Volunteer programme of Delhi Metro wins global award

NEW DELHI: The Metro Citizens’ Forum volunteers’ programme of the Delhi Metro has won the ‘Stevie Distinguished Honoree’ medal at the International Business Awards, 2010, popularly known as the ‘Stevie Awards’.

The volunteers’ programme won the award under the “Communications or Public Relations Campaign of the Year: Community Relations” category. A Metro spokesperson said nominations were received from more than 40 countries in the category for which the Citizens’ Forum won the award.

Thanking the media for its support, DMRC said the jury comprising over 50 members from 20 countries had verified the amount of media coverage the campaign had received, and could find “enough” stories about the volunteers’ programme on the net.

The Stevie Awards were instituted in 2002 in Virginia, United States, to honour and generate public recognition of the efforts, accomplishments, and positive contributions of companies and business persons worldwide. The DMRC said it planned to expand the volunteers’ programme so that citizens travel in a more disciplined fashion.


Railway workshop to build wagon prototype

TIRUCHI: Engaged in a slew of activities, including manufacture of container wagons and steam engines, the Golden Rock Railway Workshop here will soon knuckle down to the task of building a prototype of higher capacity tank wagon meant for carrying petroleum products.

The Railway Board has identified this premier workshop in the Indian Railways network to manufacture a prototype eight-wheeler higher payload tank wagon with a capacity to carry 73,000 litres of petroleum product.

The wagon development work is expected to commence soon based on the designs provided by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO). Workshop authorities said officials of the Lucknow-based RDSO, the research and development organisation under the Ministry of Railways, would inspect the prototype tanker wagon and carry out different kinds of tests before according clearance for mass production of such wagons for future railway requirements.

Upon completion, the wagon would be put through its paces such as load testing and overload testing.

It would be taken for running test as well. This will be the first time that the workshop develops a prototype of a tank wagon.

The over 80-year-old workshop that has been manufacturing container wagons and ‘BOXN HL’ wagons made of stainless steel in addition to carrying out periodic overhaul of broad gauge diesel locomotives and exporting diesel engines after modifying them, is also engaged in developing prototypes of bogie open type (BOXN 25M) wagon and low platform container wagon (BLC 25M) each of which will have a capacity of carrying 100 tonnes.

The archetypes of these wagons with enhanced axle load are being developed based on the designs provided by the RDSO, officials said.

The workshop has dispatched over 2,500 container wagons to the Container Corporation of India, a government of India undertaking, till now.

The officials said the workshop had carried out overhaul of 134 diesel locomotives during the 2009-10 fiscal adding that 135 diesel engines would be overhauled in the current financial year.

Works are also underway for the manufacture of four new oil-fired steam locomotives for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway at a cost of Rs. 40 crore.


Govt to rope in private companies to build rail network

NEW DELHI: The government has decided to rope in the private sector for building rail lines and connectivity projects to create additional rail transport capacity in the country.

The railway ministry has come out with a new scheme, which would provide discounts on freight charges to private companies that invest in rail connectivity projects. “The policy aims at making railways a more competitive option for prospective customers and also help increase the railways’ freight business,” said an official.

Significantly the scheme, which is applicable to new line proposals that are over 20 kilometres in length, also allows private players to build railway lines on privately acquired non-railway land. They would be expected to enter into a contract with railways to operate and maintain the line for a period of 30 years. Railways will levy a fee up to 4% on the earnings from such lines.

Railways has also provided three other investment options to private players, barring iron ore and coal miners.


Now, recharge your phone at rly stations

MUMBAI: In a passenger-friendly initiative, the railway ministry has decided that recharge coupons for cellphones will be available for sale at STD/PCO booths of railway stations. All zonal railways are being permitted to allow this sale from the existing STD/PCO booths at stations. The coupons will be actually available after 8-10 days.

“The STD/PCO booths opting for the scheme will be required to display a sign, `recharge coupons for mobile phones are available’. They will not be allowed to display the names of service providers,” an official said.

