If you travel on the Western Railway suburban line, you will observe that repair work is in full swing in station toilets. Much of the credit for this must go to Meena Kaura, an activist from Santacruz.
Ms. Kaura was at Churchgate last week, and went to the ladies toilet there to make adjustments to her sari. She found that the facilities there were filthy. She decided then that she would do something for passengers who are forced to use such a dirty toilet regularly.
Having been a social activist for years, Ms. Kaura knows a few people in politics. Through one of them, she got the phone number of Suresh Prabhu, India’s railway minister. She messaged Mr. Prabhu, telling him about the condition of toilets in suburban railway stations. Her message, which she shared with The Hindu, said, “I am Mrs Meena Kaura, an activist in KRA (with Anandini / Alka Kerkar and associated with Ramakrishna Mission, Khar). Hon’able Sir, after many years I had to use the ladies washroom for commuters at Churchgate station. I was aghast and shocked. Never have I seen such a filthy, smelly, wet toilet. Toilet seats were broken .leaking taps etc. To add insult to injury there the contractor’s employee was extorting Rs 2 each. 2 of the cubicles meant for children were permanently closed since she had stored her personal belongings there. This reflects a bad image to our PM’s Swatch Bharat endeavor.”
Within 24 hours, Ms. Kaura says, she started receiving calls from senior WR officers explaining how they are working on the problem.
WR’s Senior Deputy General Manager (Vigilance) R.K. Lal led a meeting of senior officials. Subsequently, all concerned departments and their heads were given until July 5 to clean up the toilets. An official said, “After that [Mr. Lal] will conduct random visits at stations and if any of the station toilets are found in bad condition, the head of the concerned department will get the harshest punishment which may be suspension or even transfer.” WR has started a 10-day drive in which it will repair and replace fans, lights, exhaust fans, washbasins, doors, and fix drainage issues. This will Moreover, the authorities will be doing 10 day drive for the petty repairs which will not give bad image to the railways till July 5 and others will continue for full month at 26 stations.
Saurabh Prasad, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, WR, said, “Seven new upgraded toilets are being built in suburban section and we are also taking up renovation of twelve toilets. Apart from these, a week-long focused effort to rectify minor shortcomings requiring petty repairs but having immediate impact has been started today. These are part of our continuous efforts to improve customer experience for Mumbai suburban commuters.”
The new toilets are being built at Dadar, Bandra, Andheri, Dahisar, Mira Road & Naigaon. Renovation of toilets at Bandra, Lower Parel & Elphinstone Road is nearly complete.
As for the contractor at Churchgate, after an inspection, he was penalised ₹10,000. He had just been fined ₹5,000 three days ago for bad maintenance of the toilets. An official said the WR was considering terminating his contract, but it was expiring at the end of August in any case.
Source Link – The Hindu