Indian Railways News

IPRCL to build Indore-Manmad Rail line to ease Container Shipment to JNPT: says Nitin Gadkari

Indian Port Rail Corporation Ltd (IPRCL), which is executing projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore, will build Indore-Manmad rail line for shipments of containers to JNPT, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.

IPRCL is a first-of-its-kind Joint Venture Company (JVC), between the Major Ports under the Ministry of Shipping, and Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL).

“From Indore and Dewas 47,000 containers go to JNPT (Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust). They go via Ahmedabad and Delhi. It takes eight days for containers to reach JNPT. We (IPRCL) are constructing a railway line between Indore and Manmad which can carry shipments in just 24 hours,” Shipping, Road Trnasport and Highways Minsiter Gadkari told reporters on the sidelines of India PPP Summit organised by FICCI.

He said the detailed project report for about 339 km-long project is ready which is aimed at cutting down Indore-Mumbai distance by 200 km and would offer a corridor for despatching export containers from Indore region directly to JNPT. The minister said that 50 per cent of the about Rs 4,000 crore project would be funded by the Railways while the remaining will be offered by JNPT.

“Earlier, Railway Minister has said that 50 per cent of the cost will be contributed by the states and the rest 50 per cent by the Railways. Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra had expressed their inability to do so. I said JNPT will provide 50 per cent and the rest 50 per cent will be provided by the Railways,” Gadkari said.

The discussions on the project are on and the land will be provided free of cost by Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments, which will be converted into equity. State governments have also agreed to exempt taxes, he said. Likewise, the minister said that a Rs 1,000 crore rail line is bieng built to carry coal from Talcher to Paradip where Coal India plans to augment its output from the present 60 MT to 300 MT. “Coal can easily be transported to Kandla and Mumbai from Paradip after the project,” he said.

A FICCI-EY study titled, ‘Revival of PPP momentum in the transport sector’, highlighted the need to resolve multiple issues dampening the private sector interest and slowing the rate of private investment in the sector. It calls for key interventions to remove the roadblocks to PPP and accelerate the implementation of PPP projects. These interventions would include policy actions, regulatory changes and push the reforms agenda, which will create conducive environment for bringing investments into the sector.

The study was released today by Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Government of India; Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog; Junaid Kamal Ahmad, India Country Director, South Asia, The World Bank, and other dignitaries at the inaugural session of the India PPP Summit, orgainsed by FICCI in association with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) India.

The main recommendations of the study include strengthening of lending institutions, greater participation of insurance and pension funds, establishment of Infrastructure PPP Project Review Committee (IPRC) and the Infrastructure PPP Adjudicatory Tribunal (IPAT), setting up of 3P India as proposed in the Union Budget for 2014-15, mechanism to keep a check on aggressive bidding , need for independent regulators, passing and enactment of pending bills, strong emphasis on performance-based contracts, better preparation of DPR and revisiting the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Scheme.

 

In Hour Of Political Crisis, Lalu Yadav, Family Face New Case For Corruption

The Lalu Yadav family could be in more trouble. The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday also stepped in to probe money laundering by the former railways minister and his family in a railway hotel allotment case being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The CBI had last month raided the family’s assets in Patna and beyond in a case that also named Lalu Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav as a suspect. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, then an ally of Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, had used this case to demand that the junior Yadav quit as Deputy Chief Minister. When he did not, Nitish Kumar last evening dumped the party led by Lalu Yadav.

Earlier this morning, Mr Kumar, who had resigned yesterday, was sworn in as the Chief Minister, this time in alliance with the BJP. It is being described as a masterstroke by Nitish Kumar and the BJP, leaving the Yadav household – that had two ministers in the state cabinet till yesterday – out in the cold.

 The new case has been registered under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act by the Enforcement Directorate on the basis of the initial CBI probe.

The money laundering case, however, could begin to pinch the Yadav family sooner than later. Under the stringent law, the Enforcement Directorate has the powers to attach and confiscate tainted assets. It is widely expected that the agency will invoke this power.

Lalu Yadav’s daughter and Rajya Sabha member Misa Bharti is already facing a probe by the central agency into another Rs. 8,000-crore money laundering case. Ms Bharti and her husband Shailesh Kumar face the prospect of losing a farmhouse in South Delhi’s Bijwasan area if they cannot demonstrate that the farmhouse was acquired using money from legitimate sources. Both of them have been told to produce the documents by tomorrow.

