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Today (9:07PM)  Four places along China border identified for rail connectivity: Government (economictimes.indiatimes.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 205958     
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NEW DELHI: Four strategic places along the Sino-India border have been identified by the Defence Ministry for rail connectivity in the first phase, Lok Sabha was informed today.
They are Missamari-Tenga-Tawang (378 km), Bilaspur-Manali- Leh (498 km), Pasighat-Tezu-Rupai (227 km) and North Lakhimpur-Bame-Silapathar (249km), Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said.
In a written reply, he said, "The Railway Ministry has requested the Defence Ministry to convey approval to carry out final location survey at a cost of Rs 345 crore and provide the necessary funds."
The time of completion and cost, however, cannot be ascertained till completion of the final location survey and detailed geo-technical studies and consequent sanction of the project, he added.
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To a related question, he said no strategic line along Pakistan border has been identified by the Defence Ministry in the first phase.
  
Today (9:04PM)  Civil society, NGOs to be asked to help guard rail crossings (zeenews.india.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 205957     
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Posted by: rdb**  91691 news posts  
New Delhi: Civil society, NGOs, socio- political organisations will be asked to provide volunteers to guard more than 11,000 unmanned railway crossings across the country to minimise death on tracks, Lok Sabha was told on Monday.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said during Question Hour that a decision has been taken to publish advertisements inviting civil society, NGOs, socio-political organisations to provide volunteers to guard the unmanned railway crossings.
Prabhu said 18,735 people have lost their lives in railway accidents this year till October of which 5,000 alone in areas falling under the Northern Railway zone.
He said a number of steps are being taken by the Railways to minimise the death on tracks and a meeting of chiefs of state police forces will
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be convened soon to seek their help.
"We will also see whether home guards can be deployed in unmanned railway crossings," he said.
Prabhu said due to financial constrains, the Railways has not been able to guard each and every level crossing and efforts were on to gather resources for the purpose.
Steps taken to prevent run over cases and death on railway tracks include construction of boundary wall, fencing at identified locations vulnerable to trespass, putting up of large hoarding in sensitive crossings, regular announcements through public address system at railway stations urging passengers to use over bridges and avoid crossing of railway tracks.
  
Today (9:03PM)  India to have NY’s Grand Central-like top rail stations (www.tribuneindia.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 205956     
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Posted by: rdb**  91691 news posts  
New Delhi: By 2017, India will have five or six top-class railway stations on the pattern of monumental Grand Central Terminal, New York, or famed Gare d’Austerlitz terminus in Paris, a top Railway Board official said. “We should be seeing something great coming up at five or six places in the country in next two to three years ... This is in line with other stations all over the world. If you go to New York Central or Gare d’Austerlitz where you have top class terminal with facilities like mall,” Railway Board Chairman Arunendra said. Kumar said work on the projects would start soon and is likely to be completed within three years. “Station developments will come up very differently. It is one area which is constantly coming up that station must be the concept of a mall experience. We want to benchmark to global standards,” he said. These stations...
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would attract passengers and facilitate business, he said. Indian Railways is the largest rail network in Asia and the world’s second largest under one management, running 11,000 trains a day on its about 1,10,000 km tracks. Kumar said apart from station modernisation, port connectivity was another area of focus for railways with Rs 16,000 crore worth of projects underway. “We are paying real emphasis to port connectivity. We have had good amount of progress this year. We have given clearance to about seven projects worth Rs 16,000 crore and we can do even more based on the request we get,” he said. He said FDI has been opened in ten sectors of Railways which covered almost all areas of its working. “We have displayed our intentions and also identified the projects that can be taken up under FDI and in case industry needs more projects that they would like to fund we would consider that... Anything which improves the movement of passengers, their convenience and has impact on the growth of Indian economy, that we will accord priority,” Kumar said. FDI assumes significance in the context of high speed trains too, he said adding “the High speed line study is being done on Mumbai to Ahmedabad route... this thing is going to be a game changer. Wherever high speed has come it is not only railway but society as a whole has gone a complete change.” He said mammoth investments were required in high speed trains as laying of tracks cost Rs 100 crore per km in comparison to Rs 10 crore a km for normal trains. “Government has made its intentions clear... Delhi Chennai route has been offered to Chinese to study and come back,” he said, adding that it takes about nine to 10 years to flag off such trains. Indian Railways is the growth engine of Indian economy, he said adding, “So far whatever constraints we have, Indian Railways has never been in the reds. It has always been making profit though we subsidise heavily.” — PTI
  
