Daily Archive: October 13, 2017

Railways to launch faster, cheaper Rajdhani between Delhi-Mumbai ahead of Diwali

A new, cheaper and faster Rajdhani is the Railways’ Diwali gift to commuters on the Delhi-Mumbai route.

The special train, to be introduced to the sector on October 16 from Hazrat Nizamuddin station in Delhi to the Bandra Terminus in Mumbai, will not only decrease travel time by two hours, but will cost passengers Rs 600-800 less than the two other Rajdhanis already on the route.

“The special Rajdhani will initially run for three months – from October 16 to January 16 – for three days a week. The idea was to reduce the travel time by two hours with the current infrastructure and rolling stock. The trials have been successful,” said Md Jamshed, Member, Traffic, Railway Board.

Presently, the route is served by the August Kranti Rajdhani and the Mumbai Central-New Delhi Rajdhani.

While the August Kranti Rajdhani takes around 17 hours to traverse the distance between the national capital, the Mumbai Central-Delhi Rajdhani covers it in just under 16 hours.

Neither halts at Bandra.

The new train will take just under 14 hours to run between the two cities and will have three stops — Kota, Vadodara and Surat.

Jamshed said the train will be beneficial for travellers as it will reach the respective destinations at around 6:00 am, giving them more time to spend in the city as well as helping them avoid suburban peak hour traffic.

The train will chug-off from Delhi on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and from Bandra on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

“Flexi fare shall not be levied on bookings on this train. The fare of the train, however, will be 20 per cent more than the base fare of the existing Rajdhanis on the route. The concession is between Rs 600-Rs 835,” said Jamshed.

As compared to the maximum flexi fare for the Mumbai- Delhi Rajdhani for second AC of Rs 4,105, this train will cost Rs 3270. Similarly, as compared to the third AC flexi fare of Rs 2925, this train will cost Rs 2,325.

The catering services will be optional resulting in further reduction in prices if the passenger chooses to opt out.

The special train will comprise one first AC, two 2AC and twelve 3AC coaches besides a pantry car and two power cars.

The train will be hauled by two electric locomotives for better acceleration, deceleration and higher speed. It will run at a maximum speed of 130 kmph.

The Delhi-Mumbai line is important for the railways as the route, once frequented mostly by business travellers, has been losing passengers to airlines.

The route is also one of the two to be developed into special corridors with semi-high-speed services.

Kashmir receive first snowfall of season

SRINAGAR: The upper reaches in the Kashmir valley received first light snowfall of the season resulting in chill in the plains, including summer capital, Srinagar, where people were seen wearing woollen and warm clothes on Friday.

The upper reaches, including holy Amarnath cave shrine and its periphery, Sheshnag, Mahaguns, Pisso top and Panjterni received snowfall this evening. Light snowfall was also received at Zojila on Srinagar-Leh national highway, connecting Ladakh region with Kashmir.

The upper heights in Sonmarg and Baltal, base camp of Amarnath cave, also received snowfall.

BSNL announces ‘Laxmi Promotional’ offer

BSNL is back with another offer around Diwali for its prepaid customers. The company has announced ‘Laxmi promotional’ offer for its prepaid customers across India.

Under BSNL’s new Laxmi offer, customers will be getting 50 percent extra talk-time on top-ups of Rs. 290, Rs. 390, and Rs. 590.

Notably, the Laxmi offer is valid only on these three top-ups. Customers recharging with these top-ups will receive talk value of Rs. 435 with a recharge of Rs. 290, Rs. 585 talktime on Rs. 390 recharge, and Rs. 885 top-up on recharge of Rs. 590. Interested customers can recharge their BSNL prepaid numbers from October 16 to October 21 to avail the benefit. This is the latest in a series of BSNL offers released over the past few months.

Announcing the new Laxmi offer, R.K. Mittal, Director (CM) BSNL Board said, “This offer is being given to our loyal prepaid mobile customers so that they can share their happiness among their friends & relatives during the auspicious occasion of Diwali.”

