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Indian Railways
<!--emo&:blow--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blow.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='blow.gif' /><!--endemo-->

For Germans Nitish is still Railway Minister, officially

Deepak Kumar Jha | New Delhi Lalu=la Mungeri Lal

This is another turnaround story that Railway Minister Lalu Yadav would hate to be part of. In a bizarre coincidence two prestigious 'official' invites from Belgium and Germany have been addressed to Lalu's bete noire and former Railway Minister Nitish Kumar. This despite the incumbent Minister having visited Germany this year in September alongwith several other European countries with much fanfare.

The matter has given sleepless nights to the top officials at Rail Bhawan, although the fault is not at their end but they were the ones who trumpeted Lalu's visit to European countries.

"It seems to be because of a communication gap or a postal error. So far the Minister has not questioned anyone due to his pre-occupation with the Winter session but when he turns up to the Ministry this week the matter may be raised. However Rail Bhawan may send an official communique to the concerned embassies too updating that Yadav is the Rail Minister," informed a source.

Rail Bhawan sources said that the organisation from Belgium has sent an invitation addressed to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar residence at Patna requesting him to attend a seminar 'in the capacity as Railway minister'.

According to sources, Entwarp Flanders Port Training Centre Vized (EPEC) of Belgium has sent the invitation in the name of Nitish Kumar to attend the seminar from February 26 to March 9, 2007.

The said invitation and details has now been sent from Nitish Kumar's office to Rail Bhawan with the new addressee Lalu Yadav.

When a top officer in Rail Bhawan was asked how did this happened even though both the countries recently participated in an international safety seminar in Delhi, he told The Pioneer "the question may be posted at the other end".

Earlier in October, another invitation from German organiser 'Messe Berlin' had reached the Bihar Chief Minister's residence that was later despatched to the Rail Bhawan.

The invitation was for an international trade in Germany. It might be noted that Kumar had served as Rail Minister in the NDA regime and for almost two and half year now Yadav sits in the Rail Bhawan.

Key to Lalu's success story
The minister, who called himself 'Guruji', explained to the students in Hindi how he had broken the myth of the western model that an enterprise, which proves to be a 'liability' should be privatised and its employees given the golden handshake. His speech was translated.
Singh also <b>asked Lalu why he could not turn around Bihar in the 15-year rule of his RJD in that state, while he changed the railways within 30 months. "Lalu said Bihar needed an outside push. It had too many problems, while the railways had a lot of potential. It is like an empire."</b>
The press was not allowed into the lecture as the students insisted on maintaining the 'sanctity of a classroom' while hearing Lalu's lecture. But there were some who later spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.
<b>"I wish he hadn't taken all credit for the success. I wish he'd given some credit to the railway board," a student from Harvard told PTI.</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Govt panel slams Railways for delay in forming land development authority </b>
Rajeev Ranjan Roy | New Delhi
At a time when the Rail Bhawan is harping on the much-hyped 'turnaround', the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways has slammed the Ministry headed for its reluctance to go ahead with the constitution of the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA).

<b>The RLDA, which Yadav dubbed as a revolutionary move in his 2005 Budget speech, aims at ensuring the optimum utilisation of rail land across the country.

"Even after the notification of the Railways (Amendment) Act in 2005, the RLDA is yet to be constituted by the Railways. Such an apathetic attitude reflects the lack of seriousness of the Ministry in constituting the authority," the Standing Committee has observed in its report on 'Rail Land Management'. </b>

"The delay in setting up the authority is unfortunate. The reasons are beyond my comprehension. Since the Railways Act was amended in 2005 to facilitate the creation of RLDA, the Ministry should have expedited efforts to set up the authority on time," Basudeb Acharia, chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways, said.

The delay in setting up the RLDA has cost the Ministry over Rs 300 crore. According to an official, the effective commercial use of the vacant land will add up to Rs 150 crores annually to the coffer for initial years. Indian Railways earned Rs 116.53 crores from the use of vacant land in 2003-2004 against Rs 91.49 crores in 2002-2003, and Rs 223.53 crores in 2001-2002.

