From 292 to 31, Bandra station leaps ahead in cleanliness

May 18, 2017, 16:40 IST | Shashank Rao

Nearly 122 railway stations used by 75 lakh regular commuters, but none of the city stations have made it to the list of top 10 cleanest ones in the country.

However, in some welcome news, Bandra station on the Western Railway (WR) has moved up from an overall rank of 292 last year to 31 and it stands at the 15th spot in the A1 category, which, again, shows progress from it’s 60th spot in the same segment last year.

Unfortunately, prominent stations, such as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Churchgate, have not found mention in the top few contenders in the nationwide cleanliness survey, which assessed 407 railway stations that was released yesterday.

Ironically, while Bandra has been featured in the Swachh Railway, Swachh Bharat rankings, the station is infamous for the filth and garbage on and beyond its premises. For instance, R4,500 crore worth of land -- belonging to the Indian Railways -- has been encroached upon on the east side of the Bandra station. Slums with three to four-storey high structures dot this railway property.

Besides hills of garbage, the land surrounding the station is also used for farming purposes. And, adding insult to injury, the fifth rail line passes through the slums. Not surprisingly, people here can be seen sitting on the tracks and it’s common to see people defecating in the open.

Bandra, a Grade-1 heritage station, is undergoing major revamp -- but while most enhancements have been planned for the west side of the station, the east side remains neglected.

Officials claim the ratings are on the basis of the passenger amenities provided to commuters using the station. With the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) becoming a commercial and hospitality hub, Bandra station has witnessed an increase in commuters as compared to last year -- 6,428 additional commuters use the station, which registers 1.42 lakh footfalls every day.

Sources said commuters were asked to rate the stations on 40 parameters, while railways rated stations on the basis on 13 parameters. These include presence/absence of stench on station premises, availability of dustbins, cleanliness of toilets, FOBs and platforms and hygiene levels of food vendors.

In another major leap, Lonavla, which ranked 312 in 2016, moved up to the 29th spot this year.

In the list of top 10 Grade A1 railway stations in Maharashtra, Pune stands at the 9th spot, and in Grade A category, Ahmadnagar and Badnera are ranked 3rd the 6th, respectively.

Despite the high ranking, around R4,500 crore worth of land -- belonging to the Indian Railways -- has been encroached upon on the east side of the Bandra station, with slums dotting the property. file pic

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