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From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: Paswan to press for higher outlay

Date: 20 Feb 1997 05:01:00 -0500


Express News Service

NEW DELHI, February 19: While a hike in railway
fare and freight rates is imminent in the railway
budget to be announced on February 26, the extent
of this increase will be determined by the quantum
of support from the general budget that Railway
Minister Ram Vilas Paswan can wrangle.

He appears to be fighting a losing battle for a
substantial increase in budgetary funding as the
Finance Ministry and the Planning Commission are
of the view that the railways must generate its
own resources.

Sources disclose that Paswan who has already held
two rounds of talks with Prime Minister H D Deve
Gowda on the issue will be meeting him again to
drive home his point.

Several new railway projects have been planned for
Bihar and Karnataka and Paswan is pinning his
hopes on Gowda's ``sound political sense'' to seek
a larger percentage of budgetary support for the
railways.

The railways are facing a serious cash crunch and
will have to go in for an increase in fare and
freight rates to fill the resource gap. According
to senior officials the increase will have to be
``judicious mix'' of both the fare and freight
rates.

In the past the railways have been depending on
the increase in freight rates and upper class
fares. However, the extent to which the freight
rates can be increased is not unlimited as this
would divert traffic to the road sector which has
already begun to erode the share of the railways.

Similarly an increase only in the upper class
fares may not be sufficient to meet the required
resources. Therefore, if the size of the railway
budget is not curtailed the railways will have to
also go in for a substantial increase in the fare
of suburban trains and second class long distance
travel which will prove to be counter-productive
in political terms for the Railway minister.

While last year around 15 per cent of the railway
budget had been financed from the general budget,
Paswan wants the Central government's share to go
up to 45 per cent this year. He has advanced the
reason that the railways have to take up social
development projects which are not commercially
viable and therefore the Government must extend
support.

The Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry
are of the view that if substantial hike is made
in the allocation for the railways, this would
lead to a shortfall in the funds for other schemes
for the weaker sections. These include the schemes
to provide foodgrains at half the PDS price for
the poor, the mid-day meal, etc. The Planning
Commission has expressed the view that the
railways should scale down their annual plan if it
can mobilise adequate resources.

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 20 Feb 1997 08:48:00 -0500


The Indian Express
Thursday, February 20 1997

ISD, STD facilities on more trains

MUMBAI, February 19: Enthused by the success of the Subscriber
Trunk Dialling (STD) and the International Subscriber Dialling
(ISD) facilities provided by the Western Railway on the 2951
Rajdhani Express, the authorities have decided to provide the same
service on the August Kranti Rajdhani Express and the Mumbai-
Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express from March 1997. This will enable
passengers on board the trains to make telephone calls anywhere in
the world at the rate of Rs 126 per minute. The telephone
instrument will be in the Pantry car, as on the Rajdhani, and will
be manned by a cashier.

Chief Public Relations Officer Ravindra Tandon told Express
Newsline that the service on the 2951 Rajdhani Express has
gathered positive responses from passengers who have demanded the
same on other out-station super-fast trains. The installation will
be done by the officials of the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited
(VSNL) in a joint venture with the Western Railways and the
telephone lines will be activated via the INMARSAT link.

It is reliably learnt that the VSNL has provided the WR with four
telephone units and will soon be providing with another two to be
fitted in the new trains and will not be charging WR for the
instruments. However, airtime will be charged for.

Earlier last year, the telephone system had failed due to
technical snags and was set right only two months later in
November. Communication department engineers of the WR had then
said the system may not work because of the speed of the train.
The train runs at a maximum speed of 120 kilometres per hour. The
facility will go a long way in keeping people in touch even when
they are travelling especially long distances like New Delhi,
Hazrat Nizamuddin and Ahmedabad, PR officials said.
====================================

New-look Karnavati Express

MUMBAI, February 19: The Ahmedabad-Mumbai Karnavati Express which
was re-decorated by a team of German Railway (GTZ) officials along
with those of the WR last year will make its first passenger run
in a week from today, officials asserted.

The first run of the train was delayed due to its inspection by
the Research, Development and Safety Organisation (RDSO) of the
Indian Railways. The new-look train has been provided with the
latest state of the art features which include a new shock-free
suspension, newly decorated coaches, an electric neon sign to
display the train number and its route and cushioned seats among
others. These new features were a result of the Government of
Germany's initiation in which they suggest developmental projects
for the Indian Railways.
====================================

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 22 Feb 1997 08:15:00 -0500


Sleeper coaches to be used by day commuters
EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE

NEW DELHI, February 21: Long-distance second class railway
commuters appear to be heading for rougher days ahead as the
Railway Ministry headed by Ram Vilas Paswan has ordered that
reserved sleeper coaches be declared as unreserved second class
compartments on certain sections.

The order is intended to benefit short-distance passengers
``travelling during day-time''. The zonal Railways have been
empowered to declare, wherever it is feasible, sleeper coaches as
unreserved second class of the train concerned.

Minister of State for Railways Satpal Maharaj said in a written
reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today that ``these
provisions are applicable on Railways throughout India''.

However, there is a general feeling that the move may render
travel by these sleeper coaches increasingly unsafe. This is
especially so, since recent incidents like the molestation of the
National Cadet Corps (NCC) girls from Jammu and Kashmir took place
at the hands of short-distance passengers.

Most of the incidents of hooliganism on trains have been traced to
such day time passengers who normally travel in groups and have
often proved to be a menace for long-distance travellers. Ladies,
who have to travel alone, normally prefer these second class
coaches as they are considered safer because of the large number
of passengers.

Such women passengers may now become especially vulnerable
with the reserved coaches being thrown open to short-distance
travellers.

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Konkan Railway

Date: 24 Feb 1997 04:58:00 -0500


Indian Express

Konkan Railway Corporation will be attaching an extra sleeper
coach on its KR 0112 UP / 0111 DN running between Sawantwadi and
Kurla Terminus. This will augment the sleeper class accommodation
from 360 berths to 432 berths.