The Ministry had even identified over 52 sites to be commercially developed by the RLDA. It was also to "develop the railway stations in metros like New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai as the world-class mega terminals."

The idea to have RLDA was mooted to commercially develop around 44,894 hectares of the vacant railway land and generate funds to improve amenities for the passengers. Yadav in his Budget speech had announced that the RLDA would be set up soon "as it was the need of the hour to generate additional resources for the Railways."

As per an estimate, the Railways own over 4.23 lakh hectares of land. The tracks and stations account for an estimated 3.19 lakh hectares of land. Some other railway establishments occupy around 56,000 hectares. Around 2,200 hectares of land are under encroachments.

Apart from developing the rail land for commercial use to generate extra resources by non-tariff measures, the authority is also supposed to 'provide consultancy, construction or management services and undertake operation in the country in relation to the development of land and property.' 

If anything positive it is all because of La-loo and when negative, blame Railways.
V old, silent, black/white video clip showing narrow Guage train en route from Raipur to Dhamtari in 1941.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->V old, silent, black/white video clip showing narrow Guage train en route from Raipur to Dhamtari in 1941.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Nothing was changed between 1941 till 1978 ... or much later. I remember traveling same route on same type of train in 1978. Same was between Gondia till Bhilai/Durg.

<b>Railways to tickle your taste buds</b>

NEW DELHI: Peeved at the quality of meals served by the Indian Railways? Fret no more. The railways will soon initiate a massive exercise to audit food safety standards followed on various routes, train its staff and even modernise kitchens to tickle your taste buds in a whole new way.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is in talks with organisations like certification major TUV SUD South Asia, Vimta Labs, Accenture and KPMG for conducting food safety audits.

“This is a bid to ensure quality and hygiene of food served on the trains and at the railway platforms at various kiosks and the food plaza joints. We are in talks with a few organisations to conduct food safety audits on board the train and at the platforms to know what are the issues which need to be dealt with,” IRCTC chairman and managing director (CMD) PK Goel said.

The corporation will finalise the auditor by the end of this month and the random sampling of food items made and served by the railways on various train routes is expected to begin in March. The audit will cover food preparation conditions in the base kitchens — those which supply food to the train pantries — and the train pantry; hygiene followed by those who cook and handle food and the way it is served and stored.

“Quality monitoring is a key focus area and apart from the auditors, we have already appointed 100 quality inspectors who conduct 100 inspections on trains across various routes daily,” Mr Goel said. The railways have also kicked off a training programme for its 5,000- strong kitchen staff. The first batch of 25 people is being trained and another 250 people would be trained in the next six months.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
What ticket, when son-in-law owns the Indian Railways! Rabri Devi's parents caught traveling in train without ticket. TTE caught them not knowing who they were. Upon asking for ticket, Lalu's father in-law kept repeating that he was Yadav! By the time TTE realized who he was, situation went out of control and media people had arrived. TTE then vanished.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><span style='color:red'>दामाद की जब हो ट्रेन तो टिकट काहे का </span>

<img src='http://epaper.jagran.com/1422007/ald/13kan-g1.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

