Kochi: Kudumbashree, the state poverty eradication mission, is set to widen its tie-up with the railways by taking up cleaning and maintenance activities at major railway stations besides operation of 'loss-making' halt stations in Thiruvananthapuram division.
The railways has already entrusted Kudumbashree with the cleaning duties of Ernakulam Junction on a trial-and-error basis for six months. This after the railways ended the services of the earlier contractor following charges of corruption.
Kudumbashree mission has now approached the railways evincing interest in taking up cleaning jobs at 46 railway stations in the division.
"We've given a proposal to the railways to undertake cleaning jobs in more stations in the division. We had three to four rounds of discussions with the railway authorities concerned and we're waiting for their final nod," said N.S. Niranjana, programme officer (micro enterprises).
The mission forged a pact with the railways in 2016 when it was entrusted with the upkeep and maintenance of AC waiting hall at Ernakulam South. Now it's managing such waiting facilities at four other stations (Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Ernakulam North and Thrissur) besides the parking facility at 40 stations.
Meanwhile, the railways too are in favour of handing over the cleaning jobs of stations to the mission.
However, the authorities are concerned over the lack of adequate mechanised cleaning equipment with the mission personnel.
"The proposal is under consideration of the Railway Board," said a railway official.
Meanwhile, the railways would soon entrust Kudumbashree with the management of "loss-making" railway halt stations facing the threat of closure.
The halt agents, the private parties entrusted with the management of low-income railway stations, have sought withdrawal from the contract citing poor revenue generation at stations like Kanjiramattom, Kaduthuruthy, Chottanikkara Road, Kumaranellor, Kappil, Veli and Chouvara among others.
"We first approached the local bodies to take over the operation of such stations but it did not work out. Now Kudumbashree has agreed to take over the operation. We'll help them with various revenue generation sources.
A formal decision in this regard will be taken soon," the official said....