Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Indian steel firms can meet railways’ needs – government panel

Indian steel companies can meet the needs of the country’s railways and local rail market entrants such as Jindal Steel and Power LtdBSE -0.69 % should be given a chance, a government panel said in a document seen by Reuters.

Jindal SteelBSE -0.69 % told the committee this month it could supply up to 600,000 tonnes of rails per year to Indian Railways, which recently floated a global tender for 717,000 tonnes of rails.

 The committee on domestically manufactured iron and steel products for government projects is headed by the top bureaucrat in the steel ministry, which has said the tender went against government policy to prefer local steel in state projects.

 “Prima facie there exists domestic rail making capacity for the tendered quantity of Ministry of Railways,” said the minutes of a committee meeting held on Nov. 3, which were seen by Reuters on Monday.

“Reasonable supply quantity may be assured for the new domestic entrant to demonstrate their capability and build up the performance/track record.”

In response, Indian Railways last month opened up the global tender for steel rail worth an estimated 30 billion rupees ($464 million) to private bidders for the first time.

Global steelmakers such as ArcelorMittal and Thyssenkrupp could bid for the tender. (Reporting by Neha Dasgupta; Writing by KrishnaBSE 0.46 % N. Das; Editing by Tommy Wilkes and Mark Potter)

Finance ministry okays LIC’s Rs 1.5 lakh crore funding of Indian Railways

Life Insurance Corporation of India can now go ahead with its proposed Rs 1.5 lakh crore funding of the Indian Railways, with a finance ministry clarification effectively nullifying the sector regulator’s concerns and demand for sovereign guarantee for the investment.

The state-run insurer had signed a memorandum of understanding two years ago to invest in the railways through bonds issued by the Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC). But since this would take LIC’s exposure to more than 25% of IRFC’s net worth — it has to keep the investment within that limit in any company involved in infrastructure, debt and equity included —the insurance regulator demanded explicit government guarantee for the bonds and a gazette notification classifying these asspecial securities, like oil bonds.

On November 23, the finance ministry issued an order, clarifying that the IRFC bonds can be treated as approved security for investment above the exposure limits. It didn’t offer any government guarantee on the bonds, but said the bonds were covered by Section 2(3) of the Insurance Act under which the repayment is charged on the revenue of the railway ministry.
The railway ministry’s revenue, in turn, is backed by budgetary allocation. The charge on the central government revenue is more than a government guarantee, as it amounts to express intention of the government to pay out the obligation, whereas payment against guarantee will happen only when the guarantee is invoked, the finance ministry said.

The clarification was issued after the railways, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irda), LIC and the finance ministry discussed last week whether this investment in the railways could be classified under approved investment category with higher limits, without any explicit government guarantee.

Delhi-Chandigarh 200-kmph rail corridor to cost Rs 11,000 crore

It will cost about Rs 11,000 crore ($1.7 billion) to increase the train speed up to 200 km per hour on the Delhi-Chandigarh route so that a passenger can travel the distance in two hours, according to the draft final report submitted by SNCF, the French railway, to Indian Railways.

The 245-km Delhi-Chandigarh corridor, one of the busiest routes in north India, is slated to be the first semi-high speed project being taken up by the state-owned transporter to run trains at maximum speeds of 200 kmph with French help.

The 1,700-page detailed report will be taken up for finalisation in Indian Railways on Monday for preparing tendering documents and drawing out an action plan as a way forward.

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to visit India in January 2018 when the project will be formally launched.

The railways will sign a MoU with SNCF next year expanding the scope of cooperation in the rail sector, including training of drivers of semi-high speed trains and safety and security of train networks.

The total travel time will be 2 hours and 2 minutes at a maximum speed of 200 kmph with two stoppages at Panipat and Ambala, according to the report.

This Man Had To Walk 90 Km Home. He Was Robbed.

A vegetable vendor, who was missing since Friday, has returned home covering 90 km on foot along the railway track from New Bongaigaon station in Assam after allegedly being drugged and robbed.

Jebil Sangma kept on walking for three days, fed on leftovers from dustbins at various stations and lost consciousness after reaching his village.
“Jebil Sangma returned home yesterday night. He is very weak because of the tiring walk. He is in hospital,” acting SP of North Garo Hills district Jerry Marak said.

However, Mr Jebil’s friend, who had accompanied him to Assam from their Lower Beomedang village, cannot be traced. The acting SP said his friend Kalmen’s mobile phone was last traced at Guwahati and efforts are on to find him.

