Monday, April 4, 2016

K. MANIKANDAN


Need for change:No station from Chennai Division made it to the list based on cleanliness levels. —Photo: R. Ragu

Passengers demand that authorities step up the sanitation drive in all stations

Restriction on use-and-throw cups and non-degradable waste can help raise the levels of cleanliness at the city railway stations, especially Chennai Central and Egmore, passengers said.

With over four lakh people using the principal train termini of Chennai Central and Egmore every day, the amount of litter left behind is huge, leaving Railways with the mammoth task of ensuring cleanliness of these two stations.

Food waste, vegetable and fruit peels, empty sachets of ready-to-eat food, use-and-throw plastic and paper cups, glasses and plates primarily contribute to the quantity of waste generated in these stations — over five tonnes a day. Railway officials said that cleanliness of railway stations, especially platforms and track maintenance, was being given top priority, especially after the Central government launched the Swachch Bharat movement.

“The platforms seem to be alright, but tracks are the problematic areas. They are dirty anytime of the day,” said V. Gopinath of the city and a frequent traveller on long-distance trains to the southern districts. In Chennai Central too, passengers have a similar complaint. “I see staff mopping the floors regularly, but tracks are always an eyesore,” said E. Kishore. Recently when the Ministry of Railways released a list of stations based on their cleanliness levels, none from Chennai Division made to it.

Both Central and Egmore received a ranking of level 3 among A1 category of stations (non-suburban stations with an annual passenger earning of more than Rs. 50 crore) and were placed 29{+t}{+h}and 34{+t}{+h}respectively among 75 stations surveyed across India.

The list was released following a study: Assessment of Cleanliness Standards of Major Railway Stations based on passenger survey, done by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and commissioned by Railway Board.

Southern Railway officials said that while it was heartening to note that stations like Madurai and Coimbatore were placed several notches higher, it was disappointing that Chennai Central and Egmore were not ranked higher.

They said there was a visible improvement in the overall cleanliness and hygiene levels at these two stations. Officials said they had engaged 180 contract workers at the Egmore station and more than 200 workers at Central and they were working in different shifts continuously.

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