July 09 2020
HC raps railways for unclean train
28 September 2018

Asks Southern Railway to provide exclusive phone numbers for passengers to lodge complaints

Coming down heavily on officials of Southern Railway for not keeping the trains clean, the Madras High Court directed the General Manager, Southern Railway, to provide exclusive telephone numbers to passengers to lodge complaints and to fix responsibility on officials for not maintaining trains and stations.

Justice S.M. Subramaniam, who was hearing a petition filed by a contractor regarding a tender, made scathing remarks over the maintenance of coaches, and questioned why passengers had to put up with lack of cleanliness on trains when higher officials of Southern Railway lived in excellent and luxurious accommodation. “A large numbers of passengers are making serious complaints about the cleanliness being maintained by the Southern Railways, both inside the railway coaches and in the railway stations. Most railway coaches are filled with cockroaches and free movement of rats, especially during night hours. Children, sick and aged people are mostly travelling in trains,” the judge said.

He said if the complaints were not addressed they were liable to be prosecuted. Action would be taken by Southern Railway against all the officials concerned under the Discipline and Appeal Rules.

‘Leading luxurious life’

“This court, with pain, places on record that the Heads of the Southern Railway and other higher level officials are leading a luxurious life at the cost of passengers. Very decent salaries are paid; perquisites and facilities are many to these officials. Their chambers and residences are maintained as per the standards prescribed by the Railways. However, they failed to monitor the same standards and the norms in respect of the passengers, who all are paying to the Southern Railway and travelling in trains,” Justice Subramaniam said. He said protection of life and health of passengers are to be construed as an integral part of Article 21 of the Constitution and passengers had the right to demand cleanliness at a reasonable level.

The judge directed the Southern Railway General Manager to provide telephone numbers to passengers for lodging complaints and widely display them in bold letters, both inside the trains and on platforms.

The judge directed that a special team of officials with proven integrity and honesty conduct inspections, monitor cleanliness and food safety and security of all passengers. The matter has been posted for “Reporting Compliance” after 12 weeks.



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