Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Relief for contractors! FM Sitharaman announces extension for Indian Railways, road and highways contracts

The announcement was made by FM Nirmala Sitharaman a day after PM Narendra Modi promised a Rs 20 lakh crore economic stimulus package to deal with the fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic

Modi Rs 20 lakh crore package details: In a big relief for contractors, all Central agencies have been asked to provide up to 6 months extension, without any cost to the contractor, for obligations such as completion of work. The announcement was made by FM Nirmala Sitharaman a day after PM Narendra Modi promised a Rs 20 lakh crore economic stimulus package to deal with the fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic. The relief for contractors covers construction and goods and services contracts. This includes Central agencies like Indian Railways, roadways and highways projects, Central Public Works Department etc. The extension of up to 6 months covers obligations by the contractor for completion of work, extension of concession period in Public Private Partnership contracts or any intermediate milestones.

The government agencies have been directed to partially release bank guarantees. This will be done to the extent contracts are partially complete, with an aim to ease the cash flows.

Indian Railways passengers take note! Aarogya Setu made “mandatory” for travel in special trains

Indian Railways passengers take note! With Indian Railways resuming partial passenger train services amid lockdown, Piyush Goyal chaired Railway Ministry has made it “mandatory” for passengers to download the Aarogya Setu mobile app in their mobile phones. From today, as many as 15 passenger train services have been started, with the special trains departing from the New Delhi railway station (NDLS). With passengers travelling during the lockdown period, Piyush Goyal chaired Railway Ministry is ensuring suitable measures to prevent the deadly COVID-19 infection from spreading. The ministry in a tweet stated that it is mandatory for passengers to download Aarogya Setu mobile application in their phones, before commencing their train journey.

With Aarogya Setu mobile app, the Modi government aims to keep everyone safe and alert about COVID-19 pandemic. The mobile app connects essential health services with the public in the government’s combined fight against novel coronavirus outbreak. The Aarogya Setu mobile app tracks a person’s interaction with someone who could have tested positive of novel coronavirus through a Bluetooth and GPS generated social graph. With this app, a person is alerted if they are in close proximity to a COVID-19 positive patient. Moreover, the app also gives instructions on how to self-isolate as well as what to do if someone develops coronavirus symptoms.

To get alerts on COVID-19, a person needs to install the Aarogya Setu mobile application on his/her mobile phone. After installing the app, switch on Bluetooth and GPS. Then, set the location sharing to ‘Always’.

From today, the 15 special trains will run to various destinations across the country including Mumbai Central, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Ranchi, Patna, Agartala, Jammu Tawi, Howrah, Ahmedabad, Bilaspur, Thiruvananthapuram, Dibrugarh, and Madgaon. However, the tickets for these special passenger train services can be booked only through the official IRCTC web portal or through the IRCTC mobile app.

Indian Railways passengers note! No blankets, linen and pre-booked IRCTC meals on special trains

The fare structure of the special trains will be as applicable for the regular time tabled Rajdhani Express train services or as per the regular time tabled train category notified by the coaching directorate.

Indian Railways passengers note! No pre-paid food, no blankets on special passenger trains! Amid nationwide lockdown due to novel coronavirus pandemic, Indian Railways has decided to run special passenger train services! According to a statement issued by the Railway Board, the fare structure of the special trains will be as applicable for the regular time tabled Rajdhani Express train services or as per the regular time tabled train category notified by the coaching directorate. These trains will start operations from 12 May 2020 from NDLS to various places such as Bilaspur, Secunderabad, Madgaon, Ahmedabad, Jammu Tawi, Howrah, Chennai, Patna, Dibrugarh, Mumbai Central, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Agartala, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar. Here, take a look at the catering and linen rules for these special trains as listed by the Railway Board in a circular accessed by Financial Express Online.

Will passengers get IRCTC pre-booked food on-board the special passenger trains?

According to the national transporter, no catering charges will be included in the fare. Also, provision for booking of pre-paid meals or food items will be disabled. However, the official catering arm of Indian Railways, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) can make provision for limited eatables as well as packaged drinking water on a payment basis, it stated. Passengers will be provided will all the related information during the time of ticket booking.

The Railway Board has stated that the tickets for these special train services can only be booked online via the official IRCTC website (irctc.co.in) or through the IRCTC mobile application. The counter ticket operations at railway stations across the nation will continue to remain shut. Apart from this, passengers will now be able to book tickets for these special train services through authorized agents of IRCTC or Indian Railways. As per the cancellation policy, the cancellation for these special trains will be allowed up to 24 hours before the scheduled departure of the train. The cancellation charge will be 50% of the ticket fare.

Indian Railways steps up efforts! 215 stations identified for COVID-19 isolation trains

The isolation ward train services, on request from state governments, will be deployed at the railway stations and linked to the nearest COVID-19 hospital, as per government guidelines.

