Indian Railways News

Railway Ministry sanction Rs.748 Crore Jeypore-Nabarangpur new Rail line project

The Ministry of Railways has sanctioned a new broad gauge (BG) line between Jeypore and Nabarangpur in Odisha, officials said. The 38 km long new line project will be implemented on cost-sharing basis of 50 per cent each between the Railways and Odisha government.

As per the announcement of Budget 2016-17, Ministry of Railways sanctioned New BG line between Jeypore & Navarangpur  in Odisha. The length of the new BG line is 38 Kms. The cost of the project is 747.91 Crores. The project will be completed in 3 years. The project shall be implemented on Cost-sharing basis (50% by Ministry of Railways under GBS and 50% by State Govt. of Odisha)

The Project is important for connecting Navarangpur District of Western Odisha, with Jeypore, an existing Station on Kottavalasa- Kirandul line. This line will provide connectivity to important towns viz. Koraput, Jeypore, Jagdalpur, Dantewada. Further, the line is useful for connecting Navarangpur to Junagarh/Kalahandi District and result in short lead to many other places of Odisha, Chhattisgarh & Andhra Pradesh.

Further,  State Govt. of Odisha will be bearing entire cost of land and 50%  of the construction cost of the project.

The salient features of new BG line is as under:

Construction of New Broad Gauge Railway Line between Jeypore & Navarangpur (38 Km)

Name of the Project

New B.G. Railway Line between Jeypore & Navarangpur

Length

38 Km

Cost

Rs 747.91 Crores.

Completion Cost

Rs 791.47 crore

Completion Period

3 years

Mode of funding

Cost-sharing basis (50% by Ministry of Railways under GBS and 50% by State Govt. of Odisha)

States/Districts served

Odisha / Koraput and Navarangpur

Background

The Project is important for connecting Navarangpur District of Western Odisha, with Jeypore, an existing Station on Kottavalasa- Kirandul line. This line will provide connectivity to important towns viz. Koraput, Jeypore, Jagdalpur, Dantewada. Further, the line is useful for connecting Navarangpur to Junagarh / Kalahanidi District and result in short lead to many other places of Odisha, Chhattisgarh & Andhra Pradesh.

Further,  State Govt. of Odisha will be bearing entire cost of land and 50%  of the construction cost of the project.

Outcome

Once implemented, this important rail line will connect Navarangpur District of Western Odisha, not connected with railway line, with Jeypore, the existing station on Kottavalasa- Kirandul line, thus connecting other important towns viz. Koraput, Jeypore, Jagdalpur, Dantewada.  This line will also connect Navarangpur with Junagarh/Kalahandi District and result in short lead to many other places of Odisha, Chhattisgarh & Andhra Pradesh.  Besides freight  traffic viz. Maize, Rice, fertilizer, cement, wheat, POL etc. is expected from various villages en-route.

The cost of the project is Rs 747.91 crore and is expected to be completed in three years.

The project is important for connecting Nabarangpur district of western Odisha with Jeypore in the southern region to an existing station on the Kottavalasa-Kirandul line.

The new line will provide connectivity to important towns like Koraput and Jeypore in Odisha and Jagdalpur and Dantewada in Chhattisgarh.

The line will also be useful for connecting Nabarangpur to Junagarh in the Kalahandi district.

Odisha government will bear the entire cost of land and 50 per cent of construction cost of the project.

The link will be a boon for transporting maize, rice, fertiliser, cement, wheat and others from various villages and towns en-route, the officials added.

On 11 Oct 2016, Ministry of Railways signed MOU with the Odisha State Government for new rail line from Jeypore to Nabarangpur & Malkangiri; Odisha Govt sharing 50% & 25% of costs.

 

Former Railway Officials Charged Over Rail Neer Scam By Special Court

A special court has taken cognisance of a charge sheet against some former officials of the Indian Railways and others for allegedly causing a loss of Rs. 19.5 crore to railways by selling cheaper packaged water in place of Rail Neer in Rajdhani and other super-fast trains.

