Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Railways Act Upon 3,000 Tweet Complaints Everyday

The Railway Ministry’s Twitter handle @RailMinIndia, which boasts of 2.7 million followers, has become an effective tool to redress passenger grievances, and acts upon 3,000 complaints daily, according to officials.

Also, the social media platform has become a contact point between the Railways and commuters and has proved to be a big boon, said a senior Railway Board official in an interaction with a group of journalists from Mumbai, who were invited to Delhi on the initiative of the Railway minister Suresh Prabhu.

Soon after Mr Prabhu took over as the Railway Minister in the Narendra Modi government, he initiated to set up a department to work exclusively on social media interaction in July 2015.

 The Ministry’s Twitter handle has logged 3.78 lakh tweets so far.

“Our team gets around 6,500 mentions per day in which around 3,000 mentions are in the form of complaints. We are immediately notified about the new tweet and our team chips in to address the complaints after the initial verification of the passengers. Then we forward the messages to divisions concerned for further action,” said the official who did not wish to be named.

 We have a dedicated team of 150 staffers across 68 divisions of the Indian Railways who not only keep a close watch on passenger messages on the social media round the clock, but also ensure that passengers woes are solved within the stipulated time or say within 30 minutes, he said.

Advocating this social medium, Mr Prabhu too in a statement, said, “We were looking for a common and transparent tool to establish contact in real time with our passengers so that we can redress their grievances.”

“Twitter has proved to be a powerful medium and met our needs. It gives me satisfaction when we are able to make journeys better by our intervention. I also keep an eye on the Twitter handle. This gives me a feedback on our services and helps us to improve,” the minister added.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Considers Reward For Good Work, Punishment For Bad

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu today advocated for a system of reward and punishment for railwaymen depending on the performance. He also suggested incorporating changes at the top-level to begin with which can be percolated down to the grassroots level to achieve better results.

 “There should be reward for those who do well. We have to introduce it in the system. How to bring better performance to the fore and also recognise the same and those who do not perform well how to punish them,” he said at a roundtable conference on human resource management of railways.

Railways has a large workforce of 13 lakh people spanning 17 zones and 68 divisions across the country.

“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,” Mr Prabhu said.

Describing the railways as a “unique organisation”, the minister said profit was possible in the railways but it could not be achieved while meeting the social obligations.

Highlighting the need for changes in the organisation he said, “A change can happen in railways when we realise where are the shortcomings. We must understand where do we stand.”

He also 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.

He said the railways should become competitive and profitable while shouldering social responsibility.

Focusing on changes, Mr Prabhu asked, “Where the change should begin with? Should we start at the bottom or from the top? Whether it should start with the track-man or the top man in railways?”

 He said, however, that the starting point should be the officers themselves.

“If an organisation has to change, the change must begin at the top level and only then everybody will follow.”

Emphasising the role of divisions in railway functioning, he said, “It is at the division level where the cutting edge of customer service happens. Division is the one where maximum action took place. Our divisions are focal points of the operation.”

He also termed 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 and making trade and commerce in the run, dispatching water to water- starved region, railways is needed.”

Referring to the public transporter’s goals, he said, “Our corporate goals are to be efficient, modern, tech-savy, financially better off and pro-people.”

Stressing that the corporate goals of the railways were “well defined”, he said, “Now we need to find out whether our organisation is capable of meeting those goals.”

The railway minister further said it was important to find out how the goals should be attained, while suggesting that having “right people” in the organisation and keeping them at “right place” could be a step toward this.

Konkan Railway Set To Expand With 21 New Stations Planned

Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) is planning to develop 21 new stations on its route and double a 147-km stretch of the track, an official has said.

As a part of the modernisation project, 21 new railway stations would be added at strategic places on the Konkan route, KRCL’s General Manager (strategic planning and business development) Joseph E George told reporters here yesterday.

The addition will take the total number of stations on the route to 87 and reduce the distance between two stations to 8.3 kms from 12.75 kms, he said.

“A total 147 kms of the railway track would be doubled under the expansion and modernisation project on the Konkan route at a cost of Rs. 3,000 crore,” he said.

