Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Indian Railways working 24×7 to ensure supply of necessary items, all passenger trains stopped but goods trains running

In the wake of the lockdown in several parts of the country due to the pandemic coronavirus COVID-19, the Indian Railways has shut down its services for the passengers across the country. However, to ensure the timely supply of necessary items, all goods trains have been working 24×7, said the Railways on Wednesday.

A statement read that reports claiming that “entire train services have been stopped”, is causing problems at the field level as the police and administration officials in the area do not get to read the circular and believe that all train services have been stopped. As a result, they believe that the required duty Railway employees are also being stopped.

“To ensure the necessary supply, the Railways is working on 24X7. Although all passenger carrying trains have been stopped, the Goods trains are still running,” further read the statement.

“We are ensuring supply by carrying goods like food grains, coal, POL, milk, vegetables etc., which is very important for society. We clearly understand our responsibility during the next few months,” added the statement.

During the ongoing crisis, the Ministry of Railways has decided to use the manufacturing facilities of its production units like Chittaranjan Loco Works, Chittaranjan, Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, Diesel Loco Works, Varanasi, Rail Wheel Factory, Yelehanka to manufacture essential items which can be utilized for the treatment of affected people.

The ministry took the decision in consultation with Production Units and Zonal Railway workshops.

The railway board has issued necessary instructions to the general managers of these production units to explore the feasibility of manufacture of items like simple hospital beds (without mattress), medical trolleys for hospitals and quarantine facilities, IV stands, stretchers, hospital footsteps, hospital bedside lockers, washbasins with stands, ventilators, PPEs like masks, sanitizers, water tanks etc.

It has entrusted the tasks to the general managers to explore the feasibility in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of the zone and manufacture it in large quantities.

The total number of Coronavirus positive cases has crossed 500 and the death toll stands at 10.

No Food Services In Trains From March 22, Says Railway Catering Firm

The IRCTC has ordered the closure of all onboard catering services in mail or express trains from March 22 until further notice in view of the coronavirus outbreak, according to an order from the railway subsidiary on Friday.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has also decided to close all food plazas, refreshment rooms, Jan Aahars and cell kitchens until further notice.

“The static units supplying meals to prepaid trains which are in operation may continue to operate. The onboard catering services in mail express trains and TSV trains should be closed until further advice,” the order stated.

It also said that if there is a demand of onboard services then only propriety article depot (PAD) items, tea and coffee may be allowed to be sold in trains.

“Such operation should be conducted using minimum number of staff. The licensee should be requested to take care of their catering staff on humanitarian grounds during this period of closure.

“These instructions shall come into force from March 22. For the purpose of license fee this period will be covered under force majeure. If there is a demand, license is permitted to sell PAD items, tea and coffee,” the order stated.

Bengaluru Rail Official Allegedly Hid Son Who Had Coronavirus, Suspended

A railway official in Bengaluru has been suspended for hiding her son, who returned from abroad and later tested positive for coronavirus or COVID 19, officials said on Friday.

The officer allegedly concealed the travel history of her son; the 25-year-old had returned from Spain.

The woman, an Assistant Personnel Officer, also booked her son into a room in the Guest House of the Railway Colony near the main Bangalore railway station, said South Western Railway.

She “endangered the lives of others” by lodging him in the railway rest house, railway spokesperson E Vijaya told the Press Trust of India.

“She virtually hid her son to protect her family but endangered all of us,” a South Western Railway official said.

The son has been admitted to hospital. He had been instructed to home quarantine himself after he landed at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on March 13. Five days later, he tested positive for COVID-19.

“The son of railway official had returned from Spain. She was posted in Bangalore. The guest House in Bangalore was quarantined and people  – who came in contact with him – have been sent to home quarantine after primary check- up,” a senior official told NDTV.

Sixteen coronavirus cases, including one death, have been reported in Karnataka. Nearly 100 people are in isolation at hospitals across the state. More than half of them are being monitored at Bengaluru.

Across India, the number of coronavirus cases has climbed to nearly 200. Four people have died.

25% Drop In Mumbai’s Western Railway Commuters Amid Coronavirus Fears

The number of commuters on suburban trains of the Western Railway (WR) reduced by more than 8 lakh on the day Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to people to avoid non-essential travel in view of the coronavirus outbreak in the state.

According to WR, on Tuesday 32.60 lakh passengers travelled on their suburban trains as against 40.75 lakh on Monday (down 8.15 lakhs).

“The number of commuters reduced by around 25 per cent,” said Ravinder Bhakar, chief spokesperson of WR.

On Tuesday, Mr Thackeray had appealed to people to avoid train and bus journey if not necessary, while clarifying the government does not want to stop suburban services to contain the coronavirus spread.

Suburban services are the lifeline of Mumbai and daily over 80 lakh commuters commute by them.

