Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Facelift For 40,000 Railway Coaches With Swanky New Interiors, Bio-Toilets At Estimated Cost Of Rs. 8,000 crores

The Indian Railways is planning to induct about 40,000 coaches with improved interiors and upgraded facilities at an estimated cost of Rs. 8,000 crore to provide world-class comfort to passengers.

Besides, the state-run transporter will strengthen safety features in all existing conventional coaches equipping them with strong couplers to prevent capsizing during accidents.

According to the plan, coaches will be retrofitted with refurbished interiors, improved seating arrangement and newly designed bio-toilets among other facilities.

The retrofitting would cost about Rs. 30 lakh per coach.

The target is to complete the process of refurbishing of coaches with improved interiors and modern facilities in the next five years.

The aim is to make available 40,000 new-look coaches in the railway fleet by 2023, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project.

The work plan envisages retrofitting of 1000 coaches in the current fiscal, the number will increase to 3000 in the next fiscal and 5,500 coaches in subsequent years.

Railways also expect to manufacture 15,000 new coaches with modern features during 2018-19 and 2022-23 periods.

Railways is also focusing on the safety front by equipping all conventional coaches with centre buffler couplers (CBC), a strong coupler system.

The CBC system prevents coaches from capsizing.

While LHB coaches manufactured at Kapurthala and Raebareli factories are equipped with centre buffler couplers, the conventional coaches manufactured by the Integral Coach factory in Chennai do not have CBC.

Now it has been decided to equip all conventional coaches with CBC which enhances safety by providing anti-climbing features. It would cost about Rs. 28 lakh to equip CBC in a coach.

Railways get tough with food contractors violating norms

Cracking down on errant caterers, railways have terminated a food contract and blacklisted 16 contractors besides collecting a fine of Rs 1.8 crore in 2,108 cases related to food complaints in the last one year.

 In its endeavour to provide quality and hygienic food to passengers, railways have developed and operationalised an institutionalised mechanism for monitoring of quality and hygiene of catering services through regular inspections at various levels to address catering complaints.

A centralised catering service monitoring cell (CSMC) has been operationalised to monitor and address the complaints from passengers besides a toll free number (1800-111- 321) for prompt redressal of passenger grievances relating to catering has been in operation for real time assistance to the travelling public.

The CSMC gives real time assistance to 250-300 passengers per day, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with catering.

On the stringest measures taken against caterers, he said one contract has been terminated, another is under notice for termination while 16 contractors have been blacklisted for breach of terms of contracts in the last one year.

Penal action arising out of irregularities, complaints and inspections are regularly taken against the licensee depending upon the gravity of lapse.

Inspections at various levels are conducted in trains and stations wherein feedback from passengers through surveys for enhanced satisfaction of the passengers is taken.

A Twitter handle with the address @IRCATERING has also been made operational to cater to the complaints/suggestions with regard to catering services.

Another helpline (138) for rail-users to lodge complaints/suggestions regarding food and catering services is operational.

Railways have also implemented e-catering facility at 357 major stations to provide wider options to passengers.

Introduction of ready to eat and precooked food on trains has also been introduced through IRCTC to ensure supply of hot meals.

 

 

Forced To Sleep On Train Floor, Para-Athlete Rejects Minister’s Remedy

A day after medal-winning para-athlete Suvarna Raj was allegedly forced to sleep on floor of a train, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an inquiry into the way she was treated. The 34-year-old wheelchair-bound athlete was denied a berth convenient for people with disabilities in the Nagpur- Nizamuddin Garib Rath Express despite repeated requests.

Ms Raj, who was allotted an upper berth on the Nagpur-Delhi train, had to sleep on the floor of the train after failing to get a lower berth on Saturday. “When I asked fellow passengers to exchange seat with me, they refused bluntly,” added the disability rights activist.

In an interview to news agency ANI, she had said yesterday, “I want to meet Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu and tell him about the problems we have to face while travelling in trains.”

Replying to the ANI tweet, Mr Prabhu posted a statement from his official account:

In response, Ms Raj tweeted, “I don’t want any inquiry, I want permanent solution for persons with disabilities.”

Associated with the activism for 12 years, Ms Raj represents India in para table tennis. She has won two medals at the Thailand Para Table Tennis Open in the year 2013. She also represented Yogendra Yadav’s party Swaraj India in the recently-held Municipal Corporation of Delhi or MCD elections. She had contested from Babarpur area in North-east Delhi.

Indian railways authorities have been embroiled in controversies on earlier occasions too. A couple of months ago, Bombay High Court had instructed railways to compensate a woman who lost both her legs while boarding a train.

 Similar complaints have come about airlines too. Last year, the Supreme Court ordered domestic carrier SpiceJet to pay a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh to an activist, Jeeja Ghosh. Ms Ghosh, who has cerebral palsy, was offloaded from a plane four years ago.

Railway traffic has grown 16 times since Independence

Railways on Tuesday said rail traffic has grown 16 times while its infrastructure has increased by about four times since Independence.