छपरा, जागरण संवाददाता : सैंया भए कोतवाल तो डर काहे का की तर्ज पर मंगलवार को छपरा में कहा गया दामाद की जब हो ट्रेन तो टिकट काहे का। रेल मंत्री लालू प्रसाद के सास-ससुर ने सुपरफास्ट बिहार संपर्क क्रांति एक्सप्रेस (2565 अप) के प्रथम श्रेणी वातानुकूलित डिब्बे में बिना टिकट यात्रा करते टीटी को लगभग इसी अंदाज में जवाब दिया। दोनों हाजीपुर से सिवान की यात्रा कर रहे थे।
  टीटीई भी ऐसा निकला जो रेलमंत्री केसास-ससुर को भी नहीं पहचानता था। कम से कम रेलमंत्री के ससुर के यह कहे जाने पर कि वह यादव हैं उसे बात तो समझ में आ ही जानी चाहिए थी। इसके बाद भी वह नहीं माना। मीडियावाले भी जो मौके- बेमौके कहीं भी पहुंच जाते हैं। उन्हीं की भीड़ देख छपरा से चढ़े टीटीई ने उनसे टिकट मांगा तो रेलमंत्री के ससुर शिव प्रसाद चौधरी ने टिकट के बदले दवा दिखाते हुए कहा कि टिकट नहीं है। पटना से आकर कुछ लोग बैठा गए हैं। टीटीई तब भी नहीं समझा और ट्रेन से नीचे उतरने का दबाव डालने लगा। चौधरी साहब ने फिर कहा कि हम यादव हैं, टीटीई ने कहा कि उससे क्या होता है, आप नीचे उतरें। इसी के बाद असली परिचय देने की जरूरत पड़ गई। परिचय कुछ ऐसा निकाला :-रेलमंत्री लालू प्रसाद के सास-ससुर। यानी बिहार की नेता प्रतिपक्ष और पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री राबड़ी देवी के साथ-साथ सांसद अनिरुद्ध प्रसाद उर्फ साधु यादव व सांसद सुभाष यादव के भी माता-पिता। जैसे ही यह परिचय ट्रेन में चढ़े उस टीटीई को मालूम हुआ उसके हाथ-पांव फूल गए और वह आगे कार्रवाई करने को कह डिब्बे से बाहर निकल गया। इसी बीच ट्रेन ड्राइवर ने समझदारी दिखाई और गाड़ी खोल दी।

मौके की नजाकत से अनजान राबड़ी देवी की मां ने मीडियाकर्मियों द्वारा बयान लिए जाने के दौरान एक-दो माइक पर हाथ मारकर अपने गुस्से का इजहार भी किया। इस बीच स्टेशन अधीक्षक उमाशंकर प्रसाद ने मीडियावालों से यह कहकर पल्ला झाड़ा कि कुछ लोगों के बिना टिकट होने की जानकारी के बाद उन्होंने कार्रवाई के लिए सिवान स्टेशन अधीक्षकको फोन कर दिया है। उन्होंने बताया कि जांच करने के लिए टीटीई को भेजा गया था वह गया ही नहीं, उसके खिलाफ कार्रवाई की जाएगी। दरअसल सभी इस मामले से अपना पल्ला झाड़ते हुए नजर आ रहे थे। रेल मंत्री के ससुर शिव प्रसाद चौधरी ने मीडियाकर्मियों को बताया कि उनकी तबीयत खराब है और वह दवा कराने के लिए पटना गए थे। मंगलवार को पटना से कुछ लोग उन दोनों को हाजीपुर में इस ट्रेन में बैठा गए। उन लोगों ने टीटीई से कुछ बात की थी। टिकट न होने की बात कबूल करते हुए उन्होंने कहा कि उन्हें सिवान उतरना है। वहां से वे गोपालगंज के सेलारकला अपने गांव जाएंगे। इधर, पल भर में ही जंक्शन पर यह खबर फैल गई। खबर की जानकारी होते ही किसी भी रेलवे अधिकारी या कर्मचारी ने उस ओर जाने की जहमत नहीं उठाई।


[center]<b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>INDIAN RAILWAYS BUDGET 2007-2008</span></b>[/center]

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>What about old promises? </b>
Deepak Kumar Jha | New Delhi
<b>Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav's annual budget spending moves like the trains in the country - either late or cancelled</b>. Even as fund allocation for the New Delhi station has been sanctioned once again in this budget, a reality check at the station on Monday looked like plans for modernisation having gone haywire. When the budget was being presented in the Lok Sabha, passengers were struggling, jostling and even getting into arguments with booking clerks either to buy a ticket or inquire about train status or berthing of a train on the platform. 

