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Railway Board failed to assess electric locos’ requirement: CAG

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Piyush Goyal

New Delhi, Sep 23 : The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Wednesday said that despite the target of achieving 100 per cent electrification by 2022, the Railway Board failed to assess the requirement of electric locos properly, resulting in a 20 percent increase in diesel locos during 2012-2018, which adversely affected quality of maintenance.

The findings were mentioned in a CAG report tabled in the Parliament on Wednesday.

In its performance audit on “Assessment and Utilisation of Locomotives and Production and Maintenance of LHB Coaches in Indian Railways”, the government auditor said that the increase in the requirement of electric locos and the simultaneous reduction in utilisation of diesel locos was not adequately considered while assessing loco requirements.

“In the Mission Electrification and De-carbonization, the Minister of Railways issued directives (September 2017) for 100 per cent electrification in Indian Railways by 2022. The Railway Board, while assessing the loco requirements for the period 2012-19, did not properly review the increasing rate of electrification in the Railways. Increase in the requirement of electric locos and the simultaneous reduction in utilisation of diesel locos was not adequately considered while assessing loco requirements,” it said.

The CAG highlighted that the main criteria adopted by Railway Board for the assessment of requirement of locos were based on “previous year’s actual production”.

“Requirement of locos was not decided on the basis of actual need and there was no structured methodology for assessing the requirement of locos based on specifically laid down parameters. This led to more number of diesel locos in the system than required. In fact, the diesel loco holdings in Indian Railways increased by 20 per cent (947) during 2012-18,” it said.

Pulling up the national transporter, the CAG said that the Railways was holding and maintaining locos much more than the homing capacity available and this excess holding adversely impacted the quality of loco maintenance.

“Lack of quality control, use of inferior material, poor supervision and inadequate internal control occurred during scheduled maintenance of locos in loco sheds. Audit noticed unscheduled repairs of 17,530 diesel and 22,078 electric locos during 2012-17.

“On account of defective material in manufacturing etc, 46 per cent new locos failed within 100 days of their commissioning. Audit also noticed that almost half of diesel and electric locos failed after their scheduled maintenance by loco sheds,” it said.

The performance audit on production and maintenance of LHB coaches pointed out that data of accidents and fatalities showed that there is an urgent need to switch over to LHB rakes to ensure safety of the railway passengers, especially in trains with higher speeds.

“During 2013-14 to 2017-18, only 30 per cent of the total 19,327 coaches produced were of LHB type. Modern Coach Factory, Rae Bareli (MCF) was set up only for production of LHB coaches. However, against a combined installed capacity of 5,000 LHB coaches for 2013-18, only 1,842 LHB coaches (shortfall of 63 per cent) were actually produced,” it said.

“During 2015-16 to 2017-18, only 108 ICF conventional rakes out of 195 planned (55 per cent) could be converted into LHB rakes. Meanwhile, out of 49,033 ICF design coaches, 609 coaches have already attained their codal life of 25 years as on 31 March 2018. This has implication on passenger safety. About 13 per cent (6,259 coaches) were between the age of 20 and 25 years and would need to be replaced in the next five years,” it said.

The CAG also said that the Indian Railways need to replace at least 6,868 coaches (14 per cent) over a period of next five years. “However, the present production programme was not able to meet the requirement of coach production,” it said.

It also highlighted that the Indian Railways did not have adequate facilities in their workshops for Periodical Overhauling (POH)/Intermediate Overhauling (IOH) of LHB coaches.

Cities

700 Doctors At Delhi Civic-Body Hospitals Go On Indefinite Strike Over Pending Salaries

Resident doctors of Hindu Rao Hospital are on a relay hunger strike for the last couple of days, demanding release of their pending salaries too.

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Doctors Protest for Salary

New Delhi: Patients of North Corporation-run hospitals faced hardship as the senior doctors there went on an indefinite strike on Tuesday, a day after they had gone on casual leave en masse over their pending salaries.

Maruti Sinha, general secretary of the Municipal Corporation Doctors’ Association (MCDA) said, “Our demands, which include release of pending salaries for the last three months, have not been met, so we are now on an indefinite strike”.

