Indian Railways News

Railway committee calls to cutting down red taping to promote efficiency

A railway committee is looking at cutting down red tape to ensure the speedy disposal of files and promote efficiency in the public sector behemoth, according to its draft report.

The present structure slows down decision-making, promotes inefficiency and increases transaction costs, the committee, headed by the director general, personnel, said in its report.

Set up by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in March under the Minimum Government and Maximum Governance campaign, the committee is expected to submit its final report next month.

The draft report, a copy of which is with PTI, suggested reductions in bureaucracy levels to speed up the decision- making process and “minimise government”.

It said decisions could move faster if the levels at which a file moved were cut down.

Recommending that no file be kept at any level internally for more than one or two days, it said decisions should be finalised within 14 days.

“The present practice is that there are several layers of file movement. We have recommended restricting levels to a maximum of four which do not include sub-levels since such examinations are often without accountability and value addition,” a senior official said.

There was no defined schedule of powers indicating clear authority and the process to be followed, the official added.

“There is a tendency to obtain approval or sanction of a higher authority for perceived immunity,” he said.

It also suggested an “alignment to analogous organisations in other ministries”, or linking to departments elsewhere with similar concerns.

Railways to rename trains after famous literary works

Adding an erudite touch to train journeys, the railways ministry is looking at a proposal to rename trains after famous literary works, referencing not just their authors but the region they come from.

So, passengers travelling to West Bengal could soon board a train named after a novel by Mahashweta Devi and a train ride to Bihar could reference a work by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, said a senior official.

The ministry, he said, was creating a bank of award winning literary works from across the country to christen trains across railway zones.

“The idea came from the minister (Suresh Prabhu) who said the railways is a secular integrating factor in the country and the names of the trains can be used to showcase varied cultural identities. So we will name trains on the works of the authors across languages and across regions,” said the official.

Officials working on the database said preliminary work has already begun with a list of Sahitya Academy winning works being shortlisted.

“The minister feels that in India there are regional aspirations and regional affiliations that generate a lot of interest. It is an innovative way to commemorate these achievements. Also, it has great recall value for the younger generation,” said the official.

The decision to rename and name trains lies with the ministry. However, it needs to take permission for renaming stations.

The names of several trains, stations, rail circuits and schemes were changed after the BJP-led NDA government came to power in May 2014.

The Mahamana Express, for instance, was renamed after former Hindu Mahasabha president Madan Mohan Malviya and the Antodaya Express in memory of Bharatiya Jana Sangh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.

The Indian Railways also launched the Deen Dayalu coaches to commemorate Upadhyaya. Similarly, the Dadar-Sawantwadi- Dadar Express in the Konkan region was recently renamed Tutari Express, after revolutionary Marathi poet Krishnaji Keshav Damle’s Marathi poem Tutari, which means a trumpet-like instrument.

Some trains already had that literary touch. The Godan Express, for instance, which runs from Mumbai to Uttar Pradesh is named after Munshi Premchand’s acclaimed work. There is also the Kaifiyat Express, named after Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi, which goes from his home town Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh to Delhi.

Utkal Express derailment: Rail administration sacks 13 employees

In the aftermath of the derailment of Utkal Express which claimed almost 23 lives, the railway administration on Wednesday sacked thirteen employees.

Earlier, the Government suspended four railway officials and sent Northern Railway General Manager RN Kulshrestha on leave.

The authority also sent Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Delhi, Member of Engineering, Railway Board (secretary level) on leave and transferred Chief Track Engineer, Northern Railway.

Fourteen coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Kalinga Utkal Express derailed at Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh on the evening of August 19, killing over 20 people and injuring at least 200.

Train Ticket Cancellation Charges, Refund Rules And Other Details

One of the most common queries rail passengers have is about train ticket cancellation charges and refund rules. Indian Railways carries over two crore passengers daily. With effect from November 2015, certain provisions of Railway Passengers (Cancellation of tickets and refund of fare) rules have been amended and comprehensive Railway Passengers (Cancellation of tickets and refund of fare) Rules 2015 have been notified through Gazette Notification G.S.R. 836(E). dated 04.11.2015. The cancellation charges vary depending on the time the ticket is cancelled. IRCTC, a unit of Railways, provides online ticketing facility.