<b>Going by the Railway Minister's promises in 2005-06 and again in 2006-07 budgets, the Ajmeri Gate side of the New Delhi railway station was to have a state-of-the-art building with premium passenger facilities. This included air-conditioned dormitories, separate waiting rooms for men and women, retiring rooms, inquiry offices and ticketing facility centres, as well as food plazas. But if sources within the railways are to be believed, for most of the works, tenders are yet to be floated. "There are several things that are to be done. Tender and seeking financial sanctions for any project are very tedious in railways. Either the accounts have problems or later it gets stuck into the vigilance,"</b> said a senior railway official on the condition of anonymity.

At present, only the expansion works of platforms are going on which is to add four additional platforms to the existing strength of 12 platforms at New Delhi station. The additional fund sanction for modernisation plan for New

Delhi, Anand Vihar and Bijwasan stations this budget is old wine in new bottle. It is not for the first time that the plan has received special emphasis in the budget. In fact, modernisation work at the Ajmeri Gate part of the New Delhi railway station is in its third phase, the foundation stone of which was laid by Lalu Prasad's predecessor, Nitish Kumar.

<b>Also on the list is a cyber cafe for the net-savvy passengers keen to catch up on their mail which is yet to see the light of the day.</b> "I remember that these features were proposed to ensure that passengers 'wait at leisure' at the railway station. But from delay in action plan, one can hardly visualise the 'world-class station' even as the city looks towards Commonwealth Games," said Naresh Kumar, a private company executive who had come to the station to see off his family members. Kumar stood for almost 25 minutes in a queue to purchase a platform ticket. "It is 2.30 pm and the electronic display board is yet to show the departure and platform status of Vikramshila Express. And it is difficult to inquire from the inquiry counter," he added, pointing towards the long queue at the Ajmeri Gate side inquiry counter with people jostling to seek the information.

Northern Railway chief spokesperson Rajiv Saxena counters that most of the works under the modernisation plan are going on. "UTS counters have been added, new platforms are being constructed and with additional funds sanctioned in this budget, the work will definitely be expedited," Saxena added.

According to the plan, the new station building would be a three-storeyed structure, including the ground floor. On the ground floor, adjacent to platform number 12, there would be ticket counters and arrival and departure lounges for the passengers to decongest the space. Separate corners for escalators to other floors in the proposed building were planned three years ago, but the condition of staircase was such that it cost the job of DRM Pradeep Kumar, who was transferred immediately due to the unkempt station during a surprise visit by Lalu Yadav last year. With the deadline 2008, the first floor of the building was supposed to boast of departure halls for passengers with reserved tickets. 
In place of reducing passenger fares, he should do deeper cut in frieght fare, improve passenger facilities, medical facilities, replacing old bridges and installed CCTV camera everywhere.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Railway Minister Lalu Yadav presents his third Railway Budget, and this time too, it seems to be a populist one.
Passenger Fares
All passenger fares cut across the board.
Lean season AC III tier chair car fares cut 8%.
Peak season AC III tier chair car fares cut 4%.
Lean season AC first class fares cut 3-5%.
Lean season AC second class fares cut 4%.
Peak season AC first class fares cut 3-5%.
Peak season AC second class fares to be cut 2%.
Superfast surcharge levied on 2nd class ticket reduced by 20%.

Passenger Amenities
Railway inquiry number 139 across country.
Bogies to be redesigned for disabled.
6,000 automatic ticket-vending machines in 2 yrs.
No. of berths to be increased from 72 to 84 in sleeper coaches.
All customer complaints to be disposed in three months.
Smart rail travel cards to be introduced.
Concessions for UPSC exam travel up to 50%.
Women, senior citizens to get priority lower berths.
E-tickets in petrol pumps, ATMs.

New Facilities
32 new trains to be started.
Leather seats to replace wooden.
Six coaches for unreserved travel.
Eight Garib Raths planned.
Separate coach for vendors, petty traders in passenger trains.
Cushion seats for all unreserved bogies.
Pipavah-Jaipur double decker train proposed.
800 bogies to be added to popular trains.

