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News Posts by rdb**

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Today (10:34AM)  Mystery shrouds death of man on railway tracks near Tambaram (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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Crime/AccidentsSR/Southern  -  

News Entry# 218479     
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Posted by: rdb**  98416 news posts  
CHENNAI: Mystery surrounds the body of a man found on the railway tracks at Irumbuliyur near Tambaram on Saturday morning. While the deceased has been identified as Baskar, a 23-year-old resident of Madurantakam near Melmaruvathur, the woman he had been seen with before his death is missing.
Police said Basker, employee of a private company in Tambaram, had left home early. Around 8.30am, he was seen walking along the tracks near Irumbuliyur with a woman. Minutes later, news of a man being run over by a suburban train going to Chengalpet from Chennai Beach spread. A woman was lying injured next to the body. The body was sent to the Chromepet Government Hospital for post-mortem. The woman, who suffered head injuries in the incident, was taken to the same hospital in an ambulance before being shifted to the Government Rajiv
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Gandhi General Hospital.
However, when a police team went to the hospital and identified the body as that of Basker with the help of a paper containing his address in his pocket, the woman was missing. Police are now trying to see if Baskar's death was because of an illicit relationship gone sour or if the woman had pushed the man in front of the train. They are questioning the ambulance driver who shifted her from Chromepet to the Government General Hospital and are also waiting to talk to Basker's family members. Police are also conducting inquiries with Basker's employer and his colleagues.
People in Irumbuliyur who had seen the couple walking on the tracks told police that they had been sitting near the tracks for a long time. It is suspected that woman is a resident of a suburb and Baskar might have come from Madurantakam to meet her.
Police said the stretch of railway tracks near Irumbuliyur junction, where Baskar's body was found, was notorious for drug addicts and drunkards who use the cover of darkness to their advantage. The government railway police have registered a case and are investigating.
  
Today (10:30AM)  Rise in crime against women in trains worrying, says chief minister Devendra Fadnavis (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestML/Mumbai Local  -  

News Entry# 218478     
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Posted by: rdb**  98416 news posts  
MUMBAI: The state home department, led by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, is concerned over the rise in cases of attack on woman commuters from slums along the railway tracks.
Replying to a question raised by NCP's Vidya Chavan and Congress member Sanjay Dutt in the legislative assembly, Fadnavis said while two cases of attack on women from slums were registered in 2013, seven cases were registered in 2014, and so far, only one case has been detected.
"We are concerned over the sudden spurt in crime on the suburban railways; we have stepped up vigilance. Besides deploying additional police personnel, we have installed 1,998 CCTV cameras," Fadnavis said.
He added that special government railway police squads have been deployed in ladies compartments. "We
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have set up a special helpline cell in the railway police commissioner's office and also women protection cells to ensure the safety of woman commuters," Fadnavis said.
Dutt said it appears that the measures taken by the law-enforcing agencies were "grossly inadequate" to protect women travelling in trains. "Over eight million commuters travel by the suburban railway network. Compared to the number of commuters, the number of police personnel is very less. I feel, more staff should be deployed to restore the confidence of commuters,'' Dutt said.
He pointed out that as central and state agencies are involved, Fadnavis should set up a high-level coordination committee comprising nominees of the Mumbai police, railway police, railway protection force and nominees of the state government. "Fadnavis himself should preside over the coordination committee meeting and review the situation," he said.
Dutt added that it was time that security along the tracks is tightened on priority. "Several stone-pelting incidents have been reported from slums and in some cases, commuters have lost their eyesight. At least on strategic locations, more police personnel should be deployed and all stations should be covered by CCTV cameras."
  
Today (10:28AM)  Ensure hospitals don't turn away accident victims, Bombay HC tells Maharashtra govt (www.dnaindia.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestML/Mumbai Local  -  

