Regular theft of toilet fittings forces Railways to replace stainless steel with plastic

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on March 02, 2020

Indian Railways has decided to replace expensive stainless steel fittings including flush valves, washbasin taps, faucets, and mirrors, with plastic fittings. Railways have arrived on this decision after noticing the stealing menace on the trains. According to Railways, replacement of the stainless steel with plastic fittings would deter thieves from stealing because of their little resale value, as per the Mumbai Mirror report.

According to the previous report by Mumbai Mirror, more than 5,000 stainless steel fittings were stolen from Utkrisht rakes’ toilets and washbasins. The railway data revealed that more than 2,000 mirror frames made of stainless steel, 500 liquid soap dispensers, and around 3,000 toilet flush valves had gone missing from the trains.

Railways launched more than 300 Utkrisht rakes as a part of its modernisation of mail/express trains in India at a cost of ₹400 crore. Under the ambitious project, Railways revamped toilets under the provision of Swachh Rail Toilet (SRT), which incorporated the hybrid design of the bio-toilet system. With improved fittings, toilet has the advantages of less water consumption, no chocking of the system, complete sealing of odor and maintenance-friendly. However, due to regular theft of the fittings, Central Railways suffered a loss of ₹15.25 lakh, while the Western Railways suffered a ₹38.58-lakh loss, India Today reported.

In the wake of regular theft, the authorities are now putting efforts to replace the fittings with cheaper ones that will give little financial incentives to thieves.

According to a source cited in the Mumbai Mirror report, with such rampant theft, it is almost impossible for Railways to replace the fittings with stainless steel. The authorities are looking for more viable options now.

The authorities have decided to glamour plastic fittings with the finishing of stainless steel so that they can retain the aesthetics while being cost-effective.

According to another official cited in the Mumbai Mirror, the plastic fittings will cost them around ₹70-80 compared to ₹300-400 for stainless steel. The authorities have planned to install the fittings by using heavy-duty plumbing tapes so that it will be difficult to remove them.

In October 2018, the Railways announced the project Utkrish to revamp 640 trains by 2020. The first lot of Utkrisht rakes rolled out as Kalka Mail from Howrah station, Business Standard reported.

Published on March 02, 2020

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