Protest By Jharkhand Disom Party Disrupts Train Services In East India

Train services in various parts of West Bengal and Jharkhand were disrupted today as a result of a bandh or shutdown called by the Jharkhand Disom Party, demanding recognition of tribals’ ‘Sarna Dharma‘ as a religion, a South Eastern Railway official said.

Sarna Dharma is centred around the worship of nature.

The Jharkhand Disom Party has called the dawn-to-dusk bandh in Jharkhand, Bengal, Assam and Odisha in association with some other outfits to demand ‘Sarna Dharma‘ as a religion.

At least eight passenger trains were cancelled and three express trains, including New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express and Puri-New Delhi Purshottam Express were diverted through different routes, the South Eastern Railway spokesman said.

The South Eastern Railway spokesman also said the railway has short-terminated five other passenger trains at different stations in its Adra division owing to blockades at several stations by bandh supporters.

Bandh supporters blocked train movement at Kantadih, Indrabil and Madhukunda stations in Purulia district of West Bengal, the spokesman said.

Veg-Only Meals On Trains On Gandhi Jayanti For 3 Years Planned

A blueprint prepared by the Railways plans to celebrate 150th anniversary of Gandhi Jayanti as a ‘Vegetarian Day.’ The Railway Board has proposed that no non-vegetarian food will be served to passengers anywhere on its premises on October 2, for three consecutive years.

In a circular to all railway zones last month, the Railway Board said, “October 2, 2018, 2019, 2020 can be celebrated as a totally vegetarian day when no non-vegetarian food will be served anywhere on Indian Railways’ premises. All the railway staff will be requested to observe October 2 as Vegetarian Day.”

If the proposal is approved, October 2 will not only be celebrated as Rashtriya Swachhta Diwas, but also as ‘Vegetarian Day.’

Apart from observing ‘Vegetarian Day’, the Indian Railways also plans to run a special salt rake from Sabarmati on March 12, to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March. Swachhata trains from Sabarmati will connect various stations linked with the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Tickets with watermark of Mahatma Gandhi’s image will also be printed.

The Railway Board’s mega plans are now waiting for an approval from the Ministry of Culture, which is coordinating all events related to the 150th anniversary of Gandhi Jayanti.

Earlier this month, President Ram Nath Kovind chaired the first meeting of the national committee for the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.  In October last year, the committee was constituted to supervise the planning and implementation of programmes in India as well as abroad, for a year from October 2, 2019 to October 2, 2020. The committee includes eminent thinkers, Gandhians, chief ministers of all the states among others.

Railways To Install ‘Panic Button’ In Trains For Women Safety

With a view to strengthen security of women passengers in trains, the North Eastern Railway plans to deploy women police personnel on trains during night hours as well as install ‘panic buttons’ in coaches.

Since the railways is focusing on “women and child safety” this year, it plans deployment of women police personnel in sub-urban trains during night hours besides recruitment of women in the Railway Police Force among others, chief public relations officer of North Eastern Railway, Sanjay Yadav told news agency PTI.

After reports of mishaps with women travelling alone in trains, the railways also proposes to have ‘panic buttons’ in the coaches which will be linked with the guard coach, Mr Yadav said.

“These buttons, placed at convenient spots for easy reach of women travellers above the electric switches, when pressed will denote the coach where there is emergency and the railway staff present in the train will be informed to promptly attend to the emergency,” Mr Yadav said.

Currently, women passengers have to depend on either on helpline numbers by call or SMS, or on chain-pulling in emergency situation, but with this system immediate action can be taken, he said.

Among the other measures proposed to ensure women safety are having a different colour on the coaches earmarked for women for easy identification, wire mesh in windows of ladies coaches.

“Work on these proposals was going on and there are chances that the one pertaining to ‘panic button’ will take shape this year itself,” he added.

Railways also proposes month-wise calendar of activities with focus on women security and gender sensitisation and upgradation of all-India security helpline.

