GUWAHATI, Sept 8 - With frequent complaints pouring in regularly from various quarters regarding lack of hygiene and prevalence of littering on railway premises, the Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has started an initiative to streamline monitoring of the state of cleanliness, including using CCTVs, in such places.
In addition, the zonal railways has stepped up action to penalise people found to be engaging in littering inside trains and other railway premises.
�Ensuring cleanliness is a task which involves participation of all stakeholders. The Railways cannot do it on its own. We need the support of the commuters and the general public. For example, a station like Guwahati receives a daily footfall of over 40,000 people. So, cooperation of all who visit the station or use its premises can only ensure cleanliness and hygiene at the place. Besides, cleanliness is not a one-time measure but has to be carried out continuously. As such, we have become stringent on the matter of adherence to rules regarding littering, while at the same time we are also taking steps to provide the common people with facilities to prevent such practices,� a senior NFR official told this newspaper.
He said that NFR has installed CCTVs for monitoring cleanliness at over a dozen major stations across the zone. Among the stations covered under the project are Guwahati, Rangiya, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and New Jalpaiguri.
Even officials of the rank of divisional railway manager at times monitor the CCTVs, besides station masters, commercial officers and Railway Police Force (RPF) officers.
The feed from the CCTVs can also be directly viewed by senior officers at the NFR�s Maligaon headquarters.
�In addition, we have started becoming more proactive in penalising people found involved in littering inside coaches, at platforms and other railway premises. RPF personnel have been authorised to detain offenders and levy penalty. More than Rs 3.65 lakh has been collected from such offenders during the past few months in the NFR zone. As railway premises receive a heavy footfall, they are prone to littering and levy of the penalty can act as a major deterrent,� said the official.
He cited the Railways Act, 1989, which prohibits littering in any �occupied or unoccupied� railway premises and the trains� coaches.
�The law, as it exists, bars an individual from cooking, bathing, spitting, urinating, feeding animals or birds, repairing or washing vehicles, washing utensils or clothes or any other objects or keeping any type of storage in railway premises. A fine of Rs 500 can be imposed on offenders who are found littering the railway premises,� the official added.
NFR has increased provision of dustbins inside trains and on station premises for the benefit of passengers and other people.
�In recent months, the number of dustbins on railway premises in the NFR zone has been increased by over 60 per cent,� said the official, adding that colour segregation of dustbins has also been done to enable separation of dry and wet wastes for easier disposal of the refuse.
�Dustbins are also being provided in all coaches of the trains operated by our zone in a phased manner. So far, NFR has provided dustbins in the toilets of all coaches, while sleeper class coaches are also being provided with dustbins near the entrances. To create better public awareness, frequent announcements are being made in station premises requesting the passengers to maintain cleanliness within stations and informing them about the penalty provisions of the Railway Act,� said the official.