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What’s In A Name? The Decision to Rename Mughal Sarai Junction Divides the Nation

What's in a name, probe Indians as the controversy over the renaming of Mughal Sarai junction continues to spread like wildfire.

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The Mughal Sarai junction is the latest entrant in the list of places renamed in India. Wikimedia
  • UP government’s recommendation for changing name of Mughal Sarai Junction accepted
  • Opposition ministers express discontentment, get Rajya Sabha session adjourned 
New Delhi, August 5, 2016: It all began with “They are going to change New Delhi’s name too!” In the ongoing session of the Parliament, the Centre approved a proposal to rename the iconic Mughal Sarai railway station in Uttar Pradesh after Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, the Jan Sangh leader. And the citizens of the nation had a lot to say.
The decision came following a proposal by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh with an intent to revive the legacy of Upadhyaya, who had been mysteriously found dead in the junction in 1968.
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The Mughal Sarai Junction is the fourth-busiest railway station in the country, located on the line between Howrah and Delhi. Located right along the Grand Trunk Road, it has since 155 years served as a prime stop along the route.
The Uttar Pradesh government, headed by Yogi Adityanath, had approved the proposal of the renaming of station in June and forwarded it to the Ministry of Railways for the final nod. On August 3, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Hansraj Ahir cleared the proposal of the renaming of the station to ‘Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Nagar station’.
However, the move evoked a row in the Parliament, with the opposition accusing BJP of trying to change the country’s map.
Strong objections were raised in Rajya Sabha by members of the Samajwadi Party, which had lost power to BJP in Uttar Pradesh this year.
Naresh Agarwal, a member of Samajwadi Party lashed out saying the government was trying to “change the character of the country” and that they will soon “change New Delhi’s name too.”
Immediately after receiving clearance, according to popular opinion, the move wasn’t being seen as a welcome one, with questions on its intent circling discussion environment –  is this cultural hegemony, or maybe instead religious hegemony?

is it right to rename the station?
Even some of the BJP supporters question the decision of the renaming. NDTV

People are also viewing this as a strategy to assert power, to claim land by Yogi Adityanath’s government.
Similar reactions flooded Twitter and public discussion platforms, with the public expressing discontentment over the decision.

public view is divided over the renaming of railway station
Dont they have any real work to do, asks public over the decision to rename station. NDTV

However, every coin has two sides. While the move was being criticized for being outrageously religious, another set of opinions believes the renaming will be a welcome step.
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi shot back at the opposition saying, “They want stations in the name of Mughals, but not Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. This view is wrong.”

is it right to change Mughal Sarai junction to Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya station?
Amidst opposition, a set of public believes it was time to drop “baggage” of the past. NDTV

While opinions in support and in rejection of the re-naming continue to resurface, a popular question that has been put up time and again is why this specific decision is witnessing an uproar of this magnitude. Names of places have been previously changed, like in the case of the world famous Connaught Place. People continue to question why are we behaving like hypocrites- we have had the names of so many historical places from our history books changed, so why is this particular case creating a controversy.

Mughal sarai junction to be renamed deen dayal upadhyaya station
Netizens have come forward with their personal opinions at various public portals. NDTV

The move has provoked mixed reactions from the netizens as discussions and opinions have been since floating. However, an increasing group of people also believe that a better decision would be to let the name stay, but revamp the infrastructure of a place, or to make new buildings, schools or other places of public benefit with the newly suggested name.

The country witnesses uproar over centre's decision.
While opinions are divided in support and opposition, another set of opinions dominates discussion platforms. NDTV

The decision is a part of the celebrations by Yogi Adityanath’s government to mark the centenary of Upadhyaya.
– by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter: @SohaKala

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Will India be able to travel in the Bullet Train Soon? Yes, Say Railway Officials; Indian Railways Target Completing the Project Before the August 2022 Deadline

The foundation stone for the Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion) 508-km Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train was laid in Ahmedabad by Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on September 14

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Bullet Train
Railway Board Chairman held a high-level meeting in Rail Bhavan last Thursday which was attended by Japanese Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu, and Niti Aayog Vice Chairman. (representative image) Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 10, 2017 : Unfazed by opposition criticism, Indian Railways is working overtime to push ahead with the much-talked about the “Bullet Train” project, aiming to complete it ahead of the August 2022 deadline set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani, who has a reputation of a turnaround man, has taken up the task of monitoring and chairing the periodic review meetings of the project that is estimated to cost over Rs 1 lakh crore ($15 billion).

Lohani held a high-level meeting in Rail Bhavan last Thursday which was attended by Japanese Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar, Central government officials, Principal Secretary-rank officials of Gujarat and Maharashtra, officials of NHSRCL (National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited), officials of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the General Manager of Western Railway.

