New Delhi: Stung by complaints of overflowing and stinking toilets, the Railways has now deployed its senior officials to personally inspect trains across the country and find its ”root cause”, officials said Tuesday.
The second phase will likely involve deploying Railway Board level officials to travel in 3AC coaches of trains for 24 hours to experience the problems faced by passengers, they said. Over the last three days, 544 inspections have already been completed by senior officials, who are usually the signing authority for such inspections which are carried out by their juniors.
Social media is full of such complaints from passengers travelling by trains where the complaints range from lack of water in toilets to cleanliness issues and leakage.
One such complaint which really created a stink for the Railways occurred in April this year when a passenger travelling on the New Delhi-Bilaspur Rajdhani Express had human waste all over him when he flushed the bio-toilet after use. The passenger complained to the Northern Railway which led to several rounds of meetings of senior officials where components of the toilet was reviewed.
The Railways, which plans to cover as many trains as possible over the next few days, has, in a first, mobilised senior officials in the zones like divisional railway managers, additional divisional railway managers, principal chief mechanical engineers and others.
”The idea of assigning senior officials is to ensure that even they get to see what is happening at the ground level. It is important that they see for themselves what kind of problems the passengers are facing while they are thinking of better solutions for them. It is imperative to find the ”root cause” of the problems.
”The second phase will likely involve Railway Board level officials who will take on 24-hour journeys in 3AC coaches to see what kind of problems are faced by passengers,” a senior official said.
Indian Railways’ much-flaunted bio-toilet programme, aimed at providing a clean and hygienic environment in rail premises, has come unstuck as passenger complaints of choked and stinking toilets on trains are rising.
In an evaluation of 25,000 toilets for the period under review (2016-17), the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) detected 1,99,689 defects and deficiencies. It has found an increased number of choking of toilets as compared to the previous year.
Before CAG, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras and IIT Kanpur in a report said the bio-toilets were no better than ”septic tanks” and the water they let out was no better than ”raw sewage”.
Responding to the CAG findings, the railway ministry said its criticism was ”not correct” and that ”some problems of choking were occurring on account of misuse of toilets by passengers and these issues are being dealt with promptly”. The national transporter did not agree with the IIT reports either.