Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Railways Engages Over 12,000 Workers Under Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan

“Till August 21, a total of 12,276 workers have been engaged under this scheme. The ministry has also released the payment of ₹ 1,410.35 crore to the contractors for the projects,” the railways said.

Nearly two months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Gareeb Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan, the Indian Railways has engaged a total of 12,276 workers under this scheme till August 21. It has also generated more than 6,40,000 mandays of work under the scheme in six states, the Ministry of Railways said on Sunday.

“Till August 21, a total of 12,276 workers have been engaged under this scheme. The ministry has also released the payment of  1,410.35 crore to the contractors for the projects,” the Ministry of Railways said on Sunday.

Six states where mandays of work have been generated include – Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, an official release said here today.

Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal is closely monitoring the progress in the schemes. Close to 165 Railway infrastructure projects are being executed in these states.

Till August 21, a total of 12,276 workers have been engaged under this scheme. The ministry has also released the payment of  1,410.35 crore to the contractors for the projects, the ministry further said.

Nodal Officers in each district as well as in the states have also been appointed for close coordination with state governments.

“This Abhiyaan of 125 days, is being undertaken in mission mode and involves focused implementation of 25 categories of works/ activities in 116 districts, each with a large concentration of returnee migrant workers in 6 states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, and Odisha. Public works are being undertaken during this campaign will have a resource envelope of  50,000 crores,” the release by the ministry added.

The scheme is a convergent effort between 12 ministries/departments to speed up the implementation of 25 public infrastructure works and works relating to the increase of livelihood opportunities, the ministry said further.

Earlier, while launching the project on June 20, the PM had said, “Today is a historic day, a scheme for the welfare and for the livelihood of the poor has been started. It is dedicated to the workers, to the youths and women living in villages. The majority of these include those who have returned to their villages during the lockdown, they want to develop their village through their efforts and skill.”

“The country understands both your feelings and your requirements. The program is started through Khagaria today is a medium to meet your requirements. It will be run in 116 villages in six states,” he added.

Railways may soon adopt a ‘Pizza Delivery’ model to boost Freight revenues

 In its endeavour to boost freight revenues, the Indian Railway is mulling an innovative model that will also provide a time bound delivery of the material or commodity.

Sources told Zee Media that Railways may adopt the Domino’s Pizza delivery model to boost freight revenues, which means that the national transporter will ensure time bound delivery of the products and goods and in case there is delay, the Railways will pay adequate compensation for it.

The compensation model will be on hourly basis, which means that Railways will provide a fixed time frame for delivery of commodities, failing which, it will compensate the customers on delay of every hours. For example goods from Mumbai needs to be delivered to Delhi that will take a maximum of 3 days (72 hours). However, if the goods are not delivered within those 72 hours, the Railways will pay compensation for every delayed hour after the expiry of the set deadline.

Railways plans to implement the model on limited sector and gradually take it forward after the completion of the Dedicated Freight Corridor by 2021.

Sources further told Zee Media that Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has asked the his team to take the idea forward, which in long run will benefit the national transporter in terms of revenue generation.

The move is aimed to attract steel, coal, iron ore, cement companies to select railways for their preferred mode of transportation. Railways also eyes to attract e-Commerce companies, Auto Sector and Pharma Sector for its freight delivery model.

Indian Railways has expanded its basket of freight that is used by it to move goods from from one location of country to another. In a first, Pepsi bottles were transported in 5 parcel vans from Azara Station in Assam to Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh on August 15.

In order to attract more companies to choose Indian Railways as the means of transportation to move the commodities in country, Indian Railways has announced a series of benefits, ranging from lenient freight rates to even promise of freight delivery in a fixed time frame.

Southern Railway Clarifies On The Employability Of Apprentices

20% of the vacancies in the level 1 posts is reserved for candidates who have completed their apprenticeship, Southern Railways has notified. “It may be noted that Railways engage apprentices in workshops and Production units and impart them technical training with the objective of developing skilled manpower. Employment in Railways is not guaranteed on completion of Apprenticeship,” it also said.

“However, in 2016 it was decided by Railway Board that 20% of the vacancies in case of direct recruitment to posts in Level-1 shall be filled by giving preference to Course completed Act Apprentices,” it has added.

The notification has been released in response to the protests held by railway apprentices at Ponmalai workshop, Tamil Nadu demanding employment in the railways.

“In pursuant to this new rule, 597 vacancies were earmarked for Apprentices and notified through employment notification no: CEN No: 02/2018,” the Southern Railways has said and has added that for this recruitment 3,627 applications were received from apprentices out of which 2,839 appeared for the exam. After the completion of selection tests, only 54 candidates who had met the minimum qualifying marks were selected against the notified vacancies of 597.

