Railway facilities are the same as they were 100 years back… Privatise the railway stations and modernise them, Prime Minister Modi recently said while flagging off the first train linking Meghalaya. “Stations should be better than airports as most travellers are poor people. We can easily have trains running below and commercial properties above (floor),” he reasoned.
Implementing on the one-man committee, E Sreedharan’s interim report, Indian Railways has identified and announced 50 ‘A1’ & ‘A’ category stations where cleanliness standard will be upgraded to that of the airports’.
As indicated in Sreedharan’s report, the tendering process and power centralization has been a roadblock to the speedy developments, as it needs ministry approval. The board is ready to tackle the issue, “Powers will be delegated to GMs and DRMs for speedy implementation of projects, helping prevail the transparency and merit.” Infusing transparency in the tendering process, Railways is set to collaborate with TCS for streamlining the e-tendering process that would help cut red-tape, check corruption and speed up implementation of projects.
Recently appointed Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu has been emphasizing on sustained cleanliness activities on Indian Railways and the Board has issued guidelines to the zones for inviting tenders for engaging professional/reputed agencies for the purpose of outsourcing of cleanliness at 50 major railways stations.
Clean India Journal spoke to the service providers currently engaged in Railway cleaning. As far as tender guidelines are concerned, the service providers have their own concerns. Sonal Chitroda, Chairperson-All Services Global Pvt Ltd commented, “We strongly feel that the contracts should not be awarded only on basis of L-1 consideration, but should be given on the basis of quality, reliability, experience in the field, compliance to statutory obligations and other merits. There should be a proper weightage for assessing the contractors.”
In a discussion conducted by Clean India Journal in Delhi, service providers raised valid points on railway cleaning contracts and cleanliness. “Railway stations, where there is maximum traffic, should be one of the cleanest places. While the government is awarding contracts on T1 and L1 basis, the cleaning contractors alone cannot ensure that the area is always clean. The people using the area have to be made aware about cleanliness and how to use the place. Even the cleaning worker himself is unaware about cleanliness and hygiene.”
Speaking on whether Railways will stick to the same old L1 proceedings or it may consider other proposals too, Anil Saxena, Additional Director General-Indian Railways, said, “The bidding will be done in two steps. The first step will be about the technical specifications, specifying all the technical requirements to upgrade the manual cleaning to mechanised cleaning. Bidding companies fulfilling these requirements will further be invited for the second the step that will have the financial specifications. Hence the tendering process will be more robust.”
Guidelines for cleanliness benchmarks and monitoring
The cleanliness contract should be an integrated contract covering the entire station which shall include the whole geographical area of the station covering tracks, platforms, all parts of the building, concourse, approach road, parking area. In case of an enroute station the area between the two home signals and in case of a terminal station, from the entry to the circulating areas of the station to the home signal. Zonal Railways may also include the coaching depots if they are located within the geographical area of the stations.
The scope of the cleanliness contracts shall include all areas and aspects of cleanliness, i.e., cleaning of the entire station area including tracks, rag/rubbish picking, disinfection, pest and rodent control, garbage collection, segregation of waste, disposal etc.
The cleaning contract should be given to one single agency and there should be no mixed system of management. Departmental staff should be redeployed to nearby stations which are managed departmentally ending the mixed system prevailing there too.
Where cleanliness is done through departmental staff, deployment of staff should be rationalized shift-wise and area-wise to ensure that each area is attended to regularly at all times throughout the day.
The surface of the platform, concourse area including the cladding of the walls should be reviewed and broken Kota/Shahabad stones or granites should be replaced to make the surface amenable to easy cleaning.
The Medical Officers/Commercial Officers who are in charge of the station cleanliness and chief Health Inspectors (CHIs) should visit well maintained public places like Airports, Five-star Hotels and Corporate Hospitals to observe and learn from their upkeep practices.
Regular supervision of the contractors of AC waiting halls on Platforms, Vehicle Parking lots, loading and unloading of parcels and catering units in the station should be undertaken.
Steam cleaners should be used to remove stains from all smooth surfaces such as floors, walls, washbasins, urinals etc. Use of bio-enzyme products to kill bad odour in the urinals and in the concrete aprons on the tracks.Pest and rodent control should be an integral part of the Integrated Cleanliness Contract.
CCTVs already installed/ those under installation as part of the Integrated Security Scheme should be utilized for monitoring cleanliness activities.
The Division shall prescribe the details of the uniform and the protective gear which will be have to be provided to the staff by the contractor from the first day of starting of the contract.
Fifty major stations selected for integrated cleanliness contractare; Nasik Road, Solapur, Jalgaon, Howrah, Sealdah, Bhagalpur, Patna, Mughalsarai, Gaya, Vishakapatnam, Bhubaneswar, Puri, New Delhi, Delhi, Varanasi, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Al l ahabad, Kanpu r, J hansi , Gorakhpur, Lucknow Jn, Kathgodam, Ra ng iya , New Bonga igaon, Kishanganj, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmer, Chennai Central, Egmore, Trivandrum Central, Secunderabad, Vijayawada, Tirupati, Kharagpur, Tatanagar, Ranchi, Raipur, Bilaspur, Drug, Hospet, Vasco-Da-Gama, Belgaum, Mumbai Central Main, Bandra Terminus, Vadodara, Bhopal, Jabalpur and Kota.
Third party auditing to improve hygiene at railways premise
Af ter having a detailed and periodic assessment of the catering services, a Centralized Catering Services Monitoring Cell (CSMC) has been set up at national level along with a defined Quality Assurance Programme with passenger opinion feedback scheme to improve the quality of catering services on trains. Further, to improve the quality and hygiene of catering services, Third Party Audit of catering services are to be conducted at periodic intervals by independent and reputed auditing agencies accredited by NABCB (National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies) as empanelled by the Zonal Railways. The parameters for audit include all aspects of catering services like personal hygiene, infrastructure facilities, cleaning and sanitation, food safety, storage facilities, implementation of regulatory, statutory and safety regulations, quality of presentation etc.