Indian Railways News

Railways make private hospitals accessible to over 27 lakh employees

In a significant decision, the Indian Railways has allowed its 13 lakh serving and 14 lakh retired employees and their families to avail medical treatment for serious ailments from private hospitals — including super speciality hospitals, and nursing homes.

According to a senior official of Indian Railways, Ashwani Lohani, Chairman Railway Board (CRB), has authorised and empowered all the 71 Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs) to take decision in this matter. The move comes close on the heels of Lohani giving more financial and administrative powers at managerial level.

Until now, Railways employees had to take permission from general managers (GM) at the zonal level or from Railway board to seek treatment outside government and Railway hospitals. If the treatment required less than Rs 10 lakh, permission was given at the GM level, but in case it was above Rs 10 lakh, it required clearance from the Railway Board which led to loss of time in urgent and critical cases.

Now DRMs will be empowered to take decision at their end, which will help employees save time and get the treatment done at the earliest,” the official said.

After a crucial meeting through video conferencing with all the 17 zonal general managers two weeks ago, Lohani had issued a string of directives including this one. The other key decisions included identification of vulnerable sections on Railways lines, deep screening of vulnerable tracks, and increased patrolling of railways tracks during winters.

Deep screening is used to clean excessive rainfall and dropping of ashes and ore when ballast gets choked up and track drainage is impaired. Deep screening restores the resiliency and elasticity of the ballast bed, resulting in improved running quality of track that is less prone to accidents.
OLD RULES

Until now, Railways employees had to take permission from general managers (GM) at the zonal level or from Railway board to seek treatment outside government and Railway hospitals. If the treatment required less than Rs 10 lakh, permission was given at the GM level, but in case it was above Rs 10 lakh, it required clearance from the Railway Board which led to loss of time.

Twitter users come to rescue of young boy stranded at Jaipur Railway station

ne of our worst fears during train journey’s in childhood was the fear of getting lost or stranded in a busy railway station. Unfortunately, some kids inevitably lose their way in busy train stations. Something similar happened with Archit, a boy stranded at Jaipur Railway station.

An alert Twitter user on Monday posted a picture of a boy stranded in Jaipur Railway station. He was  unfortunately left behind by his family who boarded the 19329 Udaipur Express. The only information Archit could provide was that his father’s name is Bharat Bhushan.

After the tweet was retweeted close to 100 times with many tagging the Railway Ministry, help was received. Twitter user Phoenix Fire later tweeted that the boy has met his local guardian in Jaipur station. The boy clearly looked shocked in the picture and one can only imagine what would have happened without the intervention of Twitter’s good samaritans.

Here’s how the event unfolded:

 

9 lakh seniors give up ticket subsidy in 3 months, Railways saves Rs 40 crore

Over nine lakh senior citizens have voluntarily given up their ticket subsidies under the ‘give up’ scheme of the Railways, thereby helping the transport behemoth save around Rs 40 crore.

Under the scheme launched last year, senior citizens had the option to either avail the full concession provided to them on rail tickets or forgo the entire amount. This year, a new option was added in which a senior citizen can give up 50 per cent of the subsidy. The scheme was launched to reduce the nearly Rs 1,300 crore subsidy burden of the Railways in the senior citizen category.

From July 22 to October 22, 2.16 lakh men and 2.67 lakh women gave up their full subsidy, while 2.51 lakh men and 2.05 lakh women decided not to avail 50 per cent of their subsidy – making the total number of passengers over 60 years to give up their subsidy at 9.39 lakh in three months. During the same period last year, only about 4.68 lakh senior citizens gave up their subsidies – 2.35 lakh men and 2.33 lakh women.

“The figures show that the number of people letting forgoing the subsidy has doubled in one year. It is great news for Railways as we are looking to reduce our losses incurred through subsidies,” said a senior official of the ministry.As of now, Railways bears 43 per cent of the cost of train fare and incurs a loss of about Rs 30,000 crore a year in subsidising passenger fares out of which Rs 1,600 crore is for concessional fares. Railways recovers only 57 per cent of the expenses incurred for passenger transportation through sale of tickets of all classes.

CR clears FOB landing at Currey Rd

After DNA reported on November 29 how railway officials were left red-faced during an inspection by Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal at Currey Road station when they realised that a quadrangular seating arrangement barely three to four feet away from the landing of a new footoverbridge (FOB) obstructs the free movement of commuters, the Central Railway (CR) authorities demolished it on Wednesday. This is the same FOB that the Bombay Engineers Group of the Indian Army is constructing at the station.

On November 28, Goyal visited the Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway stations for inspection.

This FOB has been in the news as the Indian Railways, Army and BMC are struggling to acquire 180 sq metres of land for its construction at Currey Road station. The government authorities are ready to pay the cost of the land which is Rs 5 crore.

At present, the FOB is almost a century old. The second FOB, towards the station’s southern end, is partially built by the railway authorities and the rest would be completed by the Army. Over the past few months, the CR authorities began constructing the second FOB at Currey Road station. In the past few weeks they built the staircases on both sides of the platform.

