Indian Railways News

NITI Aayog approves Rs.18000 Crore investment for Railways

NITI Aayog on Friday approved investments worth Rs. 18,000 crore for high-speed rail projects for major routes of Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata, Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said at an ASSOCHAM event here today.

“We are working on Gatiman Express which is India?s fastest train at 180 km per hour and trying for Mumbai-Delhi and Delhi-Kolkata which are major routes with a speed of maximum 200 km per hour (kmph) and that will be an investment of Rs. 18,000 crore which has already been approved by the NITI Aayog,” said Prabhu while inaugurating an ASSOCHAM International Conference RAILTECH 2017.

“When we proposed it, they were apprehensive but now everybody realises importance of it as it is a least-cost option, so we are trying to do that, you can imagine the trains can go at that speed from Delhi to Mumbai and how much travel time will be reduced,” added Prabhu.

He also said that Railways Ministry is working with many countries to increase the speed of operations, including France.

“There are a lot of studies which are going on and they are in a very advanced stage, so we will start implementing that in the next few months” time,? added the minister.

He added that the Government is working towards introducing cutting-edge technology of future in all aspects of railways with it not only being imported but being co-developed in India.

“We already had about six to eight months ago, a programme in which we called all the major technology developers who had not yet fully developed, commercialized the technology which can take the speed of railways to more than 600 kmph and we are already working with them, companies like Hyperloop,” added Prabhu.

Talking about the use of high-end technology on safety front, he said that self-propelled detection of tracks together with use of ultrasonic machines and geo-spatial technology to alert about unmanned railway crossings are underway.

On laying of railway tracks, he said that automatic track laying machines which are already being used on Dedicated Freight Corridor will now be tried all over the country.

“This has already resulted in increasing the speed of putting the track which was only three kms. per day to almost eight kms. per day and the target is to take it to 20 kms per day in the next three years and definitely we are on track for doing that,” added Prabhu.

He said considering that capital expenditure needed for optimal technology has gone from Rs. 30,000 crore a year to almost Rs. 2,75,000 crore in the last 2.5 years shows the commitment of the Government.

On the rolling stock, he said that two major locomotives are already in use with one from French transport giant Alstom. “It is going to bring in the best cutting edge technology, environment friendly, speed will be good, least fuel consumption and that will available in the next month?s time and that is going to be manufactured in India.”

He said that another locomotive factory would be set up in West Bengal, “We are yet to finalise the bid, but it will already be happening. That again will begin the best technology in fact, all the top global players are vying for it.”

Highlighting that the Government is taking all these steps in a very transparent manner, the Union Minister said that companies like Siemens have made a consortium in this regard. “So you can imagine how serious they are because otherwise they would have come on their own.”

Prabhu also informed that Railway Ministry has started working on revamping, refurbishing and retrofitting of 40,000 outdated coaches.

?We have already stopped manufacturing non-LHB coaches from April 1, next year and all the LHB coaches will be manufactured, so you can imagine the technological up-gradation that is happening at all levels,? he said.

He said that Railway Ministry has also completely revamped the ticket-booking mobile application with many services being made available on one single application. “This is going to bring in a completely different experience for the traveller because he can book it completely on his palm literally, not only booking but anything to do with railways.”

Talking about the recently held huge roundtable conference on technology, he said that Railway Ministry was engaging with all the top global players that had participated in the same.

?I think we have already taken very serious steps, to modernise and optimise the capacity of railway operations and the biggest other technology tool that we will be using and we have already started work on is rail cloud,? said Prabhu.

He said that Railway Ministry has also started working on enterprise resource planning (ERP) which has the potential to save up to Rs. 70,000 crore.

?We are also using technology for each and every aspect of railways, including managerial practices which includes our internal processes to ensure that efficiency is allowed and in fact we will try to plug every possible area where there is a leakage, hoodwinking possible and the system will be made foolproof,? said the Union Railway Minister.

 

Anticipated cost of Imphal-Jiribam Rail line pegged at Rs.9658 Crores

Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain informed the Rajya Sabha yesterday that the Imphal-Jiribam rail line has been taken up at the anticipated cost of Rs 9658 crore while an expenditure of Rs 5278 crore has been incurred till March this year.

