Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Railway Hotel Scam Case: Tejashwi Yadav Questioned By Enforcement Directorate For Second Time

RJD leader Lalu Yadav’s son Tejashwi, today appeared before the Enforcement Directorate or ED in connection with a money laundering investigation in the railway hotels allotment corruption case, official sources said today.

They said the statement of the former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister was recorded by the investigating officer at the Enforcement Directorate office, shortly after 11 am today.

This is the second time Tejashwi Yadav is being questioned by the central probe agency in this case. He was last questioned by the agency on October 10 and was questioned for over nine hours.

Since then, Tejashwi has skipped four appearances and has appeared today as part of a fresh summon, they said.

The agency had registered a case against Lalu Prasad, his family members and others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act or PMLA.

Tejashwi’s mother and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi has skipped the Enforcement Directorate’s summons at least six times till now.

In July, the Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI had registered an FIR and conducted multiple searches on the properties of Lalu Yadav and others.

The CBI FIR has alleged that Lalu Prasad during his tenure as the railway minister handed over the maintenance of two Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) hotels to a company in 2004 after receiving a bribe in the form of a prime land in Patna through a ‘benami’ company owned by Sarla Gupta, wife of Prem Chand Gupta, a former Union minister.

The Enforcement Directorate had registered a criminal case against his family members and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act or PMLA, based on the CBI FIR.

The CBI also recently recorded the statements of Tejashwi and Lalu Yadav in this case.

The Enforcement Directorate is investigating the alleged “proceeds of crime” generated by the accused, purportedly through shell companies, according to officials.

Others named in the CBI FIR include Vijay Kochhar, Vinay Kochhar (both directors of Sujata Hotels), Delight Marketing company, now known as Lara Projects, and the then IRCTC managing director PK Goel.

The CBI FIR was registered on July 5 in connection with favours allegedly extended to Sujata Hotels in awarding a contract for the upkeep of the hotels in Ranchi and Puri and receiving premium land as ‘quid pro quo’.

Set up Rail Wagon or Locomotive factory at Kantabanji: urges Odisha’s Oppn.Leader

Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Narasingha Mishra on Sunday warned that if a rail locomotive or wagon industry at Kantabanji in Balangir district is not set up, the dissatisfaction and wrath of the people may lead to an explosive situation in near future.

In a statement, Mishra said, “Balangir is a very backward and underdeveloped district in Odisha.

Lack of job opportunities push lakhs of people of the district to migrate every year to the brick kilns and construction sites of developed States as seasonal workers.

Because of this, a proposal was placed for the setting up of a rail locomotive or wagon industry at Kantabarij, the epicentre of seasonal migration, where a huge patch of around 700 acres of land was identified for the purpose.”

“Setting up of the industry will definitely lead to absorption of the unemployed of the region and minimise migration.

In case the genuine demand of the people of this region is suppresse

Pune Metro: Geological Survey in Bopodi, Khadki for Metro Rail commences

Maha-Metro has started a geological exploration survey of Bopodi-Khadki stretch for the construction of an elevated portion of Pimpri-Swargate route.

People may have to face severe traffic congestion on this narrow stretch in December if the defence land is not acquired for widening of the highway.

MahaMetro is constructing Pimpri-Swargate Metro route, having a total length of 16.589 km, for connecting the twin cities of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad. Out of this, 11.57-km stretch is elevated while the remaining 5-km stretch is underground. Around 8 km-long elevated stretch from Pimpri to Harris bridge (Dapodi) lies in Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation limits.

MahaMetro has completed construction of the first pier at Vallabhnagar. The work of construction of piers is progressing at various stages from Kharalwadi to Nashik Phata in the median of the grade separator. Construction is also in progress from Atlas Copco to College of Military Engineering (CME) chowk. One lane of the grade separator, on both sides, is closed for Metro construction.

An official said, “The two-year contract for construction of piers was awarded in May 2017, wherein a total of 322 piers will be constructed. Construction of first pier has been completed. Construction of another five piers up to the first level has been completed. The foundation of 35 piers has been completed. Construction of seven piers will start in December.”

The official said that three elevated Metro stations will be built on the stretch from Harris Bridge to Range Hills.

These would be near Bopodi Police Chowkey and Khadki Railway Station along the

Parliamentary Panel summons railway officials within a fortnight; grills them on safety

Indicating its seriousness towards the issue of railway bridge safety, a Parliamentary panel has called top railway officials before it. Interestingly, this is the second time the railway officials have been summoned in the past fortnight.

A parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways headed by Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay has called the representatives of the Ministry of Railways to hear them on issues ranging from safety measures in railway Operations to maintenance of bridges of foot over bridges that fall under the purview of the Indian Railways.

The committee, which first met on October 12, took up the issue as the matter of railway bridge security raised concerns in wake of the incident in Mumbai where 23 people were killed in a stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station. A few days later, a portion of a foot over bridge at Charni Road station in the city left two people injured.

