Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Manthan K Mehta| TNN | Updated: Nov 26, 2017,
Death trap: 114 rail accidents in Northern Railway network killed 226 since 2010, reveals RTI query
IndiaIANSNov, 29 2017

Lucknow: A total of 114 rail accidents in the Northern Railway network since April 2010 led to 226 deaths and injuries to 365 persons, an RTI reply has revealed.

From improving operational metrics to transitioning towards electric, Goyal is moving from one policy quagmire to another, trying to shore up as many as he can.

Passengers travel in an overcrowded train at Ghaziabad railway station on the outskirts of New Delhi. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Last week, Indian Railways reported four accidents in a span of fewer than 12 hours, in which seven people were killed. This year, until the time of writing, there have been a total of nine railway accidents. This is just one more than the eight accidents that occurred last year (2016).

Three of the four accidents on November 24 occurred due to familiar reasons – two derailments, one of them from a fractured track, and one from a collision with a passing vehicle at an unmanned level crossing. But another accident was a bit of a novelty, almost funny in the way of black humour – an engine got decoupled from the goods train it was hauling, not once but twice. I would please you to know that officials have confirmed that the engine was changed thereafter.

The rise in accidents and casualties in the last few years cannot be traced to any particular deterioration in the way the railways is run, except that if you keep falling behind on replacement of ageing track then the accumulated backlog will at one point start giving up altogether.

That apart, the railways seem to have hit a particular patch of bad luck. All we can do for now is keep looking at what the authorities say and do, and take a view on whether they are on the right track. One piece of positive news is that of railways saving over Rs 5,600 crore in fuel consumption over two years by switching from diesel to electric traction.

The ministry has also affirmed that it plans to switch over completely to electric traction in five years, thus saving Rs 11,500 a year. That is the right approach, particularly when the country is making rapid progress in installing renewable energy capacity. Using such energy will not only reduce costs but also help fight environmental pollution.

But the railways will simultaneously run into a major problem. What to do with the high-tech diesel locomotives it is committed to procuring from a new plant being put up in Bihar by the leading global manufacturing firm General Electric (GE)? This project, valued at $2.6 billion, including the Bihar plant costing Rs 2,052 crore, was ten years in the making and represents the largest investment by GE in its 100-year existence in India.

On learning about the railways’ rapid electrification plan, GE threw a fit and spoke of dire consequences like adverse impact on the ‘Make in India’ programme and foreign investment. It would have helped if while announcing the five-year electric traction agenda, the railway minister Piyush Goyal had also signalled how the GE project issue could be sorted out.

It has also been reported that the minister has ordered a hard look at 171 projects worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore which have made no progress in ten years, have no local or state government support and will mostly not be financially viable. In the case of many of these, even land has not been allotted.

Cancelling such projects is all for the good but the problem is these have all been announced as part of the railway budgets presented by Lalu Prasad and Mamata Banerjee and passed by the Lok Sabha. The house can, of course, bury them but all the projects have local political ballast and striking them off the list as the country has already got into a pre-election mode will take some doing.

To lend credence to any decision on the ground of viability, it is necessary to independently assess their projected rate of return through an audit by a third party. Once this is done, the government can be told by the railways that if it wants to continue with a particular project on political or welfare grounds (for example, it is good for the livelihood of people in the particular region) then this is the amount of subsidy or budgetary support it has to get on an ongoing basis. But if we know the current mindset of the finance ministry, such money will be hard to come by.

If past practice is anything to go by, the railways will keep talking about such inherently loss-making projects but at the end of the day keep having to support them for local political reasons and be satisfied with the overall budgetary support annually available.

On the issue of finances, the railway minister seems unusually sanguine.

There are many opportunities to monetise assets and “frankly I will not be constrained for funds at all,” he has assertedand assured that there is “enough funding for all safety-related projects.” As for the investment required for growth-related projects, “we will be able to raise a large part of that fund internally within the railways.”
Chris Grayling said routes dumped in the Beeching Review 50 years ago could be brought back to ease pressure on commuter routes – and 'unlock' jobs and growth
By Steve Hawkes, Deputy Political Editor 28th November 2017, 
November 29, 2017 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The railway ministry can now move a resolution in both Houses of Parliament adopting the Railway Convention Committee's recommendations for a waiver on dividend for 2016-17

Shine Jacob | New Delhi Last Updated at November 16, 2017 

Monday, November 13, 2017

The hooter will be louder as the level crossing nears, and finally, it will be silent after the train passes by.

by Vidya Rajaabout 

Each year the number of deaths that occur at level-crossings of the railways across India seem to rise.

Friday, November 10, 2017

By Express News Service | Published: 09th November 2017 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Zonal Office Bearers. Updated as on 01.11.2017
Central office bearers’ and Zonal secretaries’ meeting of AILRSA was held at Chand Kalyana Mandapam, Vijayawada on 1st and 2nd November 2017. The meeting was presided over by a presidium consisting of com. L.Mony, com. T.Hanumaiah and com. M.P.Deo. attended by 44 members and all most have spoken express their view and suggested on agenda. 
Central office bearers’ and Zonal secretaries’ meeting of AILRSA was held at Chand Kalyana Mandapam, Vijayawada on 1st and 2nd November 2017. The meeting was presided over by a presidium consisting of com. L.Mony, com. T.Hanumaiah and com. M.P.Deo. attended by 44 members and all most have spoken express their view and suggested on agenda. 

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