 The family also faces another probe by the Income Tax authorities into allegations of corrupt land deals worth Rs. 1,000 crores in addition to tax evasion.

According to the fresh case by the Enforcement Directorate, Mr Yadav – as the country’s Railways Minister back in 2006 – has been accused of facilitating a contract to a private company to run hotels, after receiving a bribe in the form of a three-acre plot in Patna, where a mall is being built.

The CBI alleges a conspiracy between Mr Yadav, Sujata Hotels and a company owned by Sarla Gupta, the wife of Mr Yadav’s party MP and close aide Prem Gupta.

Sujata Hotels director Vinay Kochhar sold the premium commercial land in 2005 to Sarla Gupta’s company and years later, the land was transferred to Mr Yadav’s wife and sons.

The transfer of the land came through the same day the Railways started leasing hotels to private companies for maintenance. Railways received 15 bids for two hotels in Puri and Ranchi, but there are no records of bidders other than Sujata hotels, which snagged a 15-year lease.

 

 

SAIL supplies 6.2 Lakh Tonnes of Rails in FY17 to Indian Railways

Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has supplied 6.20 lakh tonnes of rails to the Indian Railways in 2016-17, Parliament was informed today.

“Initially for 2016-17, Railway Board placed a bulk indent on SAIL for supply of 6,24,516 tonnes of rails, which was met by SAIL and it supplied 6,20,049 tonnes of rails during 2016-17 to Indian Railways,” Minister of State for Steel Vishnu Deo Sai said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.

“However, the enhanced requirement of Railways i.e; supply of 8.2 lakh tonnes of rails during the year could not be met due to capacity constraints,” the minister informed.

But, with the ramping up of the new 1.2 million tonne Universal Rail Mill at Bhilai Steel Plant, SAIL has now capacity to meet additional demand of Indian Railways, he added.

Sai further said: “The cumulative expenditure incurred by SAIL towards modernisation and expansion, mines and related sustenance schemes, till June 2017 is Rs 65,822 crore.” In a separate reply, the minister said, “SAIL has carried out modernisation and expansion programme at all the five major plants viz Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), Bokaro (Jharkhand), Rourkela (Odisha), Durgapur and Burnpur (West Bengal) and special steel plant at Salem (Tamil Nadu).” However, the Salem Steel Plant in Tamil Nadu, despite investment of Rs 1,902 crore has been incurring losses, he added.

IRSDC and Govt of Gujarat forms SPV for development of Gandhinagar Railway Station

A special purpose vehicle (SPV) has been formed by Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Ltd. (IRSDC) with Government of Gujarat (GoG) with equity contribution as 24% that of IRSDC and 76% of GoG. The SPV is developing Gandhinagar station having architecture in harmony with adjoining Mahatma Mandir and Gandhi Kuteer. The SPV shall be responsible for operation & maintenance of station, hotel and will have revenue streams from Mahatma Mandir and Gandhi Kuteer as well.

A works contract for approximately ₹147 Crore for redevelopment of Gandhinagar station along with construction of a 300 room-hotel on the air space of the station has been awarded and ground-breaking done. Pile foundation is going on at site. Also, agreement for Project Management Consultant (PMC) has been signed between Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC) and Gandhinagar Railway and Urban Development Corporation Limited (GARUD) on 14.07.2017. A work of cost ₹ 243.6 Crore is sanctioned by Railway for this and ₹ 40 Crore have been allocated this year.

This Press Release is based on the information given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 26.07.2017 (Wednesday).

IRCTC to take over Catering Services in all Trains by year end

Catering services in all trains with pantry cars will be handed over to IRCTC by the year-end in order to improve onboard food quality, according to Railways.

Besides passengers in seven Rajdhani and six Shatabdi trains will have an option for e-catering facility.

IRCTC will be given responsibility of managing catering services in all trains with pantry cars be December end, Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohd Jamshed said here today.

Till now, the zonal railways were managing catering services in majority trains as per the catering policy 2010.

There are about 350 trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto which are equipped with pantry cars.

With a view to improve catering services at rail premises, Railways will also conduct third party audit at pantry cars, base kitchens and food stalls to ensure best practice.

“We have hired two reputed companies to do the third party audits at food stalls and pantry cars,” Jamshed said.

Railways has also undertaken a three-week drive to inspect food quality and hygienic condition at base kitchens.

The Railways formulated catering policy in 2005 and according to the policy, IRCTC, the tourism and catering wing of the Railways, was given catering responsibility for all trains.

