RAC passengers won’t get confirm berths!

English News – Come New Year, travelling by train on RAC (reservation against cancellation) tickets will get more taxing. Starting January 16, those with RAC tickets will have to travel being seated throughout the journey, short or long, in most of the trains in India.

Their tickets will not be confirmed with a full-berth allocation in case of a cancellation, as is the practice now. It means, if you get an RAC status at the time of reservation, your ticket status will remain unchanged till the end of the journey.

Besides, the Railways has also tactfully changed the berth allocation practice for children within the age group of 5-12 years. The full fare has to be paid now in case the child requires a seat. Else, you need to pay half the price but without any seat. Earlier, half fare for children in the age group was charged with a full-berth allocation.

The new measure will be applicable only in trains with non-LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches and will not affect those like Rajdhanis/Shatabadis/Durontos with LHB coaches, where the existing system will continue.

With a majority of trains in India having non-LHB coaches, sources said the move will surely inconvenience passengers. The Railways, however, argued that this step will actually accommodate more travellers by virtue of increase in number of RAC berths and help it earn an additional Rs 1,500 crore annually.

“The revised allocation of seats would increase the chances of waitlisted passengers to get RAC seats. More than 50 per cent of trains run with 24 coaches (maximum permitted number). Each train has 13 to 15 sleeper coaches. The revised allocation would add a minimum of 35 to 40 passengers in all the classes,” said a senior railway official.

Officials said berths, which remain vacant in the intermediate stations on several long distance routes, even after catering to all the RAC passengers, will get filled under the new arrangement. This decision, however, has now reduced the chances of senior citizens and pregnant women getting side lower berths.

“At least, some of the waitlisted passengers would get seating arrangements if they at all need to travel. If an RAC gets cancelled, then the next waitlisted ticket would get an opportunity to jump into the RAC and hence he or she can travel,” explained a senior railway official.

Currently, there are five RAC berths in Sleeper coaches, which have been increased to seven and as a result 14 passengers can be accommodated instead of 10 only.

In the 3AC coaches, there were only two RAC berths which have been increased to four to accommodate total eight passengers instead of four earlier. For the 2AC coaches, RAC berths have been increased to three from the existing two. Now six passengers can be accommodated in 2AC instead of four only.

The latest move will come on the heels of those like the recently-introduced flexi-fare system in Rajdhani and Shatbadi for its half-vacant seats, which were offered on the pattern of dynamic fare system in airlines. It also did not yield the desired results.

In fact, worried over poor occupancy in some Shatabdi trains, the Railways on Monday withdrew the flexi-fare system in certain sections of Ajmer and Mysore Shatabdi service. “Instead, it has been decided to give discounted fare in AC Chair Car in selected sectors of New Delhi-Ajmer Shatabdi Express and Chennai Central – Mysore Shatabdi Express,” said a senior Railway Ministry official. Other surcharge, if applicable shall be levied separately. The decision will be implemented from December 20.

Railways also did away with revoking of concessions of NRI senior citizens earning lot of criticism for its decisions which resulted in very miniscule financial gains in passenger earnings for the railways.

Source  : http://www.dailypioneer.com/todays-newspaper/

India, Afghan all set to trade through air

Sky is the limit for friendship between India and Afghanistan, literally. Facing constant roadblocks from Pakistan to carry out their bilateral trade through land route, India and Afghanistan are all set to trade through air. They are opening a dedicated air freight corridor to supply their goods and make trade easier.

The decision to have an air freight corridor was taken in December in Amritsar ahead of the Heart of Asia Summit where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani announced the unique initiative. Two countries are forced to use air route following Pakistan’s trouble making attitude and preventing India-Afghanistan trade though land. The move will provide the private sector in Afghanistan a platform to increase their exports to India and help Indian goods reach Kabul in a time-bound manner.

The first batch of Indian commercial goods will take off from New Delhi for Kabul this weekend while another set of freight with Afghanistan’s agro-products is expected to return shortly. A warm reception has been planned by the Government at the Delhi airport to send off the first flight — by Ariana Airlines — that will take off for Kabul.

“In view of difficulties faced on the ground, an air freight corridor between India and Afghanistan has been activated. “The frequency of the flights under the project would be determined depending on commercial viability as it was a business venture which is supported greatly by the two Governments,” said Gopal Baglay, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson. He added the flights will fly over the Pakistan airspace as it is a civil plane.

Pakistan had in March this year unilaterally closed its border with Afghanistan at the Durand Line ceasing trade activities and leaving thousands of people and perishable items stranded. In its complaint to World Trade Organisation (WTO), Afghanistan said that blockage caused it a loss of $90 million.

A similar situation occurred last year when Pakistan blocked transit route between India and Afghanistan following which President Ghani threatened to close all Pakistan’s transit route to Central Asian countries if it did not allow Afghan traders to trade with India via the Wagah border.