Train Ticket Cancellation Rules In 10 Points

1) If a confirmed ticket is cancelled up to 48 hours before the scheduled departure of train, cancellation charges will be deducted at Rs. 240 for AC First Class/Executive Class, Rs. 200 for AC 2 Tier/First Class, Rs. 180 for AC 3 Tier/AC Chair car/ AC 3 Economy, Rs.120 for Sleeper Class and Rs.60 for Second Class. Cancellation charges are levied on a per passenger basis.

2) If a confirmed ticket is cancelled within 48 hours and up to 12 hours before the scheduled departure of train, cancellation charges will be 25 per cent of the fare subject to the minimum flat rate mentioned above.

3) Between 12 hours and up to four hours before the scheduled departure of train, cancellation charges will be 50 per cent of the fare paid subject to the minimum cancellation rate. No refund of fare shall be admissible on the ticket having confirmed reservation in case ticket is not cancelled or TDR (ticket deposit receipt) not filed online up to four hours before the scheduled departure of the train, says IRCTC website.

4) Refund will be granted on an RAC (reservation against cancellation) ticket or wait-listed ticket up to 30 minutes before the departure of train.

5) The e-tickets should be cancelled through internet and the refund of fare will be credited to the account from which the booking transaction took place, after deducting the applicable charges.

Train Ticket Cancellation Charges, Refund Rules And Other Details
Train ticket cancellation charges vary depending on the time the ticket is cancelled.
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Train Ticket Cancellation Charges, Refund Rules And Other Details

In case of cancellation of trains, for e-tickets, an automatic refund is granted.
One of the most common queries rail passengers have is about train ticket cancellation charges and refund rules. Indian Railways carries over two crore passengers daily. With effect from November 2015, certain provisions of Railway Passengers (Cancellation of tickets and refund of fare) rules have been amended and comprehensive Railway Passengers (Cancellation of tickets and refund of fare) Rules 2015 have been notified through Gazette Notification G.S.R. 836(E). dated 04.11.2015. The cancellation charges vary depending on the time the ticket is cancelled. IRCTC, a unit of Railways, provides online ticketing facility.
Train Ticket Cancellation Rules In 10 Points

1) If a confirmed ticket is cancelled up to 48 hours before the scheduled departure of train, cancellation charges will be deducted at Rs. 240 for AC First Class/Executive Class, Rs. 200 for AC 2 Tier/First Class, Rs. 180 for AC 3 Tier/AC Chair car/ AC 3 Economy, Rs.120 for Sleeper Class and Rs.60 for Second Class. Cancellation charges are levied on a per passenger basis.

2) If a confirmed ticket is cancelled within 48 hours and up to 12 hours before the scheduled departure of train, cancellation charges will be 25 per cent of the fare subject to the minimum flat rate mentioned above.

3) Between 12 hours and up to four hours before the scheduled departure of train, cancellation charges will be 50 per cent of the fare paid subject to the minimum cancellation rate. No refund of fare shall be admissible on the ticket having confirmed reservation in case ticket is not cancelled or TDR (ticket deposit receipt) not filed online up to four hours before the scheduled departure of the train, says IRCTC website.

4) Refund will be granted on an RAC (reservation against cancellation) ticket or wait-listed ticket up to 30 minutes before the departure of train.

5) The e-tickets should be cancelled through internet and the refund of fare will be credited to the account from which the booking transaction took place, after deducting the applicable charges.

6) No cancellation charge is levied and full fare is refunded to passengers holding confirmed, RAC and wait-listed tickets if the journey is not undertaken due to late running of train by more than three hours of scheduled departure, subject to the condition that the ticket is surrendered prior to actual departure of train.

7) In case of cancellation of trains, for e-tickets, an automatic refund is granted. Filing of TDR or ticket deposit receipt is not required.

