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News Posts by Soumitra Chawathe**

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Jun 28 2013 (11:04AM)  खंडाळा घाटात एक्सप्रेसवर दरड कोसळली (onlinenews1.lokmat.com)
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Major Accidents/DisruptionsCR/Central  -  

News Entry# 138762     
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Posted by: Soumitra Chawathe**  185 news posts  
लोणावळा,दि.२८- मुंबई-पुणे रेल्वे मार्गावर खंडाळा घाटात दुरांतो एक्सप्रेसच्या इंजिनवर दरड कोसळल्याची घटना शुक्रवारी सकाळी घडली.यात इंजिनचालकासह गाडीतील सर्व प्रवासी सुरक्षित आहे.
सकाळी साडे सहाच्या सुमारात पुण्याच्या दिशेने जाणा-या निजामुद्दिन-पुणे दुरांतो एक्सप्रेसच्या इंजिनवर खंडाळ्यातील मंकी हिल पॉईंटजवळ दरड कोसळली. सुदैवाने या दुर्घटनेतून इंजिन चालक बचावला असून गाडीतील अन्य प्रवासीही सुखरुप आहेत. मात्र यामुळे मुंबईहून पुण्याकडे जाणा-या एक्सप्रेस गाड्यांची वाहतूक खोळंबली आहे.दरम्यान, मदतकार्यासाठी रेल्वेच्या तज्ज्ञाचे मदत पथक लोणावळा येथे दाखल झाल्याचे वृत्त आहे.
Jun 26 2013 (9:08AM)  Tight security in Banihal: PM to inaugurate rail tunnel today (www.kashmirtimes.com)
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New Facilities/TechnologyNR/Northern  -  

News Entry# 138505     
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Posted by: Soumitra Chawathe**  185 news posts  
JAMMU, June 25: As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi are scheduled to inaugurate 11-kilometer long rail tunnel between Banihal-Qazigund at Banihal tomorrow, tight security arrangements have been put in place at the venue i.e. Railway Station Banihal.
The whole venue and its suburbs have been thrown out of bound for civilians and it has been virtually converted into fortress. The vehicular movement in the area has been restricted while sharp shooters have been deployed at all sensitive points around the venue with three tier-security setup including that of police, RPF and CRPF.
Additional deployment has been made with backup of Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) at Banihal Railway Station. The venue has been thoroughly frisked using metal detectors. Sniffer dogs were also pressed into service and the whole area
has been sanitized manually by the security forces. Security has also been strengthened along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.
Singh and Gandhi will jointly flag off the first train at around 11.50 AM on the 18-km-long section between Banihal in Jammu and Qazigund in Kashmir, marking the start of the rail service to the Valley.
The 8-coach train will make regular operation from Banihal to Baramulla from June 27 after the inaugural run on June 26. The Banihal-Baramulla-Banihal train will make five trips daily beginning at 7.10 AM from Banihal and 7.35 AM from Baramulla.
Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah along with other central ministers Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad are expected to be present on the historic occasion.
"We have seven pairs of trains to run between Banihal and Baramulla. Earlier there were five rakes only but now it has been increased," said a senior Northern railway official.
The Banihal-Qazigund section, which includes an 11-km-long tunnel, will reduce the distance from 35 km (by road) to 18 km. It has been constructed at a cost of Rs 1,691 crore. This rail section is very significant, as it will provide an all-weather link to Kashmir Valley that often gets cut off from the rest of the country due to snowfall during winters.
Meanwhile, with the first batch of the Amarnath Yatra scheduled to leave from the city on June 27, Police today said that they are taking "extra precautions" to ensure a safe and sound pilgrimage.
So far nearly three lakh people have registered for the annual yatra which will be flagged off from Jammu by Minister for Tourism G A Mir.
"Whatever is required from the security point of view is being done. Additional deployment has been made at Jammu Railway Station,” a senior police officer said.
With just one day left before the start of the 55 day long annual Amarnath pilgrimage the authorities here including security personnel regulating the pilgrim traffic may find it difficult to stop the minors and senior citizens of 75 years of age from accompanying their parents/children on the arduous yatra track.
Learning from its past mistakes the Shrine Board had issued strict guidelines this year disallowing all the children under 13 years of age, senior citizens above 75 years of age and women with six weeks of pregnancy not to undertake the yatra.
Ignoring all such guidelines a large number of pilgrims have started arriving here to undertake the pilgrimage. Several community halls earmarked for the Amarnath pilgrims have already started receiving pilgrims.
Surprisingly, several pilgrims have brought their minor children along with them to join the yatra without paying attention to the SASB guidelines.
When contacted the pilgrims, camping in Jammu said, "When we are coming for the yatra we cannot leave behind our children. It is up to the government and the authorities to see whether they can stop us from performing the pilgrimage because we have minor children".
The majority of the pilgrims were upbeat and were scared by the attack on the security forces in Srinagar or incidents of flash floods in Uttarakhand. We are here o perform darshan of holy Shivling inside the cave shrine of Amarnath and we are all set to join the first batch of pilgrims, head of the pilgrim group who arrived here from Allahabad said.
It may be mentioned that the age limit was fixed by the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) after deliberating on the recommendations made by the National Disaster Management Authority and Nitish K Sengupta Committee.
Last year when over 100 deaths were reported along the yatra track the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had recommended that "no child under the age of 11 years, no person above the age of 75 years and no woman with more than six weeks' pregnancy should be allowed to undertake the pilgrimage." The yatra is scheduled to begin from June 28 and continue till August 21 this year.
According to the SASB, the fixing of age limit will help ensure that only physically fit people embark upon the arduous 55-day pilgrimage to the holy Himalayan cave shrine of Lord Shiva.
Jun 26 2013 (9:07AM)  दरड कोसळल्याने कोकण रेल्वे खोळंबली (onlinenews1.lokmat.com)
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Major Accidents/DisruptionsKR/Konkan  -  