It also proposes CCTV cameras in women coaches of sub-urban trains with live feed if possible, CCTV cameras on platforms to cover ladies coaches during halt of trains, amendment in the Railways Act to ensure enhanced punishment for offences pertaining to women, he said.

It also intend special drive under the Railways Act to prosecute offenders, Mr Yadav added.

Four Of Family Mowed Down By Mumbai Train

Four youths from the same family were mowed down by a train when they were crossing the railway tracks of the suburban system in north Mumbai early on Monday, an official said.

The incident occurred around 5.30 am when the victims were returning home from their native place in Kankavali, Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra, said a Western Railway spokesperson.

According to the police, the suburban train had halted between Borivali-Kandivali stations at a signal, when the four persons decided to jump down, hoping to reach home quickly.

As they hopped off and were crossing the railway line, they were knocked down and run over by another suburban train coming from the opposite direction.

They were discovered sometime later lying in a serious condition on the tracks and were rushed to the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Hospital in Kandivali, but were declared dead on admission.

The victims have been identified as Sagar S. Chavan, 23, Saiprasad M. Chavan, 17 and his brother Dattaprasad M. Chavan, 20, and Manoj D. Chavan, 17.

Borivali Railway Police’s Investigating Officer R.J. Bhise said that the bodies have been taken for autopsy, and since the family members don’t suspect any foul play in the matter, a case of accidental deaths has been registered.

Man Arrested With Illegal Train Tickets Worth Rs. 10 Lakh In Madhya Pradesh

A total of 700 train e-tickets worth Rs. 10 lakh have been seized in the West Central Railway Division of Jabalpur and one person arrested, a Railway Protection Force source said on Sunday.

Acting on a tip-off, a team raided a cafe in Gorakhpur and found Rakesh Kumar booking e-tickets, according to RPF sources. When Inspector Virendra Singh questioned him, he accepted to having been booking tickets illegally.
Rakesh Kumar had made more than 30 email ids and would book both normal and tatkal tickets and charge an extra Rs. 200 per ticket. A case has been registered.

Bengal Police Arrests Mukul Roy’s Brother-In-Law From Delhi For Running Job Racket

West Bengal Police has arrested BJP leader Mukul Roy’s brother-in-law from New Delhi for allegedly duping railway job seekers, a senior official said on Saturday.

Mr Roy’s brother-in-law Srijan Roy was arrested from Delhi airport late last night by a team of police from Bizpur police station in North 24 Parganas district on the basis of complaints which were filed around six years ago, the police officer said.

“Srijan Roy has been arrested for taking money from several people on the pre-text of providing them jobs,” a district police official said.

The accused was produced at a district court on Saturday and was remanded to 12 days of police custody, he added.

Describing the arrest as “political conspiracy”, Mukul Roy, who was the Union railway minister in 2012 when the cases were lodged against his brother-in-law, said he himself was the actual target of the move.

“This is a conspiracy hatched by Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee against me and my family members. She is resorting to such things because she is afraid of the Bharatiya Janata Party. I am the real target of this conspiracy,” Mr Roy said.

Mr Roy was a close confidante of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and was one of the founding members of Trinamool Congress. Over the last few years his relation with the Trinamool supremo soured and in last November he joined the BJP.

Railways To Build Walls Along High-Speed Corridors, Generate Revenue Through Ads

The Indian Railways is considering a proposal to generate revenue through advertisement on walls along the tracks on high-speed corridors, sources have said, amid a push by the national transporter to boost its non-fare earnings.

In talks with contractors, who can deliverer pre-fabricated walls, the railways plans to generate revenue through advertisement to recover the cost of the build. Sources said the idea is to share revenue with contractors, thus enabling the railways to get the walls built at minimum cost.

“With the plan for the Delhi-Mumbai high-speed corridor underway, the need for such walls is imperative for issues of safety. We are mulling the option of generating revenue from them through advertisement as they are high density areas and will get maximum exposure. Pilot projects are already underway and we are hoping to put up walls across the network starting with urban areas,” said one of the sources.