Mr Jebil told his family that he had been offered a spiked soft drink by a rickshaw puller and he lost consciousness after having it at a market in Guwahati on Friday evening.

The rickshaw puller took Mr Jebil and Mr Kalmen f

from Guwahati station to the market during the day but did not accept the fare then.

He had said he would return in the evening, help them sell off the remaining vegetables, take them back to the station and take the fare, Mr Jebil’s family members said.

When the rickshaw puller returned in the evening, there were some unsold vegetables and he called up a friend who was supposed to be a wholesaler.

However, the ‘wholesaler’ refused to buy the vegetables but agreed to store them. During their way to the store, Mr Jebil and his friend were offered the spiked soft drink, his family members said.

When he woke up at New Bongaigaon station, he found his money and mobile phone were missing and Mr Kalmen was nowhere to be seen.

Mr Jebil had tried to take a bus home but failed since he did not have any money.

While he still managed to return home, Mr Kalmen’s whereabouts are not yet known and a police complaint was lodged.

Stop Giving Contaminated Water To Passengers: High Court To Railways

Stop giving contaminated water to passengers, the Delhi High Court told the Indian Railways today, and questioned its decision to hike fares when it was not providing better services.

“Hundreds of thousands travel by trains and you are serving them contaminated water. Stop giving contaminated water to passengers. What enhanced services are you providing to increase fares?” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar asked.

It directed that the matter be placed before the Railway Board Chairman who shall give a report on the quality of water made available to passengers.

The report be placed before the Ministry of Railways, the court said and listed the matter for further hearing on February 19 next year.

The bench said it wanted that the best and same treatment be given to every citizen.

The bench said the issue assumes importance and deserved greatest attention and that it wanted the railways to examine it and take a decision on its own without the court getting into it.

The court was hearing a plea by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation, which has sought “an independent and preferably court-monitored probe into the neglect of the quality of the drinking water supply and the manipulations in the award of contracts for supply of chlorination plants for past several years”.

Advocates Prashant Bhushan and Govind Jee, appearing for the NGO, said the railways was neither adhering to the standards laid down for drinking water by the Bureau of Indian Standards nor following the Indian Railway Medical Manual.

The lawyers said water being provided on stations and trains was not even being tested for presence of E.coli bacteria.

The NGO has contended that while the Indian Railways, which has an independent water supply system all over the country, is able to keep trains running by meeting the requirement of water for washing and cleaning of trains, tracks and platforms, it is “failing to supply safe and wholesome drinking water to millions of railway passengers and its staff who live in the railway colonies”.

It alleged that Indian Railways has “continued to neglect the quality of water supply for so many years” as records which have come to light recently show that water quality has been very unsatisfactory for the past several years.

The plea alleges that “the water treatment infrastructure for disinfection of water by chlorination has almost completely collapsed and level of contamination in the entire supply network from the source to the top is alarming.”


Railway Minister Piyush Goyal Hospitalised In Mumbai; Stable

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was hospitalised today after he complained of uneasiness but was doing “fine” now, a senior railway official said.

Before hospitalisation, Mr Goyal visited suburban Elphinstone Road and Currey Road stations to take stock of ongoing construction of the Foot Over Bridges (FOBs) by the Army.

Mr Goyal complained of uneasiness after addressing a review meeting of senior Central and Western Railway officials at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus this evening.

“After holding a review meeting with the officials, the minister complained of uneasiness due to acidity. An ambulance was called as part of protocol though he was fit enough to walk and preferred to travel in his own vehicle,” the official.

“He (Goyal) has been admitted to a private hospital and is fine now,” he added.

Mr Goyal did not attend a scheduled press conference due to ill health.

“Visited Elphinstone Road railway station and reviewed the progress of foot overbridge’s construction. The Army has been working tirelessly to build the infrastructure within the given timeline,” Goyal said in a tweet tonight

French Company Submits Report On Upgrading Delhi-Chandigarh Rail Route

A state-owned French rail company today submitted its report on upgrading the Delhi-Chandigarh railway route and reducing travel time between the two cities by almost an hour and 30 minutes.

The 245-km corridor project will be the first semi-high speed venture of the Railways with French aid which would enable some trains to run at a maximum speed of 200 kmph.

“SNCF, France’s state-owned rail company, started the study in January 2016 and submitted the final report today,” Railway spokesperson Anil Saxena said.

 The study was under the consideration of the railway board, he told PTI.

Sources said that in its over 1500-page report, the company stated that the upgrading of the route would cost more than Rs. 10,000 crore. The figure, however, could not be confirmed officially.