BSNL similarly announced ‘Dussehra Vijay’ offer last month where it offered cashback of 50 percent on voice recharges. As part of the BSNL offer, customers who bought recharge packs between September 25 and October 25 received 50 percent cashback for the recharge value. The offer was applicable on talk time recharges of Rs. 42, Rs. 44, Rs. 65, Rs. 69, Rs. 88, and Rs. 122.

Railways to Serve Dry Food Like Airlines, Passengers May Have to Shell Out More Money

New Delhi, Oct 13: The Indian Railways will soon change the way it serves food. According to reports, it will serve food on the basis of the system employed by passenger airlines–this means passengers will be served dry items or food without gravy. The railways had formed a committee to review the food served on trains. The committee has submitted its report. A decision on the report might be taken soon.

The report further said that passengers will have to change the way they eat food in railways. They said passengers will have to adapt to the new system. The committee has suggested in its report that more dry, gravy-less food will be served to passengers. Items like veg biryani, Rajma Chawal, Hakka Noodles, Pulao, and Ladoos will be included in the new menu.

The report further recommended rationalisation of the prices charged for food, which means passengers may have to shell out more money if the report is accepted in its entirety.

The Railway Ministry has already made the catering service optional in Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains. 20 per cent people rejected catering services on these trains. The railways have started a trial run of the new food system in Delhi-Firozepur Shatabdi Express and Bihar Sampark-Kranti Express.

Rs 51,000 ‘Shaadi Shagun’ For Graduate Muslim Girls

New Delhi, October 13: Meritorious Muslim girls who complete their graduation before marriage would get Rs 51,000 from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at Centre under the Shaadi Shagun scheme. The Ministry of Minority Affairs approved the proposal put forward by  Maulana Azad Education Foundation.

The scheme aims to encourage higher education, reported News 18. Those who have availed the Begum Hazrat Mahal scholarship (BHMS) which is funded by Maulana Azad Education Foundation are entitled to avail the benefits of this scheme that would be introduced as a top-up. In the BHMS, meritorious girls belong to minority communities like: Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis.

Parents of girls earning Rs 2 lakh per year cannot avail benefits of Shaadi Shagun scheme.

Shakir Hussain Ansari, Treasurer of the Maulana Azad Education Foundation, said that families of Muslim girls and minority community are always puzzled about their daughter’s marriage and education and most of them save money to spend on daughter’s wedding, not for education purpose.

The foundation plans to explain the details about the scheme to all on its online portal.

Scholarships for the weaker section in minority communities was introduced in 2003 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Before this, the meritorious girls belonging to the minority community were given a stipend of Rs 12,000 on monthly basis until class 12.

Delhi airport: GoAir to shift operations to T2 from Oct 29

New Delhi, Oct 13 (PTI) No-frills airline GoAir will shift its entire operations to terminal 2 (T2) of the Delhi airport from October 29 till expansion work at terminal 1 (T1) is complete, according to a statement.

The carrier is the first one to agree to shifting operations to the revamped T2 while competitors — IndiGo and SpiceJet — are yet to agree to the airport operator’s proposal for partially shifting their flights to T2.

T2 would be operational from October 29, a joint statement issued by airport operator DIAL and GoAir said.

“GoAir becomes the first airline to accept DIAL’s proposal and decided to shift its entire operations to Terminal 2 with effect from 0001 hours of October 29,” it added.

The release said the shifting is a temporary move to ease the pressure of fast growing traffic at T1.

GoAir MD Jeh Wadia said the move to shift to T2 would help the airline expand and further improve connectivity to more destinations from the national capital. It would also help add more frequency to existing connections, he added.

Wadia noted that it is moving to newly furbished T2 in order to support the government and DIAL’s plans to upgrade and expand the airport facilities as well as continuously improve the customer experience.

“We welcome GoAir in its new home terminal in T2. This will enable us to start the expansion works at T1 and carry it on seamlessly,” DIAL CEO I Prabhakara Rao said.

All infrastructures at T2 are fully ready and DIAL (Delhi International Airport Ltd) is “planning to initiate the ORAT (Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer) procedures with effect from October 17, 2017, 12 days prior to the re- commencement date of T2”.

Under the master plan, T1’s annual passenger handling capacity is to be expanded from 20 million to 40 million with 22 aerobridges and other facilities.