News Entry# 138504     
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Posted by: Soumitra Chawathe**  185 news posts  
ऑनलाइन टीम
रत्नागिरी, दि.२५- संततधार पावसामुळे कोकण रेल्वे मार्गावर रत्नागिरीजवळ दरड कोसळल्याने कोकण रेल्वेची वाहतूक खोळंबली आहे. मंगळवारी सकाळी ही घटना घडली.
कोकण रेल्वे दरवर्षी पावसाळ्यात दरड कोसळण्याच्या घटना घडत असतात.यंदा दरड कोसळू नये यासाठी पुरेशी काळजी घेतल्याचा दावा कोकण रेल्वेने पावसाळ्याच्या सुरुवातीला केला होता. मात्र मंगळवारी सकाळी रत्नागिरीजवळील विलवडेजवळ रेल्वे रुळावर दरड कोसळली. यामुळे कोकण रेल्वेची वाहतूक ठप्प पडली. याचा फटका नेत्रवती, मांडवी, जनशताब्दी एक्सप्रेस या गाड्यांना बसला आहे. घटनेनंतर कोकण रेल्वेचे पथक घटनास्थळी रवाना झाला असून मातीचे ढिगारे रेल्वे रुळांवरुन बाजूला काढण्यासाठी शर्थीचे प्रयत्न सुरु आहेत. मात्र यासाठी नेमका किती वेळ लागेल हे अद्याप स्पष्ट झालेले नाही.
Jun 26 2013 (9:00AM)  अब और भारी पड़ेगा रेल टिकट कैंसिल कराना (business.bhaskar.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 138499     
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Posted by: Soumitra Chawathe**  185 news posts  
अब और भारी पड़ेगा रेल टिकट कैंसिल कराना
नई दिल्ली. पहली जुलाई से रेलवे का टिकट वक्त रहते कैंसिल नहीं कराना और महंगा पड़ेगा। रेलवे ने 15 साल बाद रिफंड नियमों को सरल बनाने के बहाने मुसाफिरों पर और बोझ डाल दिया है। अब अनरिजर्व टिकट हो या रिजर्व, कैंसिल कराने की नौबत आने पर जल्द से जल्द ऐसा करने में ही समझदारी होगी। अनरिजर्व टिकट कैंसिल कराने के लिए अवधि का निर्धारण अब ट्रेन की रवानगी के बजाय टिकट खरीदने के वक्त से किया जाएगा। अब ऐसे टिकट तीन घंटे के भीतर कैंसिल कराने पर क्लर्केज शुल्क (20 रुपये) काटकर बाकी किराया रिफंड होगा। यदि ऐसा टिकट काफी पहले खरीद लिया गया है तो सफर के 24 घंटे पहले तक कैंसिल कराने पर क्लर्केज शुल्क काटकर बाकी किराया रिफंड के रूप में मिलेगा।
(विस्‍तार से पढ़ने के लिए आगे के स्‍लाइड्स पर क्लिक करें)
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Jun 26 2013 (8:58AM)  'Rise in station master vacancies taking a toll on railway safety' (newindianexpress.com)
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IR AffairsSR/Southern  -  

News Entry# 138498     
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Posted by: Soumitra Chawathe**  185 news posts  
The increasing number of vacancies in the posts of station masters poses a grave danger to the safety of Railways and its services, said office-bearers of the All India Station Masters Association during a hunger strike by the Chennai division of the association on Tuesday.
The association claimed that the Chennai division of the Southern Railways had 190 vacancies among the 928 positions as of December 2012.
There will be a further increase of 45 vacancies by next year by way of retirement, said John Vincent Kumar, national president of the All India Station Masters Association.
“These huge vacancies will have a direct bearing on the functioning and safety of the Railways. As per norms, station masters are to work only for eight
hours in normal areas and six hours in high intensity areas owing to the stress levels involved. But as of now, most of us are forced to work for 12 hours at a stretch, and even a weekly day off is denied to us. This will affect the station masters and their ability to ensure the proper safety to the passengers,” he said.
The station masters also alleged that this year, the number of summer special trains was reduced by 10 per cent owing to shortage of drivers and station masters.
“The Central Government has put a blanket ban on government recruitments. Though drivers, station masters and guards are excluded from this, the government continues to follow the same policy here too,” claimed N Shanmughasundaram, president of the Chennai division of the All India Station Masters Association.
The association pointed out that the largescale vacancy was a result of the mass recruitment that had taken place in the late 1970s and early 80s.
“That whole batch is retiring in the next few years and this would lead to mass vacancies.
“If the government does not take proactive steps to fill the vacancies, it will lead to multiple problems,” said Shanmughasundaram.
The union demanded that the Railway Board relax recruitment processes to facilitate filling up of vacancies and also to create a body on the lines of the employment exchange to meet the current crisis of mass retirements.
Jun 26 2013 (8:58AM)  Byappanahalli station to be coach terminus (newindianexpress.com)
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New Facilities/TechnologySWR/South Western  -  

