Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Northern Railways To End 52-Year-Old Legacy Of Serving Food In Parliament

The Northern Railways will hand over the reins of the Parliament canteen to India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) on November 15, bringing an end to its 52-year-old legacy of serving food to parliamentarians.

A letter from the Lok Sabha Secretariat has asked the Northern Railways, which has been serving food in the canteen since 1968, to pack up and move on from the parliament premises by November 15.

The ITDC, the government’s tourism arm, runs the luxury five-star The Ashok Group of Hotels.

“The competent authority has desired that the operations of the catering units in Parliament House Estate be taken over by ITDC 15.11 2020,” the letter stated.

“The Northern Railway may, accordingly, hand over the electronic gadgets viz. computers, printer etc. provided by the Lok Sabha Secretariat to ITDC and furniture items, equipment, gadgets etc. to CPWD for being handed over by them to ITDC,” it said.

The process to find a new vendor was started last year and in July this year, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla met Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel and officials of ITDC to discuss the issue.

Officials at ITDC said they have been instructed to keep special focus on the “quality of food” which should suit both “common people as well as dignitaries”.

At present, the canteen serves around 5,000 people during every session. There are 48 food items on its menu for lunch and evening snacks.

While matters relating to catering arrangements in the Parliament House Complex are typically decided by a joint committee on food management, in the 17th Lok Sabha, however, the food committee has not been constituted.

The final decision was taken by Speaker Om Birla, who has taken a personal interest in ensuring that better quality food is served in the canteen and that subsidies are ended.

An end to subsidies is expected to lead to annual savings of approximately ₹ 17 crore to parliament.

After Elephant Calf Dragged On Tracks For 1 Km, Assam Seizes Train Engine

The locomotive engine of a goods train was “seized” by the Assam Forest Department on Tuesday, weeks after it ran over a 35-year-old female elephant and its calf while passing through the Lumding Reserve Forest. The calf’s carcass was found at a distance of one kilometre from its mother, indicating that the train was speeding in the reserve forest, which is against the rules, local authorities said.

The Northeast Frontier Railway said the seizure of the engine was just a “procedural requirement”.

“It is not a first of its kind incident and is a procedural requirement for enquiry. There was no operational obstruction and the locomotive is currently in use of Railways,” the Northeast Frontier Railway stated.

NFR takes several steps & saves 61 elephants in current year.

Action against defaulters taken in the only case of elephant dashing during current financial year.

Seizure & release of locomotive by Forest Dept – a procedural requirement, not first of its kind.

— Northeast Frontier Railway (@RailNf) October 21, 2020

The incident took place on September 27, and the Assam authorities took the engine in their possession on Tuesday.

“The train was used by the railways for carrying goods to its own project sites. Its speed was so high that it could not stop,” Assam Forest Minister Parimal Suklabiadya said.

“When the forest staff of the Lumding range rushed to the spot, they found the carcass of one female elephant, aged about 35 years, and of a male calf, aged about a year. The calf had been dragged nearly a kilometre from the carcass of its mother,” he added.
The Assam Forest Department said it pursued the case vigorously under the wildlife protection act and initiated a probe.

A team of forest officials proceeded to the Bamunimaidan Locomotive Shed on Tuesday and seized the engine.

The railways have said a locomotive pilot and his assistant have been suspended over the accident.

“The Assam forest department had informed us. They requested to inspect our engine, wrote to us that it needs to be inspected. We have carried out our own inquiry and it has been found that the train was speeding, which caused the accident,” said Subhanan Chanda, spokesperson, Northeast Frontier Railway, said.

“The seized engine was later given back into the custody of railways in view of the continuity of essential services to the public and others. Railways has agreed to pay ₹ 12 crore for any loss and damage,” the Assam Forest Department said.

Railways Says Women Can Travel In Mumbai Local Trains From Tomorrow

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday announced that all women passengers will be allowed to travel in local trains in Mumbai and suburbs from Wednesday.

Currently, only those engaged in frontline duties and essential staff as categorised by the Maharashtra government are allowed to travel in the local trains run by the Central Railway and the Western Railway, through a QR code mechanism.

The Maharashtra government on October 16 requested the Railways to allow women to commute by local trains during the non-peak hours – from 11 am to 3 pm, and from 7 pm till the end of the day’s services.

