Release Funds Or We Will Terminate On-Board Housekeeping Services In Trains: Southern Railways To Ministry
The Southern Railway has sent an SOS to the Ministry of Railways to release funds before the end of this month failing which they will have to terminate on-board housekeeping services(OBHS), pest control and supply of linen contracts on its 110 long-distance trains.
Southern Railway is immediately looking forward to receiving a fund of Rs 152 crore to pay the pending bills of Rs 22 crore to the contractors and Rs 130 crore to maintain the housekeeping services.
The issue of the inadequate fund was raised on July 5, 2019, but was not addressed by the Ministry forcing the General Manager Rahul Jain, to write again, reported The Hindu.
In his letter, Jain wrote, “The existing funds will be enough for us only for the bills raised for works done in the month of August-September 2019. In the face of such shortage of funds, Southern Railway shall have no option but to stop all OBHS work on all 110 trains in a few weeks’ time and thus would have to start issuing contract termination notices shortly.”
The Southern Railway for the financial year 2019-20 were allocated Rs 108 crore against its projected requirement of funds of Rs 194 crore.
The unprecedented cash crunch surfaced after the Railway Board started stressing on the central government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and other campaigns highlighting cleanliness. After the introduction of OBHS, passenger complaints about stinking toilets, unclean bed sheets, and dirty coaches dropped precipitously.
A senior official was quoted in the English daily saying that ‘dozen of contractors’ handle the entire OBHS, pest control and linen supply services. But the railways lack manpower for continuing these services if the contracts are terminated. He also said that this is the first time they have faced such a financial crisis.
The Ministry of Railways a few days ago had released the “New Railways-New Tamil Nadu” document which highlights achievement obtained under the Narendra Modi government in the last five years. The document also underlined that the Modi government has increased the budget to the railways by 125 per cent since 2014 -2019 in comparison to 2009-14.
The Logical Indian Take
The government should take prompt action and release the funds to facilitate the smooth running of cleaning services and provide a better travelling experience to the passengers. The railway is an important mode of transport in the country. People from all section of society rely on trains for their day to day commute.