Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Kolkata Metro To Run Special Services For NEET Aspirants On September 13

In a bid to ease travel woes of several thousand National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) aspirants, the Metro Railway in Kolkata has decided to operate special services on September 13, an official said on Wednesday. This service will be exclusively for medical entrance examinees and their guardians, Metro Railway spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said

Examinees will have to show NEET admit cards at the gates of Metro stations, she said. Normal Metro services were suspended due to lockdown announced in March and efforts are on to restart operations soon.

“No token will be issued to commuters and only printed card tickets will be issued to the bonafide students and their guardians,” Ms Banerjee said.

A total of 66 trains – 33 each in up and down directions – will run on September 13 from 11 am to 7 pm from the two terminal stations, Noapara and Kavi Subhash. These services will be available in every 15 minutes, she said.

Candidates for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) had faced a tough time reaching exam centres due to lack of transport facilities earlier this month.

14 Children Trafficked From Bihar Rescued In Delhi, 10 Arrested

The Railway unit of the Delhi Police has rescued 14 children allegedly trafficked from different districts of Bihar to Delhi and arrested 10 people, officials said today.

As per protocol, the rescued children who are in the age group of 12-14 years have been taken to a quarantine centre in south Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar, they said.

The matter came to notice after an information was received from an NGO on September 7 about 14 children being brought to Delhi by Mahananda Express Train from different districts of Bihar, a senior police official said.

A joint operation was launched at the Old Delhi Railway Station by police along with NGO Bachpan Bacho Andolan, Salam Balak Trust and RPF personnel.

The team kept a vigil on the movement of passengers and closely monitored the CCTV cameras to see any suspicious movement, he said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Railways) Harendra K Singh said “Ten persons were detained and 14 children accompanying them were rescued. These children were medically examined and taken to quarantine centre, Lajpat Nagar.”

“They were produced before the Child Welfare Committee through video conferencing. Based on their statements before the committee, a case was registered and the ten accused persons were arrested,” he added.

During interrogation, the accused disclosed that the children belong to different districts of Bihar.

Among those rescued, nine children are from Katihar, two from Begusarai, two from Kishanganj and one from Purnia. They had planned to take them to different places including four to Azadpur and two to Seelampur in Delhi, two to Faridabad in Haryana and six to Punjab, he said.

Due to the shortage of labourers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the traffickers saw an opportunity to get the children employed in factories and targeted poor families in Bihar, the DCP said.

Restart Migrant Trains From Odisha, Minister Urges Colleague Piyush Goyal

Within days of a road accident that killed seven migrant workers travelling from Odisha’s Ganjam to cloth mills in Gujarat, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has urged Railways Minister Piyush Goyal urging him to restart Special Shramik trains from his home state so people can “safely return to work” and “help restart the economy”.

In his letter to Mr Goyal, the Petroleum Minister – who is an MP from Odisha – said he was making the representation on behalf of Ganjam’s migrant workers seeking to return to the industrial states of Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

“There was a mass exodus of migrant workers from states like Gujarat, Karnataka, and Maharashtra to Odisha in the wake of Covid-19 lockdown… These workers have highlighted their plights due to the unavailability of livelihood options and difficulty in travelling back to their workplace for re-joining work. Even though some employers are willing to offer bus transport service from Odisha, a long and arduous journey via road is neither feasible nor safe for such long distances due to prevailing monsoon conditions,” Mr Pradhan wrote.

He further emphasised that there is a need to resume rail services – which continue to remain suspended since before the nationwide coronavirus lockdown started on March 22 – for migrant workers “keeping in mind the need to re-ignite our economy”.

“I request your personal intervention for restarting of Shramik Special Trains from Odisha to states like Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra at the earliest,” the Petroleum Minister said in his letter.

The request comes even as the Railways plans to start, from September 12, 80 new trains in the reverse direction of the Shramik Special trains to help migrants return to work.

The Shramik Special trains were started to facilitate return of migrant workers, left jobless amid the coronavirus lockdown, to their home states after lakhs of them started walking back because all public transportation services stood suspended.

The request comes even as the Railways plans to start, from September 12, 80 new trains in the reverse direction of the Shramik Special trains to help migrants return to work.

The Shramik Special trains were started to facilitate return of migrant workers, left jobless amid the coronavirus lockdown, to their home states after lakhs of them started walking back because all public transportation services stood suspended.

Kolkata Metro To Give Colour-Coded E-Passes To Maximum 400 Per Train

A colour-coded e-pass system using a mobile phone has been developed by a technology solutions company in Kolkata for ensuring that a maximum of 400 passengers board a Metro Railway train in the city to maintain COVID-19 health safety protocol after it resumes service.

Sanjay Chatterjee, network and security solutions head of Ideation Technology, which was asked by the Metro authorities to develop the system, said that a bot-based (web robot) technology will be used to generate e-passes that will be colour-coded to ensure that only authorised passengers enter the stations at a given time in order to maintain the maximum passenger count.

“The main challenge was to come up with a solution which can be easily used by people – those who have smartphones and also those who have analogue phones; without installing any app,” he told PTI.

