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Today (10:42PM)  In how many trains must Rahul Gandhi travel, before he is called a man? (www.opindia.com)
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Politics

News Entry# 222554     
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Posted by: rdb**  100272 news posts  
Earlier we had highlighted how Rahul Gandhi has been propped by Indian media every now and then, with the same, worn out, “coming of age” title. Well, the media can’t alone be faulted for repetition. Rahul Gandhi too is guilty of trying the same stunts over and over again.
While his visit to a Hindu temple was something new, his subsequent train travel to Punjab reeks of staleness. Not only have countless politicians done this stunt, Rahul Gandhi himself is a professional when it comes to tokenism via travelling in a train.
In 2009, Rahul Gandhi traveled to Ludhiana in the chair car of Shatabdi Express. This was to support the austerity measures of his Government back then. In fact, this train was stoned by people back then, and Rahul was lucky
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to escape unhurt.
Unperturbed by this attack on his train, Rahul embarked on another train journey in February 2010. Gandhi boarded a fast local at Andheri at 1 PM to Dadar, and walked across the foot-over-bridge to come to the central line to take another train to Ghatkopar.
In October 2010, Rahul Gandhi undertook an “unpublicized” train journey in the ordinary sleeper class from Gorakhpur to Mumbai, to once again meet people and know their problems.
In October 2011, Rahul again took a train journey, this time the Delhi Metro.
Rahul Gandhi rides the Delhi Metro, then takes radio taxi
After forgetting about trains for almost 3 and a half years, Rahul Gandhi has boarded a train to Punjab now.
The public did not fall for this choreographed stunt on four previous occasions. Will they fall for it this time? Especially when he prefers to travel business class when he goes on his secret foreign holidays?
Will Rahul Gandhi finally come of age?
With due apologies to Bob Dylan, we ask ‘how many trains must Rahul take up, before he is called a man?’
And maybe, ‘the answer my friend, is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind.’
  
Today (10:38PM)  Kochi Metro will shine on blue shade (www.business-standard.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestKMRC/Kochi Metro  -  

News Entry# 222553     
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Posted by: rdb**  100272 news posts  
The metro will also have same colour for general seating
Kochi Metro will have an aqua marine shade of blue colour for the exterior.
The metro will also have the same colour for the general seating complemented with a bright lime light- green for its priority seating and overhead hand grabs.
The colour combinations were selected according to a study conducted by Tata Elexci and Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) today approved this.
The walls and the ceiling are to have a light grey to balance this colour scheme and will have a textured grey along with a pattern of the main colors for the flooring.
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The main colors were selected considering Kochi's water bodies and the richness of green that Kerala represents.
"Kochi is one of the most beautiful and striking port city in the world, where land melts into water into land. We have kept this in mind when we decided colours for the metro", said Elias George, managing director, Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL).
  
Today (10:38PM)  L&T Hyderabad Metro to hasten project implementation (www.thehindubusinessline.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestHM/Hyderabad Metro  -  

News Entry# 222552     
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Posted by: rdb**  100272 news posts  
A number of bottlenecks are being removed to provide right of way and fasten the implementation of the 72-km-long elevated L&T Hyderabad metro rail project spanning three dense corridors.
State Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma, at a Special Task Force (STF) meeting he chaired, said the progress made in acquiring 204 properties were discussed for follow up action.
These include 157 private and 47 Government Vested Municipal properties (GVM). During the meeting NVS Reddy, Managing Director of Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd, informed that 39 properties were dismantled since the last STF meeting and several pending properties, which had became major traffic bottlenecks, were demolished.
Making progress
This has quickened the pace of the Metro progress
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in critical stretches near Secunderabad Railway Station among similar busy locations and junctions where metro rail project works are now underway.
Plans are underway to acquire 13 GVM properties and dismantle them during the week. The acquisition of all the GVM properties will be completed by the end of next month.
Of the balance 137 private properties, acquisition for 100 properties is nearing completion, out of which 45 properties are at advanced cheque-disbursement stage, according to a statement from HMRL.
  