News Entry# 138497     
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Posted by: Soumitra Chawathe**  185 news posts  
The proposed world-class railway station at Byappnahalli will now be converted into a greenfield coach terminus.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the inaugural function of a photo exhibition organised at Venkatappa Art Gallery to commemorate the 160th year of the Indian Railways, South Western Railways General Manager Ashok Kumar Mittal said, “The proposed Byappanahalli railway station would be developed as a greenfield railway coach terminus. Two pit lines have already been constructed. Some more facilities will be developed soon to develop it as a coach terminus.” The railways has proposed to develop a world-class railway station at Byappanahalli on public private partnership mode and the state government has offered the required land for the project.
“As the private investors were not forthcoming, the Railways has now decided to develop it
as greenfield coach terminus,” he said. Mittal also said nearly 50 per cent of the work on Bangalore-Hassan line is complete and the state government is yet to acquire 160 acres of land, including the one belonging to a stud farm near Tumkur.
“The Railways and the state government are collectively spending `600 to 700 crore on railway projects every year and have resolved to complete at least 120 kms of new railway line,” he said.
Jun 26 2013 (8:56AM)  Railways tightens ticket refund rules (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 138496     
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Posted by: Soumitra Chawathe**  185 news posts  
NEW DELHI: You can no longer cancel a train ticket 24 hours before your journey and still claim a full refund.
The railways ministry, which comprehensively revised ticket refund rules on Tuesday, said the move was aimed at stopping touts from selling cancelled tickets at high prices at the last moment and at giving waitlisted passengers a little extra time to comprehend whether they could undertake their journey.
The new rules will come into effect from July 1.
The railways said it had also reduced the time wherein a passenger could claim back 75 per cent of the booking amount. For this, passengers will now need to cancel tickets six hours prior to departure, two hours fewer than earlier.
If a ticket is presented for cancellation within six hours before the train's scheduled departure and up to two hours after the actual departure, the cancellation charge will be 50 per cent of the fare, subject to a minimum charge. Exiting rules allow the cancellation of tickets up to 12 hours after the train's departure if the journey distance is 500 km or more. Under the new rules, no refund will be granted on a reserved ticket surrendered for cancellation two hours after the train's actual departure.
The time for the filing of refund claims in case of unforeseen circumstances like a strike or any natural causes such as floods has also been reduced from 90 to 10 days of the train's departure.
According to the new rules, even those with waitlisted or RAC tickets will have to cancel their tickets three hours before actual departure to get a refund after the deduction of a clerkage charge of Rs 30.
No refund will be allowed two hours after the train's departure. Existing rules permit cancellation till three hours after departure.
Justifying the revision, the railway ministry said: "Railway Passengers (cancellation of ticket and refund of fare) Rules, 1998, have not been substantially revised in the last 15 years, during which a large number of changes have taken place in the ticketing system of Indian Railways."
Apr 18 2013 (10:08AM)  City Beautiful to move a little closure to Ludhiana! - The Times of India (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestNR/Northern  -  

News Entry# 130097     
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Posted by: Soumitra Chawathe**  185 news posts  
LUDHIANA: If everything goes according to the plan, Ludhianvis travelling by train will reach Chandigarh 30 minutes early from April 19. The railways have made all arrangements to start a new rail link that will reduce the travel time between the industrial city and Punjab capital.
The authorities say the train (Amritsar-Chandigarh SF Express) on new route could be chugged off on April 19 provided railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal is available for the flag-off function at Chandigarh.
A senior officer at the Ludhiana railway station says, "We have made preparations for the train's inauguration of the new route. For the purpose, we have sought the consent of the railway minister to flag off the train on as early as April 19."
Commission for Railway Safety completed the inspection of the last portion of the rail link on April 15. The speed trial was also conducted on the route".
Northern Railways chief public relation officer Neeraj Sharma also said the tentative date to start the train on the new route is April 19.
"The departure of the train from Chandigarh will be 6.50 pm whereas the train's arrival time at Amritsar is 11.15 pm", says Sharma.
Presently, the superfast express train No 12241/12242 between Chandigarh-Amritsar via Morinda-Sirhind will be routed via New Morinda-Sanehwal-Ludhiana on the newly constructed railway line. The timing of the said train will also be revised. Residents who frequently travel between Ludhiana and Chandigarh expressed their happiness.
With the train playing on the new route, the distance between Chandigarh and Ludhiana will be reduced by 21 kms.
Till now the train's departure time from Amritsar is 5.20 am. It reaches Ludhiana at around 7.15 am and reaches Chandigarh at 9.45 am.
The proposal for construction of the 112-km stretch was approved in 1997-98 whereas the work on it started in 2000.
The project was divided into three phases --- Chandigarh-Morinda, Morinda-Sahnewal and Sahnewal-Ludhiana. Two of the phases are already functional. In the first phase, the 45-km track was completed between Chandigarh-Morinda. In the second phase, 17-km stretch from Sahnewal to Ludhiana was completed. It was 51-km track between Morinda and Sahnewal that took authorities years to complete.
Apr 18 2013 (10:02AM)  Subways to come up at 7 level crossings in division - The Times of India (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestCR/Central  -  

