Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Train Services, Suspended For 2 Months In Punjab, Normalise

Train services in Punjab, which were suspended for almost two months due to the farmers’ agitation against the three new farm laws, have normalised except for a 32-km stretch, Chairman Railway Board VK Yadav said Tuesday.

Train operations in Punjab were severely affected for almost two months after farmers, protesting against the three new farm laws, sat on railway tracks and on station premises, refusing to let trains run.

“We have had no issues in running trains in Punjab since November 23 except between Beas and Amritsar where some protestors are still present. But an alternative route is available and trains to Amritsar are being diverted through that. However, we had to cancel some trains on that route as the earlier route was double line while the diverted route is  a single line,” Mr Yadav said at a press conference.

He also said between November 23 and November 30, 94 passenger trains have entered Punjab while 78 have exited the state.

While 384 loaded and 273 empty freight trains entered the state, 373 loaded and 221 empty freight trains exited the state.

Pushing the state into full gear as far as commodities are concerned, during this period out of the 384 loaded freight trains that entered, 155 carried coal, 58 carried fertilizers, 25 carried steel, 32 carried petroleum, oil and lubricants among others, he said.Of the 373 loaded trains that exited Punjab, 245 trains carried foodgrains to other parts of the country.

The Railways had earlier said the suspension of services have led to losses to the tune of ₹ 2,220 crore.

The government on Tuesday expressed confidence that it will reach a solution after discussing the issues raised by the protesting farmers, as a meeting between union ministers and representatives of over 30 farmers’ organisations was underway.

For the meeting at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was accompanied by Railways and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, also an MP from Punjab.

‘Kulhads” To Replace Plastic Tea Cups At Railway Stations

Tea will be sold in environment-friendly ”kulhads” (earthen cups) in place of plastic cups at all railway stations in the country, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said on Sunday.

The minister was speaking at an event organised at the Dhigawara railway station in Rajasthan’s Alwar district to mark the inauguration of the newly electrified Dhigawara-Bandikui section under the North Western Railway.

This initiative will be the contribution of the Railways towards a plastic-free India, Piyush Goyal said.

Tea will be sold in environment-friendly ”kulhads” (earthen cups) in place of plastic cups at all railway stations in the country, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said on Sunday.

The minister was speaking at an event organised at the Dhigawara railway station in Rajasthan’s Alwar district to mark the inauguration of the newly electrified Dhigawara-Bandikui section under the North Western Railway.

This initiative will be the contribution of the Railways towards a plastic-free India, Piyush Goyal said.

Bullet Train Project: Agreement Signed With L&T For India’s Biggest Infrastructure Contract

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), responsible for developing the bullet train project in the country, signed a contract agreement with infrastructure conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) for the design and construction of the 237 km long viaduct between Vapi (Zaroli village at Maharashtra-Gujarat border) and Vadodara (Gujarat). This agreement for the implementation of the high-speed rail corridor is said to be the country’s biggest infrastructure contract for construction and design. The contract involves a significant 47 per cent of the high speed rail alignment, which includes the construction of four stations and a depot.

As part of this contract, the work involves 14 river crossings, six railway crossings including one mountain tunnel of 350 metres, 42 road crossings as well as the construction of four stations – Billimora, Vapi, Bharuch, and Surat. The 508 km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The rolling stock of the bullet train is being developed on the lines of Japanese E5 Shinkansen technology. Satoshi Suzuki, Ambassador of Japan to India attended the contract agreement signing ceremony on Thursday, November 26.

According to NHSRCL, the duration for the completion of the work a part of this agreement is four years from the date of commencement of the contract. The technical bids for this tender were opened on September 23, 2020. L&T emerged as the lowest bidder in the auction of the project. In less than one month, the financial bids were opened on October 19 after the final evaluation of technical bids. The organization further issued the letter of acceptance (LoA) to L&T for the contract.

Maharashtra Steps Up Covid Screening With New Rules For Travellers

Long queues were seen at railway stations, state borders and airports in Mumbai on Wednesday, with people waiting to get screened for the coronavirus, as Maharashtra’s new travel rules kicked in.

Depending on their mode of travel, passengers from Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa have to show they are negative or asymptomatic.

In Mumbai, at 12:30 pm a train arrived from Bikaner, Rajasthan with 900 passengers.

