New Delhi: The Minister of Railways Mr Suresh Prabhu has said that ensuring higher standards of cleanliness is of utmost priority for Indian Railways. He said, his Ministry wants to make Swachh Rail the driving force behind the Government’s flagship programme Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
Presenting the Railway Budget 2015-16 in Parliament today, Mr Prabhu said the Railways now works on – Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat. Outlining the proposals on cleanliness he said, the Railways proposes to create a new department for keeping stations and trains clean. Integrated cleaning will be taken up as a specialized activity, which will include engaging professional agencies and also training staff in the latest cleaning practices.
The Minister said that the Railways plans to set up ‘waste to energy’ conversion plants near major coaching terminals to dispose waste in an environment-friendly manner. One pilot plant will be set up, to begin with, followed by more plants in a phased manner.
The Railway Minister said, the condition of toilet facilities in stations and trains needs major improvement. The Railways will build new toilets covering 650 additional stations compared to 120 stations last year. Bio-toilets are being fitted in coaches. He said, so far the Railways has replaced the existing toilets with 17,388 bio toilets. This year it intends to replace another 17,000 toilets. Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) has also been tasked with making available within a period of six months a design for vacuum toilets.
Mr Prabhu said, “Even as the quality of Indian Railways’ On-board Housekeeping Service (OBHS), presently available in 500 pairs of trains, is being re-looked to make it more effective, the Railways will take simple steps immediately to address customer concerns. The feasibility of a disposable bag along with bedroll for the purpose of collecting their garbage is being considered. The coverage of built in dustbins will be extended to non-AC coaches as well.
The Minister appealed all citizens to keep Indian Railways clean as it is their travelling home.