In 2010, the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee announced the policy in which catering responsibility was taken away from the IRCTC and zonal railways were asked to look food services.

However, since complaints against food quality were increasing constantly, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu decided to go for a new catering policy aiming to improve food services at rail premises.

The new catering policy was announced in February under which IRCTC was given catering responsibility with stringent guidelines.

The new policy envisages separation of cooking and distribution of food.

Jamshed said now options have been given to passengers in a few Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Duronto trains to opt out of the catering services while booking tickets.

Catering services are mandatory in premier services like Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains and the catering cost is included in the ticket.

Seeking to explore the possibility of making mandatory catering services optional on trains, Railways had earlier announced in June last year to undertake the scheme on Nizamuddin-Mumbai August Kranti Rajdhani Express and Pune- Secunderabad Shatabdi Express.

Passengers have to specifically opt out from the mandatory food option and catering charges will be excluded from the ticket fare.

Catering charges ranging from Rs 175 to Rs 340 will be deducted from the total fare if the passenger opts out from the mandatory food options.

Dead Lizard In Veg Biryani Served On Train, Passenger Tweets Railways Minister

Just days after an auditor’s report submitted in parliament said food on trains in India is unfit for human consumption, passengers on a train in Uttar Pradesh have been served proof. A dead lizard was found in a meal on the Poorva Express on Tuesday.

A group of pilgrims travelling from Jharkhand to Uttar Pradesh spotted the disgusting “garnish” in veg biryani when the train was near Patna. One person fell ill. Alerted to the fact, a staffer simply threw the meal out of the train. When a complaint to the ticket examiner and the pantry car attendant drew no apparent response, the passengers tweeted to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

The impact of the tweet was that when the train rolled into the Mughalsarai station in UP, several senior officers came and medicines were given to passengers taken ill.

Kishore Kumar, a senior railway officer at Mughalsarai, said the biggest concern was passengers’ health. “Before the train arrived here, doctors inquired about their health and also prescribed medicine. We will investigate and take strong action,” said Mr Kumar.

 He said a report would be given to the ministry.
 Last week, a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) flagged that the food served on trains is unfit for human consumption at some places, cooked in polluted water and in most unhygienic conditions.

After an assessment of 74 railway stations and 80 trains across the country, the auditor said the food was stale at many places; dirty tap water was used to cook food; food wasn’t covered to protect it from dust and flies, and cockroaches and mice were found on trains.

Mr Kumar said: “We took the CAG report as feedback and we are taking strict measures to enhance our service.”

 

Indian Railways Station Redevelopment Scheme to offer over 144 Acres of Land to Developers

The Indian Railways, under its massive station redevelopment programme, is set to offer more than 144 acres of land with its 23 stations for commercial development. The developers would be selected via competitive bidding, marking the first phase of the scheme under which surplus/vacant land with over 400 stations are to be redeveloped. As many as 18 of the 23 projects will come go under the hammer in the current financial year. “The tenders will be opened gradually over July onwards which will be finalised by April-May 2018,” said a railway official requesting not to be named.

While there are some stations that will offer as little as 1.6 acres (Chennai Central) for commercial redevelopment, there are others including Yesvantpur (20 acres), Udaipur City (10.7 acres) and Howrah (10 acres) that will offer huge plots for commercial use. Large infrastructure companies such as Tata Realty and Infrastructure, GMR, Essel Infra, IL&FS and a few Malaysian companies are actively looking to participate in the programme and some of them are already working on-ground to prepare bids. Last week, the secretary general (works), government of Malaysia, Dato Sri Zohari Haji Akob — who is also the nodal officer for projects investment in India — led a delegation along with the Malaysian high commissioner in India and held a meeting with railway officials regarding station redevelopment.

The meeting was to reinforce the commitment of the government of Malaysia to ensure a visible participation of experienced Malaysian developers in railway station redevelopment projects to enhance bilateral trade and stronger cooperation on both sides for sustainable infrastructure development.

According to the official quoted above, all 25 tenders (23 being planned plus Anand Vihar and Brijwasan which have been delayed due to land issues), would be opened by September. While work on the Habibganj and Gandhinagar projects has already started, the Indian Railways awarded the contract for Jammu Tawi railway station last week and that for Kozhikode has been just awarded. In addition, the request for proposal for Surat railway station is expected to be floated within a week.

