One Killed In Train Derailment In Tamil Nadu, Railway Orders Probe

Two separate incidents of train derailment occurred in Chennai on Tuesday, with one person dying after a container fell on him, officials said. The Southern Railway has ordered a multidisciplinary probe into the matter, they said.

According to Southern Railway officials, a goods train “rolled back” at Ambattur railway station in the city, leading to derailment of a brake van and a wagon before they hit a weigh bridge and a container.

“One person sitting beneath the weigh bridge died after the container (on the bridge) fell on him,” an official said.

Certain ‘heavy’ goods trains can move with the slightest momentum, officials said.

Train movement was not affected and a multidisciplinary inquiry at officer level has been ordered, officials added.

In a separate incident at Egmore, an empty coach of an express train proceeding to the yard derailed.

“The empty rake hit a shunting engine and in the side collision, one pair of wheels of eighth coach from the engine derailed,” they said.

Nobody was injured in the incident that occurred this morning but it resulted in delay of some services.

Though officials had initially said that there was no disruption in movement of rail traffic, they later clarified that five in-bound trains suffered delay “ranging between 30 to 70 minutes,” while one service was ‘short-terminated’ at Tambaram, a southern terminal about 25 km from Egmore.

Cabinet Approves New Railway Line Connecting Budni To Indore

A 205.5 km new railway line connecting Budni to Indore (Mangaliyagaon) in Madhya Pradesh has been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday, the railways said in a statement.

The total estimated cost of this project, which will provide connectivity to various towns and villages like Nasrullganj, Khategoan and Kannod where there is no rail connectivity at present, is Rs. 3261.82 crore.

“The main purpose of this project is development of backward area and reduction in travel time from Indore to Jabalpur as well as from Indore to Mumbai and towards southern side also, as this will reduce distance by 68 km compared to the present available route via Bhopal,” the statement said.

“It will provide better transport facilities for public and industries in this area. It will also help to provide/generate employment opportunities in the project area. The project will generate direct employment during construction for about 49.32 lakh man-days,” the statement said.

The proposed line will take off from the existing yard of Budni and will connect at Mangaliyagaon, the existing station of Western Railway near Indore.

Ten new crossing stations and seven new halt stations are proposed to be constructed en route.

The new line will serve Sehore, Dewas and Indore districts and will provide direct link from Budni to Indore bypassing the congested route of Bhopal-Itarsi including Ghat section from Budni to Berkheda.

It will also be beneficial for the defence forces which has three premier institutes in Indore.

It will provide basic infrastructure support for industrial development of the surrounding area having large socio-economic ramifications.

Railways Act May Include A Provision To Check Online Ticketing Frauds, Say Sources

Against the backdrop of online ticketing scams, railways is mulling an amendment to the Railways Act, 1989 to include a provision of penalising those committing e-ticketing frauds, sources said. The proposed amendment has suggested a fine of more than Rs. two lakh for the offence, the sources said. The proposal, however, has not suggested an increase in the three year jail term for those convicted.

“Cases of such frauds have been increasing and a need was felt to include a new provision. The new provision has been proposed by the Railway Protection Force. It will involve an amendment to the Act. This has to be approved by the Railway Board,” a source in the ministry said. In one of the biggest railway ticketing scams, the Central Railways on May 2 arrested a man from Mumbai, who allegedly used a fake software to help touts book Tatkal tickets in just a matter of seconds.

With the help of the software, he earned over Rs. 35 lakh a month, they said. In another case exposed in December last year, a CBI official and his companion allegedly manipulated Tatkal ticket reservation system of the railways through an illegal software. They were subsequently arrested. The present act does not envision e-ticket frauds, but does have a provision to punish those touts who illegally sell, purchase or attempts to sell or purchase tickets.

They are punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both, according to the Act. Sources also said that the amended Act will seek to empower the authorised personnel of the RPF, commercial, vigilance departments to deal with cases related to the new provision. Currently those arrested for online frauds are booked under the Information and Technology Act along with relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code. The proposal also includes hike in fines for causing nuisance, specially against women passengers and encroachment of compartments reserved for people with disabilities or women and littering.