The journey, which is at present covered in three hours and 30 minutes by the Shatabdi, travelling at a maximum speed of 110 kmph, will take around two hours and two minutes with a halt in Panipat and Ambala after the upgrade.

The project is expected to be launched in January 2018 when French President Emmanuel Macron is likely to visit India, officials said.

 The Railways plans to upgrade 4000 kilometres of networks across seven routes, which include Mumbai-Goa, Chennai-Hyderabad, Mysuru-Chennai and Delhi-Kanpur.

Contractor’s Son Kidnapped, Shot Dead By Naxals In Chhattisgarh’s Kanker

Naxals have shot dead the son of a contractor whom they had abducted from a rail construction site in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district, around 180 kms from state capital Raipur.

KL Dhruv, the Superintendent of Police in Kanker, said that the body of 38-year-old Ramesh Jain was found this morning at a forest near Rekhabat village.

Ramesh’s father had bagged the contract for cutting of trees in the forest area for laying tracks as part of the Dallirajhra-Rowghat railway project and transportation of logs to the forest department’s depot.

On Saturday, a group of 30-40 armed Naxals reached the construction site in the forest close to Rekhabat between Rowghat and Tadoki and asked workers to leave the place. They then set fire to four trucks and a loader machine engaged in the construction of railway line before taking Ramesh with them. “Later, they shot him dead in the nearby forest,” Mr Dhruv said.

Upon getting information, the SP and other officials reached the spot today and sent the body for postmortem. A search operation was launched in the region to trace the ultras, the police official said.

 The construction of Dallirajhara-Rowghat-Jagdalpur broad-gauge railway line, covering 235 km, would not only allow transportation of iron ore from the Naxal-affected area in north Bastar, but will also provide transportation facility to the people in the region.

The work in the first phase, covering a 95-km route from Dallirajhara to Rowghat, is in progress with 17 kms of tracks upto Gudum commissioned for passenger train traffic.

According to police, the Naxals have been opposing the project since its inception, fearing that the construction of the rail route will speed up the development work in Bastar thereby uprooting them from the region.

Woman Raped On Moving Train In Madhya Pradesh

A 23-year-old vendor was allegedly raped onboard a passenger train when it was passing Bherkhera area under Bhopal railway division of the West Central Railway, a GRP official said today.

The incident occurred in a toilet of a sleeper coach of Amarkantak Express (Durg-Bhopal) yesterday.

“The woman is an unauthorised vendor who sells popcorn on train,” Habibganj Government Railway Police (GRP) incharge sub-inspector BL Sen said.

The woman hails from Budhni in Sehore district of the state.

He said the accused has been identified as Jitu (25) who hails from Bhopal.

No arrest has been made in the case so far.

“The woman reached Bhopal yesterday but returned to her home in Budhni last evening without lodging a complaint as the accused had threatened her of dire consequences,” Mr Sen said.

Decades Of Neglect Taking Toll On Rail Infrastructure: Railway Board Chairman

The accumulated deficit in upkeep of infrastructure due to “decades of neglect” is taking a toll on the Indian Railways, chairman of the Railway Board Ashwani Lohani has said, referring to an accident in Uttar Pradesh on Friday.

In a Facebook post last night, Mr Lohani, who had rushed to the accident site at Manikpur in Chitrakoot district, said an action plan needs to be put in place to address the problem.

“The accident at Manikpur is a cause for concern. Huge accumulated deficit in upkeep of infrastructure arising out of decades of neglect is taking its toll. Consolidation has to take priority over growth and an action plan has to emerge very shortly,” he wrote.

He said the country was looking up to the railways to set its house in order but the fact remains that it would take its time and may also extract its price, “a price that would have to be paid either way”.

Four train accidents in less than 12 hours in Uttar Pradesh and Odisha killed seven people and injured at least 11 on November 23-24.

The accident near Manikpur occurred at 4.18am on Friday when 13 coaches of the Vasco Da Gama-Patna Express, on its way from Goa to Patna, derailed, killing three people, including a six-year-old boy and his father, and injuring nine. Four more were killed and two injured in three other train accidents.

“That there are no free lunches is a realisation that needs to sink in inside every railway employee, the over 13 lakh of them. Yet, the inherent strength of the system and its constituents is what keeps me going. May god give us the strength to deliver what is expected of us and the entire team to live up to the expectations of the nation,” Mr Lohani said.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has ordered an inquiry into the accident. He has made it clear that his priority now is to replace old tracks, rather than lay new ones.