Source : http://www.dailypioneer.com/nation/india-afghan-all-set-to-trade-through-air.html

BSES Launches 24-hr Customer Care Number

BSES Launches 24-hr Customer Care Number – In the wake of numerous power outages across Delhi, power distribution company BSES has come up with a special customer service number where they can call or send messages and register their complaints.

Consumers can now call on their round-the-clock customer care number, which is 39999707 for BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) and 39999808 for BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL).

For sending complaints through SMS, a message can be sent at 5616107 (BRPL) or 5616108 (BYPL).

Apart from this, people can also call at 399999707 (BRPL) or 39999808 (BYPL) from a registered contact number and lodge their grievance through its IVRS system, said a BSES spokesperson.

Source : http://www.dailypioneer.com/city

Modi Supports Merkel’s EU Leadership as Trump Scolds Germany

Modi Supports Merkel’s EU Leadership as Trump Scolds Germany – Prime Minister Narendra Modi today backed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “strong leadership” in uniting the European Union at a time when the economic grouping was showing signs of strain post Brexit and over the protectionist policies of US President Donald Trump.

Modi, whose visit to Germany comes less than a week after Merkel provided the strongest indication yet that the EU and the US under President Trump were drifting apart, said India would play a positive role in boosting unity in the grouping.

Modi’s support comes at a crucial time for Merkel, who has been fighting secessionist tendencies within the bloc since Britain decided to leave the 28-member bloc through a referendum in June last year.

The prime minister praised her “strong leadership” and said a EU-focused vision is what the world needs.

“EU unity, proactiveness and strong relations with other countries is extremely important for global development. We want the EU to become stronger and India will play a positive role towards that through the medium of Germany,” he told reporters at a joint briefing with Merkel.

Modi said India and Germany were “made for each other”.

Merkel last week had said that reliable ties forged since the end of World War II “are to some extent over.” Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also blasted the US, saying the Trump administration’s “short-sighted policies… Stand against the interest of the European Union”.

The remarks came soon after G7 and NATO summits, where news reports suggested that not all was well between her and Trump, who is leading the US towards a more protectionist stance on economic issues and has called for NATO to pay for their share of expenditure of the Atlantic alliance.

The two countries are also not on the same page on climate policies. Trump has vowed to walk away from the historic Paris deal while Merkel supports the agreement.

“Europe and the world are facing lots of challenges and to fight those, India believes, the world needs the strong leadership of Chancellor Merkel,” Modi added.

Merkel today repeated that Europe must “take our fate into our own hands” and went on to say that it should step up as a diplomatic player on the international stage.

In Washington, Trump swiftly reacted to Merkel’s comments. Soon after her statement, Trump tweeted, “We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for US. This will change(sic).”

Merkel, however, had also said Germany’s relationship with the US was of “outstanding importance” but it must also engage with other important nations.

ICJ Will Neither Acquit nor Release Jadhav

ICJ Will Neither Acquit nor Release Jadhav – The ICJ will neither acquit nor release Indian national Kulbushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a military court, the lawyer representing Pakistan at the global court claimed today, asserting that India has wrongly claimed victory in the case.

“The Jadhav case is a very clear case. He can never be released or acquitted,” Khawar Qureshi told media after a meeting with Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali.

“You are making something out of nothing,” he told reporters.

“Foreign Office will be giving you a much more detailed press statement soon,” he was quoted as saying by the Nation.

Qureshi also advised mediapersons to “behave responsibly” and “give Pakistani officials the respect they deserve.”

The UK-based lawyer said that India has “wrongly claimed victory” after the Hague-based court “temporarily” stayed the execution of Jadhav.

“The problem seems to be that this case is more about political point scoring than about the law,” he said.

Jadhav, 46, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “involvement in espionage and sabotage activities” against the country.

The ICJ on May 18 stayed the execution of Jadhav.

The ruling triggered criticism of the Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) for its “poor handling” and also for its choice of Qureshi, who represented Pakistan’s case before the ICJ.

Several political analysts and politicians had claimed that the country’s legal counsel was not adequately prepared.

Following the verdict, media reports claimed that the Attorney General will represent Pakistan in the Jadhav’s case at the ICJ after widespread calls for a change in the country’s legal team.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General said that Pakistan would present all evidences before the ICJ in the Jadhav case, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

He claimed that Pakistan’s stance has not been rejected at the ICJ and the interim verdict of the court is not a defeat or victory of any country.

Replying to a question, the Attorney General said, “Pakistan is a responsible country and would not violate the international laws but never compromise on the national integrity.”

The Attorney General said he would consult the national security committee on the Jadhav issue.

He said Pakistan is satisfied over the matter of his arrest and punishment and the country is not “answerable in front of anyone” about the decision of death sentence to Jadhav.

To another query, he said Pakistani court has provided justice to Indian woman Uzma, who was forced to marry a Pakistani man at gun point.

She was allowed by the Islamabad High Court to return to India following a plea she filed with the court requesting its directive after her husband took her immigration papers.

Source : http://www.dailypioneer.com/world