Keeping tracks neat and clean should be a priority for railways

Indian Railways, according to some media reports, has taken note of urgent need of keeping the railway tracks in clean condition and is doing its bit to achieve the target. However, even today the condition of the railway tracks mainly in and around some railway stations needs massive clean up on a day-to-day basis.

An official was quoted as saying: “Railways has outsourced cleanliness drive in almost every zone – incurring a huge expenditure on keeping tracks clean, particularly at station areas”. The results are not encouraging in some stations even today. One of the options would be to monitor the services of a particular outsourcing agency for a limited time and based on results, they should be changed with a better one.

Human excreta littered on tracks at most of the major stations leads to unhygienic condition in and around the railway station premises. Every railway station should have an earmarked area where all the dust and debris including human excreta should be collected, dumped and incinerated.

It is good to hear that in some railway passenger coaches, bio-digester model toilets were installed on a trial basis. Based on their success, railways had planned to install such toilets in about 2,500 trains during 2012-2013. The railways had also used vacuum discharge model of toilets which are at present used in prestigious Shatabdi Express.

According to various estimates, railways would incur an expenditure of about Rs.25 lakh per coach (per train) for converting the toilets on the pattern of airlines; it would cost about Rs.75,000 per coach for using bio-digester system, whereas an Indian version toilet would cost about Rs.3 lakh per coach. The Railways runs more than 40,000 passenger coaches across the country daily.

Responsible people overseeing the cleanliness aspect should be given more power for changing the present hiring system of contractors doing the cleaning job.

Let’s hope the bio-digester model becomes a huge success and is introduced in almost all the passenger coaches within a limited time frame. Additionally, let’s also hope the railway authorities succeed in recruiting the best of the contractors for doing the job of cleaning in the best possible manner – all leading to more and more satisfaction of the passengers.


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