The panel first took up the issue on November 6 in which top officials of railway board were grilled about the security measures being taken by the department about railway bridges and their current status across the country.

As a number of queries raised by members could not be answered on sport, the panel has again summoned the railway officials before it on November 20.

Top Railway Board officials will brief the panel about both the issues—the safety measures undertaken by the department with regard to railway operations and also the maintenance of bridges in Indian railways.

The Parliamentary panel had in its earlier meeting also expressed its concern over the spate of train derailment incidents in the past few months.

After a series of train derailment incidents, the then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had also made an offer to resign and was subsequently shifted out of Railway Ministry in a Cabinet reshuffle in September. According to an analysis, the death toll from train derailments was the highest in 2016-17.

Titagarh to drive in automated rail track checking vehicles

At a time when Indian Railways is besieged by accidents, Titagarh Wagons is set to introduce technology-driven track diagnostic vehicles, which would be manufactured by its joint venture (JV) with Mermec SpA of Italy.

These automated vehicles would be replacing the century-old system of linesmen manually checking the tracks by hitting them with iron rods.

“This is company which is a world leader in diagnostics with presence in signalling, with 80% of its 1,000 staff into designing. We would finalise the joint venture soon and manufacturing would happen in Uttarpara (West Bengal) by next year. To head the JV, we have brought in Lalit Tejwani, who was responsible for ABB’s railway business in the Middle East, Africa and India,” Umesh Chowdhary, vice chairman and managing director of Titagarh Wagons, told DNA Money.

The JV, to be named Devadoot, was signed during Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni’s visit to India and will design and manufacture cost-effective track-side signaling systems and also high-tech systems and measuring trains for the safety of the railway lines and trains.

“The accessible market for the venture is around €1.5 billion,” a statement issued by industry body Ficci during Gentiloni’s visit on October 31 said.

Titagarh has been looking at opportunities within and outside the country by either acquiring foreign technology-led companies or forming JVs with them.

Its maiden acquisition was French wagon maker Arbel Fauvet Rail in 2010.

The wagon maker is now strategising to turn its domestic units into manufacturing bases for its foreign units.

“It’s not that we are closing down manufacturing there. We had acquired stressed assets having very high technology expertise and in the first phase we are turning them around, a process which is complete for our French unit. The second step involves lowering the costs for these overseas units by manufacturing the basic units in India and finishing them and putting some value-addition there,” Umesh said on the sidelines of a CII-organised event on doing business with the Railways.

“We are doing it in a subtle manner but in a solid way,” he added.

For the French unit, all required approvals are in place and Titagarh is currently exporting wagons designed and finished in France but manufactured in India.

Ticket price of 48 trains will increase as Railways imposes ‘superfast levy’

The ticket price of around 48 mail and express trains would be increased as Indian Railways would impose a superfast levy.

The hike comes after Railways followed a new time table with a focus to decrease halt time and increase the designated average speed by approximately five kilometres per hour from 50 kmph.

After the superfast levy, passengers will now have to shell out Rs 30 more for Sleeper, Rs 45 for Second and Third AC and Rs 75 for First AC class.

In a bid to reduce halt timings of around 500 long-distance trains, Indian Railways has rolled out a new timetable which would be applicable from November 1 onwards.

According to the new timetable, now the running time of popular trains will reduce by 15 minutes to two hours from tomorrow. Coupled with track and infrastructure upgrade, automatic signalling and the new Linke-Hofmann-Busch coaches that allow a 130 kmph top speed, trains are expected to run faster.

Chenab Bridge, World’s Highest, Can Withstand Quakes, Blasts: Railway Official

The world’s tallest bridge over the Chenab River in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district, currently under-construction, will be able to withstand up to 8 magnitude earthquakes and high-intensity blasts, according to railway officials.

The arch bridge, a part of an ambitious railway project connecting Kashmir to the rest of the country, will have a “security setup” against possible terror threats and quakes, the officials said.

 The work on the Rs. 1,250-crore bridge, which will be 359 metres above the Chenab river bed and stand 35 metres taller than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris, will be completed by May 2019.

As Jammu and Kashmir is faced with terror activities and prone to earthquakes, MK Gupta, Member (Engineering) of the Railway Board, said that the railways “will put in place a security setup against any such threat in consultation with defence forces”.

“The bridge has been designed in such a way that it will withstand an earthquake measuring eight on the Richter scale. There will be no damage to the bridge,” Mr Gupta said, who began the work on putting the main arch on November 5.

He said that a detailed, site-specific seismic analysis has been carried out by experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.

 “The bridge has also been designed with anti-terror features in consultation with the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO),” a senior engineer working on the project said, without explaining further.

The bridge, a part of the Udhampur-Reasi-AnantnagSrinagar-Baramulla railway project, can withstand a blast of 30 kg of explosives, the engineer said.

The overall length of the bridge is 1,315 metres, having 17 spans, of which the main steel arch portion across the Chenab river is of 476 metres in length and its height is 359 metres above the river bed.

