Indian Railways News

Railway Board Chairman holds Performance Review Meeting with Zonal Railway GMs

A.K.Mital, Chairman, Railway Board (CRB), New Delhi stressed on according top priority to Passenger Facilities, Safety and Punctuality on the Indian Railways. He was addressing a high level performance review meeting of General Manager’s (GMs) of all the Zonal Railways including Production units on the aspect of Safety, Punctuality, Loading and Works in progress today i.e., 9th Aug, 2017 from Railway Board, New through video conference.

Interacting with the General Manager’s, Shri A.K.Mital stated that top priority shall be accorded to safety in train operations. He instructed General Mangers to conduct more surprise inspections to ensure safe travel of the passengers and in providing good facilities, since they are our stakeholders and at the same time punctuality should also be maintained. Further he instructed the officials to focus on cleanliness during Swachh Phakwada Drive commencing from 16th August, 2017. He advised all the General Managers to take up measures to address the passenger complaints with regard to catering, watering facilities in coaches etc. The Chairman Railway Board wanted that importance be given to ongoing rail developmental works (Doubling, Tripling, Electrification etc)  for completion in target time and was appreciative of SCR for being on Target. Speaking on freight loading, he advised the officials to identify the key issues  to focus for gaining business.

Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, SCR spoke on the performance and achievements of the Zone. He stated that the Zone is able to attain target mile stones in doubling, tripling and electrification works as well as reach the mark in Revenue earnings. Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav added that some issues such as works related and cleaning contracts etc need Railway Board’s attention.

John Thomas, Additional General Manager; Shri K.V.Siva Prasad, Principal Chief Engineer; Shri Arjun Mundiya, Chief Mechanical Engineer; Shri Vinay Mohan Srivastava, Chief Signal & Telecommunications Engineer; Shri A.A.Phadke, Chief Electrical Engineer; Shri D.K.Singh, Chief Safety Officer attended the meeting.

Will Jump Off Building, Wrote IAS Officer. Body Found At Ghaziabad Tracks

A senior IAS officer from Bihar was found dead close to railway tracks in Ghaziabad near Delhi on Thursday night. A suicide note was found next to the mutilated body of Mukesh Pandey, who was described by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as an “efficient administrator and sensitive officer”.

Mr Pandey, a District Magistrate in Buxar, said in the note he was “committing suicide of my own volition” and directed the police to a “more detailed suicide note” in his bag at a five-star hotel room in Delhi.

In the suicide note, he spoke about jumping off a building because he was “fed up” with his life.
“I am committing suicide in district centre area of Janakpuri in west Delhi…by jumping off the 10th floor of the building. I am fed up with life and my belief on human existence has gone, my suicide note is kept in a Nike bag in room 742 of a five-star hotel in Delhi. I am sorry, I love you all! Please forgive me,” said the note, according to police officer HN Singh.

The police say initial evidence suggests suicide but they are investigating how and when the officer took his life. His body was identified with the help of his cards.

Mr Pandey reportedly checked into a luxury hotel in the afternoon and around 4.30 pm, took a cab to a mall in west Delhi. He sent WhatsApp messages to relatives that he was going to commit suicide. The relatives called the police, who rushed to the mall but didn’t see him.

CCTV footage showed the officer, in a blue T-shirt and jeans, leaving the mall and heading to a metro station.

Around 8 pm, Mr Pandey’s sister-in-law looked for him at the hotel and, not finding him, reported him missing.

Later, the police learnt that he had been found dead near rail tracks.

Mr Pandey, a 2012 batch Indian Administrative Service officer, ranked 14 in the civil services exam and was known to for his impeccable track record. “May God bless his soul,” said Nitish Kumar.

 

IAS Officer Found Dead Near Rail Track In Ghaziabad, Suicide Note Found

A senior IAS officer from Bihar was found dead near Delhi and his body was found near the railway tracks in Ghaziabad on Thursday. The body of Buxar District Magistrate Mukesh Pandey was found about one km from the Ghaziabad railway station, police said. A suicide note was also recovered from the spot.