Municipal staff, along with railway police were ready to screen each one. People with symptoms were then sent for an antigen test.

Many people got themselves tested and did not seem to complain.

But there were few who were not comfortable. Like Radha who came from Bikaner with her 75-year-old mother.

“No, my mother is fine. There is no Covid in our village. She did not even go out during these months,” she said.
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But it was a task for BMC officers to convince them.

“We are screening everyone and whoever are symptomatic we are getting their RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) done. But a challenge is many a times they are not ready, and we have to convince them. That’s a challenge,” said Dr. Apurva, who was stationed at Dadar station.

As per railway authorities, in the last two days, after the announcement of screening and tests, the daily cancellations on Western Railway rose by 50 per cent while that on central railway by 25 per cent but they hope this was just initial jitters.

Railway officers also say it is difficult to identify people who may have diverted their travel through a safe state.

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But at the airport it is more disciplined. However, it was taking longer. Rajender’s sister whose flight arrived from Delhi was waiting for his sister for more than 3 hours at the airport.

“Airport authorities have stopped all the people an getting their tests done. And they are charging ₹ 1,400 and it is not good actually,” he said.

New Western Railway Train’s Precious Cargo: 180 Tonnes Of Onions

The first Kisan Rail of Western Railway (WR) carrying 180 tonnes of onions left for New Guwahati station from Indore in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday.

Senior Public Relations Officer of Western Railway, Ratlam Division, Jitendra Kumar Jayant said that 18 coaches filled with onions are attached in this Kisan Rail, while the remaining 2 coaches are empty in which any farmer can book his goods on the way.

Indore MP Shankar Lalwani said, this is a joint effort of Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, in which 50 per cent concession in freight is also being given to farmers. 15 Kisan Rail will be run in the coming days. Instead of road, the goods of the farmers will be reached by rail route quickly, so that their produce will not be spoiled. The Kisan Rail will not run on the lines of the freight train, it will run like an express train, whose time table will also be given.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced the operation of Kisan Rail on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) basis in this year’s budget to ensure speedy transportation of putrescible things like fruits, vegetables, milk etc.

Tejas Express Services Suspended Due To Poor Occupancy, Surge In COVID-19 Cases

The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has suspended the Lucknow-New Delhi and the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Central Tejas Express services, following poor occupancy and passenger demand, and an upsurge in COVID-19 cases. The decision will be reviewed again next month, after the evaluation of occupancy levels of other trains by Indian Railways, operating on both these routes. IRCTC restarted the operations of these Tejas Express trains on October 17 as the situation got better. The Ahmedabad-Mumbai Central and Lucknow-New DelhiTejas Express trains are the country’s first private trains which are fully air-conditioned and running on semi high speed

The Lucknow-New Delhi service operated for almost six months, while the Ahmedabad-Mumbai operated for around three months. Both train services were suspended on March 19, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to IRCTC, both Tejas Expres strains witnessed poor occupancy and low passenger demand amid the pandemic. Hence, the services of Lucknow-New Delhi IRCTC Tejas Express train number 82501/01 were temporarily halted from November 23, 2020. The services of Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Ahmedabad IRCTC Tejas Express train number 82901/02 have been temporarily suspended from November 24, 2020.

Meanwhile, recently, Indian Railways announced that it will introduce the services of 151 modern trains services which will be operated by the public-private partnership (PPP). Indian Railways had sought private investment worth ₹ 30,000 crore. In this regard, the process of evaluating applications for PPP in passenger train operations was completed, and out of 120 applications,102 were selected to participate in the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage. Major infrastructure leaders such as Larsen & Toubro (L&T), GMR, BHEL were among the selected applicants qualified to bid in the first stage.

Railways Going To Start Services From And Through Punjab”

Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday said that the Indian Railways is going to commence services from and through Punjab as the farmer unions have announced suspension of blockades for over two weeks.

“After the postponement of the farmer movement on railway tracks and stations in Punjab from November 23, Indian Railways is going to start rail services from and through Punjab,” Mr Goyal tweeted.

“Passengers, farmers, and industries will be benefited by the removal of the impasse in train operations,” he added.

The development comes two days after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had announced that striking farmers’ unions have decided to suspend blockades for 15 days from November 23 night and urged the Centre to resume rail services to the state.