The additional sleeper coach will be attached to KR 0112 UP
leaving Sawantwadi at 18.55 hrs on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and
Saturday. The down direction leaves Kurla Terminus on Tuesday,
Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The second class sleeper fare is Rs
178, including reservation charges. The AC two-tier sleeper coach
on the same route is pegged at Rs 779, including reservation
charges. Meanwhile, to and fro bus service arrangements have been
made between Panaji bus stand and Sawantwadi. Kadamba Transport
Service is also extending advance reservation facilities for the
bus journey from Panaji to Sawantwadi. Similar arrangements are
also been made by State Road Transport Corporation from
Sawantwadi, Kudal, Kankawli, Ratnagiri and Chiplum.

From: db2adm <db2adm@VNET.email

Subject: Railway News

Date: 25 Feb 1997 06:29:00 -0500


Indian Express

At least 10 persons were killed and as many injured, when the
3112-DN Lalquila Express rammed into a bus and a truck at a manned
level crossing between Boinchi and Simlagarh stations on the
Eastern Railway's Howrah-Burdwan main section on Monday, railway
sources said. Unofficial reports, however, put the toll at 15 and
said 20 persons were injured. Railway sources said the deceased
included the gate man and passengers of the bus. (Calcutta, IE Feb
25)
===================================
Political engineering -- Derailing Konkan Railway

Claude Alvares and Anthony Simoes

If experience with the prestigious Konkan Railway, designed to
connect Mumbai with Mangalore, is any guide, railways in our time
are going to be built increasingly by politicians, not by
engineers. And the consequences are plain to see. Asked in the
late 1980's how long it would take to construct the long-dreamed-
of west coast line, the official reply from the railways was 14
years using departmental technology, eight with imported machines.

In 1990, George Fernandes and Madhu Dandavate, both from the
Konkan, became Central Ministers. As much victims of ``competitive
populism'' as those they pillory today, both sought out railway
engineers who brazenly promised them the line could be built in
four years -- the commissioning timed for October 31, 1994 and the
Lok Sabha elections. A month ago, a weary Shridharan, CMD of the
project, confessed that the unrealistic date had been forced on
him by George Fernandes. None of these politicians, or those who
came after them, Railway Ministers Jaffer Sharief, Suresh Kalmadi
and Ram Vilas Paswan, and Chief Ministers Sharad Pawar and Manohar
Joshi, realise even today how their narrow political ambitions
eventually damned the fortunes of their dream project.

In this seventh year of construction, there is still no light at
the end of the tunnel. Neither the Konkan Railway Corporation
(KRC), nor the Railway Board knows when the railway will
eventually run. After revising commissioning dates eight times,
the KRC has given up making announcements. The Government shows no
inclination to investigate why the project is grounded and the
prevailing attitude at the Railway Board is to let the KRC stew in
its own juice.

Due to the delays in commissioning, the economic viability of the
project has been ruined beyond recovery. The interest burden alone
is a stunning Rs 80 lakh per day. The Government has been forced
to re-enter the project through the back door and provide a
sovereign guarantee for the redemption of Konkan Railway bonds. As
a result, the Build-Operate-Transfer scheme on which the project
was premised no longer holds. Many intractable problems are
largely of the KRC's own making. The terrain between Mangalore and
Mumbai is difficult with alluvial plains, vast tidal rivers,
swamps, hills. The Southern Railway, first asked to work on the
coastal project in 1987, prepared the kind of detailed survey that
has come to be associated with the best of Indian railway
engineering. But when the KRC took over construction, it discarded
the SR's well-selected alignment, decided on a new hi-speed track
and, to save time, refused to redo the required ground survey for
its new route. Construction commenced on the basis of topo sheets
with the line being shifted when difficulties or local
politicians' objections arose.

The first estimate of funds and technology was wholly unrealistic.
When the project commenced, the KRC stated the line involved 1,620
minor bridges, 135 major bridges and 71 kms of tunnels. In 1995,
it claimed the line had 1,759 minor bridges, 171 bridges and 93
kms of tunnels. At several places, design sheets show four-metre
high embankments. On site, embankments have touched 14 metres.
Costs skyrocketed as work progressed, beginning in 1990 at Rs
1,040 crore and re-estimated today at Rs 3,000 crore. Final costs
are expected to touch Rs 6,000 crore.

On this admittedly difficult terrain, competent railway engineers
ought to be in charge. However, work was parcelled out to
contractors who were not necessarily conversant with railway
construction procedures and were held only to short delivery
schedules. Sections now completed are technically substandard, a
fact which points to repeated disasters in the future. The KRC has
begun to pay for technological carelessness. Embankments in paddy-
fields, wetlands and mangroves have been collapsing with alarming
regularity. So have soft soil tunnels in weathered laterite hills.
At Cortalim in Goa, the KRC has had to face the ignominy of
removing embankments that collapsed more than 20 times and
replacing them with expensive viaducts. At Daujim (Goa), after six
years of trying to excavate a tunnel in laterite, the KRC is
contemplating razing the entire hill.

Safety standards are a major casualty of the urge to please
political bosses. Completed sections provide graphic evidence of
violation of safety requirements. The Indian Railways Engineering
Code (IREC), for instance, specifies the use of guard rails on
stretches where derailment is not acceptable under any
circumstances. The KR has 89 kms of bridges and 84 kms of tunnels
where cost-cutting has done away with guard rails. Likewise, goods
trains must be run on new tracks to stabilise them for three to
six months prior to running passenger trains. The KRC has violated
this rule and endangered public safety. Instead of the
Commissioner of Railway Safety having the last word on safety
standards, in the case of the KR, it is the Minister.

Costly last-minute remedies such as more than a dozen foreign
technologies have been sought, often arbitrarily. Most of this
expense could have been avoided if the KRC's final location survey
had relied on the IREC, on which basis Indian railway engineers
have competently constructed 63,000 km of tracks. Unbudgeted
foreign technology cost Rs 1,55,000 in 1992, Rs 7.2 crore in 1993,
Rs 9 crore in 1994, Rs 22 crore in 1995, Rs 12 crore is 1996,
bringing the total to a whopping Rs 50.6 crore. More bills are
due.