Police said it was written in the note that Mr Pandey, a 2012-batch IAS officer, was fed up with his life and lost his “belief on human existence”.

“I am committing suicide in district centre area of Janakpuri in west Delhi…by jumping off the 10th floor of the building. I am fed up with life and my belief on human existence has gone, my suicide note is kept in a Nike bag in room 742 of a five-star (name withheld) hotel in Delhi. I am sorry, I love you all! Please forgive me,” said the note, according to Senior Superintendent of Police HN Singh.

The police officer said it was not immediately known that at what time or how Mr Pandey died.

The post mortem would be conducted today.

Officials of the Government Railway Police (GRP) who reached the spot, near Kotgaon, said prime facie it appeared a case of suicide.

Senior officials of Ghaziabad district administration also reached the spot.

Meanwhile, a senior Delhi Police official said that police received information from his friends that Mr Pandey would commit suicide and had gone to a west Delhi mall.

A police team was immediately rushed to the mall but it could not trace him.

After scanning the CCTV footage, it was found that he was leaving the mall and going towards the nearby metro station, the official said, adding on analysis of CCTV footage there, he could not be traced.

Later, Delhi Police learnt that he had committed suicide, the official said.

 

Lawmaker Asks For Rameswaram-Faizabad Train To Halt At Mayiladuthurai

Mayiladuthurai Member of Parliament RK Bharathi Mohan has appealed to Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to provide a halt for Rameswaram-Faizabad Sharadha Sethu weekly Express at Mayiladuthurai station.

In a letter sent to the minister, a copy of which was released to the media in Thanjavur, the MP said there were several temples including the famous Lord Saniswaran temple at Tirunallar and Kethu temple at Keezhperumpallam, all located around Mayiladuthurai and stoppage for ‘Sharada Sethu express’ via Ayodhya would help devotees wanting to visit these places.

Moreover, all express trains including Rameswaram-Bhubaneshwar, Mannargudi-Chennai Express and Karaikal-Mumbai Express stop at Mayiladuthurai, he said.

As Sharadha Sethu Express stops only at Villupuram after Kumbakonam, a halt could easily be provided at Mayiladuthurai, he added.

“There may not be any problem with regard to time as the train stops for about 45 minutes at Villupuram,” the MP said.

Railways gets relief from GST cut on Works Contract;

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council’s decision to roll back the increase in tax rate for government works contracts comes as a relief for the Indian Railways which had received representations from contractors on increased tax liability on various ongoing projects.

“The GST Council’s decision to cut back GST on contract works to 12% has come as a big relief to us as there was huge uncertainty,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.

“The contractors were demanding more money for contracts awarded before July 1 due to increased tax liability but the Railways had refused to pay for the higher tax amount,” the official said.

The tax on construction activity, including composite work contracts, was increased to 18% from 12% under GST. However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced after the GST Council meeting on Saturday that government works contract, for both Centre and states, will attract 12% GST with input tax credit.

Panel set up

The Railway Ministry has also constituted a committee to examine the impact of GST on the work contracts after receiving representations from contractors on increased tax liability.

Work related to track, construction of bridges, earthwork in embankment, supply, unloading and spreading of ballast, among others were facing increased tax liability after the government’s initial move to increase GST on such projects.

Claiming that a high GST rate on old contracts adversely affecting those in the business, a body of railway contractors here today threatened to go on a strike on August 20. “There is no clarity as to how the GST will be implemented with respect to old railway contracts. Contractors have received no payments since July 1 on account of this confusion.

We had recently met Railway minister Suresh Prabhu with the request to come up with a solution, but to no avail”, national vice president of Indian Railway Infrastructure Providers Association, Ashok Kumar Pathak told reporters here. He alleged that while Prabhu placed the ball in the court of the GST council, the latter refused to take any responsibility by asking us to sort out the matter with the ministry. Pathak said the bone of contention was the GST having been fixed at 12 per cent which was much higher than the VAT which contractors had been paying prior to the new tax regime.