Indian Railways stations identified for COVID-19 isolation coaches! Considering the possibility of a surge in the number of novel coronavirus cases, as many as 215 railway stations in 23 states and Union Territories have been identified by the government where trains with the new isolation coaches can be deployed. Spread across major hotspots, these Indian Railways stations are located in green zones as well as orange zones, according to an IE report. The isolation ward train services, on request from state governments, will be deployed at the railway stations and linked to the nearest COVID-19 hospital, as per government guidelines.

The guidelines recently issued by the Health Ministry stated that considering the possibility of an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, a view is taken to use Indian Railways coaches as novel coronavirus care centres. According to the guidelines, the train coaches will be used for cases that are suspected or confirmed and will be categorized into very mild and mild. The SOP stated that separate coaches will be utilized for suspected and confirmed cases. Also, patients may be given individual cabins and at the most, two patients may be accommodated in a cabin. A senior government official was quoted in the report saying that the railway stations have been identified in such a way that the trains can be used there and also the trains can remain on standby so that at the shortest possible time, they can reach any place.

The list has stations from all the major cities – Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Chennai as well as major cities in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Goa, Tripura, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Punjab, and Karnataka.

There are 27 stations from Uttar Pradesh, 21 stations from Maharashtra, 18 stations from West Bengal, 15 stations from Bihar, 14 stations from Madhya Pradesh, 14 stations from Karnataka, 13 stations from Assam, 11 stations from Gujarat, 10 stations from Tamil Nadu, nine stations from Odisha, seven stations from Punjab, seven stations from Jharkhand, three stations from Kerala, two stations from Jammu and Kashmir and two stations from Telangana. According to the report, the railway stations have been identified after considering if allied facilities such as electricity and water to make these coaches functional, are available. In 85 of the railway stations, medical staff from railway hospitals will be deployed.

Railways Has Subsidised 85% Fare Of Special Trains For Migrants: BJP

The BJP said on Monday the railways has subsidised 85 per cent of ticket fare for special trains being run to transport migrant workers and the state government has to pay the remaining 15 per cent, soon after the Congress attacked the central government over the issue.

The state government concerned can also pay for the tickets, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.

He said the Madhya Pradesh government is doing so and asked Rahul Gandhi to tell the Congress-ruled states to follow suit.

He was responding to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s attack on the railways for charging poor migrant labourers ticket fare, even as it donated over Rs 151 crore to the PM-CARES Fund.

“Rahul Gandhi ji, I have attached guidelines of MHA which clearly states that ”No tickets to be sold at any station”. Railways has subsidised 85% & state govt to pay 15%. The state govt can pay for the tickets (Madhya Pradesh’s BJP govt is paying). Ask Cong state govts to follow suit,” Patra tweeted.

The BJP leader further clarified that for each ”Shramik Express”, special trains being run for migrants, about 1,200 tickets to the destination are handed by the railways to the state government concerned.

State governments are supposed to clear the ticket price and hand over the tickets to workers, he said.

Seeking to corner the central government, the Congress on Monday said its state units will bear the cost of rail travel of needy migrant workers and labourers stranded at their workplaces due to the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi in a statement announced the party’s decision and said this would be the Congress’ humble contribution in standing shoulder to shoulder with these workers.

In a tweet, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy claimed that migrant workers returning home will not have to pay money as the rail travel will be free from now onwards.

Mr Swamy, in a tweet, said, “Talked to Piyush Goel office. Govt will pay 85% and the State Govt 15%. Migrant labour will go free. The Ministry will clarify with an official statement.”

Indian Railways renovates century-old railway bridge in record time amid COVID-19 lockdown; details

Among many major renovation works that were conducted during the lockdown period, the national transporter has successfully completed the rehabilitation of a Brick Arch bridge in a record time of 36 hours.

Indian Railways renovates a century-old railway bridge in record time! Despite the country still under lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Indian Railways is utilizing this time to complete its repair and maintenance work. Among many major renovation works that were conducted during the lockdown period, the national transporter has successfully completed the rehabilitation of a Brick Arch bridge in a record time of 36 hours. This bridge was originally built in 1862. According to details shared by the Southern Railway Zone, the century-old railway bridge is located at Km 384/900-384/000 on downline between Anangur – Caveri railway stations (near Erode). The existing railway bridge, which falls under Salem Division, is of Brick Arch consisting of three spans of 9.15 metres.

According to Southern Railways, the existing railway bridge was proposed to be replaced with RCC segmental boxes comprising four spans of 6.6 metres wide. Initially, the rehabilitation work was planned to be carried out with two temporary girders of 60 feet with crib support in the centre.