A senior railway board member, requesting anonymity, told IANS, “The railways is in no mood to delay the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project. Lohani will now hold a review meeting once every three months… And even on weekly basis, if required.”

Emphasising on the government’s intention, the official said, “The attendance of the Niti Aayog Vice Chairman, the Japanese Ambassador and the CRB in the review meeting is a clear signal that the government is taking the project seriously and there is no scope for any delay.”

“The CRB wants Indian Railway officials to take lessons from their Japanese counterparts about meeting deadlines,” he said.

The opposition has attacked the government for taking up a project at a huge cost instead of focusing on safety, a dire need of the time, and on schemes to improve passenger amenities.

The official said it was also decided at the meeting that “a road map for consultancy and civil engineering works will be prepared by January 2018”.

A ministry official associated with the Bullet Train project said a report on the signalling system and electrical reports would be ready by April 2018. According to him, the tracks and most of the signalling system would be brought from Japan.

The foundation stone for the Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion) 508-km Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train was laid in Ahmedabad by Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on September 14.

Of the Rs 1.08 lakh crore, Japan is giving a loan of Rs 88,000 crore at a minimal interest of 0.1 per cent for 50 years. And the repayment will begin only after 15 years.

The railway official said that to encourage the Prime Minister’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ programme, “an appeal will be made to Indian and Japanese companies to make use the opportunity to work together”.

Meanwhile, the officials of the government of Maharashtra and Gujarat assured the railways of their help in land acquisition and smooth shifting of raw materials to construction venues.

A three-level monitoring committee was also constituted, including the Vice Chairman of Niti Ayog and Special Advisor to Japanese Prime Minister.

A working group led by Managing Director of NHSRCL Achal Khare and consisting of representatives of the ministries concerned, and the representative of JICA, has been formed. Besides the two committees, a technical expert committee led by the Managing Director of NHSRCL has also been formed.

Of the 508 km stretch, 92 per cent (468 km) of the route will be elevated, six per cent (27 km) will be in tunnels and the remaining two per cent (13 km) will be on the ground .

The high-speed train would also pass through the country’s longest tunnel of 21 km, of which seven km will be under the sea.

Twelve stations have been proposed that include Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.

The distance will be covered in two hours and seven minutes if the train stops at four stations — Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Mumbai. If the train stops at all 12 stations, it will cover the distance in two hours and fifty-eight minutes.

According to Railway Ministry officials, the operating speed of the bullet train would be 320 kmph and the maximum speed would be 350 kmph.

 

(Editorial note : This article has been written by Anand K. Singh and was first published by IANS. Anand can be contacted at can be contacted at anand.s@ians.in)

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Over Rs 50,000 Crore Spent on Rail Safety till August 31

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Indian Railway
A Passenger Train in India. Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 24: The government on Tuesday said it has spent over Rs 50,000 crore out of a total outlay of Rs 1.31 lakh crore on rail safety in this fiscal.

The government has planned a capital expenditure outlay of Rs 131,000 crore for railway safety in 2017-18, of which it spent Rs 50,762 crore till August 31, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa told reporters after a Union Cabinet meeting.

The government in its Budget this year announced a special safety fund of Rs 1.31 lakh crore for Indian Railways.

Lavasa said the pace of laying new railway tracks had been hastened from 380 km in 2014-15 to 953 km in 2016-17. (IANS)

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Indian Railways sends an ‘Utterly Butterly’ Sweet Reply to Amul on Twitter

Indian Railways has once again won the hearts of many with their swift reply to Amul India on Twitter

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Indian Railways
Twitter has become one of the most preferred medium of communication in recent times Wikimedia

The Indian Railways has an active presence on Twitter and passenger woes are often attended and addressed via the micro-blogging website.

But for the first time, the Indian Railways received a unique tweet addressed to its name.
India’s most famous dairy giant Amul reached out to the Indian Railways and tweeted their business proposition to the Railways, seeking permission to use their refrigerated parcel vans to transport Amul butter to different parts of India.

Indian Railways
Amul coop requested Indian Railways for permission to use their refrigerated vans via a tweet. Twitter

The Indian Railways had made the refrigerated parcel vans’ service available a few years ago with an aim to allow the transportation of presumable products such as vegetable, fruits poultry products, etc.
The service is available on selective routines, however, the refrigerated parcel vans are supposedly lying defunct.
The Indian Railways promptly responded to Amul’s business proposal in the most cheek-in-tongue manner and won hearts once again!

Indian Railways
Indian Railway’s reply to Amul. Twitter