“VAT payable in states like Rajasthan was as low as one per cent while in Uttar Pradesh it was not more than four per cent. On August 5, the GST council fixed GST rates for both old and new contracts at 12 per cent. This would hit the contractors badly. “We have, therefore, been requesting that as far as old works are concerned, contractors be made to pay not more than four per cent towards GST while the rest may be borne by the Railways,” he said.

“Left with no options, we have decided to observe a nation-wide strike on August 20. We hope that the government acts in time and we are not forced to do anything that adversely affects railway operations across the country,” he added.

Rail push, economic growth lift CONCOR earnings to double digits

An aggressive and well-coordinated road-to-rail freight conversion effort combined with an economic rebound directed more volume to Container Corporation of India (CONCOR), boosting the state-owned rail giant’s first-quarter earnings by double digits.

CONCOR officials during a press briefing cited double-stack train service expansion, to 479 runs from 164 runs in the January-to-March period, and a surge in imports as key factors for the first-quarter performance. Container volumes at India’s major or public ports grew 6.3 percent year over year in the first fiscal quarter to 2.25 million TEU, a growth trend that continued in July as traffic rose 5 percent year over year to 752,000 TEU. India’s GDP growth will accelerate slightly this fiscal year to 7.3 percent, according to IHS Markit forecasts, which expects improving domestic demand and recovering commodity prices will drive import growth. India’s GDP grew just shy of 7 percent in the first fiscal quarter.

CONCOR’s net profit during jumped 36.4 percent year over year in the April to June period to Rs. 243.38 crore ($38.2 million) from Rs. 178.48 crore a year earlier, on revenue that was up 11.2 percent to Rs. 1,550.44 from Rs. 1,394.35 in the same three months of 2016, according to a company filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange.

That is a solid start to fiscal 2017 to 2018 for India’s largest intermodal company after it suffered a 12 percent dip in net profit and a 5 percent fall in revenue in the last fiscal year.

An analysis of the results shows first-quarter operating income from CONCOR’s core international business increased 5 percent year over year to Rs. 1,131.5 crore, whereas income from domestic operations totaled Rs. 325.21 crore, a 32.5 percent gain over April to June 2016.

As a result of that strong growth, CONCOR’s market share climbed to 76.3 percent from 72.5 percent in the last quarter of fiscal 2016 to 2017, according to the statement.

Officials also said Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust’s (JNPT) direct port delivery (DPD) program, which is already creating major growth challenges for rival logistics providers. has had no impact on volumes handled at CONCOR’s Dronagiri inland terminal located close to the public harbor.

“We are able to maintain our volume levels and in fact, we started handling DPD containers in our CFS [container freight station] and in the last quarter, we also did some trains [for DPD volumes] and there will be a lot of emphasis in the coming days,” they said.

Officials said though it is too early to tell what the Goods and Services Tax (GST) means for the intermodal logistics industry, rail volumes are expected to grow in the coming months as the government ramps up efforts to shift more loads away from trucks that are clogging port roadways.

The company is said to control around 84 percent of rail cargo through JNPT, and at the ports of Mundra and Pipavav, its share is slightly more than 50 percent. It is in the process of adding more services connecting the two private ports to the Jakhwada Inland Container Depot, near Ahmedabad in Gujarat State.

To meet expected growth, CONCOR is looking to spend about Rs. 1,000 crore during the year on capacity expansion. The company currently operates 68 inland locations and another four sites through tie-ups with other service providers.

Sea Of Saffron In Mumbai, 900,000 Marathas Protest: 10 Facts

More than 800,000 protesters who are Marathas disrupted Mumbai traffic and strained its railway network on Wednesday as they pressed their demands for reserved quotas in government jobs and colleges for students. The Marathas are a politically powerful group because they constitute 33 percent of Maharashtra’s population. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that his government supports affirmative action policies for the dominant caste. But he offered no schedule for implementing new policies to benefit Marathas.

