Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Nirmala Sitharaman Proposes Public-Private Partnership For Railways

Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman today proposed public-private partnerships in Railways to build more tracks and increase connectivity across the country.

Indian Railways, the largest rail network in the world, has been owned by the government since its inception by the British in 1853.

Over the last years, following huge losses, the government has initiated several efforts to reverse the tide.

Last year, railways minister Piyush Goyal, who is handling the portfolio in the second term of the Narendra Modi government, said his focus was to increase the capacity of railways though enhanced signalling and adding more lines, along with cost-cutting in the loss-making passenger sector.

The railways’ revenue comes from the freight section, but much of it is lost in subsidies in the passenger sector.

In the run-up to the budget, the opposition alleged that the government big initiative for privatisation will begin with the railways.

An editorial in the CPM mouthpiece People’s Democracy suggested that the Niti Aayog has announced that 46 public sector enterprises will be sold off or shut down as per a 100 day action plan. According to an action plan proposed by the Railway Ministry, private passenger trains will be operated within 100 days, the editorial said.

On Tuesday, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi opposed a railway ministry proposal in the Lok Sabha to corporatise its production units, including the Modern Coach Factory in her Lok Sabha constituency of Rae Bareli, alleging that it was the “first step” towards the privatisation of railways.

Raising the issue in Zero Hour in parliament, she accused the government of selling the country’s assets to private players at throwaway prices.

“Those who don’t understand the real meaning of corporatisation…. It is actually the first step towards privatisation. They are selling the country’s assets to a handful of private players at a throwaway price. This will leave thousands unemployed,” she said.

4 Trains Cancelled, 1 Diverted In Pune After Prediction Of Heavy Rain

After the weather department predicted very heavy rain on Saturday and Sunday in Maharashtra, the central railway cancelled four intercity express/passenger trains and diverted the route of one train.

“Central Railway has decided to cancel the following intercity express/passenger trains due to IMD forecast of very heavy rains on 29.6.2019 and 30.6.2019 and to have sufficient headway en route due to heavy rains,” read an official press note from Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Pune Railway.

Trains that have been cancelled include Mumbai-Pune Pragati Express, Mumbai-Pune Sinhagad Express, Bhusaval-Mumbai Passenger train and Pune-Panvel Passenger train.

Train route for Bhusaval-Pune Express is now re-scheduled via Daund-Manmad, said PRO of Pune Railway.

“Passengers are requested to kindly note and bear with the Railway Administration for the inconvenience caused,” read an official statement.

According to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mumbai city received 127 mm rainfall, western suburbs received 170 mm rainfall and eastern suburbs received 197mm rainfall, in the last 24 hours.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) Mumbai said very active monsoon conditions are prevalent over the west coast, with deep westerlies, and heavy rainfall expected in Mumbai, Thane and other areas around the west coast.

Budget 2019: Railway Announcements You Need To Know After Merger Of Rail, Union Budget

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will unveil the Budget 2019-20 on July 5. In September 2016, the government scrapped the 92-year-old practice of presenting rail budgets and general budgets separately. And in 2017, Arun Jaitley became the first finance minister to present a combined Union Budget with Rail Budget as part of it. This year’s Budget – the first full budget by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government after returning to power in May- will also include announcements for the Railways. (Also read: 10 Things To Know About First Budget Of Independent India)

Here are some key announcements made for Railways in Interim Budget 2019, Budget 2018 and Budget 2017:

Interim Budget 2019

1. Railways saw an allocation of Rs. 64,587 crore and capital expenditure of Rs. 1.58 lakh in Interim Budget 2019.

2. The capital support from the Budget for the railways was proposed at Rs. 64,587 crore in 2019-20.

3. In the budget, funds worth Rs. 7,255 crore were allocated for construction of new lines, Rs.2,200 crore for gauge conversion, Rs. 700 crore for track doubling, Rs. 6,114.82 crore for rolling stock and Rs. 1,750 crore for signalling and telecom.

Budget 2018

1. Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a capital expenditure of Rs. 1.48 lakh crore for the Indian Railways in his Budget 2018 speech.

2. He also proposed a target of doubling 18,000 km of lines.

3. 36,000 km of rail track renewal were targeted while 4,267 unmanned railway crossings on broad gauge routes were targeted to be eliminated in the next two years.

4. 600 stations were earmarked for modernisation by the Indian Railways.

Budget 2017

1. For financial year 2017-18, the total capital and development expenditure of Railways were pegged at Rs. 1,31,000 crore.

