Open to the tracks toilets make way for bio-toilets

The Indian Railways is replacing the existing open to the tracks toilets with brand new bio-toilets. The aim is simple: prevent corrosion of tracks and provide stench-free toilets to passengers.

“Some green toilets are already being manufactured and fitted in coaches, and we plan to manufacture 2500 bio-toilets in the current year,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.

The problem of environmental degradation and corrosion of tracks due to night soil (night soil is a euphemism for human excrement collected at night from cesspool, privies, etc) has been a long standing one. Rail corrosion costs the railways more than Rs. 350 crore every year.

“Our aim is to replace the existing toilets with bio-toilets in all long distance trains,” the official said.

The official said that the complete switch over to bio-toilets in new coaches will be carried out by 2016-17 while the total elimination of direct discharge toilet system in all passenger coaches will be done by 2021-22, the end of 13th Five-Year Plan.

The Kakodkar Committee on railway safety and Pitroda Committee on railway modernisation had strongly recommended in their reports for replacing the conventional open-discharge toilets with green toilets with a view to having cleaner, hygienic and safer railway ecosystem.

Five years and 43,000 carriages

Both the panels’recommended that toilets with nil or harmless discharge be installed within the next five years in all 43,000 carriages used by the Railways.

Waste is dumped directly on to the tracks because of the existing toilet system in trains.

Many passengers ignore requests to not use toilets when trains halt. Apart from the unbearable stench it creates, the practice leads to clogging of rail lines at busy stations.

Bio-toilets are already operational in some coaches as part of a pilot project. “Some modifications are being made during the trial and now the new technology will be extended to as many trains,” said the official.

Besides DRDO designed bio-toilets, trials for vacuum toilets are also being planned in a few premier trains.PTI

Published in: on July 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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