Cleanliness or the lack of it has always been an issue with the Railways, inside trains or on platforms. However, the situation seems to have taken a turn for the better with a new rule that allows railway officials to levy fines on those found littering on railway premises and inside trains.
Railway officials have fined close to 230 people for spitting and littering on railway premises since January.
Earlier this month, MiD DAY reported that the Central Railway authorities have started fining people who are caught defecating near railway tracks (‘Soil railway tracks, cough up Rs 500 as fine’).
According to the recent figures obtained from the authorities, the Western Railway (WR) has fined 199 passengers whereas the Central Railway (CR) has fined about 40 passengers for spitting and throwing garbage within railway premises.
The ticket checking staff and station masters have been given the responsibility of collecting fine from those found guilty. The WR levies a fine of Rs 500 whereas CR fines Rs 100 for spitting and littering. Authorities claimed that over Rs 1 lakh has been collected so far.
Atul Rane, senior divisional commercial manager, CR, said, “The rules are being diligently followed and we are fining people Rs 100 for spitting on railway premises.”
The notification, which was signed off by the Ministry of Railways, came into effect in November 2012, specifying rules and penalties for violating the norms.
The railway staff responsible for spotting offenders and collecting the fine, however, seem unhappy with the additional responsibility given to them.
A ticket checking staff, on condition of anonymity, said, “We are already overloaded with some or the other new strategy for checking tickets, and the additional responsibility of collecting fines from passengers caught spitting is going to be taxing.”
Staff members are blaming the authorities for not raking in enough revenue by way of fines. “This is just because we are not very interested in looking around for passengers who are spitting. We follow the ticketless passengers instead. If the railways appointed extra staff for this job, the collection would be more than we have at present,” added the official.
By the book
The rule against littering says: No person shall in any occupied or unoccupied railway premises or carriages (except in authorised places) throw or deposit litter, cook, bath, spit, urinate or defecate, feed animals or birds, repair or wash vehicles, wash utensils or clothes or any other objects, store personal objects, paste posters on walls, deface walls or train compartments.