An outlay of Rs 1400 crore has been provided for 2017-2018 for the project, said Gohain and added that Imphal to Jiribam railway line is part of the Trans-Asian railway network.

Replying to questions raised by Rajya Sabha MP K Bhabananda, Gohain further said that the completion of the project depends on many factors such as land acquisition, forestry and wild life clearances, shifting of services, construction of road over and under bridges, law and order etc.

The proposed railway stations that will come up along the new line are Jiribam, Vangaichingpo, Kaimai, Kambiron Thingao, Khonsang, Awangkhul, Noney, Tupul, Haochong and Imphal, informed the Minister.

To other posers raised by K Bhabananda, MoS for Electronics and Information Technology, PP Chaudhury said that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is implementing Digital India programme to transform India to a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy and added that State Wide Area Networks (SWANs), State Date Centres (SDCs), Common Service Centres (CSCs), State Service Delivery Gateways (SSDGs), e-District Mission Mode Project (MMP) have been implemented to help the Government Departments in the States and Centre.

Cyber Security A Priority Area For Railways: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu

Ensuring cyber security in day to day operations is one of the priorities for railways which is moving in a big way towards technology driven operations, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said today.

Speaking at a conference attendended by senior rail officials, Mr Prabhu said that as part of modernisation and maintenance of railways, the ministry has lauched several initiatives over the past three years like RailCloud Server and Rail Saarthi App and is working on a enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.

 “We are working on a complete transformation of the railways through investment of huge amounts of money and transformation of each and every aspect of operations to make them better. We are using high-end technology for maintenance and detecting defects in tracks through one application,” said Mr Prabhu

“So if we are doing all this and using the cyber space for digital transactions, obviously, the vulnerability of that transaction becomes very critical.

“When we do everything manually, the challenge is manual error and if we are shifting from manual to technology oriented operations, then the flaws in technology or someone who can potentially hoodwink it is as high and sometimes even dangerous. So cyber security is one of the top priorities,” the minister added.

 The meet on ensuring cyber security in Indian Railways, attended by Chairman, Railway Board, A K Mittal and other railway board members and senior officials, saw discussions on cyber threats, security incidents and advanced solutions.

Computerisation in railways started about three decades ago and major activities like ticketing, freight operations, train operations and asset management now rely heavily on IT systems.

Railways launched RailCloud this month, a virtual server with an inbuilt security system that will enable faster connectivity at a reduced cost.

RailCloud technology enables maximising the usage of available server and storage resulting in accommodation of bigger data and more applications within same server space.

Till now all IT applications had separate servers which increased the cost of operations and purchases.

Cyber Security has now been identified as the focus area by the railways. Auditing of IT Systems by Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) and close coordination with Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) are some of the steps taken by Indian railways.

Railway Recruitments: Exam Pattern, Selection Process And Other Details Aspirants Should Know

Considered to be one of the largest government functioning body, Indian Railways, gets a fair share of attention from job aspirants. The recruiting body of Indian Railways, Railway Recruitment Board commonly known as RRB, selects candidates for various Group C and Group D posts. Round the year, RRB recruitment 2017 grabs the attention of every job seeker. As a serious job aspirant, you need to understand the recruitment process and selection procedure involved in RRB recruitment 2017.

RRBs notify job advertisements (and declare the results, as well) on the official websites (region wise web portals), Employment News (job journal of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India). The recruiting body allows a decent time frame for the application submission. While submitting the application, candidates must ensure that it is completely filled failing which there are chances of rejection.

RRBs conduct competitive examinations as a part of the recruitment process; these generally include two phases of written exam, skill test and/ or interview. The question paper comprises of questions related to ‘General Knowledge, General English / General Hindi, General Arithmetic, Analytical and Quantitative Skills and those subjects covered as part of minimum educational/technical qualifications for the post.’ The Board conducts skill test and interview as per the job profile.

Due to large number of aspirants, websites slow down during the recruitment process. Candidates are therefore urged to wait a while and retry for submission. In every case, candidates must ensure that the application is submitted within the deadline along with the documents and the examination/ registration fee.

The biggest online exam ever conducted, RRB NTPC, witnessed overwhelming response from candidates. Online application process for the same had begun in December 2015. Recently the Board had released the transcripts of typing skill test (held on 29 June 2017) online.

