Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Railways spending huge amount to keep tracks clean

PATNA: The railways' ambitious plan of Rs 10,000 crore for toilets in trains like the ones in the airlines or bio-digesters hangs in the balance. As a result, it is spending huge amount to keep the tracks clean, manually. Though railways will find it difficult to arrange so much money for the purpose, it has agreed in principle to execute the new plan at the earliest.

According to sources, while railways will incur about Rs 25 lakh per coach (per train) for making toilets on the pattern of airlines, it will cost about Rs 75,000 per coach for using bio-digester system. An Indian version toilet will cost about Rs 3 lakh per coach.

According to a Railway Board official, railways has been operating more than 40,000 passenger coaches across the country. These coaches are built on the pattern and design approved by Indian Railways as well as by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), he said, adding that railways has been fighting hard to keep tracks clean at major stations.

"In fact, human excreta on tracks at most of the major stations has been affecting hygienic condition in and around railway station premises. Railways has already outsourced cleanliness in almost each zone incurring a huge expenditure on keeping tracks clean, particularly in station areas," he said, adding that it is still facing the passengers' brunt for not keeping the tracks clean.

The bio-digester model of toilet was under trial on Gawalior-Varanansi-Bundelkhand Express. The new system has proved successful so far and railways intended to manufacture such toilets for about 2500 trains in the coming years, the official said. It had earlier decided to manufacture vacuum discharge model of toilets presently in use in Shatabdi Express. This model would cost railways between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 30 lakh per coach. This process is based on German technology, sources said.

In the East Central Railway (ECR), Patna Junction, Mughalsarai, Barauni, Gaya, Dhanbad, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga and other class 'A' stations are facing problems in keeping tracks clean. Railways recently outsourced cleanliness work at these stations, an ECR official said.


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