At first glance, the Chandigarh railway station looks clean with no garbage on the platforms, but the foul-smell emanating from its washrooms and garbage on the tracks is enough to mar the image.
This is despite the fact that the station was adjudged as the cleanest station by the Railways during its Railway Week celebrated in April this year. The Centre has also chosen it as one of the five railway stations to be developed according to the international standards.
On a daily basis, as many as 16,000 passengers use the station which serves Punjab, Haryana, parts of Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.
Civic sense amiss
While dustbins are placed at every 50m and a team of 25 contract workers provide a 'clean look' to the station regularly, but there is still room for improvement. People waiting for trains litter the station after eating.
Most of the dustbins do not have lids on them. Increase in the number of dustbins and notices put up to keep the station clean have not dissuaded passengers from littering. Moreover, it seems that "diligent" cleaning of the platform is restricted only to the main platform.
"We have enough manpower which is responsible for the cleanliness of the railway station, but people continue to spit after eating pan and throw garbage on the tracks," said station superintendent RK Datta.
"About 55 more personnel entrusted with the work of upkeep are likely to join. This will help expedite the cleaning process as the station which has been expanded with the recent constructions," added Datta.
Bad track record of dirty toilets
The toilets talk volumes of the sorry state of affairs at the city's railway station and there have been complaints of choked sewerage pipes, leading to waterlogging.
Another area of concern is - people urinating in the open. "The lack of civic sense is outdoing the work done by the staff to keep the station clean. Despite best efforts one can still see pan-spits on some corner walls of the station," added Datta.
Once you step out of the railway station, plastic bags, disposable plates and glasses - name any ubiquitous dustbin item, you will find it scattered all over the parking lot.
Paradise for stray dogs
Being open from all sides, the city station is a paradise for stray dogs. Dogs are often found sleeping inside the premises.
Fines a deterrent, not really!
In order to make sure that commuters maintain cleanliness, fines are being imposed on those who do not take the law seriously. Since June last year, the railways had started imposing fine amounting to `200-`500 on passengers caught littering at the city railway station, but this too has not dissuaded people from littering. "On an average, 38 cases of littering are detected in a month, in which a fine of `200 is levied on litterbugs," informed Datta.