BHUBANESWAR: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed Railway authorities to take the necessary step over non-availability of toilets in coaches of at least 165 passenger trains in South Central Railway zone.
Acting on the complaint of Odisha-based rights activist Akhand, the apex rights panel has asked the chairman of Railway Board to take appropriate action in the matter within eight weeks.
Earlier, to a Right to information (RTI) query, the Public Information Officer (PIO) of South Central Railway Zone, Secunderabad, had replied the petitioner that 78 numbers of passenger trains are running without a toilet in the zone. Again the PIO said, 86 DEMU passenger trains owned by South Central Railway have a single toilet in each coach.
These trains are running in Vijayawad, Tenali, Guntur, Rajahmundry, Waranal, Hyderabad, Kazipet, Visakhapatnam, Machilipatnam,Gudivada, Gudivada, Narsapur, Bhimavaram Town, Nidadavolu, Peddapalli, Karimnagar, Lingampet, Nagarsol, Jalna.
The toilet is an essential need for every passenger on the train. Without it passengers including women and children are getting many difficulties in answering the call of nature, the petition said.
“When a person purchases a railway ticket, he should be eligible to get every basic need of human being irrespective of his status, till he completes his journey. But Railways does not provide the basic need to passenger in this train”, Akhand alleged.
He had prayed for facilities of toilets in all coaches of these 165 trains. Hearing the petition, the commission while disposing of the case, has ordered to the Railway Board to act and inform the complainant of the action taken the report in the matter within two months.
Akhand had filed a petition in Dec 2013 before the NHRC to issue an order to Railways to eliminate conventional and direct discharge toilets in the train coaches. Railways fist time had assured to drop production such toilets by 2021-22. He has continuously raised his voice against sanitation problems in Indian Railways.