The railways, on Friday, were ordered by an irked Bombay high court to build toilets at all stations, provide free drinking water and ensure commuter safety. The division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice Amjad Sayed was hearing a public interest litigation by advocate MP Vashi on the lack of basic facilities at suburban stations.
Justice Majmudar said. “This is a civilised country, at least basic facilities and hygiene should be provided.” The judges sympathised with commuters who travelled in trains during peak hour. Justice Majmudar said, “We will ask your (railway) general manager to travel from Churchgate to Virar at 6pm in a general compartment. Only then will he understand the problems.”
Suresh Kumar, advocate for the railways said most stations had toilets. He said even drinking water was provided free. Justice Sayed said signboards should be put up stating: “Drinking water available free”.
The judges then asked the railways and the civic body to look into slum dwellers squatting at railway tracks to relieve themselves. Justice Majmudar said, “Those travelling in the morning are forced to witness such scenes.” Kumar said building toilets for them was the BMC’s responsibility. The court has directed the BMC to file an affidavit on this. Railway authorities too have to file an affidavit on details of facilities provided.