8) For a PRS (Passenger Reservation System) counter ticket, when the train is cancelled, a refund of fare is permissible within three days excluding the scheduled day of departure of train.

9) Under the existing rules, no refund is granted on cancellation of confirmed Tatkal tickets. If a train is running late by more than 3 hours or train is cancelled, you can file TDR with proper reason for claiming refund, says IRCTC website.

10) In case of e-ticket issued for travel of more than one passenger, some passengers have confirmed reservation and others are on RAC or waiting list, full refund of fare , less clerkage, shall be admissible for confirmed passengers, subject to the condition that the ticket shall be cancelled online or online TDR shall be filed for all the passengers up to thirty minutes before the scheduled departure of the train, says IRCTC website. Other details about rules on railway cancellation and refund can be checked in this notification.

Woman Falls Off Train, Dies, While Fighting Thief Who Tried To Snatch Her Bag

A 40-year-old woman died on Sunday after she fell off a moving train near the Old Delhi Railway Station while resisting a snatching bid, the police said.

They said the woman, Sudhir Bansal, was accompanying her son, Gaurav, who recently enrolled in Delhi University, to help him find accommodation.

They boarded the Yoga Express from Rajasthan. Ms Bansal was standing near the door of one of the compartments. When the train slowed down near Mithai Pul, on the way to the railway station, a thief caught hold of her bag, the police said.

The woman tried to fight him off but lost her balance and fell down on the tracks. She came under the wheels of the train and was injured, the police said.

Gaurav, her son, tried to save her from falling but was unsuccessful. She died while being taken to a hospital nearby. The thief fled with the bag containing cash, documents and an ATM card.

Shift To Commerce Ministry From Railways No Demotion: Suresh Prabhu

Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu today denied he has been demoted in the cabinet reshuffle, saying he looks at his new task as an opportunity to ensure rapid economic growth of the country. Noting that his new assignment is his ninth as a cabinet minister, Mr Prabhu said every task is equally important.

 Mr Prabhu was moved out of the important Railway Ministry and was handed over the Commerce and Industry portfolio in the cabinet reshuffle.

The development comes after Mr Prabhu took moral responsibility for the Kalinga Utkal Express’ derailment near Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district on August 19 that killed 23 people. Two more trains derailed last month.

Soon after the Khatauli tragedy, Mr Prabhu had met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said in a series of tweets that he took full responsibility for the accident, but was asked to “wait”. This was seen as an indication that he would be ejected from the key infrastructure ministry.

“Every responsibility of the government is important and this is my ninth cabinet level position,” Mr Prabhu said. “I am extremely happy that the prime minister has asked me to do something in Make In India, Start-up India, and ease of doing business in India. All of these are the flagship programmes of the government which have to be implemented and I look forward to doing that in the right earnest,” he said.

 Mr Prabhu said he has identified export-intensive industries as an area where large number of jobs can be created.

 “We have a big challenge of improving employment. We need investments in India which have to be supplemented by FDI (foreign direct investment); we need to increase exports so that competitiveness improves as well as more jobs are created through export-intensive industries,” Mr Prabhu said.

Soon after the oath-taking at Rashtrapati Bhavan ended, where Mr Goyal and three other Ministers of State were elevated to cabinet rank and nine new faces inducted into the council of ministers, Mr Prabhu tweeted indicating his exit from Rail Bhavan.

“Thanks to all 13 Lacs+ rail family for their support, love, goodwill. I will always cherish these memories with me. Wishing you all a great life,” he said.

Wishing the fresh faces to the Council of Ministers, Mr Prabhu said, “Congrats to all members of #TeamModi for new responsibility. Making our country better is our common mission.”

He also congratulated Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Dharmendra Pradhan, Nirmala Sitharaman and Mr Goyal who have been elevated as cabinet ministers.

Station Master Suspended After Train Gets Sent On Wrong Route

A station master posted in Fefna has been suspended for alleged laxity after the Chhapra- Varanasi Intercity Express was sent on the wrong route, Railway officials said.