Train to Kashmir will get priority.
More Mumbai local train capacity.
All TTEs to get palm tops.
Hand-held computers for on-the-spot reservations.

New Projects
Priority to suburban rail projects.
Mumbai EMU revamp outlay Rs 5,000 crore.
High-speed short distance trains.
Increase electrification of lines.
New wagons of 15-25 MT planned.
Rail infrastructure revamp planned.
Huge investment for container operations.
200 model stations by the end of 2007.
New rail lines to aid steel power plants.

Railway interest surplus at Rs 10,227 crore.
Railway profit of Rs 20,000 crore in FY '06.

Rs 30,000 crore investment on freight lines.
60 MT extra freight loading in 2007.
Freight on iron ore cut by six per cent.
Freight rates unchanged.
Railway to invest in 3-storey freight containers.
Cement freight traffic up 30 per cent.
17 per cent profit in freight earnings.
Speed up dedicated freight corridor.
Construction of freight corridor stations.
Freight corridor investment Rs 3,000 crore.

NTPC to help in construction of coaches.
No privatisation of Railways.
CCTVs to be installed in sensitive stations.
15 private container licence issued.
Emphasis on high-speed rail corridors.
Wagon production up by 10 per cent.
Operating ratio at 73.7 per cent.
<b>Chair to be set up at IIM-A to study management of Railways.</b> <!--emo&:angry:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo-->
2007-08 will be observed as Railways Cleanliness Year.
Passenger traffic up 14 per cent in Apr-Dec.
<b>Panel raps Indian Railways for ill-managed kitchens</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The affidavit, submitted before the court, quotes experts pointing to grave irregularities in the kitchens of the Indian Railways. "No food production safety norms were being observed or the kitchen staff were not even in the know of the norms and the kitchens were being run, more or less like road-side shops and dhabas," pointed the report.  <!--emo&:angry:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo-->

The report says that most of the<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'> kitchens in their present form, is posing a serious health hazard to public </span>and they need to be revamped extensively.

The report further states that the kitchens lack basic concept of cleanliness. <b>"The system of garbage disposal inside the kitchen seemed absolutely non-existent," </b>says the report.<b> It further recommends that the period between regular cleaning and pest-control schedules for each kitchen must be put in place. </b>

Next time you want to savour your travel meal in a train journey, <b>there is a strong possibility that you are being served stale food.</b> "The period of holding the food, from the time it is cooked to the time it is served, seemed too long, about 5 to 8 hours," cautions the report.

The report alleges that the amount being served to the customers is not actually the quantity they pay for. "The portion sizes varied from kitchen to kitchen, and in some cases even within the same kitchen," said the report recommending that there must be a stringent system to ensure the correct portion is served
No surprise, nothing changed. Previously, toilet water was used in cooking, Kitchens not only stinks, but looks like garbage dump.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>12 STATES KEEN ON HIGH-SPEED TRAINS  </b>
New Delhi May 17:
Twelve States have expressed interest in the proposed high-speed passenger trains through their territory.

They are Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.
The Railways had sought feedback from States about their willingness to have high-speed passenger trains running through their territory and possible support for the project in the form of land, right of way to build elevated tracks and equity for the proposed project.

<b>The routes being considered for include Mumbai-Surat-Vadodara-Ahmedabad; Jaipur-Delhi-Sonepat-Chandigarh-Ludhiana-Jalandhar-Amritsar; Bangalore-Chennai; and Kolkata-Jamshedpur-Patna. </b>

"These States have permitted the Railways to conduct feasibility studies over the next few months," said the Railway Board Chairman, Mr J.P. Batra, on the sidelines of a seminar on high-speed corridor organised by the Asian Institute of Transport Development and the Railways.

[center]<b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>China suspends high-speed magnetic train project</span></b>[/center]

<b>SHANGHAI : Radiation fears have prompted China to shelve a $4.3 billion extension of its high-speed magnetic levitation train in Shanghai, a state press report said Saturday.</b>

The official Xinhua news agency cited unnamed officials as saying construction, due to begin this year, had been suspended amid concerns the German technology could contaminate residents.

