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News Posts by rdb**

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Today (1:59PM)  Promptness of fellow metro commuters saves visually impaired (www.iamin.in)
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Commentary/Human InterestMMOPL/Mumbai Metro  -  

News Entry# 202982     
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Posted by: rdb**  90071 news posts  
In the ensuing chaos, a man fell between the gap where metro coaches connect at the Central Secretariat Metro Station at around 6.30 pm on Friday.   Visually impaired Ek Ram, in his late 40s hails from Timarpur. He miscalculated his steps and thought that he was stepping on to the entry gate. As he took the step, he fell straight between the coach and the platform. The passengers alerted the metro security staff immediately and the metro was put into an emergency halt.   Thanks to the quick timing of the passengers and the metro staff, Ek Ram is now safe. He did not sustain any heavy injury. With a delay of 5 minutes, services resumed on the Yellow line.
  
Today (1:57PM)  High court temporarily restrains felling of trees for Metro Phase-II (www.mumbaimirror.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestMMOPL/Mumbai Metro  -  

News Entry# 202981     
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Posted by: rdb**  90071 news posts  
The Bombay High Court on Friday temporarily restrained MMRDA and civic authorities from felling trees for road widening and constructing a car shed for the proposed phase-II of metro rail in Aarey Milk Colony.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by NGO Vanshakti, its director Dayanand Stalin and Aarey Colony resident Kshitji Ashtekar, among others.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah asked the civic authorities not to carry out development work for the proposed metro line, which will connect Dahisar to Mankhurd, and adjourned the hearing till December 4.
The petition alleges that the respondents have begun widening the road which falls within an ecologically sensitive area and is in close vicinity of Sanjay Gandhi
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National Park.
The work involves felling of trees in large numbers which is in direct contravention of provisions of the Maharashtra (urban areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act as well as Environment Protection Act, said the PIL. The PIL urged the HC to quash proposals for widening the Aarey Colony Road and to construct a car shed for the proposed project. Agencies
  
Today (1:55PM)  Blow to tourism as Aurangabad dropped from Solapur-Jalgaon rail route (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestSCR/South Central  -  

News Entry# 202980     
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Posted by: rdb**  90071 news posts  
AURANGABAD: Rather than improving the city's connectivity to give tourism a boost, the railway authorities have once again sidelined Aurangabad by excluding it from the Solapur-Jalgaon route.
The 2008-09 railway budget had given its sanction to the Solapur-Tuljapur-Osmanabad-Beed-Gevrai-Paithan-Aurangabad-Ghrushenshwar-Sillod-Ajanta-Jalgaon route. However, in its survey of the stretch, the railway authorities have left out three historically significant destinations — Aurangabad, Paithan (known for its Eknath temple) and Grushneshwar (famous for the Ellora caves and Kailash temple).
The Marathwada Railway Vikas Samiti (MRVS) has alleged that the railways did not even carry out the preliminary engineering and traffic survey for the proposed line passing through Paithan, Aurangabad and Grushneshwar.
MRVS president Omprakash Varma said the survey of the proposed 450-km railway route was
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sanctioned in 2008-09 but the authorities took years to complete it. "As per the new survey report, the route will now include Ambad and Bhokardan in Jalna district, bypassing Aurangabad. In reply to an RTI query in 2010, the rail authorities had said the survey was going on. On three or four occasions, they kept with this stand. However, the latest letter received on Thursday by Mohit Lila, director works-I, railway board, ministry of railways, mentions that the work has been completed and a new route has been declared," he said.
Varma said the original plan of setting up the route was to boost tourism to religious places and the world-famous sites in Aurangabad. "For the past many decades, people have been demanding a railway route from Solapur to Jalgaon via Aurangabad. The change in route is simply to protect a few vested political interests, not to help tourism," he said.
However, Varma said that the railway board has now started the preliminary activities to take up survey work of the new railway line from Aurangabad to Chalisgaon via Daulatabad and Ellora. This route was sanctioned in the 2014-15 budget.
  