Today (9:00PM)  Dense fog hits rail, air traffic in Delhi (www.saharasamay.com)
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Major Accidents/DisruptionsNR/Northern  -  

News Entry# 205955     
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Posted by: rdb**  91691 news posts  
A thick blanket of fog enveloped Delhi on Monday morning.
At least 16 flights have been delayed while two were cancelled due to zero visibility. Around 50 trains have also been delayed while 12 others have been rescheduled in the national capital.   Intense cold conditions continue unabated in north India.   On Sunday, one person was killed in Uttar Pradesh while three others died of suffocation in Delhi after they lit a coal fire to keep their dwelling warm.  
  Wintry conditions intensified in the national capital on Sunday as the maximum temperature was recorded at 15 degrees Celsius, seven notches below normal. The minimum settled two notches below the season's average at 6.4 degrees Celsius.   In Jammu and Kashmir, Chillai-Kalan -- the 40-day harshest period of winter --
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began on Sunday, increasing the chances of the first snowfall of the season in the Valley which has witnessed cold and dry weather conditions so far.   The minimum temperature, however, rose by over two degrees in Srinagar as the city recorded a low of -1.8 degrees Celsius on Sunday, compared to the previous night's -4.4 degrees.
  
Today (8:43PM)  Govt. set to develop network of inland waterways to reduce pressure on rail and roadways: Nitin Gadkari (ficci.com)
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 205953     
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Posted by: rdb**  91691 news posts  
New Delhi : While addressing the session on ‘Transportation - Importance of surface and water
transportation in India’s growth’, Mr. Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways,
Shipping, said that inland waterways was a significant sector as it offered a cheap and pollution-free mode of
transportation. As inland waterways transport is underutilised in the country, the government was planning to
develop a network of inland waterways having the required navigable draft (depth) to enable goods transportation. It
will also help in reducing pressure on rail and road transport systems and cost of transportation.
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In this regard, Mr. Gadkari invited private investments to partner via PPP model. He also urged FICCI to organize an
independent conference focused on encouraging inland waterways, which would be beneficial to all stakeholders.
Mr. Gadkari said that to support the government’s drive of ‘Clean India’, proposals have been made for change of
fuel from petrol and diesel to biomass, electricity and other green energies for city and school buses. The successful
implementation of the proposal would result in bringing down import of fuels significantly.
He also stated that there were proposals for creating water, sea and bus ports on the lines of airports terminals and
urged the industry to come forward with suggestions in this regard. Mr. Gadkari informed that satellite dry ports
were on the government’s agenda to enhance connectivity and decongest the major ports. Besides dry ports,
government is also planning to develop sea ports/water ports for landing of special aircrafts (sea planes) in order to
boost tourism in the country. He added that to improve the hinterland connectivity in the country, the government
was planning to set up a Railway Corporation exclusively to build rail connectivity to major ports.
He stated that the Government was planning to carry out dredging at Madras Port to ensure the draft 20 meters so
that large cape-size vessels could anchor at the port. The project was being taken up under PPP mode and a private
player was expected to invest around Rs. 500 crore and cost of the project would be recovered by charging royalty
on the consignments.
On financing infrastructure projects, he said that it had emerged as a big challenge. To raise necessary funding for
long term projects in PPP mode, Mr. Gadkari soon plans to share a presentation with Indian ba
  
Today (8:42PM)  Hyderabad Metro Rail Perplexed Over Change Of Route (www.thehansindia.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestHM/Hyderabad Metro  -  