“We have carried 1,108 million tonnes of goods in the fiscal 2016-17 which is highest ever loadings,” Railway Board Chairman A K Mital said at the railway week event here.

Railways celebrated the 62nd Railway Week here with giving away awards to 188 staff including sports-persons for their outstanding performance during the year 2016-17.

Hoping that the public transporters performance will be better in the fiscal 2017-18 than the previous year, Mital said railways growth is linked to the growth of the country.

 Congratulating the awardees for their outstanding performance, Mital said their efficiency will not only encourage all others to emulate them but will also push them to work harder to achieve the goals.

 

He urged all Railway men and women to join hands to work together to make Indian Railways one of the best organisation and employer in the country.

 

 

Railways to run Gandhi Darshan train to commemorate 100 years of Sabarmati Ashram on 17 June

To commemorate 100 years of Sabarmati Ashram and Champaran Satyagraha, both closely linked with Mahatma Gandhi, the railways will run a special train for tourists that will travel through cities of historical and religious importance.

The train, Gandhi Darshan, will leave from here on 17 June and return on 26 June after a 10-day journey, an official of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) said in Ahmedabad.

Apart from connecting the two important places associated with Gandhiji, the train from Gujarat to Bihar would also take tourists to various religious places, said deputy general manager of tourism, IRCTC, V N Shukla.

“17 June marks 100 years of both Sabarmati Ashram in the city as well as of Champaran Satyagraha in Bihar. Thus, IRCTC has decided to run a train, officially called Astha Special Tourist Train or Gandhi Darshan train, on 17 June. It will be flagged off from Sabarmati station at 8 am,” he said.

“The train, having only non-AC sleeper coaches, has the capacity to accommodate 840 passengers. The fare, which will be inclusive of all, has been kept at Rs 8,720 per person. It will start from 17 June and come back here on 26 June,” he added.

The tourists will be taken to various places of historical as well as religious importance such as Wardha, Motihari, Gaya, Varanasi and Allahabad, said Shukla.

The IRCTC may think of operating the train on a regular basis if the inaugural run meets with desired success in terms of response from tourists, he added.

Indian Railways asked to pay Rs 75,000 as compensation to passenger whose seat was occupied by others

The state consumer commission has asked the Indian Railways to pay Rs 75,000 to a man for the inconvenience caused to him when his reserved seat was occupied by unauthorised persons for most part of his journey.

The Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) has upheld the district forum’s order which had asked the Railways to deduct one third of the compensation from the salary of the ticket checker who apparently failed to ensure that the reserved seat of the aggrieved passenger was not used by anyone else.

“The compensation of Rs 75,000 awarded by the district forum is reasonable and appropriate. The same has been awarded by considering the facts and circumstances of the case,” the bench headed by the commission’s president Justice Veena Birbal said.

The commission, however, refused to enhance the compensation awarded to Delhi resident V Vijay Kumar.

Kumar, in his complaint, said that when he travelled by Dakshin Express on 30 March 2013 from Visakhapatnam to New Delhi, his reserved seat was occupied by someone else.

Kumar, who claims to be suffering from knee-joint pain, had booked a lower berth.

It was alleged by Kumar that some unauthorised persons entered into the compartment and occupied his berth at Bina Station in Madhya Pradesh.

It was further alleged that the unauthorised passengers created lot of nuisance and caused inconvenience to him as well as to his co-passengers.

He tried to complain to the train ticket collector and other railway officials but no one could be found, Kumar had claimed in his complaint.

The district forum passed the order after the Railways failed to appear before it saying it was guilty of deficient service.

Railways Act Upon 3,000 Tweet Complaints Everyday

The Railway Ministry’s Twitter handle @RailMinIndia, which boasts of 2.7 million followers, has become an effective tool to redress passenger grievances, and acts upon 3,000 complaints daily, according to officials.

Also, the social media platform has become a contact point between the Railways and commuters and has proved to be a big boon, said a senior Railway Board official in an interaction with a group of journalists from Mumbai, who were invited to Delhi on the initiative of the Railway minister Suresh Prabhu.

Soon after Mr Prabhu took over as the Railway Minister in the Narendra Modi government, he initiated to set up a department to work exclusively on social media interaction in July 2015.

 The Ministry’s Twitter handle has logged 3.78 lakh tweets so far.

“Our team gets around 6,500 mentions per day in which around 3,000 mentions are in the form of complaints. We are immediately notified about the new tweet and our team chips in to address the complaints after the initial verification of the passengers. Then we forward the messages to divisions concerned for further action,” said the official who did not wish to be named.

 We have a dedicated team of 150 staffers across 68 divisions of the Indian Railways who not only keep a close watch on passenger messages on the social media round the clock, but also ensure that passengers woes are solved within the stipulated time or say within 30 minutes, he said.

Advocating this social medium, Mr Prabhu too in a statement, said, “We were looking for a common and transparent tool to establish contact in real time with our passengers so that we can redress their grievances.”

