New Delhi: Next time if you are travelling in Western Railway coaches and find an unclean or a toilet in need of maintenance, simply take a picture and send it to the newly introduced WhatsApp complain numbers. Currently, the WhatsApp complain numbers have been introduced in six divisions of Western Railways – Churchgate & Virar (9004499733), Vadodara (9724091426), Ahmedabad (9724093981), Bhavnagar (9724097967), Rajkot (9724094983) and Ratlam (9752492970).
A dedicated staff by the Western Railways has been deputed round-the-clock to handle such complaints on an immediate basis. Announcing the new initiative on social media, Western Railways official account said,
In yet another initiative towards #SwachhBharat & #SwachchaRail, WR has introduced whatsApp numbers in all 6 Divisions to report lack of cleanliness at station premises & Pay & Use Complexes at stations along with complaints of overcharging by Pay & Use operators, if any.
All 6 Divisions of WR release whatsapp number to report lack of cleanliness at station premises & Pay & Use Complexes at stations along with complaints of over charging by Pay & Use operators , if any. #wednesdaythoughts #SwachhBharat pic.twitter.com/jHk5iPFKsL
— Western Railway (@WesternRly) August 1, 2018
A senior Western Railway official said that through this initiative railway is confident that passengers will not have to face toilet cleanliness related issues.
And this step will ensure toilets are properly maintained and are hygienic enough to be used by the passengers onboard. He further added,
The newly introduced WhatsApp numbers will be an additional monitoring mechanism in addition to inspections already being carried out by station masters and other officers.
This is not the first time Indian Railways has introduced technology for a swachh purpose. In June this year, railways deployed WhatsApp groups – from pantry departments to bedrolls, toilet cleaning staff and coach cleanliness staff to monitor the cleanliness of trains and ensure efficiency of the work done by the onboard housekeeping staff in the Northern Railways. The mandate for the staff is to upload the status report in the form of photos along with the details of the work done by them during their shift in their particular WhatsApp group on a daily basis. This status report will further be monitored by senior officials.
Before the WhatsApp, the railways had introduced SMS-based service called – Clean My Coach, where a passenger can request for a dirty coach to be swept and cleaned by sending just an SMS.
Swachh Rail: Future Plan Of Action
Apart from installing bio-toilets in all the trains across India by 2019, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal is also planning to replace all the 2.5 lakh toilets inside train coaches with vacuum bio-toilets like those in an aeroplane. Recently, giving an interview to PTI, the minister said,
We have started experimenting with vacuum bio-toilets like those in an aeroplane. Some 500 vacuum bio-toilets have been ordered and once the experiment is successful, I am willing to spend money to replace all the 2.5 lakh toilets on the trains with vacuum bio-toilets.
Along with these initiatives, the railways aim to make all the tracks zero-waste by 2022.
Apart from toilets and going waste-free, another major goal of the railways is to phase out the use of polymer plates and adopt eco-friendly biodegradable cutlery completely. From World Environment day, Indian Railways has already started using fully biodegradable packages in four Shatabdi and four Rajdhani trains from Delhi. The eco-friendly cutlery is made from bagasse, the fibrous remains left behind after extracting sugarcane juice and these just require a month to two to compost.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.