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Rented water pumps flushing lakhs down railway drain

Every year, the Railways spend lakhs of rupees on renting water pumps during monsoons. However, the money is literally going down the drain, leaving the railway authorities and the commuters none the wiser.


Slipping up: Waterlogging is taking place at low-lying stations despite the pumps at work. File Pic

Like in the past, services are being cancelled daily and passengers are getting stuck due to waterlogging between the tracks.

Last year, Central Railway (CR) paid Rs 18 lakh and Western Railway (WR) Rs 56 lakh as rent for water pumps for just four months.

Down the drain
According to railway officials, water pumps are hired only for areas where waterlogging takes place during the four monsoon months. Tenders are floated for water pumps, and the one who quotes the minimum rent, is given the tender. Interestingly, apart from paying the rent to the contractor, the railways also have to provide the diesel to run the pumps.  “This is an annual exercise. We take water pumps on rent and install it in areas prone to waterlogging near railway tracks. We always try to reduce the water level from the tracks to run our services on time,” said a WR official. 

Repeating a mistake?
CR had installed 21 pumps at 15 locations and paid Rs 18.32 lakh last monsoon. These pumps were set up at Masjid, Mazgaon Yard, Byculla, Curry Road, Sion, Kurla, Thane and Nanipada. The same number of pumps has been installed at the same locations this year as well. Interestingly, this year, the tender was finalised for a lower amount than last year -- Rs 15.75 lakh. The pumps procured this year are of 12.5 horsepower each. Meanwhile, the WR paid Rs 56 lakh for 56 water pumps at different locations on the Western line. The Western Railway water pumps are of 32 horsepower and are installed along the Western line at Grant Road, Lower Parel, Dadar, Mahim, Jogeshwari, Goregaon, Malad, Kandivli, Borivili etc. 

Officialspeak
Atul Rane, chief PRO (CR), said, “Our main priority is to maintain punctuality. We have installed the water pumps at different low-lying areas near the tracks to flush out the water from railway tracks.” Nitin David, PRO (WR), said, “We are regularly monitoring the functioning of the installed water pumps. We take action against any lapses.” 

Voices
This is the problem every year. Paying lakhs for water pumps doesn’t solve the issue. Why do railways pay so much instead of buying a water pump once and for all?

-- Pramod Mishra, who travels from Kalyan to Thane

Renting water pumps and paying lakhs is a waste. Railways should invest the money somewhere else for the benefit of the passengers

-- Rohit Sahu, who travels from Thane to Andheri 

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