The railways is trying to boost non-fare revenue through right-of-way charges, advertising, land monetisation, catering and parking amid intense competition from airlines and road transport to carry passengers and goods.

Not just revenue, the wall will also help the railways maintain safety on tracks, get rid of encroachers, reduce interference with cattle or other disturbances.

 

The walls to be built around 7-8 feet high will have the option of selling space both outside and inside portions of the wall.

The building of these walls is the first step towards converting the Delhi-Mumbai corridor into a high-speed zone, and track changes allowing express trains to run at a maximum speed of 160km per hour.

Father Kills 2-Year-Old With A Stone. Horrified, He Tries Killing Himself

A 2-year-old boy died on the spot near a railway crossing in Punjab’s Ludhiana after his father threw a stone at him in a fit of anger. Realising the horror of what he had done, the grief-stricken father then tried to commit suicide by throwing himself in front of a moving train, according to eyewitnesses. Neighbours prevented the man from killing himself and informed the police, according to news agency Press Trust of India.

A case was registered against the man who was arrested by the police, reported PTI.

According to the police, the 2-year-old boy was playing with his sisters. When their father saw them playing near the railway track, he allegedly threw stones at his children in anger.

While the man’s daughters ran away, his son Moti, was hit with a stone on the head, resulting in his death, police officials said.

The railway crossing where the incident occurred is 5 km away from Ludhiana town. The man, identified as Chotey Lal, 42, stayed nearby in a slum area, according to police officials.

Kolkata Metro Assault Clips Emerge But Official Says “No Clear Evidence”

The metro railway today said no “clear evidence” of the alleged assault of a couple by some people at a station in Kolkata was found in the CCTV footage.

The couple was allegedly thrashed by a group of passengers at the Dumdum metro station on Monday evening, following their public display of affection in a train compartment.

“No complaint has been lodged after the alleged incident. It came to the metro’s notice only when a news report came out in a Bengali daily yesterday. We thoroughly checked the CCTV footage at Dumdum and found no clear evidence of any assault,” metro railway general manager Ajay Vijayvargiya said at a press conference.

However, there was a “faint” image of a few persons having assembled at a site at 21:55 hours and the image of a few people exiting from a gate, he said, while replying to a question.

As the current metro coaches did not have CCTV cameras, there was no footage of what had actually happened inside the coach after the couple boarded the train at the Chandi Chowk station, Mr Vijayvargiya said.

“The new coaches, to be commissioned shortly, will have CCTV cameras,” he said.

 The footage and the initial findings of the Railway Police Force or RPF were shared with the Kolkata Police yesterday, he said, adding that a joint memorandum of some students’ bodies was also forwarded to the city police.

To another query, the official said the couple was yet to report the “undesirable” incident to the metro authorities and urged everyone to share whatever relevant information they had.

He said there would be increased surveillance across the metro stations, every part of the platform would be monitored with the help of CCTV cameras and an RPF Special Squad, with one woman member, would be deployed at every station.

The squad would also keep a vigil inside the coaches, especially during the late evening hours, Mr Vijayvargiya said.

He urged all the commuters to conduct themselves in a manner that did not tarnish the city’s image.

“Please do not create a situation, where the metro authorities will be constrained to take action as per statutory and legal provisions,” Mr Vijayvargiya said.

According to media reports, a man hugging his female friend had raised eyebrows inside a train compartment on Monday evening. A few people had objected to it and an argument ensued. The mob had then allegedly heckled the couple, pushed them out of the train and beat them up.

Railway Tickets Can Now Be Printed In Malayalam

Rail passengers in Kerala can now have tickets printed in their local language, Malayalam, thanks to a people-friendly initiative of the Southern Railway (SR).

With an aim to popularise Railways and help those who find it difficult to read ticket details in English or Hindi, Southern Railway has launched an initiative to print Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) tickets in the regional language also on a trial basis.

With this, the tickets will become trilingual, in English, Hindi and Malayalam, Railway sources said.

At present, passengers can buy tickets printed in Malayalam from two stations, Thiruvananthapuram Central and Ernakulam and it is expected to be extended to more than 100 stations across the state within a week, an official said.