“Happy to share that starting November 23 night, Kisan Unions have decided to end rail blockades for 15 days. I welcome this step since it will restore normalcy to our economy. I urge Central Government to resume rail services to Punjab forthwith,” the Chief Minister had tweeted after meeting farmers unions on Saturday.

On November 13, Goyal and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had conducted a meeting with farmers from Punjab at Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital.

Punjab farmers were observing ”rail-roko” protest against the laws, passed by the central government in September. In view of the agitation, the Railways Ministry had suspended goods railway services. Also, several trains were cancelled while some of them were short terminated.

The three agriculture laws include — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Railways To Provide Coaches With 800 Beds For Covid Treatment In Delhi

To ramp up COVID care facilities in Delhi, 45 doctors and 160 paramedics of the paramilitary forces have arrived in the capital, while the Railways is making available coaches with 800 beds at a station here to be used as health and isolation centres, the home ministry said on Wednesday.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is going to add 250 ICU beds to the existing 250 in addition to creating 35 BIPAP beds in the next 3-4 days at its COVID-19 hospital near the Delhi airport, a home ministry spokesperson said.

These developments come in the wake of 12 decisions taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday after Delhi saw fresh spike in COVID-19 cases.

The spurt in coronavirus cases in Delhi has been witnessed since October 28 when the daily rise breached the 5,000-mark for the first time and it crossed the 8,000-mark on November 11.

Delhi recorded 6,396 fresh COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the infection tally in the national capital to over 4.95 lakh, even as 99 new fatalities pushed the toll to 7,812, authorities said.

The rising coronavirus cases in Delhi are attributed to the festive season, non-compliance of COVID-19 safety behaviour and rising pollution in the city.

45 doctors and 160 paramedics from paramilitary forces have arrived in Delhi for deployment at DRDO hospital near Delhi airport and at a COVID care centre at Chhatarpur, the spokesperson said.

More doctors and paramedics will reach Delhi in the next few days.

The home ministry has constituted 10 multi-disciplinary teams to visit more than 100 private hospitals in Delhi for assessing bed utilisation and testing capacity and to identify extra ICU beds. Visits by the teams are underway.

The Railways is making available coaches with 800 beds at Shakur Basti railway station while doctors and para-medics from paramilitary forces will man the coaches which will act as COVID care-cum-isolation facilities.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Delhi government are working together to enhance RT-PCR testing capacity to 60,000 tests by the end of November.

Testing capacity has already been enhanced by 10,000 tests per day on November 17, the spokesperson said.

The planning for house-to-house survey in Delhi is in the advanced stage. The survey is expected to begin by the end of the week and completed by November 25.

According to the spokesperson, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has dispatched 250 ventilators from Bengaluru and these are expected to reach Delhi by the end of the week.

The Union health ministry has delivered 35 BIPAP machines to DRDO COVID facility near the Delhi airport.

To bring testing closer to Delhi residents, the ICMR will help Delhi government in deploying 10 mobile testing laboratories with a total capacity of 20,000 tests in a phased manner beginning next week.

The ICMR will also help in augmenting capacity by 2,000 tests of existing Delhi laboratories by deploying more manpower, increasing number of shifts and placing more equipment and thorough engagement with private sector laboratories, so that per day, 60,000 RT-PCR tests could be done by November end.
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With five RT-PCR laboratories, including at AIIMS, Delhi, have already started functioning round-the-clock.

Orientation meeting of deputy commissioners, municipal corporation officials and other stakeholders were conducted by the union health ministry.

As many as 25 BIPAP machines for the Delhi government will be provided by health ministry, the spokesperson said.

Sunday’s meeting was convened in the wake of the rising number of cases, which is being called the ”third wave” of COVID-19, in Delhi and it noted the increasing strain on medical infrastructure in the city.

Apart from Mr Shah, those who attended the meeting include Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, among others.

It was the second major intervention by Shah, who had stepped in and announced several steps in June to check the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the national capital after criticism in different quarters of the Delhi government’s handling of the crisis.

Mr Shah had said that the situation of COVID-19 in Delhi, as also in the neighbouring areas of the National Capital Region (NCR), would be reviewed on a continuous basis over the coming weeks.

The highest single-day spike of 8,593 cases till date here was recorded on November 11 when 85 fatalities were recorded.

99 fatalities were recorded, pushing the number of deaths in the national capital to 7,812.