The work on the elevated portion of the FOB that extends on the east till the platform too has been started. They painted this structure in silver, but put granite tiles on the stairs just a couple of days before Goyal was to visit the station. There are two landings — one towards Dadar and the other

towards CSMT — where the seating arrangement existed.
FOB AT CURREY RD

It is the one that the Bombay Engineers Group of the Indian Army is constructing.
It has been in the news as the authorities are struggling to acquire land for it.

Just like your cabs, you can soon track trains in real time via GPS

In a new initiative by Indian Railways, passengers can now soon keep a track of their trains in real time through Global Positioning System (GPS).

The Railways is experimenting with the real-time punctuality monitoring and analysis (RPMA), a GPS-enabled device which will be fitted in locomotives to increase the punctuality of the trains.

Currently, Indian Railways use the manual national train enquiry system (NTES) to track train movement. Switching to the new RPMA system will increase the passenger safety also.

Earlier, Railways has successfully tested the the RPMA in the Mughalsarai division in October. “The system keeps plotting trains on maps and speed charts,” said Mughalsarai DRM Kishor Kumar.

Besides, tracking the train movement, the system also provided other crucial details like whether trains ran at maximum speed or if the trains stopped more than necessary and even kept a check on speedometer errors.

Railway minister Piyush Goyal has asked all 16 railway zones in India to adopt the new system.

Meanwhile, the Indian Railways have decided to work in totality and integrate their big ticket rail projects keeping in mind the several Metro rails coming across the city and its metropolitan region. However, there are chances that the Rs 19,500 crore Bandra-Virar elevated corridor could be shelved as the state government is coming up with a network of Metro rail lines.

On November 29, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal held a meeting at Breach Candy Hospital and later in Churchgate with the Railway officials. Sources said that the minister has asked for a holistic plan that would integrate different modes of transport in the near future. Goyal had already showed his displeasure at a meeting on September 29, over the Bandra-Virar elevated corridor due to its high cost.

“The minister asked us to prepare a comprehensive plan involving both rail and Metro projects so that only relevant projects can be implemented and can make optimum utilisation of funds and resources,” said a senior railway official on condition of anonymity.

There are at least five new Metro rail lines planned in Mumbai and its metropolitan region including Andheri (E)-Dahisar (E) and Colaba-Bandra-Charkop for which work has started.

The railways have proposed the need for further expansion with 5th and 6th rail line son Borivali-Virar route. This shall mainly segregate the long-distance trains with the suburban system, thus allowing capacity addition of suburban locals. Already, the Harbour line is being extended from Andheri till Goregaon — which is expected to be ready soon — and further till Borivli.

Rlys plans to integrate big-ticket projects; elevated corridor may go

The Indian Railways have decided to work in totality and integrate their big ticket rail projects keeping in mind the several Metro rails coming across the city and its metropolitan region. However, there are chances that the Rs 19,500 crore Bandra-Virar elevated corridor could be shelved as the state government is coming up with a network of Metro rail lines.

On November 29, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal held a meeting at Breach Candy Hospital and later in Churchgate with the Railway officials. Sources said that the minister has asked for a holistic plan that would integrate different modes of transport in the near future. Goyal had already showed his displeasure at a meeting on September 29, over the Bandra-Virar elevated corridor due to its high cost.

“The minister asked us to prepare a comprehensive plan involving both rail and Metro projects so that only relevant projects can be implemented and can make optimum utilisation of funds and resources,” said a senior railway official on condition of anonymity.

There are at least five new Metro rail lines planned in Mumbai and its metropolitan region including Andheri (E)-Dahisar (E) and Colaba-Bandra-Charkop for which work has started.

The railways have proposed the need for further expansion with 5th and 6th rail line son Borivali-Virar route. This shall mainly segregate the long-distance trains with the suburban system, thus allowing capacity addition of suburban locals. Already, the Harbour line is being extended from Andheri till Goregaon — which is expected to be ready soon — and further till Borivli.

New safety concern crops up at Currey Road FOB

While the Indian Railways, Army and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are struggling to acquire 180 sq metres of land for constructing a foot overbridge (FOB) at Currey Road station, there is a bigger safety problem that the Central Railway (CR) is grappling with. The problem came to notice on Monday when Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal visited Currey Road station to inspect the work on the FOB.

Over the past few months, the CR authorities began constructing the second FOB at Currey Road station and in the past few weeks they have built the staircases on both sides of the platform. The work on the elevated portion of the FOB that extends on the east till the platform, too has been started. They painted this structure in silver, but put granite tiles on the stairs just a couple of days before Goyal was to visit the station.

There are two landings — one towards Dadar and the other towards Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus — where the staircases are there. However, there is an issue with the landing of the staircase towards the CSMT-end as they end straight on to a cemented and tiled seat. This has a metal pole holding the roof and people often sit there while waiting for the train. The gap is barely of 3-4 feet, which is insufficient considering the huge number of commuters.

