Indian Railways News

Locomotive moves on its own without Train Pilot at Wadi Jn.

A diesel locomotive train engine moved a couple of kilometres without a pilot from Wadi Junction in Kalaburagi district on Wednesday afternoon. However, no untoward incident was reported as the railway staff followed it on motorcycles along the trackside and stopped the engine and brought it back to Wadi.

As per sources in the South Central Railway, the diesel locomotive was supposed to take the Chennai-Mumbai Mail (11028) from Wadi Junction at 3 p.m. towards Mumbai on the non-electrified section of the track. However, when the staff were engaged in engine-changing, the diesel locomotive began to move in the opposite direction (towards Nalwar) on its own without a pilot. The exact cause was yet to be ascertained.

Two coaches of Amrapali Express gutted in Railway Yard in Bihar

A fire broke out in the railway yard here yesterday evening in which two coaches of a stationary train were gutted and as many damaged, a railway official said.

A general and a sleeper coach of the Amrapali Express, which was scheduled to leave late tonight for Amritsar, was destroyed while two other coaches were damaged by the blaze.

No casualties have been reported yet, officials said, adding that the reason behind the fire is yet to be ascertained.

“The fire has been brought under control. Fire brigade personnel and engineers are on the spot. An inquiry will be ordered to ascertain the cause of the fire,” Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Katihar, D L Meena, said.

The fire was noticed at around 6 pm by railway personnel engaged in the yard who informed the RPF and the fire brigade was called subsequently.

By the time flames were extinguished, a general and a sleeper coach were gutted and two other coaches were badly damaged.

Railway officials said the train would run as scheduled with fresh coaches attached to it in place of the affected ones.

Amrapali Express (15707/15708) runs between Katihar and Amritsar. It operates as train number 15707 in Up direction from Katihar Junction of North east Frontier railway to Amritsar of Northern Railway and as train number 15708 in the reverse direction.

Amrapali Express covers the distance of 1799-km between Katihar and Amritsar in 37 hours. As the average speed of the train is below 55 km/hr, its fare does not include a Superfast surcharge.

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Railways announces running of Special Trains on various Routes

In order to clear extra rush of passengers, the following Special Trains will run between Tirupati – Dharmavaram – Tirupati as detailed below:-

Train No. 07402/07401 Tirupati–Dharmavaram–Tirupati Special Trains:

Train No. 07402 Tirupati – Dharmavaram Special train will depart Tirupati at 05:00 hrs from 8th November to 14th November 2017 and arrive Dharmavaram at 10:40 hrs on the same day.

In the return direction, Train No. 07401 Dharmavaram – Tirupati Special train will depart Dharmavaram at 13:00 hrs from 8th November to 14th November 2017 and arrive Tirupati at 19:10 hrs on the same day.

Enroute, these special trains will stop at Pakala, Piler, Madanapalle Road and Kadiri stations in both the directions.

These trains will comprise of one AC II Tier, two AC III Tier, ten Sleeper Class and four General Second class Coaches.

Special Trains between Kakinada Port- Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam 

In order to clear extra rush of Passengers during spiritual festivities of  Bhagawan Sri Satya Sai  Baba from 12th to 26th November, 2017  at Puttaparthi, SCR will run four special trains between Kakinada Port – Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam – Kakinada Port  as detailed below:-

Tr.no. 07248/07245  Kakinada Port – Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam – Vijayawada Special Trains (2 Services):

Train No. 07248 Kakinada Port – Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam special train will depart Kakinada Port at 14:30 hrs on 18th November, 2017 and arrive Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam at 06:25 hrs on the next day.

Enroute, this special train will also stop at Kakinada Town, Samalkot, Rajahmundry, Nidadavolu, Eluru, Vijayawada, Guntur, Narsaraopet, Donakonda, Markapuram Road, Giddalur, Nandyal, Betamcharla, Dhone, Gooty, Anantapur and Dharmavaram stations.