Even the dream of 160 kph trains seems to have evaporated. On the
completed Mumbai-Ratnagiri section, the average speed is just 60
kph. When more trains are scheduled on this single track railway,
delays will multiply. There are 52 sidings between Roha and
Mangalore where trains will wait for access to the main line.

The coup de grace is the decision to divert through traffic
between Mumbai/Mangalore/Kerala from the existing South Central
Railway to the Konkan Railway. Long haul traffic will generate
better returns than intermediate traffic originating or
terminating in the backward Konkan region. But guaranteed high
volume through traffic means the Konkan will be reduced to a
corridor -- tragic derailment of Konkan development objectives.

Claude Alvares and Anthony Simoes work for the Goa Foundation, an
environmental group

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: Any website for Railway Budget ?

Date: 25 Feb 1997 04:40:00 -0500


Hi everyone,

Is anybody aware of any internet website where tomorrow's
Railway Budget is covered "live" ? I know we had one site last year
which had complete coverage of the budget (including all finer
details) presented by Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, the then Railway Minister of
State.

Thanks,
Auro

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: Train services hit on Agra-Palwal section

Date: 25 Feb 1997 04:52:00 -0500



The Hindu
PALWAL (Haryana), Feb. 24.

Movement of trains on the Agra-Palwal section of Central
Railway was disrupted today for over four hours in the
morning when an irate crowd of daily commuters blocked
the tracks at Palwal to protest the rescheduling of a
shuttle train between Mathura and Ghaziabad. Five
policemen were injured when the crowd pelted stones at
them while they were trying to clear the tracks.

The protest was sparked off around 8 a.m. when at least
50 people got into the driver's cabin of the
Mathura-Ghaziabad passenger train and prevented him from
pulling out of the station at the rescheduled time.
Meanwhile, others blocked the tracks by placing heavy
concrete sleepers across the railway lines.

Even as the handful of Railway police personnel present
at the station tried to remove the sleepers, commuters
from other passenger trains joined in and their numbers
swelled in no time. Grossly outnumbered, the Railway
police called for reinforcements from Faridabad and
Palwal town which, however, took its time coming.
According to the police, the initially peaceful protest
turned violent when some miscreants started throwing
stones. Police sources said that others in the crowd
soon joined in and the policemen were forced to retreat.
At least five constables including two home guards were
injured even while retreating. As one police constable
put it, ``There was no question of retaliating. We had
to save our lives. If we had retaliated, things would
have gone out of hand.''

Two homeguards, Shankar Lal and Sarnam Singh, have been
admitted to the Civil Lines Hospital in Palwal town.
Their condition is said to be stable.

According to the Area Manager, Mr. Suresh Chand, the
situation was brought under control with the arrival of
reinforcements led by senior police and administrative
officers. The SDM of Palwal, Mr. Druv Singh, the
District Collector, Mr. Vijay Bardhan and the SSP, Mr.
Sheel Mathur held a meeting with five representatives of
the association of daily passengers in their effort to
pacify the crowd.

Mr. Suresh Chand said that the crux of the problem was
the rescheduling of the Mathura-Ghaziabad shuttle train.
Earlier the train left Palwal station at 7-20 a.m.
According to the new timing, the train was to leave at
8-05 a.m. The new schedule had been initiated from
February 21 and most of the daily passengers were
apparently not in favour of the new timing, Mr. Chand
added.

According to officials, it was decided in the meeting
that the option of putting back the train to its earlier
timings would be brought up in a meeting of senior
railway officials on February 26 in the Capital.

Normal movement of trains plying through the station,
however, was only resumed after 12-45 p.m. According to
Railway officials, even after it was decided at the
meeting with representatives of the association, to give
the Railway Board some time to review the situation,
trains were still held up. It was only on the personal
intervention of the District Collector later that the
crowd dispersed.

Some of the trains which were delayed because of the
protest included the Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express,
Karnataka Express, Ujjain Express, the Delhi-Mumbai
August-Kranti Express, Golden Temple Mail and G.T.
Express.

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: Political Engineering -- Derailing Konkan Railway

Date: 25 Feb 1997 05:12:00 -0500


Friends,

Here is Konkan Railway news after a deep silence.
Hope this one makes good, realistic reading.

Enjoy,
Auro
_______________________________________________________

The Indian Express
February 25, 1997

By Claude Alvares and Anthony Simoes


If experience with the prestigious Konkan Railway,
designed to connect Mumbai with Mangalore, is any
guide, railways in our time are going to be built
increasingly by politicians, not by engineers. And
the consequences are plain to see.

Asked in the late 1980's how long it would take to
construct the long-dreamed-of west coast line, the
official reply from the railways was 14 years
using departmental technology, eight with imported
machines.

In 1990, George Fernandes and Madhu Dandavate,
both from the Konkan, became Central Ministers. As
much victims of ``competitive populism'' as those
they pillory today, both sought out railway
engineers who brazenly promised them the line
could be built in four years -- the commissioning
timed for October 31, 1994 and the Lok Sabha
elections. A month ago, a weary Shridharan, CMD of
the project, confessed that the unrealistic date
had been forced on him by George Fernandes. None
of these politicians, or those who came after
them, Railway Ministers Jaffer Sharief, Suresh
Kalmadi and Ram Vilas Paswan, and Chief Ministers
Sharad Pawar and Manohar Joshi, realise even today
how their narrow political ambitions eventually
damned the fortunes of their dream project.

In this seventh year of construction, there is
still no speck of light at the end of the tunnel.
Neither the Konkan Railway Corporation (KRC), nor the
Railway Board knows when the railway will
eventually run. After revising commissioning dates
eight times, the KRC has given up making
announcements. The Government shows no inclination
to investigate why the project is grounded and the
prevailing attitude at the Railway Board is to let
the KRC stew in its own juice.