Though exact passenger count on Central Railway’s suburban trains was not available, a senior official said the number of passengers could have reduced by 7-9 lakh on Tuesday.

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to reduce public transport commuter count by at least 50 per cent as part of measures to avoid crowding and enforce social distancing.

2.87 Lakh Posts Vacant In Railways

As many as 2.87 lakh of the 15 lakh sanctioned positions are lying vacant in the railways, the government told Parliament on Friday.

In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said three centralised employment notifications (CENs) for around 1.41 lakh vacancies for various Group ‘C’ posts (including Level-1) were issued in 2018.

“Recruitment processes for the same have been completed. Further, in 2019, another four CENs for around 1.43 lakh additional vacancies have also been notified. Recruitment process for 01 CEN is completed and for remaining three CENs, is in progress.

“Contract labourers are engaged by the railway field units on need basis from time to time. Data of contract labourers’ details is not maintained centrally,” he said.

Centre Drafts New Rules For Railway Health Service Recruitment. UPSC To Continue Direct Selection

The draft recruitment rules of Indian Railway Health Service have been released. The Ministry of Railways has released the draft rules on the official website of Indian Railways and sought comments from stakeholders. “The draft recruitment rules of Indian Railway Health Service are being uploaded on the official website for 30 days of Ministry of Railways for seeking comments of the stakeholders. Comments/suggestions, if any, on the draft RRs may be sent to email id [email protected],” the Ministry has said in an official notification released on its website on March 9.

This is in supersession of the Railway Medical Service Recruitment Rules 2000 which was published on February 29, 2000.

Among the various recruitment rules drafted by the Ministry for Indian Railway Health Service recruitment, is the direct recruitment to junior time scale post through Combined Medical Services (CMS) Exam. The CMS exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for selection of Assistant Divisional Medical Officers or the ADMOs which is a junior time scale post. In the recent exam, notified in 2019, a total of 300 ADMO vacancies were notified by the UPSC. Candidates recommended by the UPSC undergo Foundation Course training initially and after completion of Foundation Course, they are posted to the Railway Health Units/ Dispensaries at way side stations. ADMOs are also liable to transfer to any Railway.

The eligibility criteria for ADMOs in UPSC exam remains the same in the draft recruitment rule.

Until 2018, UPSC conducted direct recruitment for various railway services through Civil Services exam and Engineering Services exam. Post it’s decision to form Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS), the government has withdrawn the railway posts in Engineering Services Exam and Civil Services exam.

As of now, UPSC would conduct direct recruitment for Indian Railway Medical Services and Railway Protection Force.

As per the draft rule, at junior administrative grade level 12, 5% of the appointment will be through direct recruitment. Likewise at senior scale level 11, 30% of the appointment will be through direct recruitment. In case suitable candidates are not found through direct recruitment the vacancies will be filled through promotion.

Railway Recruitment Through UPSC Engineering, Civil Services Exam Withdrawn

The government has decided to withdraw the railway posts in Engineering Services Exam and Civil Services exam post its decision to introduce Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS). However, the exam for selection to Indian Railway Protection Force Service will continue as before. This information was shared by Minister of Railways and Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

In response to Kunwar Danish Ali’s question on whether the railways has cancelled the vacancies under ESE 2020 for which stage-I (Preliminary) examination was conducted on January 5, the railway minister said, “In line with Government’s decision to introduce Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) from the next recruitment cycle, it has been decided to withdraw indents for services covered under Engineering Services Examination 2020 and Civil Services Examination 2020 except that for Indian Railway Protection Force Service (IRPFS).”

The central service recruiter, Union Public Service Commission (USPC), will now conduct the recruitment exams directly for the IRMS. However, it is not clear that when the first IRMS exam will be notified.

On December 24, the Union Cabinet had approved a major overhauling of the organisational structure of Indian Railways in which its eight services were merged into one — the Indian Railway Management Service.

It was then decided that UPSC would facilitate recruitment for the unified railway group ‘A’ service, Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS), from the next recruitment cycle which is 2020.

“Just like aspirants to the Union Public Service Commission, candidates aspiring to get into railways will have to appear for their prelims after which they will indicate their preference for IRMS under five specialities — four of them engineering specialities for ”technical” operations comprising of civil, mechanical, telecom and electrical, and one ”non-technical” speciality which will recruit officers for accounts, personnel and traffic,” Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav had said after the merger.

The Railways had written a letter to UPSC in January about the withdrawal of the posts.

No Undue Delay In Group D Recruitment, Says Railways Minister As Job Aspirants Await Exam Date For A Year

There is no undue delay in recruitment for RRB Group D posts (now, Level1) in the Railways, the Railways minister informed parliament today. The minister also said the ongoing Group D recruitment have seen around 1.15 crore applications, whose scrutiny is complete, and the scheduling of written examination (CBT) of this recruitment is under process. The candidates who have applied for a February 2019 notification are awaiting the examination date for over a year.

The Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal said two recruitment notifications for Level-1 were issued; one in February 2018 for around 63,000 vacancies and second one in March 2019 for around 1.03 lakh vacancies.

“Around 1.89 crore applications were received for the first notification, CEN 02/2018. After scrutiny of applications, conduct of written examination (Computer Based Test, CBT) for eligible candidates, generation of Zonal Railway-wise merit lists, Physical Efficiency Test, Document Verification & Medical Examination, around 56,000 candidates have already been selected for appointment as on 13.02.2020,”he said about the RRB Group D 2018 recruitment.

“For the second notification (CEN RRC-01/2019), around 1.15 crore applications have been received whose scrutiny is complete. Scheduling of written examination (CBT) under this notification is under process,” the minister replied while responding to questions asked in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday about examination of Group-D posts in Railways getting delayed.

Recently, the RRBs have issued tender notice for an exam conducting authority to conduct the first stage CBT for NTPC posts – for which also more than a crore applicants are awaiting exam date since the recruitment was announced in February last year — , and Ministerial and Isolated Categories posts.

The tender for NTPC posts have been invited by RRB Chennai, and for Ministerial categories by RRB Ajmer.

 

Indian Railways Ticketing Arm Files For Public Offer

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) on Thursday filed its draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for its proposed initial public offering (IPO).

Market sources said the IPO will be worth Rs. 500 crore to Rs. 600 crore.

According to the DRHP, IRCTC is the only entity authorised by the Indian Railways to provide catering services to railways, online railway tickets and packaged drinking water at railway stations and trains in India.

The central public sector enterprise has also diversified into other business segments like e-catering, executive lounges, and budget hotels.

The issue comprises of two crore equity shares with a face value of Rs. 10 each through an offer for sale by the President of India acting through the Ministry of Railways (the selling shareholder).

Out of the net offer, equity shares may be reserved for eligible employees but not exceed five per cent of the post-offer paid-up equity share capital of the company.

The book running lead managers to the offer are IDBI Capital Markets and Securities Limited, SBI Capital Markets Limited and Yes Securities India Ltd.

Up to 50 per cent of the offer will be available for the allocation to qualified institutional buyers.

Further, up to 15 per cent of the offer will be available for allocation on a proportionate basis to non-institutional bidders and 35 per cent of the offer will be available for the allocation to retail individual bidders.

IRCTC operates one of the most transacted websites in the Asia Pacific region with transaction volume averaging at 25 million per month and 7.2 million logins a day. Over 1.4 million passengers travel on a daily basis of which 71.42 per cent book their tickets online.

Ahmedabad-Mumbai Tejas Train Operation To Be Handed Over To IRCTC: Report

After the Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express, the railways has decided to hand over the operations of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Central Tejas Express to its subsidiary, IRCTC, as a test case, ahead of the implementation of its plan to rope in private players in the running of certain trains, sources said on Tuesday.

The IRCTC, the railways’ tourism and catering arm, will also have the flexibility to decide the passenger fare on these trains — Ahmedabad-Mumbai Central Tejas Express and the Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express, the sources added.

According to a blueprint prepared by the Railway Board to hand over the two trains to the railways’ tourism and catering arm for a period of three years as a pilot project, no concessions, privileges or duty passes will be allowed on these trains.

The railways also said on-board ticket checking on IRCTC trains will not be done by the railway staff.

However, it said the trains will be uniquely numbered and operated by the railways’ operating staff — loco, pilots, guards and station masters. The services of these two trains will be at par with the Shatabdi Express trains and given a similar priority, the sources said.

Bringing in private train operators to provide world-class passenger service was a proposal mooted by the railways in its 100-day plan. Sources said handing over the two Tejas Express trains to IRCTC was a first step towards that.

IRCTC will have the rights for advertisements inside and outside the coaches, including branding of the trains. It can also make modifications inside the rake without affecting its structural safety.

IRCTC will be allowed to use the railways’ web portal for ticketing for a year and the revenue accounts of these two trains would be maintained separately, the sources said. The Railway Board has instructed IRCTC to develop its own ticketing system simultaneously.

The trains will have 18 coaches each. However, IRCTC will be allowed to run the trains with a minimum of 12 coaches for a period of one year. The haulage charges would be calculated per trip, based on the number of coaches used on each trip or 12 coaches, whichever is higher.

IRCTC will also pay for the custody of trains, including spares.

The Railway Board has, however, clarified that in case of any accident, the IRCTC passengers will be treated at par with railway passengers and will be eligible for accident-related claims. It will also provide assistance and restoration in case of an accident.

The railways will also provide maintenance for the trains.