Around 35 kms of the railway track that would be doubled will pass through Goa region, Mr George said at an interaction held on the achievements of railways in the state in last three years.

The KRCL will also take up electrification work at a cost of Rs. 1,110 crore, he added.

Mumbai Man Thrown Off Moving Train For Protecting A Woman

He is no stranger to the bad behaviour of train commuters, but this graphic designer drew a line when he spotted a raucous group of men forcing an elderly woman to vacate her seat for them. The same men pushed him out of the train when he tried to intervene – all the while, the railway police didn’t even bother to show up.

Ganesh Bhagat (32) boarded the Valsad-Mumbai passenger train from Boisar station at 7.10 am on Tuesday. At Palghar station, he saw an elderly woman – about 60 to 65 years old – claim a window seat in the same general compartment.

A while later, a group of around seven to eight men boarded the same coach and started arguing with her.

Even though there were plenty of vacant seats in the coach, the men kept harassing the woman because she was taking up their ‘favourite’ window seat

Abused, assaulted
“They were abusing the lady and tried to force her to leave the seat. I tried to intervene, pointing out that she was old enough to be our mother, but the group got upset and began abusing and assaulting me. They then pushed me out of the train and onto the platform at Palghar station,” recalled Bhagat.

“I made a call to railway helpline number, and they assured me they would send help soon, but nobody came. I boarded the same coach again and kept calling the helpline, and the official said that help would arrive at the next station. But Kelve station passed, then Saphale, and the woman finally got down at Virar station,” he added.

 NC registered

Bhagat alighted later, at Borivli station, but the cops never showed. “Such incidents happen several times on the train; it happened to me a few months ago as well. Nobody helped me on Tuesday, so the next day I went to Vasai GRP and registered a complaint after another long argument complaint with the cops. They took down my statement and registered a non-cognisable complaint, assuring strict action against the culprits,” said Bhagat.

Senior Police Inspector Rajendra Bosle, from Vasai GRP, said, “The incident took place at Boisar station, so the case has been transferred to the Palghar GRP.”


Sex, Lies And 3 Bengaluru Murders Everyone Thought Were Suicides

The arrest of seven people in Bengaluru has led the police to three murders that were earlier filed away as “unnatural deaths” as the bodies were dumped on railway tracks so they could pass off as cases of suicide.

Shekar, Venkatesh, Kumar, Ganesha, Nagendra Kumar, Raju and Nagendra were arrested on Tuesday for the murder of a man called Suresh in 2014.

During their questioning, they confessed to killing another man, Yellapa, in 2001.
One of the accused, Venkatesh, had an affair with Yellapa’s wife, which was reportedly the reason he was killed.
The body was dumped on the railway tracks. The police, failing to establish who it was, dismissed it as a suicide.

The gang allegedly used the same plan after killing another man, Ramesh, in 2002.

This time, it was Venkatesh’s wife who was allegedly having an affair with Ramesh.

The police say Ramesh too ended up on the tracks, written off as a suicide.

The third victim was Ramesh’s brother Suresh, who had allegedly wanted revenge. Suresh was strangled and his body was dumped on railway tracks near Kengeri in the city’s south.

Suresh’s wife Munirathna went to the police to report her husband missing. During the investigation, she identified her husband’s body.

The police started investigating people that Suresh had met in the days before his murder and also examined those he had fought with. The trail led to Venkatesh and his gang.

The fact that the accused got away with three murders for such a long time has been baffling to the force. The police claim the mangled state in which the bodies were found didn’t “trigger a suspicion of murder”. But they realize it is not a strong defence.

“From now on, we will have to look into UDR (Unnatural Death Report) cases more carefully, we have taken the postmortem report and are investigating further,” said Praveen Sood, the Bengaluru police chief.

Of the seven, Shekar and Kumar are already accused in an old murder case and were out on bail.


Central Railway wants to rope in clean-up marshals

The Central Railway (CR) has decided to hire clean-up marshals to curb littering and spitting at train stations in the metropolis.

The move comes after none of the stations under CR or Western Railway (WR) in Mumbai featured in the top 10 cleanest railway station list.

