Private company to ensure Ahmedabad station is clean 24/7

Ahmedabad railway station is all set to look as spic-and-span as our international airport. The railway authorities will be assigning the daily cleaning job to a private company. Tenders have been issued for the three-year cleaning contract and Rs 3.4 crore allotted.

The contract licensee will ensure not just clean platforms but even tidy railway tracks, retiring rooms, waiting halls, offices and yards. Cleaning up of the station is a Herculean task considering the fact that it registers a footfall of 1.5 lakh passengers.

As many as 120 people supplied by the company will work in three shifts at the station. They will be supervised by two full-time supervisors who will remain in contact with station authorities.

The concourse halls will be cleaned by uniformed men every two hours, 24/7.

Rag picking will be done on a daily basis. The company will also arrange for 240 dustbins of 150 litres and 120 big spittoons besides mechanised machines to be used for sweeping, scrubbing, drying and water jet cleaning.

In case any of these machines don’t work, these will have to be replaced within three days subject to condition that quality of cleanliness is not affected.

The spittoons will be cleaned and dustbins emptied daily at a designated place in the station area. The work will also be carried out in such a manner that it shall not affect the routine activities in the station area, running of trains or inconvenience passengers.

“Once the private contractor takes over, the existing railway safai karmacharis will be shifted to other departments. Cleanliness is top on the agenda of western railway,” said a source.

Of late, the railways have been making efforts to spruce up their image by ensuring cleaner trains.

A private firm has already been given contract to clean train toilets, basins, floor and mirror when the train halts at Ahmedabad station.

High pressure water-jet cleaning of the trains take place in depots regularly. Recently, on board housekeeping services were also introduced in trains whereby passengers could summon a safai worker whenever required.

Divisional Railway Manager Ashok Garud said: “For the past several years, railways have been focussing on safety, security and cleanliness. We have now floated tenders inviting companies to take up the daily cleaning job of station and tracks. A clean station is a passenger’s right and ensuring it stays that way, his duty.”

Spit on trains, clean up your act

MUMBAI: Churchgate station witnessed a different form of vigilantism on Monday afternoon—that of spit and polish. Some commuters who were caught spitting on trains were cornered by activists armed with buckets of water and mops and told to clean up their act.

“It is so unhygienic to travel in such dirty compartments on a daily basis. I have written numerous letters to the authorities—including railway officials as well as some MPs—to take some steps to stop this disgusting habit. But with no solution in sight, I finally decided to drive some sense into the commuters myself,” said activist Vincent Nazareth.

Incidentally, four days ago, Nazareth, with the help of RPF officers at Mumbai Central, nabbed 10 commuters spitting on railway premises. The offenders were arrested and later fined by the Railway Court.

“The errant commuters were kept in lock-up until the rising of the court. These people should understand that the railways spend Rs 1 lakh a month to clean up one train. They need to stop taking railway property for granted,” added Nazareth.

Railway officials said they welcomed such proactive involvement from the public, but added that a joint drive will be even more helpful and successful. “Earlier, we had undertaken a three-day anti-spitting drive which was very successful and many offenders had been punished. Some were also asked to work as volunteers for railways. Volunteers and activists should take the help of the railways while undertaking such drives,” said SS Gupta, chief PRO of Western Railway.

Disabled-friendly coaches to become a reality

CHENNAI: A long-pending demand for the operation of disabled-friendly coaches may soon become a reality with the Railway Board planning to send a coach with a physicallychallenged- friendly toilet by Carriage and Wagon Works, Perumbur for the approval of Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO).

 Once the RDSO gives its nod, the innovative coach will be inducted into the Indian Railways, said Praveen Kumar, Member (Mechanical), Railway Board, who was briefing journalists on the sidelines of an award function for the ISO 14001 environment management certification that Carriage & Wagon Works has received, here on Friday.

 The top official also inspected a model of a brake van with a solarpowered fan, light and mobile charger, ceramic western commodes and cushion chairs. The model is focused on augmenting basic facilities to increase the comfort level for guards in the running of goods trains.

 Addressing the gathering, Praveen Kumar said, goods handled by the Indian Railways were expected to double in number in another decade. “Our wagons will be handling goods of about 60 million tonnes in 10 years. At present, the figure stands at 30 million tonnes.

 Similarly, the number of coaches is set to be increased by 40,000 in the same period,” he added. Besides, an estimated 20,000 wagons will be renovated every year.

 Deepak Krishan, General Manager, Southern Railway commended the services of Carriage and Wagon Works. Carriage & Wagon Works has been awarded the ISO 14001 environment management system certificate for taking up several initiatives.