“Details of the journey and the ticket class will be printed in Malayalam also along with English and Hindi,” the official told PTI.

The Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) came into existence in 2001 and there had been plans to issue tickets in regional languages since then.

“And, the objective has been achieved now,” the official said adding the recently introduced rail app for booking unreserved tickets had become very popular in the state with more and more people registering every day.

Besides Kerala, selected stations in Tamil Nadu have also started issuing tickets in Tamil.

Neighbouring Karnataka had launched the initiative some time ago.

Select Trains Sport A Different Look. Check Out New Colour Schemes

Indian Railways is repainting select coaches on its train network. The Northern Railway – which caters to one of the zones served by Indian Railways – has painted seven different colour schemes on sleeper coaches, according to a statement. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday visited the newly-coloured coaches at New Delhi Railway Station. Indian Railways has been taking steps to revamp its network across the country and improve passenger experience. “(Railway) passengers may expect a complete makeover of coaches for a more pleasing travel experience in near future,” Northern Railway said on microblogging site Twitter. (Also read: Indian Railways Mega Recruitment Drive)

Here are 10 things to know about the Railways’ drive to paint select trains in new colours:

1. The seven colour schemes have been applied to sleeper class coaches of the Northern Railway, according to an official statement.

2. “These vibrant and innovative colour schemes” have been developed by National Institute of Design-Ahmedabad and Indian Railways, it noted.

 3. Indian Railways has painted a number of dark blue colour train coaches in yellowish tan and teak to give them a vibrant look, news agency Press Trust of India reported.

4. “This new colour scheme will be first tried out on a limited number of coaches,” Press Trust of India cited the statement as saying.

5. The Northern Railways has used a new colour scheme on ICF (Integral Coach Factory) design sleeper coaches on the directions of the Railway Board, the agency said citing a ministry statement.

6. The coaches with the new colour scheme were inspected by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani and other senior officials at the New Delhi Railway Station on Wednesday.
7. ICF or Integral Coach Factory, Chennai has produced more than 54,131 coaches since its inception in approximately 500 different designs, according to its website.

8. In another development, production of a high-speed engine-less train, called Train-18, is underway and its rollout is expected soon, Press Trust of India said on Wednesday citing an Integral Coach Factory official.

9. Train-18 is embellished with a host of amenities for passengers and is capable of running at a speed of 160 kmph.

10. Driven by a self-propulsion module sans a separate locomotive, the train comes with technical features for enhanced quick acceleration. With its swanky interiors and exteriors, fibre glass reinforced plastic nose cone, the train resembles European semi-high speed trains, according to Press Trust of India.

Bihar Railway Police Seeks Occultist “Ghoda Baba’s” Help To Solve Theft Case

The Government Railway Police or GRP personnel in Bihar’s Siwan district are banking on a “tantrik” or occultist to crack a case of theft, a police officer said on Wednesday.

Instead of using high-tech gadgets and conducting a scientific investigation, the GRP has sought the help of a local tantrik called “Ghoda Baba” to solve the case.

According to the district police officer, a case of theft was reported in the house of one Anil Kumar Srivastav in the railway colony of Siwan last week. But as the GRP personnel failed to make any breakthrough, in-charge of the GRP Police Station Nand Kishore, along with the tantrik, visited the house of Mr Srivastav.

After inspecting the site, the tantrik instructed Mr Srivastav to perform some rituals at night to ensure arrest of Siwan thief.

The tantrik, along with some GRP personnel, again visited Mr Srivastav’s house in the railway colony on Wednesday afternoon and asked him to visit his place in nearby Mairwa town at night to solve the case.

 Annoyed at the railway police’s approach, Mr Srivastav has now written to senior police officials, including Muzaffarpur Superintendent of Police (Railway) Sanjay Kumar Singh, and questioned engaging a tantrik in the age of scientific probes to solve the case.

