New Delhi, February 25: In pursuance of Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat mission, Indian Railways in a major move will provide 30,000 bio-toilets in trains and additional toilets at 475 stations before the close of this financial year. Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu while presenting the Railway Budget 2016-17 in Parliament today said that, world’s first Bio-Vacuum toilet developed by the Indian Railways is being used in Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express.
Prabhu said that 74 more trains have been added under On-board Housekeeping Service and another 400 are to be covered soon, leading to a total number of almost 1000 trains under the scheme. Referring to punctuality performance of passenger trains, he said it has been a matter of concern for several decades.
The Minister said that Indian Railways has a porous network which leads to rampant infiltration by humans and animals. Problems are compounded by congestion in tracks, terminal capacity constraints and asset failures. He said, the worst affected is the busy Ghaziabad to Mughalsarai section through Allahabad and Kanpur which spreads across three Zonal Railways thereby impacting the overall punctuality of the entire network.
On ticketing, Prabhu said that last year he had announced ‘Operation Five Minutes’ to enable passengers to purchase tickets without spending long hours in queues. In this context the Railways has introduced 1,780 Automatic Ticket Vending Machines and 225 cash-coin & smart card operated ticket vending machines.
It has enhanced capacity of e-ticketing system from 2000 tickets per minute to 7,200 tickets per minute and to support 1,20,000 concurrent users as against only 40,000 earlier and introduced mobile based apps for purchasing unreserved and platform tickets and GoIndia smart card scheme for cashless purchase of UTS and PRS tickets.
Prabhu said that the Railways has initiated the audit of operations on this section to improve its performance. Some improvement is already visible and capacity augmentation in the medium term will further reduce the delays. He said, besides internal reasons, there are also external reasons such as agitations on railway tracks, which lead to punctuality losses. He appealed to fellow citizens to desist from this as it causes loss, not only to the nation but also to them as passengers.