Think of railway tracks and the image that floats in one's mind is that of filth and dirt. Across the length and breadth of the country, railway tracks are where people head to relieve themselves. It's an embarrassing early morning sight for passengers of a train crossing any city, town or village. With open defecation a "traditional way of life", railway tracks are the most preferred site after fields and forests, which in any case have been decimated in the march of urbanisation. The government has now launched a strong campaign for building and use of toilets in every household across the country.
Experts say it will take a generation for the mindset to change and ensure an open defecation-free country. Within the Capital, while the railway tracks continue to be visited by people, the Metro has remained clear of this menace. Perhaps because of the secured tracks ~ either underground or elevated ~ people cannot access the Metro tracks. However, the innovative Indian at times finds a way out, as a colleague realised.
Travelling from Rajiv Chowk to Vaishali, our colleague disembarked at Yamuna Bank station from a Noida City Centre-bound train to change for Vaishali. While waiting for his train, he noticed a middle-aged man strolling along the railway track. Upon reaching the station area, the man asked the security guard to help him up as he was unable to get on to the platform. The security guard informed two policemen about the errant man on the tracks. The policemen pulled him up and slapped him on his back. Responding to the man's protests, the security personnel asked, "Don't you know this is dangerous for your life?" The man then informed that he was a staff member of the Delhi Metro Rail and had just got on to the tracks to relieve himself. The policemen had to let go of the man after warning him not to repeat this in future. Though the embarrassed man left in a hurry, one could not help but wonder how a staffer was not aware of the DMRC rules.