Smokers and litterbugs are being swept clean off the stations in the Capital, with the Swachh Bharat campaign also earning the railways some big money — Rs 1 crore in nine months.
The Delhi division of the northern railways collected a record Rs 95,30,690 — the highest for a city —- in fines for smoking and littering at the New Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Old Delhi and Anand Vihar stations by September 30, officials said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat campaign a year ago to modernise sanitation for a “Clean India” by October 2, 2019 — the 150th birthday of Mahatama Gandhi.
Dirty stations is one of the biggest complaints of passengers. In the last nine months, Rs 40.86 lakh has been collected in fines for littering compared with Rs 9.51 lakh during the same period last year.
The railway protection force responsible for the security of passengers and rail property also arrested around 7,000 hawkers, vendors and others for the offence. They were let off after paying a fine. A maximum fine of Rs 500 is slapped for littering the station but rises to Rs 5,000 for dirtying the tracks.
“We have intensified patrolling and checks at all locations. More officers are posted to keep an eye on cleanliness,” said Delhi division railway chief Arun Arora.
The smoking ban, too, is being enforced strictly. According to official figures, 14,120 people were arrested but were released on payment of fines.
During a visit to the New Delhi station on Monday, no cigarette vendor -- a permanent feature until recently -- was seen within the premises.
Smoking was a big problem and cigarette butts would be lying everywhere, a tea-seller at Platform 16 said. “Try lighting up now. Within five minutes, a railway officer will come and take you to the nearest lock-up. You will have to pay a fine to go out,” said Hartesh, who only uses one name. The fine is Rs 200 and so far, Rs 28.16 lakh has been collected from smokers.
Clean India and No Smoking sign boards are hard to miss. At least 300 staff work round the clock to keep the stations clean.
“I hope a day comes when I do not have to collect a penny in fines.”