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Railways score low on sanitation and hygiene

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has slammed railways for its failure to effectively implement Railway Board’s guidelines for mechanized cleaning of major stations and not taking effective pest control measures in coaches. “There was lack of synchronization between guidelines of railway ministry on maintenance of cleanliness and availability of infrastructure in the field for their implementation,” the CAG report said.

CAG team inspected 123 major stations over 17 zones and found mechanized cleaning was adopted in only at 65 stations. It was also reported that there was a lack of synchronization on the guidelines provided and the infrastructure in place in the field. The train coaches in 88 trains over 17 zones were inspected and cockroaches were found in AC and non AC coaches of selected trains in six zones.

In its survey of 212 stations for food adulteration, CAG found testing of samples as per the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act was not done in 41 stations including many major stations.

The audit body also took notice that the Railway body had failed to provide good quality of linen to its passengers increasing dissatisfaction. It was revealed that out of 54 mechanized laundries proposed to be set up in 16 zones, only 15 laundries have so far been commissioned in 11 zones.

It was noted that the on-board housekeeping service (OBHS) for cleaning of coaches was also far from satisfactory. Out of 554 pair trains identified for implementation of OBHS, tenders for were finalized for only 350 trains.

Lack of toilets and sanitation in the existing blocks has not only caused inconvenience to the passengers but also has increased the instances of open defecation. Also the delay in implementation of green toilets even after extensive trails had adversely affected maintenance of sanitation and hygiene on trains at station premises besides posing threat to safety of the rail tracks.

Provision for availability of drinking water was not made as per prescribed norms. Even the existing facilities were poorly maintained. There was shortfall in the periodical testing of water samples through there was an increasing trend in the percentage of unfit samples collected from different stations across zones.


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