The train, which was supposed to go towards Ghazipur from the Fefna station, instead headed for Mau.

It was the alert passengers on board who ensured that it was stopped and brought back to Fefna, the officials said.

After a delay of 25 minutes, the train was sent on the right route, they said.

Taking note of the incident, Mr SK Jha, Divisional Rail Manager (DRM), Varansi suspended Fefna station officer VS Pandey and ordered a probe into the matter.

13 Railway Employees Sacked For Utkal Express Derailment

Services of 13 railway employees were today terminated for gross negligence that led to the August 19 train derailment in which more than 20 people were killed. Among those sacked are 11 gangmen, one ironsmith and a junior engineer, the railway ministry said.

All of them were workers in the Kathauli section where the accident took place when 14 coaches of the train jumped the rails.

“The railways has terminated the services of 13 employees under Section 14 of the discipline and appeal rule,” said Northern Railway spokesperson Neeraj Sharma.

Under this section, the services of any rail staff found guilty of gross negligence can be terminated without an enquiry.

The railway had earlier sent on leave, three top officials, including a secretary-level Railway Board officer, suspended four officers and transferred one in connection with the derailment.

Worried By Accidents, Railways Opts For More Power To Divisional Managers

Taking stock of the series of derailments this month, the draft report of a committee set up by Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu recommends that divisional railway managers (DRMs) be more empowered to take decisions, particularly in emergencies.

The committee, ‘Making Divisions as Strategic Business Units’, was constituted by Mr Prabhu in June to finalise a process by which more financial and executive powers are delegated to divisional railway managers so they are able to handle day-to-day operations more effectively.

It is expected to submit its final report to the minister next month, a senior official told news agency PTI.

A Divisional Railway Manager or DRM heads the organisation at the division level and is primarily involved with the running of trains, customer interface and maintenance of railway assets.

According to the draft report, accessed by PTI, divisional railway managers should be fully empowered to grant blocks — stopping or diverting trains till work on the tracks is over — for up to three hours.

“No questions should be asked on regulation of trains for maintenance blocks,” the committee has recommended.

The three-hour time frame has been suggested, sources said, to ensure that the block does not effect running of trains on other connected divisions.

The suggestion from the committee headed by Director General, Personnel, comes days after the Kalinga Utkal Express derailment in Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh on August 19 in which 23 people were killed. The divisional railway manager of the Northern Division was among those sent on leave.

“The committee is working to enable divisional railway managers to concentrate more on safety, customer satisfaction, transportation business, customer interface, generation of revenue, operation and maintenance of assets.”

“We are also working to see that they are relieved of procedural rigmaroles,” an official in the ministry said.

The committee has suggested in its draft report that full flexibility be given to DRMs to utilise their revenue grant across ‘minor head’ and ‘primary head’ within the overall spending limit given to the division.

It has also recommended that divisional railway managers should have the power to make emergency procurements so that safety related issues are addressed quickly.

“The system of procurement through stores depot to be modified to address gap in availability of safety items in sufficient quantity, affecting reliability and safety of assets,” the committee said.

It said that the divisions should be enabled to place supply orders directly to the vendor against the pre-decided rate contract.

According to the draft report, the tendering system in work contracts at divisional level should be simplified.

It has suggested that the railways should replicate the process followed by the Central Public Works Department where contractors are pre-qualified by headquarters and a list of approved contractors is maintained.

The Indian Railways is divided into 16 zones, which are further sub-divided into divisions, each having its divisional headquarters.

There are a total of 73 divisions. Each division is headed by a Divisional Railway Manager.

There have been three derailments since the Kalinga Utkal Express accident on August 19.

About 100 passengers were wounded when 10 coaches of the Kaifiyat Express train derailed on August 23 in UP’s Auraiya district after crashing into a dumper on the tracks.

On August 25, six coaches of an Andheri-bound local train derailed in Mumbai, injuring six passengers. Yesterday, a landslide caused by heavy rain led to the derailment of the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express in Maharashtra. No casualties were reported.

 

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