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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Penalty fear steers station clear of filth

- Patna Junction dons clean look after circular increases fine for litter to Rs 500

Clean platforms and dustbins in almost every corner — that is the face of Patna Junction now.

Garbage and waste material strewn around the premises and people spitting on the platforms used to be a common sight. Now, railway officials have pulled up their socks to ensure that Patna Junction is litter-free.

For the past 10 days or so, a team of railway officials has been deputed at Patna Junction to keep the station clean and catch people who litter the premises. Machines to clean the platforms and dustbins for people to dispose of waste can be seen these days. The move comes around a month after the railway ministry issued a circular on imposing a penalty up to Rs 500 on anybody who litters the station.

According to the circular, people throwing fruit skins or food packets on the platforms, washing utensils and urinating on the premises would be fined.

Raju Kumar, the station master of Patna Junction, said: “The fine is being charged on the seriousness of the act. A dedicated team of officials has been deputed to catch people on the premises.”

On a reality check of the station, The Telegraph found vendors and hawkers who sell food at the station arranging for dustbins and containers to collect litter and ensuring proper disposal.

Raju said: “We tried everything to stop people from dropping litter on the station premises. Display boards were put up and campaign launched to make people aware about keeping the station clean. But none of the initiatives worked and finally this new rule was put in place. Earlier, there was a minor fine of Rs 5 to Rs 10 on people who litter the station. Now, offenders would have to pay a fine up to Rs 500.”

The increased penalty has managed to deter people from strewing waste around the station. Raju said: “The people are scared of being penalised in case they are found to litter the premises. The circular was issued a month ago but it has come into force in the past 10 days or so. We have fined 60 people for violating the rule.”

Ramesh Singh, a passenger, said: “It’s better to use the facilities provided by the railway instead of paying heavy penalty for getting the presmises dirty.”

With a hope for the recent move bearing fruit for a long time, ECR chief public relations officer Amitabh Prabhakar said: “Many new rules do not work. What matters is the implementation and the railway believes in implementing new things.”