On Tuesday morning, Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar asked the railway authorities to consider its request “at the earliest”.

Later, taking to Twitter, Mr Goyal said, “I am happy to announce that Railways will allow women to travel on suburban trains from 21 Oct between 11 am to 3 pm and after 7 pm. We were always ready and with the receipt of letter from Maharashtra Govt today, we have allowed this travel.”

The Western Railway and the Central Railway are as of now collectively operating around 700 local train services every day on their suburban network.

Allow Women To Travel By Mumbai Locals”: Maharashtra To Railways

The Maharashtra government has requested general managers of Central and Western Railway to allow all women to travel on local trains in the Mumbai region from Saturday.

A senior railway official said the proposal has been forwarded to the Railway Board.

Currently only restricted categories of persons, including essential services staff, are allowed to travel by local trains in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

In letters sent to both the zonal railways on Thursday, state Disaster Management, Relief and Rehabilitation secretary Kishor Raje Nimbalkar said the train services should be made available to women passengers from 11 am to 3 pm and from 7 pm onwards till the end of the services for the day.

QR code passes — currently given to those who are entitled to travel — should not be required for women for traveling during these time slots, he said.

The frequency of trains should also be increased, the letter said.

Railway authorities in Mumbai said the proposal has been forwarded to the Railway Board for approval.

A senior railway official said the board’s nod is necessary for this decision.

The Western Railway, meanwhile, also wrote a letter to the Maharashtra government, requesting it to assess the quantum of passengers that is likely to increase, so that

COVID-19 safety protocols can be planned. It also proposed a meeting between Railway officials and the state government to work out the modalities.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal To Undergo Kidney Stone Removal Procedure

Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal will be undergoing a procedure to remove a kidney stone.

The minister made the announcement on Friday through a tweet.

“I shall be undergoing a procedure to remove a kidney stone. Will be back soon,” he said in the tweet.

Recently, Mr Goyal was given the additional charge of the Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution ministry, a portfolio held by the late Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan, who passed away on October 8.

Men Steal Luxury Items From Railway Saloon Coach In Delhi

Four members of the Dholbaaj Express gang have been arrested for allegedly stealing items from a railway saloon coach, police said on Wednesday.

The accused were identified as Ausaf Ali (44), Aarif (21), Tanveer (20) and Imran (19), all residents of Loni in Ghaziabad, they said.

On September 30, a night burglary took place in a railway saloon coach specially designed for the chief commissioner of railway safety at the New Delhi railway station, a senior police officer said.

The coach was equipped with high-end electronic gazettes such as a personal computer, a smart TV, a home theatre and a colour printer. The personal computer reportedly contained important data of the railways, the officer said.

“On Tuesday, police got a tip-off that members of the Dholbaaj Express gang would come to the Khajuri Road area to sell the burgled articles.

“A trap was laid on Khajuri Road, near the Sabhapur Chowki in Wazirabad, and the four accused were apprehended,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Paweriya said.

The accused committed the night burglary in the railway saloon coach and took away the luxurious items, including the personal computer containing important data, the DCP said.

A smart TV, a home theatre and two speakers were recovered from their possession, the police said

392 Festival Special Trains To Run Between October 20-November 30

The Railways on Tuesday announced that it will operate 392 festival special trains between October 20 and November 30 in view of the upcoming festive season.

The decision was taken as the national carrier is anticipating a passenger rush during the upcoming festive season, the Railway ministry said in a statement.

The special trains will be run for destinations such as Kolkata, Patna, Varanasi, Lucknow among others to cater to the growing demand in the ensuing holiday period of Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali and Chhatt puja, it said.

Till now, the railways has pressed into service more than 300 mail/express trains which are now running regularly across the country.

These new festival special trains, however, will operate only till November 30 and will not have a continued run, officials said.

The Railways has suspended all its regular services due to the coronavirus pandemic and is operating trains as per demand and necessity.

RRB NTPC Exam In December: Know About Selection Process

The RRB NTPC exam for selection to non-technical popular category (NTPC) posts in the Indian Railways will be held in December. Selection to these posts will be done through various exams which will be held in succession. The first stage of RRB NTPC exam will be held from December 15. Admit cards of the exam are expected to be released soon. For the RRB NTPC exam, close to 2 crore candidates are expected to sit.