News Entry# 130096     
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Posted by: Soumitra Chawathe**  185 news posts  
PUNE: The Central Railway (Pune division) has planned to eliminate seven level-crossing gates on the Pune-Miraj section and a few more on the Daund-Baramati section.
The gates on Satara-Koregaon, Koregaon-Rahimatpur, Bhilvadi-Kirloskarwadi, Rahimatpur-Taragaon and Taragaon-Masur sections will be replaced by subways at a cost of Rs 4 crore. They will enable people to cross the tracks safely, restrict accidents and reduce the waiting time for people during train crossing, officials said.
A Pune railway division official said the administration had closed three gates last year and replaced them with subways or overbridges. While steps are being taken to eliminate level crossings, efforts are on to man the existing level crossings in the division, the official added.
Of the 179 level crossing gates in Pune
division, 143 are manned. Plans are to reduce the number of unmanned gates and build subways or overbridges at each of them.
Pune-Lonavla and Pune-Daund are the busiest sections in the division for train operations and illegal crossing of tracks by citizens, but the crossings in both sections are manned. The 36 unmanned gates are in other sections including Pune-Kolhapur and Daund-Baramati.
"Every year, we eliminate some level crossings. We are working with the state government to build subways or overbridges at some crossings. Besides, steps are being taken to restrict entry of cattle on the tracks."
Foot overbridges have been built at important stations in the division to stop commuters from crossing the tracks.
Mar 13 2013 (7:48AM)  Four arrested with fake currency notes - Indian Express (www.indianexpress.com)
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Crime/AccidentsWR/Western  -  

News Entry# 125252     
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Posted by: Soumitra Chawathe**  185 news posts  
The Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Western Railways Tuesday arrested four persons with fake Indian currency notes with a face value of Rs 6.8 lakh in Vadodara railway station.
Acting on a tip-off that four persons were reaching Vadodara Railway Station on Howrah-Ahmedabad Express Tuesday afternoon with fake currency, the SOG personnel laid a trap at the station and arrested them.
Initial investigations revealed that the four suspect were coming from Malda in West Bengal, from where they had sourced the money.
"The three belong to West Bengal and they were coming from Malda. The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) will conduct investigation jointly to find out the origin of the notes and where they were to be delivered," police inspector, SOG, Vadodara
division, M N Vaghela said.
The arrested include Abdul Sheikh, Sharif Ali Sheikh, Amirullah Rehman Iftikar, and Mohammad Rafique Sheikh.
Mar 13 2013 (7:46AM)  Food court to replace Presidency gym - The Times of India (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestER/Eastern  -  

News Entry# 125249     
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Posted by: Soumitra Chawathe**  185 news posts  
KOLKATA: A swanky gymnasium, that had become the talking point of the erstwhile Presidency College, will soon give way to a trendy food court after remaining in disuse for the past one year.
Built in 2009, when the institution was yet to become a university, it was looked upon as one of the cosmetic changes that symbolized the change. The state higher education department had spent nearly Rs 10 lakh to get the historical gymkhana of the college refurbished into a modern gym. But with the change of guard at the top level, the process of this upgrade got a new impetus and many of those things initiated by the previous regime started dying a slow death.
Students and faculty members of Presidency were extremely unhappy with the gym going out of
bounds despite several requests to the authorities. Those who have been doggedly pursuing the cause have recently been told that the gym will be "shifted" soon and a food court will come up in its place. This is being planned as part of the university's cosmetic uplift especially because a private coffee and a food chain have decided to wind up their businesses.
As things stand as of now, the university authorities are almost in the final throes of bringing in a new vendor who'll set up shop in the gym-turned-food court. Soon, equipment will be moved out of the gym to make space for a trendy eating zone. Indian Railways' catering company, IRCTC, is likely to set up shop in this space.
"We already have two canteens. If the university authorities feel that these are shabby or do not meet the standards, they can be upgraded. Why should they compromise with the gym? This simply means a waste of money," fumed Rahul Saha, the cricket captain of the university.
Though no concrete history of the gym is available, it is generally believed that it came into existence in the late 19th century when many students, who were also part of the freedom movement, used it for body-building. "During those days, exercising in a gymkhana was part of the urban intellectual psyche as right from Swami Vivekananda to Rishi Auribindo and Netaji, everyone believed that only a fit body can harbour a fit mind," said a faculty member who had used the gym regularly along with students. Old exercising instruments from the British times, like the Roman Rings, Pommel Horse, Parallel Bar that were part of the old gymkhana, were maintained and kept in the refurbished gym. The new-look gym also had modern instruments like treadmills, exercyclers, rubber dumb-bells for women etc.
"Games and physical fitness are just as important as studies and since the university is positioning itself as a world-class institution, it should realize this. How can you keep a gym to rust for a year?" asked Indrajit Sengupta, vice-captain of the cricket team and a member of the state squad.
Registrar Probir Dasgupta, however, said the university has better plans with the gym. "While we would split the gym and send them to the boys and girls hostels. A part of the gym would also be kept at the girls' common room so that the day scholars can use them. We have plans to buy a lot more equipment. Once this is done, the existing gym will be turned into a food court. Yes, IRCTC is an option we have in mind because being a government initiative it will be beneficial to our students both in terms of quality and price," he said.
Mar 13 2013 (7:42AM)  BBC News - Undercover patrols make Calcutta Metro safer for women (www.bbc.co.uk)
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Commentary/Human InterestKM/Kolkata Metro  -  

