New Delhi: The 2014-15 (Apr-Mar) regular railways budget has increased allocation for maintaining and improving hygiene in trains and at stations by 40% over the previous year.

“I have substantially increased budget allocation for cleanliness in the current year, which is a 40% increase over the previous year,” Gowda said in his maiden rail budget speech.

The minister said he identified the “sorry state of affairs of cleanliness” in the trains and stations and attributed the condition to the sheer number of passengers handled at the stations.

“I propose to outsource cleaning activities at 50 major stations to professional agencies and to set up a separate housekeeping wing to have focussed attention and exclusive responsibility of maintaining cleanliness and sanitation at stations,” he added.

Gowda also said a corpus for the upkeep of the stations will be set up and closed-circuit television camer as will be used to monitor cleanliness.

The minister said number of trains with bio-toilets will be increased to lessen the problem of direct discharge of human waste on the tracks and platforms.

In the interim rail budget of 2014-15 (Apr-Mar), former rail minister Mallikarjun Kharge had proposed introduction of bio-toilets in 2,500 coaches.

Gowda also proposed mechanised laundries to improve the quality of the bedrolls provided in the air-conditioned rail coaches.

The rail budget also announced introduction of reverse-osmosis drinking water units at stations and in trains on experimental basis.

For the differently-abled and senior citizens, rail minister proposed battery-operated carts to facilitate them to reach any platform at all major stations.

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