Acute shortage of water at Surat Railway station

SURAT: It is said that the first impression is the last impression. One wonders what impressions do the visitors from other states and abroad take back upon their arrival at Surat railway station. The Diamond City is ranked as the world’s fourth fastest growing cities. But the first thing that would catch a visitor’s eye at the city’s railway station is its filthy railway platforms and the tracks littered with garbage and excreta. The three water huts on the platforms are filthy and without water. The passengers are forced to buy mineral water bottles from the stalls at higher rates.

After Mumbai and Ahmedabad on the western line, Surat is the busiest railway station where tens of thousands of passengers arrive daily. But when it comes to cleanliness and water facilities, it could be one of the filthiest.

The railway authorities seem to have no interest in keeping the railway station in proper order. Interestingly, the railway ministry announced that Surat would be developed as a model railway station in 2008.

Despite tens of thousands of passengers arriving at the railway station to board different trains, the railway authorities have not fitted enough benches for the passengers. There are a few benches and that too are occupied by vendors and unwanted elements.

Shailesh Pradhan, a resident of Mumbai, said, “There is no water on the platforms and one is forced to buy water bottle from the stalls. The toilets are stinking and overflowing with human excreta. I thought Surat is the cleanest city, but there is no cleanliness at the railway station.”

As the water problem is acute during the summer season, porters have made water arrangements at the railway station by placing two tanks for the passengers. Everyday, fresh water is filled into the tanks to quench the thirst of the passengers.

Rakesh, a coolie at railway station, said, “There is no water at the railway station. Hence, we are providing drinking water facility to the passengers.”

Rais Mirza, station manager, said, “The cleanliness contract has been outsourced and we have penalized the contractor several times. Now, we have decided to change the contractor for better maintenance of the railway platforms. As far as the water problem is concerned, soon the water huts will have enough water for the passengers.”