Due to the delays in commissioning, the economic
viability of the project has been ruined beyond
recovery. The interest burden alone is a stunning
Rs 80 lakh per day. The Government has been forced
to re-enter the project through the back door and
provide a sovereign guarantee for the redemption
of Konkan Railway bonds. As a result, the
Build-Operate-Transfer scheme on which the project
was premised no longer holds. Many intractable
problems are largely of the KRC's own making. The
terrain between Mangalore and Mumbai is difficult
with alluvial plains, vast tidal rivers, swamps,
hills. The Southern Railway, first asked to work
on the coastal project in 1987, prepared the kind
of detailed survey that has come to be associated
with the best of Indian railway engineering. But
when the KRC took over construction, it discarded
the SR's well-selected alignment, decided on a new
hi-speed track and, to save time, refused to redo
the required ground survey for its new route.
Construction commenced on the basis of topo sheets
with the line being shifted when difficulties or
local politicians' objections arose.

The first estimate of funds and technology was
wholly unrealistic. When the project commenced,
the KRC stated the line involved 1,620 minor
bridges, 135 major bridges and 71 kms of tunnels.
In 1995, it claimed the line had 1,759 minor
bridges, 171 bridges and 93 kms of tunnels. At
several places, design sheets show four-metre high
embankments. On site, embankments have touched 14
metres. Costs skyrocketed as work progressed,
beginning in 1990 at Rs 1,040 crore and
re-estimated today at Rs 3,000 crore. Final costs
are expected to touch Rs 6,000 crore.

On this admittedly difficult terrain, competent
railway engineers ought to be in charge. However,
work was parcelled out to contractors who were not
necessarily conversant with railway construction
procedures and were held only to short delivery
schedules. Sections now completed are technically
substandard, a fact which points to repeated
disasters in the future. The KRC has begun to pay
for technological carelessness. Embankments in
paddy-fields, wetlands and mangroves have been
collapsing with alarming regularity. So have soft
soil tunnels in weathered laterite hills. At
Cortalim in Goa, the KRC has had to face the
ignominy of removing embankments that collapsed
more than 20 times and replacing them with
expensive viaducts. At Daujim (Goa), after six
years of trying to excavate a tunnel in laterite,
the KRC is contemplating razing the entire hill.

Safety standards are a major casualty of the urge
to please political bosses. Completed sections
provide graphic evidence of violation of safety
requirements. The Indian Railways Engineering Code
(IREC), for instance, specifies the use of guard
rails on stretches where derailment is not
acceptable under any circumstances. The KR has 89
kms of bridges and 84 kms of tunnels where
cost-cutting has done away with guard rails.
Likewise, goods trains must be run on new tracks
to stabilise them for three to six months prior to
running passenger trains. The KRC has violated
this rule and endangered public safety. Instead of
the Commissioner of Railway Safety having the last
word on safety standards, in the case of the KR,
it is the Minister.

Costly last-minute remedies such as more than a
dozen foreign technologies have been sought, often
arbitrarily. Most of this expense could have been
avoided if the KRC's final location survey had
relied on the IREC, on which basis Indian railway
engineers have competently constructed 63,000 km
of tracks. Unbudgeted foreign technology cost Rs
1,55,000 in 1992, Rs 7.2 crore in 1993, Rs 9 crore
in 1994, Rs 22 crore in 1995, Rs 12 crore is 1996,
bringing the total to a whopping Rs 50.6 crore.
More bills are due.

Even the dream of 160 kmph trains seems to have
evaporated. On the completed Mumbai-Ratnagiri
section, the average speed is just 60 kmph. When
more trains are scheduled on this single track
railway, delays will multiply. There are 52
sidings between Roha and Mangalore where trains
will wait for access to the main line.

The coup de grace is the decision to divert
through traffic between Mumbai/Mangalore/Kerala
from the existing South Central Railway to the
Konkan Railway. Long haul traffic will generate
better returns than intermediate traffic
originating or terminating in the backward Konkan
region. But guaranteed high volume through traffic
means the Konkan will be reduced to a corridor --
tragic derailment of Konkan development objectives.
_______________________________________________________
Claude Alvares and Anthony Simoes work for the
Goa Foundation, an environmental group

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: Highlights of Railway Budget1997-98

Date: 26 Feb 1997 04:53:00 -0500


The railway minister Mr Ram Vilas Paswan presented the for
the Year 1997-98, in the House today.

Highlights

- 12 pc hike in freight rates proposed. However,
essential commodities like foodgrains, oil, etc have
been exempted.

- 10 pc increase in Upper Class fares. Upper Class Fares
of the Rajdhani Express, August Kranti and Shatabdi
Express increased by 10 pc.

- No increase in suburban fares and season ticket holders
for suburban travel.

- Rs 100 crores reserved for the expansion of the railway
network in the Kashmir region.

- Other new services to be introduced to mark the 50th
Year of Independence.

- Annual Plan Outlay of Rs 8,300 crores, over Rs 4,300
crores to be met through internal sources, Rs 1,800
crores through various hikes.

The railway minister Mr Ram Vilas Paswan has justified the
hike in fares as the Rs 3,500 crore financial burden of the
fifth Pay Commission report has imposed an additional burden
on the railways. (DD Feb 26, New Delhi)

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: Plan to increase speed of Shatabdi shelved

Date: 26 Feb 1997 05:04:00 -0500



The Hindu
LUCKNOW, Feb. 25.

The plan of the Railways to increase the speed of the
Shatabdi Express from 140 to 160 kmph has been shelved,
at least for the present, because of hazards such as
unmanned level-crossings, although the track can stand
the impact. This represents a setback to plans to run
trains at a speed of 200 kmph in the next century.

A number of accidents at the level-crossings led to the
rethinking among the planners. The Delhi-Kanpur stretch
in particular was readied to achieve speed acceleration
up to 160 kmph. Trains running at 140 kmph drag on for
1.6 km before coming to a halt when the brakes are
applied. They cannot be stopped at a shorter distance
without risking a major accident. Cattle crossing the
rail lines are another hazard. All level-crossings must
be manned and railings put up on both sides of the track
in certain stretches before the speed limit is
increased.

The Lucknow-based Research Design and Standards
Organisation of the Indian Railways has designed tracks
which ensure a smoother ride, reduce energy consumption
and are easier to maintain. The RDSO has developed 14
new designs of diesel and electric locomotives for
handling of freight and passenger traffic. It recently
developed a full bodied twin cab diesel locomotive for
export to Bangladesh, winning the order against stiff
global competition.

