GUWAHATI, June 14 - After having made some major strides in bringing down its energy bill by the use of alternative and renewable energy, the Indian Railways has now taken steps to strengthen the solid waste management system and is implementing a number of measures under the Swachh Bharat programme in this part of the country.
A Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) official told The Assam Tribune that while house-to house-collection of solid wastes and composting of bio-degradable waste started at Maligaon Railway Colony back in 2015, the contractor employed failed to perform as per standards and so the contract was terminated in March this year.
"Fresh tender is being framed as per the provision of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016,” said the official. The capacity of the composting unit used is two tonne per day.
Officials said that adoption of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, has wide implications in the Railways as most of the big colonies and stations will now fall within the purview of the Rules.
“In the Railway areas, the organisation must manage the waste generated within the Railway premises. The problem is that besides presence of a large number of unauthorised occupants within the Railway premises, there is also the issue of disposal of garbage by outsiders within the Railway premises. Then there is the question of charging user fee as mandated by the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, from Railway employees, markets, unauthorised markets, unauthorised occupants,” sources said.
They added that efforts are being made to reduce generation of waste, involve the society, and promote reuse of plastic bags to ensure overall reduction of plastic.
Officials said that as part of the implementation of the Rules, each waste generator in the Railway premises must segregate waste into three components – dry, wet and domestic hazardous – and all households, hospitals, workshops, sheds, and others have to comply with this.
“ The Medical department will ensure door-to-door collection of segregated waste in three separate containers. There will be no garbage disposal contract in future, but integrated work covering all the gamut of the Rule. After house-to-house collection of segregated garbage, the dry refuse will be recycled or sold to authorised waste picker or the authorised recyclers, while the wet refuse would be used for composting, vermiculture, or any other suitable means,” officials said.
NFR officials added that various initiatives are also being implemented as part of the Swachh Bharat mission. “Clean Train Station (CTS) scheme has been implemented in Guwahati, New Jalpaiguri and Katihar stations where coaches are cleaned through mechanised means during halts,” said NFR Chief Public Relations Officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma.
He said that On Board Housekeeping Services (OBHS) for maintaining cleanliness of coaches on board has been provided in 50 pairs of trains.
“More trains will be provided with this facility shortly. Coach Mitra, an app-based system of receiving complaints from passengers on cleanliness, watering, amenity, linen, petty repair and electrical problems and for their prompt disposal is in operation in 50 pairs of trains,” he said.
Sharma added that mechanised laundry for providing clean linen to passengers has already been commissioned in Kamakhya and New Jalpaiguri coaching Depots.
“Another mechanised laundry at Dibrugarh is expected to be functional shortly,” said the NFR CPRO.