Indian Railways News

Jat Stir Affects Rail, Road Network In Rajasthan

The ongoing stir by the Jat community demanding grant of Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservation benefits to the community in Dholpur and Bharatpur has affected road and rail networks connecting to the cities.

Roads connecting Mahua, Agra, Bharatpur, Jaipur are blocked. State transport and private buses are being diverted to take alternative routes. Market in Bharatpur is closed to avoid any untoward incident, Superintendent of Police, Bharatpur Anil Kumar Tank said.

Sources said that Kaman, Bolkheda, Nadbai, Kumher, Khedli, Vehaj, Bandha, Bedham, Deeg, Garoli apart from Jaipur-Bharatpur highway are jammed due to ongoing agitation of Jat community members, who had blocked railway track between Bedham and Vehaj railway station yesterday.

The members are led by Jat leaders and Congress MLA Vishvendra Singh who are demanding reservation for Jats of Dholpur and Bharatpur districts.

“People are agitated and they don’t want any assurances. If the government is really willing to provide reservation to Jats in OBC, they should come to Bharatpur and give people in writing when it will be implemented,” Mr Singh told PTI.

He has said that Jats of Bharatpur and Dholpur have been demanding reservation since August 2015 but the demand has not been fulfilled yet.

Yesterday, OBC commission had submitted it’s report to the Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje after which Jats community members blocked railway tract following a decision taken in a Mahapanchayat.

State Social justice and empowerment minister Arun Chaturvedi had said that government is positive for providing reservation to Jats in Bharatpur and Dholpur and urged the community members to call off the protest.

He had said that the commission has submitted it’s recommendations and government would consider them with regards to OBC quota demands.

Bharatpur, Dholpur Jats Block Railway Line Over OBC Quota Demand

Members of the Jat community blocked the Mathura-Alwar railway line in the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan today demanding grant of OBC reservation benefits to the community in Dholpur and Bharatpur.

The blockade came as the state OBC commission submitted its report to chief minister Vasundhara Raje today.

 The community members held a ‘mahapanchayat’ near the tracks and then blocked the railway line between Vehaj and Bedham railway stations, a GRP official said.

The protesters were led by Congress MLA Vishvendra Singh who are demanding reservation for the Jats of Dholpur and Bharatpur districts.

“We have been demanding OBC reservation for Jats of Dholpur and Bharatpur for the last two years. From August 2015 till today, the long pending demand has not been fulfilled.

It is under rising pressure that the OBC Commission has submitted its report today. But, they have not declared when it will be implemented. We want government to come out clear,” Mr Singh told PTI.

He said that people are agitated and the blockade will continue tomorrow.

A GRP official said that a goods train was stopped by the agitators near Deeg in Bharatpur.

Earlier in the day, the state OBC commission submitted its report to chief minister Vasundhara Raje at her residence in Jaipur.

The commission chairman Jitendra Goyal submitted the report in the presence of Panchayti Raj and Rural development minister Rajendra Rathore, social justice and empowerment minister Arun Chaturvedi and vice chairman of the ’20 point programme’ Digambar Singh.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan’s Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Arun Chaturvedi urged the community members to call off the protest.

He said the Jats should withdraw their agitation as the OBC commission today presented its report to the state government.

The minister said the state government would consider the recommendations of the commission with regards to the quota to Jats in Bharatpur and Dholpur districts.

Mr Chaturvedi said the state government is positive for reservation to Jats.

RPF Constable Helps Deliver Second Baby At Thane Railway Station

Shobha Mote is a constable attached to the Railway Protection Force. Little did she know that she was about to help deliver a child at the station – her second such experience.

Mote was manning the scanning machine at Thane station. Mote heard a woman wince in pain on the platform.

As she approached the woman, she realised that the woman was going in labour. Mote immediately arranged for a first aid kit and a blanket to help the woman.

The woman, 24-year-old Meenakshi Sandesh Jadhav, is a resident of Badlapur. Her husband Sandesh, who is a driver, said that they registered her name with Ghatkopar-based Rajawadi hospital. Meenakshi was not due to deliver for another 25 days.