Today (1:55PM)  Saarc looks to donors to build road, rail links (www.ekantipur.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 202979     
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Posted by: rdb**  90071 news posts  
KATHMANDU, NOV 29 - The Saarc member states will be pitching for investments in ambitious rail, road and waterway projects proposed for the region by reaching out to the member states, Observers and other bilateral and multilateral donors.
A significant progress was made in the proposed Saarc Motor Vehicles and Railway Agreements during the 18th Saarc Summit that concluded in Kathmandu on Thursday, giving a much-needed impetus towards realising the projects aimed at connecting South Asia.
The Saarc countries have agreed to hold a meeting of their transport ministers within three months to finalise the agreements for approval. Soon after the nod, the Saarc Secretariat will initiate talks with the Observers and other financial partners for investment, said an official at the Secretariat.
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Besides linking the region, the proposed projects would also link central and South Asia and beyond by all modes of connectivity.
Noting that many companies have expressed their interest to invest in hydropower projects after the signing of the Power Trade Agreement between Nepal and India, an official said there would be no shortfall of investors once the agreement has been finalised for Saarc regional connectivity projects.
The official added that China, the EU, and the US are particularly interested to make the investments.
“They have approached us several times in the past, enquiring about the projects. But we could not assure them anything since the agreements have not yet been finalised,” he said.
Senior officials at the Saarc Secretariat said that they would soon be leaving for Japan and South Korea, two Saarc observers, to discuss the projects and other possible areas of cooperation in the Saarc region.
The secretariat, in association with the Asian Development Bank, has already conducted a comprehensive study to link the least integrated region in the world.
The study has proposed 10 regional road networks: South Asian Corridor ( SAC-1) linking Lahore (Pakistan)-New Delhi- Kolkota Petrapole/Benapole (India)-Dhaka-Agratala; SAC-2 linking Kathmandu -Birgunj/Raxual-Kolota-Haldia; SAC-3 linking Thimphu- Phuenstholing- Jaigon- Kolkota/Haldia; SAC-4 linking Kathmandu -Kakadbhitta-Phulbari-Banglabandh-Mongla/Chittagon; SAC-5 linking Sandrop Jongkhar( Bhutan)-Guwahati- Shillong- Sylhet- Dhaka- Kolkota; SAC-6 linking Agaratala-Akhaura-Chittagon; SAC-7 linking Thimphu-Phuenstholing- Jaigon- Burimari- Mongla/Chittagon; SAC-8 linking Kathmandu -Nepalganj-New Delhi-Lahore- Karachi; SAC-9 linking Maldha (India)-Shibganj-Jamuna bridge (Bangladesh); and SAC-10 linking Kathmandu -Bhairahawa-New Delhi-Lucknow.
On rail connectivity, the member states have proposed building five rail networks. According to the proposal, the first corridor will begin from Lahore (Pakistan) to Delhi and Kolkota of India via Dhaka to Mahisahan to Imphal ( India). The second corridor will connect Karachi-Hyderabad- Khokarapar-Munabao-Barmer-Jodhpur of India. The third network will start from Birjung and end in Haldia, Kolkota. The fourth corridor will begin from Birgunj and will go straight to Raxual/Katihar of India, crossing the Rohanpur to connect cities like Chittagon with links to Jogbani and Agaratala, India. The fifth rail network will link the Colombo, Sri Lanka and Chennai, India.
According to the study, two regional inland waterway corridors will be developed between India and Bangladesh. Five regional maritime gateways have been proposed in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.
Similarly, Kathmandu of Nepal, Dhaka of Bangladesh, Paro of Bhutan, and Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Trivandrum, Banglore, Trichy, Cochin and Hyderabad of India have been identified as major air destinations. Karachi and Lahore of Pakistan, Male of the Maldives, and Colombo of Sri Lanka have been proposed the regional aviation gateways.
There is no problem at the regional level to push these projects, said an official at the Saarc Secretariat, claiming that the bottlenecks were within the states. “Once we agree on these projects, the infrastructure window of Saarc Development Fund will commence and our dream to set up South Asian Economic Union would materialse. We are waiting for the member states to provide the timeframe to execute the projects so that we can set a deadline to execute and implement the projects,” said the official.
  