Special Judge Virender Kumar Goyal took note of the CBI’s final report in the matter, slapping charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption against the accused.
“Cognizance has been taken against the accused persons. Issue summons to the accused persons and notice to their sureties for August 17,” the court said.

Those named in the CBI charge sheet include then Chief Commercial Managers MS Chalia and Sandeep Silas, CEO of R K Associates, director of the company Rajeev Mittal, Sharan Bihari Agarwal, besides private companies Satyam Caterers, Ambuj Hotels, PK Associates, Sunshine Caterers, Doon’s Caterers, Vrindavan Food Products, Food World, and RD Sharma and Sons.

The agency claimed that the “accused had shown favour to these private firms in supply of cheap packaged drinking water (PDW) other than mandatory ‘Rail Neer’ on premium trains, including Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express”.

 It said that during searches at various places, including Delhi and Noida, at the residence and official premises of private caterers, a huge sum of cash of about Rs. 28.5 crore was recovered, along with large number of incriminating documents.

The final report said that from January 1, 2013 till December 31, 2014, the licensee caterers had not picked up Rail Neer as per the quota prescribed by IRCTC and supplied other cheap brands of PDW which were not allowed in Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.

“They had allegedly claimed reimbursement from Northern Railway as was prescribed for supply of Rail Neer,” it added.

Mumbai Monorail Likely To Open For Public After Monsoon

Here’s how we know that the Wadala-Jacob Circle Monorail is finally a step closer to becoming a reality soon: The MMRDA is going to approach the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) for the inspection of the line before it can be thrown open to the public. The last deadline that the corridor was supposed to meet and missed was in December.

The development was confirmed by additional metropolitan commissioner, Sanjay Khandare, who said, “The trial runs along the monorail phase II have already begun and they are going as per plan. By month end, we plan to approach the CRS for the safety certification of the line.” Not only will the CRS check the alignment, but also travel in the monorail and conduct various inspections, based on which the final clearance would be given.

Sources from MMRDA told mid-day that they planned to throw open the corridor to public post monsoon. In the coming months, more monorail rakes are also expected to arrive in the city, as the population using the two corridors – once operational in conjunction – is expected to double from the current ridership, which has been running in losses.

Kolkata Traffic System To Change As East West Metro Tunnel Work Begins

Kolkata will witness several changes in the traffic system in the heart of the city as construction of underground tunnels for the East West Metro railway begins this week in the bustling business zone.

One of the most important changes is the shutting down of the Brabourne Road flyover, which carries huge traffic round the clock from Howrah through Howrah bridge to the metropolis, for three days.

The critical construction of the underground corridor from the banks of River Hooghly towards Dalhousie in the heart of the city, through the highly congested Burrabazar area using a tunnel boring machine (TBM) would begin from the midnight of July seven.

 “The TBM will start working from the river bank into the city on July six,” general manager (administration) of Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation Ltd (KMRCL) A K Nandy told PTI.

“Traffic on the flyover and underneath at Brabourne Road will be closed from July eight to July ten,” Mr Nandy said. “We have held talks with the city mayor and Kolkata Police for arrangements in this regard,” he added.

Traffic that passes through the flyover will be diverted to other roads like Strand Road and Mahatma Gandhi Road as well as the second Hooghly bridge, which is located a few kilometres away from Howrah bridge.

 Burrabazar, through which Brabourne Road passes, is known as the trading hub of eastern India and is always choc-a-bloc with vehicles and pedestrians on working days.

Two major roadblocks in the construction of the tunnel in the Burrabazar area and Mahakaran station at Dalhousie were recently removed after KMRCL got the go-ahead from the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and Calcutta High Court.

The ASI permitted KMRCL to lay the underground metro line and build Mahakaran station at the Dalhousie area, near the Currency Building and two synagogues, which are heritage structures.

Laying down the conditions for such construction, the National Monuments Authority said “all construction above the ground, including Mahakaran Metro station, shall be beyond the 100-metre prohibited area of Centrally Protected Monuments.”

