Mumbai: Meet the station master who funds cleanliness from his pocket

Kamal Mishra | Updated on: Monday, April 25, 2022, 10:05 AM IST


Meet NK Sinha, the newly-joined station master of Reay Road station of Central Railways (CR) of Mumbai division. Sinha considers the station as his home and works hard to beautify it. Reay Road was named after Lord Reay, Governor of Bombay between 1885 and 1890 and the station building is a heritage structure. Before joining Reay Road, Sinha was posted at King’s Circle and Sewri stations. During his tenure there, he gave both stations a makeover, with a fresh paint, murals and delivering public messages on maintaining hygiene. Sinha funded the initiative from his pocket, spending over two hours every day after regular duty hours painting the murals. Now he is busy in the make over of Reay Road station.

What are the main responsibilities of station managers (SM) of Indian railways?

The station master has to oversee the operating as well as commercial staff working at the station, and hence has to maintain the duty muster, attend staffers' grievances and guide them on safety rules. He has to ensure the punctuality as well as safety of trains, including those passing at high speeds. He is responsible for all rail traffic within the station limits, the corresponding signals, the passengers, the station work force as well as the railway property.

He has to arrange for traffic maintenance blocks, planning and organising the movement of track machines and other departmentaltrains besides movement of patrol team. The SM has to ensure that injured passengers are attended to and that the first aid boxes are upto date.

In case of an accident, the SM receives the reports as well as ensures supply of food and water to passengers and staff at the site of the accident. He is also responsible for the cleanliness of the station and has to attend to passenger enquiries and grievances.

How do you get time to clean the stations

Cleaning railway station as well as nearby railway colonies is also one of the important part of station master's responsibility. Hence I inspect every corner of the station daily and if required not only assist the cleaning staff but personally participate in cleaning after duty hours.

What are the challenges you faced in beautification of the stations

I never faced major problems but time management is a big challenge. For every work you need to go as per set rules. Hence for small works like painting of the station, small repairs of boundary walls, etc. I manage on a personal level. These days people are keen about cleanliness hence many social organisations also came forward for help. I remember the days when I started painting the boundary walls of Kings Circle station in 2013. People would say station manager has gone mad. On December 31, 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Man Ki Baat praised the Kings Circle station saying it was the most clean station in the country and other stations must draw inspiration from it. That was a turning point for the public opinion as well as our colleagues' views.

How much amount do you get from railway administration to maintain the station cleanliness on a day to day basis? Is that amount sufficient

Railways provide amount as imprest amount to maintain the day to day cleanliness as per the grade of station, which is sufficient. However, for painting or other beatification works,I manage the funds on my own and take help from NGOs and other social orgsnisations.

When did you start cleaning the station from your own pockets? Any special reason behind it. Do you accept contribution from your staff?

If you want to bring change in society, you need to start from yourself. I never asked for any contribution from staff or others. But if someone wants to help in any form he is always welcome. Maintaining cleanliness of the station is my motto hence I am always ready to spend from my pocket.

How many staff at deployed at Reay Road station by railway for cleaning

At present five cleaning staff are working at Reay Road. One railway staff and four outsourced. Outsourced staff are paid by railway through contractor. In my opinion, five staffs are sufficient butit needs to be supervised.

Why does a station need your personal involvement

I think first you have to satisfy yourself then ask others. I never scolded any cleanliness staff. During routine inspection, I identify the portion which needs special attention and after my duty I visit the spot and start cleaning it. Seeing me, the cleaning staff also rush to the site and join me.

How much money have you spent from your pocket

I joined as a station Master, Kings Circle on May 13, 2013 when the imprest was too less. Moreover, the condition of the station was very bad. Hence, I decided to start on my own and bought brushes and other items. I would devote two hours daily for the work after my duty hours. During my tenure at Kings Circle, I spent more than Rs 5 lakh on the beautification. On February 7, 2020 I joined Sewri where I spent around Rs 2 lakh from my pocket on cleanliness. On April 7, 2022, I joined Reay Road station.I hope to finish the first round of deep cleaning soon. The second round would be completed by the end of this month after which the painting work will start.

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Published on: Monday, April 25, 2022, 10:05 AM IST