In opposite direction, Train No. 07245 Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam – Vijayawada special train will depart Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam at 17:45 hrs on 19th November, 2017 and arrive Vijayawada at 05:15 hrs on the next day.

Enroute, this special train will also stop at Dharmavaram,  Anantapur,  Gooty, Dhone, Betamcharla, Nandyal, Giddalur, Markapuram Road, Donakonda, Narsaraopet and Guntur stations.

Tr.no. 07246/07249  Vijayawada – Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam – Kakinada Port Special Trains (2 Services):

Train No. 07246 Vijayawada – Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam special train will depart Vijayawada at 23:10 hrs on 23rd November, 2017 and arrive Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam at 11:30 hrs on the next day.

Enroute, this special train will also stop at Guntur, Narsaraopet, Donakonda, Markapuram Road, Giddalur, Nandyal, Betamcharla, Dhone, Gooty, Anantapur and Dharmavaram stations.

In opposite direction, Train No. 07249 Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam – Kakinada Port special train will depart Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam at 16:20 hrs on 24th November, 2017 and arrive Kakinada Port at 09:30 hrs on the next day.

Enroute, this special train will also stop at Dharmavaram,  Anantapur,  Gooty, Dhone, Betamcharla, Nandyal, Giddalur, Markapuram Road, Donakonda, Narsaraopet,  Guntur, Vijayawada, Eluru, Nidadavolu, Rajahmundry, Samalkot and  Kakinada Town  stations

*These special trains will have AC II Tier, AC III Tier, Sleeper Class and General Second class coaches.

Train No. 04428/04427 New Delhi – Kochuveli – New Delhi Superfast Special Trains via Warangal, Vijayawada (2 Services):

 Train No. 04428 New Delhi – Kochuveli superfast Special Train will depart New Delhi 11:50 hrs on 8th November, 2017 (Wednesday) arrive/depart Warangal at 12:20/12:25 hrs, Vijayawada at 15:5/15:50 hrs on the next day and arrive Kochuveli at 15:45 hrs on Friday.

In the return direction, Train No. 04427 Kochuveli – New Delhi superfast Special Train will depart Kochuveli at 23:00 hrs 12th November, 2017 (Sunday) arrive/depart Vijayawada at 21:00/21:15 hrs, Warangal at 23:40/23:45 hrs on the next day and arrive New Delhi at 04:00 hrs on Wednesday.

Enroute, these superfast special trains will stop at Gwalior, Jhansi, Bhopal, Itarsi, Nagpur, Balharshah, Warangal, Vijayawada, Renigunta, Jolarpettai, Salem, Erode, Coimbatore, Thrisur and Ernakulam Town stations in both the directions.

These trains will have AC III tier, Sleeper Class, Second General and Brake Luggage cum Generator Car Coaches.

Train No. 07230/07229 Hyderabad – Kochuveli – Hyderabad Special Trains (2 Services):

Train No. 07230 Hyderabad – Kochuveli Special Train will depart Hyderabad at 21.00 hrs on 09th November, 2017 (Thursday) and arrive Kochuveli at 03.20 hrs on Saturday.

In the return direction, Train No. 07229 Kochuveli – Hyderabad Special Train will depart Kochuveli at 20:00 hrs on 11th  November, 2017 (Saturday) and arrive Hyderabad at 03:40 hrs on Monday.

Enroute, these special trains will stop at Secunderabad, Kazipet, Warangal, Mahabubabad, Khammam, Vijayawada, Tenali, Ongole, Nellore, Gudur, Renigunta, Tirupati, Chittoor,  Katpadi, Ambur, Vaniyambadi,  Jolarpettai, Salem, Erode, Tiruppur, Coimbatore, Palakkad, Ottapalem, Thrisur, Aluva, Ernakulam Town, Kottayam, Tiruvalla, Chengannur, Kayankulam and Kollam stations in both the directions.