“The government is working on the issue,” said an official attending this week’s Communist Party congress in Shanghai.

A spokesman from the Minhang district of Shanghai, said: “The project has been suspended in line with the arrangements of the municipal government.”

The green light was given in March 2006 and officials expected the new line that would link the eastern cities of Shanghai and Hangzhou, 170 kilometres (105 miles) apart to begin operating in 2010, when Shanghai will host the World Expo and some 70 million visitors are forecast to visit.

<b>However, the project has been dogged by controversy over Chinese demands for technology transfers in exchange for the contract to build the train, which can hit speeds of up to 430 kilometres (270 miles) per hour.

<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>According to German media reports last June, Berlin officials refused to meet China’s demands for access to sensitive technology.</span></b>

The Xinhua report said that the local government has been under pressure from petitioners worried about radiation.

<b>“I was worried because the radiation could harm my baby,” said Wang Xia, a resident of the Minhang district.

The government is also concerned about exorbitant costs, with the project already five billion yuan (652 million dollars) over budget, Xinhua said. afp</b>

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Laloo had hired IIM to do a story on this Railway turn-around story. Seems like he's got some out-of-job Enron bookeepers on payroll too.

Laloopalooza: The Great Sleight Of Hand

Laloo has been claiming that the railways made a profit of Rs 21,578 crore in 2006-07. But the actual figure was Rs 11,000 crore. Here's the secret of Laloo's added profits:
- Rs 9,000 crore pension funds shown as cash surplus

- Miscellaneous funds-Rs 2,500 crore-included in earnings

- Rs 1,700 crore due to the Indian Railway Finance Commission as dividend for lease of wagons put in the profit account

- Profits shored up by showing advance earnings for 2007-2008 in last year's balance-sheet

- Monies in the suspense account-funds promised but not yet transferred-reflected in the earnings/profits

- Tonnage carried by freight trains raised despite repeated objections and safety concerns. This brought in Rs 5,000 crore.

- Hidden costs to passenger tickets earned the railways Rs 325 crore
Revenue-Friendly, But The Aam Admi...

Here's what Laloo has done to increase earnings from passengers:

Milking Tatkal: This was for passengers travelling in an emergency. Less than 10 per cent seats were kept in the tatkal quota and released on the scheduled day of departure. The surcharge was Rs 100 per ticket. Now 30 per cent seats have been set aside for tatkal and reservations open five days before departure. The surcharge is Rs 250 per ticket. Additional earning for railways: Rs 150 crore.

Declaring Trains Superfast: More than 100 express trains have been declared superfast though their running time remains the same. The superfast tag attracts a surcharge. This upgradation meant Rs 75 crore in the coffer.

Upping Cancellation Charges: Doubling cancellation charges has helped. Added profits: Rs 100 crore.

Costlier Return Tickets: Surcharge on return ticket earned the railways Rs 30 crore.

Pay More for Onward Journeys: You can no longer buy a single ticket if you have to change trains for an onward destination. For example, a person travelling from Mumbai to Guwahati could earlier buy a Mumbai-Howrah-Guwahati ticket for Rs 557. Now, he has to buy a Mumbai-Howrah ticket for Rs 517, and another ticket for the Howrah-Guwahati leg for Rs 369. Added profits for the railways: Rs 100 crore.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>  A bad hair day for railways </b>
Pioneer News Service | Varanasi
<b>15 women die in stampede at station</b>
Another 48 injured at Mughalsarai, country's biggest railway junction

A stampede at Mughalsarai railway station on Wednesday afternoon resulted in 15 elderly women being trampled to death and severely injuring several others.
A majority of the women killed were on fast observing Jivitputrika, a local festival, and were travelling to Varanasi for bathing at the ghats.