News Entry# 218477     
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Posted by: rdb**  98416 news posts  
Expressing concern over growing accident fatalities, the Bombay High Court on Friday asked the government to ensure that all hospitals, public as well as private, provide treatment to all accident victims and do not turn them away.
A division bench of justices VM Kanade and AR Joshi asked the government to issue a directive to all hospitals in this regard after the court was informed that a railway accident victim had succumbed to injuries as she did not get medical treatment for over nine hours.
The HC was hearing a PIL filed by activist Samir Zaveri seeking medical facilities at the railway stations so that rail victims can be provided treatment in the 'golden hour' (within one hour of the accident) itself. Zaveri himself had lost his legs in a railway accident.
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Earlier, the court was informed how Badlapur resident Darshana Pawar (29) lost her life after she fell off train between Badlapur and Ambarnath railway stations on February 9. Though she was immediately rushed to a nearby private hospital, the hospital refused to provide her treatment saying they do not treat accident victims. She was
She was then taken to two government hospitals which did not have facilities to treat her. She was then taken to Sion and KEM hospitals, which did not have vacant beds. All this shifting took over nine hours, by which time Pawar succumbed to her injuries.
What does Monica More, the brave rail accident survivor who lost her hands, have to say?
Monica More, the 18-year who lost her hands in a freak rail accident on January 11, 2014, has welcomed the Bombay High Court's directive asking the state government to inform all hospitals, including private hospitals, to provide medical treatment irrespective of the financial status of the accident victims.
"Whether it is a road accident or a railway accident, the victim should be taken to the nearest hospital, and treatment should be provided without delay," said the Kurla resident who has just appeared for the HSC exams.
There should be greater coordination between railway stations and hospitals: More
The commerce student said that every railway station should have information about the nearest hospitals in its vicinity which are equipped to handle railway accident cases. "In my case, I was taken to Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar. The hospital was not equipped to handle the complex injuries that I had. I was unconscious then," said More.
'Ambulances should be kept on standby outside railway stations'
"When I hear about the experiences of my family during that period, I feel that lot needs to be streamlined in terms of transportation of railway accident victims to hospitals. An ambulance should be stationed outside the railway stations and they should know which hospital they should take the victim to. The hospital should be informed while the patient is being taken there, so that there is no loss of time, and the patient gets treated in the golden hour. This will bring down the deaths in such cases," said More.
Did delay in bringing More to the proper hospital result in the loss of her limbs?
According to More, after her accident, she was rushed to Rajawadi Hospital in an auto-rickshaw, as there was no emergency medical care or ambulance available at the station. "I was lucky that Amjad and Naseem Chowdhary, then strangers and now rakhi brothers, took me to hospital at the earliest. They carried my left arm, that had come off entirely, wrapped in a piece of cloth borrowed from a fellow commuter. They somehow held my right arm, barely hanging from the elbow, in place with a handkerchief," said More.
Over three hours after the accident, she was transferred to KEM Hospital as Rajawadi hospital was not equipped to handle a complicated case. At KEM Hospital, a team of doctors undertook a lengthy surgery, yet failed to reattach the limbs. Their job was made difficult because of the delay in bringing More to their care.
How is More faring now?
More made it to the headlines and personified the issue of several railway accidents happening due to the glaring gap between platforms and coaches. She remained in KEM hospital (where she had been transferred from Rajawadi hospital) for six months and was discharged on July 18. "I am lucky to have been loved by so many well-wishers. The encouraged me throughout my stay in the hospital and helped me monetarily too. Because of their support and help of doctors I got the most advanced artificial limbs that can be controlled with impulses generated naturally by muscles," said More. Upon hearing of the High Court's decision, she hoped that no one else would have to go through her horrific ordeal.
  
Today (10:27AM)  Railways to phase out CVMs (www.asianage.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestML/Mumbai Local  -  

News Entry# 218476     
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Posted by: rdb**  98416 news posts  
Officials will soon start removing coupon validating machines (CVMs) on both Central and Western Railway to meet the March 31 deadline set by the Railway Board for phasing out the devices.
The announcement was made early evening on Friday by both railways. CR chief public relations officer Narendra Patil said that though CVMs would be phased out, commuters would be given a month to use the coupon booklets they had already purchased. “Commuters can use booklets until April 30 only by which time we will remove the CVMs,” he said.
WR chief public relations officer Sharat Chandrayan said that no new coupon booklets would be sold at counters henceforth. “No new CVM booklets will be sold to the public anymore. They will be allowed to punch or stamp coupons until the last
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day of April,” he said. Along with the machines, the stamps often used to stamp coupons will be thrown out too, said officials.
The decision hasn’t gone down well with WR commuters, who say they find use of Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) difficult. Rani Pawar, a nurse who travels from Andheri to Borivali daily, said, “The screen of the ATVM is so confusing. The machine just goes crazy with people losing their money and getting the wrong ticket,” she said.
  
