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The act once done by one Babu Okhil Chandra Sen, a native of neighbouring Sahebganj district some 119 year back seems to be irrelevant today particularly for the commuters who travels on Bhagalpur-Dumka and Bhagalpur-Banka routes on trains.
Sen compelled the than British for introducing toilets for the first time in Indian railways just through a letter but today there was none to notice the plights and miseries of hundreds of passengers daily traveling on Bhagalpur-Banka and Bhagalpur-Dumka via Hansdiha passengers trains without having any option to attain Nature’s call. The compartments of the trains on the routes don’t have any toilet. Malda division of eastern railways under whose jurisdiction the train routes are falling however managed to announced these sections as green corridors but failed to introduced bio-toilets in the trains.
B K Jha, a native of Dumka in Jharkhand has narrated his worst experience during his journey from Dumka to Bhagalpur. “Being a diabetic patient I need toilet frequently but since any of the compartment of Dumka-Bhagalpur passenger train doesn’t have toilet, I had to face immense difficulties,” he narrated.
It is to be recalled here that the than British started railway services in the country on 1854 but there was no toilet in trains. On July 2, 1909, an aggrieved Babu Okhil Chandra Sen lodged a complaint to the then transportation superintendent, Sahibganj. Sen was traveling on a passenger train and was compelled to alight from the train midway at Ahmedpur station to attain Nature’s call. But the train had left the station when he returned back.
Missing the train on the platform had made Sen very annoyed and he wrote the letter. The letter of Sen compelled the than British railway authority concerned to introduce toilets in the trains’ compartments 1909. The letter of Sen that contained many grammatical errors but it is still preserved at Railway Museum, New Delhi just to show how British officials used to respond over public complains. But the same officials today have closed their eyes on the plights of passengers here, alleged Jha.
Trains running in between Bhagalpur- Banka and Bhagalpur- Dumka don’t have any toilets. Only passengers trains are running from Bhagalpur to Dumka covering nearly 110 km distance with fare of Rs 30 for 3.6 to 4 hours journy but the passengers don’t have any option to utilize toilets inside the compartments. “Just imagine the plights and miseries of women and children passengers in the trains,” said Sona Singh, a homemaker at Dumka who recently come Bhagalpur to her parents. Echoing Sona, another passenger from Dumka’s Lootpara areas, Bibi Farida said trains to Dumka was introduced on 2016 but bus services are still continuing on the route. “The buses from Dumka to Bhagalpur even have stoppage at Hansdiha and Bounsi along with some other places on the route and allow passengers to attain Nature’s call,” she mentioned.
Divisional railway manager (DRM), Malda, Tanu Chandra was not available for her comment. But sources from Malda division said that since the entire route of Bhagalpur-Dumka and Bhagalpur-Banka early on August 17, 2017 was included into green corridor, a part of Swacchata mission, by the than union railway minister, Suresh Prabhu. “Under the norms of green corridor, wastages could not be left over the railway tracks and the trains should have bio-toilets,” the sources pointed out.
The source however said that only one train, Banka Intercity Express which runs from Banka to Rajendranagar terminal in Patna has bio-toilets in the compartments. And other trains on the routes mostly passenger trains don’t have the system of bio-toilets. However the source avoided the question over the plights of the passengers on the sections. “We are avoiding any toilet on the trains mainly due to the green corridor but very soon bio-toilets will be introduced,” the source said.
B K Sahu, additional DRM, Malda however recently told that the railway would soon introduce bio-toilets in all the trains. “Not only at the green corridor, we would also introduce bio-toilets on the trains running on Kiul-Sahabganj via Bhagalpur section in our division,” he told.