Citizens' Issues
Western Railways says it has no money for gap reduction work

Western Railway is wasting money on unnecessary purchases while claiming insufficient funds for reducing the gap between platform and trains that endangers the lives of commuters

The Western Railway has stopped gap reduction work because it is low on allocated funds. On the other hand, it wants to renovate the Churchgate station and seek a fare hike unmindful of wasting money. Railway activist Samir Zaveri has submitted a complaint, on 27th November, to the monitoring committee of Bombay High Court, regarding platform gap reduction work which has been stopped by Western Railway.

In his letter to the Bombay High Court, he said, “At any cost gap reduction work should be carried out quickly without any delay because daily passengers are falling into platform gap and getting injured, killed or left with permanent disability.”

“Huge public money has been fruitlessly wasted by Western Railway officials, and on the other hand, the essential work to reduce platform gap has been stopped by giving reasons that no further funds are allotted for the purpose,” Zaveri added.

He also requested the High Court to ask WR to disclose details of railway officers who are responsible for this delay to take action against them.

Both the Western Railway and Central Railway earlier this year had started working on defective areas and increased platform’s height to reduce gap between platform and train. However, Western Railway started the work in January 2013 after it was issued a show cause notice by Bombay High Court’s order on the basis of Samir Zaveri’s earlier complaint pointing out the lack of steps taken by Western Railway officials to increase safety of railway passengers.

Earlier in 2004, the Bombay High Court wrote in a separate order: “Platform height should be raised. Whenever necessary, gap between the footboard of the train and platform edge should be checked on the entrance while entering in the Station”.

Many passengers travel daily through ‘Mumbai’s lifeline-local trains’. The ‘lifeline’ should be ‘safe’ but the fact is, many passengers are getting hurt, dying or are left with permanent disability by falling into the gap between the train and the platform. Samir Zaveri has set up a Railway Helpline with Moneylife Foundation to assist victims.


Sensex, Nifty may give up some gains: Friday closing report

Nifty may open higher on Monday but may start giving up some gains either later in the day or Tuesday.

Yesterday, we suggested that the market was in the grip of a strong short-term rally and may continue to move. It recorded strong gains to end the week on a good note. There was hardly any fight from the bears, as the bulls took over and kept the market steady and strong throughout the trading session. This is the 2nd straight day that saw little fight from the bears. All the eyes are on the GDP data.


The BSE Sensex opened at 20,558 and stayed steady and strong throughout the session. It touched the intra-day high of 20,819 before closing at 20,791(up 257 points or 1.25%). Similarly, Nifty opened at 6,103, hit an intra-day high of 6,182 before closing at 6,176 (up 84 points, or 1.38%).


The indices moved up on slightly lower volumes of 51.68 lakh shares.


All the indices finished in the green, with Bank Nifty. CNX MNC and CNX Finance finishing strong.


Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 42 advanced and 8 declined. The top gainers were JP Associates (9.20%); NMDC (6.67%); Bank of Baroda (5.17%); Sesa Sterlite (4.57%) and BHEL (3.78%). The top losers were M&M (-1.34%); Hero MotoCorp (-0.69%); Wipro (-0.54%); NTPC (-0.27); Asian Paints (-0.18).


Of the 1,461 shares on the NSE, 895 closed in the positive, 472 closed in the negative while 94 remained unchanged.


Finance minister P Chidambaram, said during the Indian Economic Times Conclave said that there were no quick fixes for inflation as it would take some time for it to cool down. According to Reuters, Indian traders were hoping that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would roll back cash constraints measures that were taken to contain the rupee free fall. According to Reuters, cash flow in the banking system has improved with the overnight call rate dropping to the repo rate of 7.75% from the emergency marginal standing facility rate which stands at 8.75%.


Asian markets were trading flat amidst Thai protests which are gathering momentum. The latest news is that Thai protesters have broken into the army compound. Strangely, the Thai benchmark index, SET, was up five points. Nikkei was seen trending down by 0.41% while Singapore Strait Times was down 0.36%. Hang Seng was marginally up 0.36%.