Today (1:53PM)  Indian Railways launches security helpline (www.niticentral.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 202978     
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Posted by: rdb**  90071 news posts  
The Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha said that Indian Railways has taken several steps for the security of train passengers. he informed the House that an All India Security Helpline ‘1800-111-322’ has been operational at Railway Board to enable passengers to seek security related assistance 24×7. On vulnerable and identified routes/section, on an average 1300 trains are escorted by Railway Protection Force (RPF) daily, in addition to 2200 trains escorted by Government Railway Police of different Sates daily. All the ladies special trains running in metropolitan cities are being escorted by lady RPF constables to ensure proper security to the lady passengers.
An integrated security system consisting of electronic surveillance of vulnerable stations through Close Circuit Television Camera network, access control, anti-sabotage checks has been finalised to strengthen surveillance mechanism
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over 202 sensitive railway stations.
To create a more effective security mechanism over Indian Railways, a proposal for amendment in the Railway Protection Force Act, has been moved by the Ministry of Railways with the approval of the Ministry of Law and Justice and Home Affairs. This will empower the RPF to deal with serious crimes in passenger areas.
The Minister also informed Parliament that Railways will allow PPP in Passenger Reservation System. Speaking about it, Sinha said, ” With a view to expanding the facilities for issue of tickets (both reserved and unreserved), Ministry of Railways have decided to allow PPP in establishment and operation of computerised Passenger Reservation System (PRS)-cum Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) terminals at centres which shall be called Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendra (YTSK). As per this scheme, all the authorised ticketing agents, who have worked for at least five years in providing railway ticketing (reserved/unreserved) services for passengers of Indian Railways, are eligible to become YTSK licensee.
“A large number of safeguards have been built in the YTSK counters for general as well as “Tatkal” booking, taking adequate financial security, not allowing booking of concessional tickets (except senior citizens tickets), non-availability of facility of block booking etc restricted facility for cancellation of tickets. Moreover, as the control of the booking windows is with Indian Railways, the connection can be disabled immediately, if any malpractice comes to notice,” the Minister said.
  
Today (1:52PM)  CAG report blames railways for 2013 Kumbh Mela stampede (www.deccanchronicle.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestNCR/North Central  -  

News Entry# 202977     
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Posted by: rdb**  90071 news posts  
New Delhi: The lack of proper coordination and disaster management plan on the part of railways resulted in the stampede at Allahabad station during last year's Maha Kumbh Mela in which 37 persons were killed, the CAG has said.
"There was no Railway Disaster Management Plan for Kumbh Mela," the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in its latest report tabled in Parliament on Friday.
During Shahi Snan when the state government expected about 3.05 crore pilgrims to visit the mela and 4.10 lakh passengers to utilise trains, a major stampede took place at platform number 6 of Allahabad station that resulted in loss of 37 lives and injuries to 48.
The CAG, while reviewing the arrangements, observed the lack of proper coordination
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with the state administration by railways. "Railway administration failed to establish proper coordination with the state government authorities for crowd management at station," the report said.
The CAG has found that railways failed to block the influx of pilgrims including their diversion to designated mela stations which led to build up of a huge crowd at Allahabad station itself.
Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 was held from January 14 to March 10 at Allahabad wherein 12 crore pilgrims participated. To handle the rush of pilgrims the three zonal railways - North Central,
Northern and North Eastern - made special arrangements for the pilgrims such as running special trains, provisions for safety and security, besides providing other basic amenities.
According to the CAG report, the Mela officer of NCR zone was required to coordinate with nodal officers of the other two zones for the running of special trains and to divert pilgrim traffic from Allahabad to the other Mela stations.
However, CAG noted that no document for it was available.
The CAG also noted shortfall in deployment of security staff during the Mela. "There was a shortfall of 33 per cent in deployment of security staff at Allahabad station to ensure
safety and security of passengers. On the day of stampede this shortfall in deployment was 48 per cent," it said.
Finding fault with the railway management, the CAG said, "The management in movement of special trains during the Mela period was not proper. There was shortfall in special trains
run by the three rail zones on the three important bathing days and immediately thereafter when large crowds were anticipated in Allahabad area."
It further said that no alternative arrangements were planned for the movement of freight trains to ease the path for Mela Special Trains. "This in fact adversely impacted the smooth running of Mela Special Trains as these were an addition on an already over-burdened system."
The CAG also observed that the movement of special trains from Allahabad station between February 9 and 11 was very slow and their detention on station was excessive.
  
Today (1:50PM)  CAG says railways responsible for Maha Kumbh tragedy (indiatoday.intoday.in)
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Commentary/Human InterestNCR/North Central  -  