The construction of the tunnel will require vacating two very old buildings, one each on Strand Road and Raja Woodmunt Street, on both sides of the flyover.

Some other buildings may also be vacated later as the TBM approaches the Dalhousie area through Brabourne Road, Mr Nandy said.

The high court had given the go-ahead to plans to temporarily shift the residents of these buildings during construction of the tunnel.

“We have made arrangements for the stay of the residents of these two buildings in a hotel and we will also provide food to them,” Mr Nandy said.

AFCONS, which is carrying out the construction work of the tunnel, had moved the high court seeking relief over delay owing to the issues related to occupiers who are not evacuating some old buildings in the Burrabazar area and permission for construction near or under the three heritage buildings in the Dalhousie area.

The 14.67 km-long East West Metro corridor connecting Howrah with Salt Lake Sector V has suffered delays in it’s completion schedule owing to various reasons.

A decades-old minibus stand in front of former state secretariat Writers’ Buidling, from where 16 routes to different parts of the city originated, will be dismantled, with the work starting on Wednesday.

“These buses will now do a round about of the Dalhousie area and move out after passengers alight and board,” city Mayor Sovan Chatterjee said.

Several tram routes, which travelled to and from Dalhousie area, the city’s oldest office district, will also be suspended for three years during which construction of the tunnels and Mahakaran station will be done.

Railways in the process of developing SFC: Suresh Prabhu

Indian Railways is in the process of developing a Southern Freight Corridor (SFC), which would be connected to one of three corridors, Union minister Suresh Prabhu said on Sunday.

The three Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC) planned by the Railways will provide logistics support to the ‘Make in India’ campaign and one of the corridors will be connected with the Southern corridor for the benefit of smooth movement of freight from Southern states, Prabhu told reporters here.

“The southern states will significantly benefit from the DFC as it will be connected to southern part of the country,” he said.

Stating that freight corridors will completely criss-cross the country boosting freight movement, Prabhu said, “We will have to develop a huge backbone of infrastructure for the logistics, if Make in India has to succeed.”

He said that 10 products were the mainstay of Railway’s income and two-third of the revenue came from the freight.

However the income from freight was on a declining trend in the last couple of years, despite increase in tonnage, and in order to augment revenue, freight rates will be reduced soon, Prabhu said.

To a query on plans to help farmers in distress, Prabhu said that the Railways has operated additional freight trains to lift onions from Maharashtra to help the farmers.

Noting that transportation of the produce was the biggest problem being faced by the farmers, the minister assured that Railways will extend any support required for them and asked Container Corporation of India to look into the issue.

Stating that the farmers, who are in difficulty, are of the top priority of the Government, Prabhu said that if required necessary cold chains and storage facilities can be extended to them.

To another question on GST implementation, he said “It is good for economy.”

Stall Where PM Once Sold Tea May Become Tourist Spot, Says Minister

A small tea stall near Vadnagar railway station in Gujarat is all set to become a tourist spot. This is the same tea stall where Prime Minister Narendra Modi sold tea as a child.

“Inside the Vadnagar railway station, there is a small tea stall, from where our PM had probably started his life’s journey. We also want to develop that tea stall as a tourism spot. Our aim is to put Vadnagar on world tourism map,” Union Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said.

The union minister, however, clarified that although there is a plan to develop Vadnagar railway station as a tourist destination, there is no proposal for giving a facelift to the tea stall. Instead, the original charm of the tea stall will be preserved while giving it a modern touch.

“The ministry of tourism along with the ministry of railways are developing the Vadnagar Railway station as a tourist destination. We have already discussed the plans. As of now there are no plans to give any facelift to the tea stall,” Mr Sharma said in a statement.

The stall is located on one of the platforms of the Vadnagar Railway station.

Officials of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had visited the town on Sunday.

