Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Banks’ Strike May Impact Several Essential Services

Banking services are likely to be impacted as a joint forum of central trade unions have called for a two-day nationwide strike on March 28 and 29. However this may also affect other services too like transportation, railways as well as electricity supply.

Let’s read on to know why the strike has been called and what could be its implications.

  1. All Indian Trade Union Congress General Secretary Amarjeet Kaur said, “We are expecting participation of over 20 crore formal and informal workers during the strike.”
  2. Ms Kaur said that the strike is expected to hit rural parts of the country also, where informal workers of farming and other sectors will join the protest.
  3. The strike notices were given by workers’ unions of various sectors such as roadways, power, coal, steel, oil, telecom, postal, income tax, copper, banks and insurance. Unions in railways and defence sector will carry out mass mobilisation in support of the strike at several places, the joint forum said.
  4. The unions’ demands include scrapping of the proposed changes in labour laws, privatisation of any form and the national monetisation pipeline. Increased allocation of wages under MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and regularisation of contract workers are also part of their demands.
  5. Meanwhile, the power ministry on Sunday advised all the state-run utilities and other agencies to be on high alert and ensure round-the-clock electricity supply and stability of the national grid.

AAP Alleges Non-Cooperation From Railways Over Its Pilgrimage Scheme

The AAP on Thursday alleged non-cooperation from the Ministry of Railways over its ‘Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana’, a scheme to enable senior citizens to undertake free pilgrimage.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Member Sanjay Singh alleged that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was not even permitted entry into a railway station to meet seniors citizen going on pilgrimage under the scheme.

“The Railways had not permitted entry to an elected chief minister at a station in Delhi who was supposed to go to meet senior citizens going on a pilgrimage,” Mr Singh alleged.

He asked Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who was present in the House, not to behave in such a way with an elected chief minister.

The Upper House was discussing the working of the Ministry of Railways.

According to Mr Singh, this was done despite repeated phone calls from him and the chief minister’s residence.

“You are trying to stop senior citizens from going to Ayodhya for pilgrimage,” he said.

“If you want to fight, then face us in elections. Why are you targeting elderly pilgrims… why are you opposing Arvind Kejriwal?” Mr Singh also accused the BJP of running away from MCD elections in the national capital.

“When we wanted to talk to you on this (elections), you neither talked to us on the phone nor replied to our messages. This behaviour is not good,” he said.

This was followed by uproar from the treasury benches, but Bhubaneshwar Kalita, who was presiding the proceedings of the House, asked the AAP parliamentarian to complete his speech on the subject of discussion.

The AAP MP asked Mr Vaishnaw to be sensitive towards senior citizens as his ministry too has announced travel concessions for them.

He also asked about the status of welfare steps for porters announced by former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Meanwhile, Abdul Wahab of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) alleged discrimination against southern states and sought a separate railway zone for Kerala.

Rupa Ganguly of the BJP raised the issue of labourers hired by contractors of Railways and suggested setting up of a portal with their information.

She further said illegal immigrants are hired by some contractors jeopardising the interests of Indian citizens.

Birendra Prasad Vaishya of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) complimented the government for a budgetary allocation of around  11,400 crore for the northeast, which is 37 per cent higher than the last budget and is an all-time record.

He requested the minister to set up a coach factory in the northeastern region and fill up around 10,000 vacant posts in the Northeast Frontier Railway, a move that will provide employment to the local people.

Jawhar Sircar of the Trinamool Congress raised the issue of alleged neglect of suburban train system by the Railways.

He said passengers of three suburban railways of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai comprise almost half of the daily passenger traffic of the Railways yet their share in the budget is not even one per cent.

“They go in packed like animals, they hang out like birds, this kind of shameful treatment of suburban train must end. It has always been neglected and take this as a fine task,” Mr Sircar said adding Railways officials are not looking at this because of non-profitability.

He also raised questions over the National Monetisation scheme and said, “it is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” and suggested to the government to bring some transparency.

Vinay P Sahasrabudde of the BJP hailed the schemes such as Kisan Train and said this was implemented with a political will.

Participating in the discussion, Manoj Kumar Jha of the RJD stressed on filling the vacancies across various zones.

Ramdas Athawale, Minister of State for Justice and Empowerment and Republican Party of India MP sought a network of bullet trains across the country while H D Devegowda of the Janata Dal (S) asked the railway minister to look into some of the stalled projects in Karnataka.

Sakaldeep Rajbhar of the BJP sought new trains originating from Uttar Pradesh while Chaudhary Sukhram Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party demanded medical staff in superfast trains.

Kanta Kardam and Shiv Pratap Shukla of the BJP also listed the achievements of the Railways during the Covid period.

Woman Raped In Public Toilet At UP Railway Station

A 20-year-old woman was allegedly raped inside a public toilet located near a parking stand at the Pratapgarh railway station, police said on Sunday. The incident took place on March 19, they said, adding that an FIR has been registered in this regard.

Station house officer (SHO) of Kotwali police station R N Rai said the victim along with her husband were waiting to catch a train when the incident occurred.

“The husband went to buy tea in the morning leaving the woman alone. That is when the accused, identified as Anna, approached the woman and gave her a key, telling her that she can use it to access a clean toilet located near the parking stand outside. When the woman entered the toilet, the accused raped her.” The accused fled from the spot after the incident. The husband rescued the wife and informed the police.

Two Railway Links To Connect India, Nepal Soon

India will soon be connected with Nepal by two railway links while it will have six such networks with Bangladesh, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Wednesday.

In an address at a leading institute, Mr Shringla said the railway links between countries are causing a “rapid shrinking of South Asia’s geography” and that the neighbourhood comes first and foremost for India amongst all its foreign policy priorities.

