Cleanliness in train toilets and even coaches has always been a major issue especially for those who commute frequently by Indian Railways. In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State of Railways Rajen Gohain recently stated that Indian Railways is taking several steps in order to keep the coaches including toilets in a clean condition. The minister, however, also said that complaints regarding cleanliness in coaches and foul smell from train toilets are received from time to time. He also stated that the foul smell in bio-toilets is mostly due to improper use by railway passengers. At present, a third party survey for assessment of cleanliness of 210 crucial trains is being carried out. In order to maintain cleanliness in coaches as well as toilets, Indian Railways says it is taking the following corrective measures:
1) Cleaning of train coaches as well as toilets at both ends including mechanized cleaning.
2) Indian Railways has provided On Board Housekeeping Service (OBHS) for cleaning of toilets, doorways, aisles and passenger compartments in more than 1000 pairs of trains including Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express and other important long distance trains.
3) ‘Clean My Coach’ scheme was introduced, under which, for any cleaning requirement in the coach in trains having OBHS service, passenger can send an SMS on a specified mobile number. Passengers also have an alternative option of using an android app or webpage for logging the request.
4) Indian Railways has upgraded the ‘Clean My Coach’ service to ‘Coach Mitra’ facility, which has been introduced in around 900 pairs of trains. It is a single window interface to register coach related requirements of passengers.
5) Indian Railways introduced Clean Train Station (CTS) scheme for limited mechanized cleaning attention to selected trains including cleaning of toilets during their scheduled stoppages en route at nominated railway stations.
6) In addition to air-conditioned coaches, provision for dustbins is also being made in sleeper class coaches of trains. In toilets of sleeper class coaches, provision of mugs with chains has also been made.
7) Indian Railways is also taking measures in order to improve ventilation in bio-toilets and to provide dustbin inside train toilets. Also, the national transporter is creating awareness for proper use of bio-toilets.