“The expansion process will encompass all major areas of the airport ie land side, terminal and air side and will be completed within four years,” the release said.

Manmohan Singh Says Pranab Mukherjee Had Reason to be Upset When he Became PM in 2004

New Delhi, Oct 13: Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Friday made a candid admission that he thought former President Pranab Mukherjee had reasons to be upset when he was appointed as the prime minister of the country in 2004.

He said that Pranab Mukherjee was senior to him in the Congress party, but Sonia Gandhi chose him to lead the government. He said Pranab Mukherjee knew that neither he (Manmohan Singh) had the choice or any part in the decision. Dr Singh said that Pranab Mukherjee was a politician by choice and it came naturally to him.

He was speaking at the launch function of Mukherjee’s new book, The Coalition Years: 1996-2012.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi had stunned everyone when she appointed former finance minister Manmohan Singh the prime minister of the country when UPA came to power in 2004. Pranab Mukherjee was thought to be the natural choice for the post after Sonia recused herself from the job after the principal opposition, BJP, created ruckus at her being from Italy. Pranab Mukherjee, considered Congress party’s man troubleshooter, had had several important portfolios in UPA 1 and UPA 2 including defence and finance.

The Congress party helped Pranab Mukherjee in becoming the President of the country in 2012. He retired in July this year.

Dr Mahesh Sharma Inaugurates ‘Deep Dharohar’

Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent charge) for Culture inaugurated “Deep Dharohar” organized by the Ministry of Culture here today.  The festival was inaugurated by the lighting of 1000 diyas by the participating artists and artisans and children from organisations like the CCRT, SAPNAPrayas and Kailash Satyarthi’s foundation, to the beat of pakhawajs, nagadas, dhols etc. The Minister released a book entitled ‘Living Traditions, Tribal and Folk Paintings of India’ published under the matrix of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ by the Cultural Mapping team of M/o Culture and Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT). This book celebrates the rich living traditions of tribal and folk art of India and the seminal role they play in the day-to-day lives of tribal and rural people.

To reclaim the lost classical and folk traditions of Deepawali and with objective of transmitting, promoting and conserving India’s diverse heritage, Ministry of Culture has organized this festival at the Matighar grounds at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts at Janpath, New Delhi between October 13-17 October 2017. The festival is drawing upon the rich repository of red, grey and black ware potters, reed (sikki) artisans, rural sculptors, weavers, Madhubani, Gond, Phad and Pattachitraartists, lacquer workers, bell-metal and bamboo artisans is also being projected as part of Paryatan Parv being organised by Ministry of Tourism.

A group of 100 artisans chosen by the Zonal Cultural Centres and knowledge partners from seven regions of the country are interfacing with organisations like the Asian Heritage Foundation, INTACH’s Intangible Cultural Heritage team, Dastkaari Haat Samiti, Centre for New Perspectives, TRIFED etc. for creative collaboration in creating sustainable livelihood hubs/clusters.  The diyas and other traditional Deepawali-linked products created by them are being sold at the venue.

In addition to the above, several performances, art and craft workshops and artist’s corners have been planned between 11 am – 8.30 pm every evening.

Ø  A performing arts stage is being shared by reputed artists and artisans selected during the talent hunt carried out under culture mapping.

Ø  Khulla Manch for performances of the Kavadiya Bhats of Rajasthan, Bhand Pather and Ladishah of Kashmir, Maniharo Ras and Siddhi Dhamal from Gujarat, Gotipua from Odisha, Tamang Shellofrom Sikkim and Dilli ka Bioscope, a production representing 10 traditional performing arts skill from Delhi.A writer’s and artist’s corner, a space where artists, artisans and writers are narrating their life stories and Deepawali related anecdotes.

Ø  Children’s corner with interactive sessions on the potter’s wheel, rangoli-making, Deepawalijewellery making with terracotta beads and flowers, sikki-toy making and papier-mache crafts.  Art and theatre workshops on clean-swachh Deepawali are being held every day. A 2 days workshop on film making will be held on October 14th and 15th, 2017.

Ø  Screening of films on India’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage every evening.

