Woman porter to serve you at Jaipur junction

Soon, a visit to Jaipur Railway Junction could surprise the denizens of the Pink City. In a first ever case, a female porter will be seen working at the junction. The railway administration has started the licensing process in this regard.

The woman who will start working as a porter is one Manju Devi, who has been given the job after her husband’s death who was a porter. According to information, Mahadev Prasad, the woman’s husband had died in March this year. After her husband’s death, it became difficult for Manju to take care of her two children. Although Manju Devi has remarried, she wants to be self dependent. Meanwhile, the railway administration has conducted the medical check up of the woman and a fitness certificate has also been issued by the competent authorities. Now the Jaipur division will issue a license to Manju Devi.


Published in: on December 22, 2012 at 8:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Clean linen to greet you on trains soon

Concerned about complaints of stained and torn bed-sheets, blankets and other linen in air-conditioned coaches, Western Railway (WR) has decided to adopt an automatic laundry system. In the first phase, washing machines will be installed at Ahmedabad, Surat, Mumbai, Junagadh and Indore railway stations.

While the system is operating at Indore railway station, it will start in the coming few weeks at Mumbai and Ahmedabad. At Mumbai, machines will be placed at CST and Mumbai Central stations.

Automatic washing machines will steam wash, dry, press and fold bed-sheets, blankets and other linen. According to sources, WR will implement the system under BOOT (Build Own Operate and Transfer). Tenders for inviting contractors have been floated and a decision is expected to be taken soon.

Sources added that each machine will have capacity of six ton ne(per shift). If it is operated in three shifts it can cater to the needs of 37 trains daily.

“We wanted to improve linen service in air-conditioned coaches. Also, we had to incur high transportation cost to bring washed bed-sheets and other stuff from contractors,” said Sharatchandra Yaan, chief PRO of WR. According to him, contractors engaged for the task were not doing their work properly which has forced WR to take action. “This system will not only save costs but will also solve problems faced by passengers,” Yaan added.

The existing system of laundry in WR is that the linen is owned, washed and supplied by small contractors at a cost of Rs25 per bedroll. Though they are supposed to replace the bed-sheets/blankets every year, they do not do so citing heavy losses. That’s why stained or torn bed-sheets/blankets/pillows are provided much to the chagrin of passengers.

Rail coaches built after 2016-17 to have bio-toilets

Rail coaches built after 2016-17 will have bio-toilets and by 2020-21 all trains will have such toilets, Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told Lok Sabha today.

The bio-toilets, which have been indigenously developed by Indian Railways and DRDO, have been installed for in-service trials in nine trains, he said during Question Hour.

“By 2016-17, all new coaches built in the country will have bio-toilets. By 2020-21, all coaches will have bio-toilets,” Bansal said.

He said such toilets are being installed in existing coaches through retro-fitment but the process costs five times more than building new coaches with bio-toilets.

“The estimated cost of retro-fitment in existing coaches is expected to be approximately Rs 15 lakh per coach while in case of original fitting in the new coaches the cost will be about Rs 3 lakh per coach,” he said.

The quantum of work and material required in case of retro-fitment is significantly more which makes it a costly affair. Rs 7,000 crore would be required for this project, Bansal said.

Gwalior-Varanasi Bundelkhand Express is the first train to have a bio-toilet.


Published in: on December 22, 2012 at 7:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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New Delhi Railway Station gets swanky new lounge

Waiting for your train at the New Delhi Railway Station is set to become a pleasant experience. For there is now an “executive” waiting lounge – on the lines of what we see at airports.

For Rs 300 a person, you can enter the facility for three hours and do many things, such as enjoy complementary buffet meals or snacks, tea, coffee and soft beverages, accessing wi-fi , or even take a short nap on recliners.

The facility has been made available by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a Railways subsidiary. Catering services are provided by SSP Catering India, which also provides catering to Emirates’ lounge at T3, IGI Airport, New Delhi.

The lounge has TV screens with train information display, apart from other screens that display other channels. If passengers want to stay beyond three hours, Rs 125 will be charged for an hour.

Spread over 300 sq m and two floors, the lounge has a seating capacity for 125 persons. There are services such as business centre, fax, desktop, printer; wash and change, which are chargeable. The facility also houses a retail convenience store of WH Smith, with a bookshop.

IRCTC will pay 25 per cent of the revenue earned from this facility to Indian Railways.

Since November 26, when the facility became available, though not marketed, an average of 60-odd people used the facility every day, with some 114 people using it on one day.