The Euro region saw two ratings assessments; Spain outlook was raised to ‘stable’ from ‘negative’ by S&P, with ratings at BBB-. On the other hand, Netherlands rating was cut from AAA to AA+, though the outlook remains ‘stable’. Most of the markets were trending


Yesterday, the United States stock markets were closed. Many investors in US are now awaiting key jobs data which will be released in a few days. This may give further hints of tapering. US stock futures were seen trending up.


Tax free bonds: Should you buy NTPC or Hudco?

Hudco and NTPC tax free bonds will be offered from 2nd and 3rd December respectively. Which one should you subscribe considering that Hudco rates are little higher and even crossing 9% barrier?

NTPC (formerly National Thermal Power Corporation), country's largest power producer and a maharatna company of the government, will offer tax-free secured redeemable non-convertible bonds from 3rd December and close on 16th December. State-owned Housing and Urban Development Corporation (Hudco), a mini-ratna firm, engaged in the financing and promotion of housing and urban infrastructure projects, will offer second tranche of tax-free bonds from 2nd December and is scheduled to close on 10th January.

NTPC will offer better rates for 10 and 15 years than the recently closed NHPC bonds. The rate for 20 years is almost unchanged. NTPC coupon rates for retail individual investors will be 8.66%, 8.73% and 8.91% for 10, 15 and 20 year bonds. Hudco will have coupon rate of 8.76%, 8.83% and 9.01% for 10, 15 and 20 years. Retail investor limit for bond application is Rs10 lakh. Non-retail investors will have 0.25% less rate for both the bond issues.

While Hudco coupon rates are higher than NTPC by 0.1% for all the tenure, NTPC bonds have better credit rating. It has been assigned AAA rating by ICRA and CRISIL. Hudco has AA+ rating from CARE and India Ratings and Research. Both are government companies and hence it is safe to invest some portion of your investment.

NTPC issue size is Rs1,000 crore with an option to retain oversubscription up to Rs750 crore for issuance of additional bonds, aggregating to up to Rs1,750 crore. Due to small issue size up for grabs and decent rates, investors may have to move quickly if they want their hands on these bonds. NHPC was closed early due oversubscription and NTPC may follow suit. Many NHPC subscribers got partial allotments.


Hudco plans to raise Rs2,439 crore its second tranche. It has already raised Rs2,370 crore in the first tranche of tax-free bonds launched in September 2013.

It is obvious that Hudco second tranche will have less interest from those who have already subscribed even though the rates are better than first tranche. Hudco also had tax-free bonds offering last financial year, but NTPC did not have it during the same period. Hudco second tranche longer ending date of 10 January 2014 indicates that it will take longer time to get necessary subscription. NTPC ending date is 16 December 2013, but it may be oversubscribed before it.

But, should you expect higher rates for tax-free bonds offered in near future? It depends on the 10 year benchmark government security (G-SEC) yield which has seen full circle in the last month by rising steeply from 8.58% to ending at 9.01% on 22nd November and now at 8.72% on 28th November. It is unlikely that rates will come down in near future. It is more likely to go up if RBI hikes the repo rate during the remainder of financial year. It can lead to increase in G-Sec yields, but it is difficult to predict future interest rates with certainty as there are too many parameters that can affect it.

IRFC (Indian Railway Finance Corporation), NHAI (National Highway Authority of India), NHB (National Housing Bank) and IIFCL (India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd) second tranche will have tax-free bonds in near future. 

Read –Tax-free Bonds: The Coming Opportunity

Choose your Bond



hemangini r mistry

3 years ago

client service search of online

R Balakrishnan

4 years ago

Simply choose the one with higher interest rate. After all both are sad companies, but both owned by government of India. So default risk is identical. Credit rating in a PSU is a meaningless thing.

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