News Entry# 205952     
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Authorities unsure whether or not to proceed with the existing design as they have not received any written order from the government on realignment
Hyderabad: The Hyderabad Metro Rail authorities are in a state of confusion over the realignment of route at certain places including Assembly, Sultan Bazaar and the Old City.
Despite repeated objections raised by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on the present route, the Telangana government, according to sources, did not convey its stand on the issue to the HMR authorities. The government could not take a decision despite holding all-party meeting twice. Amid this confusion, the HMR authorities are unable to decide whether or not to proceed with the existing design of the Metro Rail project.
The HMRL is
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expecting an increase in cost by nearly Rs 3,000 crore if the present alignment is changed. Further, the changes are likely to cause heavy revenue loss to the L&T HMRL as it would have to drop a few stations from the list. It includes stations at Assembly, Sultan Bazaar and the entire route in the Old City, although they would be replaced with other stations.
The State government, according to sources, is willing to compensate only about Rs 1,000 crore. The HMR authorities want to negotiate the issue with the government only after receipt of some written orders.
Political parties are divided over the issue. While the Congress wants no changes in the alignment of route, the TDP and BJP want the HMR to go ahead with the original route in the Old City. The MIM is strongly demanding complete change in the alignment in the Old City in order to prevent relocation of about 40 places of worship, including seven heritage structures, and about 1,200 private properties.
Meanwhile, the HMR authorities have reportedly decided to focus on the completion of works in other areas which are presently not under dispute.
  
Today (8:40PM)  Realty gets booster shot with Lucknow Metro Rail (www.business-standard.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestNR/Northern  -  

News Entry# 205951     
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Lucknow Metro Rail, a flagship project of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, is all set to boost the local realty space. After much delay, the Metro Rail project has started gathering steam with actual ground work taking off near Lucknow Airport.While the metro project would impact realty sector in Lucknow, the immediate benefits would be felt in the periphery of metro stations being planned on Lucknow-Kanpur highway."The project has its influence zone spanning the metro route and the connecting stations. It would give a special push to real estate on the Lucknow-Kanpur highway and the adjoining areas," Paarth Infrabuild promoter-director Pradeep Misra told Business Standard.His company is also launching a housing project over 80 acres, he informed.It is estimated projects spanning almost 2,000 acres could be launched near the metro routes in the next five years to cater rising demand for residential and commercial properties.Misra noted the project would...
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spur local realty prices by almost 20 percent depending upon the distance from metro stations and route."Areas near metro stations would see tremendous demand and price hike both in terms of residential as well as commercial projects," Chandra Modern Builders director Alok Chandra said.
Lucknow has been a preferred destination for real estate investors and developers due to good connectivity, infrastructure, industry, education & healthcare.
     Chandra opined metro project amply showed Lucknow had arrived on the national map and hence increase in interest for people living outside to invest in the city.
Lucknow Metro is proposed in two North-South (NS) and East-West corridors. The 23 km NS corridor has been undertaken in first phase and estimated to cost over Rs 7,000 crore.
LMRC is targetting to complete the corridor's railroad section covering about 8 km between Transport Nagar and Charbagh railway station by December 2016. Since, assembly polls are due before May 2017, the ruling Samajwadi Party wants the metro project on the track to showcase it as a success story.
The hitherto neglected Lucknow-Kanpur region is waiting in wings to soar on the realty boom on the back of Lucknow Metro, Lucknow Industrial Development Authority (LIDA) and a Trans-Ganga Project, which was inaugurated by Yadav on December 11 in neighbouring Unnao.
Unnao is situated between the state capital of Lucknow and industry town of Kanpur.
Meanwhile, apart from Noida, Ghaizabad and Lucknow, the state is planning metro rail services in four more cities viz. Varanasi, Agra, Kanpur and Meerut.
The development authorities of Varanasi, Agra, Kanpur and Meerut had already submitted technical feasibility reports. Now the state cabinet is likely to take a call on the preparation of the respective detailed project reports (DPRs).
  