“So we came up with a simple technology, we have developed a system similar to that of Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger, wherein one can start it by just clicking open a link,” Mr Chatterjee said.

He said that a bot is being used for the purpose wherein it will ask the intending passenger his or her name, the boarding station, destination and the preferred time slot.

A passenger will be given a total of five questions, including one on language option, which he has to answer using the link in the mobile phone.

Mr Chatterjee said that the passengers will have three language options – Bengali, Hindi and English.

“The Metro authorities have told us that a maximum of 400 passengers can be carried in a train at any point of time, based on that either the chosen time slot will be given and if the number of passengers has already reached the threshold, a different time slot will be asked for from the intending passenger,” he said, adding that the process will not take more than 10 to 12 seconds.

Mr Chatterjee said that on the basis of availability, QR code will be generated immediately and e-pass will be given online to the user.

He said that the e-passes will be colour coded based on the hourly time slots.

“The colour code will help easy validation by security personnel of the e-passes as per the time slots and thus avoid queues at the entry points at stations,” Mr Chatterjee said.

He said that for example, if yellow colour code is being used for a particular hour slot, a passenger with a different colour-coded e-pass will not be allowed to enter a station at the time.

The West Bengal government last week proposed developing a system to issue e-passes to commuters for entering Metro Railway stations during a meeting between senior Metro and state officials to ensure maintenance of social distancing norms.

Senior officials of the Metro Railway and the state government met for the second time on Friday last to discuss the modalities regarding maintaining social distancing norms and crowd management, according to a Metro spokesperson.

The developer of the system for issuing e-passes explained it to the committee during the meeting, the spokesperson said.

Metro Railway general manager Manoj Joshi has said that the final date for resumption of the city’s rapid transit system will be fixed shortly.

The Union Home Ministry has issued Unlock 4 guidelines under which Metro railway services in cities will be allowed to resume from September 7 in a graded manner.

The West Bengal government had written to the Railway Board seeking resumption of Metro and suburban train services in a limited manner maintaining the norms of physical distancing and health and hygiene protocols.

Officials Discuss COVID-19 Protocols For Resuming Kolkata Metro Services

Senior officials of the Metro Railway and West Bengal government met today to discuss the modalities of putting in place social distancing norms and crowd management for resumption of services.

Describing the meeting as “very good”, Metro Railway spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said another round of discussion might take place on Friday.

“The state government and the Metro authorities will have further discussion with the focus being on finding better solutions to manage crowds at the gates of the stations,” she said.

Representing the Kolkata Metro in the meeting at the state secretariat were the chief signal and telecom engineer, who is also its additional general manager, the principal chief operations manager and the chief security commissioner, Ms Banerjee said.

“We have assured the Metro authorities of all forms of assistance to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are followed while passengers avail the services,” an official at the state secretariat said.

Indian Railways set to operate more passenger trains, consultations with states on

The railway ministry is planning to operate more passenger trains as India enters Unlock 4.0, a senior official has confirmed.

Trains, however, will be introduced in a staggered manner, as consultations with State governments are still on.

The Indian Railways had halted passenger train operations in March this year as India went under a stringent lockdown amid the outbreak of Covid-19.

“More special trains are being planned..State Governments are being consulted,” an official spokesperson of the railway ministry said on Tuesday.

As restrictions were eased in phases, 30 Rajdhani trains were put into service in May and 200 trains started operations on June 1. The ministry also began operating shramik special trains for transporting stranded migrants back to their home states, May 1 onwards. Over 4,000 such trains have been operated by the National transporter.

Scheduled passenger train services, however, are likely to remain suspended.

“Once we get green signals and clearance from the Home ministry, we will decide how many trains are to be introduced, but more trains are certainly on the anvil,” a senior railway ministry official told ET. “All trains may not start at once,” the official added.

A final decision is likely in a day or two, the official said. The number of trains will be decided upon depending on the conditions put forth by State governments

The Indian Railways operates around 13,500 passenger trains every day, and operations came to a screeching halt in may citing high risk of spreading the coronavirus. Freight trains, however, continued to operate.

A further resumption of passenger train services comes as the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is also set to resume its services. The gradual opening up of the economy continues, as the government tries to revive economic activity, hit severely by the lockdown.

Covid-19 cases in the country, however, continue to rise simultaneously, with the country recording close to 37 lakh cases so far.

JEE Main And NEET 2020: Railways Allows Special Suburban Services In Mumbai On Exam Days

The Railways will permit students appearing for NEET and JEE exams and their guardians to travel by special suburban services in Mumbai on exam days, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced on Monday.

“Supporting students appearing for NEET & JEE exams, Railways has permitted them, and their guardians to travel by special suburban services in Mumbai on exam days. General passengers are requested not to commute,” he said in a tweet.

The JEE Main admit cards and NEET admit cards will be considered as passes to enter the suburban stations. A statement issued in this regard also said that station and security officials have been instructed to allow the students during the exam days. Additional booking counters will also be opened at “important railway stations”, the statement added.

While the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is scheduled to be held on September 13, engineering entrance exam JEE-Main has been planned from September 1-6. Around 8.58 lakh candidates have registered for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)–Main and 15.97 lakh students for NEET. These exams were deferred twice in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.