“Apart from being the birthplace of our Prime Minister, Vadnagar is an important historical centre having famous Sharmishta Lake and a step-well. ASI had recently found remains of a Buddhist Monastery during excavation, which is still going on,” Mr Sharma said.

Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Modi had often mentioned that he used to sell tea during his childhood at the Vadnagar railway station along with his father.

Earlier, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Ahmedabad Dinesh Kumar had said the entire project of developing Vadnagar and adjoining places in Mehsana district would cost over Rs. 100 crore.

“The development of Vadnagar railway station is one of the components of the Rs. 100 crore project to develop Vadnagar, Modhera and Patan as tourist destinations. As of now, the Ministry of Tourism has given Rs. eight crore to the state Tourism Department to develop the railway station,” Mr Kumar had said.

GST, A Great Unifying Factor: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today termed the Goods and Services Tax as a great unifying factor, both in societal and political spheres in the country.

The GST was in the public domain for long and brought together all stake-holders like political parties, traders, industries and common people to debate and discuss, before coming into effect, despite some rhetoric by some of them at implementation stage, Mr Prabhu said.

Interacting with major industrial and trade associations, such as local chapters of CII and Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on GST, he said the country’s GDP growth to the tune of eight to nine per cent was inevitable and the new tax rates would contribute significantly towards this.

The one single change in the law made simple was unthinkable and unimaginable, as the major challenge for growth of industries and trades was taxes, he said.

Though some (political parties) were criticising GST, their coming together for shaping such a reform was commendable, he said.

Earlier, talking to reporters after attending a function at the local BJP office, Mr Prabhu said there would be more job creation and reduction in corrupt practices.

 However, replying to a question on not bringing petroleum products under GST, Mr Prabhu said it has to be decided and answered by the GST Council.

Railways, NBCC to redevelop 10 Railway stations

3 Jul 2017 in Category(ies):  Posted on Categories Indian Railways, Rail Land Development Authority, New Delhi, Railways and its role in Real Estate Industry

NEW DELHI: Rail Land Development Authority today joined hands with National Building Construction Corporation for redevelopment of 10 railway stations across the country on global standards.

The Railways has embarked on an ambitious project to redevelop 403 stations with the participation of private players, public sector and foreign agencies.

The identified stations to be taken up initially by NBCC for redevelopment are Tirupati, Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Nellore, Puducherry, Madgaon, Lucknow, Gomtinagar, Kota, Thane (New), and Ernakulam.

An MoU was signed between RLDA, an arm of the Railways for commercial exploitation of rail land, and NBCC, a PSU of urban development ministry for implementation of station redevelopment projects for the 10 identified stations.

Speaking on the occasion, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said that the Railways has taken up this programme of station redevelopment in a big way, adopting a multi-pronged strategy to accomplish the mammoth task.

“We have chosen PPP model and are roping in varied agencies to execute the project namely Railways’ own PSUs, other Central government PSUs, foreign countries through government-to-government cooperation and state governments”.

Urban development ministry, which had launched a mega project of developing 100 cities as smart cities, joined the Railways in redeveloping stations as smart stations.

Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said “It is a very good idea to develop smart stations along with the smart cities”.

Once the stations are redeveloped, the passengers will get facilities of world standard.

NBCC has now been given 10 stations in first phase for redevelopment and more stations would be given to them in subsequent phases.

RLDA and NBCC shall form a Special Purpose Vehicle in the form of a joint venture company to execute the station redevelopment project. The JV shall redevelop the stations on a self-financing model.

Earlier in October 2016, an MoU was signed between the ministries of railways and urban development for integrated planning for redevelopment of railway stations in the cities included in the Smart Cities Mission and AMRUT schemes.

Rail shortage hits Railways safety overhaul badly

A planned $15 billion safety overhaul of ageing rail network is facing delays as the country’s state steel company is unable to meet demand for new rails, according to two government documents seen by Reuters.

State-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has promised to meet only around 78 per cent of demand in the year to end-March 2018, prompting Indian Railways to escalate the problem to the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, communications between the railways and the steel ministry show.

