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News Entry# 289106
Dec 19 2016 (19:06)  Southern Railway lagging in cleanliness of stations, trains (
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News Entry# 289106     
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Southern Railway has emerged among the top three zones in the country that have recorded more number of complaints from passengers on issues related to cleanliness of trains and railway stations.
This was pointed out at a high-level review convened by the Railway Board in New Delhi on the performance in housekeeping of stations and trains. Southern Railway, as well as Western Railway, was also found to be lagging in implementing the ambitious On Board Housekeeping Services (OBHS) scheme, railway sources said on Sunday.
It was pointed out that many zones had not
formed an exclusive organisation for integrated housekeeping management and that there was also an undue delay in rolling out schemes such as the OBHS that were crucial to effectively implementing the Swachh Bharat campaign and other such initiatives.
Southern Railway has six divisions and operates about 1,300 trains across 736 railway stations in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Puducherry and Karnataka. The zone was represented by three senior officers at the review meeting.
Considering the best practices in other railways, it was suggested that housekeeping contracts be monitored more closely to ensure that the contractors deployed adequate resources to produce results of desired quality and standards. If the performance was not found satisfactory, the zones were told to terminate the agreement after issuing three warnings with the deposit being forfeited. .
Besides utilising a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) network for monitoring the cleanliness of stations, railway officials should introduce biometric attendance system for cleaning staff and also monitor their work by deploying Radio Frequency Identity (RFID) tags, they were told.
It was noted at the meeting that though a sum of Rs. 1,693 crore was allotted for housekeeping of stations and trains for the financial year 2016-17, expenditure booked on station housekeeping was “substantially low”.
Though the details of expenditure for the Rs. 1,400 crore disbursed for the purpose in 2015-16 had been called for, only Eastern Railway, North Central Railway, North Eastern Railway and South East Central Railway submitted the figures.
In another meeting of Chief Mechanical Engineers convened by the Railway Board, emphasis was again laid on the housekeeping of stations and trains. The participants were told that cleanliness efforts were being closely monitored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that all CMEs should focus more on the same. They were advised that payment to contract labourers engaged in cleanliness drives be made online directly to their respective bank accounts to ensure that money reached the right person. When contacted, a senior railway official said though hundreds of trains passed through areas under Southern Railway’s jurisdiction, the responsibility for maintenance was confined to only 100 trains. “Of these, we have introduced OBHS and the ‘clean our coach’ app on 28 trains and another 40 trains will be added to this list soon. The contract conditions are tough and hence, few are coming forward to participate in the tender. The scheme should be modified a little to make it workable,” he added.
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