Meet the station master who finances cleanliness out of pocket

Meet NK Sinha, the new Station Master of Reay Road Station of Central Railways (CR) Mumbai Division. Sinha considers the station her home and works hard to beautify it. Reay Road was named after Lord Reay, Governor of Bombay between 1885 and 1890 and the station building is a heritage structure. Prior to joining Reay Road, Sinha was assigned to King’s Circle and Sewri stations. During his tenure there, he gave both stations a facelift, with fresh paint, murals and public messages about maintaining hygiene. Sinha funded the initiative out of his own pocket, spending more than two hours a day after hours painting the murals. Now he is busy renovating Reay Road station.

What are the main responsibilities of Station Managers (SM) of Indian Railways?

The station master must supervise the operational and commercial staff working at the station, and must therefore maintain the service muster, attend to complaints from staff members and guide them on safety rules. He must ensure the punctuality as well as the safety of the trains, including those passing at high speed. He is responsible for all rail traffic within the perimeter of the station, the corresponding signaling, passengers, station staff and the railway domain.

He must arrange for traffic maintenance blocks, plan and organize the movement of track machines and other departmental trains in addition to the movement of the patrol team. The DM must ensure that injured passengers are cared for and that first aid kits are up to date.

In the event of an accident, the SM receives reports and ensures food and water supplies for passengers and personnel at the accident site. He is also responsible for the cleanliness of the station and must take care of passenger requests and complaints.

How do you get time to clean stations

Cleaning the station as well as nearby railway settlements is also one of the important responsibilities of the station master. Therefore, I inspect every corner of the resort daily and, if necessary, not only assist the cleaning staff, but personally participate in after-hours cleaning.

What are the challenges you have encountered in the beautification of stations

I have never encountered any major problems but time management is a big challenge. For each job, you must follow the set rules. So for small jobs like painting the station, small repairs to the perimeter walls, etc. I manage on a personal basis. These days, people are concerned about cleanliness, so many social organizations have also come forward for help. I remember when I started painting the perimeter walls of Kings Circle station in 2013. People were saying the station manager had gone mad. On December 31, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Man Ki Baat praised Kings Circle station saying it was the cleanest station in the country and other stations should emulate it . This was a turning point for public opinion as well as for the opinions of our colleagues.

How much do you receive from the railway administration to maintain the cleanliness of the station on a daily basis? Is this amount enough

The railways provide an amount in the form of an advance to maintain daily cleanliness according to the level of the station, which is sufficient. However, for painting or other beatification work, I manage the funds myself and get help from NGOs and other social organizations.

When did you start cleaning the station out of your own pockets? Any particular reason behind it. Do you accept input from your staff?

If you want to make a change in society, you have to start with yourself. I never asked for input from staff or other people. But if anyone wants to help out in any form, they are always welcome. Keeping the resort clean is my motto so I’m always willing to spend out of pocket.

How many staff are being deployed to Reay Road station by rail for cleaning

At present, five cleaners work at Reay Road. One railway staff and four outsourced. Outsourced personnel are paid by the railway through a contractor. In my opinion, five staff members are sufficient, but they must be supervised.

Why a resort needs your personal involvement

I think you have to satisfy yourself first and then ask others. I never scolded the cleaning staff. During the routine inspection, I identify the part that needs special attention and after my duty, I visit the place and start cleaning it. Seeing me, the cleaning staff also rush to the site and join me.

How much money did you spend out of pocket

I joined as Station Master, Kings Circle on 13th May 2013 when the advance was too low. Also, the condition of the station was very bad. Therefore, I decided to start on my own and bought brushes and other items. I spent two hours a day working after hours. During my tenure at Kings Circle, I spent over Rs 5 lakh on beautification. On 7th Feb 2020 I joined Sewri where I spent around Rs 2 lakh out of my pocket for cleanliness. On April 7, 2022, I reached Reay Road station. I hope to complete the first deep cleaning cycle soon. The second round would be completed by the end of this month, after which painting work will begin.

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Posted: Monday, April 25, 2022, 10:05 a.m. IST

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