According to information, the 531Up Buxar-Mughalsarai DMU passenger arrived at Platform No. 6 of Mughalsarai and 10 minutes later 709 Gaya-Mughalsarai Passenger also reached Platform No. 5 in the afternoon.

It is reported that when the aged passengers were crossing the over-bridge, some people in a hurry trampled on them leading to chaos as passengers started running on the narrow over-bridge, causing a stampede.

While 14 women were trampled and died on the spot, another woman breathed her last later at a hospital. Hundred of others have been rushed to hospitals in Varanasi and Mughalsarai for treatment.

However, <b>unconfirmed reports stated that some police constables tried to make a fast buck when the two passenger trains arrived simultaneously at the station and started checking tickets leading to the stampede. However, senior police officials who had rushed to the spot denied the charges</b>.

Mughalsarai Divisional Railway Manager HK Kala said the incident took place when passengers, mostly women, were crossing the overbridge.

Kala said the reason for the stampede was still being ascertained. Probably it occurred due to rush and some sort of confusion among the passengers, he added.

Deputy Inspector General of Police, GRP, (Mughalsarai) Pramod Kumar Tiwari said that most of the women died on the platform and stairs due to suffocation. He said that all the injured had been admitted to the Railway Hospital at Mughalsarai.

<b>Meanwhile, eyewitnesses said over 50 people were injured in the stampede and the confusion among the passengers was created by the Railway authorities changing the platform of a train at the last moment.</b>

The Railways have set up helpline numbers for enquiries at Mughalsarai and Gaya railway stations. The numbers at Mughalsarai Railway Station are: 05412-254144 and 05412-253232, and at Gaya: 0631-2430320.

The Railways announced <b>a compensation of Rs 15,000 to the kin of those killed in the stampede and Rs 5,000 to the seriously injured.</b>
Had they been Haj yatri, they would have received over hundred thousand as compensation. <!--emo&:angry:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Interesting take on the Railway Budget:

Time to shunt Lalu Express
Railway budget reality check
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Indian Railways to utilise technology to increase efficiency</b>

Sun, Mar 2 06:35 PM

New Delhi, Mar 2 : Indian Railways has started a drive to utilise technology to increase its efficiency. They are planning to give instructions to its drivers and guards through SMS.

A senior railway official said, "As part of the Crew Management System all drivers and guards will be communicated through SMS about their duties."

He further added that the main motto is to involve technology in place of existing manual system is to increase the efficiency.

"Crew booking is being computerised now as part of the new system. Drivers, assistant drivers and guards of all passengers and goods trains will be covered under the system," he said.

"We have finalised the SMS modules and it will be applicable to all categories of drivers," the official added.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>RITES signs MOU with Namibian company</b>


Mumbai, Mar 13 (UNI) Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Namibia-based Trans Namib Holdings for technical assistance on upgradation and rehabilitation works on existing railway and infrastructures including train control system using GPS-based technology.

RITES will also provide technical know how on rehabilitation of old locomotives, supply of new cape gauge rail cars, along with advisory services for Public Private Partnership (PPP), and training for commercial and operating staff.

The MOU was signed during the recent visit of the delegation led by Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Namibia Joel N Kaapanda, added a release.
How's Laloo performance as Railway minister? Not what media says but on ground?
Any experience?
There is an improvement in services by railways but it is not what one would have excepted. The most important things like food being supplied or the cleanliness at the stations and trains, and the arrival/depature of train on schedule are things that need to be worked on. But using technology to help the passengers like booking tickets through internet, or the touchscreen consoles at the stations through which tickets availibity can be checked are indeed helpful.

And nowadays i see that jawans of the RFP(Railway Protection Force) are armed with rifles and on guard rather than the old days when their job was to sleep through the whole journey. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->

All these developments are not the work of laloo alone but some of these measures of using tech to aid passengers were introduced by Nitish Kumar.

There is an general complaint in Kar that the laying of new lines are being delayed or are being done at an slow pace to reduce the money outflow of the railways. This is one of laloo's tricks so that he can show an profit in the railway budget.

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