Indian Railways’ Online Job Drive ‘Saves 7.5 Crore Paper Sheets’

In the online recruitment drive involving 2.5 million candidates, Indian Railways is set to save paper sheets equivalent to 10 lakh trees. According to a senior Railways official, for the pen and paper based examination, recruitment boards would have required 7.5 crore paper sheets or the equivalent of 10 lakh trees. Now, the exam is completely online, this large amount of paper is not needed and as a result of this, the process is is not only providing thousands of jobs, it has also resulted in saving about 7.5 crore paper sheets and 10 lakh trees approximately, reported IANS.

‘One applicant generally requires three-four paper sheets of A4 size to write the examination. So with the whole exercise going online, the Railways has saved a significant quantity of paper sheets,’ the official said.

‘This is not only providing thousands of jobs, the whole process has also resulted in saving about 7.5 crore paper sheets and 10 lakh trees approximately,’ he further added.

Indian Railways had begun the recruitment process for close to 90,000 jobs (assistant loco pilot, technician and group D posts) in March through CEN 01/ 2018 and CEN 02/ 2018 advertisements. While online registration for the exam has been over, the railway recruitment boards are yet to announce the exam dates.  ‘The exam will be held during April and May’ as per the official notification released by Indian Railways. While many portals claim that the exam will be held in July/ August, candidates are suggested to wait for the official update. Meanwhile, aspirants should prepare vigorously for the exam as it is going to be one of the biggest recruitment exam ever conducted.

The exam will be held at 300 centres nationwide.

Railway, which currently employs 1.3 million people, has made special arrangements to ensure that the website does not crash during the examination. The site was earlier able to handle the traffic of the online application process.

10 Lakh Trees Spared The Axe With Railways’ “World’s Largest” Online Test

Ten lakh trees have been spared the axe. Thanks to the Indian Railways for taking its recruitment process online. The move has saved at least 7.5 crore sheets of paper, or the equivalent of 10 lakh trees needed to make paper, a senior railway ministry officer said. Some 2.37 crore people had applied against 88,000 railway posts.

The railways have replaced bulky, multi-lingual question booklets with online tests for various positions — ranging from assistant loco pilot to technician, trackman, gateman and pointsman.

“There are 62,000 posts involving track inspection crews and others related to improving safety, while more than 26,000 posts relate to engine drivers and technicians; for these, more than two crore people have applied,” said the officer who is involved in the recruitment process.

The online examination will be held at 300 centres for which the railways are working out the finer details. One of the reasons why the Indian Railways have switched to online tests is due to alleged question paper leaks.

“One applicant generally needs three-four paper sheets of A4 size to write the examination. So with the whole exercise going online, the railways have saved a significant quantity of paper sheets,” the officer said.

The officer claimed the railways test is the “largest online recruitment drive in the world”. “It is not only providing thousands of jobs, the whole process has also resulted in saving about 7.5 lakh paper sheets and 10 lakh trees approximately.”

The exam fee has been kept at Rs. 500 for general category applicants and Rs. 250 for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to keep out non-serious applicants who apply but do not usually turn up for the test.

The general candidates will get a refund of Rs. 400 after the exam, while SC/ST candidates, women, people with special needs, ex-servicemen and those from economically weaker sections, will get the full refund.

“We are expecting a maximum number of applicants to appear and only about 5-10 per cent absent at various centres this time,” the officer said.

The Indian Railways employs 1.3 million people. It has strengthened its online infrastructure to ensure the website does not crash during the high-volume exam. The website did see some glitches in accepting the huge traffic during the application phase, which ended on March 31.

On the last date of registration, some candidates, however, felt the brunt of technical glitches on the registration portal. As reported by The Hindu, candidates applying to RRB Chennai were not able to register successfully as they could not receive the OTP (one-time password) on time. For some candidates it was difficult to upload the application on the website as it did not move beyond the registration stage.

India’s First 2 ‘Airport-Like’ Railway Stations To Be Ready By January 2019.

Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are less than nine months away from getting the country’s first two state-of-the-art “airport-like” railway stations. The two stations — Habibganj in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal and Gandhinagar in Gujarat — are part of the government’s ambitious one lakh crore rupee station redevelopment program to speed up modernisation of the Indian Railways.

SK Lohia, the Managing Director and CEO of the Indian Railway Station Development Corporation or IRSDC told news agency PTI that “Habibganj station will be ready by December this year and Gandhinagar station will be completed by January 2019.” He also confirmed that the Gandhinagar station will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi before the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January 2019.

HABIBGANJ STATION, BHOPAL – FACILITIES AND AMENITIES

Enlisting some of the facilities and amenities of the Habibganj station, Mr Lohia said, “The station will include 600 comfortable waiting benches, clean and hygienic toilets, and large retail areas (similar to airports).” He went on to say that “The Railways is also exploring other ideas such as lounges and video-game zones, as well as virtual museums for these stations.”

The retail space, he said, would include shops, cafe’s and fast food restaurants. The stations would also have free and secure WiFi available to all passengers.

The Habibganj railway station will also have an entirely new building, which will have a massive glass dome-like structure to give it a futuristic look. There station will also have a plush waiting lounge comparable with any of the leading airports, and will have a dedicated food plaza and cafeterias, he said.

COST TO DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN THESE STATIONS

Mr Lohia also explained the costs involved to develop the Habibganj and Gandhinagar railway stations, and what it will take to maintain them.

“The entire responsibility of maintenance and revenue generation from these railway stations lies with the IRSDC (Indian Railway Station Development Corporation), and we have to make sure that these stations are revenue surplus and to the extent that it can be invested back in the maintenance and development of the station in the future,” he said.

Once fully ready, the cost of maintenance of the Habibganj station will be in the range of 4 to 5 crore rupees, he said. The estimated revenue will be between 6.5 and 7 crore rupees per annum, with a planned increase to more than 10 crores per annum, he said.

The overall redevelopment project of Habibganj Station is expected to be 450 crore rupees. Of this, 100 crores would be spent on station redevelopment and 350 crores on commercial development, Mr Lohia said.

GANDHINAGAR STATION

The Gandhinagar station, which will have similar facilities as Habibganj, will be completed in a record two years, Mr Lohia said. The foundation stone was laid by PM Modi in January 2017.

“42 per cent of the civil work has already been completed and it will be ready in time to hold the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January 2019,” he said.

The Gandhinagar station is being redeveloped at a cost of 250 crore rupees. It is being jointly developed by IRSDC and the Gujarat state government. Apart from the station, the project will include a 300-room five-star hotel.

The hotel will be the central attraction and will be located right above the tracks. The ground floor of the hotel will be 22 metres above the railway tracks and will have three arched buildings combined to give it the shape of petals.

Railways To Extend ‘Give It Up’ Scheme To All Categories Availing Fare Concession

New Delhi: Buoyed by its success with senior citizens, the Indian Railways is set to extend its ‘Give it up’ scheme to include other concession holders to offset its nearly Rs. 33,000-crore subsidy burden in annual passenger fares.

The decision was taken after figures showed that following the introduction of the scheme last year – by which senior citizens can opt to give up 50 per cent of their fare subsidy, more than 19 lakh people gave up the concession, resulting in a saving of more than Rs. 32 crore between July 22, 2017, and March 31, 2018 for the railways.

“We realised that in 2016 when we were telling people to give up their concession by 100 per cent, many did not do. In 2017, when we gave them the option of giving up 50 per cent, many came forward,” a Railway Ministry official said.

“This is completely voluntary and now we’re preparing a campaign to encourage more such concession holders to come forward,” the official said.

Railways extends passenger fare concessions in 53 categories, which include passengers with disabilities, cancer, thalassemia, heart and kidney patients, war widows students and others, incurring a loss of about Rs. 33,000 crore annually.

As part of its campaign to encourage people in these categories to give up their subsidy, even if in parts, the railways will send each senior citizen, who gave up their subsidy, a personalised letter by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

 It is also in the process of setting up a website on which it will update realtime, not only the money saved by the railways, but also the data on senior citizens who gave up their subsidy.

