Chennai

Suburban stations may soon have well-maintained toilets

New initiative:A ‘pay and use’ public toilet at the Basin Bridge Station. —Photo: R. Ragu

New initiative:A ‘pay and use’ public toilet at the Basin Bridge Station. —Photo: R. Ragu  

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Southern Railway ropes in contractors to maintain facilities at 100 stations

The Southern Railway has begun the task of appointing personnel to maintain public toilets in all railway stations in Chennai Division.

Unlike in the past where the officials here followed guidelines from the Railway Board, the recent decision to appoint personnel at public toilets was made at the zonal headquarters itself.

They had now roped in six contractors to maintain toilets in 100 stations for one year. Officials said that over 70 stations on the suburban network on the three routes – Chennai Beach – Chengalpattu; Chennai Central and Beach to Arakkonam and Gummidipoondi in addition to Mass Rapid Transit System would be covered.

Among the six contractors was Puthu Vaazhvu, an initiative of the State government and one of the agencies entrusted with the task of toilet maintenance. Earlier, contractors would ignore maintenance of toilets in those stations where there was very little patronage.

Now, they had drawn up contracts on a ‘no loss, no profit’ basis. Puthu Vaazhvu, sources said, were given the contract of maintaining pay and use toilets in 45 stations on the Central and Beach to Arakkonam and Gummidipoondi sectors.

The income from user charges from commuters would be used by staff to maintain them, sources said.

They said the problem of lack of patronage is bound to be a problem at stations beyond Ambattur or Ennore as staff there will depend entirely on user charges only not just for maintenance, but also their livelihood.

Railway officials, however, were hopeful of a change for the better now that most stations in the Chennai Division were being manned.

They said they were targeting 100 per cent coverage of toilets in all station in the Division.

Commuters said the proper maintenance of public toilets was crucial. “There is an old man who looks after the pay and use toilet on platform no. 5. For the 9 platforms here, this is the only toilet,” said C. Nagaiah at Basin Bridge station.

The Madras High Court in February, it may be recalled, had directed Southern Railway to ensure proper toilets and drinking water in suburban stations on a petition filed by Satta Panchayat Iyakkam.



Officials said that over 70 stations on three routes of the suburban network would be covered



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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:16:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/Suburban-stations-may-soon-have-well-maintained-toilets/article14426628.ece

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