In a recent development, government has asked to share the scores obtained by candidates in examinations conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), RRB, and Staff Selection Commission (SSC). This will help private firms hunting for talents and the online scores available will prove to be a selection criterion. However there shall be opt out clause as well, which shall be applicable for the candidates who qualify for the final stage of the examination.

No Action For Now Against Shah Rukh Khan In Raees Promotion Case, Rules Court

Criminal proceedings against Shah Rukh Khan were stayed by the Gujarat High Court on Thursday, reported news agency PTI. SRK, who was not present in court, was promoting his film Raees on a train journey from Mumbai to New Delhi earlier this year. One person died in the crush on the platform as the train stopped in Vadodara in Gujarat. The Vadodara resident, believed to be a local politician, died of a heart attack after allegedly being caught in the crowd that had gathered to see Shah Rukh Khan. The Gujarat High Court has granted an interim stay after SRK’s lawyer argued that the actor could not be held responsible for the death. The court will next hear the case on September 25.

Shah Rukh Khan took the August Kranti Express from Mumbai to New Delhi on January 23 as publicity for his film Raees, set in Gujarat. The man who died in Vadodara, Fahreed Khan Pathan, had come to the station with his wife and daughter to meet a journalist, who was a relative, travelling as part of the media entourage on the train.

“It is extremely unfortunate that someone has died…my prayers are with his family. We felt bad as our team was going with us and everyone was happy during the entire journey. I hope his soul rests in peace and his family remains well,” Shah Rukh Khan, 51, told reporters after the train pulled into New Delhi.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an investigation after the death, promising action in case of any lapse on the part of the railway police. The criminal proceedings against Shah Rukh Khan are at the behest of a Vadodara resident named Jitendra Solanki who approached the court after the police refused to let him file a First Information Report or FIR.

Shah Rukh Khan, who played a liquor baron in Raees, is currently on vacation in Los Angeles.

Soon, Cheaper Generic Drugs At Railway Stations

People can soon buy generic drugs at cheaper prices from railway stations, the government informed Parliament today.

The ministry of railways has decided to allow its premises to be used for opening Janaushadhi outlets across the country under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana.

The campaign has been launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizers, to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses through special outlets.

 

“Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizers has, in view of Railways’ pan-India reach, approached ministry of railways for proliferation of such kendras over railway network. The two ministries have, in principle, agreed to set up such kendras at railway premises. Deliberations to work out the modalities between the two ministries are going on,” said Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

At present, 22 exclusive chemist stalls and 15 chemist corners are operational on the Indian Railways network.

Besides, medicines for common ailments and painkillers, which do not normally require doctors’ prescription, are also being sold through existing 339 miscellaneous article stalls at various railway stations.

Kolkata Metro To Get 40 New AC Rakes, First Of The Lot Arrives

 The new trains will also have communication-based train controlling system
 Kolkata:  Kolkata Metro will get 40 new air-conditioned rakes, the first of which has been delivered to the public carrier, Metro Railway sources said.

“Kolkata Metro has ordered new rakes from Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Perambur, Dalian and CRRC Zhuzhou of China,” Metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee told PTI.
The ICF Perambur-manufactured new air-conditioned rake with state-of-the-art features that has arrived in the city, will undergo trial runs before it embarks on passenger service before Durga Pujas in September, Banerjee said.

The country’s first metro railway system will get another new rake from ICF in September, which will be followed by phased arrivals of 38 more rakes.

Apart from the air-conditioned rake that has already arrived and the others which are scheduled to come by September, another 14 have been ordered from ICF, Perambur, the spokesperson said.

“The city metro will also start getting delivery of 14 new rakes manufactured by Dalian of China by the year-end,” Ms Banerjee said.

Kolkata Metro To Get 40 New AC Rakes, First Of The Lot Arrives
The country’s first metro railway system will get another new rake from ICF in September, which will be followed by phased arrivals of 38 more rakes.
Kolkata | Press Trust of India | Updated: July 19, 2017 12:19 IST

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Kolkata Metro To Get 40 New AC Rakes, First Of The Lot Arrives

The new trains will also have communication-based train controlling system.
Kolkata: Kolkata Metro will get 40 new air-conditioned rakes, the first of which has been delivered to the public carrier, Metro Railway sources said.