It has also clarified on the allegations that there is discrimination against Tamil Nadu candidates from being recruited for job vacancies existing in Southern Railways. On this, it has said, there are no reservations in any railway recruitment board (RRB) based on the origin of state or state of residence. Citing a recruitment notified in 2018, notified as CEN 02/2018, as an example it has said that for the RRB Chennai zone 51% of the applicants were from Tamil Nadu and of the total selection 17% are from Tamil Nadu.

Railways’ Ninja Drones To Ensure Safety Of Assets, Passengers

The Railways has procured Ninja unmanned aerial vehicles for monitoring its assets and ensure safety for passengers, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has said.

The Mumbai Division of Central Railway has recently procured two Ninja UAVs for better security and surveillance in railway areas like station premises, railway track sections, yards, workshops.

“Eye in the Sky: Improving Surveillance System, Railways has recently procured Ninja Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. With real-time tracking, video streaming and automatic failsafe mode, the drones will enhance monitoring of the railway assets and ensure additional safety for passengers,” Mr  Goyal said in a tweet.

The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has planned extensive use of drones for the purpose of railway security, a statement from the ministry said.

Nine drones have been procured by RPF so far at a cost of  31.87 Lakh at South Eastern Railway, Central Railway, Modern Coaching Factory, Raebareilli and South Western Railway, it said.

It is further proposed to procure 17 more drones in future at a cost of  97.52 Lakh. Nineteen RPF personnel have so far been trained in operation and maintenance of drones out of which four have received licenses for flying drones. Six more RPF personnel are being trained, the ministry said.

The purpose of the drone deployment is to provide a force multiplier and aid the deployed security personnel, it said.

While it can help in inspection of Railway assets and safety of yards, workshops, car sheds, it can also be used to launch surveillance on criminal and anti-social activities like gambling, throwing of garbage, hawking in railway premises, it added.

“It may be deployed for data collection, analysis of such data collected may prove to be extremely useful in vulnerable sections for safe operations of trains. The drone may be pressed in service at disaster sites for helping in rescue, recovery and restoration and coordinating of efforts of various agencies,” the ministry said.

“It is very useful while undertaking mapping of railway asset to assess the encroachments on railway property. During large scale crowd management efforts, it may give vital inputs like crowd magnitude, probable time of arrival and dispersal based on which crowd regulation efforts may be planned and executed,” the statement said. “Drones were used to enforce lockdown and monitor the movement of migrants during the COVID-19 lockdown,” it said.

A drone camera can cover large areas which requires 8-10 RPF personnel. Thus, it may lead to substantial improvement in utilisation of scarce manpower.

Drone beats have been designed based on railway asset, sensitivity of area, activity of criminals. Any suspicious activity if noticed is intimated to the nearest RPF post of division to apprehend the criminal live.

One such criminal was apprehended on a real time basis in Wadibunder Yard area while he was trying to commit theft inside railway coach stationed in the yard, the Railways said.

Private Train Operators Must Maintain 95% Punctuality, Pay Penalty For Delay: New Railways Draft

Private entities have to pay heavy penalties in case the trains they operate are delayed or reach the destination early, according to a draft key performance indicators for private operators released by the Railways.

The draft document released on Wednesday states that private train operators have to maintain 95 per cent punctuality through the year.

Private operators also have to pay penalties for misreporting their revenue or in case of train cancellations for reasons attributable to them.

According to the draft, if the arrival of a train at its destination is delayed by over 15 minutes it will be deemed to have lost punctuality.

In this case, the private operator has to pay the Railways extra haulage charge worth 200 km for every one per cent “reduction in punctuality” compared to the guaranteed punctuality, the document states.

The Railways has said the haulage charge – the fee that private operators will pay to use Railways” infrastructure – will be  512 per km.

If a private train reaches destination at least 10 minutes in advance, the operator will have to pay the Railways penalty in the form of haulage charge for 10 kilometres.

Officials said these measures are to ensure that private trains maintain punctuality.

The draft document also states that if a train doesn’t reach its destination on time because of the Railways, the private operator will be paid for every one per cent reduction of punctuality compared to guaranteed punctuality by the private entity in the form of haulage charge for 50 km.

In the event of cancellation of a train service due to the reasons attributable to the operator, it will pay the Railways one-fourth of the haulage charge for such train service as damages.

However, if a train is cancelled because of the national transporter, it will pay the private operator the same amount, the document said.

But, if the loss of punctuality of a train is attributable to both the Railways and the private entity, it shall be treated on account of the entity having more than 70 per cent contribution in the total loss of punctuality of that train.

In case the punctuality of a train is affected because of reasons such as bad weather, cattle run over, human run over, law and order, public agitation, miscreant activity, accident, heavy traffic at level crossing gates, and operation of passenger alarm system, neither will be liable to pay damages.