Today (10:36PM)  Top priority to railway connectivity in J&K, NE: GoI (www.kashmirreader.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 222551     
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Posted by: rdb**  100272 news posts  
New Delhi: Government Monday asserted in Rajya Sabha that it was according top priority to railway connectivity in Jammu & Kashmir and Northeast region and defence ministry would be involved in executing some projects.
Replying to a debate on Appropriation (Railways) No.2 Bill 2015 which was passed later, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said the connectivity is aimed at bringing about transformation in the states.
“Ministry of Defence will also be working with us in some lines,” he said.
Responding to Derek O Brien (TMC) who talked about Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for railway projects involving the Centre and state governments, Prabhu said states should also contribute in a cooperative federal structure.
“Cooperative traffic is
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not a one-sided traffic. It should be from both the sides… States should also contribute. Many states have accepted SPV,” he said.
  
Today (10:35PM)  UAE investment sought by Kerala for stalled $10bn high-speed railway project (www.emirates247.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestSR/Southern  -  

News Entry# 222550     
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Posted by: rdb**  100272 news posts  
Projects need investment of at least $10 billion and funding has been a major hurdle
The government of the Indian state of Kerala is seeking multi-billion dollar funding for the proposed high-speed railway project in Kerala, a dream project of the incumbent Oommen Chandy government, that will reduce travel time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasargodu to three hours or less.
The cost of the entire project, at 2011 price level, was estimated at Rs.1180 billion.
Three years ago, T. Balakrishnan, chairman and managing director of Kerala High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd, and the then managing director of Infrastructures Kerala Ltd, visited the UAE and urged non-resident Indian investors to participate in the multi-million dollar High Speed Railway Corridor project linking the northern and southern
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parts of Kerala to ease train travel from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram to Kasargod and Mangalore. He had visited the UAE to invite NRIs and high net worth Indian businessmen in the Gulf to participate in the project.
"The total cost of the project will be about Rs1,180 billion and it will be sought mainly from international funding agencies,” Balakrishnan had said in April 2012.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who was a special invitee to the Global Annual Investment Meet in Dubai earlier this month, met UAE officials to discuss UAE's investment in Kerala. Chandy was in the UAE for three days in April 2015 for high level investment meetings.
“The high speed railway project is crucial for Kerala's overall development. It would require investment of not less than $10 billion and its funding has been a major hurdle. When the UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri asked the Chief Minister to submit three viable projects for future investment by the UAE in key infrastructure or development projects, I suggested the high speed railway project from the Kerala side,” said P H Kurien, Principal Secretary (IT), Government of Kerala, who was with the CM.
The Kerala Chief Minister and his official delegation met several key officials including the UAE Minister of Economy who promised to look into three major infrastructure projects in Kerala. The Chief Minister told media in the first week of April that “we will identify and convey these three projects later.”
“We are seriously considering the high speed railway project to be submitted to the UAE for funding and investment but the government has to take a decision and send the project proposal to the UAE,” confirmed Kurian during his visit to the UAE with an official delegation.
A feasibility study has already been conducted for the high speed railway project and the first phase will be covering the distance from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi, the commercial capital of Kerala, where the UAE has already made investments for Smart City, Vallarpadam project, etc.
The high speed rail project was held back by the state government due to lack of budget provisions in the railway budget of 2014 and the central government’s plan to extend the Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore-Kochi High Speed Railway to Thiruvananthapuram.
The details of the three major projects that the Kerala Government proposes to submit to the UAE funding has not yet been revealed by the Chief Minister, the Principal Secretary, P H Kurian, who accompanied Oommen Chandy, told to this reporter:
“The high speed railway project could be one of the three projects that we will submit to the UAE for investment,” he said.
According to Kurian, the high speed railway will be built on an elevated track 20 meters high and would require the least amount of land. “The main problem in carrying out the fast railway project is the heavy noise from the bullet train that would require the use of silencer in residential areas,” the state government official revealed.
The proposed 650km high speed railway across many districts of Kerala and neighbouring Karnataka state is planned to be funded by private or foreign investors. While it takes more than 10 to reach Kasargod from Tiruvananthapuram at present, with high-speed rail, the distance will be covered in three and a half hours.
The project was scheduled to be implemented as a joint venture between the state government and a private partner to be selected at a later stage. T Balakrishnan, Additional Chief Secretary (Industry and Commerce), Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Managing Director of KSIDC, and T P Thomas Kutty, Executive Director of KSIDC, are the first directors of the new company. The company will undertake detailed feasibility report for the project and identify suitable rail technology to implement the high speed corridor. Steps have also been initiated for the release of a notification for the acquisition of land needed to implement the project. The width of the land required to be acquired for the rail corridor is 13 metres. The high speed corridor will use a greenfield route to keep rehabilitation task to the minimum, according to the company formed for this purpose.
The proposed high speed corridor starts from Thiruvananthapuram and ends at Mangalore in Karnataka with nine major stations initially and three more stations adding in the future. Trains will run at an average speed of about 250kmph with nine stations proposed in the first phase including Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Ernakulam,Thrissur, Kozhikode, Kannur, Kasaragod and Mangalore. Three more stations are planned in the next phase at Chengannur, Tirur and Thalassery. The proposal has sought consent of Karnataka government for connecting the high speed route to Mangalore covering about 50km. Earlier, a pre-feasibility report was prepared for the portion between Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam as Stage I.
The rail project, involves acquisition of 242 hectares of land in the Thiruvananthapuram-Kochi segment and 552 hectares on the Kochi-Kasaragod stretch. The alignment in general requires 15 to 20 metres width only, according to the company. The supporting structure is planned to be on a single pillar spaced 25 metres apart in a bid to avoid large-scale acquisition of land. Tunnels have also been proposed at various locations. The track is designed for a speed of 350km per hour. A distance of 190 km between Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi could be completed in 53 minutes, as per projections. The Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod stretch, extending 525km could be covered in 142 minutes.
  