Today (10:24AM)  First goods train in newly Gauge Converted Lumding – Silchar section flagged off (economictimes.indiatimes.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestNFR/Northeast Frontier  -  

News Entry# 218475     
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Posted by: rdb**  98416 news posts  
GUWAHATI: History was made when the first Broad Gauge goods train in the newly Gauge Converted Lumding - Silchar section was flagged off by Suresh Prabhu, Railway Minister from New Delhi by remotely on Friday.
At the Lumding Railway station, thousands cheered as the train loaded with about two thousand three hundred tonnes of potatoes from West Bengal, chugged into the pristine Barail Hills.
The Metre Gauge train operations on this section had been closed for 'Mega Block' from October 1, 2014 and the Railways have been able to complete the Gauge Conversion work within the target date of March 31, 2015.
Prabhu, while complimenting the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) for completing this difficult project within the stipulated time frame,
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stated that this would lead to all round progress and economic development of the region.
The Lumding - Badarpur - Silchar section has a legacy of over a century as the Metre Gauge line was commissioned in 1904 to connect the Brahmaputra valley to the rest of India. It continues to be the lifeline of Southern Assam and the states of Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur as almost the entire food grain supply to this area takes place through this line.
Railways stated that this Gauge Conversion has therefore set into motion the process of providing seamless Rail connectivity to the people of this area with the rest of the country.
The Lumding - Silchar Gauge Conversion project was sanctioned in 1996-97 and considering its importance, was accorded the status of a National Project in 2004.
The latest anticipated cost of the project is about Rs 5500 crores. In the phase-1 of the project (costing about Rs 3500 crores), which is nearing completion, Gauge Conversion of Lumding-Silchar section of 210 km has been done. Phase-2 consists of Gauge Conversion of Badarpur-Kumarghat (118 km) and finger lines Arunachal-Jiribam (50 km), Baraigram-Dullabcherra (29 km) & Karimganj-Mahishasan including Karimganj Bye pass line (13.50 km). Phase -2 of the project will be completed by 31.03.2016.
According to Railways there have been technical and geological challenges in constructing the tunnels and deep cuttings. There are 21 tunnels in this section with a total length of 12.86 kms. There are 79 major bridges with the magnificent Dayang Bridge.
  
Today (10:22AM)  Demand for BG line from Mainaguri to Jogighopa (www.assamtribune.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestNFR/Northeast Frontier  -  

News Entry# 218474     
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Posted by: rdb**  98416 news posts  
A new broad gauge (BG) railway line connecting New Mainaguri, Mathabbanga, Chengrabandha and Coochbehar to Jogighopa via Boxirhat, Dhubri, Gauripur and other places has been a long-standing demand of the people in the Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar districts of West Bengal and the Dhubri, Bongaigaon, Goalpara and parts of Kokrajhar districts of Assam, besides the East Garo Hills and West Garo Hills districts of Meghalaya.
Around 80 per cent of the people of these areas belong to the poor strata of the society. There has been no industrial development in the region, mainly due to the lack of adequate infrastructure facilities, including a railway network. However, the demand has been overlooked by the Railway authorities since the past 50 years.
Transportation facilities available before Independence have also been discontinued. Before Independence, this part
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of the country was connected to mainland India through then undivided Bengal (now Bangladesh). Besides a rail link, the region was connected to Kolkata through the Brahmaputra river. Dhubri town was then the biggest inland river port of Assam. The airport at Rupshi was constructed during World War II and the one at Coochbehar was constructed much earlier. But they remain unutilised today.
The joint convener of the New Mainaguri-Jogighopa Railway Demand Committee, Tazmul Hoque said all the transport links had been snapped after Independence, and that the people of the area have been virtually cut off from mainstream national life.
All the districts concerned in Assam, North Bengal and Meghalaya seeking the proposed railway line are rich in forest wealth. Sal, sishu, segun, bonsom, gamari and numerous other varieties of valuable trees grow in abundance in the forests of these areas. Moreover, bamboo, cane, pati bet (a variety of cane used in making mats), medicinal plants and herbs, orchids, resins and other varieties of plants, trees and forest produce are abundantly available in the forests of the region.
The region is also rich in mineral resources. Dolomite, an essential raw material for the production of cement and coal, is available in the two districts concerned of Meghalaya. Dolomite is also available in the Jalpaiguri district of North Bengal.
The proposed railway line from New Mainaguri to Jogighopa and other places covers a distance of 270 km approximately. The earth work for the construction of the rail route is likely to cost much less as compared to other places. This proposed railway line will help optimum utilisation of the Naranarayan Setu over the Brahmaputra river at Jogighopa, which is a road-cum- railway bridge. The total cost for the construction of the proposed line is estimated to be Rs 1,400 crore.
The proposed railway line passing through the districts of West Bengal and Assam bordering Bangladesh, now a friendly country, will be strategically important from the defence point of view too. The demand is justified in view of the fact that the per capita railway in the region is very negligible and much below the national average.
The demand for expansion of the railway network in the region was raised at the conventions at Tufanganj (Coochbehar district) and Bijni (erstwhile Goalpara district) in 1961. The then Northeast Frontier General Manager, late BC Ganguly took some initiative in this regard; but subsequently, the matter was abandoned by the Railway authorities for reasons best known to them.
Recently, the joint convener of the New Mainaguri-New Coochbehar-Dhubri-Jogigopha Railway Extension Demand Committee submitted a memorandum to the Railway Minister of India for the construction of the BG line immediately.
  
