From wi-fi enabled railway stations to outsourcing of cleaning staff, the Ministry of Railways has big plans to transform railway stations. Here are six steps proposed by the Ministry to make railway stations as clean as Airports and Five-Star Hotels. What do you think?
One thing we all complain about while travelling in India is cleanliness. Be it bus stands or railway stations, the condition is appalling. But with such a huge population and limited resources, is it really possible to make railway stations as clean as airports?
Well, the Ministry of Railways thinks it is. The current Railway Minister of India Suresh Prabhu has proposed a detailed plan to make these train stations more welcoming. Here is how the ministry plans to do it –
1. Officers to adopt one railway station each
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu proposed an interesting solution by asking officials working in the Railway Department to adopt one railway station each in order to ensure proper cleanliness. Around 700 railway stations will be part of this programme where individual officers will adopt a station to take care of its cleaning and maintenance. The stations have been chosen according to the significant movement of the trains. We indeed look forward to seeing how the officials transform their stations.
2. Cleanliness of 50 major railway stations to be outsourced
The increasing complaints about lack of cleanliness have made the Railways seek external help for the upkeep of its stations. The ministry will hire private agencies to keep the stations, platforms, parking areas, approach road, buildings and trains clean and hygienic.
The agency will also be responsible for garbage picking, segregation of waste, pest control and disinfection. The staff will be provided uniform and other necessary gear. Also, the current government staff will be reassigned to the locations where privatization has not been planned so there are more hands to help there.
The stations selected for integrated cleaning contract are-
Nasik Road, Solapur, Jalgaon, Howrah, Sealdah, Bhagalpur, Patna, Mughalsarai, Gaya, Vishakapatnam, Bhubaneswar, Puri, New Delhi, Delhi, Varanasi, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Allahabad, Kanpur, Jhansi, Gorakhpur, Lucknow Jn, Kathgodam, Rangiya, New Bongaigaon, Kishanganj, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmer, Chennai Central, Egmore, Trivandrum Central, Secunderabad, Vijayawada, Tirupati, Kharagpur, Tatanagar, Ranchi, Raipur, Bilaspur, Durg, Hospet, Vasco-Da-Gama, Belgaum, Mumbai Central Main, Bandra Terminus, Vadodara, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Kota.
3. Learning from five star hotels
In order to get the desired results, the ministry has asked officials who are in charge of railway stations to visit well maintained public places like Airports, Hospitals and Five-Star hotels. Regular supervision will be done and each area will be attended by staff the entire day according to their shifts. The inspection will be very rigorous and will even check the foot marks of the passengers on the ground. Though some officials have second thoughts about such an extensive cleanliness drive which might not be feasible at places which sees lakhs of visitors every day, it will be interesting to see how the initiative pans out. CCTV cameras will be used to keep track of all the activities at the station.
4. Replacing and cleaning the flooring, walls, etc.
The broken surfaces of the station will be replaced for easy cleaning. Steam cleaners would be used to remove stains from all smooth surfaces such as floors, walls, wash-basins, urinals etc. Bio-enzyme products will be used to kill odour in the urinals and on the tracks.
5. Enabling wi-fi
In a bid to create technology-friendly premises, the Railways has targeted to provide wi-fi facilities to 400 “A1” and “A” category railway stations. Bangalore station was the first to get wi-fi in the country. The ministry launched free wi-fi services in Delhi on December 4. The facility will be free of cost for the initial 30 minutes. After that you can buy browsing time through your credit card or through the Wi-fi desk at the station. The facility is provided by Rail Tel – a railways PSU providing telecom infrastructure. Mumbai will be the next city to avail this facility.
6. No eateries at the platform
The food stalls create a huge amount of waste at railway stations. Hence, Prabhu has also proposed to ban cooking at the railway stations and shifting out of commercial stalls and eateries to keep the platform safe and clean. While this will certainly put a lot of small vendors out of n business and inconvenience passengers in terms of food options, it might be the need of the hour to bring things under control.
Read the entire press release by the ministry here. We look forward to the successful implementation of the plan and hope to see the stations as clean as airports and five star hotels!