Railways Ministry under its new minister Suresh Prabhu has just revealed its plan to clean up railway stations across the country. And it's pretty detailed. Here are the highlights.
1. 50 major stations will be the focus in the first phase of cleanliness reforms.
These 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, Drug, Hospet, Vasco-Da-Gama, Belgaum, Mumbai Central Main, Bandra Terminus, Vadodara, Bhopal, Jabalpur and Kota
2. Railway station cleaning to be outsourced under one integrated contract.
So often at stations there are multiple agencies handling cleanliness. Some incharge of tracks, some of the platform and others of the eating and waiting areas. What this creates is zero accountability and often total chaos. The Ministry wants to change that. So one vendor will be given a contract to cover cleanliness for the entire station including tracks, platforms, all parts of the building, concourse, approach road, parking area etc.
3. While cleanliness management will be privatized, existing department/government safai karamcharis will not be fired.
Current staff will be reassigned to stations where privatization is not planned. This will ensure there is no mixed management of private and government cleanliness staff at any station. Again, ensures accountabilty. Where cleanliness is done through railway departmental staff, deployment of staff would be rationalized shift-wise and area-wise to ensure that each area is attended to regularly at all times throughout the day.
4. The flooring of platforms and the wall surfaces will be changed/repaired so that they are amenable to be worked on by steam cleaners.
5. Stations will smell good and hopefully be free of rats!
The government circular recommends use of bio-enzyme products to kill bad odour in the urinals and in the concrete aprons on the tracks. Pest and rodent control will also be an integral part of the Integrated Cleanliness Contract.
6. Watch and learn will be the mantra!
The Medical Officers/Commercial Officers who are in charge of the station cleanliness and chief Health Inspectors (CHIs) would visit well maintained public places like Airports, Five-star Hotels and Corporate Hospitals to observe and learn from their upkeep practices.
7. Big Brother will be watching!
The station CCTV infrastructure will be deployed not just to monitor security but also to check that the cleaning staff is doing their job!