Swachh No More: 3 weeks after launch, paan stains adorn CR’s tri-colour local
Barely three weeks after Central Railway (CR) launched its first tri-colour rake with Mahatma imagery on the suburban network, commuters have dirtied it with paan stains. The train, ironically, was christened ‘Swachhata Express’.
CR introduced the tri-colour rake on October 2, which marked the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Apart from the saffron, white and green exterior, the train also features several depictions of the Mahatma, his quotes and messages about the ‘Swachh Bharat’ mission.
However, barely three weeks after launch, the paan stains that plague the city’s suburban trains have started appearing on the newly-introduced rake as well.
A picture of one of the stained coaches was shared by noted Railway journalist and historian Rajendra B. Aklekar on Twitter earlier today.
The stain, located right next to the door, was purportedly made when a commuter standing on the footboard spat the paan out while the train was in motion.
— Rajendra B. Aklekar (@rajtoday) October 24, 2018
Another irony is that the stain covers a picture of Mahatma Gandhi, painted just above his famous quote, “Be the change that you want to see in the world”.
Instead, the stain’s very existence is a testament to how we treat public infrastructure – even one that is meant to invoke a sense of national pride and patriotism.
Needless to say, the act drew sharp criticism from netizens online.
“So sad. That’s the way it’s happening all these years. The old livery used to camouflage the stains, but nowadays it’s seen prominently. Unless Railways catches hold of some offenders and shame them in public, this menace looks to stay,” said one user.
While some sympathised with Railways, others said the undertaking should have known better given the past record.
“It was a wrong idea to paint the train this way knowing well what people are worth,” wrote Vishal.
The stain also raises questions about whether the city’s 75 lakh plus daily commuters ‘deserve’ better services if they are incapable of maintaining what they already have.
“We don’t deserve good service, clean service. As Indians, Mumbaikars we deserve packed train’s, filth around and disgusting environment around us,” tweeted Jitendra Darne.
In recent months, CR has also introduced nature and aquarium-themed coaches for ladies commuters to enhance the commuting experience. Those, fortunately, haven’t been spoilt by miscreants till now.