The Director-General of RDSO told visiting presspersons
that fuel efficient kits for diesel engines have meant
reduction of fuel consumption by six per cent and of
lubricants by as much as 20 per cent. The two diesel
locomotives developed by RDSO recently are fuel
efficient, designed with reduced capital and maintenance
cost and would be able to haul heavier goods trains at
higher speed.

The RDSO has developed a rail bus with a capacity of
carrying 76 passengers for short distance travel. Five
prototype broad gauge rail buses have been running for
more than two years. Similarly for metre gauge routes, a
bus has been developed.

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: It's `Madras' again for Railways

Date: 26 Feb 1997 05:09:00 -0500


The Indian Express
CHENNAI, February 25

The Southern Railway has started reusing `Madras'
in all its official transactions and communications
as no clear-cut statement has been forthcoming from
the either the Tamil Nadu government or the Centre
on media reports that the United Front government has
refused to accept the renaming of Madras as `Chennai'.

A circular issued by the Station Manager of
Chennai Central on February 21, 1997, without
citing any reasons, cancelled the revised code
initials for Chennai Central and other stations
and city booking offices falling within the
Chennai area, with immediate effect. They were
earlier given the code for `Chennai'.

``Now it has been decided to retain the old code
initials, that is, the ones prevailing prior to
the notification cited under reference for Chennai
Central and other Stations in Chennai area. This
(reference to the station as `Madras') will
continue for adoption until further orders,'' the
circular said.

The circular asked the section heads ``to notify
the staff working under your sections for guidance
and also act accordingly''. The circular has also
``reproduced the old code initials for the
guidance of the staff members''.

The DMK government led by Chief Minister M
Karunanidhi, soon after assuming office, with much
fanfare announced the renaming of `Madras' as
`Chennai' while presenting the Tamil Nadu budget
for 1996-97 on July 17, 1996. Making the
announcement, the Chief Minister had said, ``The
name, `Madras' traces its origin to some other
language. The government has decided that Madras
will hereafter be known in all languages by only
one name `Chennai', and we will take appropriate
action to give effect to this new measure''.

Later, on August 31, 1996, the Tamil Nadu Assembly
unanimously passed a bill to enact the City of
Madras (Alteration of Name) Act, 1996, ``to alter
the name of Madras as `Chennai'.

The statements of objects and reasons appended to
the bill then read: ``The area comprising the City
of Madras has been called Chennai in Tamil from
ancient days. This name has been employed by
people in different walks of life, and it has thus
been universally accepted. Keeping the universal
acceptance of the name, `Chennai' in view and
keeping also the historical, social, cultural and
other details of the City of Madras in view, the
government has taken a policy decision that Madras
would hereafter be called Chennai in all
languages''.

Replying to the debate on the bill, the Chief
Minister had even promised to write to all the
states about the change of name. Referring to
criticism from certain quarters about the name
change, he had said there was no such opposition
when `Bombay' was changed to `Mumbai'. There were
similar misgivings when the name of Madras State
was changed to Tamil Nadu, he had said.

Following the President of India's assent to the
bill passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly, the State
Government issued a gazette notification on
September 30, 1996, changing the name to
`Chennai'. Subsequently, in all government
transactions, corporations, bodies and
undertakings, the name `Madras' was removed and
substituted with `Chennai'.

In a recent press conference on February 19 when
the Chief Minister was asked about the Centre's
reported refusal to accept the name change, he had
said the State Government was yet to receive
official information. ``The reports quoted some
official. Even the Prime Minister had said that he
need not answer to the press reports'', the Chief
Minister said bluntly without commenting
further.Though it is more than four months since
the name change bill was given assent, the State
and the Central governments are keeping mum on the
subject.

From: Dheeraj Sanghi <dheeraj@lucent.email

Subject: Railway Budget

Date: 26 Feb 1997 11:38:00 -0500


<A HREF="http://133.86.104.22/calonline/news/february97/railbud.html">http://133.86.104.22/calonline/news/february97/railbud.html</A>

--

From: shamik <shamik@cs.email

Subject: Re: Indian Railway Timetable

Date: 03 Mar 1997 13:20:00 -0500


Someone sent a pointer to www.qqq.com/services
-shamik

----------------------------------------
> I need Railway TimeTable on the Net badly and ...
> Thanks in advance,
> Krutibas Biswal
>

The following site has some info (honestly, I don't know
how much as I have not browsed thro' this completely)
<A HREF="http://www.qqq.com/services">http://www.qqq.com/services</A>
Hope this helps !!
--
Regards,
B.T

From: Steven Brown <able@ricochet.email

Subject: Re: India News Network Digest Railway Budget

Date: 04 Mar 1997 06:29:00 -0500


I assume that many IRFCA readers are also recieving India news network,
but this seems like a more detailed report on the railway budget.

Railway stories appear fairly regularly in the India-D listserv.
More info on India-d see <A HREF="http://www.indnet.org/">http://www.indnet.org/</A>

Again My oppologies if this is something that is already in your mailbox,
but the issues raised in this article are significant: The use of the
railway to serve social issues my detract from other projects. Also a
regional bias in allocating funding.

Any other views on these subjects???