2. For passenger safety, a Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh creation was announced with a corpus of Rs. 1 lakh crore over a period of five years.

3. It was proposed that 500 stations will be made differently-abled-friendly by providing lifts and escalators.

4. It was also proposed to feed about 7,000 stations with solar power in the medium term.

5. ‘Coach Mitra’, a single-window interface to register all coach-related complaints and requirements was also announced.

Dollar trims gains as trade optimism fades, Aussie near recent lows post RBA cut

The dollar gave up gains on Tuesday as investors curbed earlier enthusiasm about U.S.-China trade progress while the Australian currency barely budged from recent lows after a central bank rate cut decision offered few clues about future easing.

The yuan also shed its early rise to trade lower on the day after U.S. President Donald Trump said any deal with China would need to be somewhat tilted in favor of the United States, suggesting negotiations may not proceed smoothly.

The U.S. dollar index against a basket of six major currencies earlier rose to its highest in a week but retreated as doubt set in about the resumption of U.S.-China efforts to resolve their trade war.

Market focus now shifts to Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe, who speaks to business leaders in the northern Australian city of Darwin at 0930 GMT, which could provide clues on how much further interest rates could fall.

“The tone from the RBA was not that pessimistic, which gives the impression they are somewhat reluctant to cut rates further,” said Yukio Ishizuki, foreign exchange strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.

“Short positions in the Aussie were already so heavy. Now we’re in a situation where the main risk is for the Aussie to be bought back.”

The Australian dollar was up 0.3% at $0.6983 on Tuesday after slumping 0.9% on Monday, its biggest decline since April 24.

The RBA lowered interest rates by 25 basis points to a record low of 1.00%, matching economists’ expectations. In a statement the central said it would lower rates again “if needed,” a phrase some analysts took to mean an additional rate cut is less certain than before.

The U.S. dollar index was little changed at 96.790 on Tuesday having posted its biggest increase since March 7 on Monday on hopes Beijing and Washington were making headway in their trade negotiations.

The United States and China have already imposed tariffs of up to 25% on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods in a dispute about China’s trade practices that has lasted nearly a year.

The drawn out trade war has slowed global growth and pushed many central banks to cut interest rates to support their economies.

The offshore yuan gave up early gains to trade around 0.2% lower at 6.8690 versus the dollar, on course for its biggest daily decline in a week.

The global investor spotlight will move to U.S. non-farm payrolls data due on Friday, which economists expect to have risen by 160,000 in June, compared with a 75,000 increase in May.

However, analysts expect the dollar will struggle to make substantial gains given expectations the Federal Reserve will cut rates due to low inflation and worries about the U.S.-China trade war.

“It would be a mistake to view the rise in the dollar on Monday as the beginning of a broad-based rally,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior foreign exchange strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

“Treasury yields are capped around 2%, because there are still expectations for Fed rate cuts.”

The euro briefly fell to an eight-day low of $1.1275 before trading little changed at $1.1289. The common currency fell 0.7% on Monday, its biggest-one day decline since March as disappointing economic data triggered a tumble in bond yields and boosted expectations for a European Central Bank rate cut.

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Book Railways’ Train Tickets Online (Through IRCTC)

indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the online ticketing arm of the Indian Railways, offers a train ticket booking facility for individuals travelling on an urgent basis. Known as Tatkal ticket booking scheme, travellers can reserve or book train tickets at 10:00 am for air-conditioned (AC) classes and at 11:00 am for non-AC classes under this facility, a day before the actual date of journey, Indian Railways noted on its website Tatkal train tickets can be booked online from the IRCTC’s website or from any railway reservation centres. Railway ticketing agents and the web agents of IRCTC are restricted from booking Tatkal tickets during the 10:00 am and 12:00 pm every day, IRCTC added.

IRCTC Tatkal Ticket Booking: Below are the charges levied by Indian Railways for booking Tatkal train tickets:

Class of TravelMinimum Tatkal Charges (in Rs.)Maximum Tatkal Charges (in Rs.)Minimum Distance for charge(in Km)
Reserve Second sitting (2S)10.0015.00100
AC Chair Car125.00225.00250
AC 3 Tier300.00400.00500
AC 2 Tier400.00500.00500

Here are the rules for booking Indian Railways Tatkal train ticket:

Tatkal train tickets issued by Indian Railways are for travel between actual distance of travel and not on an end-to-end basis, Indian Railways said on its website.

Apart from normal express trains, Tatkal ticket booking facility is also available in executive class of Shatabadi Express trains, by earmarking 10 per cent of the accommodation available that is 5 seats per coach, Indian Railways said.