These trains will have  AC II tier, AC III tier , Sleeper Class and Luggage cum Brakevan  Coaches.

Additional Stoppage to Guwahati – Kochuveli – Guwahati Special Trains at Kishanganj Railway Station

With the view to facilitate the passengers, additional stoppage for five minutes is provided for Train No. 05616/05615 Guwahati – Kochuveli – Guwahati Special Trains at Kishanganj Railway Station as detailed below:-

  1. Train No. 05616 Guwahati – Kochuveli Special Trainwill arrive / depart Kishanganj station at 17:00/17:05 hrs.
  2. Train No. 05615 Kochuveli – Guwahati special Train will arrive / depart Kishanganj station at 22:03/22:08 hrs.

Meanwhile, Railway had issued a press release on the diversion / cancellation of certain trains.

Trains Diverted­­­­ With Additional Stoppage Provided at Hijli

In order to facilitate infrastructure development works at Kharagpur Station in South Eastern Railway a line block is imposed, consequently the following trains are diverted to run without touching Kharagpur Station and with provision of additional stoppage at Hijli Railway Station on the following dates.

1)     Train No.22603 Kharagpur – Villupuram Bi- weekly Express Train scheduled to depart Kharagpur on 17th November, 2017 will arrive/depart Hijili 14.12/14.17 hrs.

2)     Train No.12514 Guwahati – Secunderabad Express Train scheduled to depart Guwahati on 16th November, 2017 will arrive/depart Hijili at 03.00/03.05 hrs.

3)     Train No.22604 Villupuram – Kharagpur Bi- weekly Express Train scheduled to depart Villupuram on 16th November, 2017 will arrive/depart Hijili at 19.05/19.10 hrs.

4)     Train No.12508 Guwahati – Thiruvantapuram Express Train scheduled to depart Guwahati on 17th November, 2017 will arrive/depart Hijili at 03.00/03.05 hrs.

5)     Train No.22502 New Tinsukia – KSR Bengaluru Express Train scheduled to depart New Tinsukia on 17th November, 2017 will arrive/depart Hijili at 03.00/03.05 hrs.

6)     Train No.12509 Bengaluru Cantt – Guwahati Express Train scheduled to depart Bengaluru Cantt on 15th November, 2017 will arrive/depart  Hijili at 07.45/07.50 hrs.

7)     Train No.12253 Yesvantapur – Bhagalpur Express Train scheduled to depart Yeshvantapur on 18th November, 2017 will arrive/depart Hijili at 19.50/19.55 hrs.

Train No.15227 Yesvantpur – Muzaffurpur Express Train scheduled to depart Yesvantpur on 15th November, 2017 will arrive/depart Hijili at 10.50/10.55 hrs.

Trains Diverted due to recent floods in Samastipur Division of East Coast Rly

1)      Train No. 07091 Secunderabad – Raxaul Special train which has left Secunderabad on 7th November, 2017 is diverted via  Samastipur, Muzaffarpur, Sagauli and Raxaul instead of  Samastipur, Darbhanga , Sitamarhi and Raxaul stations.

2)      Train No. 07092 Raxaul – Secunderabad Special Train scheduled to depart Raxaul at 12.45hrs  on  10th November, 2017 is diverted via Raxaul, Sagauli, Muzaffarpur and Samastipur instead of  Raxaul, Sitamarhi, Darbhanga and Samastipur Stations.

Trains Cancelled due to Sudden Foggy Weather in Northern Railway ­­­

1)      Train No. 04426 Nizamuddin – Kochuveli Special Train  is cancelled on 11th , 18th and 25th November,2017.

2)      Train No. 04425 Kochuveli – Nizamuddin  Special Train  is cancelled on 13th , 20th and 27th November,2017.

EXTENSION OF TEMPORARY DIVERSION OF TRAIN

Train No. 22691/22692, KSR Bengaluru – Hazrat Nizamuddin – KSR Bengaluru Rajdhani Express will continue to run via diverted route, Gooty – Kalluru till 31st March, 2018 for operational reasons.