MCDA, an association of senior permanent doctors of the civic hospitals, was established in 1974, and has about 1200 members. It also includes doctors from hospitals run by other two municipal corporations.

“We have about 700 doctors from the North Corporation hospital who are part of MCDA. We all went on mass casual leave in protest. And, even though our conscience doesn’t allow, our doctors did not attend to patients even in emergency wards,” Sinha said on Monday.

Patients at Hindu Rao Hospital and other North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run hospitals faced inconvenience as doctors struck work to press for their demands. Authorities may have taken services of contractual doctors, she said.

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Services were also hit on Monday when the senior doctors went on a mass casual leave and did not even attend to patients in the emergency department.

Resident doctors of Hindu Rao Hospital are on a relay hunger strike for the last couple of days, demanding release of their pending salaries too.

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India

Mr PM stop robbing public, be self reliant, says Rahul Gandhi

Mr Prime Minister, Quit robbing the public, Stop giving money to your friends, Be Self-Reliant, tweeted Rahul Gandhi

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Rahul Gandhi Farmers

Mr Prime Minister,
Quit robbing the public,
Stop giving money to your friends,
Be Self-Reliant, tweeted Rahul Gandhi.

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India

India, US need to jointly confront China’s threats to security: Pompeo in New Delhi

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday in the national capital said that India and the US need to jointly confront China’s threats to security in the Indian subcontinent and the Indo-Pacific

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mike pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday in the national capital said that India and the US need to jointly confront China’s threats to security in the Indian subcontinent and the Indo-Pacific.

Speaking at the third India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue in New Delhi, amidst the ongoing face-off between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, Pompeo discussed several issues from “cooperating on defeating the pandemic that originated in Wuhan, to confronting the Chinese Communist Party’s threats to security and freedom, to promoting peace and stability throughout the region”.

As per an official statement of the US government, Indian Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar at the meeting raised the issue of security threat India is facing from China. “In the area of defence we are challenged by reckless aggression on our northern borders,” he said at the bilateral dialogue.

The meeting assumes significance because the US secretaries of the Trump administration travelled to New Delhi amidst Coronavirus pandemic even as an intense ongoing campaigning for the Presidential elections due on November 3 was underway in the US.

“Our friendship and commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific was clearly, clearly highly on display when we were in Tokyo this past week and a half for the Quad meeting that Minister Jaishankar and I had with our Australian and Japanese friends earlier this month,” Pompeo told his counterpart.

The US secretary of state said, “Today is real opportunity for two great democracies like ours to grow closer, as I said on my trip to India last year when I called for a new age of ambition in our relationship. I think we’ve delivered on that over this past year. There is much more work to do for sure.”

Together, India and the US are building a better future for “our people based on our shared set of values and our cultures, our defence ties, our scientific collaboration, and mutual prosperity. I thank you for your leadership to each of you to build what ought to be a defining partnership of democracies in the 21st century,” he added.

Jaishankar, at the 2+2 Dialogue said that as the global economy has taken a massive hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian government has to quickly make up for the losses as economic downturn will have both domestic and external consequences.

According to the US Department of State statement, Secretary of Defence Mark T. Esper, at the meeting with his counterpart Defence Minister Rajnath Singh pointed out that Tuesday marked the 15th anniversary of the first US-India Defence framework.

“We have strengthened our defence and security partnership considerably since then, especially over the past year, during which we advanced our regional security, military-to-military, and information-sharing cooperation. Our focus now must be on institutionalizing and regularizing our cooperation to meet the challenges of the day and uphold the principles of a free and open Indo-Pacific well into the future,” he said.

The two sides discussed key opportunities to expand their efforts on “regional security concerns” and to advance their “defence priorities”, to include increasing information sharing and mutual logistics operations between their militaries.

Jaishankar in his remarks said that at a time when it is particularly important to uphold a rules-based international order, the ability of India and the US to work closely in defence and foreign policy has a larger resonance. “Together we can make a real difference when it comes to regional and global challenges, whether it is in respecting territorial integrity, promoting maritime domain awareness, counterterrorism, or creating prosperity,” he added.

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