Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hello CM, Wanted: War Memorial in Mumbai!

Inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat Message dedicating this Diwali to soldiers defending the country’s borders amid tremendous odds, a national body of communication professionals has launched a campaign for a War Memorial in Mumbai.
“The financial capital, which also houses the Western Naval Command, is out to have a permanent War Memorial. Several people from Maharashtra have also sacrificed and continue to do so for the nation,” said B N Kumar, national president of Public relations Council of India (PRCI), and a trained war correspondent.
“This is part of our series of social communication endeavours and we are keen to communicate to all concerned to work on a War Memorial in Mumbai,” said PRCI chairman emeritus and chief mentor M B Jayaram.
“Recently, we have seen a war memorial in Dharamshala which is a huge tourist draw and serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by our soldiers. It was heartening to see many tourists saluting the soldiers and taking selfies and posting them on the social media,” Kumar said.
PRCI will tweet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and others and seek people's support for the memorial.
PRCI said part of one of the mills lands could be used for the war memorial. Or between the State government and CIDCO, they could look at a suitable place in Navi Mumbai.
The War memorial can house war planes, battle tanks, and artillery guns, apart from plaques highlighting some sacrifices and achievements.

This can also inspire the youth to join the armed forces which offer adventurous life and are one of the large employers with pretty decent salaries and perks and even post-retirement benefits.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New ‘local’ Rly station near Panvel soon ?

  • ·         Suresh Prabhu responds to Sena MLA Barne’s demand for Bhingarwadi station

MUMBAI: Hopes of a new suburban railway station near Panvel on the trans-harbour line of the Central Railway have soared with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu positively responding to Shiva Sena MP Shrirang Appa Barne’s demand for it.
Mr Barne, MP from Maval Lok Sabha constituency, has been representing to Mr Suresh Prabhu a new suburban station at Bhingarwadi on Panvel-Karjat line to serve the commuting needs of eleven villages which have been unserved by rail service so far.
Barne says people from the eleven villages under his constituency – Khanavali, Poyanje, Bhingarwadi, Bhingar, Shedung, Vardoli, Bherle, Belavali and Machiprabal – have been facing innumerable difficulties in the absence of a railway station close to them.
In his latest letter to the Minister, Barne pointed out that Panvel-Karjat section has just three stations – Vchikale, Mohope and Chawk. Moreover, Mohope is a crossover and never operational as a station since the station is inaccessible by road.
He, therefore, suggested station at Bhingarwadi which is reachable by a 60 mtr wide road that passes under the rail line, connecting the national highway. It is also accessible by the surrounding 11 villages.
Mr Prabhu as initially responded to Barne stating that the proposal was being examined and subsequently he informed that the Chief Commercial Manager of Central Railway has been asked to study it and report urgently.
Mr Barne said with the connectivity from Bhingarwadi the people of his constituency coukld become part of the rapid urbanization that has been talking place in this area. The national common goal of affordable housing could be effectively met with peripheral developments like suburban rail connectivity, he pointed out.
Meanwhile, a Central Railway committee report has said the traffic on the Central Railway has been rising at 4% a year where as it is falling by 1% annually due to the real estate boom in Central suburbs. The pressure on CST-Panvel section is more than that of CST-Kalyan line.
The committee of Railway officers, civic administrators and public representatives which has gone into rising trend of deaths on tracks has highlighted the need for acquisition of 150 new trains, increasing the frequency of trains, stabling lines (parking places for trains) at Panvel, Thane and Kalyan. It particularly stressed on the need for induction of ten new rakes in trans-harbor section since no addition has been made during the last ten years.
The report pointed out Navi Mumbai and its surrounding areas have since emerged as the new realty destination, thanks to the infrastructure boom in the area.
The committee has been appointed at the instance of Mr Prabhu himself who was moved by a video clip showing the falling of a youth from a speeding train that went viral. The panel admitted that ten people die daily on an average on the Central Railway’s suburban section and another ten get seriously injured.
The committee suggested a Rs 21,000 crore makeover plan for the Central Railway whose new General Manager Mr Akhil Agrawal said the report is being studied. He said the Central Railway is looking for constructing stabling lines in areas like Thane, Kalyan and Panvel since space is a major constraint in Mumbai city.
The report - which has been signed by MPs Rajan Vichare, Poonam Mahajan and Arvind Sawant, apart from S K Sood, (then General Manager of Central Railway), Ketan Goradia (Commuters Association), L R Nagwani (NGO), Ajoy Mehta (BMC Commissioner) and E Ravindran (Kalyan Dombivili Municipal Commissioner) - is now placed on the CR website.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Deaths on CR Tracks: Can Be Explosive by 2030!