CANCELLATION OF TRAINS

1.    Train No. 12245, Howarah – Yesvantpur Duranto Express journey commencing on 19th November, 2017 is cancelled.

2.    Train No. 12246, Yesvantpur – Howarah Duranto Express journey commencing on 21st November, 2017 will remain cancelled for want of rake.

TEMPORARY DIVERSION OF TRAINS

Train No. 12509, Bengaluru Cantt. – Guwahati journey commencing on 15th, 16th & 17th November, 2017; Train No. 15227, Yesvantpur – Mujaffarpur journey commencing on 15th November, 2017; Train No. 12503, Bengaluru Cantt. – Kamakhya journey commencing on 17th November, 2017; Train No. 12253, Yesvantpur – Bhagalpur journey commencing on 18th November, 2017 will be diverted via Hijilli, Nigatpur, Asansol instead of Kharagpur, Howrah.

Train No. 22502, New Tinsukiya – KSR Bengaluru journey commencing on 17th November, 2017 will be diverted via Asansol, Nigatpur, Hijilli instead of Howrah, Kharagpur.

 

Digital Adoption: Railways’ revenue through Digital Payment up 12%

The Indian railways on Tuesday reported a rise of over 12 per cent in its cashless revenue stream generated from the reserved segment of e-tickets till August, 2017 from the period of 2016-17.

The massive rise in cashless revenue stream from the reserved segment category was attributed to various steps initiated by the railways, a railway ministry official said.

“The cashless revenue from reserved segment (e-ticket) has increased from 62.55 per cent in 2015-16 and 64.76 per cent in 2016-17 to around 76 per cent till August 28, 2017,” a railway ministry official said.

“The online booked ticket constitute to about 64.5 per cent of total tickets (till August 28, 2017).”

According to the railways, about 13 lakh tickets are booked every day against a reserved accommodation of 10.5 lakh berths across all classes.

The official added that even in the unreserved tickets segment the income through digital payment has gone up by two per cent.

“The railways sold about 6.5 per cent unreserved tickets by August 2016, which has now gone up to 8.99 per cent till September 30, 2017,” he said.

Even in the freight segment, the revenue from cashless mode increased from 97 per cent to 99.8 per cent.

Digital payment in booking tickets in railways was promoted after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 last year announced to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes to curb “black money and corruption”.

In a slew of measures to promote digital payment, the railways had on November 23, 2016 withdrawn the service charges from tickets booked through the Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

The railway official also said the service has been extended till March 31, 2018.

After demonetisation, the railways had withdrawn the service charge of Rs 30 applicable on transactions against credit or debit cards at the reservation counters.

To promote digital payment, Indian Railways also provided a discount of 0.5 per cent on season tickets purchased digitally.

Beside these, the railways also provided a discount of five per cent on payment made online for opting services like ordering food, booking retiring room.

The railways and the IRCTC also slashed all additional charges being levied either by the Indian Railways or IRCTC on e-tickets.

CEO of Bhilai Steel Plant interacts with Officers for supply of enhanced quantity of world class rails to Railways

In order to bolster the spirit of Team Bhilai and personally convey the challenge of supplying enhanced quantity of world class rails to Indian Railways, CEO Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP), the flagship unit of the public sector SAIL, M Ravi took the initiative of interacting with cross section of executives of RSM, URM, RTS and RCL departments at BTI Assembly Hall, where inspection officials of RITES were also present.

The interactions were organised on Friday and Saturday and at the end of each of the three shift, thus CEO met the officers and executives.

During these synergy sessions, Ravi informed the participants that the Railways have forecast a huge requirement of rails, for further developing the infrastructure of rail transport in India as well as for increasing passenger safety and comfort.