News Entry# 202976     
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Posted by: rdb**  90071 news posts  
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has blamed lack of proper coordination and disaster management plan besides security staff crunch on the part of railways that resulted in the February 10, 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela stampede at the Allahabad Railway Station that claimed 38 lives.
The CAG tabled an audit report in Parliament on Tuesday wherein it answered queries.
The report squarely blames the railways for the deaths on platform number 6 of the station.
The Uttar Pradesh government had ordered an inquiry after the accident while a judicial probe was initiated following Opposition pressure.
The report says that the railway administration was aware that more than 3.05 crore pilgrims would be
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present for Shahi Snan on Mauni Amavasya and 4.10 lakh passengers might travel via trains.
However, the railway administration failed to coordinate with government authorities regarding crowd management. The railways also failed to block the influx of pilgrims towards the station, including their diversion to designated mela stations, which led to their huge build-up. It found a 33 per cent security staff shortfall at the station for ensuring passenger safety and this deficit rose to 48 percent on the fateful day.
Mela officer, NCR was required to coordinate with the nodal officers of NR and NER zones for running mela special trains and to divert pilgrim traffic from Allahabad to other mela stations. But, the report did not find any evidence of nodal officers holding meetings.
The railways also failed to manage movement of special trains. There was shortfall in special trains run by the three zones on three important bathing days and immediately thereafter when larger crowds were anticipated.
No alternate arrangement was planned for freight trains to ease the movement of mela special trains. The audit shows that there was no "Railway Disaster Managment Plan". Further, doctors and medical staff were not posted near the railway station to deal with emergencies.
It says politics was played over the deaths. Azam Khan who was Kumbh Mela incharge offered his resignation to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav who rejected it. The question now arises whether the railways will take any action.
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Today (1:49PM)  One of the two entry-exit points at Dadar railway station shut; commuters troubled (www.iamin.in)
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Commentary/Human InterestML/Mumbai Local  -  

News Entry# 202974     
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Posted by: rdb**  90071 news posts  
Commuters at Dadar railway station have been facing a lot of difficulty in reaching north-bound platforms from the ticket booking office, located on the middle foot overbridge (FOB).
Why are commuters inconvenienced?
Because there is just one exit-entry point towards the south-end which is connected to the overbridge. There is another point on the north end, but it has been kept shut for unknown reasons.
Was there a mistake during planning?
No. While planning the booking office, a proposal was made to have two exit-entry points. But when the office was opened for public about seven to eight years back, only one point was made operational.
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So, what's the status of the north-end point?
It is covered with asbestos sheets from the outside, while from inside the booking office, there's a sliding window and a collapsible gate.
Why are two entry-exit points needed?
If both points are made operational, it will give access in both directions, saving passengers' time and energy. Also, the FOB will be less congested during peak hours.
What is Western Railway saying?
Chief PRO of WR, Sharat Chandrayan said, "Due to technical problems, this booking office was not connected to the north-bound FOB. There is no provision for it."
Is this true?
A railway official said, "The booking office was made to facilitate passengers for being able to go quickly in either direction. But for unknown reasons, one entry-exit point has been blocked. Passengers' suggestions/objections should have been invited before taking the final call."
MP Speak
Speaking exclusively to dna, MP Poonam Mahajan said, "Many people have approached me regarding the problem in the booking office's connectivity and other grievances. I am going to meet both CR and WR general managers soon in this regard."
- Mewati Sitaram/dna
  
Today (1:48PM)  Railways Suffering Massive Losses, Reveals CAG Report (www.newindianexpress.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 202973     
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Posted by: rdb**  90071 news posts  
NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways was unable to meet its operational cost of passenger and other coach services and there was a loss of Rs 23,643 crore in the same during 2011-12, said a CAG report on Friday.
The report also highlighted that the Railways in general was not following its own rules and regulations laid down in the Financial Code and Engineering Code for efficient execution of projects and for proper accounting of financial transactions.
The report found that freight services earned a profit of Rs 23,076 crore, which indicated that Indian Railways is actually incurring a loss on its core activities. “In the absence of proper records, it is not possible to ascertain expenditure incurred in executing a project; it indicates a lack of financial discipline and increases risk of
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losses - both material and financial, in implementation of projects. This assumes significant importance in view of the large number of projects under implementation in the railways,” said the report.
PPP Model Ticketing
With a view to expand the facilities for issuance of railway tickets, the Railway Ministry has decided to allow Public Private Partnership in establishment and operation of computerised passenger reservation system at centres which shall be called Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendra (YTSK).
As per this scheme, all the authorised ticketing agents, who have worked for at least five years in providing railway ticketing (reserved/unreserved) services for passengers of Indian Railways, are eligible to become YTSK licensee, said Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha in the Rajya Sabha.
  
Today (1:47PM)  Konkan Railway fetes staff (www.thehindubusinessline.com)
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IR AffairsKR/Konkan  -  

News Entry# 202972     
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Posted by: rdb**  90071 news posts  
Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) honoured 36 of its employees on Thursday for meritorious service. A press release said here on Friday that the awards included cash rewards, certificates and mementos. The release said that Railway confers these awards every year to its employees in order to recognise meritorious services and to motivate other employees.
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