The much-needed step to provide basic amenity at stations comes in at a time when the national transporter is cash strapped and has no money to complete its major infrastructure projects. Railways, for long, has been struggling to provide clean lavatories at its stations as hygienic toilets have never been a priority for railways due to cash crunch.
The pay and use toilets would be built by a concessionaire on the design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) model.
According to senior Rail Bhawan officials, railways have entered in an MOU with Sulabh international, an NGO that works to provide cheap toilets, for building toilets at railway platforms. Railways is also keen on having corporates invest in construction and maintenance of public toilets at stations. Land for constructing toilets will be provided to the developer by the railways on the payment of a nominal licence fee.
Clean toilets have been a long standing issue for railways. We would like to have corporates who are interested in creating world-class toilets and maintaining them. Railways has proposed a charge of R5 per user, where the user would be provided a shampoo pouch and fresh tissues, a senior railway officer said.
Toilets will come up at all major junctions across the country, beginning with major stations such as New Delhi, Old Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Bangalore, Kolkata, Patna, Hyderabad, Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai Central, Dadar, Chennai and other stations which have a footfall of over 3 lakh. Its announcement is likely to be made in the upcoming railway Budget.
The concessionaire will build toilets with good quality ceramic flooring, besides providing European style toilets, adequate exhaust fans to ensure proper air circulation and arrangement for disabled-friendly toilets, the official added.
Along with toilets, the concessionaire would also build and operate cloak rooms adjacent to these toilets, the duration of concessionaire agreement will be kept around 30 years.