“As my sister stays in Ghatkopar we planned to shift to her residence. But last evening Meenakshi went in labour, so I asked my mother to get her to Thane from were I would drive her to the hospital. take them in my car,” added Sandesh 29, who claims that incidentally his first child was born in an auto-rickshaw.

Mote, had earlier helped deliver a baby at CST when she was posted there. Post the delivery Meenakshi was shifted to Thane Civil hospital and her condition is stable.

Indian Rlys signs MoU with AU to preserve its heritage

As part of the agreement, the institutes will engage in a series of activities to build the capacity of railway personnel by integrating heritage perspectives in their training and work practices.

To conserve, preserve and manage the Indian Railways’ old and rich heritage, the Centre for Heritage Management (CHM) at Ahmedabad University (AU) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Railways Institute of Civil Engineering (IRICEN). The MoU aims to establish a long–term partnership in knowledge generation and collaboration. As part of the agreement, the institutes will engage in a series of activities to build the capacity of railway personnel by integrating heritage perspectives in their training and work practices.

To conserve, preserve and manage the Indian Railways’ old and rich heritage, the Centre for Heritage Management (CHM) at Ahmedabad University (AU) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Railways Institute of Civil Engineering (IRICEN). The MoU aims to establish a long–term partnership in knowledge generation and collaboration. As part of the agreement, the institutes will engage in a series of activities to build the capacity of railway personnel by integrating heritage perspectives in their training and work practices.

Passengers to grade Rajdhani, Shatabdi trains on cleanliness

Passengers will now be involved in judging cleanliness level of popular trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto as well as major stations across the country.

Focusing on cleanliness and hygienic conditions on premises, which has been a problematic area for it, the Railways will undertake a detailed survey cum audit of 407 busy stations and about 200 trains shortly.

A passenger can send photos related to cleanliness in trains and stations to a central control room to be set up soon, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the cleanliness drive.

From the passengers’ feedback, popular trains will also be audited for on-board housekeeping services, linen quality, toilet condition, disposal of waste and pest control system.

Trains and stations will be given ranking as per the survey results, he said.

The aim is to involve passengers in creating awareness about cleanliness on rail premises and also to keep it as a focused area for concerned staff, the official said.

Apart from all the premier trains, services of all Jan Shatabdi, Samparkkranti and inter-city trains will also be involved in the survey.

Earlier, the Railways had undertaken a passenger feedback survey to evaluate cleanliness levels of major stations through IRCTC last year.

The survey was conducted by a professional market research agency engaged by IRCTC. It commenced in January, 2016 and the field data was collected by February, 2016.

The final report of the survey along with detailed analysis was presented to the Railway Board on June, 2016.

Based on the recommendations and the way forward given in the report for improving cleanliness standards at major stations, the Railways had issued guidelines to all zones in July, 2016 to undertake focused actions in relevant areas for improvement.

As per the survey mechanism, there will be a sample size of about 50 passengers for premium trains and 30 passengers per journey for other trains.

At least four rakes for each train should be covered, said the official.

Rajdhani, Shatabdi Trains Set For Makeover Under ‘Operation Swarn’

They are the premium trains in India. Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express were started to move people who could afford to pay more for a somewhat luxurious travel.

But after years of service, the trains have lost their sheen. The service has deteriorated, the cleanliness is missing, quality of food has suffered.

After years of complaints by the travelling public, the premium trains are now set for a makeover. The Railway Ministry is to launch “Operation Swarn” to improve services in Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains.

 In the first phase, the Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express and Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express have been selected for upgradation. Work will start from September 26. More trains will be identified in a phased manner.

A senior Railway Ministry official, who did not wish to be named, told IANS: “The railways have decided to launch Operation Swarn (or ‘gold’) to refurbish its services after several complaints by passengers like delay in train arrival, sanitation and quality of food.”

Under the project, the Indian Railways will focus attention on 10 key areas — punctuality, cleanliness, linen, coach interiors, toilets, catering, staff behaviour, security, entertainment, housekeeping and regular feedback.

The Ministry official also said the plan will be upgraded in future with services like Wi-Fi, infotainment screens (that were first provided in Tejas Express) and coffee vending machines.

The modified trains will also have improved coach interiors, better furnishing and new comfortable seats.

