The Hindustan Times – ‘Once in a lifetime opportunity’: Railways carry out major track and bridge repairs pending for years, during lock-down

The Indian railways says its backend warriors stepped up to the task of maintenance and repairs during the lockdown period.

Abhinav Sahay

New Delhi – India, 02 May 2020. ‘Once in a lifetime opportunity’: Railways carries out major track and bridge repairs pending for years during lockdown

The Indian Railways has suffered huge losses due to suspension of passenger train services across the country for the last 40 days due to the lock-down imposed by the Centre to contain the corona-virus outbreak in the country.

However, on the positive side, it has used the break as “a once in a lifetime opportunity” to carry out major maintenance work that was pending for a long time for the want of a repair-window without disrupting the rail services.

The important work undertaken by the railways during the lock-down includes major maintenance works of bridges and tracks besides yard re-modelling and the renewal of scissors crossovers, said a release from the ministry.

These upgrades, pending for several years created bottlenecks in different zones across the country, and were needed to improve safety and operational efficiencies for the Railways, it added.

“Around 500 modern heavy-duty track maintenance machines along with track, signal & overhead equipment (OHE) maintainers have worked regularly for 10,749 machine days to complete overdue track maintenance of 12,270 km plain track and 5263 numbers of turn outs,” the official communication says.

Railways also managed to carry out an ultrasonic flaw detection (USFD) of 30,182 km of track along with 1,34,443 rail welds using USFD machines.

The Railways has been instrumental in maintaining the supply chains all essential commodities running through parcel trains and freight trains along with contributing in a big way to scale up the medical infrastructure needed to combat the spread of coronavirus infection.

“Indian Railways planned these works during lockdown period considering it ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ to wipeout these maintenance arrears and take up the execution of work without affecting the train service,” said the ministry.

The maintenance of assets was taken up regularly to continue the supply chain of essential goods to the public.

“Health of the track has been monitored through periodic runs of oscillation monitoring system (OMS) cumulating 1,92,488 km of track at 5,362 peak locations indicated by OMS test has been attended to ensure proper quality,” the railways added

The work is being carried out ensuring social distancing norms.

Here is a list of pending major track repair work carried out by the national transporter during the lockdown period.

  1. Renewal of wooden layout Scissors crossover with standard Pre-stress Concrete (PSC) layout in KAZIPET yard (South Central Railway).
  2. Renewal of Scissors Crossover at Vijayawada Yard with PSC Layout (South Central Railway)
  3. Repair of Cement Concrete (CC) apron on Line no 1 and 2 at Baroda station (Western Railway).
  4. Remodelling work in Bangalore City yard (South Western Railway)

Important bridge works carried out during the lock-down period:

  1. Re-girdering of Bridge No. 86 on Tunga River near Shivamogga Town (South Western Railway)
  2. Dismantling of Road Over Bridge (ROB) near Chennai Station (Southern Railway)
  3. Insertion of twin box segments of size 4.65×5.15m for subway in lieu of manned level crossing no. 493 (East Coast Railway)
  4. Construction of bridge in Rajahmundry-Vishakhapatnam section to cater opening of 4 x 5.5 m (South Central Railway)
  5. Insertion of Box at Bridge No. 525 (South Central Railway)
  6. Launching of 6 Foot Over Bridges (FOBs) under Bhusawal division (Central Railway)
  7. Dismantling of old abandoned twin FOBs at Ludhiana railway station (Northern Railway)
  8. Launching of Service girder for Canal work (East Central Railway)
  9. Dismantling of Talla ROB (Eastern Railway) – Shift Hazoor Sahib pilgrims from Radha Soami cult to Gurdwaras

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 02 May 2020. The SGPC appointed officiating Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh has slammed the Punjab government for quarantining the pilgrims returned from Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib at local branches of the Radha Soami cult.

Giani Harpreet Singh has said that quarantining pilgrims at a place adverse to their religious belief is worth hurting their religious sentiments.

“I have received complaints in this regard from all over Punjab so I ask Punjab government to immediately shift these pilgrims to the rest houses of Gurdwaras and buildings of SGPC run schools and colleges,” he said.

Shift Hazoor Sahib pilgrims from Radha Soami cult to Gurdwaras

Gentbrugse Meersen

Gentbrugse Meersen
21 March 2020

Blossoming shrub

The water-levels have gone down somewhat

No man-made park ponds

The gale-force winds had a devastating effect on trees in marshy areas

The dead trees will fertilise the land

View of the Jan van Aelbroeckdreef

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Indian Express – Seven Nanded pilgrims test positive at Punjab dera being used as quarantine centre where 52 were housed.

Amritsar district administration had quarantined 52 pilgrims at the Satsang Bhawan of Dera Beas at Attari.

Kamaldeep Singh Brar

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 02 May 2020. Panic gripped he local administration as three pilgrims who had returned from Nanded’s Hazoor Sahib tested positive at a quarantine centre in Attari, Amritsar, Thursday afternoon.

The district administration had quarantined 52 pilgrims at the Satsang Bhawan of Dera Beas at Attari. After three samples tested positive, the volunteers at the dera were called away, leaving the pilgrims to fend for themselves, thereby inevitably coming in contact with each other.

Though the SGPC had objected to the quarantining of pilgrims at deras, a district administration official said that deras were used for quarantine because they are located away from populated areas. The pilgrims were accommodated in a large shed which is otherwise used for religious congregation by followers of Dera Beas.

Dawn – Casualties in militant attacks show increase in April

Amin Ahmed

Islamabad Capital Region – Pakistan, 02 May 2020. A slight upward tick has been observed in casualties in militant attacks in Pakistan during April though the number of such assaults remained the same as compared to March.

Militants appear to be trying to get back some territory in North Waziristan tribal district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where most of these violent activities were recorded in April. The alarming situation in North Waziristan can be gauged from the fact that 90% of casualties in violent incidents during the month of April took place in this district.

A slight increase is also observed in activities of Pakistani security forces against militants. An Islamabad-based think tank, Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), has released statistics for March, which show the number of casualties in militant activities increased by 6% but injuries decreased by 75%, compared with March, across Pakistan.

PICSS recorded a total of nine militant attacks during April in which 18 people died, 10 security personnel and eight militants — while six security forces personnel got injured. Tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (erstwhile Fata) witnessed the highest number of violent militant activities, where six out of total nine attacks took place.

Eight security personnel lost their lives in the tribal districts of KP, while eight militants were also killed. Four security personnel were also injured in erstwhile Fata. Apart from eight militants killed during retaliatory actions by security forces, 21 more militants were also killed in the tribal districts of KP in actions initiated by security forces, PICSS statistics show.

Two militant attacks were reported in Balochistan and one in Sindh, all of them of minor nature with two casualties in Balochistan.

No militant activity was recorded in Punjab, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and other parts of Pakistan, but an incident of kidnapping took place in the provincial capital of Sindh, where a 39-year-old Chinese national was abducted.

Meanwhile, Pakistani security forces carried out a total of 16 actions against militants in areas of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, erstwhile Fata, and Sindh. Pakistani forces arrested 12 suspects involved in different terror and anti-state activities, including eight from Sindh and four from KP. Four members of Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent were also arrested in Karachi.

An assistant sub-inspector of police was arrested for his alleged ties with Indian intelligence agency RAW (Research and Analysis Wing). During an information-based raid on Karachi University, security forces recovered weapons, ammunition, computers, anti-state literature, maps, and checkboxes.