Today (10:31PM)  Railway union announces indefinite strike on 23 November (www.business-standard.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 222549     
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Posted by: rdb**  100272 news posts  
Workers to protest govt's plan to bring in private participation in railway projects and its FDI policy
National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR), a trade union body representing 77 per cent of Indian Railways' 1.3 million workers, has called a nationwide strike on 23 November against the government's plan to bring in private participation in railway projects and its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy.


"The strike will bring to halt 19,000 trains across the nation beginning 6 am on 23 November impacting 20 million passengers. The call for the strike was announced at a massive protest today outside Sansad Bhawan by NFIR," the federation's press secretary S N Malik said.
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NFIR General Secretary M Raghavaiah said around 100,000 central government employees -- largely belonging to Railways apart from other sectors including defense - participated in the protest. "More than 3.4 million central employees representing these sectors are part of this protest against FDI and Public private Partnership (PPP) policy," he said.
NFIR has also demanded immediate withdrawal of a recent report by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy on resource mobilization for Indian Railways which has recommended roping in private sector participation.
  
Today (10:27PM)  Here's how Indian Railways can make this Bengaluru station profitable and useful (bangalore.citizenmatters.in)
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Commentary/Human InterestSWR/South Western  -  

News Entry# 222548     
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Posted by: rdb**  100272 news posts  
Though Carmelaram railway station sees significant traffic, the amenities there are lacking. Here are some suggestions on how the station can be improved, for both commuters as well as the Railways.
Carmelaram station is a small station on the Bengaluru-Hosur line just off Sarjapur road. Several long distance trains to Tamil Nadu and Kerala, as well as few passenger trains, run on this line. Many of these trains stop at Carmelaram. A huge crowd boards and alights at the station due to the sheer convenience resulting from the location. Recently, the railway authorities have done some work in the station, by lengthening, raising and concreting Platform 1 and providing a little better shelter and lighting. However, there are still many problems at this station. Firstly, the line is a single track line which has facilities for trains to pass only
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at these stations. On many occasions, for the trains to pass, the passengers of a train arriving from Hosur side are forced to disembark on to Platform 2. Platform 2 is a short, tiny bump in the ground and passengers are forced to descend down to the last rung of the steps at the coach doors to land on the platform. Observe how the platform on the right ends. Passengers may indeed have to disembark on to track jelly. Pic: Shinoy Prahladan Some coaches stop beyond the platform and passengers have to drop on to shrubbery or track jelly. At night, there is no lighting on PF2. The only way to depart the station is from PF1, for which passengers have to either walk down to the level-crossing at one end and cross the tracks on the PF1 or cross the tracks and climb on to PF1. That climb is near impossible for the elderly, the infirm or the less athletic. After going through a fairly harrowing experience, this author had filed a grievance with the railway board. The response was to the effect that Carmelaram is an E-Category station, which means it is a bare bones station. Hardly any amenities or improvements can be expected until the station moves out of this sorry bracket. So, what is an E-Category station? Now, this is a difficult definition to find an answer to. A simple google search will yield multiple definitions which I realised depends on the year the document was published. I am basing my data on this link from Indian Railways, which appears to be most up to date. There are six categories of stations: A, B, C, D, E and F. An E class station is a non-suburban station with an annual earning less than Rs 1 crore. In comparison, an A class station has earnings of Rs 6 crores and above. This means that the station should have an average earning of Rs 27,398/- per day. Bangalore-Ernakulam Intercity Express on Platform 1 and Yeshwanthpur-Kannur Express arriving on Platform 2 of the Carmelaram station. Pic: Shinoy Prahladan Now, if the average price of a long distance train ticket is Rs 150, then 183 passengers should travel from that station every day. There are four long distance trains stopping at Carmelaram every day: Bangalore-Ernakulam Intercity Express, Mailaduturai Express, Yeshwanthpur-Kannur Express and Tuticorin Express. Now we need 46 passengers to board each train with a ticket exceeding Rs 150. It does not look that difficult now, does it? Of course, with a few more amenities and parking, the railways can easily earn more money from this station. By allowing the Kochuveli Garib Rath to stop here, they can ease the rush at Banaswadi which resembles the outside of a cricket stadium before arrival of this train. However, here comes the big challenge. With the advent of computerised reservation and the small impact on fares due to the “telescopic” nature of railway fares, most passengers book their ticket from either City or Yeshwanthpur although they invariably board at Carmelaram. People interested to see an improvement in Carmelaram station could start by booking their tickets from and to Carmelaram. Follow that up by demanding that the railways upgrade the station. Hard data along with demands from the public will surely yield results.
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Today (10:25PM)  Fencing along railway track for protection of Lions opposed, stopped (deshgujarat.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestWR/Western  -  