Today (10:10AM)  Railways moves further up the North-East; Lumding-Silchar 'broad gauge' railway line becomes operational (www.erewise.com)
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New Facilities/TechnologyNFR/Northeast Frontier  -  

News Entry# 218473     
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Posted by: rdb**  98416 news posts  
India is still moving towards boasting a 100 percent rail connectivity.
Railway took another step in that direction with opening of a 210-km long new line in the North- East connecting Lumding to Silchar over a broad guage network.
The region makes its debut on the Railway Map with flagging off a goods train while the Passenger Services will follow soon.
The new line will boost connectivity in the North-Eastern Region and work as Lifeline for Bark Valley in Assam and the States of Tripura, Manipur & Mizoram.
These parts are dependent on this line for supply of food grains, fertilisers and petroleum products among other goods.
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Key Points
Lumding-Silchar section is Phase-1 of the two phase broad gauge line project in this area.
Phase-I provides seamless Broad Guage connectivity to Barak Valley of Assam with the rest of the country.
This Rs 3500 Crore national project is not short of an engneering marvel overcoming difficult hilly terrain, geologially unstable hills and difficult law & order challenges to get through.
It passes through 21 tunnels and have 75 major bridges and 340 minor bridges along the track.
The project - sanctioned in 1996-97 - was declared a National Project in 2004.
Future Expansion
The completion of Phase - II (likely by March, 2016) will put states of Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura on Broad Gauge Railway Map as well.
The phase-II consists of gauge conversion of three sections namely; Badarpur – Kumarghat, Baraigram - Dullabcherra and Silchar-Jiribam.
- See more at: click here
  
Today (9:58AM)  Railway engineer of salem division to be awarded by rail minister (www.netindia123.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestSR/Southern  -  

News Entry# 218472     
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Posted by: rdb**  98416 news posts  
K R Suresh Babu, Senior Section Engineer/Electrical, Karur, of Salem Division, Southern Railway, has been awarded the prestigious Railway Week Award at Railway Board Level. A statement from the Southern Railway said Mr Suresh will be receiving the award from Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu during the All India Railway Week Function to be held in Guwahati on April, 13 2015. The release said he was the man behind many innovations such as re-using the discarded train lighting battery for unreserved ticket issue counters' UPS, the first solar driven pump at Perugumani Railway Station, the first GSM based automatic switching on and switching of railway station water pumps from remote, Energy smart CFL fittings in entire Karur-Trichy Fort and Karur-Dindigul sections, energy efficient LED name boards at Karur, Smart Energy Metering at Karur that will enable remote meter reading and recording and many other development work by the Electrical General Branch...
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of Salem Division, the release claimed. UNI GM KU AE BL1801
  