News Entry# 125248     
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Posted by: Soumitra Chawathe**  185 news posts  
In the wake of the brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapist on a Delhi bus in December, the focus in India has been on the treatment and safety of women across the country. There has also been an increase in security measures in public places like the metro in the eastern city of Calcutta.
Every day a team of 20 officers, 10 men and 10 women, patrol India's oldest metro to make sure that men keep their hands to themselves.
The team includes Radhika (not her real name) who since 26 January has been travelling across the city in its crowded underground carriages and watching how men behave.
Sometimes she is dressed in her police uniform, but often she is
undercover, wearing a colourful salwar kameez (long tunic and pyjama) or a sari to blend in with the female passengers.
Keeping a close eye on what is going on around her, she tells me that this is not just a job - she feels it is part of a change that India has to go through.
As soon she spots someone who is going to cause trouble or whose hands are beginning to stray, she walks up to them and calmly asks them to get off the train.
Some protest their innocence but most are so embarrassed that they quickly walk off.
"Men are now scared to harass women on the train as they know we are travelling in plainclothes and they might get caught," she says.
'Cover to harass'
Passengers have welcomed the presence of policewomen on trains
Every day, more that 625,000 people use the Calcutta Metro and it is the cheapest way to get around the city with most journeys costing just six rupees (11 cents; eight pence).
That means its carriages are crammed full of passengers and it is impossible to avoid physical contact with the people around you.
"Getting a seat on an underground train is as hard as winning the lottery. It also gives some men the opportunity and the cover to harass women," says the metro deputy general manager Protyush Kumar Ghosh.
India has been debating the issue of women's safety since the murder and gang rape of the young woman in Delhi.
Since then, more and more women in Calcutta have come forward and talked about their experiences of travelling on the metro.
Mr Ghosh says "as complaints grew, we had to take action to make sure that India's oldest metro was also its safest".
'No accident'
So they came up with the idea of the undercover cops, and it seems to have had an impact.
In February, five men were arrested for harassing women and there were 30 other incidents reported.
That is a drop of around 50% from the previous month.
"Troublemakers are now scared that they will be caught and so they are changing their behaviour," Mr Ghosh says.
Radhika says she can tell as soon as a man boards the train if he is going to cause trouble.
When I ask her how she can tell, specially in carriages where it is impossible to avoid touching someone, she replies: "I am a woman - I know. When a man touches a woman twice or three times, then it's no accident."
Twenty-one-year-old Shristi Das uses the underground every day.
She tells me that her parents get worried when she comes back late on the metro after work and adds that she hates the way that some men leer at her and try to touch her.
Housewife Bhavana Mishra says she tries to stand in the "women's only" section but that is not always possible.
"I am not sure why we women have to go through this," she says.
Both are glad that female officers are now patrolling the underground and it makes them feel safer.
But, Ms Das sasy, "you cannot police the whole of the metro. We need men to change and that is going to take some time".
Until they do, Radhika and her colleagues will be keeping a close eye on them.
Feb 10 2013 (9:24PM)  Many feared dead, in stampede at Allahabad Railway station | NDTV.com (www.ndtv.com)
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Allahabad: Many people are feared dead in a stampede that broke out at the Allahabad Railway station today evening. Sources say the stampede happened after a portion of a foot overbridge collapsed due to the heavy rush at the station.
Over three crore people were at the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad today to take holy dip at Sangam on 'Mauni Amavasya', considered the most auspicious day of bathing during the 12-yearly Kumbh congregation here.
Two people were killed at a stampede at the mela, according to the Press Trust of India.
Jan 17 2013 (9:34AM)  Indian Railways carry 735.10 million Tonnes of Freight During April-December 2012 | Invest in India (investinindia.com)
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Indian Railways carry 735.10 million Tonnes of Freight During April-December 2012
Indian Railways have carried 735.10 million tonnes of revenue earning freight traffic during April-December 2012. The freight carried shows an increase of 31.33 million tonnes over the freight traffic of 703.77 million tonnes actually carried during the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 4.45 per cent.
During the month of December 2012, the revenue earning freight traffic carried by Indian Railways was 88.19 million tonnes. There is an increase of 1.42 million tonnes over the actual freight traffic of 86.77 million tonnes carried by the Indian Railways during the same period last year, showing an increase of 1.64 per cent.
16 January 2013
Jan 15 2013 (11:53AM)  Seriously ill farmer dies after TTE forces him out of train (epaper.timesofindia.com)
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Aurangabad: A train ticket examiner (TTE) on Saturday allegedly forced a seriously ill farmer and his wife out of the reserved compartment of the Manmad-Secunderabad Shirdi express at Lasur station. Later, the farmer died at the station. The couple had unreserved second-class tickets for Partur.
B A More, the TTE on duty, did not inform his seniors or the railway control room about his action. The Government Railway Police (GRP) in Aurangabad has registered a case of accidental death, while the divisional railway office has initiated a high-level inquiry, after various NGOs protested against the treatment meted out by the TTE.
On Friday, Bhimrao Uttamrao Raut (65) and his wife Yamunabai (60) from Salgaon in Partur taluka of Jalna district, 115 km from Aurangabad,
had gone to Sai Sansthan Trust hospital in Shirdi for treatment.
After a day’s stay, the couple left Shirdi and went to Manmad bus stand. Since they could not catch a direct bus to their hometown, they went to the railway station and bought a ticket for the next train going via Partur. “Since Raut was ill and could not walk up to the unreserved bogie, they boarded the 11th coach of the Shirdi Sai Nagar express at 7 pm,” said Santoshkumar Somani, president of the Marathwada Railway Pravasi Sena. Around 7.20 pm, when the train reached Nagarsol station, Yamunabai noticed that her husband’s health was deteriorating and sought the help of regular commuters who called up the NGO and the TTE on duty, Somani added.