 Mumbai:  More than 800,000 protesters who are Marathas disrupted Mumbai traffic and strained its railway network on Wednesday as they pressed their demands for reserved quotas in government jobs and colleges for students. The Marathas are a politically powerful group because they constitute 33 percent of Maharashtra’s population. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that his government supports affirmative action policies for the dominant caste. But he offered no schedule for implementing new policies to benefit Marathas
Here is your 10-point cheat-sheet to this big story in the country’s financial capital:
  1. The protestors – who numbered nearly 900,000 according to the police – marched into Mumbai’s large public park, Azad Maidan, which is located in the heart of South Mumbai.
  2. Wearing saffron caps and carrying flags, they arrived from all over the state; parking areas across Navi Mumbai were full.
  3. At the venue where the “Maratha Morcha” began at 11 am, protesters tore banners put up by the Shiv Sena, stressing that they did not want any “political interference” or affiliation.
  4. This was the first Maratha protest organized in Mumbai and marks the conclusion of a series of 57 marches last year across the state.
  5. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Wednesday that his government has informed the Bombay High Court that it is in favour of extending reservation policies to Marathas.  But the Supreme Court has ordered a 50 percent cap on reserved jobs and college seats – a limit that Maharashtra has already reached.
  6. The previous Congress-led government in Maharashtra had ordered an additional 16 percent reservation for the Marathas not on the basis of caste, but because the group is economically backward – a route attempted often by state governments to circumvent the Supreme Court limit on caste-based reservation.
  7. The government led by Mr Fadnavis backs that proposal, but it will have to be cleared by the Bombay High Court. The Chief Minister said a new committee of ministers and opposition leaders will meet regularly with Maratha representatives to address their concerns.
  8. Traffic came to a halt in many parts of the business district, while protesters jammed suburban trains. Young people and senior citizens of the Maratha community waved saffron flags in a protest that the police said was free of incidents of violence, with more than 10,000 policemen on guard.
  9. Rising unemployment and falling farm incomes are driving farming communities in several states to redouble calls for reservations in jobs and education. The Marathas, traditionally cultivators of sugar cane, also want a waiver for loans given to farmers.
  10. The city’s famed dabbawalas, who deliver packed lunches to hundreds working in offices across Mumbai, suspended operations for the day, as did hundreds of schools and college in South Mumbai.

Estimated 800,000 Protestors Stop Traffic, Trains In Mumbai

More than 800,000 protesters disrupted Mumbai traffic and strained its railway network this morning as they  pressed their demands for reserved quotas in government jobs and college places for students.

Young people and senior citizens of  the Maratha community waved saffron flags in a protest that the police said was free of incidents of violence, with more than 10,000 policemen on guard.

Traffic came to a halt in many parts of the business district, while protesters jammed suburban trains.

It was the concluding protest of a series of 57 marches last year across organised by the state’s Maratha community to press its demands.

The city’s famed dabbawalas, who deliver packed lunches to hundreds working in offices across Mumbai, suspended operations for the day, as did nearly 400 schools in the affected areas.

Rising unemployment and falling farm incomes are driving farming communities in several states to redouble calls for reservations in jobs and education.

“Farming is no longer profitable and jobs are not available,” said one protester, Pradip Munde, a farmer from Osmanabad, a town more than 400 km southeast of Mumbai. “Reservation can ensure us better education and jobs.”

3 Tamil Nadu Cops Arrested For Robbing, Threatening Labourer

Tamil Nadu: Three constables allegedly robbed a labourer at the Chennai Central railway station last night and threatened to foist a theft case if he spoke about it. The Tamil Nadu railway police have today arrested the trio.

