The site near Tatanagar station that used to house a public urinal. Picture by Bhola Prasad
More than 60,000 footfall daily, 86 trains crossing it every 24 hours, the only A category facility in Chakradharpur division and the steel city’s pride, but Tatanagar railway station is raising a stink for all the wrong reasons now.
Since February, the sprawling station spread over 60,000sqm has been making do with only one public toilet — on platform no. 1 — after the one located outside was demolished on the orders of the then divisional railway manager Achal Khare, ostensibly to make way for a bigger facility.
On Thursday, fed up with official apathy, around 50 regulars to the station led by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha district president Satish Singh submitted a petition to Tatanagar area railway manager Akhilesh Kumar Pandey, demanding a public toilet near the station premises.
“A public toilet is a must at all stations and here we have a so called model station without a public facility anywhere. Those who are passengers can use the toilet inside. But what about those who do not get till the platform but are regulars at the station anyway?” said Amar Singh, one of those who met the railway official.
He was referring to the hundreds who wait outside everyday in order to see-off or receive passengers, the 100-add newspaper vendors who gather daily to distribute papers to hawkers, the 200 auto-rickshaw drivers who wait in the parking area, as well as the 50 vendors who cater to passenger needs.
The lack of a toilet has also led to run-ins between members of the public and Government Railway Police personnel.
Baridih resident Milan Sinha (45) faced the ire of the cops on Thursday morning. Sinha, who had come to drop his brother to the station, was forced to relieve himself in the open near the parking lot when he realised there were no toilets around.
He landed up paying a fine of Rs 100.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Tatanagar railway area manager Pandey admitted that the demand for a public toilet could not be ignored.
“It is a genuine demand. However, as per norms, I cannot take a decision and will forward the petition I received to Chakradharpur divisional railway manager for a final decision,” he said.
Senior divisional commercial manager of Chakradharpur division K.N. Biswas, meanwhile, said the matter had already been discussed and a public toilet would soon be constructed to replace the one demolished.