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Private trains’ fares to be competitive with airlines: Chairman

Yadav said the train sets would have to be brought by private operators and maintained by them.

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Tejas Express Indian Railways

New Delhi, July 2 : A day after inviting the request for qualifications from private entities for running 151 trains on 109 pairs of routes, Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav on Thursday said the private train operations would begin by April 2023 and the fares in these trains would be competitive with air fares on similar routes.

Addressing a virtual press conference, Yadav said private players in passenger train operations would mean a quantum jump in introduction of modern technology and high-speed coaches.

The improvement in technology would also mean the coaches that required maintenance after 4,000 km, would need maintenance after every 40,000 km, that’s either once or twice a month, he added.

Yadav said the train sets would have to be brought by private operators and maintained by them.

“Private train operations are likely to begin by April 2023. All coaches will be procured under the ‘Make in India’ policy. Fares in private trains will be competitive and rates on other modes of transport, like airlines and buses, will have to be kept in mind,” he said.

Yadav said the private operators would pay fixed haulage charges for path, stations, access to railway infrastructure and charges for electricity consumed to the Indian Railways for 35 years. It will also share revenue with the Indian Railways through competitive bidding.

The private entity would have to ensure 95 per cent punctuality and not more than one failure per lakh kilometre of travel. “If any performance indicators are not met by private players, they will be penalised,” Yadav said.

He also said there would be a power metre in every locomotive and private operators would pay for the actual amount of energy consumed.

“Through this the common man will get better trains, better technology and at low cost. The Indian Railways will continue to run 95 per cent of the trains,” he said.

The Chairman said of the 2,800 mail express train operated by the railways, only 151 trains, just 5 per cent, was being given to the private players.

India

Barricades to open on Jan 26 as police allow Tractor Rally

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The Delhi Police on Sunday said that after several round of talks with the farmers groups, it has permitted the tractor rally inside Delhi on January 26.

Police has said that the barricades would be lifted at Singhu, Tikri and Gazipur borders on January 26 after the Republic Day parade is over and the farmers would be allowed to enter upto 100 kilometers within Delhi with their tractors in a circular path on the routes discussed with the farmers.

The route specified is from Singhu Border to Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar, Kanjhawala, Bawana to Auchadi. From Tikri border, it will be to Nangloi, Najafgarh, Jharoda, Dhansa, Badli and the KMP and from Gazipur border to Apsara border to Hapur Road.

“We have told the farmers that the rally would start once the Republic Day parade is over. We expect with the cooperation of the farmers the rally would be peaceful,” Special Commissioner of Police, Intelligence, Deependra Pathak, said.

However, the police said that they are on alert after intelligence inputs that various Twitter handles operating from across the border are active to disrupt the rally on January 26.

“According to our intelligence input, 308 Twitter handles have been generated from Pakistan to disrupt the rally to create disturbance. We are also concerned about the security of the rally given the threat perception,” he added.

Meanwhile, several batches of farmers from Punjab and Haryana set out on their tractor-trolleys and other vehicles to take part in the proposed tractor rally on January 26 in the national capital. Tractor-trolleys have now become a common sight at the Singhu border as the farmers have started bringing in the tractors to the protest site from villages in Punjab for the proposed rally.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and other states have been protesting at multiple border points of Delhi at Singhu, Tikri and Gazipur borders since November-end. They are demanding a repeal of the three central farm laws passed by Parliament in September last year.

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India

Soldier injured in Pak ceasefire violation succumbs

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An Army soldier injured in a ceasefire violation by Pakistan on the Line of Control in J&K’s Rajouri district, succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.

An Indian Army statement said, “Pakistan Army had resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation on the LoC in Sunderbani sector of J&K on January 18 which was responded to strongly by our own troops.”

“In the incident, Naik Nishant Sharma of 10 JAK RIF was critically injured and was under treatment at the command hospital.

“Today the soldier succumbed to injuries. Naik Nishant Sharma was a brave, highly motivated and sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for his supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty.”

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CBI arrests labour official in TN in bribery case

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 The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Sunday that it had arrested a Regional Labour Commissioner on the charge of demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000.

P Sivarajan, posted as Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) in Madurai, was held along with a private person N Murali after the CBI laid a trap on Saturday and caught them with the bribe amount.

A case was registered after a complaint that Sivarajan was demanding undue advantage from Murali, representing a private company, for issuing labour licence.

Searches were conducted at five places in Chennai and Madurai (Tamil Nadu), including the residence and offices of the accused, said the CBI.

Both the accused were produced in the court of Principal Special Judge for CBI cases, Chennai, and remanded to judicial custody till February 4.

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