The TTE, he alleged, entered the coach at Rotegaon station and asked the woman to take her husband and get off the train at the next station.
An eyewitness said the woman pleaded with the TTE to allow them to get to Partur railway station. She also showed him their tickets, but the TTE allegedly dragged the ailing man and his wife outside the train and left them at Lasur railway station at 8.50 pm.
Lasur railway station master Sanjay Kumar Singh said that commuters told him of the woman crying profusely on the platform. “I found Yamunabai and her husband who was covered with a cloth. She showed me a ticket for second class travel, following which I informed the control room and called a doctor, who checked the man and declared him dead.”
The message was conveyed to divisional railway manager’s (DRM) office at 9 pm, but the railway police force reached Lasur railway station around midnight and the GRP arrived at 2 am on Sunday. The deceased was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Aurangabad for an autopsy and a case of accidental death was registered with the Aurangabad GRP.
When contacted, GRP investigation officer Shamsundar Dhaude said, “We are investigating the matter.The TTE may have asked the farmer and his wife to get off to get treatment at a hospital in Lasur.”
Aurangabad railway station master Ashok Nikam said, “We issued a memo to More and the case was taken up by the GRP.”
When contacted, B John, chief ticket inspector of Nanded division, said, “The issue has been taken up by senior officials and the divisional railway manager has ordered recording of the statements of all the TTEs on the train on Saturday.”
A senior railway official, on condition of anonymity said, “After South Central Railway headquarters in Secunderabad heard about the treatment, the DRM has decided to call the wife of the deceased farmer for an identification parade, so that the accused TTE is brought to book and action can be initiated.”
Dec 23 2012 (4:57PM)  Delhi Metro Completes 10 Years | news.outlookindia.com (news.outlookindia.com)
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The city's modern symbol of safe and comfortable travel, Delhi Metro will complete a decade of operations with a gift to its commuters - introduction of eight-coach trains that can carry more passengers in one trip.
Delhi Metro, which began operations with just 8 km on December 24, 2002, now has a network of 185 km and carries over 2 million passengers on an average day.
The eight-coach trains which would carry 600 additional commuters than the 2,200 capacity of a six-coach train will be inducted into service by Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit tomorrow at Central Park.
The first eight coach train will be introduced on the Jahangirpuri–HUDA City Centre corridor and this will be
the first of a total of 68 eight coach trains which will be introduced on the Gurgaon and Noida lines.
As a special 10th anniversary gift for senior citizens and the differently-abled persons, Delhi Metro will allot more seats for them from tomorrow onwards.
Apart from existing reservation of four seats for old and physically challenged in each car of a Metro train, additional four seats will be earmarked for senior citizens and differently-abled persons in the DT car (coaches with train operators cabin attached) and additional eight seats in the M car (the middle coaches).
Commenting on 10 years of the journey, Delhi Metro chief Mangu Singh said Delhi Metro was a dream which was very difficult to realise.
It was a dream which was awaited not only by the commuters of Delhi but by the whole nation.
"It's now a reality, a reality which everyone is looking up to. This has all been possible because of the engineers, technicians and other officials who made this dream come into a reality," he said.
Delhi Metro will also mark the completion of ten years of its operations with many other activities, which will continue for a week.
A commemorative souvenir book titled Delhi Metro: A Decade of Dedication, 10 Years of Metro Operations will also be unveiled on the occasion and a special commemorative smart card will also be launched tomorrow.
Delhi Metro will also honour the top 200 smart card users, who have used the smart cards more than the other commuters.
Among other activities, a grand photo exhibition featuring the highlights of Delhi Metro's ten years of operations will be inaugurated.
During the entire week from Tuesday to Monday next quiz shows will be organized at select Metro stations where attractive prizes will be given to the participating commuters.
This apart, commemorative films on the completion of ten years of operations will be screened at the Metro stations and an exclusive Metro song has also been composed which will be aired on the FM Radio channels as well as Metro stations.
Dec 23 2012 (4:57PM)  Western Railway extends run of Ahmedabad-Madgaon special train upto Jan 2-3 - The Times of India (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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MUMBAI: In order to cater to extra rush of passengers, Western Railway has decided to extend the run of Ahmedabad-Madgaon special train upto Jan 3.
WR's chief public relations officer Sharat Chandrayan said, "The special air conditioned super train runs via Vasai, thus benefitting passengers from Mumbai too. The train has AC First Class, AC II Tier and AC III Tier Coaches."
Train number 09414 Ahmedabad-Madgaon-Ahmedabad train will run up to January 2, 2013.
The date of booking of train no 09414 for extended trips will be open from December 23, 2012, he added.
Similarly Train no 09413 Madgaon - Ahmedabad ( Weekly ) Super fast AC special train will now also run on
January 23, 2013.
Train no 09414 Ahmedabad - Madgaon ( Weekly ) departs from Ahmedabad at 4.35 pm on every Wednesday and reaches Madgaon
at 1.30 pm on the next day .
Similarly, Train no 09413 Madgaon - Ahmedabad ( Weekly ) Superfast AC special train departs from Madgaon at 4.30 pm on every Thursday and reaches Ahmedabad at 1.20 pm on the next day .
He further said the train halts at Nadiad, Anand, Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat, Navsari, Valsad, Vapi, Vasai Road, Panvel, Roha, Chiplun, Ratnagiri, Kankavali, Sawantwadi, Thivim & Karmali stations in both the directions.
Dec 23 2012 (4:55PM)  Indian Railways pitches for 5-10 paise fare hike per km (post.jagran.com)
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New Delhi: Faced with mounting deficit of over Rs 20,000 crore in the passenger segment, Railways is keen on raising passenger fares between 5-10 paise per km in the coming months to generate about Rs 4,000 crore revenue.