Today (8:38PM)  Gurgaon Metro commuters’ rulebook (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestDMRC/Delhi Metro  -  

News Entry# 205949     
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Posted by: rdb**  91691 news posts  
From maintaining a strict deadline and always arranging a pick-up at stations to never arguing with autowallahs, female Metro commuters in Gurgaon have their own strategies to make their travel safe.
For the working women of Gurgaon, the unsafe tag on the city's Metro stations has moved on from being just a news headline to a reality they live with. Girls who take the Metro regularly, have their own safety checklist which includes basic points like 'don't take a shared auto', 'get someone to pick you up from the station' and 'no crossing the road after 9pm'. A recent audit conducted by a safety app, Safetipin, revealed that Gurgaon Metro stations are more unsafe and secluded compared to those in Delhi. We spoke to women commuters at three prominent stations - IFFCO Chowk, Sikanderpuri and HUDA City Centre - where everyone
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agreed with the audit result and shared their strategies for travelling after dark in Gurgaon.
My Gurgaon Metro deadline is 7pm, in Delhi, it's 10
Gurgaon metro deadline is 7pm, while in Delhi even 10pm is fine
Many office-goers shared the massive difference between their Delhi and Gurgaon Metro deadlines. Gunjan Sharma, who works near IFFCO Chowk, says, "I come to work early and maintain my timeline so that I'm out of the office by 7pm and reach the station by 7.30pm max, I have never taken the train beyond that. I have to travel to West Delhi, so by the time I get off at my station, it's usually 8.30-8.45pm. But those stations are in market areas and I am comfortable taking a rickshaw from there even at 9pm, but I can't imagine doing that in Gurgaon." Ruksar, who works in hospitality in DLF Phase 5, adds, "I usually try to leave Gurgaon by 8pm and get dropped till the station from office when I'm late. My strategy at Gurgaon Metro stations is to just quickly get off from the car, face all covered, cross the road quickly and just rush inside the station. Station ke andar safe hai and entry pe lights bhi hain. But apart from that, the entire stretch is completely empty after 7.30 pm. I don't feel this scared or insecure at the station near my residence in Delhi and I have taken a rickshaw at even 9.30pm."
I make sure there's someone to pick and drop me from the metro station
According to the Gurgaon commuters' Metro rulebook, one needs to have their pickups and drops to the station coordinated well in advance to avoid being stranded or left haggling with the autowallahs. Vinita Sharma*, 24, an interior decorator by profession, was waiting for her friend to pick her up at the IFFCO Chowk station and told us, "I don't mind waiting in the station premises for 20-30 minutes. But at 8pm, I will not go down and try to argue with the autowallahs. And it's not even about the money. On the route I take, the street lights don't work and it ends up being very scary in an auto. So I have to make sure that someone is available to pick me up from the station before I even take the Metro."
Colleagues Deepti and Mishma, who travel to their home in south Delhi from their Gurgaon office daily, depend on their office shuttle to reach the Metro station. They tell us, "We have shuttles from office starting from 6pm at intervals of 30 minutes to drop employees to the station. We have used that ever since we've been working here. In fact, our office has a rule that women employees can't take the shuttle after 7.30pm. We'll have to take cabs which directly drop us home. So there is no question of commuting using Gurgaon's non-existent public transport system. You always need the shuttle."
You know the auto wallahs are overcharging you but at 8pm there's no choice
For those who don't have the luxury of the pick and drops, the scary autowallahs and rickshaw bhaiyas are the only options at hand. And dealing with them is a quality worth putting on a CV, say these girl commuters. Parul, who is a dance instructor at a studio in Sector 43, told us, "Reaching the Metro station is usually easy for people, but for me it's difficult both ways. In the evening no auto is willing to go the Metro station even though that's the busiest area of the city. I have to stand on the road for at least 20-30 minutes before any auto agrees to go. And at 8pm, your bargaining skills go for a toss because you're just so helpless and tired you agree to pay whatever price is being quoted. On any other day, if the autowallah even reduces by `10, I am ecstatic because this is usually the biggest battle of my day."
Simran Kaur, who works in Hauz Khas and was returning home to Gurgaon at 8pm, adds, "I usually get off at the Huda City Centre station because that is the most populated station here. And after struggling for months with the autowallahs, now I am prepared to deal with them and just drop the fight. They all crowd over you and if one person says no, then everyone will refuse. They have a union of sorts and the customer, her safety, her problems don't matter to anyone. So at 8pm, when all I want is to get back home ASAP, I just agree to the fare being quoted by them even though I know they're overcharging."
Even if there is a police station outside of the metro station, I won't go in there to complain alone
On our visit to the Metro stations, we found some police presence outside the Sikanderpur and HUDA City Centre stations, which when we inquired was a development that came about after this survey was released. While IFFCO Chowk has a Metro Police Station just a few hundred meters away, there wasn't any official posted on any of the exit points. Sheetal Khanna, who works with an IT company, told us, "I honestly didn't even know about this police station before. It is also located away from the Metro exit point so I don't think that's going to save us from any harassment of any sort. Plus if I ever get into trouble, say my purse gets snatched or some guys tease me, I don't think I will dare to go to the station alone to report a complain. The need is to bring police officials at the exits so that the autowallahs and the biker dudes and other such rowdies get scared. But I don't know when that will happen."
Have increased deployment at stations: police
Deepak Saharan, DCP (East), Gurgaon, says, "After this survey came out, we have increased the number of the lady cops deployed at the Metro stations. We have even stepped up the deployment of the male cops on the Metro stations. The duty hours of the cops have also been increased and each and every step is being taken to ensure the safety of women. The survey also highlighted the fact that there is not sufficient lighting around the Metro stations. This is something which we also found while patrolling the areas and we have written to the concerned department to look into this issue."
  