The official said an amount of Rs. 50 lakh will be allotted to each Rajdhani and Shatabdi train on various routes for the revamp. To monitor the work, two committees will be formed.

In May, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launched the first high-speed premium train Tejas Express between Mumbai and Karnali in Goa.

The premium train was loaded with features like LCD screen on every seat, improved interiors, coffee vending machines, automatic doors, fire repression system, bio-vacuum toilets, attendant call buttons, reading LED lights, and others. Tejas Express also offers free Wi-FI connectivity.

The train was designed to travel at 200 kmph but keeping in view the track conditions in the Konkan region, the speed was limited to 130 kmph.

Earlier this year, the railways launched a new series of fully air-conditioned express trains like Humsafar, Mahamana and Gatimaan for overnight travel.

Humsafar Express is equipped with features like CCTV cameras, coffee vending machines, fire and smoke detection systems, new interiors with comfortable seats.

The Mahamana Express has ergonomically designed ladders for climbing to upper berths, snack tables for side berths, windows with powered venetian blinds and roller blinds, LED lights as berth indicators, LED reading lights, fire extinguishers in all coaches and an electrically operated chimney in the pantry car.

Railways to Launch Redesigned e-tendering System

The railways will launch shortly its redesigned e-tendering system with more user-friendly new features to facilitate digital participation of over 60,000 vendors.

Ushering in a new era by going paperless, the system envisages that bids are invited online and the entire process leading to award of a tender is done electronically.
Online refund of tender cost and earnest money deposit, online bidder deregistration process, integration with payment gateways of more banks are currently underway in the railways to make the system efficient and transparent, said a senior railway ministry official responsible for the e-system.

The redesigned e-tendering system part of the complete digitisation of supply chain will have vendor interface module to benefit vendors with online vendor registration and inspection call and contract amendment process.

Besides, the system would facilitate auto-alerts, processes relating to acceptance of supplied material and its payments and also include vendor grievance redressal process, the official said.

The railway supply chain supports activities of production, asset acquisition, periodic overhaul and maintenance of rolling stock, tracks, stations, signalling and telecom network, among others.

Digitisation of railway supply chain is designed towards achieving objectives of transparency, global reach, efficiency, ease of doing business, removing entry barriers and enhanced competitiveness, the official said.

While several vendor-related processes and documents are also going to be digitised, efforts are also on to enable vendors to submit online bills and ensure seamless payment.

The digitised supply chain provides single window access for entire supply chain process, 24×7 global and easy reach in real time, savings of time, cost and efforts, online payments for tender cost and earnest money deposit.

The official said digitisation of railway supply chain began with e tendering in its procurement and e-auction in its sale of scrap.

Currently scrap material worth more than Rs 2,700 crore is sold through 100 per cent e-auctions annually.

Payment towards earnest money deposit is collected through e-payment gateway.

Indecisive Indian Railways Delaying ‘Bullet Train’ Dream

Spanish high speed passenger train company Talgo is now feeling edgy because of the constant delays in the final decision-making process of the Indian Railways. “Despite multiple successful trial runs and the Indian Railways appreciating the technology in Talgo trains, we are still waiting for the final green light since October 2016,” said Subrat Nath, Director India and Asia Pacific, Talgo in an exclusive interaction with Debashis Sarkar of News18.com.

Talgo made headlines in the country back in September 2016 after a nine-coach Talgo train successfully completed the final trial run between Delhi and Mumbai, conducted by the Indian Railways. The 1,400 km journey between Delhi and Mumbai takes at least 16 hours for the Rajdhani Express. The Talgo train, on the other hand, completed the journey in under 12 hours.

For those unaware, Talgo trains can be deployed on existing tracks. The lightweight design and advanced suspension technology allows Talgo trains to travel faster, minimises risks of accidents and puts less force on existing tracks during high-speed manoeuvre. While the average speed of Rajdhani and Shatabdi coaches are at a dismal 70 kmph, Talgo trains can race at an average speed of 105 kmph on the same tracks

After the successful completion of the trail runs, the Indian Railways had shared plans to operate Talgo trains in the country on a lease agreement by mid-2018. However, the company is yet to get the final nod and Nath seems to be on an endless wait to get a response from the government.