The website will also carry testimonials from them.

“Plans are afoot to send newsletters to these senior citizens, felicitation of some of them by the minister, SMSes thanking them for their efforts and a special token of appreciation for them by the train crew during their train journeys,” the official said, explaining the campaign.

The idea, the official said, is to create awareness and encourage more people to give up the concession on fares.

Between July 2017 and March 31, 2018 – more than 10 lakh senior citizens had given up 100 per cent of their concession, while more than nine lakh had given up 50 per cent of their concession, resulting in a saving of more than Rs. 32.30 crore.

In total, since August 2016, when senior citizens had the option to give up 100 per cent of their subsidy, until March 2018, 40 lakh of them have given up their subsidy, allowing the national transporter to save around Rs. 77 crore.

Maharashtra’s Toy Train Stations Turn Green

The four stations of Central Railway’s Matheran Hill Railway in Maharashtra’s Raigad district have turned “green” with the installation of solar power and wind energy plants, an official said on Friday.

Sunil Udasi, the Chief Public Relations Officer, Central Railway said in a statement that on the installation of Green Energy System, the generation capacity of each system at four stations – Jummapatti, Waterpipe, and Aman Lodge is 75-80 kWh, while at Matheran, it is 680-690 kWh per month.

All these four stations are now provided with a solar power plant of capacity 500-1000 Wp and windmill of capacity 6.1 KWp at Matheran including energy efficient LED lights and fans.

The electric supply from the renewable sources will bring down the hill railway station’s power bill drastically resulting in savings of Rs. 2.07 lakh per year, besides reducing its carbon footprints.

The Matheran Hill Railway is narrow-gauge heritage railway in Maharashtra.

A delight to the tourists, the line covers a distance of 21 km, cutting a swathe through dense forest in the Western Ghats from Neral to Matheran.

WWII Bomb Forces Mass Evacuation In Central Berlin

Thousands of people around Berlin’s central railway station were evacuated on Friday as bomb disposal experts began defusing an unexploded World War II explosive unearthed on a building site.

Trains, trams and buses were halted or rerouted as the operation to dispose of the British 500-kilogramme (1,100-pound) bomb found more than 70 years after the war got underway.

Authorities have declared an exclusion zone with an 800-metre (yard) radius around the site located just north of the central railway station, a transport hub that on a normal day is used by 300,000 passengers.

Arriving from Leipzig on a day trip to Berlin, Japanese tourist Yamamoto looked bewildered as he was told of the operation at the railway station.

“We didn’t know anything about the bomb,” he told AFP.

The exclusion zone covers the train station, an army hospital, the economy ministry, an art gallery and a museum as well as part of the BND intelligence service’s new headquarters.

Many thousands of residents and employees have been ordered to stay clear of the area and not return until police give the all-clear.

 Among them were workers at the economy ministry who were told to work from other offices or from home, or were simply given the day off, a spokeswoman said.

Police also went house to house to check the zone has been completely cleared before the bomb disposal experts began their work.

Temporary shelters have also been set up for those affected by the evacuation.

Esen Coskon, 50, who was at one of the shelters with his 22-year-old son, Furkan, said he learnt of the evacuation from the media and police, who had sent leaflets to every home.

Coskon said the operation was deja-vu, with a similar one in 2013 also affecting the area around the main railway station.

“Everything has been well organised… we were told to leave our apartment at 9:00 am. The police came to knock on every door,” he told AFP.

Angela Merkel’s chancellery building and the Reichstag (parliament) lie just a few hundred metres to the south of the no-go zone and can keep operating as usual.

3,000 bombs in Berlin 

More than 70 years after the end of the war, unexploded bombs are regularly found, a potentially deadly legacy of the intense Allied bombing campaign against Nazi Germany.

In the biggest post-war evacuation, at least 60,000 Frankfurt residents were forced to leave their homes last September so that an unexploded 1.8-tonne British bomb dubbed the “blockbuster” could be defused.