News Entry# 222547     
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Posted by: rdb**  100272 news posts  
It’s very complicated. For employment and trade a private port was developed at Pipavav. To connect this port to its hinterland a railway track was laid. At least 8 lions died on this railway track due to movement of goods train in last two years. The government came with an idea of installation of fencing on both sides of this railway track to save lions and allocated budget for that.
Now the latest problem in this series. Local farmers in Rajula taluka are opposing installation of fence next to railway track. The fencing work is therefore on halt for last two days. Farmers complain that due to fencing, they will not be able to move across the railway line smoothly and will not be able to access their farms therefore. Though forest department has assured farmers about installation of gates at
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proper distance, the farmers are not ready to accept the design approved by Forest department. The fencing work has been started for last few weeks. So far the government has built small wall over which the fence will be fixed.
  
Today (10:23PM)  Railway Launches Mobile App for Public Complains/Suggestions (livechennai.com)
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New Facilities/Technology

News Entry# 222546     
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Posted by: rdb**  100272 news posts  
A portal on Complaint Management was launched on 2nd March 2015, both in English and Hindi. However, the mobile application which was launched on same day is available only in English on Android platform.
The public complaints and suggestions are being monitored on a real time basis. Necessary instructions have been issued to concerned officials to finalize the complaints at the earliest. However, no time frame has been set to redress the complaints.
Bonafide passengers can send their valuable suggestions also through this newly launched portal.
The details of the Railway Mobile App have been given wide publicity through Indian Railways’ Press Release, sharing the details on Indian Railways social networking sites such as Facebook and twitter with URL Rail
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Min India were also used to publicize this app.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.
  
Today (10:22PM)  No premium trains for government employees (economictimes.indiatimes.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 222545     
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Posted by: rdb**  100272 news posts  
NEW DELHI: Government employees boarding 'premium trains' run by Indian Railways for their official business will not be entitled for reimbursement. In a circular, the finance ministry has said that travel by premium trains on official duty is 'not' allowed.
Indian Railways has introduced around 43 premium trains with dynamic fare pricing. Most of these trains are weekly or bi-weekly and run on busy routes such as Delhi- Mumbai. Dynamic fare stands for the fare component which is increased with every subsequent booking. The restriction is imposed on central government employees for travel on official duty, tour, training and transfer.
"In case, journey has already been performed by Premium Trains, the amount reimbursed shall be restricted to the admissible normal fare for the entitled class of train travel or the
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actual fare paid, whichever is less," the ministry noted in its circular.
Premium trains are seasonal or are put into service for festivals or holidays. These trains have only AC 2 Tier and AC 3 Tier and sleeper classes with Rajdhani-like facilities, which includes catering services. The advance reservation period (ARP) for such trains is a maximum of 15 days.
Earlier this month, a task force formed by railway minister Suresh Prabhu had suggested that the ambit of premium fares policy should be expanded to other trains as well.
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