As such, in order to keep any competition at bay, the plant needs to immediately augment the quantity of rails being supplied to the Indian Railways at least to the extent of 90,000T per month, in order to meet the Railways enhanced requirement.

CEO further stated that although Bhilai Steel Plant is committed to meet the complete requirement of rails of Indian Railways, during financial year 2017-18, the plant has been lagging behind in fulfilling commitment of rail supplies, mainly because of low productivity at the newly commissioned URM.

Ravi, however, appreciated that stabilization of new mill takes some time, meanwhile the performance at URM has gradually improved enabling enhancement of supply level from 4,000 tonnes in April 2017 to 20,000 tonnes in October 2017.

The mill has also overcome all the problems which have come in the way, be it the problem of stamping machine or collaring in BD-2 stand. CEO desired that the new technology at URM should be quickly grasped by the mill personnel so that the mill can steadily achieve higher goals.

CEO also noted that RSM has been producing consistently at a level of around 60000 tonnes per month and needs to further enhance performance both in terms of quality and tonnage. Performance of RSM did suffer during October 2017 due to short supply of blooms, it will be however ensured that availability of blooms doesn’t become a constraint for production of higher quantum of rails from RSM.

Ravi took the opportunity to praise the efforts put by the entire team involved in production of rails including the RITES inspectors who ensure the quality of each and every rail so that it does not fail in its entire service life.

He further emphasised that each and every individual concerned needs to give his 100 percent in maximizing production both from RSM & URM immediately, as the present  situation demands a “now or never” approach from Team Bhilai.

Ferozepur-Amritsar Rail line: Railways ask State Govt to expedite Land acquisition to start work on the line

Uncertainty looms large over the much-needed “crucial” Ferozepur-Amritsar rail link, which has the potential to shorten the distance between the northern states, including Punjab, to trade capitals of Gujarat and Maharastra to large extent.

When constructed, it will also reduce the distance between two border districts of Ferozepur and Amritsar from the present 118 km to 86 km. The distance between Amritsar and Mumbai will be cut down by over 200 km. However, the project has been hanging fire due to red-tape for the last several years.

The rail link between Majha and Malwa was earlier snapped at the time of Partition when the province of Punjab was divided and some part of Ganda Singh Wala (now in Kasur) fell into the share of Pakistan for which now an alternative broad-gauge link between Ferozepur and Patti needs to be constructed.

Though the link was given “green signal” in the rail budget during 2013 and subsequently the go-ahead by the ministry and ratification by Niti Aayog, the matter is still hanging in the balance.

Last month, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had also written to the Railway Ministry to expedite the process for the construction of this broad-gauge link between Gharyala on the Amritsar-Khemkaran line and Mallanwala on the Ferozepur-Jalandhar line as it will give a major fillip to trade and industry in the border region.

Earlier also, the matter had been taken up by Rajya Sabha MP Shwet Malik and dozens of representations had been sent to the Railways, but nothing tangible has come out yet.

Railway officials had maintained that since the Internal Rate of Return (IPP) was negative for the project, the ministry had asked the state to provide 50 per cent of the funds besides the land for the project. However, the “cash- strapped” state government was reluctant to foot the bill for the project, which also included two bridges across the Sutlej and Beas, on which an amount of Rs 300 crore was likely to be incurred.

Social worker Ranjan Sharma said, “This rail link is extremely vital to join the two strategically located border districts of Ferozepur and Amritsar, besides connecting them to Rajasthan, Maharastra and Gujarat to boost their economy.” “It will be a boon for the farmers who will be able to send vegetables and fruits to the markets in Mumbai and other areas within 2-3 days,” he added.

Kulbhushan Gautam, president, Bharat Vikas Parishad, said the project would not only benefit the people from Punjab, but also a number of other states, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and those of south India.

When contacted, Vivek Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Ferozepur Division, said the process for acquiring land for the project had been initiated by the state government. “Once the land is provided, we will immediately start work on the line, for which funds are no constraint,” he added.

