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| Last Updated:16/10/2014

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For a Swachh Bharatiya Rail

The Hindu, 15 October 2014

 

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan emphasising cleanliness has provided the right opportunity for Indian Railways to address infrastructural gaps contributing to dirty premises and trains

 

Imagine being bitten by a rat, not once but twice! That is what happened recently to a person travelling in a train to Chennai. The passenger, rather than reacting hysterically, calmly squeezed the bite wound, before complaining to the railway authorities and seeking medical aid. The local railway authorities, while expressing regret, told the passenger that the rake (train formation) is maintained at Mumbai, implying that the responsibility for the presence of the pesky rodent lay elsewhere.

 

Now, why should a rat be found in a train? To be sure, railways and rats (and bandicoots and mice) have had a long association going back almost to the advent of the railways in India in the mid-nineteenth century. But while in the past, rats and their kindred species were largely confined to goods sheds, parcel offices and occasionally got sucked into train vacuum pipes (now thankfully defunct with the advent of airbrakes), now they have become frequent travellers in reserved and AC coaches. The average passenger is wont to attribute this to the utter negligence, callousness, and inefficiency of a government-run monopoly. However such a conclusion would be simplistic and hasty. Read more....