Initially, the approval is being granted for a year, up to June 30, 2011. Thereafter, the scheme will be reviewed by the railway board on the basis of information regarding number of booths opting for the scheme, additional licence fee realised etc, to be received from all zonal railways.


Railway station built & operated by villagers

BALWANTPURA-CHAILASI: This small halt station of Balwantpura-Chailasi in the Shekhawati region never looks up to Indian Railways for day-to-day maintenance. Nor does it throw up fancy wish list to railway minister. It’s a model station built, owned and operated by the villagers themselves. It’s hard to believe that a village, which is devoid of even basic amenities, has a station to talk about. This is an example finance minister would like citizens of India to emulate.

A rare success story of community participation, this halt station celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of Shekhawati — the land of Mittals, Birlas, Goenkas and Ruias.

Villagers of this nondescript hamlet had been voicing the need for a halt station since 1996. They did every possible thing to move the government — right from approaching local MP to the headquarter of railways, and also writing to railway minister. But it all fell on deaf ears.

Desperation for a halt station brought villagers of five panchayats together. They pooled in Rs 15 lakh and constructed halt station on their own. But constructing a halt station alone was not going to solve their problems. Stoppage of trains too was crucial. “Station without train-stoppage is just like a cart without a horse. Railways was not willing to stop trains and deploy staff at this small hamlet. We kept up the pressure, met every single authority requesting for a 2-minute stoppage of shuttle trains,” says Ramsukh Sharma, who was part of that delegation.

After a long drawn battle, in 2006, villagers finally succeeded in persuading railways to stop trains at the station. However, the authorities told villagers to manage and maintain the halt station with their own resources. “Railways don’t spend on any thing except the track maintenance. The management of the station is with villagers. Such initiatives can promote public partnership and help government cut expenditure and tame unsustainable deficits,” says northwestern railways DGM (general) and chief public relation officer Lalit Bohra.

At present, eight local trains stop at this station. But railways don’t have any ticket counter here. However, it does have other facilities like any other small station — drinking water, benches, toilets, etc. “Tickets are being sold by moving guards of trains. Now, railways are planning to appoint ticketing agent for this station,” Mr Bohra said.

This station is a picture of true Bharat. It has changed lives of many like 25-year old Rajendra Chaudhary. He had to walk 20 km every day to Nawalgarh to catch a train to Jaipur where he works in an electronic shop. Now he catches train from his own village reducing the travelling time. Like him, a person from every household is now working in Jaipur bringing back prosperity to the village.

The station is a boon for cancer patient Gamini Devi who too catches train from here to visit her doctor in Jaipur. “We want to set up an example for people who waste their time and energy cursing the government. We have the power. Do things on your own and let the government think that life can be better without them,” says 65-year-old Shyam Jangid who oversees the station management.


Rewari to have heritage rail museum

The Delhi Division of the Indian Railways is all set to establish a heritage rail museum in the historic loco shed of Rewari, which had been lying redundant after the recent replacement of the steam locomotives by diesel engines.

This shed of the Indian Railways, which was initiated by the then Union Railway Minister Nitish Kumar on August 14, 2002, had been lying in doldrums for the past several years.

However, the Delhi Division, with the cooperation of its Heritage Division, recently devised an action plan to convert it into a heritage museum for national as well as foreign tourists.

According to Vikas Arya, senior divisional mechanical engineer, Delhi Division, a sum of Rs 10 crore will be spent in two phases on the implementation of the above project.

The first phase of the project, which would entail an expenditure of Rs 3 crore, would be accomplished before the commencement of Commonwealth Games.

The museum, which contains 10 steam engines – five each of the metre gauge and the broad gauge – would display the signal system, rail coaches and other allied appliances of the yesteryears.

The Rewari chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), which has all along been taking a keen interest for the development of the museum, recently sent a communication to Manu Goel, director, Heritage Division Railway Board, New Delhi, seeking insertion of certain displays, exhibits and other allied activities to make it a vibrant hub for tourists as well as students community.