As per the lease agreement plans, the Indian Railways showed interest in deploying Talgo trains in short-distance routes like Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Delhi-Lucknow, Bengaluru-Chennai or Delhi-Amritsar on a profit-sharing basis. The Indian Railways is looking at leasing four Talgo trains to begin with.

“We had submitted the proposal in October 2016. It went through various processes and then a committee was nominated to look into the developments. But they are looking at it since October 2016. We had last met them around February and we were informed that by end of March 2017, a decision will be taken on the said lease agreement,” said Nath.

Nath explained that the moment the government confirms the lease agreement, the Talgo trains will arrive within a year and the operations might start by December 2018. However, with no official word for over six months now, Nath is hoping to see Talgo trains run on Indian tracks by 2019.

One of the major causes of the delay is due to the fact that the Indian Railways cannot opt for a direct formal contract.

“The government officials said that their only worry is that Talgo is the only company to offer such a product and there are no competitors to fight a tender bid. In reply to this, we said that we are ready to fight an open tender and wish to follow government procedures. But it’s already May 2017 and no progress has taken place,” added Nath.

The company claims to have big plans for India including making Talgo trains in the country for domestic use as well as export.

NITI Aayog Clears Rs. 18,000 Crore Project To Increase Train Speeds

The ambitious Rs. 18,000 crore project for increasing train speeds on the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah rail corridors has got the Niti Aayog’s approval, paving the way for being put up for Cabinet clearance.

The mega project is meant to bring about a paradigm shift in rail operations enabling trains to run at 160 km per hour on the busiest routes on the Indian railway network.

Aiming at reducing travel time between the three metropolises, the project envisages fencing off the entire 3,000 kms on both routes, upgradation of signalling system, elimination of all level crossings and installing train protection warning system (TPWS), among other works to make trains run at an increased speed of 160 kmh.

“Any project more than Rs. 1,000 crore in worth will have to get the Niti Aayog clearance. So now after getting the Niti Aayog clearance yesterday, the proposal will now be examined by the expanded railway board,” said a senior railway ministry official involved with the project.

The expanded railway board is comprised of senior representatives from department of expenditure, department of programme implementation and Niti Aayog, besides the board members.

The Railways will submit the proposal for cabinet clearance after getting the proposal approved by the expanded railway board.

The 1,483-km long New Delhi-Mumbai rail route will also include the Baroda-Ahmedabad sector, and is estimated to cost Rs. 11,189 crore.

The 1,525-km long New Delhi-Howrah route, which also includes the Kanpur-Lucknow section, is estimated to cost Rs. 6,974 crore.

The work on both sections will be given to a single agency through global bidding for effective implementation of the project.

 

Railways set to start a carrot-and-stick policy

Railways may soon start a system of reward and punishment for its employees depending on their performance. The proposal for the same came on Thursday from Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. The minister also suggested incorporating changes at the top-level to begin with which can be percolated down at the grassroots level to achieve better results. “If an organisation has to change, the change must begin at the top level and only then everybody will follow,” Prabhu said.

Prabhu was speaking at a round table conference on human resource management of Railways. “There should be reward for those who do well. We have to introduce it in the system to bring better performance to the fore and recognise the same. We also have to see how to punish those who do not perform well,” he said

Indian Railways has a workforce of 13 lakh people across 17 zones and 68 divisions across the country. Pushing the performance-reward approach, Prabhu said, “For example, if we are executing a project and somebody completes the project in a record time then the team implementing the project should be rewarded. Similarly if a person delays it and causes loss to the organisation, he should be penalised.”

Insisting that changes must be made in railways to improve its functioning, Prabhu said the Railways, as an organisation, must revisit and re-look itself to know whether it was on the right track and gear up for future. “A change can happen in railways when we realise where are the shortcomings,” he said.

The minister described the railways as the most ‘strategic asset’ of the country. “All our coaches are requisitioned for the movement of troops. Whether reaching our soldiers at the border or making trade and commerce in the run, or dispatching water to water-starved region, railways is needed.”

Boosting morale

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has proposed a system to boost the enthusiasm among the employees.

Employees who complete their work in due time are going to be rewarded.

Similarly, those who fail to meet the deadline will face punishment.

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