The hike could come close on the heels of Railways finalising the broader contours of the proposed Rail Tariff Authority (RTA), which would be placed before Cabinet in January.

"The passenger fares should be hiked by 5 paise to 10 paise per km in the Rail Budget (2013-14). The financial condition of Railways is not good. We need funds, otherwise Railways will not survive," Minister of State for
Railways KJ Surya Prakash Reddy told. The other Minister of State Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also advocated an urgent hike in fare.

"There is an urgent need for passenger hike as Railways' financial condition is bad." Railways has incurred a loss of Rs 22,000 crore in the passenger segment this year, an increase of deficit of Rs 4000 crore from the last year.

However, a senior railway official said, "A decision is yet to be taken whether to increase the passenger fare before the Rail Budget or announce it in the budget."

Asked about the quantum of possible hike, the official said, "It is likely to be between 10 per cent and 15 per cent," something which former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi had proposed in the last Rail Budget.

Reviewing the performance of Railways, the Prime Minister's Office has asked the Chairman Railway Board to finalise and submit its recommendations on the constitution of proposed RTA by December 31. RTA is expected to suggest the quantum of hike in passenger fare and freight tariff.

"We are working on it (RTA)," said Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal when asked about the progress on RTA.
Taking note of the financial condition of the national transporter, Bansal had also hinted for a possible fare hike in near future while taking over Railway Ministry two months back.

Railways has earned Rs 67,879.95 crore till end of October as against the target of Rs 70,147.74 crore, 3.23 per cent less than the budgeted provision.

On passenger segment, Railways earned Rs 17,691.43 crore as against the target of Rs 18,196.46 crore, a decrease of 505.03 crore.

Earnings from goods have also witnessed a decline as the national transporter could earn Rs 46,805.48 crore as against the target of Rs 48,580.09 crore till October.

Keeping in view of the shortfall trend, the plan outlay for the current fiscal has been downgraded from Rs 60,100 crore to Rs 55,881 crore.

"There are so many pending projects which railways could not complete because of severe scarcity of funds. We also need funds for safety upgrading and improvement of passenger amenities," Reddy said.

Railways has 347 ongoing projects under new lines, gauge conversions and doubling having a throwforward of about Rs 1.47 lakh crore.

"If you want projects to complete then you need funds. So from where will the funds come? Reddy asked, adding, "People have expectations from the Railways."

Expressing concern over the deteriorating financial health of Railways, All-India Railwaymen's Federation General Secretary Shiv Gopal Mishra said, "Railways should not wait for the Rail Budget to announce fare hike. It should be announced without much delay as its financial condition is worsening."

