March 22nd, 2016
Trains Without Toilets
To improve sanitation facilities for its commuters, Indian Railways is modifying the toilets in trains across India, however, there are still many trains running without toilet facilities. Akhand, a human rights activist from Odisha, had filed an RTI asking Railways about how many passenger trains in the country are running without toilets. S.Vijay, the PIO of Eastern Railway headquarter, Kolkata replied that there are 58 passenger trains without toilets in the Eastern Railways. Information from other zones is still awaited.
The Menace Of Open Defecation
In December 2013, Akhand had filed another petition regarding the open defecation. The direct discharge of human waste from the toilets in trains can cause various diseases, such as diarrhea and also results in corrosion of tracks which in return costs in crores to repair the tracks. At a time when the Centre is advocating the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, problems like those of open defecation from railways should be resolved sooner than later.
Railways have Promises To Keep
The Indian Railways has assured to improve the condition of toilet facilities on trains and at stations. It has also assured to eliminate the problem of open defecation by 2021-22, for that railway is trying to do away with direct discharge toilets in all new passenger coaches. In this year’s budget, Railways has decided to fit 17,000 bio-toilets and many vacuum toilets in long-distance trains. There will be an additional 275 toilets on different stations before the end of this financial year. Besides, people travelling in trains will also be able to request cleaning of toilets via SMS. In another effort to keep the rail tracks and stations clean, the Railways has launched a cleanliness drive and has collected a fine of four crores against damaging and littering the railway stations.
The Logical Indian is appalled by the extent of open defecation and lack of toilets in the trains. However Mr Suresh Prabhu has had a commendable record so far as a Railway Minister and we are confident, adequate measures will be implemented to make the situation better, sooner than later.