No refund is granted on cancellation of confirmed Tatkal ticket. However, full refund of fare and Tatkal charges are granted on the tickets booked under Tatkal scheme if the train is delayed by more than three hours at the journey originating point of the passenger and not at the boarding point if the passenger’s journey originating point and boarding point are different.

Maximum of four passengers can be booked on one PNR for Tatkal tickets unlike six passengers under the normal train ticket.

Facility of change of name is permitted on the bookings made under Tatkal scheme.

UP Lawyer Chased By Men On Bike, Shot Dead

A district court lawyer was shot dead near the Gohri railway crossing in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj district.

The lawyer, Sushil Kumar Patel, was taken to the Swarup Rani Nehru hospital where the doctors declared him dead.

On Sunday night, Sushil Kumar Patel was on his way to Phaphamau from his village on his bike when the attackers came on motorbikes, overtook him near a railway crossing and shot at him.

Witnesses said that the lawyer was chased for some distance before he was shot in the chest at a close range. The attackers then escaped.

Senior Superintendent of Police Atul Sharma said all police stations of the district have been alerted and a hunt has been launched to arrest the accused.

Primary investigation revealed that the lawyer was involved in a property dispute. Patel was also involved in property dealing, the police said, adding that this could be the motive behind the killing.

The incident came less than two weeks after the chairperson of Uttar Pradesh Bar Council, Darvesh Yadav, was shot dead by another lawyer on the premises of the Agra district court.

The attacker, who shot himself after committing the crime, died in a Gurugram hospital on Saturday.

RRBs Announce New Dates For Re-scheduled JE Exam; Details Here

Railway Recruitment Board or RRB has announced the exam other related dates for those candidates whose examinations were rescheduled due to technical reasons. The RRBs had announced recruitment for the posts of Junior Engineer (JE), Junior Engineer (Information Technology), Depot Material Superintendant (DMS) and Chemical and Metallurgical Assistant (CMA) last year. According to the schedule announced by RRB, the first stage Computer Based Test (CBT) of RRB JE candidates whose examinations were rescheduled on technical reasons will now be held from June 26, 2019 onwards.

RRB JE exam 2019: Important Dates and Time for re-scheduled CBT 1

Viewing of the exam city and date intimation: June 16, 2019

Downloading of Train Travel Authority for eligible Candidates (This is only to make travel arrangements in train and not an e-call letter: June 16, 2019

Download of e- call letter: 4 days prior to first stage cbt date mentioned in exam city and date intimation

Activation of RRB JE mock link for CBT: June 16, 2019

Re-schedule of first stage CBT: June 26 to 28, 2019 (3 days)

“All Candidates, whose 1st stage CBT was rescheduled , may login with their credentials on the above mentioned dates through the link to be provided on the official websites of RRBs for knowing their Exam City, Date, Session, downloading Train Travel Authority (for eligible candidates only) and E-Call letter,” RRBs said in a statement.

Duration of CBT will be 90 minutes (120 minutes for eligible PwBD candidates accompanied with scribe) and number of questions will be 100.

Questions will be Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) and negative marking will be applied during the evaluation (1/3rd for every incorrect answer).

The RRB JE examination will consist of four sections– Mathematics, General Intelligence and Reasoning, General Awareness and General Science– totalling to 100 marks. Mathematics and General Science will have 30 questions each whereas General Intelligence-Reasoning and General Awareness sections will have 25 and 15 questions, respectively.

UP Journalist Claims He Was Abused By Railway Cops For “Exposing” Them

Amit Sharma, the Uttar Pradesh journalist who was brutally beaten up on a video on Tuesday, has today claimed that he was targeted by Railway personnel for “exposing” their illegal activity.

The journalist alleged that Government Railway Police personnel were involved in a vending business in passenger trains which is prohibited throughout India by the Centre. He covered the story and his organisation flashed this in a messaging group which, according to him, made the government officials angry. He also claimed he was offered a bribe by the GRP personnel, which he refused.

Mr Sharma, a stringer for TV channel News24, was covering the derailment of a train in Shamli district when he was punched, beaten and abused by Government Railway Police personnel.

“They were in plain clothes. One hit my camera and it fell down. When I picked it up, they hit and abused me. I was locked up, stripped and they urinated in my mouth,” Amit Sharma said.

Recalling the horror, he added, “I was then taken into the police station, again beaten up and the SHO (GRP) urinated on me. I tried to escape from their grasp but they got hold of me and I was held at gunpoint. I am ashamed to even talk about the treatment meted out to me by the GRP.”