“Kolkata Metro has ordered new rakes from Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Perambur, Dalian and CRRC Zhuzhou of China,” Metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee told PTI.

The ICF Perambur-manufactured new air-conditioned rake with state-of-the-art features that has arrived in the city, will undergo trial runs before it embarks on passenger service before Durga Pujas in September, Banerjee said.

The country’s first metro railway system will get another new rake from ICF in September, which will be followed by phased arrivals of 38 more rakes.

Apart from the air-conditioned rake that has already arrived and the others which are scheduled to come by September, another 14 have been ordered from ICF, Perambur, the spokesperson said.

“The city metro will also start getting delivery of 14 new rakes manufactured by Dalian of China by the year-end,” Ms Banerjee said.

The rest 10 rakes have been ordered from CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Company of China, she said.

The Kolkata Metro at present runs between Kavi Subhash in the southern end of the city to Noapara in the northern outskirts over a route length of 27.22 km.

Work is on for the extension of the Metro services to Dakshineswar in the west via Baranagar from Noapara and to Barrackpore in the north from Baranagar, Ms Banerjee said.

The new rakes from ICF will have regenerative braking system in which the energy generated during braking will be directly fed into the third rail, carrying the power mains.

“This will lead to power savings of 20 per cent,” Ms Banerjee said.

At present, heat is expelled into the tunnel making it hot, she said adding, the new rakes will have wider vestibules for better air circulation in all coaches, as well as AC ducting along the seat for uniform cooling.

The new coaches will also have roof mounted package unit (RMPU) so that there is no water leakage from the roof of the train, which is a frequent complaint of commuters travelling in the existing air-conditioned coaches.

Kolkata Metro at present has 26 rakes, of which 13 are air-conditioned, while the rest are non-AC, which will be phased out after arrival of the new rakes.

The new rakes from ICF will have primary and secondary suspension with rubber springs to ensure jerk free comfortable rides. The present coaches have metal primary suspension and rubber-made secondary suspension.

The new trains will also have communication-based train controlling system where the motorman or driver will control all train operations from his cabin, including any problems related to doors, braking or cooling in coaches.

In the existing coaches, the motorman has to go down to the coach physically and find out the problems, which causes delay in running of trains, the spokesperson said.

“There will be four emergency talk-back systems in each coach where a passenger can talk to the motorman by pressing a button in case of any emergency,” Ms Banerjee said adding, at present there are two such systems in each coach.

 

Tripura BJP Workers Protest Against Indefinite Road, Rail Blockade

BJP workers today protested outside Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s residence in Tripura’s capital Agartala over an indefinite road and railway blockade by the Indigenous People’s Front Tripura or IPFT, an organisation that is seeking a separate state.

The blockade to demand a separate state by carving out the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council area entered the ninth day today. The prices of essential goods have risen due to the blockade.

“We have surrounded his residence due to his and his government’s failure to withdraw the national highway blockade by the IPFT. Our protest will continue unless the blockade is withdrawn,” Tripura BJP President Biplab Deb said. The chief minister, who also holds the home portfolio, is not paying attention to the problems of the people, Mr Deb said.

“Law and order is a state subject and it is his government’s duty to give relief to the people from inconveniences,” he told reporters. He said BJP leaders will meet Governor Tathagata Roy today and demand President’s rule in the state.

The opposition Congress has called a dawn-to-dusk strike in Tripura tomorrow, alleging the government’s failure to withdraw the blockade called by the IPFT.

“We oppose the demand of separate state and the indefinite blockade. We also oppose the silence of the government about the blockade, which is creating inconvenience to common people,” Tripura Congress President Birajit Sinha told reporters.

In a statement yesterday, the state government said Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju told the chief minister he would meet a delegation of the IPFT in Delhi over the blockade.

However, the BJP’s observer for Tripura, Sunil Deodhar, said he spoke with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Mr Rijiju, and both made it clear that talks would be possible only after the blockade is withdrawn.

World’s largest Railway Station Redevelopment Program of IR aimed at Redeveloping 400 Stations through PPP Model

Railway Board has devised an innovative Indian Railways Station Redevelopment Program and the plan is to provide various improved world-class amenities to Railway passengers at all the nominated 400 Railway Stations through PPP model by leveraging the real estate available at the railway stations. With an overall size of 1 lakh crore, the program is one of the largest PPP program undertaken in the country. The program will provide approximately 2,200 acres of prime land to the private developers across top 100 cities of the country.