The list, released a few days ago, was outcome of a nationwide cleanliness survey that covered 407 stations.

The clean-up marshals will recover fine from passengers found littering the stations and ensure the premises are kept clean.

“We have sought the Railway Board’s permission to allow us to deploy personnel whom we can authorise to levy penalty on those who dirty railway premises,” a senior CR official of Mumbai division said.

These personnel will be outsourced and will not be Railway employees, he said.

“Existing rules permit only station masters and staff of Commercial Department (of Railways) to fine offenders. As we have limited number of commercial staff, we are not in a position to engage them for anti-littering exercise,” the official said.

The WR has already approached the Railway Board for appointing clean-up marshals, said its chief PRO Ravinder Bhakar.

Another senior official of CR’s Commercial Department said even the Railway Protection Force (RPF) jawans do not have powers to take action against those found littering station premises.

Meanwhile, Rajiv Singal of Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC), a body set up by the Railways to address commuter issues, said there is no harm in having clean-up marshals.

“The idea sounds good and there is no harm in trying it. But it would require effective implementation,” he said.

A former DRUCC member, T N Dubey, said an awareness campaign will be more effective in curbing littering at stations than to have clean-up marshals.

Mumbai-Lucknow express derails at Unnao; no casualty

Eleven coaches of the Mumbai- Lucknow Lokmanya Tilak Express derailed here today, but there was no report of any casualty in the mishap, which was the sixth incident in Uttar Pradesh in seven months.

Superintendent of Police, Unnao, Neha Pandey said that at around 2 PM, 11 coaches of the Lucknow-bound Lokmanya Tilak Express from Mumbai derailed when the train was crossing platform number 3 of Unnao railway station, about 20 km from Kanpur.

According to sources, of the 11 coaches, nine were air conditioned ones.

Since the speed of the train was slow, a major tragedy was averted and all passengers are safe, she said, adding some of them, however, sustained minor injuries when they jostled to rush out of the train following derailment.

Provision of first aid, water and food was made immediately for the shocked passengers.

Alternative arrangements were also made to send the stranded passengers by buses to Lucknow, Pandey said.

The derailment led to delay in the movement of certain trains on the Lucknow-Kanpur section as a portion of the track was damaged.

Senior officials of the Railway and district authorities rushed to the spot. A team of UP Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) also reached the accident site to conducted preliminary investigation if there was any terror angle behind the derailment.

SDM Sadar of Unnao Megha Roopam said a dog squad was already at the spot to detect any foul play.

Chairman of Railway Board has been asked by the Railway ministry to initiate action against the guilty.

In a tweet, the Ministry of Railways said, “#Unnao derailment SEC Kanpur-Lucknow Train22121 (LTT-LKO), No injury to any passenger: MR@sureshpprabhu directed CRB to take strict action.

“#Unnao Train Derailment Train-22121 At Unnao stn Near gate No 34, No injury to any passengers.

“#Unnao Train Derailment Train-22121 At Unnao stn, No injury to any passengers: GM/NR & DRM /LKO rushed to the Accident site.”

PRO, North-Central Railway Amit Malviya, said three helpline numbers have been started at Kanpur Railway station.

These are 0512-2323015, 0512-2323016 and 0512-2323017. The Lucknow helpline numbers are 9794830973, 9794830975 and 0522-2237677.

Unnao Station Master Vishram Singh said General Manager of Northern Railway is reaching the accident site.

On April 15, at least two persons were reportedly injured when eight coaches of Lucknow-bound Rajya Rani Express derailed in Uttar Pradesh.

The train, which started from Meerut, derailed between Mundapandey and Rampur railway stations.

On February 20, 2017, three coaches and the engine of Kalindi Express derailed after colliding with a goods train at the Tundla Junction in Uttar Pradesh.

The train which runs between Kanpur Central and Bhiwani (Haryana) was reportedly slow while entering the station thereby causing no injuries.

The two trains an express train and a freight train were running on the same track and thus the express train rammed into the freight one from the back.

On March 30, 2017, at least 12 persons were injured after eight coaches of the Jabalpur-Nizamuddin Mahakaushal Express derailed near Kulpahar railway station in Mahoba.