India-D Editor wrote:
>
> India News Network Digest Mon, 3 Mar 97 Volume 2 : Issue 1508
>

> Date: Mon, 3 Mar 1997 16:53:21 +0800 (SGT)
> From: Arvind Agarwalla - Vedika/FACT Singapore <arvind@fact.email
> Subject: Freight up, 5 pc hike in sleeper class fare
>
> #1 Freight up, 5 pc hike in sleeper class fare
>
> By Express New Service - New Delhi - The Indian Express - 27th February 1997
>
> Union Railway Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has hiked all AC and first class
> fares by 10 per cent, second class sleeper fares by 5 per cent,
> increased freight rates by 12 per cent and imposed a surcharge of 20 per
> cent on parcel and luggage rates for super fast trains in the Railway
> Budget for 1997 - 98, presented to Parliament today.
>
> The increase in passenger fares and freight tariff, which will come into
> force from April 1, is expected to yield an additional revenue of Rs
> 1,800 crore. As much as Rs 1,592 crore of this total is expected to
> come from the increase in freight rate.
>
> Second class passengers and suburban travellers holding seasonal tickets
> have been spared from any increase in fares. Platform tickets will also
> continue to cost the same. Similarly the freight on 15 essential
> commodities has been exempted from the hike. These goods include food
> grains, urea fertiliser, salt, edible oils, kerosene, sugar, liquefied
> petroleum gas, fruits and vegetables, gur and fodder.
>
> Paswan has managed to get a higher budgetary support of Rs 1,831 crore
> from the general exchequer, which constitutes 22 per cent of the total
> Budget estimate of Rs 8,300. In the 1996 - 97 Railway Budget the share
> of the general exchequer was restricted to 15 per cent.
>
> The thrust of Paswan's budgetary effort appears to be on utilising the
> Railways "as a public welfare organisation, for the development of
> backward regions." However, although this suits Paswan's political
> objective, it has serious financial implications for the viability of
> the Railways, which has to serve the overall national interest.
>
> The Railway Minister has almost doubled the resource allocation for new
> railway lines from Rs 220 crore last year to Rs 400 crore this year, in
> order to "develop the backward regions."
>
> While the North - East has been earmarked for this development
> initiative, both Bihar and the Prime Minister's home Stake, Karnataka
> have also been allocated a large share. Besides several gauge
> conversion projects have been proposed for the benefit of these two
> States.
>
> A Rs 25 - crore railway workshop at Barauni and allocation for the Ganga
> bridge at Patna have also been made from this Budget. Similarly, at
> least six of the 11 new trains being introduced will benefit Bihar and
> Karnataka.
>
> Paswan has also included Patna in a proposed master plan for integrated
> development of rail infrastructure for the metropolitan cities of Delhi,
> Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta. According to experts cities like Lucknow
> and Ahmedabad are more important from the railways viewpoint and should
> have got precedence over Patna.
>
> Because of the high allocation to development projects from the internal
> resources raised by the Railways, the amounts available for other
> important projects have been limited.
>
> Paswan himself admitted in his speech that "The Indian Railways are
> passing through a very difficult phase." He was referring to the
> congestion on the main trunk routes, comprising the golden quadrilateral
> and its diagonals where the main earning of the Railways originate.
> Apart from more tracks on these lines, there is a need for 10 per cent
> track renewal each year and more wagons.
>
> The allocation from internally generated resources for the acquisition
> of new wagons has been slashed by 40 per cent in this year's Budget.
> The shortfall is proposed to be made up by the costlier route of
> borrowing from the market by the Indian Railway Finance Corporation, and
> such schemes as BOLT and Own Your Wagon. The BOLT scheme has already
> proved more tracks on these lines, there is a need for 10 per cent track
> renewal each year and more wagons.
>
> The allocation from internally generated resources for the acquisition
> of new wagons has been slashed by 40 per cent in this year's Budget.
> The shortfall is proposed to be made up by the costlier route of
> borrowing from the market by the Indian Railway Finance Corporation, and
> such schemes as BOLT and Own Your Wagon. The BOLT scheme has already
> proved to be a failure.
>
> Because of a shortage of funds allocation for signalling and
> telecommunication works, which have a crucial bearing on safety, have
> also been cut.
>
> The Budget estimates are also based on earning from an expected increase
> of three per cent in passenger traffic over the previous year and a
> freight loading of 430 million tonnes despite a price increase.
>
> According to Railway Board chairman CL Kaw the price of oil is likely to
> increase and therefore truckers will also have to raise their freight
> rates. As a consequence, he does not expect a shift in freight from the
> Railways to the road sector.
>
> However, whether this is actually borne out in practice is still to
> be seen as the Railways have not been meeting their freight earning
> targets in recent months and these have often to be scaled down.
>
> ------------------------------
>

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: Maharashtra Govt, IRCON to build 3 bridges

Date: 05 Mar 1997 04:49:00 -0500


PRESS TRUST OF INDIA

March 4: The Maharashtra Government and the Indian
Railway Construction Company (IRCON) will construct
three railway overbridges in the city as
part of a Rs 400-crore project under which 29 such
bridges will be constructed in various parts of
the state. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
for the Rs 102-crore first phase of the project,
would be signed between the IRCON and Maharashtra
State Road Development Corporation on March 6,
Maharashtra public works minister Nitin Gadkari
said here today.

Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi and
deputy chief minister Gopinath Munde would attend
the MOU signing ceremony, Gadkari added.

Following is the region-wise distribution of the
proposed bridges: Mumbai division (3), Aurangabad
division (6), Nasik division (6), Amravati
division (2), Pune division (5) and Nagpur
division (7).

In Mumbai region, the overbridges would be
constructed in Naigaon, Nalasopara (both in WR) and
Ulhasnagar (in CR).

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: Chennai Express derails: 2 hurt

Date: 05 Mar 1997 09:16:00 -0500


GULBARGA, March 5 (DHNS)

Two passengers of the Bombay-bound Chennai Express were injured when
three of its bogies derailed after colliding with a goods train which was
changing tracks near Bablad railway station, about 14 km from here. The
freak accident occurred at around 4:30 pm today.

According to Additional Superintendent of Police H S Revanna, rail
services to Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Bombay were affected
following the derailment.

The Bangalore-bound Udyan Express was held up near Sholapur.

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: MRTS Phase II at a crucial stage

Date: 05 Mar 1997 09:23:00 -0500


The Hindu
CHENNAI, March 4.

The process of finalising Phase II of the Mass Rapid
Transit System from Luz to Velachery has reached a
crucial stage with civic agencies taking up the question
of the exact alignment proposed.

A meeting held on Tuesday to finalise the alignment
considered some of the problems that are likely to be
encountered in the process. While the PWD wants the MRTS
managers to ensure that the ``Mylapore experience'' of
flooding does not recur, the Slum Clearance Board has
sought some changes in the alignment as the planned
structure will result in displacement of more slum
colonies.