Indian Railways To Revise Flexi-Fare Scheme, May Offer ‘Special Discount’ In Some Routes

The railways is all set to come up with a revised flexi-fare scheme next month to bring in some relief for passengers, who, in some sectors pay as much as airfares for the premium trains, sources said. They said the ministry is planning to suspend the scheme temporarily as an experiment during lean months in some identified trains as they are seeing occupancy as low as 30 per cent. They said another option being considered is revising the scheme as per a formula used in the Humsafar trains in which the first 50 per cent berths will be sold at a 15 per cent higher price than the base price of A/C-3 tear mail and express train tickets.

The slab will go up with every 10 per cent of the berth sold thereafter. Similarly, the government is also mulling options to bring in special discounts under the scheme in less busy routes.

The final shape for such a move will be announced by next week, an official said as its removal would also lead to refunds for advance bookings. Recently, a CAG report had come down hard on the railways for the flexi-fare prices and it stated a comparison with airfare for 13 sectors showed that travelling in aeroplane was cheaper than in train for a large number of routes.

In terms of absolute numbers, the premium trains carried 2.40 crore passengers during post-flexi period (September 9, 2016 to July 31, 2017) as compared to 2.47 crore passengers during pre-flexi period (September 9, 2015 to July 31, 2016), said the CAG in its report.

Railways To Replace AC 2 Tier Coaches With AC 3 Tier In Premium Trains

In a bid to replace loss making AC II-tier coaches in premium trains like Rajdhanis and Durontos with AC-III tier, the Railway Board has given instructions to manufacture more such coaches.

This will be initially applicable to those trains where the number of AC-II passengers is low, and at least 250 such coaches across the country may be replaced.

“We have decided to get more AC-III tier coaches because they generate more revenue for us,” Chairman Railway Board Ashwani Lohani said, without giving a deadline for replacement of the coaches.

If such a replacement is done, for example, in the 50 Rajdhani trains, officials said, it will create around 14,400 additional berths for AC-III passengers.

They said that railways was suffering huge losses on AC-II, while AC-III is always on demand. Hence, the change.

In fact, AC III coaches are the money spinners for railways in AC segment as they carry around 85 million passengers annually, compared to around 55 million in all other AC segments together – AC-I, AC II and AC chair car.

This is coming at a time when the national transporter is mulling a change in its flex-fare scheme to make it more consumer friendly. In fact, after a CAG report criticised the scheme and lashed out at the railways for charging its AC-II passengers on  par with airlines in certain sectors, the move seeks to generate additional revenues.

Sources said that the board is mulling revising the scheme as per a formula used in the Humsafar trains in which the first 50 per cent berths of these trains will be sold at 15 per cent higher price than the base price and the slab will change with every 10 per cent of the berth sold thereafter.

Similarly, the government is also mulling options to bring in special discounts under the scheme in not so busy routes.

As of now, under flexi-fare scheme the base fares of premium trains increase by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold subject to a prescribed ceiling limit. There is no change in the existing fare for 1AC and EC class of travel.

Under the scheme, the national transporter had posted a 0.82 per cent increase in the number of passengers during the last financial year and got additional revenue of around Rs. 8.6 billion.

2 Hyderabad Women Arrested For Kidnapping 3 Children

Hyderabad Police on Tuesday rescued three children who were kidnapped by two women.

One of the boys, Ayush, was kidnapped by the two women from Secunderabad Railway Station on Monday when his mother had gone to buy breakfast. When the mother could not find him, she immediately complained to the railway police and later to the local police.

Acting on the complaint, the police team checked the CCTV footage and found that two women took Ayush with them and before boarding an local bus.

On interrogation, the conductor of the bus shared information about the accused women, following which the police team began a search operation to arrest them.

 

The two women were arrested and Ayush, along with two other kidnapped children, were rescued.