Preliminary investigation suggested a weld failure in the rail, which led to the accident.

The driver of the train told the railway officers that he felt a violent jerk when the train was running at 103 kmph.

In one of the worst train mishaps in recent months, 150 people lost their lives in a major train accident at Pukhrayan near Kanpur in November last year.

NHRC to Rly: Pay Rs 1 lakh to man assaulted by passengers

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended that the Railways pay Rs one lakh in monetary relief to a young man, who was allegedly beaten up and hung upside down from a window in a moving train by a few fellow passengers last year.

The NHRC today said, it was observed by the Commission that the victim, Sumit Kachhi, was “subjected to extreme cruelty” by some of the fellow travellers but the concerned officials of the GRP/RPF (Government Railway Police/(Railway Protection Force) and the railway “failed” to take note of it.

“Hence, a case of violation of human rights is made out and the railway department cannot escape its liability to compensate him,” the rights panel said in a statement.

The incident took place in the S-2 coach of Pataliputra Express when the victim was “beaten and hung upside down for four hours from Jabalpur to Itarsi in Madhya Pradesh on March 25, 2016”.

The NHRC said the chairman of the Railway Board has been directed to “submit compliance report along with proof of payment within six weeks from date of receipt of the recommendations.”

The commission further said subsequent to the NHRC’s suo motu cognisance of the matter, enquiries were conducted and three alleged perpetrators were arrested, while search for three other perpetrators is on.

“The commission, during the course of enquiry, also found that three police personnel were suspended for negligence in the matter. They include one assistant sub-inspector from GRP and one sub-inspector and constable from RPF. Some Railway officials were also indicted for their carelessness,” it said.

The commission said it hopes “appropriate disciplinary action” shall also be taken against the indicted public servants as per the rules.


Caught On CCTV: In Miracle, Mumbai Teen Run Over By Train Survives

As miracles go, this one is right up there. For the people standing on platform 7 of Kurla railway station on May 13, a 19-year-old girl coming under a goods train was a sight that nightmares are made of. Imagine their relief when she was brought out from under the train, with nothing more than an injury near her left eye.
The entire nerve-wracking incident was captured on the CCTV camera installed at the platform.
Crossing the tracks

Bhandup resident Pratiksha Natekar had gone to meet a friend in Kurla on May 13. While she was returning around 11 am, she was crossing the tracks to get to platform 7, with her earphones plugged in. According to the Kurla railway police, Natekar was speaking to a friend over the phone while walking on the tracks towards platform 7, which is a loop-line (on which trains run in both directions).

“As she was busy over the phone, she didn’t hear a goods train thundering down the tracks. When she suddenly looked up the train had already reached her. She panicked and ran first towards the platform and then straight into the train,” said senior police inspector Ashok Bhorade from Kurla Government Railway Police.

Pulled out safe and sound

The train knocked her down and ran over her. By the time the motorman could hit the brakes, the first wagon had passed over her.

Shocked commuters standing at the platform were sure the girl had died, but when they peered under the wheels, they found her safe and sound and pulled her out to safety. She didn’t have any serious external wounds and was taken to Rajawadi Hospital by the Kurla GRP personnel.

China Can Help India Upgrade Rail Network: Chinese Daily

India can accelerate its rail upgrading process and shorten the investment time if it cooperates with China, a Chinese daily has said.

“Over the past decade, China has developed a new high-speed rail network, surpassing Western countries in terms of technology and standards,” staff writer Wang Jiamei wrote in the state-run Global Times.

“As the only country that has pursued large-scale railway construction in recent years, China now has the world’s most extensive rail network,” the report said.

“This unparalleled advantage makes it a perfect partner for any country that would like to develop transportation infrastructure to propel economic growth,” it said.

“As such, it makes perfect sense for India to take a shortcut to cooperate with China in order to revitalize its rail system and management levels,” the commentary said.
Mr Jiamei said cooperation with China would offer a shortcut for countries like India that tend to copy the Chinese model.

India has one of the largest railway networks in the world but it suffers frequent train accidents, the daily said.