The document also states that since the Railways will share revenue with the private entity to ensure that it was reporting gross revenue honestly and faithfully, the national transporter will depute its representatives to the project and offices of the private operator.

“If verification of revenues pursuant to this demonstrates that the Gross Revenue is more than the amount reported by the concessionaire by more than 1 per cent thereof, the difference between such amount reported by the Concessionaire and the gross revenue shall be multiplied by 10 and the product thereof shall be paid as damages by the concessionaire to the government,” it said.

Alstom, Bombardier, 21 Other Firms Attend Railways’ Meet For Running Private Trains

Twenty-three firms including Alstom Transport India Ltd, Bombardier Transportation India, Siemens Limited, GMR Infrastructure and some PSUs have shown interest in operating private trains in the country, and they attended a pre-application meeting Wednesday as a first step, the Railways said.

Other companies that attended the meeting on running private trains in 12 clusters included defense PSU BEML, the railways” IRCTC, the State-run BHEL, Spanish coach and component maker CAF India, Medha Group, which had also bid for the Train-18 project, Sterlite, Bharat Forge, JKB infrastructure and Titagarh Wagons Limited, the national transporter said.

During the meeting, the companies put forth several queries including on flexibility in clusters, eligibility criteria, bidding process, procurement of trains, fares, operations and maintenance, timing of trains and halts.

Officials of the Railways and the NITI Aayog provided clarifications on the queries, the national transporter said in a statement.

The private entities will be selected through a two-stage competitive bidding process comprising Request for Qualification (RFQ) and Request for Proposal (RFP).

The due date for opening of RFQ is September 8.

The pre-application meetings have been designed by the Railways to clarify any queries that prospective private train operators might have before they apply for ‘Request for Qualifications”.

The first pre-application meeting was held on July 21 which was attended by 16 players.

The Railways has said that the private players will decide the fares on these trains and there will be no prescribed upper limit.

Responding to the queries, the Railways emphasized that a complete freedom will be given to private players in terms of procurement of trains which can either be purchased or taken on lease.

The Railways also clarified that risks with regard to operation of trains shall be allocated to the parties best suited to manage them.

After the first pre-application conference, the Railways had reduced the RFQ fee by one-tenth for participating in more than one project, removed restriction of up to three projects per bidder and clarified that leasing of trains is allowed.

It had also shared traffic data, draft concession agreement, draft feasibility report and draft manual for standards and specifications of trains.

As part of the Bidding Process, the Railways conducted the second pre-application conference on Wednesday.

The other companies which attended the Wednesday meeting are: Gateway Rail, Hind Rectifiers Limited, Iboard India Private Limited, ISQ ASIA Infrastructure investments PTE. LTD, Jasan Infra Private Limited, L&T Infrastructure Development Projects Ltd (L&T IDPL), Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Limited (MEIL), National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, and PSGG Technologies Pvt Ltd.

The conference started with a discussion on the overview of the terms of the RFQs and contours of the project followed by a detailed exchange on the queries raised by the prospective applicants.

“Applicants queries with regard to the definition of Gross Revenue were also addressed. Regarding haulage charges, MoR (Ministry of Railways) informed the indicative haulage charges @  512.31 per train km for 2019-20 with indexation,” the statement said.

The Railways has invited 12 RFQs for private participation in operation of passenger trains over 109 origin-destination pair of routes through introduction of 151 modern trains (rakes).

These new trains will be in addition to the existing ones operated on the network.

This is the first initiative of private investment for running passenger trains on the Railways network. The project would entail a private sector investment of about ₹ 30,000 crore.

Railways Suspends Regular Passenger Services, 230 Special Trains To Continue

The Railways has stated that all regular passenger train services will remain suspended till further notice, but 230 special trains will continue to be in service.

“This is to bring to the notice of all concerned that as decided and informed earlier as well, regular passenger and suburban train services will continue to remain suspended till further notice,” a statement from the Railways said.

“It may be noted that 230 Special Trains, which are running at present, will continue to operate. Local trains in Mumbai, which are presently being run on limited basis only on the requisition of state government, will also continue to run,” it said.

The occupancy of special trains is being monitored on a regular basis and additional special trains may be run based on the requirement, the national carrier said.

However, all other regular trains and suburban trains run before the lockdown will remain suspended for the time being, it said.

All special trains – 12 pairs running on the Rajdhani routes since May 12 and 100 pairs operating since June 1 – will continue.

The limited special suburban services which began recently in Mumbai to ferry essential services personnel identified by the local authorities will also continue to run, officials said.

Earlier, the national transporter had suspended all services till August 12.

