For a city much-cherished across the country as being eminently liveable, one of Pune’s main entry points, its railway station, is rather unwelcoming with its litter, stench, beggars and stray dogs, among other things.
Endorsement of the griminess comes in the final survey report for cleanliness ranking, which lists Pune junction as among the 28 unclean major railway stations in the country. The station ranks an abysmal 391out of 407 in the category of A1and A railway stations on the cleanliness count.Pune, incidentally , is one of the 75 A1 railway stations in the country .
The survey , commissioned by the director of environment and housekeeping management of the Railway Board, dubs Pune station as “below average“ and puts it in level 5 for cleanliness. The pre liminary survey report released in March this year had also ranked Pune as one of the dirtiest stations in India.
Beas railway junction in Punjab was rated the cleanest station in the A1A category. It was followed by Gandhidham, Vasco, Jamnagar, Kumbakonam, Surat, Nasik Road, Rajkot, Salem and Ankleshwar stations. Bringing up the rear in this category were Madhubani, Ballia, Bakhtiyarpur, Raichur and Shahganj.
Surat took the top honours for cleanliness among railway stations in the A1A category with a footfall of more than 50,000 passengers a day. It was followed by Panvel, Yesvantpur, Bangalore, Secunderabad, Dadar, Kozhikode, Kalyan, Chennai and Mumbai CST. The bottom-ranked stations here were Howrah, Delhi, Bhopal, Naihati Jn, Sealdah, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Bandel, Ghaziabad, Barddhaman and, of course, Pune. The survey was launched under the Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan with the objective of measuring passenger satisfaction regarding cleanliness at railway stations. Passengers were asked to rate cleanliness on 40 parameters.Feedback was taken from railway officials at each station, who were part of the Service Improvement Group (SIG), and licensed porters and vendors.
The survey was conducted by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation through TNS India Private Limited. The private agency had previously been involved in the annual health survey (2010-11) and cleanliness ranking of major cities (2014), among other survey related requirements of the government.
Commuter groups were unequivocal that the railways had a lot to do by way of cleaning Pune station. They pointed out to the huge, empty promises made about the station over the years. Former railway ministers Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mamata Banerjee had listed Pune to be one of the stations to have world class facilities.
Railway Pravasi group chairperson Harsha Shah said it was pertinent that the cleanliness survey had been done by the railways itself. “Many unauthorized people, vendors and beggars roam around the station premises. They litter the platforms and relieve themselves in trains waiting at the station. Passengers too should take up the responsibility of maintaining hygiene,“ she said.
Shah said there were not enough toilets for hundreds of railway personnel, porters and the police. “Many of them too relieve themselves in waiting trains,“ she lamented.
A commuter, Devdutt Kate, said that while there has been a lot of improvement in the last six months, much more needs to be done. “Railway staff and the police must conduct regular checks at the station premises. Ticket checkers are absent during the day . Several unauthorized persons visit the platforms,“ he said.
Railway officials, however, insisted that no effort was being spared to maintain cleanliness. Pune divisional railway manager B K Dadabhoy said the platforms were much cleaner now. “The stench that used to pervade the premises is gone.People are already commenting about how the station has become much cleaner,“ he said. “We have appointed a private agency with a 145-member staff to clean the station. The agency works three shifts.Health inspectors and 46 CCTV cameras monitor the cleanliness. Often, passengers litter the platforms and tracks. They , too, should learn to maintain hygiene,“ he said.
Dadabhoy said two special squads, Tejas and Jaagte Raho, have been formed to evict trespassers and beggars during the night hours. “Earlier, more than 200 beggars would roam the station premises and defecate at night, which is hardly the case now. Our officials pay regular visits to the station,“ he added.
Source : TOI