IRCTC plans such facilities in 50 stations, including Delhi, Anand Vihar Terminal, Nizamuddin in National Capital Region, Howrah, Bhubaneswar, Agra, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Puri, Amritsar, Hyderabad.


More powers for RPF to crack railway property theft cases

Railway Protection Force (RPF) officers have been vested with more powers in respect of investigation of cases relating to theft of railway property or its unlawful possession consequent to the amendments in the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act.

The striking feature of the amended Act is that it has empowered RPF investigators to register a case under the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act and commence inquiry upon receipt of information itself.

This is the first time that the Act has been amended after it was enacted by the Parliament and came into force in 1966.

Railway property, as per the Act, includes any goods, money or valuable security or animal, belonging to or in the charge or possession of railway administration.

Prior to the amendment, the RPF officers could register a case under the Act only after an arrest was made and start the inquiry thereafter.

RPF authorities here say Sections 3, 4 and 8 of the Act had been amended by introducing extra words in these three sections.

The crux of the amendment is that the inquiry officer need not wait till the arrest of a person.

The officers have now been empowered to register a case and begin inquiry upon receiving information about the commission of an offence punishable under the Act even without or before the arrest.

The sources of information includes oral complaints, those in writing, reports from railway officials, telephone messages, petitions, press reports and those given by secret sources.

In addition to protecting and safeguarding railway property, passenger area and passengers, the RPF has also been vested with the responsibility of escorting passenger trains and providing access control, regulation and general security on platforms, passenger and circulating areas.

Power to investigate

They have been vested with the powers to investigate cases booked under the Railway Act and the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act.

Even after the amendment, the inquiry officer has the authority to register a case after an arrest is made.

This power has not been taken away by the amendment; a senior RPF officer here said adding that it had given additional powers to the inquiry officer in respect of registration of a case under the Act for better investigation and prosecution.

The number of cases booked under the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act in Tiruchi Railway Division was 49 from January to October this year. The number of those arrested was 58 and the value of the stolen property recovered was Rs.74,205.

The cases booked in 2011 (January to December) was 70 with the number of arrested persons being 93. The value of the stolen property recovered was Rs.1.54 lakh, say the authorities.

‘RPF officers could register a case under the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act and commence inquiry upon receipt of information about the commission of an offence,’ writes R.Rajaram


Tour CST’s heritage portals from Dec 28

Heritage enthusiasts will be able to take a close look at the architectural design of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly known as Victoria Terminus) from December 28 when Central Railway (CR) will provide access to the Cshaped main building.

Visitors will also be treated to a collection of rare artifacts and photographs during their trip to the Unesco world heritage site.
CR general manager Subodh Jain told TOI, “Students will be charged Rs 100 and other visitors Rs 200. The access to the heritage building will be allowed between 3pm and 5pm on weekdays.”

Jain further said that the CR plans to appoint guides to explain the finer points of the building’s architecture and the historic significance of the artifacts to the visitors.

Visitors will be allowed to take pictures inside the building for no additional charge.


Prohibition of Activities Affecting Cleanliness in the Railway Premises

The Ministry of Railways has issued a notification containing rules on prohibition of activities affecting cleanliness and hygiene in the Railway premises alongwith penalties for contravention of these rules. The Indian Railways (Penalties for activities affecting cleanliness at Railway premises) Rules 2012 have been notified in the Extraordinary Gazette of India, Part II, Section 3, Sub-section (i) vide Gazette Notification no. GSR 846(E) dt. 26.11.2012.

Under these notified rules, no person shall (i) throw or deposit litter in any occupied or unoccupied Railway premises or the carriage except in authorised places; (ii) cook, bathe, spit, urinate, defecate, feed animal or birds, repair or wash vehicles, washing utensils or clothes or any other objects or keep any type of storage in any Railway premises except in such facilities or conveniences specifically provided for any of these purposes; (iii) paste or put up any poster or write or draw anything or matter in any compartment or carriage of the Railway or any premises thereof, without any lawful authority; (iv) indulge in defacing Railway property.

Authorised Vendors/hawkers will make necessary arrangement to keep the container or waste basket for collecting litter and proper disposal of its contents.

Whosoever contravenes any of the provisions of these rules or fails to comply with such provisions shall be punished with a fine which shall not exceed five hundred rupees.

The officials authorised to collect fine mentioned in these rules are:

(i) The Station Master or Station Manager;

(ii) An officer not below the rank of ‘Ticket Collector of the Commercial Department or an officer of equivalent rank of the Operating Department and

(iii) Any other official(s) authorised by the Railway Administration for the purpose of implementing these rules.