Meanwhile, preparations are on to create alternative
accommodation for those likely to be displaced as a
result of the project. The TNSCB is awaiting the
official order from the Government sanctioning the
alienation of over 100 acres of Revenue department lands
in the name of the Board for implementing a massive Rs.
200 crore tenemental project, south of Chennai. This
project would resettle mainly the thousands of slum
families displaced by the MRTS I and the proposed second
phase.

Officials of the CMDA and MRTS are of the view that the
alignment that has been approved in principle, should
not be altered much, as it would result both in upward
revision of the cost and delay in project
implementation.

They say that with both the Railway Ministry and the
State Government announcing their share for the project
in the coming financial year, not much time can be lost
in prolonged discussion. The alignment has to be
finalised soon so that the funds allocated are used
within the fixed time-frame.

Sources in the Housing Department say that the PWD wants
the constructing agencies to ensure that no structures
are built on Buckingham Canal, as it would impede water
flow. Such construction created heavy flooding in
Mylapore last year, leading to criticism of the MRTS
Phase I alignment between Chepauk and Luz.

According to a decision taken at today's meeting,
officials of the Railways, Corporation and other
agencies related to the project would inspect the
proposed alignment areas later this week, especially
along the Buckingham Canal.

The Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board's concern was that
the proposed alignment affects about 3,500 slum families
along the Buckingham Canal. It was also pointed out that
about 1,500 families had been resettled on a land
developed under the TNUDP near Taramani, through which
the metro rail line will pass through according to the
plan. The Board sought a minor detour in the track at
this point.

But, countering the arguments, CMDA and MRTS officials
pointed out that if the track was to be placed too far
away from the Buckingham Canal, existing buildings would
have to be acquired. This could lead to increased cost
and delay of the project. But, at the same time, it
would be ensured that no big structure would come up on
the Canal. As for the TNSCB's objections, officials were
of the view that perhaps they would have to find some
alternative accommodation for the slum dwellers
displaced, again, since the alignment had more or less
been agreed upon. Even if the alignment was altered,
what was the guarantee that it would not affect another
set of people, an official asked.

Under the Rs. 200 crore TNSCB resettlement proposal for
the slum families, about 10,000 tenements would come up
at Okkiyam Thoraipakkam. While the Tenth Finance
Commission had under a special scheme sanctioned Rs. 60
crores for the project, the Board had approached HUDCO
for a loan for the balance.

With the Chief Minister Mr. M. Karunanidhi himself
taking a personal interest in the project, it has been
decided to start plans for the scheme immediately and
works are expected to begin in about three months. The
tenements are planned to be of only two floors, with
about 120 tenements per acre spread on land near the
coastline.

The TN Government's proposals to fund the crucial second
phase of the project are expected to be outlined during
the Budget session of the Assembly beginning on
Wednesday.

From: db2adm <db2adm@vnet.email

Subject: Steam engine on comeback trail in Nilgiris

Date: 07 Mar 1997 11:50:00 -0500


Indian Express

CHENNAI, March 6: Nearly 98 years ago, the first steam locomotive
had chugged along, hauling a set of vintage coaches on the rack
rail system of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR), one of the most
picturesque legacies that the British had left behind in this
country. However, recent reports that the Indian Railways had
decided to do away with the steam engines, had hurt a few souls
who took pride in describing their sojourns on the hilly track.

But now, it seems, the smoke will remain up in the air as the
Indian Railways is on the verge of finalising a deal with the
Swiss Government to purchase steam locomotives for operations in
the hilly region.

The tenders for purchase of the steam engines have been
technically cleared by the Railway Board and negotiations are set
to commence shortly with the Swiss Loco Machine Works Limited
(SLM). The Swiss government has offered a 40 per cent grant and a
60 per cent soft loan to the Indian Railways to procure the steam
locomotives for running on the NMR.

The railways proposes to purchase four metre gauge racks and
adhesion steam locomotives HG 45 for the NMR and three narrow
gauge steam locomotives for use in other regions. These steam
locomotives would have a higher hauling capacity to facilitate
drawing of more coaches. SLM has promised a delivery schedule of
two to two-and-a-half years once the Indian Railways places the
orders. The NMR has a gradient of 1 in 12.28 and is the steepest
railway line in the whole of Asia.

The decision to purchase the locomotives was taken after a study
conducted by M/S De-Consult, renowned German consultant, went into
the feasibility of maintaining the hilly railway. The Southern
Railway also had appointed a committee to study the working of the
NMR and to suggest ways and means to improve its performance.

The oil fired steam locomotives manufactured with today's
technology is infinitely environment-friendly as compared to
diesels and emit much less noxious fumes. The NMR which was opened
for traffic in 1899, has eight locomotives running on the 46 km
section between Mettupalayam and Udhagamandalam.

From: HARSH KUMAR <harsh@krcl.email

Subject: Work in English & Hindi/Marathi

Date: 16 Mar 1997 12:04:00 -0500


This page looks OK (Read in Hindi & English- mixed) if you have SHUSHA =
fonts loaded on your system. I had sent them to you but the mail came =
back as there is a limit of 100K for your messages.

Please read about this free facility and tell me if you want it and also =
tell me how to send it to you.

Regards=20
Harsh

Working in Indian Languages AaAao ihndI AaOr maraXI maoM ilaKoM.
=09
by - Harsh Kumar
Hindi & Marathi for Internet & User Interface
This paper is divided into three parts. In the first part I will mention =
how we can write Web pages in Hindi/Marathi and in the second part I =
will discuss about writing User Interface in Hindi/Marathi. In the third =
part I will discuss this system-What & Why.
Part I - Writing & Viewing Web Pages in Hindi=20
Writing web pages in Hindi & Marathi is as easy as writing them in =
English. Prepare your web pages in your favourite editor and use the =
<font> and </font> tags to specify the fonts. To write them in Hindi =
just choose FACE=3D"Shusha". The above words (AaAao ihndI AaOr maraXI =
maoM ilaKoM.) in hindi will be written for the web pages as given below.

