole to Mettuguda) was complete and test runs
...
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for the trains are also successfully going on, HMR managing director N.V.S. Reddy said.
Among the decisions taken were requesting railway authorities to hand over affected land between Lekha Bhavan and Oliphenta Bridge for road-widening and construction of Metro Rail, and also to build the approach road for Alugaddabavi road underbridge. The RTC had agreed to provide space for taking up construction of MGBS interchange station at Imlibun, while the police department was told to hand over properties at Chikkadpally traffic police station and Gopalpuram police station and quarters at the earliest. The Water Board and power utility firms were advised to complete shifting of pipelines on priority. City Police Commissioner Mahender Reddy was instructed to allow construction on more work fronts. Dr. Sharma reiterated to the members the resolve of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao to ensure that the project was completed as per schedule.
Chief Secretary-led panel reviews project progress, silent on alignment change

Today (6:59AM)  Bomb hoax holds up trains (www.thehindu.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestSWR/South Western  -  

News Entry# 201958     
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Posted by: rdb**  89477 news posts  
Fear gripped the Railway Department officials and the passengers when they heard that two explosive devices were traced on the rail track near Kirawale on Thursday. Authorities were forced to detain trains on Gunji-Londa section for more than half-an-hour.
However, the police and railway authorities heaved a sigh of relief when a bomb detection squad from Belagavi rushed to the spot and found that they were crude bombs.
Additional Superintendent of Police B.N. Nyamgouda told The Hindu that a gangman, Hanmantgouda, noticed the explosives while on a routine track maintenance around 9 a.m. The squad found the crude bombs to be wrapped with a jute twine, but found no metal pieces inside. The Khanapur police have registered a case.
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