Mumbai: Buoyed by the success of the Vande Bharat Express between New Delhi and Varanasi, the Railways is planning to explore the possibility of running such semi-high speed trains between Mumbai to Pune, Nashik and Vadodara. The Vande Bharat Express has reduced the travel time between New Delhi and Varanasi by 40 per cent. “We want to check whether the same train can be replicated for Mumbai to Pune or Mumbai to Nashik or Mumbai to Baroda (Vadodara)….trial runs will begin in the next week,” member (Rolling Stock), Railway Board Rajesh Agrawal said here. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoC “We are going to start trial runs from the next week on the Vande-Bharat pattern. One AC-EMU rake and one non-AC MEMU rake will be given to the Central and Western Railways. If the trial goes as per plan, we can reduce the travel time between Mumbai to Pune and Nashik to within two hours,” said Agrawal, an ex-officio Secretary to the Government of India. “No final decision has been taken yet. As of now, we are going to explore only the possibility,” he said. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citations Traffic congestion and upgradation of infrastructure including the tracks are bigger challenges for the railways, he said. Agrawal also said that by the end of March 2020, the railways has planned to run 12 AC locals in Mumbai, six each on the Central and Western suburban lines. “We have no shortage of coaches as the coach production has seen a quantum jump…Till previous year, all coach factories used to produce less that 4,000 coaches annually and this year the number has been scaled up to 6,000. Next year our target is to produce 8,000 coaches,” he said. Agrawal, who was in the city to review various works carried out by the Central Railway and Western Railway, lauded preparations for the monsoon, and expressed hope that even a rainfall of 200 mm in 24 hours will not disrupt the local train services this year.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly in the opening meeting of the General Debate, at UN Headquarters in New York, President Plevneliev underlined his country’s “difficult, dramatic and sometimes turbulent journey” from dictatorship to democratic rule.“Bulgaria has gone through a successful transition from totalitarian rule to a functioning democracy with an open market economy and a vibrant civil society,” he told the gathered delegates. “We stand ready to share the experience from our road to democracy with other countries undergoing similar challenges,” he added, noting that Bulgaria was seeking election to the Council for the period 2019 to 2021. As an indication of Bulgaria’s appreciation of human rights-related issues, Mr. Plevneliev emphasized his country’s “long-standing tradition of tolerance and dialogue” between ethnic and religious communities.“This tradition can be aptly illustrated by a glimpse of the centre of our capital, where four temples of different religions – Islam, Judaism, Catholic and Orthodox Christianity – coexist peacefully surrounded by archaeological monuments of several ancient civilizations,” noted President Plevneliev. In addition, he pointed to Bulgaria’s ongoing fostering of dialogue through the Sofia Platform which promotes an exchange of views and best practices among government officials, experts, representatives of civil society and non-governmental organizations, focussing on the transition process in Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East. “This forum has shown that though the historical, cultural and political realities vary in different countries and regions, conclusions and lessons learned can be relevant in the field of national reconciliation, rule of law, institution building and security sector reform,” he added. In his statement, the Bulgarian President also addressed a range of other issues, including terrorism, the situation in Syria, the Middle East peace process and disarmament.The Assembly’s General Debate, an annual occurrence held at UN Headquarters in New York, will conclude on 1 October. During the intervening week, the world’s heads of State and government and other high-level officials are expected to present their views and comment on issues of individual national and international relevance.