December 20, 2017

‘Railways’ Clean-up Drive: Under ‘Swachh Rail, Swachh Bharat Mission’, Railways has cleared more than 5 lakh bags of garbage from the tracks of Mumbai’s five stations

Paying heed to the complaints it has been receiving from the citizens’ groups daily, the Central Railways (CR) has started clearing garbage lining the railway tracks.

Railway officials said 30,000 cubic metres of garbage was cleared from five locations between October and December. “Our plan is to collect 1,60,000 cubic metres of garbage in the next six months,” said Sunil Udasi, chief public relations officer, CR. “We have already collected more than 5 lakh garbage bags from these five locations. It is being slowly transported to city dumping grounds with the help of municipal corporation.”

HT had reported in February that citizens’ groups had started a twitter campaign to draw the attention of railway authorities to the dirty tracks on the Central and Western Railways. Dharmesh Barai from NGO Environment Life had identified 10 spots along railway tracks that had large quantities of garbage.

CR officials said garbage has been cleared from tracks near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), Masjid Bunder, Thane, Parsik tunnel area, and Dharavi.

“The clean-up drive has already witnessed collection of lakhs of garbage bags from just five locations. As per our internal discussions, we have decided to execute the collection block-by-block, in a sequential manner. In the coming months, we will be moving northwards and focusing on sections between every station,” said Udasi.

He added that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had been roped in to identify markets, offices and residential buildings that have been dumping garbage on the railway tracks. Officials from the BMC’s solid waste management (SWM) department said they identified two main sources of garbage – residential complexes and slums and trash carried by nullahs.

“The main issue is domestic waste, and to control the issue, we have ensured that basic level of segregation is happening at all housing societies,” said a senior SWM official. “Awareness drives have been conducted at slum areas along railway lines, and the number of dumper trucks has also been increased at these locations for faster collection.”

Barai pointed out that notices need to be issued to societies and slum dwellers dumping waste on the tracks. “We welcome the long-awaited efforts taken by the railway authorities. However, strict monitoring needs to be done regularly along these tracks. Societies and markets that continue dumping garbage need to be penalised by either the BMC or railways,” he said. “Nullahs with outfalls along the railway lines also need a trash collection and removal system.”

While the developments have taken place only along the central line, the garbage problem persists along the western line as well. Officials from the Western Railways were not available for a comment.


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