Today (9:56AM)  Bring the Indian Railways Back on Track by Recasting its Safety Architecture (www.newindianexpress.com)
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News Entry# 218471     
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Posted by: rdb**  98416 news posts  
At least 36 people were killed and over 50 injured when an express train overshot a railway signal and some carriages went off the rails in Uttar Pradesh last weekend. This was yet another wake-up call that all is not well with India’s creaky railway system, which is the world’s fourth largest, ferrying more than 20 million people each day, but it has a poor safety record, with thousands of people dying in accidents every year.
Besides the inexplicable yet grotesque engine failure arguably the main cause of the accident, the tragically bizarre images of “telescoped” bogies of the train leading to dozens of casualties reinforce the existential gaps in security modelling within the contours of Indian Railways.
The latest accident is unusual in that the mishap occurred when the Varanasi-Dehradun Janata
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Express was unable to come to a halt at the station although it is a scheduled stop. It is hard to recall another accident of this nature. The problem seems to have been internal to the railways—brake failure, tracks giving way, causing some bogies to jump the rails, or human failure at the driver’s end.
The railways have ordered an inquiry, and nothing can be said with certainty till the report is in. But human failure seems less likely than other factors as the train would have slowed down since it was meant to stop at the station as this was standard mid-morning routine as per the time-table. Attention will, therefore, have to focus on mechanical or track failure, the usual suspects in a train accident.
Hopefully, the technical findings about the actual cause of the accident will not be unduly delayed, so that appropriate safety derivatives can be drawn and remedial action taken.
Simultaneously, several questions arise about the quality of the rolling stock and their maintenance efficacy, the training of the crew running the trains and the lack of regular track audit. In this context, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu must seriously ponder whether the appointment of a full-fledged member (safety) within the Railway Board will help in reinforcing the safety credentials of railways.
Considering that Indian Railways is a commercial entity, the safety of users who continually repose their faith in it even under such trying circumstances needs to be duly recognised. The structure of the railway board must reflect this. The higher echelons of railways should diligently respond to questions that arise out of a perceived absence of structural responses to safety gaps identified through study of similar accidents in the past.
The safety architecture of the Indian Railways needs a recasting so that the overall thrust becomes more pronouncedly people-centric. This brooks no delay given the special role of railways in the lives of ordinary Indians who make it one of the largest public carriers of the world today.
It is unfortunate that in the past decades or so, the Railways Ministry has been assigned to ministers as part of a political trade-off and not on the basis of the merits. As a result, its expansion and staffing have reflected the political imperatives of the politicians rather that professional considerations of modernising the railways.
Indian Railways has thus often in the past been deemed as a constituency of convenience, sometimes for reckless exploitation of electoral ground, ignoring vectors of safety and sound tenets of management. More often than not, politics—and not professionalism—has influenced India’s rail budgets. This has resulted in hasty expansion without due consideration of the availability and adequacy of tracks and rolling stock, the need for upgrading rail technology.
Mercifully, Prabhu appears to have departed from this tradition of rank populism and opportunism. In his budget speech, the minister explained at length each of the 11 major thrust areas that he has planned to cover in the coming year. These ranged from customer services to cleanliness, safety, augmenting capacity, better rail connectivity, etc. The budget speech showed a strong intent to build up rail capacity, improving the speed of transportation of goods and passenger traffic and to this end filling up the technology gaps wherever necessary.
It was heartening to note that no new big-ticket projects have been announced in the budget. Given that as many as 359 projects worth `1,82,000 crore had remained to be completed, the emphasis is rightly on early completion of these projects rather than adding more on the drawing board.
Prabhu has set up two committees in line with the promises made in his maiden rail budget last month, including Innovation Council ‘Kaya Kalp’ headed by former Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata to suggest ways to turn around the ailing organisation. The other committee, under former Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion secretary Ajay Shankar, has been set up to revamp the ministry’s PPP (public private partnership) cell to get private investment. The cell is critical for the growth of Indian Railways since getting funds for new projects has become a challenge.
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Today (9:49AM)  Two women priests run over by Duronto (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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Crime/AccidentsNCR/North Central  -  

News Entry# 218470     
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Posted by: rdb**  98416 news posts  
Kanpur: Two women priests were killed while two others sustained serious injuries when they were hit by Duronto Express near Rura railway station here on Saturday. They were crossing rail tracks to reach a nearby stand to take tempo for Kishanpur Kahinjari ashram. The body parts of the deceased were found scattered on either sides of rail tracks. Two other priests, who suffered injuries, have been admitted to the District Hospital for treatment, police said. "As per the locals, the women priests along with two others were run over by the train which was heading towards Kanpur from New Delhi at around 5 pm on Saturday," said police. The police have identified the deceased as Sant Daya Shai (60) and Vimal Shai (62) who along with two others had de-boarded a passenger train on way to Etawah at Rura railway station. "Two others identified as Savitri Das (60) and Chetan...
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Shai (60) who were injured in the incident are undergoing treatment at the district hospital," added Rura SO D P Singh. "As they were moving towards a tempo stand to reach Kishanpur Kahinjari ashram, the train arrived, there was no place for them to save their lives and hence the train ran over them," he said. Sources informed, the victims opted to cross the railway track as it was a shortcut to reach the tempo stand. Police said the victims had gone to Gujaila village in Ghatampur area of the district to take part in 'aarti' and were on their way back to Kishanpur Kahinjari ashram.
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