Mr Shringla extensively delved into the importance of connectivity for the expansion of India’s overall engagement with the countries in the region.

“Connectivity within parts of our neighbourhood by road, by water, by rail and by air, and often by multimodal transport, has steadily improved,” he said.

“Railways between countries are causing a rapid shrinking of South Asia’s geography. India and Bangladesh will soon be connected through six rail links and India and Nepal by two rail links,” he said.

At present, a number of rail links between India and Bangladesh are operational.

“Travel between India and three of its neighbours – Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives — does not require visas. Our diplomatic Missions in Sri Lanka and Yangon report an increasing trend in the number of visas being issued,” Mr Shringla said.

He said the second area of focus has been the energy sector.

“The Indian grid is connected to Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh through high-capacity connections. Trans-national movement of electricity in the neighbourhood is a reality,” he said.

The foreign secretary said the countries in the neighbourhood are of special significance to India.

“Our ties with these countries are underpinned by a shared history and culture. Policy initiatives taken by India – and its neighbours — have implications for each other,” he said.

Mr Shringla noted that the neighbouring countries have direct relevance to India’s states bordering these countries, adding that India realises that its prosperity and growth are linked to that of its neighbours.

“We cannot develop unless our neighbours develop. It was in this spirit that the Cabinet Secretary wrote to all government ministries and departments asking them to accord priority to India’s neighbours in their international activities, programmes and projects,” he said.

The foreign secretary said mechanisms have been created to enable greater inter-ministerial coordination and enhanced focus on ‘neighbourhood first’.

“India’s foreign and security policies in this space operate at several levels and dimensions. We have separate bilateral relationships with each of our neighbours. We also interact with them on plurilateral constructs. We work with them within multilateral frameworks,” Mr Shringla said.

Railways Asset Monetisation Programme Didn’t Attract Investors, Being Redrafted: Niti Aayog CEO

Government’s plan to monetise railway assets by allowing private sector players to operate trains did not attract investors due to improper structuring, so the railway ministry is looking at it afresh, government think tank Niti Aayog’s CEO Amitabh Kant has said.

Addressing a conference on Friday, Mr Kant said that the private sector will invest only if there are assured returns. “Therefore good project structuring is the key to success of any asset monetisation deal. Obviously, the railways trains project was not well structured, it did not attract good private sector participants. On the top of that, IRCTC was also bidding for railway trains,” he said.

“They lacked a good amount of structuring and therefore both the railway trains and the railway stations are being re-looked at, re-examined by the railway ministry and by the railway minister and they will take a call now how to go about it and what should be the model for that. It is being deliberated by the new minister,” Mr Kant informed.

“All the  6 lakh crore assets that are listed down in the asset monetisation pipeline, are all assets which have revenue generating possibility and it needs to be well structured and it can easily attract investors into these brownfield assets. These are assets where revenue streams are already flowing in. If the projects are not well structured, you will not get the right bidders, you will not get the right value, you will not serve the interest of the country,” the Niti Aayog CEO elaborated.

Speaking at the conference, department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM) secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey said the policy announced in February 2021 for public sector enterprises is now the guiding policy for divestment.

CommentsAs per the policy, the government will have bare minimum presence in broad strategic areas.

Army Soldier Arrested For Molesting Foreigner On Express Train In Maharashtra

The railway police in Maharashtra’s Kalyan has arrested an Army jawan wanted for allegedly molesting a foreign national on an express train three years ago, an official said on Wednesday.

Based on a tip-off, Army jawan Sateesh T was arrested from a house in Kalyan town of Maharashtra’s Thane district, senior inspector Shardul Walmiki of Kalyan Railway police said.

According to the police, the accused had allegedly molested a Portuguese woman travelling in Goa-Nizamuddin Express train between Kalyan and Kasara stations on February 14, 2019.

The accused, a native of Kerala, was travelling in the same compartment as the victim.

The woman lodged a complaint with the Indian Embassy, which was then forwarded to the Kalyan Railway police station for probe, the official said.

Based on the CCTV footage and details provided by the woman, the police zeroed in on the jawan, he said.

CommentsOnce the accused got a hint that the police were on a lookout for him, he applied for a pre-arrest bail in the Kalyan sessions court, which was dismissed, and he later moved the High Court, which also rejected his plea.

Shots Fired As Ukrainians Try To Cram Onto Evacuation Trains

Ukrainian guards fired warning shots to prevent a stampede at Kyiv’s central railway station on Friday as thousands of people tried to force their way onto evacuation trains.

Crowds were so large that not everyone could get on the trains from the capital to the western city of Lviv as fears of a Russian assault on Kyiv mounted.

When a train drew up at a platform, people rushed to the doors, hoping to get on board, some of them with their children and pets. The guards fired several shots with blanks to disperse the crowd after screams broke out.

Thirty-year-old Maria gave up trying to leave after spending four hours at the station with her child, husband and dog.

“You can see, it’s dangerous to break through the crowd with a kid. The dog is scared. Honestly, we’re exhausted,” she told news agency Reuters.

Some foreign students also tried to leave. One, a girl from Mongolia, said at the station that she and her fellow students had been offered the possibility of being evacuated home if they managed to reach Poland, which borders western Ukraine.

“I’m not afraid of anything,” said Iryna, a 35-year-old woman who also failed to get on a train. “We stand for the truth and if we stand for the truth, God is on our side. I’m ready to stay in Kyiv if needed and give moral support to our army.”

Many others chose to flee in their cars, choking roads outside the capital for a second day.

Tens of thousands have already managed to leave the country, most of them women and children as men of fighting age were told to remain.