The shortfall means upgrades of the accident-prone network could move at a slower pace than the five years initially planned, and underscores the problems facing Modi as he tries to modernize India’s infrastructure. Supplies of rails are only expected to improve next year.

“(The) ambitious programme of capacity augmentation undertaken by railways and track renewal, the foremost priority in the recently created (railway safety fund) … crucially hinges on the supply of rail,” Railways Board Chairman A.K. Mital wrote in a letter to Steel Secretary Aruna Sharma on May 19.

“Unless SAIL steps up supply, the whole programme will be at risk.”

The state rail operator is in the middle of a $130 billion, five-year overhaul to modernise the world’s fourth-biggest network.

The government in February launched an additional $15 billion fund to tackle a 25 percent rise in train accidents due to track defects over the past two years.

Loss-making SAIL, whose revival is being managed by the steel ministry, supplied about 620,000 tonnes of rails in the fiscal year to end-March, well short of demand of 1 million tonnes. In a meeting called by Modi’s office on February 14, SAIL told the railways that supplies would fall well short of demand this fiscal year too, according to the letter.

This represents about 78 per cent, but the rate of supplies for the first two months suggested SAIL would struggle to meet even its own reduced target, Mital said in the letter.

“The shortfall needs to be made good quickly and supply rate accelerated to meet the committed quantity (for this fiscal year),” Mital wrote.

SAIL and Modi’s office did not respond to requests seeking comment. The railways had no immediate comment and Mital did not respond to a request for comment.

SAIL MONOPOLY

Indian Railways have considered ending SAIL’s monopoly on supplying rail, but Modi’s cabinet in May made the use of local steel mandatory for government infrastructure projects, ruling out the use of imports.

Local firm Jindal Steel and Power Ltd has tried for years to win a rail supply contract, but is battling a long-standing preference by Indian policymakers for state companies over private firms for big-ticket government projects.

Executives at SAIL, which has lost money in the last seven quarters, have said a surge in demand to replace old tracks and lay new ones meant it was struggling to meet supply targets, despite a rise in production from its existing plant.

Steel secretary Sharma wrote to SAIL on May 29, in a letter seen by Reuters, noting that the railway upgrade was a “very important national project” and that “any shortfall in rail supplies to this project would be taken seriously”.

Sharma told Reuters a new SAIL mill at Bhilai, in eastern India, will help the steelmaker boost capacity, which should ease the rails deficit. SAIL has targeted total capacity of 2 million tonnes per year from its Bhilai plant.

“We are conscious about the concerns of the railway ministry but we have enough rail manufacturing capabilities within the country,” she said.

Soon, passengers can travel in economy AC coaches; fares less than normal 3AC tariff

Train passengers will soon have option of travelling in a new class of ‘Economy AC coaches’ with fares less than normal 3AC tariff.

The proposed fully AC train will have three-tier Economy AC coaches besides AC-3, AC-2 and AC-1 classes as part of the transformation exercise. An added feature would be automatic doors.

However, the passengers will not require blankets in the Economy AC class like other AC coaches as the temperature will be around 24-25 degrees.

Currently Mail and Express trains have Sleeper, Third AC, Second AC and First AC classes while Rajdhani, Shatabdi and recently introduced Humsafar and Tejas trains are fully air- conditioned.

The railways is exploring an idea to introduce fully AC trains in select routes, aiming to provide comfort by facilitating AC travel for maximum passengers.

An exercise has been undertaken for a transformation in service by upgrading existing facilities in trains and stations and a separate cell has been created by the Railways for this.

“There will not be any chilling effect like in other AC classes and the temperature will be fixed around 24-25 degrees. The aim is to make the passengers comfortable and not make them feel the outside heat,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.

The recently launched Humsafar Express, comprising 3-AC coaches only, has become very popular.

The fully AC train with more Economy AC coaches is expected to cater to more passengers.

However, the details of the Economy AC class are to be worked out before deciding for manufacturing such coaches, said the official.

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