The National Human Rights Commission today issued a notice to the DGP of Uttar Pradesh, OP Singh over the reported brutal assault Mr Sharma. The Press Council of India has set up a fact-finding committee and sought a reply from the state government as well.

The incident occurred a day after the Supreme Court ordered the release of journalist Prashant Kanojia, who was jailed for three days by the Uttar Pradesh police for posting “derogatory” content against UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

3 Lakh Evacuated, 70 Trains Cancelled As Gujarat Braces For Cyclone Vayu: 10 Points

The Western Railways cancelled 70 trains and curtailed the journeys of 28 others as Cyclone Vayu inched closer to the Gujarat coastline, growing stronger along the way. The cancellations came into effect from 6 pm yesterday, and is expected to extend over two days across affected areas. Union Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan said that Vayu — which intensified into a severe cyclonic storm two days ago — will hit the Gujarat coast on Thursday afternoon with a windspeed of 155-156 kilometres per hour. The government has evacuated around 3.1 lakh people, and as many as 52 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed for rescue and relief operations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted to say that the centre was constantly monitoring the situation.

  1. While the Gujarat government has evacuated over 3 lakh people from low-lying areas of Gujarat and 10,000 from Diu to safer places, the NDRF has “pre-positioned” 52 teams equipped with boats, tree-cutters and telecom equipment, Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted yesterday.
  2. Two special trains — one running from Okha in Saurashtra to Rajkot and the other to Ahmedabad — have also been pressed into service to ensure that people are evacuated. The entire coastline remains under high alert.
  3. The cyclone’s strength will continue to remain strong for 24 hours even after landfall, news agency PTI quoted an official as saying. All schools and colleges along the coastline will remain closed until the danger has passed, and naval diving teams have been kept on standby.
  4. Cyclone Vayu made an impact in nearby Mumbai too, with nearly 400 flights being affected due to bad weather. According to PTI, as many as 194 departures and 192 arrivals were delayed, and at least two flights had to be diverted.
  5. Flight operations at airports in Porbandar, Diu, Bhavnagar, Keshod and Kandla have been suspended for a period of 24 hours from midnight. A decision on the Surat airport will be taken after reviewing weather conditions.
  6. Fishermen have also been advised against venturing the sea along the Gujarat coast until June 15. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has already asked tourists in areas such as Dwarka, Somnath, Sasan and Kutch to leave for safer places.
  7. The central government is “closely monitoring” the situation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, adding that he is constantly monitoring the situation with the help of the state governments concerned.
  8. Congress president Rahul Gandhi also asked party workers in the state to help out in areas that are affected by the cyclone. “I pray for the security and well-being of all the people living in the areas expected to be affected,” he tweeted.
  9. Cyclone Vayu was caused due to a deep depression in the Arabian Sea, the India Meteorological Department said. It has warned of heavy rain and winds at speeds of over 110 kilometres per hour in coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch until Friday.
  10. Vayu comes close on the heels of Cyclone Fani, which hit the Odisha coast last month. Given how the eastern state efficiently handled the situation, the Gujarat government has contacted its administration for pointers on minimising loss to life and property.

“Unbearable” Heat Kills 4 On Board Kerala Express In UP’s Jhansi: Report

Four people died in ‘unbearable’ heat while travelling by train in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi, which has been in the grip of a heat wave for two weeks, officials and passengers said Tuesday.

The four died Monday while travelling from Agra — the city of the Taj Mahal — to Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore.

“Heat seems to be a factor,” Indian Railways spokesman Ajit Kumar Singh told AFP, “it is really unfortunate”.

“When the train was approaching Jhansi, we got a call from the on-board staff that one of the passengers is unconscious,” Mr Singh said.

“We rushed medical staff to the station but they found that three of the passengers were already dead.”

A fourth person died later in hospital.

Temperatures have hovered around 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) in Jhansi in recent days.

Mr Singh said the Kerala Express train had no technical problems, but the tourists were not in air-conditioned coaches.

A passenger who was a part of the group that boarded in Agra said the train was stiflingly hot.

“Shortly after we left Agra, the heat became unbearable and some people started complaining of breathing problems and uneasiness,” the passenger was quoted as saying by News18 television.

“Before we could get some help, they collapsed.”

One of the dead was 81 years old, the channel said.

Much of the country has been sweltering in temperatures that have risen above 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in Rajasthan. A number of deaths from heat stroke have been reported.

Temperatures touched 50.3 degrees Celsius in Rajasthan’s Churu recently, just below the country record of 51 degrees.