The active cases tally on Tuesday rose to 42,004 from 40,128, the previous day.

The total number of cases has climbed to 4,95,598, while the recovery rate stood at over 89 per cent.

The number of containment zones in Delhi increased to 4,449 on Tuesday.

The National Centre for Disease Control, in a report drafted recently, had warned that Delhi needed to be prepared for about 15,000 fresh COVID-19 cases per day, taking into account the winter-related respiratory problems, a large influx of patients from outside and festive gatherings.

In June, when the number of COVID-19 cases was on the rise in Delhi, there were complaints of non-availability of beds in hospitals and difficulty in getting tests done in laboratories.

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The home minister ensured that the facilities were augmented by increasing the numbers of daily testing, hospital beds and setting up of temporary hospitals and COVID care centres.

A committee set up by Mr Shah also fixed the rates for testing, beds in private hospitals, ICUs and isolation beds.

Rail Coaches With 800 Beds To Delhi For Covid Treatment

As many as 45 doctors and 160 paramedics of the paramilitary forces have arrived in Delhi for deployment on COVID-19 duties while the railways will make available coaches with 800 beds at a station in Delhi to be used as COVID care-cum-isolation facilities, the MHA said on Wednesday.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also said that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is going to add 250 additional ICU beds to the existing 250 ICU beds in addition to creating 35 BIPAP beds in the next 3 to 4 days at its COVID-19 hospital near the Delhi airport.

The actions come in the wake of 12 decisions taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday. Delhi has witnessed a spurt in coronavirus cases since October 28 when the daily rise breached the 5,000-mark for the first time and it crossed the 8,000-mark on November 11.

Forty-five doctors and 160 para-medics from paramilitary forces have arrived in Delhi for deployment at DRDO hospital near Delhi airport and at a COVID care centre at Chhatarpur, a home ministry spokesperson said. Remaining doctors and medics will reach Delhi in the next few days, the official said.

The home ministry has constituted 10 multi-disciplinary teams to visit more than 100 private hospitals in Delhi for assessing bed utilisation and testing capacity and to identify extra ICU beds. Visits by the teams is underway, the official said.

The Indian Railways is making available coaches with 800 beds at Shakur Basti railway station while doctors and para-medics from paramilitary forces will man the coaches which will act as COVID care-cum-isolation facilities.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Delhi government are working together to enhance RT-PCR testing capacity to 60,000 tests by end of November, the official said. Testing capacity has already been enhanced by 10,000 tests per day on November 17, the spokesperson said.

The planning for house to house survey in Delhi is in the advanced stage. The survey is expected to begin by the end of the week and completed by November 25, the official said.

According to the spokesperson, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has dispatched 250 ventilators from Bengaluru and they are expected to reach Delhi by the end of the week.

The Union health ministry has delivered 35 BIPAP machines to DRDO COVID facility near the Delhi airport, the official said. To bring testing closer to Delhi residents, the ICMR will help Delhi government in deploying 10 mobile testing laboratories with a total capacity of 20,000 tests in a phased manner beginning next week, the spokesperson said.

Railway NTPC, Group D Test Centre, Other Details Likely To Be Released 10 Days Before Exam

The RRB NTPC, Group D, and other exams are less than a month away. These exams are scheduled to begin on December 15 and as per the information given by the railway recruitment boards (RRB), details of exam city and date are likely to be released 10 days before the exam date. While the RRBs have confirmed this for Ministerial and Isolated category exam in a recent notification, they have mentioned this in the first notification of NTPC and group D exams.

Call letter will not be sent to candidates by post, RRBs have said.

Candidates have to download their admit card or the call letter from the website of the RRBs.

With the exam starting on December 15, the admit cards and other details of the exam can be expected that in the first week of December.

The exact schedule of RRB NTPC and RRB group D exams have not been released yet.

Meanwhile, RRBs have already notified that the exam for selection to Ministerial and Isolated category posts will be held from December 15 to December 23.

For the RRB NTPC exam, Indian Railways has received more than 1.2 crore applications against 35,208 vacancies.

For the RRB Group D exam, a total of 1,15,67,248 applications have been registered against 1,03,769 vacancies.

A total of 1,663 vacancies in the Ministerial and Isolated category posts will be filled and a total of 1,02,940 candidates are expected to appear in the exam.

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