  • Ten people die daily & ten get seriously injured
  • Central Railway Panel suggests Rs 20,000 cr makeover Plan
  • Focuses on Parking for Locals at Panvel, Thane, Kalyan
  • Underground loop at CST, off Pdemelo Road

MUMBAI: Twentyone year old Bhavesh Nakhate wouldn’t have risked his life to catch a crowded train and precariously hang on to the coach’s handles had he known that there was another train in just two minutes.
But unfortunately, there was no train in two minutes and Bhavesh had to take that particular ‘local’ at Dombivali on his way to CST. Many people were hanging on to the train and there was someone who was shooting the journey on his mobile from inside. Suddenly, you see Bhavesh slipping away between Kopar and Diva. Thud. He falls and he was dead. The video clip went viral creating a sensation in social media.
Moved  by this, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered both Central and Western Railways to study the accidental deaths and come out reports to improve the situation.
The Central Railway came out with a report which, when  implemented, could convert the suburban into Metro like services with two-minute headway.
The situation with the existing stock can be “explosive” by 2030 as the number of casualties will multiply manifold due to open doors on the trains, the committee cautions and stresses that CR trains need air-conditioning and door closures much before the Western Railway
The committee which had four MPs - Kirit Somaiya, Rajan Vichare, Poonam Mahajan and Arvind Sawant – apart from S K Sood, (then General Manager of Central Railway), Ketan Goradia (Commuters Association), L R Nagwani (NGO), Ajoy Mehta (BMC Commissioner) and E Ravindran (Kalyan Dombivili Municipal Commissioner).
The committee members deliberated and finally signed a big report which is now placed on CR website.
The “Report on Review of Rising Trend of Accidental Deaths in Mumbai Suburban System” comes out with a Rs 20,000 crore makeover plan for CR including.
Some pointers from the report are:
·         Purchase of 150 new trains
·         Door closures and A/C trains
·         Additional platforms and stabling lines (parking for trains) at CST, Thane, Kalyan and Panvel
·         Disaster management plan
·         ROBs, fencing of tracks and so on
·         Committee discusses at length on the lack of parking places for trains which creates congestion (drag) on the system and leads to delays in train running.
·         Committee suggests ways to increase frequency of trains at two minute intervals by providing for loops, stabling lines etc.,
·         Underground loop at CSR and stabling lines at Thane, Kalyan and Panvel discussed.
·         Thane, KDMC and BMC commissioners were also on the committee and signed the report.
·         The situation with the existing stock can be “explosive” by 2030 as the number of casualties will multiply manifold due to open doors on the trains, the committee cautions and stresses that CR trains need air-conditioning and door closures much before the Western Railway
·         To be fair to CR, the committee recognises the fact that CR works at 400+% capacity on normal days and at times even exceeds 800+% capacity and calls for additional exclusive platforms to handle suburban trains, new trains to bridge the gap, and stabilizing lines to help double the services.
·         The panel envisages that half of the projected investment is to go for acquiring new rakes, while the stabling lines or parking places for trains to reduce piling up of rakes – akin to bumper-to-bumper road traffic - will be developed on self-financing basis.
·         Discussing the pressure on the existing system, the committee notes that at CST as many as 584 trains terminate and turn back in 20 hours. Similarly, 395 trains terminate at Thane, 256 at Panvel, 194 at Kalyan, 181 at Vashi, 72 at Karjat, 34 at Kasara and 30 at Khopoli.
·         This leads to a drag on the rail network and leads to piling up of trains approaching these stations – CST, Kalyan, Panvel in particular – which in turn causes delays.
·         To reduce this congestion and to improve efficiency of the network, the committee discusses at length proposals to construct auxiliary platforms and lay stabling/loop lines. The stabling lines and loops – proposed at CST, Kasara, Thane, Kalyan, Vashi and Panvel - will free the platforms and allow smooth flow of traffic since the rakes do not have to turn back as is the case now at most terminal stations.
·         CR has stabling lines for about 120 trains, and the facility is being increased to accommodate another 29 trains. However, stabling lines for another 150 rakes needs immediate attention, the committee says.
·         With the fate of CST-Panvel elevated corridor unclear and considering the rapid growth on the section, the committee says the only way to is CBCT or Communication-Based Train Control which can reduce the headway from four minutes limit of existing signaling system to two minutes.
·         Communications-based train control (CBTC) is a railway signaling system that makes use of the telecommunications between the train and track equipment for the traffic management and infrastructure control.
·         The Committee notes that the introduction of CBTC, at a cost of Rs 800 crores, can lead to requisition of 35 rakes and as many stabling lines in Panvel-Roha and Panvel-Karjat sections. This should be done immediately under MTP by the Railways and the Government of India.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently promised to take up the CBTC issue with the Railways.
CR GM Akhil Agrawal also promised to study the report and he also indicated that the Railway is looking beyond Mumbai City for parking places in places like Thane, Kalyan and Panvel.
With Suresh Prabhu himself taking keen interest in the suburban services, one hopes to see some action on this important report.
Prabhu was in Mumbai recently appreciating the beautification of 36 railway stations under Hamara Station, Hamari Shaan campaign.
Hope he will also focus on Beauty With Safety and Punctuality.