Kerala Floods: Special Train Takes Stranded People Back To Bengal

A train carrying hundreds of people stranded in the flood-ravaged Kerala reached Kolkata, a South Eastern Railway (SER) spokesman said here today.

The passengers, mostly labourers from West Bengal, reached Howrah station late last night in the 21-coach special train from Thiruvananthapuram.

Two more trains, which left Ernakulam on Sunday evening, are scheduled to reach the city today, the spokesman Sanjay Ghosh said.

Mostly labourers in different professions like skilled workers to hotel staff, these people were stranded in several places in Kerala, which has been severely affected by floods.

The passengers were ferried to their destinations in buses arranged by the West Bengal government.

The relatives of the passengers heaved a sigh of relief with their near and dear ones reaching safely.

A railways medical team, including two doctors, accompanied the passengers and they reported that nobody needed any medical assistance.

 

Girl Found Dead In Railway Station In Jharkhand, Villagers Protest

Three policemen were injured in brick-batting allegedly by enraged villagers after body of a minor girl was recovered from a bathroom in Barapalasi Railway Station premises in Dumka district last evening, police sources said.

The villagers also thrashed a mentally deranged man, who was reportedly living in the station for quite sometime, accusing him of killing the girl aged around six years, they said.

On being informed about the incident, a police team from Jama police station rushed to the spot and rescued the mentally deranged man, who was critically injured after being beaten up badly.

The enraged villagers started brick-batting on the police team, causing injuries to three policemen, Superintendent of Police Kaushal Kishore said.

He said all the injured policemen were shifted to Sadar Hospital, where they were provided medical treatment, while the accused was referred to a hospital in Dhanbad.

The body has been sent for postmortem, the officer said.

 

Mumbai’s Bandra Station Is The 7th Cleanest Railway Station In India

Bandra Terminus in suburban Mumbai has been adjudged the seventh cleanest railway station in a survey that covered 407 stations across the country.

Bandra Terminus, which comes under the Western Railway, is the only station from Mumbai to feature in the top 10 list of the ‘Swachh Rail-Swachch Bharat Survey’, result of which was released on Monday.

The survey ranked cleanliness position of 407 stations across the country.

According to the survey, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) Mumbai stood at 13 position, Mumbai Central at 40, Dadar (Central Railway) at 49, Thane at 57 and Kalyan was ranked 74.

A senior official of the Western Railway expressed happiness over Bandra Terminus’s ranking and said efforts will be made to improve its position and that of other stations in the next round of the survey.

“For the second consecutive year, we (the WR) have bagged the fifth spot among 16 zonal railways,” he said.

Though none of the Central Railway’s (CR) stations could make it to the top 10, a few of them made quantum jump in ranking.

According to the survey, CSMT Mumbai’s ranking improved to 13 from last year’s 44, while Dadar jumped to 49th position from 70 a year ago.

A CR spokesperson said, “The performance of CR stations in the survey has been impressive because we took sustained efforts to ensure their cleanliness.”

According to the survey conducted by the IRCTC, Jodhpur secured the first spot followed by Jaipur and Tirupati stations at second and third spots, respectively.

Hyderabad Woman’s Body, Wrapped In A Bag, Dumped Outside Railway Station

A 30-year-old woman’s body was found stuffed in a bag outside a railway station in Hyderabad. The body was tightly wrapped in a plastic gunny bag using rope and Scotch tape and later dumped outside the Dabirpura railway station.

Late last night, a passerby informed the police about a suspicious-looking white package amid heaps of garbage. “Our team rushed to the spot and took the bag to Osmania General Hospital. When the bag was opened, we were shocked to find a woman’s body inside,” Venkanna Naik, Circle Inspector, Dabirpura police station, told news agency ANI.

A missing persons report filed by the woman’s mother two days ago helped the police identify her. “She was a resident of Koti. Her husband killed her, packed her dead body in a bag and dumped it outside the railway station. A case of murder has been registered and teams have been deployed to arrest the accused”.

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.

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