With the suspension of passenger trains indefinitely, Indian Railways has estimated a loss of around  40,000 crore in its passenger business for this fiscal.

The extension of the suspension comes at a time when active COVID-19 cases in India stand at 6,39,929, while 15,83,489 people have recovered, according to the Union Health Ministry. On Tuesday, a single day spike of 53,601 COVID-19 cases pushed India’s virus caseload to 22,68,675 with the death count climbing to 45,257.

Railways Set To End Colonial-Era “Khalasi” System, Stops New Appointments

The railways is set to end a colonial-era practice of appointing “khalasis” or ”bungalow peons” who worked at the residences of senior officials, following an order from the Railway Board barring any new appointment to the post.

In an order issued on Thursday, the Railway Board has said the issue regarding telephone attendant-cum-dak khalasis (TADKs) is under review.

“The issue regarding the appointment of TADK is under review in Railway Board. It has, therefore, been decided that any appointment of fresh face substitutes as TADK should not either be processed or made with immediate effect.

“Further, all cases approved for such appointments since 1st July 2020 may be reviewed and position advised to Board. This may be complied with strictly in all Railway establishments,” the order said.

After joining the railways as temporary staff, TADKs become Group D staff following a screening process after a period of around three years.

In the earlier days, officers posted in remote areas or working in the field during odd hours would be provided a TADK to ensure security for the family as well as do odd official work like attend to phone calls or ferry files.

These TADK staff would usually become ticket examiners, porters, mechanics for air-conditioned coaches and cooks in the running room.

However, over the years, the role was relegated to that of domestic help and then to office peons, officials said.

Amid complaints of abuse and ill treatment, the railways had ordered a review of the post and in 2014, formed a joint secretary-level committee of nine members of the Railway Board to review the policy.

TADK staff members, who have a minimum educational qualification of up to Class 8, are paid around  20,000 toRs 22,000 per month and given benefits akin to Group D staff of the railways.

290 Passengers Rescued From 2 Stranded Trains In Mumbai

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) rescued 290 passengers from two local trains stranded on flooded tracks between the CSMT and Sandhurst Road station on Wednesday, said a Central Railway spokesperson.

The city was battered by incessant rain during the day.

Two local trains — one heading in the direction of Karjat in the north and another heading for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in south Mumbai — came to a standstill in chest-high water around 4 pm.

The joint operation was over at 10 pm with all the passengers were rescued, said railway spokesperson Shivaji Sutar.

While the NDRF rescued 39 passengers using inflated boats, the RPF rescued 251 passengers, he said.

At Masjid station, the water was above the platform level and it was impossible for the stranded passengers to get down and walk because of the drainage channels along the tracks, he said.

Both Central and Western lines witnessed heavy water-logging on tracks due to heavy rains.

Early in the morning, Western Railway services were badly hit due to waterlogging between Virar and Dahanu.

New Airport, Swanky Station – Ayodhya Has Blueprint Ready For Big Upgrade

The groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed Ram temple at the Ram Janambhoomi site in Ayodhya will take place today amid hopes of a better future following massive upgrade plans that involve a brand new airport and a glitzy railway station. The Uttar Pradesh government has announced a number of development and beautification projects in the temple town, with a budget of more than Rs 500 crore.

There are plans to promote Ayodhya as a big religious tourism destination. The government is expecting huge footfall by 2024, when the long-awaited Ram temple is expected to be completed.

The advance planning includes not only a new airport and railway station, but also an upgrade of the nearby highway and local tourist spots.

As of now, Ayodhya has an airstrip for the use of VIPs. But the government has announced that it will be converted into an airport. Not much has happened since the announcement made two years ago. The government is still in the process of land acquisition.

The national highway upgrade has a budget of Rs 250 crore. The water supply project will also be upgraded which has a budget of Rs 54 crore. Rs 7 crore has been earmarked for the bus station and an equal amount for the police barracks.

Rs 16 crore has been set aside for the modernisation of the Tulsi Smarak. The local Rajshri Dasrath Medical College will also be upgraded, for which 134 crore has been allotted.

Despite dominating politics in north India for decades, Ayodhya had been a sleepy little town, where the young people demanded development.

“We have moved on from mandir-masjid,” students at the Saket College, Ayodhya’s most prestigious educational institution, had said ahead of the 2017 state elections.

“Where are the jobs, the factories,” they asked, claiming that the BJP’s development mantra has passed Ayodhya by.

According to government figures, between 2003 and 2012, the number of industrial units in Ayodhya-Faizabad area went up by just 50 — from 377 to 426.

In November 2018, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had announced grand plans for an airport and a medical college. There were plans to build a Ramayan circuit by the river Saryu that passes through the town.