However, keeping in view the operation of less train services during this nationwide lockdown period due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the national transporter decided to rebuild directly without temporary girder for a continuous 36 hours block. The rebuilding work of the railway bridge was taken up at 8.00 AM on 4 May 2020 and the work completed at 5.00 PM on 5 May 2020. During this period, all the train services dealt on the single line between 3 stations i.e. Sankaridurg to Erode, the zone stated.

Recently, the Railway Ministry issued a statement saying that during this lockdown period when all passenger train services are cancelled due to COVID-19, several long-pending repair and maintenance works like Yard remodeling, renewal of scissors crossover, repairs of bridges, rail tracks have been carried out by Indian Railways. Besides, many pre-monsoon works have also been conducted to prevent the disruption of train services during the rainy season.

Who is paying fares for Indian Railways special trains running during COVID-19 lockdown? What we know so far

Indian Railways is charging only a standard fare for this class from state governments which is just 15 per cent of the total cost incurred by the national transporter.

Indian Railways Shramik special trains: During the lockdown period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Railways is running Shramik special trains. These special trains are being run by the national transporter for stranded migrants, students, tourists and pilgrims, in coordination with the various state governments. According to Indian Railways, the fares for these trains will be collected from the state governments. Amidst criticism towards the Centre for not running special trains free of cost, here is what we know so far about who is paying the cost of running Shramik special trains:

1. An ANI report has quoted sources in the Railway Ministry as saying that 85% of the cost of running these trains is being borne by Indian Railways. Indian Railways is charging only a standard fare for this class from state governments which is just 15 per cent of the total cost incurred by the national transporter, the report said.

2. According to Indian Railways, these trains are running at much less than their capacity, with social distancing norms being maintained between the passengers. Indian Railways has also said that train tickets are not being sold to migrants and Indian Railways is only boarding passengers based on the lists provided by states.

Railway Ministry recently issued a statement stating that the national transporter is only accepting passengers ‘brought’ and ‘facilitated’ by the state governments. Therefore, no other group of travelers or individuals have been allowed to come to railway stations. It further said that besides, Shramik special trains, no other passenger train services including suburban train services are being operated.

3. The fare for these Shramik special trains will include charges for Sleeper Mail Express + Superfast train charge of Rs 30 + an additional charge of Rs 20. This includes drinking water as well as meals for long-distance trains.

4. An IE report has quoted the Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav as saying that the call to not run trains for free is a conscious one so that only those for whom travel is essential can take the train journeys.

5. A statement issued by the Railway Ministry reads that the sending state has to pay the consolidated fare to Indian Railways. The cost may be borne by the sending state, or taken from the passengers by the sending state, or after mutual consultation with the receiving state. Indian Railways is only issuing tickets to passengers decided by the sending state government, the statement says.

Meanwhile, according to a PTI report, payment for the Shramik Special trains that have run till now has been made by state governments, except Maharashtra.

The third phase of the lockdown (4 May to 17 May 2020) will see some considerable relaxations for those districts that have been declared as orange and green zones. But, there will be little or no movement in the red zones. However, irrespective of whatever zone a district falls under, the rail, air, metro as well as inter-state bus services will remain suspended till 17 May 2020.

Big relief! Indian Railways to run special trains for movement of stranded migrants, students, others; details

These special trains are being operated to move migrant workers, students, pilgrims, tourists and other people who are stranded at different places due to the nationwide lockdown.

Indian Railways to run special trains from Labour Day! Based on the guidelines by Ministry of Home Affairs and as per the demands received from the various state governments, as many as six Shramik special trains are being operated today – Lingampalli to Hatia, Aluva to Bhubaneswar, Nasik to Lucknow, Nasik to Bhopal, Jaipur to Patna and Kota to Hatia special trains. Incidentally, May 1 is also Labour Day. According to a statement issued by the Railway Ministry, these special trains are being operated to move migrant workers, students, pilgrims, tourists and other people who are stranded at different places due to the nationwide lockdown implemented because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As per the protocols for sending as well as receiving such stranded persons, these special train services will be operated by Indian Railways from point-to-point on the request of both the concerned state governments. Moreover, for coordination and smooth operation of these special trains, the national transporter and state governments have been asked to appoint senior officials as Nodal Officers.

Today, Indian Railways on the request of various state governments is running the following six Shramik Special trains:

1. Lingampalli to Hatia
2. Nasik to Bhopal
3. Jaipur to Patna
4. Nasik to Lucknow
5. Aluva to Bhubaneswar
6. Kota to Hatia

The states allowing stranded migrants and other people to leave will have to screen the passengers and only those would be allowed to travel who are found to be asymptomatic. By following social distancing norms as well as other precautions, the state governments will have to bring these people in batches that can be accommodated in the special train to the designated station in buses that are sanitized. Every passenger will have to wear face cover.