“We have examined this and it is an additional landing. We are finding out solutions keeping in view the requirement of cover over platforms for the passengers,” said SK Jain, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), Central Railway.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has stressed on ensuring safety of commuters at railway stations and its premises. Even the multi-disciplinary audit team in its report has stated the need to remove all obstructions near the landing of FOBs across the suburban stations in Mumbai.
MINISTER’S WORD

On Monday, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal visited Currey Road station to inspect the progress. He later agreed that there are some issues with the availability of land that is being sorted out.

Google Station Free Public Wi-Fi to Go Beyond Railway Stations in India to Reach Cities

Months after enabling high-speed internet access at more than 200 railway stations in India, Google is now in plans to expand Google Station to various cities across the country. Caesar Sengupta of Google’s Next Billion Users (NBU) division on Tuesday asserted the success of the public Wi-Fi programme while addressing the audience at Google for India 2017 in New Delhi. The programme was piloted in the country back in January last year.

Sengupta, the Vice President of Product Management and NBU at Google, revealed that there are over 7.5 million users leveraging high-speed internet access through the Google Station programme in India. The programme provides Internet to 227 stations in the country, with 22 stations are going live by this month, the executive said. With this achievement, the search giant is on track to connect all 400 stations next year that was planned late last year.

“Google Station is helping connect more people to affordable and reliable Internet. Public Wi-Fi hotspots, we believe, are the internet cafe of the mobile generation – a daily place where you go to get high-quality internet to download videos and apps,whatever you choose to do. And even with the amazing progress on expanding mobile Internet in India, we are still finding that public Wi-Fi remains a crucial step in getting high-quality affordable internet to everyone,” Sengupta said, adding, “And now Google Station is expanding outside of railway stations, into cities and other countries like Indonesia.”

Google launched Google Station at 53 railway stations in the country in September and had originally planned to scale up the public Wi-Fi network to 100 stations by the end of 2016. However, after hitting the mark of 100 stations in December, the search giant expanded its focus and set to add as many as 400 stations by 2018.

Alongside railway stations, Google is now in plans to enable high-speed public Wi-Fi through Google Station in Indian cities.

A source familiar with the development told Gadgets 360 that the company was looking to power Internet access at various smart cities in the country.

Google is currently in partnership with the government’s enterprise RailTel Corporation to provide fast Internet access on mobile devices through Google Station. However, with the expansion of the programme, the Sundar Pichai-led team is also planning to tie up with new ISPs. The source confirmed Gadgets 360 that the company is also set to expand the reach of Google Station to educational institutions and universities in the coming future.

In August, Google Station entered Indonesia to help improve access to the internet at local railway stations. Google partnered with CBN and Fiberstar to bring high-speed public Wi-Fi for Indonesian users.

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Train Knocks Down Five Women in Bihar’s Munger, 4 Killed

An intercity train ran over five women here early on Monday morning, four of whom died on the spot, prompting a protest by the locals that disrupted traffic for a few hours, a senior police official said.

The incident took place around 6 am near the Adalpur Halt when the women were crossing the tracks on their way home after taking bath at a nearby ghat, Munger Superintendent of Police Ashish Bharti said.

They might have failed to notice the approaching Bhagalpur-Danapur Intercity train due to heavy morning fog, the SP said.
“Four of them died on spot and another received serious injuries. The injured woman was taken to the Munger Sadar Hospital,” he said.

Enraged over the incident, people from a nearby village gathered at the spot and squatted on the tracks, preventing the bodies from being removed, Bharti said, adding that train services were disrupted for a few hours.
Jamalpur SP (railway) Shankar Jha said services were restored around 11 am after a police team reached the spot and pacified the locals.

Railways to Invest $150 Billion, Create 10 Lakh Jobs in 5 Years: Piyush Goyal

The Railways is looking to invest over USD 150 billion over the next five years which would help create one million additional jobs, minister Piyush Goyal has said.

Goyal, who took over as the rail minister after a Cabinet reshuffle in August, said he was trying to give the national transporter a “new direction”.

During the next five years, the Railways alone will be looking at an investment of upwards of USD 150 billion. And when I translate that into jobs, I see a million jobs being created only through investments in the railway sector,” he said.

 The Railways can play an important role in “aggressively pursuing” government agenda to provide safe, secure, comfortable travel, he said while addressing an awards function.
 A focus on infrastructure could also help increase local manufacturing, he said.

Goyal said his ministry was also compressing the time taken for complete electrification of rail lines to four years from the earlier plan of 10 years, which would help cut costs by around 30 per cent for the loss-making Railways.

This electrification initiative would help save the national transporter around Rs 10,000 crore per annum on fuel bill, he said.

Earlier this month, Goyal had said the Railways would create one million jobs within the next 12 months. In 2015, his predecessor Suresh Prabhu had said the Railways needed investments of Rs 8.5 trillion over the next five years, and invited overseas investors for the same.

Prabhu had also secured a debt funding worth Rs 1.5 trillion from Life Insurance Corporation to fund various projects. It is not clear whether Goyal’s USD 150 billion is part of Prabhu’s Rs 8.5 trillion investments.