Rlys declares war on rodents, with sticks, torches…

The Railways is at war, and the baddies in this conflict are rats and cockroaches. As part of a critical operation to make railway coaches more hygienic, railway employees — armed with sticks, torches and magnifying glasses — are being pressed into service in locomotive yards. The crack units have been entrusted with the task of plugging cracks and crevices that double up as homes for rodents and winged pests. Forensic experts have been requisitioned to flush the uninvited “refugees” out with aluminum phosphide, fumigant tablets and toxin-laced goodies.

Passenger coaches, on the other hand, are being fitted with glue boards that trap rats, allowing staffers to unceremoniously end their existence.

This initiative of the Railways stems out of recent recommendations of a departmental committee, heavily inspired by a 2010 policy on ‘Prevention and control of pests and rodents in trains’.

HT had earlier reported that rodents, spiders and cockroaches were having a free run in railway coaches — much to the discomfort of everybody concerned. “But now we are all set to tackle this problem. The campaign will be launched within a week. We have already got the rats on the run,” a ministry official said.

However, the officials know that the war is far from over. Bracing itself for a bitter, drawn-out campaign, the Railways has decided to bolster its ranks by roping in private players. Consequently, “the model conditions of contracts” for engaging private players through the Public Private Partnership mode have been firmed up. “Some contracts have been signed, and there are many more in the pipeline,” an official said.

According to the terms of the agreement, private pest control operators have to obtain the approval of plant protection officers of state agriculture departments, or the Faridabad-based Central Integrated Pest Management Centre.


Published in: on July 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Railway’s Green Army

In their free time, these rail employees work to produce vermicompost in the Matunga workshop

Their main job is to ensure that Mumbai’s lifeline runs smoothly, but in their spare time, a group of 15 to 20 railway employees at the Matunga Railway Workshop devote their time to doing something productive for society.

All volunteers associated with the Aniruddha Academy of Disaster Management (AADM), these railway employees have been actively involved in preparing vermicompost in large pits in the workshop area, using commonly available household waste.

On of these volunteers is Dinesh More, a sectional engineer in the cushioning department, who spearheads the project. More and his associates also offer free consultancy services on preparing vermicompost to other institutions and organisations in and around the Mumbai and Konkan region.

Two years ago, the workshop was awarded the ISO 14001 certificate. However, before it was issued, the Central Railway was asked to create a vermicompost plant within the premises. The officials of Matunga workshop had even thought of floating tenders to build the vermicompost plant, an effort that would have cost the Central Railway about Rs 10 lakh. It was then that the chief workshop manager happened to hear of More’s skill and requested him to set up the plant.

Today, the workshop produces 6,000 kg of vermicompost fertiliser annually. “The compost is used by the railways in their gardens and is also given free of cost to railway employees,” says A K Tiwari, Chief Workshop Manager (CWM) of the Matunga workshop.