“Facility for download of admit cards will be available about 3-7 days before the examination on the website of concerned Regional/ Sub-Regional Office. Candidates must bring printout of the admission certificate to the examination hall,” RRBs have said on NTPC admit card.

Candidates who qualify the first stage of the RRB NTPC exam will be shortlisted for the next stage. The tests will be computer based (CBT). For every wrong answer, negative marks will be given to candidates in this CBT.

The railway recruitment boards (RRB) will shortlist candidates for the second stage equaling to 20 times the vacancies as per the merit obtained in the first stage exam.

“The 1st Stage CBT is of screening nature and the standard of questions for the CBT will be generally in conformity with the educational standards prescribed for the posts. The normalized score of 1st Stage CBT shall be used for short listing of candidates for 2nd Stage CBT as per their merit,” RRBs have said in the notification released in February, 2019.

The second stage exam will have questions from general awareness, mathematics, general intelligence and reasoning.

Non-Air Conditioned Coaches To Be Upgraded To AC For High-Speed Trains

The Indian Railways has decided to upgrade the non-air-conditioned (AC) sleeper coaches to AC ones for high-speed trains.

Aiming at saving travel time, it is already upgrading the tracks on Golden Quadrilateral and Diagonals, connecting the four metro cities, to cater to trains running at a speed of 130 km-160 km/hour (kmph).

Presently, only the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah sections of the Golden Quadrilateral are getting prepared.

According to an official statement by the Indian Railways, AC coaches are essentially a technical need for trains running at a speed of 130/160 kmph. “The speed potential of some of the corridors has already been upgraded to 130 kmph. Wind and weather factors demand that only certain types of coaches run at a higher speed. Hence, not all non-AC coaches will be upgraded for high-speed trains.”

It added a prototype of such an AC coach is being made at the Rail Coach Factory and that it should be ready in a few weeks. “Presently an 83-berth coach is being designed. It is being planned to have 100 coaches this year and 200 by next year. The coaches will be evaluated, on the basis of which further progress will be made.”

Railways further said that it will be ensured that while the price of tickets for the modified AC trains remains very affordable, the comfort and conveniences increase manifold.

Meanwhile, non-AC coaches will continue to be in trains running at 110 kmph, the Indian Railways said further.

DMK Slams Centre After People Allegedly Receive Railways’ Messages In Hindi

A DMK MP and NDA constituent PMK on Sunday criticised rail users in Tamil Nadu allegedly receiving train ticket confirmation SMS in Hindi, with the Parliamentarian lashing out at “Hindi imposition”.

Southern Railway officials said that while the matter does not come under their purview, it has, however, been “flagged” with IRCTC, the authorised e-ticketing agency.

DMK MP from South Chennai, Thamizhachi Thangapandian, took to Twitter to share a screenshot of the SMS purportedly received in Hindi.

“The #GovernmentofIndia despite its promises to not impose Hindi, continues to impose the language through insidious means. Stop forcing Hindi on the non-Hindi speaking states,” she said.

In a series of tweets, she tagged the Railway Ministry and urged it to take urgent steps to ensure non-Hindi speakers are also able to access the IRCTC services.

“#StopHindiImposition,” she added.  Party MP Kanimozhi also criticised the alleged Hindi imposition.

“They are not respecting people’s feelings and are repeatedly imposing Hindi,” she said in an apparent reference to the Centre.

“People (in TN) cannot read what is mentioned in the SMS since it is in Hindi,” she told reporters at the airport in Chennai and warned of “serious repercussions” due to such incidents.

PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss, whose party is an ally of the ruling BJP at the Centre, alleged that SMSes for e-tickets in Tamil Nadu are “being sent in Hindi for the last two days.”

“This is a planned imposition of Hindi on non-Hindi speaking people. The Railways should stop this,” he said in a tweet.

He demanded action against those behind this and urged that all Central government-related announcements in Tamil Nadu must be released only in Tamil and English.

Alleged Hindi imposition has been a sensitive issue in Tamil Nadu for long.

The DMK had successfully heralded an anti-Hindi agitation in the 1960s, before coming to power for the first time in 1967.

Even recently, both the ruling AIADMK and DMK have opposed the Centre’s New Education Policy (NEP) 2020, with the former having rejected the three language formula proposed in it.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami had announced that his government will only follow the two-language system–Tamil and English.