Some 3,000 such unexploded bombs are believed to still lie buried in Berlin, a city of three million people, where disposal squads are well-practised in defusing them and other ordnance.

It was unclear how long the bomb disposal squad would take to disable the bomb found during construction work on Heidestrasse in the district of Mitte.

“We’re talking here about a bomb that measures about 110 by 45 centimetres, so it’s a hefty heavyweight blaster with the potential to cause severe damage in the centre of town; that’s why we are going about it very very carefully,” said police spokesman Winfrid Wenzel.

Police have however stressed that the bomb was “safe for now”, reassuring nearby residents that “there is no immediate danger”.

IRCTC Warns Train Passengers Against Unauthorised Food Delivery Services

“Do not risk your lives.” That was said by IRCTC or Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation to train passengers, warning them against unauthorised food suppliers aboard trains. IRCTC, in a post on microblogging site Twitter, has named 11 such unauthorised food suppliers. Railyatri, Khanagadi, Khanaonline, Travelzaika, Trainfood, Travelfood, Travelerfood, Food in train, Food on wheel, Railrasoi and erail are “not authorised to deliver food in trains. Do not risk your lives by ordering through them,” said IRCTC, the ticketing arm of Indian Railways.

Here are five things to know about IRCTC’s food delivery service, ‘E-Catering’:

1) IRCTC is the only authorised agency to take and deliver orders through e-catering in trains, the Indian Railways’ e-ticketing arm said.

2) IRCTC currently offers mobile app Food On Track on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

3) The e-catering scheme aims to provide quality and variety in food to railway passengers, according to IRCTC’s website.

4) IRCTC is the official agency for the e-catering scheme which it runs through its authorised partners.

5) IRCTC currently offers its e-catering service at several railway stations in major metro cities. These include Mumbai Central (BCT), Chatrapati Shivaji Terminal (CST), New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS), Old Delhi Railway Station (DEL), Bangalore City Junction (SBC), Chennai Central (MAS), Kanpur (CNB), Allahabad Junction (ALD), Varanasi (BSB), Lucknow (LKO), Itarasi (ET), Bhopal Junction (BPL) and Vijaywada (BZA), according to IRCTC.

How to order food via IRCTC’s e-catering service

Train passengers can book onboard meals through four modes: Online (through website www.ecatering.irctc.co.in), mobile app (through ‘Food On Track’), telephone (by dialing ‘1323’) and SMS (by sending MEAL to ‘139’), according to the IRCTC e-catering website.

Who can order via IRCTC’S e-catering service: Any passenger having a valid reservation ticket can book the meal through website. This facility can be availed by passengers having a valid reservation ticket including e-tickets or tickets taken from reservation window.

 

IRCTC Hotel Scam: CBI Files Chargesheet Against Lalu Yadav, Others

The CBI today filed a charge sheet against former railway minister Lalu Prasad and others in connection with alleged corruption in handing out a management contract for two IRCTC hotels to a private company, officials said.

Former Bihar chief minister and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s wife Rabri Devi, and their son Tejashwi were also among the 14 people named by the CBI in the chargesheet file in a court here.

The agency had recently questioned former Rabri Devi in connection with the case, they said.

The case pertains to allegations that Lalu Prasad, as railway minister, handed over the maintenance of two hotels run by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, in Ranchi and Puri to Sujata Hotels, a company owned by Vinay and Vijay Kochhar, in return for a prime plot of three acres in Patna through a benami company.

The FIR alleged that the RJD leader abused his official position for extending undue favours to the Kochhars and acquired a piece of “high value premium land” through the benami firm, Delight Marketing Company

As a quid pro quo, he “dishonestly and fraudulently” awarded the contract to them for the two hotels, the FIR had alleged.

 After the tender was awarded to Sujata Hotels, the ownership of Delight Marketing Company also changed hands from Sarla Gupta to Rabri Devi and Tejashwi Yadav between 2010 and 2014. By this time, Lalu Prasad had resigned as railway minister.
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