Will reduce Amritsar-Mumbai route by 200 km 

  • When constructed, it will reduce the distance between two border districts of Ferozepur and Amritsar from the present 118 km to 86 km.
  • The distance between Amritsar and Mumbai will be cut down by over 200 km.

Una-Hamirpur Railway line soon, says Railway Minister

Railways minister Piyush Goyal said here on Sunday that his ministry had approved a budget for a new rail line between Una-Hamirpur Railway Line (50 Kms).

He said Rs.10,200 crore would be spent on laying 254km rail line in Himachal Pradesh. “Also, four other railway projects would be started in the state soon; their detailed project reports are being prepared,” he said.

The Union minister also attacked the Congress’s state leadership, saying that it was engulfed in corruption and had been divided. “Its state government could not live up to the expectations of people,” he said. “If elected to power, the new government under Prem Kumar Dhumal will speed up development.” Goyal said Himachal Pradesh had immense potential for tourism-related activities and a BJP victory was certain in the state.

Apart from the above, projects like Amb-Andaura to Daulatpur Chowk (16 kms), is also being considered for expediting.

The Defence Ministry has declared four railway lines of National Strategic Importance including Bhanupali-Bilaspur-Beri-Manali-Leh broad gauge line.

During the year 2013-14, the then Railway Minister had announced that a railway station will be established at Basal in Una district but the announcement never saw the light of the day, he said and requested the minister to provide sufficient funds for the these projects.

Rajdhani, Shatabdi Late by an Hour? Railways to send SMS to Passengers

Passengers of Rajdhani and Shatabdi will now get text messages on their mobile phones if their scheduled trains get delayed by more than an hour.

Currently, the SMS messages are being sent to wait-listed passengers after the confirmation of their berths.

Railways made the much-needed facility operational on Saturday for all Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project, adding that the SMS facility would be extended to other trains too in a phased manner.

Developed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the information technological arm of the Railways, the SMS facility is considered to be an important service for passengers.

The official said in order to avail this facility, passengers are advised to mention their mobile numbers on the reservation slips.

It is a passenger-friendly free service for which the Railways bear the cost of SMS.

There was a trial run of the service on a few Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.

There were a few glitches found during the trial run which were addressed. Now the service is fully operational in all Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains, he said.

There are total 23 pairs of Rajdhani and 26 pairs of Shatabdi trains running across the country.

Though Railways has increased the speed of many trains to reduce travel time, some trains are running late due to various reasons like track repair.

Eco-Friendly, Disposable Towels & Pillow Covers in Rajdhani

Passengers of the recently introduced Rajdhani between Bandra Terminus and Hazrat Nizamuddin will now enjoy an eco-friendly journey with the Western Railways’ newly launched disposable, eco-friendly hand towels and pillow covers.

These towels and pillow covers were introduced on a trial basis on the Mumbai-Central Jaipur line where it received positive feedback.

While a standard towel can cost anywhere close to Rs 6 per piece including the procuring, washing and handling costs, this disposable towel costs Rs 4.75 a piece. Similarly, the cost of a disposable pillow cover comes up to Rs 8 inline with the traditional railway pillow covers.

Therefore, the rationale behind the Western Railways’ move of introducing these disposable, eco-friendly hand towels and pillow covers for the third Rajdhani passengers is to not only tackle complaints related to hygiene but also save money due to the numerous towel theft cases on train journeys.

Statistics by the Western Railways reveal that an average of five complaints are filed related to linen hygiene per month only at its Mumbai division. And over 70 towels get stolen per month on each WR train operating between Mumbai and other cities. Over 2,300 pillow covers and hand towels made of biodegradable cotton are being distributed per round trip.

Western Railway stations, trains to get 3,500 HD cams post tragedy

The Western Railway (WR) will soon have almost 3,500 eyes on its commuters in the form of high definition closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras both on coaches and platforms of railway stations. The Rs 200-crore project is sanctioned under the Rail Budget 2017-18 and money has been arranged from the existing budgetary allocation for the railways by adjusting from the overheads and the Nirbhaya Fund.