In terms of stations that will be redeveloped, a total of 2,700 acre will be reconstructed for the 400 stations that have been identified and more than 200 acres will be redeveloped in the first phase comprising 23 stations. Under the scheme, a developer needs to create a concept proposal which takes six-eight weeks and an investment of Rs 1.5-2 crore.

For stations receiving multiple bids, one will be chosen taking into account technical as well financial proposals under the Swiss challenge method. There are two railway committees which will evaluate proposals which will be evaluated on a scale of 100. Separately, an independent committee will look at the scores given to each proposal. Subsequently, the general managers of the zone concerned will look at the recommendations of all the three committees and select one concept for DPR purpose.

“Even if no developers comes in at the challenge stage, the railways will be at least be assured of the premium mentioned in the DPR,” added the official. The railways is expecting that the total cost of commercial development for 400 stations will be Rs 68,000 crore while that for station redevelopment will be Rs 28,000 crore, and in addition it is likely to get Rs 11,000 crore as premium.

 

Railways ready to give its Land for Metro Station at Cantonment in Bangalore

Opposition to the location of Namma Metro’s Cantonment station in a playground used by Abdul Bari’s High School, instead of near the Cantonment Railway Station itself, is likely to increase in the coming days with the Railways on Monday clarifying that they had no problems with allocating land to Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL).

BMRCL had last week published the alignment for the underground section of Reach 6 in Phase II, which had the new location of the Cantonment station within the playground at a distance of almost 1 kilometer from the entrance of the Cantonment Railway Station. At the time, BMRCL had justified the move by stating that land acquisition would be easier.

With the new station located around 250 meters from the end of the railway platform, BMRCL officials had said that they would ensure that easy connectivity was not affected. However, the move still earned the ire of several commuters and groups who said that the station location must not change.

The clarification issued by railways on Monday showed that the South Western Railway had been asked in May 2017 for 16,000 Sq Mtrs of land for a period of four years and permanent licensing of 2500 sq meters near the railway station. “In this connection joint site survey has been proposed in order to identify the exact requirement of land, possibility of its sparing and taking up process for transfer of land there after. The issue is under discussion and will be finalized after feasibility study and mutual dialogue between South Western Railway and BMRCL,” a statement by Indian Railways said.

According to the railways, it was open to considering any proposal of sparing land for BMRCL to facilitate metro work in a way to make it beneficial to everybody.

GST to raise Metro Rail construction cost of Kolkata’s East-West Metro

The Goods and Services Tax (GST), which subsumed all indirect taxes and was implemented from July one this year, is likely to raise the construction cost of East-West Metro being constructed by Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC). KMRC Managing Director, Satish Kumar said “GST will definitely raise the construction cost. But the exact amount of the rise is yet to be ascertained.”

Briefing reporters in Kolkata on Saturday, he said that tunneling work under Brabourne Road in the city has been completed and work on the Esplanade station already started. There will be five levels at Esplanade station and function as a confluence of the three metro railways – the East-West Metro, North-South Metro and the Joka-BBD Bag Metro.

Work on the Mahakaran metro station will start soon, he said, adding that the first phase of the project from Salt Lake to Phool Bagan have been targetted to go operational from June 2018. Kumar said that entire stretch from Howrah Maidan to Salt Lake was expected to be operational from December 2020.

Efforts have been made to keep settlement of the soil within 30 mm which, according to him, would not do much damage to the buildings falling on the tunneled route.

Once the construction was complete, the operations of the East-West metro would be transferred to the North-South Metro authorities. Total cost of the 16.55-km project had been pegged at Rs 4874 crore so far, he added.

ECR RPF cracked 62 cases of Encroachment on Railway property

The Railway Protection Force (RPF) under the East Central Railway (ECR) has cracked 62 cases of encroachment of railway property in June and arrested 38 people in this connection.

Stolen railway items worth Rs 97,970 was recovered during an intensive drive launched during June, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) Rajesh Kumar said in a statement today.

ECR comprises Danapur, Sonepur, Samastipur, Mughalsarai, Hajipur and Dhanbad divisions.

The CPRO said seven reservation agents were caught during the period and a total of 124 children either missing or victims of human trafficking were saved and handed over to their families.

He further said on June 3, cosmetics worth Rs 3.45 lakh smuggled from Nepal were seized at Muzaffarpur.

On June 14, a man was caught at Gaya illegally carrying 3.9 kg silver in Train number 12321, the CPRO said.