According to a senior Railway Police officer, the three constables — J Irudhayaraj, J Aruldhoss and S Ramakrishna — attached to the Tamil Nadu special police targeted a migrant labourer who was sleeping in the waiting area of the station. He was to board the train to Kerala in the morning.

Investigators say the constables took the man to an isolated spot with no CCTV cameras. They took away his purse containing Rs. 1,800, a new cellphone worth Rs. 16,000 and his watch. When the man pleaded with them, they gave him Rs. 300 for travel and food and left.

The man was scared to report the matter to the police. However, a few autorickshaw drivers who had witnessed the incident took him to the police station and the man filed a complaint

A senior officer said, “We have strong evidence. We have registered a case of robbery and extortion. If convicted they would be sent to jail for 10 years.”

Railway Tatkal Booking: New IRCTC Facility And Other Reservation Rules

Indian Railways has introduced new facilities to book Tatkal tickets through IRCTC’s website. Under “buy rail tickets now and pay later” scheme, a customer has the option to pay within 14 days of booking an e-ticket through the IRCTC website – irctc.co.in. This facility is also available for booking Tatkal tickets. Under the online Tatkal booking facility, customers can go to the IRCTC website and book tickets on a first come, first served basis by paying Tatkal charges. IRCTC processes 1,30,000 Tatkal transactions daily. A majority of these tickets is booked within minutes of the quota opening.

10 Things To Know About Tatkal Reservation:

1) The new facility, called ‘ePaylater’, is powered by M/s Arthashastra Fintech Pvt Ltd as a pilot project.

2) The service charge levied on use of the ‘ePaylater’ scheme is 3.50 per cent of transaction amount and applicable taxes. To make people aware about the availability of this method, an option of ‘ePaylater’ is displayed at the payment page of the IRCTC website

 

3) You will receive the payment link through email and SMS on making a booking and will get up to 14 days to make the payment, according to the IRCTC website.

4) “Please note that failure to make payment within 14 days will lead to levy of penal interest at the rate of 36 per annum and may also lead to cancellation of your ticket and/or user account deactivation,” the IRCTC website added.

5) In another Pay-On-Delivery option – powered by Anduril Technologies – for tatkal tickets, IRCTC users will be able to pay via cash, debit card or credit card by opting to have tickets delivered at their doorstep.

6) “The pay on delivery feature circumvents the use of a payment gateway and will help users make the bookings in just a few seconds greatly increasing their chance of booking a confirmed ticket under the Tatkal quota,” said Anduril Technologies CEO Anurag Bajpai.

7) Refusal on part of the customer to pay for the ticket shall amount to its cancellation and the customer shall be liable to pay for the cancellation charges, failure of which shall invite strict action as per law and user account will be deactivated, the IRCTC website said. Transaction charges for this facility range from Rs. 90 to Rs. 120 plus applicable taxes for transaction.

8) If you opt for the ‘Book Now, Pay Later’ option – powered by Anduril Technologies – via the IRCTC website, you will be led to a page which states: “In case, if the travel is within next 24 hrs, you are requested to pay online through payment link forwarded to the email given at the time of booking. Door step payment collection will be attempted within next 24-72 hours. In case of non-payment before the travel date, the ticket will be cancelled and the user will be liable to pay the cancellation charges.” After that you need to fill in the details.
9) After reports on social media and some websites that Tatkal booking rules will change from July 1, 2017, the Railways had issued a clarification, saying that there had been no changes. “It has been noticed that a news item is in circulation in various social media platforms, WhatsApp groups, and some websites which mentions that Indian Railways is introducing several changes and new facilities with effect from 1st July, 2017. This news is totally incorrect and baseless,” it had said in a statement recently.

 

10) The booking timings for Tatkal tickets were last changed in 2015 with booking for AC classes opening at 10:00 am and for non-AC classes at 11:00 am (one day in advance of actual date of journey excluding date of journey). There has no change in these timings and the same arrangement is continuing, the Railways added.

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