The passenger fares in general, sleeper and AC III classes have not been hiked for the last nine years. Though Railways had proposed 15 per cent passenger fare hike in the 2012-13 Rail Budget, it was rolled back with the resignation of Trivedi.
Dec 16 2012 (10:08PM)  Fake railways job racket busted in Kolkata (www.newstrackindia.com)
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Kolkata, Dec 16 (IANS) A fake railways job racket was busted with the arrest of four people, including a woman, who used forged documents to cheat people, a railway official and police said here Sunday.
Several forged documents, including forms, appointment letters and identity cards, were recovered from the accused arrested Saturday.
"We have arrested four people who were involved in forging official documents and cheating people by luring them with promise of jobs in railways," Amar Kanti Sarkar, additional director general of police, railways, told IANS.
The accused demanded Rs.20,000 from job seekers for a posting in the railways, police said.
According to police, the accused cheated over 1,000 people, collecting nearly Rs.4.5
crore in the process.
"The government railway police Sealdah received several complaints by youths who were duped by the accused, following which raids were conducted and the accused arrested," added Sarkar.
Dec 16 2012 (10:05PM)  Business Line : Industry & Economy / Logistics : Moving, not producing, coal is the key: CIL chief (www.thehindubusinessline.com)
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Let the Railways come out with a proper business model after calculating the optimum return on investment spread over the whole year and Coal India is prepared to pay for the idle rakes. — S. NARSING RAO, CMD, COAL INDIA LTD
India’s coal reserve is huge and the state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) is the world’s largest coal producer. Yet, availability of coal has been a matter of concern these days. More than production it is the transportation and distribution of coal which is critical for the economy, says S. Narsing Rao, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of CIL, in an interview to the Business Line.
Rao, an officer of the Indian Administrative Service (1986 batch, Andhra Pradesh cadre) has been tormented by two issues ever since he took over as the
CMD CIL in April this year — how to boost CIL’s production and , perhaps more important, how to step up despatches of the coal produced.
“There is no point going on producing unless we can ensure timely delivery of what we produce at the doorsteps of our customers”, Rao observes. “Holding huge pithead stocks is no fun”.
CIL was holding pithead stocks of 71 million tonnes (mt) when he took over. “Since April, we liquidated the stocks by 29 mt to 42 mt thanks to improved railway loading”. In past eight months, as he points out, railway despatches improved by 11.5 per cent to 145 mt as compared to 130 mt in the same period of the previous year. Last year, the railway despatches were up by a meagre three per cent or so.
“I’m in touch with the top brass of the Railway Board almost on a daily basis and the Prime Minister’s Office has constituted a high-power committee headed by the Railway Board Chairman to expedite coal movement,” he says.
But then he also concedes there are problems facing the Railways. In first two weeks of December, CIL’s pithead stocks increased by 1.5 mt to 43.5 mt. The railway despatches in first half of this fiscal were good, but not so any more. The average rake availability so far has been 176 per day, which, it is felt, should be at least 200 per day.
This being the busy season, the demands for rakes from various sectors virtually skyrocket. “Coal being the single-largest item of traffic of the Railways we can genuinely claim special favour, which is never granted”, he remarks. “No rail freight concession for transportation of coal.”
There is a mismatch in CIL’s rake demand in the first half and second half of every fiscal with demand dipping in the first and jumping in the second.
The coal production and, with it, the despatches suffer during the monsoon months. The mines would get flooded and there would be safety concerns. The coal rakes idle. “Let the Railways come out with a proper business model after calculating the optimum return on investment spread over the whole year and Coal India is prepared to pay for the idle rakes,” he makes it clear. “The Railways is a monopoly, so are we; where can we go unless we look after each other.”
Rao, however, is unsparing in his criticism of the Railways when it comes to implementation of three projects designed to facilitate coal transportation.
The projects are Tori-Shibpuri (93 km) under East Central Railway, Raigad-Mand (300 km) under South East Central Railway and Vasundhara mines-Jharsuguda (55 km) under South Eastern Railway.
“These three projects, each capable of handling 100 mt annually, if implemented, will not only benefit CIL, but will also boost the Railways’ earning substantially, by an estimated Rs 9000 to Rs 10,000 core annually,” he says, adding, “I use every possible forum to highlight the criticality of early implementation of these projects.”
Tori-Sibpuri project was conceptualised in 1999 with an estimated cost of less than Rs 400 crore, which has since shot up to an estimated Rs 2,000 crore.
The Raigad-Mand project will cost Rs 4,000 crore and the Vasundhara-Jharsuguda project another Rs 600-700 crore. “Except the Raigad-Mand project, which is being implemented by a JV between IRCON, South Central Coalfields Ltd and Chhattisgarh Government, the two other projects will be funded entirely by Coal India and in fact we’ve already provided Rs 150 crore each for the first and third projects but the pace of work leaves much to be desired.”
Even right now, as it is pointed out, an estimated 100 mt of production is locked up due to non-availability of railway connections — 40 mt under Mahanadi Coalfields Limited, another 40 mt in North Karanpura and 20 mt in Korba areas. “All the clearances are available for starting work in these places but we cannot as there are no rail links,” he says. “There have to be two kinds of links, one is arterial link with trunk routes and the other is siding and we pay for everything.”
At present, the Railways accounts for the transportation of the bulk of CIL’s production, more than 50 per cent, followed by road, around 26-27 per cent, and MGR (Merry Go Round) accounts for the balance 20 per cent or so. The road movement is mainly for road bridging, that is, for carrying coal from pitheads to nearest railheads.
“Frankly, I want the road sector share to drop substantially due to various reasons such as environmental issue, safety concerns, pilferage and muscle flexing of the road lobby with the back up support of politicians and others,” he observes.
“Besides, it is a colossal national loss to burn a costlier fuel to carry a cheaper mineral but I’m helpless and I sincerely want the railway projects to come up fast.”
Rao does not think IWT (inland water transportation) mode could provide any worthwhile solution to burgeoning demand for coal transportation.
“IWT might be okay for handling a few million tonnes of imported coal but we’re talking about millions and millions of tonnes,” he observes. “The prospects of IWT mode for domestic coal movement do not appear too promising for another reason — none of our collieries is located close to any river system.”
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