“There are certain unique and unparallelled features in the under-construction bridge. It is for the first time in India that a concrete-filled steel arch is being used as the main arch,” he said.

He said that the work on viaduct portion of the bridge at Srinagar end was nearing completion.

The project work is being carried out by AFCONS Construction Company through Konkan Railway.

The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) Project will be completed by March 2021, he said.

Officials overseeing the project on the ground said that more than 1,300 workers and 300 engineers have been working round-the-clock to complete the bridge in time. Over 70 per cent of the work has been completed, they added.

The construction work started in 2004, but the work was briefly stopped in 2008-09 in view of the safety of rail passengers due to frequent high-velocity winds in the area.

Heritage Steam Engine Runs 2 Km Without Driver Who Had Jumped Off

A heritage steam engine named ‘Akbar’, which has featured in over two dozen Bollywood and other movies, was damaged in a derailment after it ran without a pilot in Haryana’s Rewari, a railway official said on Sunday.

The incident occurred at the Heritage Loco Shed in Rewari on Saturday. No one was injured in the episode, said railway officials.
As the 52-year-old Akbar started moving on its own, scared loco pilot Bharatbhushan jumped off as he believed there was a malfunction.

The engine broke the main gate wall of the shed and rolled on for about 2 kilometres towards the main track of the Rewari-Rohtak-Hisar route, before getting derailed just four metres away from it.

“Akbar was brought out of the shed for a trial on Saturday afternoon, two hours before a scheduled inspection by the Executive Director and his team in the day,” said a loco official.

But as Bharatbhushan switched on the ignition, the engine started moving on the tracks on its own.

Bharatbhushan said he had only switched on the ignition and had not pressed the accelerator.

But “it suddenly became uncontrollable and started running on the tracks at a notable speed. I got scared and jumped off the engine. It continued the run for about nearly five minutes, covering around 2 kilometers without me.

“Akbar (WP 1761) has suffered a lot of damage. A crane was called from Delhi to put it back on the tracks,” he added.

The engine was inducted in 1965 after being manufactured at the Chittaranjan locomotive factory in Bengal.

It has featured in Sunny Deol’s “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha”, Salman Khan’s “Sultan”, “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, “Rang De Basanti”, “Gandhi My Father”, “Gangs of Wasseypur”, “Qarib Qarib Singlle”, Malayalam movie “Pranayam”, Tamil movie “Vijay 60”, “Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero” and some documentaries, an official told IANS, adding it earned the railways lakhs of rupees per hour during film shootings.

“A large sum of money is spent on its maintenance every year. Now repairs may require a lot more money,” he added.

Fines From Ticketless Travel Crosses Rs. 100 Crores In 7 Months: Central Railway

  Central Railway has collected a record Rs. 100.67 crore as fine from ticketless travellers from April to October under a special drive carried out by the commercial department, an official said.

“The Central Railway registered a record ticket checking earnings of Rs. 100.67 crore for the period April to October 2017 and credit for this goes to the intensive campaign against ticketless and irregular travellers launched by the commercial department,” said the official.

During the seven-month period, a total of 19.82 lakh cases of ticketless or irregular travel and unbooked luggage were detected by the commercial staff as against 16.37 lakh cases during the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 21.08 per cent in number of cases, he said.
An amount of Rs. 100.67 crore was realised from them as fine against Rs. 80.02 crore during the same period last year, an increase of 25.81 per cent in earnings, he added.

The Central Railway has been taking regular steps to provide better services to its bonafide rail users and also to curb the ticketless travel, he said.

Two coaches of Amrapali Express gutted in Railway Yard in Bihar

A fire broke out in the railway yard here yesterday evening in which two coaches of a stationary train were gutted and as many damaged, a railway official said.

A general and a sleeper coach of the Amrapali Express, which was scheduled to leave late tonight for Amritsar, was destroyed while two other coaches were damaged by the blaze.

No casualties have been reported yet, officials said, adding that the reason behind the fire is yet to be ascertained.

“The fire has been brought under control. Fire brigade personnel and engineers are on the spot. An inquiry will be ordered to ascertain the cause of the fire,” Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Katihar, D L Meena, said.

The fire was noticed at around 6 pm by railway personnel engaged in the yard who informed the RPF and the fire brigade was called subsequently.

By the time flames were extinguished, a general and a sleeper coach were gutted and two other coaches were badly damaged.

Railway officials said the train would run as scheduled with fresh coaches attached to it in place of the affected ones.

Amrapali Express (15707/15708) runs between Katihar and Amritsar. It operates as train number 15707 in Up direction from Katihar Junction of North east Frontier railway to Amritsar of Northern Railway and as train number 15708 in the reverse direction.

Amrapali Express covers the distance of 1799-km between Katihar and Amritsar in 37 hours. As the average speed of the train is below 55 km/hr, its fare does not include a Superfast surcharge.