“Twitter has proved to be a powerful medium and met our needs. It gives me satisfaction when we are able to make journeys better by our intervention. I also keep an eye on the Twitter handle. This gives me a feedback on our services and helps us to improve,” the minister added.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Considers Reward For Good Work, Punishment For Bad

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu today advocated for a system of reward and punishment for railwaymen depending on the performance. He also suggested incorporating changes at the top-level to begin with which can be percolated down to the grassroots level to achieve better results.

 “There should be reward for those who do well. We have to introduce it in the system. How to bring better performance to the fore and also recognise the same and those who do not perform well how to punish them,” he said at a roundtable conference on human resource management of railways.

Railways has a large workforce of 13 lakh people spanning 17 zones and 68 divisions across the country.

“For example, if we are executing a project and somebody completes the project in a record time then the team implementing the project should be rewarded. Similarly if a person delays it and causes loss to the organisation, he should be penalised,” Mr Prabhu said.

Describing the railways as a “unique organisation”, the minister said profit was possible in the railways but it could not be achieved while meeting the social obligations.

Highlighting the need for changes in the organisation he said, “A change can happen in railways when we realise where are the shortcomings. We must understand where do we stand.”

He also said the railways, as an organisation, must revisit and re-look itself to know whether it was on the right track and gear up for future.

He said the railways should become competitive and profitable while shouldering social responsibility.

Focusing on changes, Mr Prabhu asked, “Where the change should begin with? Should we start at the bottom or from the top? Whether it should start with the track-man or the top man in railways?”

 He said, however, that the starting point should be the officers themselves.

“If an organisation has to change, the change must begin at the top level and only then everybody will follow.”

Emphasising the role of divisions in railway functioning, he said, “It is at the division level where the cutting edge of customer service happens. Division is the one where maximum action took place. Our divisions are focal points of the operation.”

He also termed the railways as the most “strategic asset” of the country.

“All our coaches are requisitioned for the movement of troops. Whether reaching our soldiers at the border and making trade and commerce in the run, dispatching water to water- starved region, railways is needed.”

Referring to the public transporter’s goals, he said, “Our corporate goals are to be efficient, modern, tech-savy, financially better off and pro-people.”

Stressing that the corporate goals of the railways were “well defined”, he said, “Now we need to find out whether our organisation is capable of meeting those goals.”

The railway minister further said it was important to find out how the goals should be attained, while suggesting that having “right people” in the organisation and keeping them at “right place” could be a step toward this.

Konkan Railway Set To Expand With 21 New Stations Planned

Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) is planning to develop 21 new stations on its route and double a 147-km stretch of the track, an official has said.

As a part of the modernisation project, 21 new railway stations would be added at strategic places on the Konkan route, KRCL’s General Manager (strategic planning and business development) Joseph E George told reporters here yesterday.

The addition will take the total number of stations on the route to 87 and reduce the distance between two stations to 8.3 kms from 12.75 kms, he said.

“A total 147 kms of the railway track would be doubled under the expansion and modernisation project on the Konkan route at a cost of Rs. 3,000 crore,” he said.

Around 35 kms of the railway track that would be doubled will pass through Goa region, Mr George said at an interaction held on the achievements of railways in the state in last three years.

The KRCL will also take up electrification work at a cost of Rs. 1,110 crore, he added.

Mumbai Man Thrown Off Moving Train For Protecting A Woman

He is no stranger to the bad behaviour of train commuters, but this graphic designer drew a line when he spotted a raucous group of men forcing an elderly woman to vacate her seat for them. The same men pushed him out of the train when he tried to intervene – all the while, the railway police didn’t even bother to show up.

Ganesh Bhagat (32) boarded the Valsad-Mumbai passenger train from Boisar station at 7.10 am on Tuesday. At Palghar station, he saw an elderly woman – about 60 to 65 years old – claim a window seat in the same general compartment.

A while later, a group of around seven to eight men boarded the same coach and started arguing with her.

Even though there were plenty of vacant seats in the coach, the men kept harassing the woman because she was taking up their ‘favourite’ window seat

Abused, assaulted
“They were abusing the lady and tried to force her to leave the seat. I tried to intervene, pointing out that she was old enough to be our mother, but the group got upset and began abusing and assaulting me. They then pushed me out of the train and onto the platform at Palghar station,” recalled Bhagat.

“I made a call to railway helpline number, and they assured me they would send help soon, but nobody came. I boarded the same coach again and kept calling the helpline, and the official said that help would arrive at the next station. But Kelve station passed, then Saphale, and the woman finally got down at Virar station,” he added.

 NC registered

Bhagat alighted later, at Borivli station, but the cops never showed. “Such incidents happen several times on the train; it happened to me a few months ago as well. Nobody helped me on Tuesday, so the next day I went to Vasai GRP and registered a complaint after another long argument complaint with the cops. They took down my statement and registered a non-cognisable complaint, assuring strict action against the culprits,” said Bhagat.

Senior Police Inspector Rajendra Bosle, from Vasai GRP, said, “The incident took place at Boisar station, so the case has been transferred to the Palghar GRP.”