The Gist of Press Information Bureau (PIB): June 2014

The Gist of Press Information Bureau: June 2014

Chinese Delegation Visits India

Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo, Deputy Chief of General Staff (Operations), PLA China arrived in New Delhi on 22 April 2014 along with an eight member delegation for a two day visit. The visit is in response to an invitation extended by the Government of India.

The official talks with the Chinese Delegation were held today in South Block. The two sides exchanged views on various issues of mutual interest such as maintenance of peace and tranquility along Line of Actual Control and enhancing mutual cooperation and understanding between the armies of India and China. Measures for implementation of existing Bilateral Agreements were also discussed.

The meeting was held in a warm and cordial atmosphere. Both sides agreed on the need to enhance bilateral military engagements. The Chinese side have confirmed their participation in the Fourth India China Joint Training Exercise scheduled to be held in November 2014 in India. The PLA Delegation also called on the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh and the Defence Secretary.

India and China attach great importance to high level military exchanges. 2014 has also been declared as "Year of Friendly Exchanges". It may be recalled that in February this year, the PLA Delegation led by Lieutenant General Wang Guanzhong, Deputy Chief of General Staff had come to India for Annual Def Dialogue and the Indian Defence Minister had visited China in July 2013. The Chinese side have also confirmed the visit of their Defence Minister General Chang Wanquan to India later this year.

DGCA Allows Use of Cellphone During Flight

The Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) has amended its CAR Section 5 Series X Part I relating to air safety and decided to allow the use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) including cellphones. The use of PEDs shall be in the non-transmitting mode commonly called flight/airplane mode. The amended CAR also directs all operators for reporting of any suspected or confirmed PED interference or smoke or fire caused by PEDs to the DGCA. It also lays down the guidelines for the crew training.

The scheduled operators, during their meeting with the Director General Civil Aviation, raised the demand for allowing use of PEDs during all phases of flight in the flight/airplane mode. The DGCA examined their demand in view of the new and current regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Under the FAA and the EASA Regulations, the use of PEDs is allowed in the airplane mode in all phases of flight.

Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha sworn in as the Chief Justice of India

At a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Shri Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India. He made and subscribed to the oath of office before the President. 'Emerging Fire Protection Technologies for Rolling Stock' The Minister of Railways Shri Mallikarjun Kharge inaugurated an International Technical Conference on 'Emerging Fire Protection Technologies for Rolling Stock' here today. In his inaugural address, the Railway Minister said that Indian Railways inducted new technologies in every area of railway operations and there has been a steady decline in railway accidents. However, the incidents of fire in passenger carrying trains on run, which inevitably led to precious loss of lives, are very painful. Shri Kharge said that there is a need for creating diverse technology absorption strategies with respect to upgrading of design and manufacturing technologies in India relating to prevention of fire in coaches. He said that this Conference will provide a much needed avenue for the participants forging cooperative relations for future projects, advance partnerships in technology development and create an environment for innovating India-specific solutions, besides providing a glimpse of fire related technologies that will serve the railways in future. Speaking on the occasion, Chairman, Railway Board, Shri Arunendra Kumar said that Indian Railways has been actively working over the years to reduce the potential of fire accidents on the trains. He said that considering the serious nature of fire accidents, lot of developments are taking place all over the world in all the fields related to controlling the fire covering fire detection systems, use of material with low inflammability and fire retardant characteristics as well as fire extinguishing systems. Material used also need to ensure that smoke produced should be less as it makes escape difficult as well affects breathing and can even be toxic. He said that this conference is bringing together experts from nine countries including European countries, US, Japan and Australia. It is expected that their inputs will be useful to Indian Railways and help in developing a strategy for further making improvements in the area.

In his address, Member Mechanical, Railway Board, Shri Alok Johri said that Indian Railways has always accorded highest priority to the safety of passengers and has been upgrading its infrastructure including rolling stock to ensure better safety of passengers. He said that Indian Railways have introduced the test of flammability in its specifications keeping pace with the developments in abroad and also the Indian industries Indian Railways has upgraded its specification based on international norms of fire retardancy adopted on Europe for inter-operability of the trains. He expressed his hope that participants of this conference will go back richer with ideas and information which can be implemented leading to improvement of fire safety in India.

Shri Arvind Khare, Additional Member (Production Units), Railway Board gave vote of thanks at the conference. Railway Board Members, senior railway officers were also present among others on the occasion. This two days conference is being organized by the Institute of Rolling Stock Engineers (IRSE) and Indian Railways service of Mechanical Engineers Association (IRSMEA) with support from Indian Railways and RITES. IRSE is a registered body consisting of Railway officers and experts as members and is headquartered at Research Design & Standards Organization (RDSO), Lucknow. IRSMEA is an association of the Mechanical Engineers of Indian Railways. RITES are an ISO-9001-2008 certified multi-disciplinary consultancy organization in the fields of transport, infrastructure and related technologies.

A first of its kind, the conference will bring together experts to provide fire protection technologies and to find solutions to reduce the fire cases thereby making rail travel further safer. Technical papers and participation would cover Railway operators, Rolling Stock manufacturers, Universities, Consultants etc. from a number of countries outside India such as Germany, Australia, UK, Japan, France, Belgium, Austria, Poland and Italy.

Indian Railways have played a significant role in the development of India since their inception since 1853. Indian Railways today have the largest passenger operation amongst all the railway networks in the world and carry about 25 million passengers daily. The safety record of the Indian Railway has been improving over the years. The number of accidents has come down from 325 in 2003-04 to 121 in 2012-13. The train accidents per million train kms is only 0.12 which is amongst the best in the world. The causalities in Railway accidents per year have also reduced from 156 in 2003-04 to 80 in 2012-13. Railways have identified fire in trains as one of the causes of accidents. Although many cases have been attributed to negligence by passengers and contractors, Indian Railways have always endeavoured to enhance fire worthiness of coaches. The first action was the phasing out of wooden body coaches more than 20 years ago. Indian Railways has also started using fire retardant furnishing materials, fire extinguishers, and has conducted trials with smoke and fire detection systems. Indian Railways has also made efforts to spread safety awareness by using fire posters and conducting training for on board staff. Provision of emergency exit windows, modification of fuse boxes and conducting of internal safety audits are other endeavors in this area. As safety is the highest priority for Indian Railways it has been decided to address this issue in a focused manner through this international conference to stay abreast with the world.

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