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What’s next for Indian Railways? Invite corporates, PSUs to upgrade infra via CSR

Piyush Goyal launches a website to allow the public and private sector to invest in creating amenities near railways stations. The tasks set out for the initiative include setting up of low-cost sanitary pad and condom vending machines, free wifi and benches, among others

What’s next for Indian Railways? Invite corporates, PSUs to upgrade infra via CSR
What’s next for Indian Railways? Invite corporates, PSUs to upgrade infra via CSR

New Delhi: Laying down a channel that would allow the private sector and public sector undertakings (PSUs) to play a role in upgrading the Indian Railways infrastructure, Union Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal launched a web portal, called Rail Sahyog, on September 11. Railsahyog.in will provide a platform for corporates and PSUs to contribute to the creation of amenities, up-gradation of technology and maintenance of hygiene among a host of other things for an enhanced passenger experience at or near railway stations through corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds.

The companies desirous of contributing can show a willingness on the portal by registering their requests. The requests will be processed by Railway officials. Based on the principle of first come first serve, the requests will be shortlisted and selected applicants will be intimated to deposit the funds with Railways/nominated agencies like RITES/RAILTEL etc. The nominated agency will get the work executed thereafter.

The activities identified to be funded through CSR include the construction of toilets in circulating areas of all stations with the provision of low-cost sanitary pad vending machine. The incinerator will be added in female toilets and a condom vending machine in male toilets. The companies will also be responsible for the maintenance of these facilities for a period of one year.

Based on the principle of first come first serve, the requests will be shortlisted and selected applicants will be intimated to deposit the funds with Railways/nominated agencies like RITES/RAILTEL etc.

Providing free wifi at stations by setting up hotspots is another activity that the Indian Railways is seeking to fund through CSR. The approximate cost of the revamp per station is Rs 10.30- 12.30 lakh.

Provision of benches at station platforms as a facility for senior citizens and disabled has also been added to the list, the approximate cost for each set varies from Rs 17,500 to Rs 47,500.

The installation of bottle crushing machines at 2,175 major stations for ensuring environmental sustainability is another activity that the Railways ministry wants corporates/PSUs to undertake. The empty plastic bottles discarded by the railway passengers will be crushed in these machines to manage plastic pollution. The cost for this would be around Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs 4.5 lakh.

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Lastly, dustbins will be installed at all stations using CSR funds, as a part of Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan, which will help prevent littering in the station premises. Separate dustbins for both wet and dry garbage will be provided in the circulating area of stations and platforms, whose approximate cost would be Rs 4,500.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman of Railway Board, Ashwani Lohani, said, “Rail Sahyog will remove all hurdles faced by the companies for cooperation with Railways. Individuals, Private companies (will) have the freedom to execute projects in Railways.”

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