Today (8:35PM)  Token machines don't work at Metro stations (www.deccanherald.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestDMRC/Delhi Metro  -  

News Entry# 205948     
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Posted by: rdb**  91691 news posts  
Metro commuters have to stand in long queues to add money to their smart cards as the Token Vending Machines are lying “out of order” at many stations.
Some of the passengers said that TVMs at a few stations are not working since last month. “I have been noticing that both the TVMs at Laxmi Nagar station are defunct since mid November,” said Naresh Jha, a private firm employee. “I have asked the Metro staff at the station many a times to fix the machines but to no avail,” Jha added.
Another traveller, Ritu Mishra, said they have to stand in long queues to get their Metro cards recharged. “Seeing such a huge footfall at stations across the Metro network, the authorities should be more careful and keep tabs on the proper
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functioning of TVMs,” added Mishra, who takes metro from AIIMS station. “Commuters are put to a lot of trouble as there are always serpentine queues at the recharge counter during peak hours,” she added.
The TVMs at stations across all corridors are operating in fits and starts. “Even the machines at Rohini West station are often out of order,” said Amit Kumar, a government employee. “First the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation wanted people to switch to TVMs and now when they have started using them for not only adding money to their smart cards but also for buying a tokens, these machines remain non-functional half of the time,” added Kumar.
The Delhi Metro said that whenever they receive a complaint they rectify it. “People should understand that its a huge network and the footfall is also increasing day by day so these issues are bound to happen. But the DMRC does its best to solve the problem as fast as possible,” said a DMRC official. “We will look into the matter and try to fix the TVMs,” he added.
According to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s website, there are 170 Token Vending Machines installed at 83 metro stations which commuters use to get tokens and add value to their smart cards.
  
Today (8:33PM)  Metro museum coming up in northeast Delhi (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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News Entry# 205947     
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Posted by: rdb**  91691 news posts  
NEW DELHI: The Delhi Metro Museum, touted as South Asia's 'first modern Metro Museum', will get a dedicated complex at northeast Delhi's Shastri Park that would serve the twin purpose of "entertainment and education".
DMRC has been alloted 12,000 sq metre of land right next to the Shastri Park Metro station for this purpose, due to its proximity to the station.
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