However, with the participation of the Rohtak AIR station’s people, Rewari chapter of INTACH recently organised a one-hour road show at the museum site here, in which historical aspects and other details of the museum were relayed live through interviews with INTACH members.

While seeking a comprehensive display of the 150-year-old glorious history of the Indian Railways through models of old and modern engines, coaches and other allied equipments, Sudhir Bhargava, convener of the Rewari Chapter of INTACH, urged Goel that informative audio/video films of the short duration should be shown to visitors and a toy train should also be installed there for schoolchildren.

Besides according due recognition to the first metre gauge line of the country, a set of commemorative postage stamps of “Chook-Chook Engines” should also be issued, Bhargava suggested.


Railways to take over catering services from IRCTC

Railways to take over catering services from IRCTC

A man boards a local train at a railway station in Kolkata February 24, 201…Railways has decided to strip the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) of its catering responsibilities on the Rajdhani, Duronto, Shatabdi and all other mail and express trains.

The Catering Policy-2010 finalised by Railways have clearly spelt out that “Railways shall progressively take over management of all mobile catering services including base kitchens, pantry cars and all food stalls in railway premises”.

Railways cool to Montek critique

At present, IRCTC, a Railway subsidiary, is responsible for serving food in about 300 trains including in premier trains like Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi.

With this move, IRCTC will forgo a catering business worth at least Rs 200 crores, said a senior IRCTC official.

The Railway Board will now determine the menu and tariff for the standard meals, breakfast, tea and coffee, which are included in the fare.

The new policy comes in the wake of increased passenger complaints about the quality of food served on board trains and in stations.

IRCTC will now be responsible for selling e-ticket and i-ticket and running the Rail Neer business.

Besides, it will manage Food Plaza, Food Courts, fast food units.

However, the policy has stipulated that “all such contracts presently being managed by IRCTC, on expiry of the contract period, will be awarded by the zonal railways in a phased manner”.

IRCTC will not renew any contract required to be handed over to zonal railways on expiry of the contract.

Railways Ministry has been negligent: CPI(M)

At present, there are about 65 food plazas across the country.

Railways will now formulate operating guidelines to implement the new catering policy.

Plagued with passenger complaints, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had stated in her Budget speech this year that a new catering policy will be announced to improve the food quality.

Incidentally, IRCTC was formed during Mamata Banerjee’s regime in 2001.

The Jan Ahaar outlets started recently by Railways to provide affordable meals to all class of people will also be managed by zonal railways.

The policy took over a year to be finalised.

The last policy catering policy was formulated during Lalu Prasad’s regime in 2005.


Increased Accessibility to IRCTC Website

In a significant initiative to remove the difficulties faced by ordinary common users in accessing the IRCTC website for booking Tatkal tickets and ordinary tickets over internet in the first hour of the booking on the opening day, the Ministry of Railways has decided to bar travel agents, web-service agents/web agents of IRCTC from accessing the website during that period.

Under this decision, which is expected to provide increased accessibility of the IRCTC website to the ordinary users, following instructions have come into operation:-

a) Travel agents/web-services agents/web agents of IRCTC will not be given access to Tatkal booking, through e-ticketing on all days between 8 A.M. to 9 A.M.

b) Travel agents/web-services agents/web agents of IRCTC will not be given access, through e-ticketing, to trains defined in the system on their respective opening day of Advance Reservation Period (ARP), between 8 A.M. to 9 A.M.

This passenger friendly measure comes in the wake of a large number of complaints regarding IRCTC website not becoming accessible to common users at the time of the commencement of the Railway reservation booking in the morning, making it difficult to book e-ticket and Tatkal on-line.

In addition, a drive has also been launched for a period of one fortnight at all major reservation offices to conduct special checks between 7.30 A.M. to 9 A.M. to prevent touts/unscrupulous elements from cornering the seats/berths in the first hour of the opening day of the advance reservation period.

