New Delhi: Aiming at providing hygienic condition at rail premises, the Railways has decided to undertake cleanliness drive at about 100 important stations across the country and equip maximum number of coaches with bio-toilets.
Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has written to General Managers of all zonal railways to ensure cleanliness at 100 stations with more than 10 lakh population and with religious and tourists importance.
The stations have been identified for taking up cleanliness drive in the first phase, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said at the Consultative Committee meeting here today.
The agenda of the meeting was `Railways ongoing projects`.
Bansal said that more and more coaches will be provided with bio-toilets and the washing aprons are being provided at the stations.
Emphasising on cleanliness, he also informed the committee that a team of officers of Railway Board will be formed who will go around the country to undertake inspections to ensure cleanliness.
The Union minister said that he has recently gone around the country and visited and inspected some stations with a view to improve level of cleanliness and personally giving priority to safety, punctuality and cleanliness.
Referring to the catering services, the minister said that efforts are on to provide quality catering services at station and in running trains.
The committee was informed that new tenders are being floated and base kitchens are being constructed to cook food in the most hygienic environment.
Expressing concern over the accidents at unmanned level crossings, Bansal said that railways is constantly working to eliminate such crossings and cooperation of state governments is being sought in this regard.
Bansal said that the elected representative through the
Consultative Committee have been presenting demands and needs of common people and Indian Railways is committed to look into these demands and work as far as possible towards meeting people`s aspirations.
He emphasised that there is need to ensure balanced development of all regions and assured the Consultative Committee that all states in the country will get their due in the development of railway related facilities.
Bansal said that several ongoing projects of new line construction, gauge conversion and doubling, worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore are pending.
"Due to resource constraint, it is a very challenging task to complete them," he said and added "Railways will do its best to complete them as far as possible but the financial constraints need to be addressed."
Elaborating the reason for recent passenger fare hike, Bansal said that basic fares had not been revised in the last ten years and losses in passenger segment have increased substantially over the years.
He pointed out that as a consequence, internal resource generation was seriously impacted, resulting in scaling down of Annual Plan size, which has now been limited to Rs 51,000 crore in 2012-13 as against Rs 61,000 crore that was originally targeted.
Similarly, fund balances became negative in 2011-12, adversely affecting essential replacement/renewal of assets, operation and maintenance activities and critical safety and passenger amenity works.
He emphasised that it was in view of these factors, that increasing passenger fares had became unavoidable.
Referring to the recent deaths of some elephants in train accidents, the Union minister said that Railways is in touch with the forest departments of respective state governments so as to avoid such unfortunate incidents.