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Ex-gratia Amount given to the Kin of Train Accident Victims remains Unchanged for 19 Years

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People gather as rescuers work after 14 coaches of an overnight passenger train rolled off the track near Pukhrayan village Kanpur Dehat district, Uttar Pradesh state, India, Nov. 20, 2016. VOA

Bhopal, Nov 20, 2016: Even though the cost of living and medical treatment have shot up manifold in the last two decades, the ex-gratia amount given to the kin of those killed in rail accidents has remained unchanged for the last 19 years.

The Rs 4-lakh ex-gratia was fixed way back in 1997, and it continues to be the norm even today. This is in sharp contrast to the previous practice of upward revision of the amount every 10 years or so.

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In response to an RTI application filed by Chandrashekhar Gaur of Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh, the Railways Ministry informed that the ex-gratia amount was raised to Rs 50,000 in 1973, Rs 1 lakh in 1983, Rs 2 lakh in 1990 and made Rs 4 lakh in 1997.

Gaur made the information public as Rs 3.5 lakh ex-gratia was announced by the railway authorities on Sunday for the kin of those killed in the Indore-Patna Rajendra Nagar Express derailment at Pukhrayan near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. At least 120 passengers were killed in the accident.

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“If the previous practice of revision of ex-gratia money every 9-10 years had been followed, by now the amount would have become Rs 8 lakh,” he told IANS.

On his second RTI application earlier this year, the Ministry informed him that a proposal to raise the ex-gratia amount was pending consideration of the Railway Minister.

Gaur has sought an increase in the amount to Rs 25 lakh, suggesting that if Re 1 cess is imposed on every ticket, paying this much money would not be a problem for the government. (IANS)

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200 Officers to be Relocated to Strengthen Ground Operations: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal

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A man cries after seeing dead body of his family, who died in the Mumbai stampede
A man cries after seeing dead body of his family, who died in the Mumbai stampede accident. ians

Mumbai, Sep 30: A day after 22 people died in a stampede on a railway foot overbridge in Mumbai, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday said that 200 officers will be relocated from headquarters as field staff to enhance ground operations and that additional escalators are being sanctioned at crowded Mumbai stations.

“200 officers to be relocated from Head Quarters as field staff to strengthen ground operations and project implementation,” Goyal said in a series of tweets after holding a meeting with Railway Board officials here, in the aftermath of the accident at Elphinstone foot overbridge that killed 22 people.

He also said that to eliminate bureaucracy and delays, “I have empowered GMs to spend whatever is necessary on safety.”

Taking a lesson from the Friday stampede at Elphinstone station, Goyal said, “We are turning a 150 year old convention on its head, hereafter, FOBs (Foot Over Bridges) will be deemed mandatory not a passenger amenity.”

“Additional escalators sanctioned at crowded Mumbai suburban stations and thereafter for all high traffic stations,” added Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

At least 22 commuters were killed and 39 others injured on Friday when a horrific stampede broke out on a narrow railway foot overbridge linking Elphinstone Road and Parel stations when hundreds took shelter there to escape pounding rain.(IANS)

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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Tribal Farmers
tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

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