Ø  Celebration of different Deepawali traditions like the Dev-Deepawali of Varanasi, Govardhan Puja of Mathura and Nathdwara.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Lay Foundation Stone for Four Sewerage Projects and Four National Highways Projects in Bihar Tomorrow

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for four sewerage projects costing Rs. 738.04 crore and four National Highways projects of 195 km. worth Rs. 3031 crore in Bihar tomorrow. The ceremony will take place at Mokama. Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Road Transport & Highways and Shipping will also accompany Prime Minister for the foundation stone laying ceremony.

These four sewerage projects include Sewage Treatment Plant at Beur, Sewerage System with Sewer Network at Beur, Sewage Treatment Plant at Karmalichak and STP and Sewer Network at Saidpur. These projects together will create new STP capacity of 120 MLD and upgrade the existing 20 MLD for Beur. This also includes sewer network of 234.84 km in Beur and Saidpur zones.

In Patna, seven other sewerage projects are at various stages of implementation, out of which two – Digha and Kankarbagh sewerage zones – worth Rs. 1402.89 crore are sanctioned under Hybrid Annuity-based PPP mode. The existing population in the city is 16,83,000 and the existing sewage generated in the city is 220 MLD and sewage load is expected to be 320 MLD by the year 2035. Compared to the existing sewage generation, the existing sewage treatment capacity is only 109 MLD. Also the existing STPs are outlived and are treating at a much lower capacity. The city also has 11 main drains which are discharging directly to river Ganga.

The areas like Digha and Kankarbagh has no treatment facility. Thus the present treatment capacity and sewer system need immediate reorganization and extension to uncovered areas, besides proper operation and maintenance. Considering the existing treatment capacity of the city and existing waste generation and future waste generation till 2035, a total of 11 projects under World Bank funding are sanctioned for six zones which will create a total of 350 MLD of STP capacity and will lay down 1140.26 km of sewerage network at a cost of Rs. 3582.41crore.

After completion of these 11 projects, Patna will become a town having 100% sewerage infrastructure and no sewage water will drain into River Ganga.

Six projects regarding River Front Development/Ghat and Crematoria (including Patna RFD) are under implementation at a cost of Rs 377.58 crore. One River Surface Cleaning project worth Rs 3.96 crore and two Afforestation projects worth Rs 24.92 crore are also under implementation. Under the River Surface Cleaning project, a trash skimmer has been deployed in Patna. A total of 29 projects worth Rs.4929.17 crore are under various stages of implementation in Bihar under Namami Gange Programme. No effort is being spared by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to clean River Ganga of pollution.

The four National Highways projects for which foundation stone will be laid include 4-laning of Aunta –Simariya section of NH-31 and construction of 6-lane Ganga Setu at the cost of Rs. 1161 crore, 4 laning of Bakhtiyapur-Mokama section of NH-31 at the cost of Rs. 837 crore, 2-lane construction of Maheshkhunt- Saharsa-Purnea section of NH 107 at the cost of Rs. 736 crore, and 2-lane construction of Biharsharif – Barbigha- Mokama section of NH-82 at the cost of Rs. 297 crore.

Global Crude oil price of Indian Basket was US$ 55.08 per bbl on 12.10.2017

The international crude oil price of Indian Basket as computed/published today by Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas was US$ 55.08 per barrel (bbl) on 12.10.2017. This was higher than the price of US$ 55.07 per bbl on previous publishing day of 11.10.2017.

In rupee terms, the price of Indian Basket decreased to Rs. 3585.78 per bbl on 12.10.2017 as compared to Rs. 3594.65 per bbl on 11.10.2017. Rupee closed stronger at Rs. 65.10 per US$ on 12.10.2017 as compared to Rs. 65.27 per US$ on 11.10.2017. The table below gives details in this regard:

Particulars Unit Price on October 12, 2017 (Previous trading day i.e. 11.10.2017)
Crude Oil (Indian Basket) ($/bbl)              55.08           (55.07)
(Rs/bbl)             3585.78       (3594.65)
Exchange Rate (Rs/$)              65.10          (65.27)


AD/MB Daily Crude Oil Price