The cameras are expected to be placed by June 2018 and their installation will be personally monitored by Union railway minister Piyush Goyal.

The cameras will be installed on all the 32 WR stations and around 308 coaches on 25 local trains. A total of 100 rakes (trains) run on the WR. The decision to install the CCTVs comes after the September 29 Elphinstone Road stampede, in which 23 people died. The CCTV camera installed at the Elphinstone Road station captured very little footage that could help divulge details of the tragedy.

The move to install CCTV at the 32 stations has already undergone three revisions this year, while the cameras in coaches were limited to women compartments. But it has now been revised to not just to increase the number of cameras installed but also to make them high definition after the September 29 stampede. In fact, the concerned file was cleared from WR’s Mumbai division in Mumbai Central, then by the headquarters located in New Delhi and then finally by the Railway Board, all in one day.

An official said, “A day after the stampede when the railway minister Piyush Goyal was reviewing the measures of how to make the system better, he said that whatever the cost, it would be approved by the ministry.”

The Rs 200 crore fund has been adjusted by the railways from its budget that was merged with the Union budget on February 1 this year. The railways will also be taking a chunk, albeit a small one, from the Nirbhaya Fund that was set up in 2013 after the Delhi gang rape case.

Funds have been fast-tracked to install more CCTVs after it was pointed out by officials that the elevated portion of the foot over-bridge (FOB) at Elphinstone Road station did not have any CCTV camera installed. As a result, there were some gaps in knowing the exact series of events that led to the stampede at Elphinstone.

On the other hand, there was also a general outlook among officials that the advantage of CCTV cameras in coaches should be extended to the general compartments for men and not just the women compartments. Another official said, “Now the mindset is that everyone should have security and not just one gender.”

Railways shelve Rs.5,000 Crore Jaisalmer-Bhabhar Rail link project

The much awaited Jaisalmer (in the Jodhpur Divison of NWR) to Bhabhar (in the Ahmedabad Division of WR) rail link project has been shelved by the Union railway ministry, said Union minister of state for railways Rajen Gohain said in a letter to the BJP parliamentarian from Barmer.

In the 2016-17 rail budget, the then Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu had sanctioned ₹ 5,000 crore for the project, which was considered as a big economic boost for the limestone industry in the desert region.

In 2012-13, the North Western Railway had conducted three surveys for the 339km-long rail link.

In October 2016, a MoU was signed between the railways, Rajasthan and Gujarat governments for laying a new railway line from Jaisalmer in Jodhpur division of the North West Railway to Kandla Port in Ahmadabad division of the Western Railway in Gujarat.

Barmer MP Sonaram Choudhary raised a question in Parliament in November 2016 about the status of the proposed Jaisalmer-Bhabhar rail link.
On September 27, in his reply to the question, Union minister of state for railways Rajen Gohain said in 2012-13, a survey was conducted for the rail link in which the project was found financially non-viable with 7.74% negative rate of return.

“The railways have a long list of ongoing rail projects and since the project was not found financially viable due to which further consideration for sanctioning the project was not taken,” Gohain said in the letter.

Considering the strategic importance of the project, the view of the defence ministry is vital, the minister said, adding that a proposal has been to the ministry for its consideration.

“Until now the railways have not received any reply from the defence ministry.”

In April, this year, chief minister Vasundhara Raje, too while signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the ₹ 43,129 crore Barmer oil refinery with the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, demanded a rail connectivity between Barmer and Kandla port for transporting fuel and petrochemical products.

Choudhary said it is not possible for the railways scrap the project.

“How can the railways scrap a project that the Prime Minister mentioned as an achievement during his recent visit to Rajasthan,” said Choudhary.

“I will soon meet railway ministry official to know about the status of the project.”

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