The above measures have been taken to take care of the interests of the ordinary passengers in respect of ticket booking both on-line as well as at the counters and to make sure that berths/seats are not cornered by the touts/unscrupulous elements.



Published in: on July 17, 2010 at 1:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

L&T bags Hyderabad metro rail project rail project

HYDERABAD: Engineering and construction major, Larsen Toubro (L T), has emerged as the lowest bidder for the Rs 12,312crore Hyderabad Metro Rail project. An official announcement in this regard is expected in a day or two.

Sources indicated that L T was selected on the basis of the lowest grant it had sought from the government including Rs 1,458 crore Viability Gap Funding (VGF). The bidders had the option of seeking 40 per cent of the total project cost i.e., Rs 4,853 crore as VGF from the central and state governments. The other two lowest bidders namely TransstroyOJSC (Russia) consortium and Reliance sought VGF of Rs 2,200 crore and Rs 2,991 crore respectively.

“We secured the metro rail project, but we are yet to receive the Letter of Intent from the Government of Andhra Pradesh. We hope to achieve financial closure over the next six months. It will take four years or so after financial closure to complete the project,” said an L T official.

The proposed project will be taken up on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis in publicprivate partnership (PPP) mode.

Though HMRL had shortlisted eight bidders, sources said, only three including L T had actually submitted financial bids. As per norms, bidders should have a net worth of Rs 3,000 crore and should have executed projects worth Rs 18,000 crore in the last 10 years.

The state government had, in July, 2009, scrapped the contract, first awarded to a consortium led by Maytas Infra Ltd. Following the SatyamMaytas fiasco in 2008, operations of Maytas Infra were badly hit and partners of the consortium deserted the sinking ship. Subsequently, Maytas failed to achieve financial closure on time.

Published in: on July 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Plans to install CCTVs in local trains

The long-distance and suburban local trains may soon get close-circuit cameras (CCTVs). The research and development (R&D) wing of Indian Railways — Research, Design and Standard Organisation (RDSO) — is planning to first install close-circuit cameras (CCTVs) inside long-distance trains. If the move is successful, then the CCTVs will be installed in locals in phase 2 of Mumbai Urban Transport Project.

“But there would be upgraded CCTVs in locals as passenger density is more,” said S.K. Vyas, executive director, telecommunication, RDSO.

They are scrutinising the most preferred points inside coaches where CCTVs can be integrated with other electric connections and provide maximum output in terms of safety. Issues such as constant monitoring and regular maintenance of CCTVs too are being looked into.

“We are testing the feasibility of CCTVs inside trains as a security measure,” said Director General of RDSO, K.B.L. Mittal.

RDSO is studying the impact of CCTVs inside train coaches, how and who would monitor the cameras once placed and their maintenance. “The most likely candidate for monitoring these CCTV cameras would be the guard,” said an RDSO official.

As per the proposal, these CCTVs will be placed inside every coach and connected with a cable. The images transmitted by them would be flashed on a screen in the guard’s cabin.

This move will help railway authorities keep tabs on all commuters and all activities inside the trains. “There is a need for CCTVs to be placed inside coaches, which would allow us in detecting minutest of details in case of any incident,” said a senior railway official. However, the railway officials in Mumbai have doubts about the project.

“We will have to take care of several things including the timely maintenance of CCTVs, constant monitoring, ensuring that all CCTVs function and finally the cost-economics of the project, before going ahead with the plan,” said the senior official.

The railways in Mumbai had designed plans for having CCTVs inside local trains in 2003-04 after a case of crime against woman had occurred inside a local train. “Everything was ready and we just had to fit it in the compartments. But it got scrapped in the design stage,” said a senior railway official on condition of anonymity.

As per the designs prepared then, at least four CCTVs were required in every coach. The railway authorities then took an impact study on how would these CCTVs help them, before the project took off.


Published in: on July 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm  Leave a Comment