New Delhi, Mar 19: In an attempt to check littering on railway property, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has announced imposing a fine of Rs 5,000 on individuals spotted defecating on railway tracks and littering on platforms.
A bench, headed by NGT chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar, passed a slew of directions to railways and other authorities for maintaining cleanliness on railway tracks.
Reports in the past have suggested that human excreta and open discharge toilets by passengers in trains are damaging tracks. Defecation near tracks also affects the trains' speed as it forces drivers to run on caution.
With regard to collection and disposal of municipal solid wastes, it also directed the Railways to collect, transport and treat the waste at the treatment plants instead of directly releasing the garbage into sewer system.
The green bench also asked the concerned authorities to install mobile toilets near slum clusters in order to control pollution caused by plastic products and human defecation around railway tracks.
The Tribunal had earlier directed a meeting of the senior officers of the Railways along with the three Commissioners of municipal corporations of Delhi.
Concerned over lack of cleanliness on platforms and railway tracks, the Tribunal had earlier slammed Railways for its "utter failure" saying "we are shocked at the state of affair that is prevailing. Equally irresponsible is the attitude adopted".
"Maintaining clean environment and hygiene at the stations and tracks is the prime duty of the Railway authorities and it cannot shift the burden in this regard to any other department," the bench had said.
On March 2, the Tribunal had summoned the Railway Board Chairman with records of the platforms and railway tracks, which are continuous sources of environmental pollution causing serious health hazards.
The Tribunal's direction came on a petition filed by lawyers Saloni Singh and Arush Pathania seeking a blanket ban on use and sale of plastic products on railway platforms across the country besides a ban on open defecation by people around tracks.
(With inputs from PTI)