Sanitation and maintenance in of trains and stations on the Indian Railways network: Modernization and upgradation of railway stations and trains has been one of the priorities for Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry and several steps have been taken towards enhancing cleanliness on the network. In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, the Railway Ministry recently stated that special attention is being given towards cleanliness. The ministry also added that efforts are being taken to keep railway stations and train coaches including toilets in a properly maintained and clean condition. Some of the key initiatives taken by the national transporter for the cleanliness of trains and stations are as follows:
1) Under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, special cleanliness campaign was launched across the entire Indian Railways’ network on 2 October 2014. Since then, regular campaigns or drives have been conducted with the only goal to achieve significant as well as sustainable improvements in cleanliness standards. The drives include announcements over public announcement system, display of posters and banners, ‘Nukkad Nataks’ on cleanliness theme, involvement of social or charitable organizations and NGOs as well as wide participation of staff.
2) Indian Railways intensified the provision of mechanized cleaning contracts along with improved processes as well as machinery at major railway stations. At present, nearly 500 railway stations across the country undergo mechanized cleaning.
3) Under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, installation of bio-toilets in coaches (excluding EMUs) have been intensified in order to avoid the dropping of night soils on the platform lines. The national transporter now plans to install bio-toilets in the entire broad gauge coaching fleet of its network by next year.
4) The cleaning of train coaches including the toilets of train coaches is carried out at both ends through mechanized cleaning by Indian Railways.
5) The railways has increased the coverage of On Board Housekeeping Service (OBHS). At present, for cleaning of toilets, aisles, doorways and compartments during the run of the trains, OBHS is provided in over 1050 pairs of train services including Shatabdi Express, Rajdhani Express and other important long-distance Express and Mail trains.
6) Indian Railways also introduced Coach Mitra facility in nearly 1000 pairs of OBHS trains. The facility is a single window interface in order to register coach related requirements of railway passengers such as train lighting, cleaning, linen, air conditioning, disinfection and watering of coaches.
7) Since 2016, in an attempt to identify weak points that require more attention on cleanliness, to get feedback and instill healthy competition, the national transporter carries out third-party audit and ranking of 407 major railway stations on cleanliness, annually. Recently, a third party survey has also been conducted for assessment of cleanliness of 209 important train services.
8) In order to improve the effectiveness of cleaning and housekeeping contracts, Indian Railways has issued Standard bid document (SBD) as well as General Condition of Contract for Services (GCCS).
The ministry further informed that as per norms, all the train coaches are given periodic maintenance, wherein all the safety and amenity fittings are checked for smooth functioning and the components that are defective, are repaired or replaced. During maintenance, proper cleaning, as well as full watering of all train coaches, are also ensured by Indian Railways.