Bhubaneswar,14/05/19:After intervention of rights activist and direction from apex rights panel of the country, Indian Railways have taken step to fit toilets in DEMU trailer coaches.
A report submitted by the Railways authorities to the rights panel National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) says, “Out of total population of 1522 numbers of DEMU trailer coaches nearly 82% of the total fleet was now equipped with toilets.
Odisha based rights activist Akhand had filed a petition before the NHRC in 2014 citing that certain passengers train running between Vishakhapatanam and Paradeep through the Khurda Road in the South Eastern Railway Division did not have toilets for which the ladies, old and ailing patients immensely suffered.
The petitioner alleged that the suffering of the passengers amounted to a violation of their human rights.
5 years battle:
Taking cognizance in the matter NHRC has issued notice to the Chairman, Railway Board to submit its report in four weeks. Railways submitted its report very late and reluctant to admit that due to non-toilets DMU trains, the passengers are suffering. Again the petitioner Akhand had submitted that all the DMU trains running in the country has no toilets. Then Railways started to fit toilets in some trains.
The commission vide its proceedings September 2016 had directed the Chairman, Railway Board to answer about whether any decision with long term implication for providing toilets facilities covering all the DMU trains was taken by the Railway Board and by what time which all the DMU trains would have the required toilets facilities for all the passengers. Railway Board dated 23 September 2016 has issued necessary instructions to ensure availability of minimum one coaches equipped with toilets in the middle of the take to facilitate the passengers.
In response to the same, in 2017, Director, TT/Coaching II, Railway Board had submitted that Railway Board had already taken a decision that DEMU/DEMU trailer coaches to be manufactured would be provided with toilets facilities. These instructions of Railways Board were implemented by the production unit with effect from 2010-11 and DEMU/DEMU trailer coaches were being provided two toilets per coach. All the coaches would be with toilet facilities in coming years, the report concluded. Again the petitioner asked the railways authorities to fit toilets in all DEMU trains.
Toilets in 82% coaches:
Pursuant to the directions of the Commission, Railway had submitted a another report on 26 December, 2018 and it said that, “Since January 2010 and till November, 2018 total 1244 numbers of DEMU trailer coaches were provided to Indian Railways which were equipped with toilets. Out of total population of 1522 numbers of DEMU trailer coaches nearly 82% of the total fleet was now equipped with toilets. This would further increase with further proliferation of new DEMU trailer coaches equipped with toilet and condemnation of older toilets less DEMU trailer coaches under normal process of condemnation on age cum condition basis.
NHRC said that “The issues raised by the complainants seemed to have been duly addressed by the Indian Railway Authorities and necessary steps were taken to ensure availability of toilets in each and every passengers train including DEMU trailer coaches running under different divisions to facilitate the passengers to have the necessary convenience in the train during the travel. The commission hoped that the basic facilities must necessary be provided to the passengers in each and every train under the Indian Railways in conformity with the mandate of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”
“I also hope the railways will take steps to equip the bio-toilets in DEMU trains. Because this is now the necessity to avoid environmental pollution and hygienic problems”, said Akhand.
The case is disposed by the commission.