The passengers will be provided with meals and drinking water by the sending states at the originating railway station. During the journey, social distancing and hygiene will be ensured with the cooperation of railway passengers. Also, meals will be provided on longer routes, during the journey. The state government will receive the passengers on their arrival and will make arrangements for their screening, quarantine if required and further travel from the station.

Breathtaking video! Indian Railways readies 1st rail girder bridge with over 100 m high piers in North-east

With the launching of the steel girders by cantilever erection method, the engineers of Indian Railways have demonstrated very meticulous planning and execution.

Jiribam-Imphal railway line project: Indian Railways gets its first bridge with over 100 metres high piers! The girders for Bridge number 44 – part of the upcoming Jiribam-Imphal railway line – have been launched over river Makru in the district of Tamenglong, Manipur. According to Indian Railways, this is another step forward in connecting this beautiful land to the Indian Railways network to aid its socio-economic development. The newly launched, bridge number 44 on river Makru is the first ever 100 metre high pier bridge of Indian Railways. According to details shared by the Northeast Frontier Railway zone, the 100 metre high pier bridge is equivalent to a 33 storey building. The bridge is 555 metres long. Watch this breathtaking video of the 100-metre high pier bridge:

With the launching of the steel girders by cantilever erection method, the engineers of Indian Railways have demonstrated very meticulous planning and execution, the national transporter claimed. According to the Northeast Frontier Railway zone, due to anti-social elements activities, the security of railway officials as well as the staff of construction companies was a big challenge. Thus, to cater to this issue, CPRF, as well as Manipur Rifles companies, have been deployed at both ends of bridge number 44.

Moreover, to provide security and safety to the construction work of bridge number 44 along with other locations of the Jiribam-Imphal railway line project, battalion of Territorial Army-119 unit with assistance from the Ministry of Defence was deployed near the bridge site in March 2019. As the site of the bridge is remote, the access for man and machine was very difficult. Therefore, many times during the winter season, timely transportation of heavy girders have been done by custom made trucks.

The Jiribam-Imphal railway line will connect the Northeast state of Manipur to the rest of India through the Indian Railways network. The ambitious railway line project, which has been declared as a national project was taken up in the year 2008. The Jiribam-Imphal railway line project is expected to be complete by 2022 and will also boast Indian Railways’ tallest railway girder bridge (Bridge number 164) with a pier height of 141 metres, twice as high as Qutab Minar!

No communication gap! Indian Railways responds to 13,000 queries everyday amidst COVID-19 lockdown

The Railway Emergency Cell for COVID-19 has been responding to nearly 13,000 queries, suggestions, and requests daily, from five communication as well as feedback platforms – Helpline numbers 138 and 139, social media platforms, especially Twitter, email and CPGRAMS.

Amid lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Indian Railways is taking steps for its customers and the general public! The Railway Emergency Cell for COVID-19 has been responding to nearly 13,000 queries, suggestions, and requests daily, from five communication as well as feedback platforms – Helpline numbers 138 and 139, social media platforms, especially Twitter, email ([email protected]) and CPGRAMS. The comprehensive nation-wide unit comprises of around 400 officers from the Railway Board to Railway Divisions. According to the Railway Ministry, over 90 per cent of the queries were responded on a one-to-one basis over telephone, mostly in the caller’s local language.

In addition to queries answered by Indian Railways’ IVRS facility, over 2,30,000 queries were answered through the Rail Madad Helpline number 139 on a one-on-one basis in the first four weeks of the nationwide lockdown. While the queries over helpline numbers 138 and 139 are generally for the commencement of passenger train services and the relaxed refund rules on tickets, the Social Media platforms are flushed with appreciation of Indian Railways’ efforts as well as suggestions in these trying times, the ministry stated.

On helpline number 138, which is geo-fenced, i.e., calls land on the nearest Railway Divisional Control Office as per the caller’s location, more than 1,10,000 calls were received, during the same period. The facility ensures that the callers receive guidance and information in the language that they are comfortable speaking. Besides, the new feature also makes the flow of information to customers of Indian Railways as well as others, faster as the pertinent information is readily available with the concerned Railway Division.

Additionally, the national transporter started time tabled parcel train services for the time-bound delivery of essential commodities such as life-saving drugs. Using Parcel special trains, RMS, as well as other consignments that were struck at various points, were cleared as well. Moreover, suggestions were incorporated by Indian Railways that were received from the public, on a real-time basis, wherever possible. For an example, the East Coast Railway zone had planned a parcel train service from Yashwantpur to Guwahati. However, the train did not have a planned stoppage at Vishakhapatnam, but after receiving a suggestion on Twitter, it was rerouted through the station. Moreover, the national transporter also played a crucial role in transporting life-saving drugs to those who were unable to procure them due to the countrywide lockdown.

 

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