These rules have been made by the Central Government in exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (g) of sub-section(2) and sub-section(3) of Section 60 read with Section 198 of the Railways Act, 1989 (24 of 1989).


CCI rejects complaint against Railway Ministry

Observing that there is no “prima facie case”, fair trade regulator the Competition Commission of India ( CCI) has rejected a complaint alleging the Railway Ministry was abusing dominant position by charging different rates for transporting commodities.

The complaint, filed against the Railway Ministry and the Railway Board, had alleged that transportation charges were based on end use of commodities.

The CCI, in its order on December 13, said there was no evidence of violation of Competition Act.

“…In the absence of any prima facie case of violations of the provisions of the [Competition] Act, being made out on the basis of available material, the Commission is of the view that no interference is warranted by the Commission in this case,” it said.

As per the norms, the Railway Ministry and the Railway Board have the right to reclassify and revise the rates of commodities transported by railways in India.

“… The Commission is of the view that in exercise of its function of re-classification and revision of rates/freight no prima facie violation of the provisions of the [Competition] Act has been established,” CCI said.

Further, the regulator noted that the complainant — Mineral Enterprises — has not clearly defined the relevant market related to the case.

Mineral Enterprises, engaged in mining and exporting iron ore, alleged that the Railway Board has re-classified charges for transporting iron ore on the basis of its end use, resulting in different freights rates.

However, in a dissenting order, CCI member R Prasad said that prima facie, it can be concluded that unfair and discriminatory levy imposed by the Railways based on end use was affecting competition in the sector in an adverse manner.

Noting that there are no other operators in the railway services market or the railway freight market, Prasad said there is no doubt about the dominance of the Indian railways in this market.

“In fact in the market of rail freight services there is no substitutability and interchangeability with any other service,” Prasad said.


Kolkata train’s women vigilantes fight lonely battle against abuse

Lewd comments and gestures, stares and suggestive grins are the daily hazards women aboard Mathrubhumi — the ‘ladies’ only’ train in Kolkata — deal with. Aggressive male travellers barge into the train, sprawl on the seats, block the passages, and smirk merrily at the discomfort of the women passengers. The men are everywhere, except in one bogie. Here Shyamolina Mitra, an employee with Kolkata Police Cooperative Bank, and her ‘women’s army’ are holding the fort, beating back any male attempt to breach their defences.

Last year, Shyamolina and her gang of vigilantes, called Matri Bahini, had hit the headlines for leaving men with bloodied noses and battered egos for trying to board the ladies train. Things had worsened with molestations and harassment being reported daily. Those who protested the thrusts and pinches were threatened even further. When a girl protested, she was surrounded by rogues who took turns in kissing her before they got down, recounts Shyamolina.

She knew she had to do something. “It began a year and half ago. I boarded a and found two men sprawled on the seats. I asked them to get up but they started hurling filthy abuses. They said women should always be under their feet. This enraged me. I started thrashing one of them. Immediately, two more women joined me and beat up the other one. We hauled them off the train and forced other male passengers off as well. They had stood silently as we fought. We swore that we would never allow any male passenger in, except the elderly, ailing and hawkers,” says Shyamolina.

Her vigilantes have since been threatened with violence and even acid attack, but they remain undeterred. When TOI asked them why they travelled on women-only trains, the men claimed ignorance that it was a ladies’ special. But Susmita Naskar, a team member, said these men were habitual offenders. Unfortunately, with little support from the law or female passengers, Shyamolina appears disheartened. “I am tired of doing so. We thought all lady passengers will join. But they remain meek in their response. So we gave up,” she says.

After a series of complaints from women commuters, a vigilante group was formed. It hit headlines last year for leaving men with bloodied noses for trying to board ladies trains.


Rail wheel factory for Rae Bareli

The country’s biggest forged wheel factory will be set up in Rae Bareli, the Parliamentary constituency of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh.

With the transition to high-speed trains in the pipeline, the required wheels will be produced at this specialised unit to be set up by Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) in three years at an estimated cost of Rs. 1,000 crore.

An MoU was signed in the presence of Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma, who too hails from Uttar Pradesh. The factory will have an installed capacity to produce one lakh special grade wheels a year. It will be established close to the coach factory in Lalganj, being set up at an estimated cost of Rs. 2,600 crore, which Ms. Gandhi inaugurated in November.

The proposed unit is expected to generate employment for about 600 people. RINL, a PSU under the Steel Ministry, will supply the raw material from its plant in Visakhapatnam in the form of continuous cast (CC) rounds.