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Train 18 likely to be launched on Dec 25 between New Delhi-Varanasi, with increased fare

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Train 18

Onboard Train-18 (Kota), Dec 3 (IANS) With the Train 18 speeding up to 180 kmph between Kota Junction and Kurlasi station during a trial on Sunday, efforts are on to launch the first indigenously-built Trainset on December 25 from New Delhi to Varanasi.

“Christmas Day also happens to be the birthday of late Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and it would be a tribute to the great statesman of the country if we manage to launch the next-generation train on that day,” a senior Railways official told IANS.

Since the input cost of the Rs 100-crore train is high, the fare structure will be also be higher than the normal fare.

However, the official added that the decision on its launch date and fare are yet to be taken as the trial is not yet complete.

According to the tentative plan, the train will start from New Delhi station at 6 a.m., and is expected to reach Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency, at 2 p.m.

For the return journey, the train will start at 2.30 p.m., from Varanasi and reach the national capital at 10.30 p.m.

It was a thrilling experience onboard Train 18 during the various trials on Sunday — including a speed run on a straight track, speed test on one degree curve at 150 kmph, and two degree curve at 140 and 150 kmph — on 113 km stretch from Kota to Kurlasi under the watchful eyes senior Railways officials as well as those from the national transporter’s Research Design and Standards Organisation.

Ladoos were distributed in the train when it clocked 180 kmph. The first sweets were offered to loco pilot Padam Singh Gurjar and his assistant Onkar Yadav.

“We are quite excited to be part of this great occasion,” Padam Singh told IANS after having the sweet.

“I feel proud to be part of this historic trial,” added Yadav.

It was a smooth ride for those inside — occupying rotating seats to match the direction of the train – as the Train 18 became the first train to touch such high speeds on the Indian rail network.

The train started its trial run at 9.30 a.m., from Kota and returned to the junction at 6 p.m., after negotiating several rivers, bridges and curves.

The Trainset does not require a locomotive as it is a self-propelled on electric traction, like metro trains.

Now the Trainset has to undergo what is called a long confirmatory run and also test its emergency braking distance before it gets a clearance from the Commissioner, Railway Safety (CRS) for commercial operations to commence.

“We are expecting the trials to be over in a week and after that we will seek CRS clearance,” said the official.

Although the speed touched 180 kmph during Sunday’s trial run, the Train-18 will only be allowed to run at a maximum speed of 160 kmph in its commercial operations.

After the successful completion of 115 kmph test run on the Bareli-Moradabad section last week, the next-generation train — indigenously developed at Chennai’s Integral Coach Factory — is required to undergo the 180 kmph trial run here till December 4.

Equipped with world class facilities, the Rs 100 crore Trainset aims to take passenger-comfort to a new level with onboard WiFi, a GPS-based information system, touch-free bio-vacuum toilets, LED lighting, mobile charging points, and a climate control system that adjusts the temperature according to occupancy and weather.

The 16-coach train will have two executive compartments with 52 seats each, and trailer coaches will have 78 seats each.

(Arun Kumar Das can be contacted at [email protected])

Entertainment

Politicians and Bollywood Celebs attend Isha Ambani, Anand Piramal’s Wedding

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Isha Ambani wedding

Mumbai, Dec 13: After the extravagant pre-wedding bash in Udaipur, “Isha Ambani” – daughter of India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani and Nita Ambani tied the knot with Anand Piramal at the Ambani residence Antilia in Mumbai on December 12.

The venue was lavishly decorated as Isha’s brothers Anant and Akash, father Mukesh and uncle Anil welcomed the baaraat.

Shloka Mehta, fiance of Akash Ambani, and Anant Ambani’s girlfriend Radhika Merchant were also part of the welcoming party.

Top Indian and international personalities, film and sports icons, business tycoons, political heavyweights, celebrities and a host of others attended the “royal wedding” for the scions of two top business conglomerates – Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal -on Wednesday.

Former President Pranab Mukherjee was warmly received by business magnate Anil Ambani, the bride’s uncle, while other top celebs like former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Praful Patel also made their presence felt.

P Chidambaram also arrived at the Ambani residence for the wedding.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Andhra Pradesh CM N. Chandrababu Naidu were also seen at Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal’s wedding.

Prominent invitees included Bollywood actors like Rajinikanth, Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Kiran, Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri, Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra and her husband Nick Jonas, Shahid Kapoor with wife Mira Rajput, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty , Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Sonam Kapoor with father Anil Kapoor and many more.

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Besides, Sachin Tendulkar and other sports personalities, top business honchos included K.V. Kamath, Sanjiv Goenka, Deepak Parekh, Sashi and Anshuman Ruia, Adi Godej, Rahul Bajaj and Harsh Mariwala were also seen at the wedding.

The grand wedding festivities had started several days earlier in Udaipur, Rajasthan which witnessed a performance by Grammy award-winning singer Beyonce Knowles, a four-day special ‘Anna Seva’ and an expo on traditional Indian handicrafts, besides other events for the guests that included many of the biggest names from politics, business and Bollywood.

Isha Ambani, Anand Piramal Wedding

Anna Seva

Isha-ambani sangeet ceremony

Isha Ambani Sangeet Ceremony

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India

Railways start work under MGNREGA scheme

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Indian Railways

Agartala, Dec 13 : The Railways, for the first time, have started utilising the government’s rural job flagship scheme – MGNREGA – to undertake railway work, a senior official said on Thursday.

“The Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) has started works of widening railway embankment in Kishanganj area of Katihar division in Bihar and Uttar Dinajpur district of West Bengal under the MGNREGA,” NFR’s Chief Public Relations Officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma told IANS.

He said that if the state governments of the northeastern states and concerned District Magistrates agree, similar works can be undertaken in the region where NFR has railway lines.

The NFR serves seven districts in West Bengal and five districts in north Bihar, besides the northeastern states, excluding Sikkim.

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) mandates 100 days of employment in a financial year to at least one member of each rural household in the state.

Sharma said that in Kishanganj, the proposal of railway line embankment repair was sanctioned for 5.7 km of track at an approximate cost of Rs 13.4 lakh.

“Around 30 labourers are turning up on a regular basis and all are being provided with job card against MGNREGA. Similarly, the District Magistrate of Uttar Dinajpur had also sanctioned supplementary estimate of embankment repair for 8.3 km of railway track at an approximate cost of Rs 21.5 lakh under the rural job scheme,” he said.

He said that the joint initiative of NFR and the Bihar and West Bengal governments will be helpful in providing rural jobs and also the repair and maintenance of railway assets without any additional cost to the Railways.

The works proposed under the MGNREGA include construction and maintenance of approach roads for level crossings, developing and cleaning silted waterways, trenches and drains along the tracks, construction and maintenance of approach roads to railway stations, repairs to earthwork to the existing railway embankments, cuttings, clearing vegetation growth and plantations at extreme boundary of railway land.

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India

Jammu and Kashmir: India, Pakistan trade fire on LoC

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Jammu, Dec 13: Indian and Pakistani soldiers traded fire on the Line of Control (LoC) on Thursday in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district, Defence Ministry sources said.

The Pakistan Army resorted to unprovoked firing at Indian positions in Kerni sector, an official said.

“Our troops retaliated effectively and strongly. Firing exchanges continued for over 20 minutes. No casualty or damage has been reported on our side,” the official said.

IANS

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