<FONT SIZE=3D5 FACE=3D"Shusha">AaAao ihndI AaOr maraXI maoM =
ilaKoM.</FONT>
(Why we write them like this will be clear when you read part III below)

You have to install "Shusha" true type fonts before trying to read these =
pages in your favourite browser. These fonts can easily be loaded by the =
standard Windows procedure "- Control Panel - Fonts - File- Install New =
Fonts..". These fonts then also work for all the windows based =
application MS-Office, Lotus SmartSuit, E-mail etc. also.=20
Part II - User Interface
This is a system based on True Type Fonts and, therefore, it can be used =
in every development tool which allows "captions" of objects to be =
defined in different fonts. In all such tools we can write the user =
interface in Hindi/Marathi. In other words using this system you can =
write programmes & packages in Visual C++, Visual Basic, FoxPro and =
Clipper etc. which have look, feel, messages, menus etc. in Indian =
haracters is enclosed in Appendix I.
Why this system?=20
One may ask why develop another keyboard layout system when there are =
more than one already existing for Hindi alphabets. To understand this =
one has to look at the process of typing and the suggested system.=20

Typing: One has to be familiar with the keyboard to be able to type on a =
computer. It is not very difficult to remember one keyboard layout and =
most people working on computers are familiar with it. Problem comes =
when you have remember two keyboards -one to type in English and another =
to type in Hindi. Remembering two keyboards is really difficult and =
confusing for most of the users. As a result of this people often keep =
working only in English. In case they have to send letters in Rajbhasha =
then they pass on Hindi typing work to "Rajbhasha" section.=20

If we have to have user interface developed in Hindi then we have to =
have system which the programmers will find simple to remember. The =
suggested system, for most part is intuitive to people knowing English =
and Hindi as can be seen from the detailed key mappings.=20

Keyboard Layout: "Shusha" uses the English keyboard for mapping Hindi =
alphabets. Hindi characters are mapped to their corresponding English =
equivalents/near equivalents. As a result a major part of the layout is =
obvious to most people who know Hindi and are familiar with English =
keyboard. They have to remember only a few keys. With this system =
programmers and others knowing English keyboard and Hindi/Marathi =
language will be able to learn Hindi/Marathi typing in 25/30 minutes =
time only.=20

When Developed: This system was developed by Harsh Kumar around December =
1995 while working at Railway Staff College when the then Principal Mr. =
RK Bhansali insisted that all members of college must also work in =
Rajbhasha. This system (typing in Hindi) has been in use with different =
people for last 15 months or so and it is found that people who have to =
work in two languages (English & Hindi) take no time to learn this =
system. The system with little adjustment now works with Marathi also. =
The current version takes care of the problems of the earlier version.

What more?=20
This system can be extended to most of the Indian Languages. Current =
version 1.1 of Shusha works in Hindi & Marathi. I am adapting this =
system to Gurmukhi and they fonts will be ready in a few weeks time.
How to get it?=20
Please mail to harsh@krcl.email to get these fonts free. This is a =
E-Mailware. Please use & distribute "Shusha" freely. Just E-Mail your =
comments to me. On getting your mail I will send you a file - =
"Shusha.zip" containing following files:

readme.txt - Read me file - please read it,
Shusha.ttf - Shusha Fonts - Please install them,
Shusha.exe - Proof of the concept (requires file vb40032.dll),
Whatisit.doc - This article - what is it all about,
key_map.doc - Detailed Key Mappings - Appendix 1 referred to above,
hindi_web.htm - Hypertext file
index.htm - set of web pages in directory hindi_web_2.

From: Kandaswami, Auroprem* <Kandaswami#m#_Auroprem*@msgate.email

Subject: MRTS line to Luz likely by mid-April

Date: 26 Mar 1997 04:10:00 -0500


The Hindu
CHENNAI, March 25.

The Southern Railway has planned to make at least one
line operational between Chepauk and Thiru Mayilai (Luz) on the Mass
Rapid Transit System (MRTS) before April 14 to meet the deadline fixed
by the Railway Minister, Mr. Ramvilas Paswan.

Work on a single line between these stations is
complete and the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) is inspecting
the line on March 27 and March 28. If he gives the clearance, which is
mandatory for opening the line for passenger traffic, then EMU
services, now running between Beach and Chepauk, will be extended upto
Thiru Mayilai, the name by which the MRTS Mylapore terminal is to be
known. Apart from Tiru Mayilai there will be two more stations,
Thiruvallikeni and Light House (Lloyds Road).

According to Southern Railway sources the line
would be a ``Tamil New Year gift'' to the people of the city.

The sources admitted that it would be a Herculean
task to complete the entire work as announced by the Minister. But to
fulfill the commitment given by the Minister, the Southern Railway
administration decided to make at least one line operational between
Chepauk and Luz.

Line laying work and electrification of track have
been completed. Now works on basic requirements for the passengers in
all the three stations such as booking counters, platforms, toilet
facilities and lighting arrangements are going on in full swing and
they will be completed soon. The sources said there would not be any
inconvenience to the passengers when the line was opened for
traffic. To start with, there would be limited operations between
Beach and Thiru Mayilai. The second line would be completed in another
two or three months.

The sources said the administration was
encountering many problems in completing the project. Though the Tamil
Nadu Government had given the land for the Luz station, land abutting
the station, to be used for bus terminus, was still under
litigation. The station work would be complete only if bus transport
facilities were provided to the commuters. Similarly encroachment on
the approach road to Thiruvallikeni station from Marina side would
hinder free movement of the commuters. As these encroachers had
powerful backing the authorities were finding it difficult to remove
them.

Referring to the second phase of the MRTS between
Thiru Mayilai and Velachery, the sources said it would be taken up
soon. Already alignment had been finalised and it had been submitted
to the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), the nodal
agency for the second phase of the project. The alignment would be
discussed at a meeting of the CMDA in the second week of April.

Already the Railway Ministry and the State
Government have allotted Rs. 50 crores each in the current budget for
the second phase. The State Government is to meet two thirds of the
total cost worked out at about Rs. 400 crores, with the Railways
chipping in the balance.

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