The redeveloped stations will provide amenities and services to the passengers in line with best in class railway stations. The stations will be redeveloped through public-private-partnership (PPP) model without straining Railways’ finances. The redeveloped stations will improve passenger experience by providing amenities like digital signage, escalators / elevators, self ticketing counters, executive lounges, luggage screening machines, walkways, holding areas for passengers, grand and distinctive roofing and flooring, free and paid Wi-Fi etc. The program will benefit more than 100 cities and 16 million passengers per day across the country. Moreover, the commercial development undertaken near the stations will become nerve centers of the city and provide quality retail, commercial and hospitality development.

A committee of eminent experts would be formulated to provide suggestions to Zonal Railways on proposals submitted by bidders in addition to the technical and financial committee recommendations. Commercial potential of this vacant Railway land at/near stations will be leveraged to develop world class stations with no additional funding required from the Railways. The program is expected to generate a surplus in excess of ₹ 10,000 Crore for the Indian Railways which can be invested in other modernization projects. Select high potential stations will be made as iconic stations and will be developed as per highest global standards and design norms.

To maximize commercial potential of the public assets, Indian Railways plans to bid out the projects through a transparent and competitive method. Taking cue from global best practices, Indian Railways has adopted the so called “modified Swiss challenge” methodology for the bidding process.

Indian Railways has reached out to the private developers and investors through road shows in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Abu Dhabi to gauge market interest and receive feedback on the bidding process. Railway Board has also engaged with the zonal railways through multiple workshops to accurately assess land availability.

After the first phase, 100+ stations are expected to be launched in Phase 2 and the remaining A1 and A stations will be launched in Phase 3 of this program.

Railways will provide approximately 140 acres of encroachment free land at these stations to the developers on a 45 year lease. Indian Railways has also appointed nodal officers in each zone to ensure smooth interactions with the developers. The phase is expected to be of approximately ₹ 6000 -9,000 Crore in size. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is the strategic advisor for this program and based on the commercial assessment conducted by them and several rounds of discussions held with the developers and zonal railways, Indian Railways team is confident that the round will generate sufficient market interest.

 

World Bank to draw up a Blueprint for Indian Railways’ Rs.5 lakh Crore makeover

The World Bank will help draw up a granular makeover blueprint for the Indian Railways, which is investing Rs 5 lakh crore to transform itself from a colonial-era mass transporter into a strategic platform underpinning growth in Asia’s third-biggest economy.

The multilateral lending agency would partner the 164-year-old railroad network, the world’s fourth longest, to help the state transporter with investment and planning, digitisation and technology development, besides establishing a Railway University and the Rail Tariff Authority.

The bank, which has earlier worked with the Railways for financing the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor Project, will provide advisory services and programme management consultancy for this transformation exercise for 2-3 years.

“We needed this arrangement to build our capacity and deliver projects on a mission mode. World Bank’s expertise would be a great gain,” a top rail ministry official said.

Rail minister Suresh Prabhu has drawn up an ambitious plan to transform Railways with an investment of Rs 5 lakh crore in the next four years. For this year, the Railways would spend Rs 1.31 lakh crore to augment capacity.

On the planning front, the World Bank has proposed to set up an organisation for creating detailed forecasting models, traffic optimization and planning.

“Further, an infrastructure plan for the next 10-15 years, after a detailed analysis on freight and passenger growth expected in India, is also envisaged to be created. The bank would be drawing that up as well,” the official said.

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India programme, the Railways wants to roll out a ‘digital enterprise’ for which the bank will help integrate architecture and database management across its IT applications.

It would be sensible for Railways to tap multilateral funding. Resources should be leveraged from National Investment and Infrastructure Fund. The way ahead is to plan modular projects, which can generate cash reasonably quickly. IR need to keep a close tab on borrowings, given that operating ratio is in high nineties (over 90% of revenue earmarked for routine expenses). So, resource allocation and prioritising expenditure is important. Hence the rationale to access global expertise for programme management and attendant advisory services. It would optimise resource usage.

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