Operating trains, not loos, is our core job: Railways

Authorities want civic body to take over the responsibility for providing and maintaining public toilets, which should be at least 100 metres away from station premises

Through BJP leader Shaina NC’s tweet about a successful meeting with Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu yesterday over construction of additional toilets at railway stations across Mumbai is heartening, the ground reality states otherwise.

One of the public toilets outside Churchgate station. Pic/Bipin KokateOne of the public toilets outside Churchgate station. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Speaking to mid-day, an officer claimed that the railways is no longer interested in constructing and maintaining toilets. Instead, it wants the civic body to take over the task so that it can solely focus on operating trains.

“Our core job is to run trains. Providing these [toilets/urinals] facilities is the job of the civic authorities, who can build them outside railway stations,” a senior Central Railway (CR) officer said.

Sources claimed that though official correspondence is yet to happen between railways and BMC, the issue was discussed in the past during one of the coordination meetings. The railway authorities had then said that they want toilets to be built at least 100 metres away from the station premises.

“We have provided urinals on the suburban section wherever possible. But these structures eat up into the walking space,” said an officer from Western Railway (WR).

The officer reiterated that they have provided toilets/urinals despite it not being their core responsibility, adding that maintaining these facilities is an uphill task.

On April 21, when Suresh Prabhu visited Mumbai and travelled on a local train, one of the many instructions he gave was periodical upkeep of toilets on railway premises. However, filthy condition of these toilets is an open secret and passengers are always overcharged for accessing pay-and-use facilities.

1,061
Number of toilets and urinals for men and women on CR

790
Number of toilets and urinals for men and women on WR

80 lakh
Number of Mumbaikars who commute via CR and WR daily

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