The world’s fourth largest railway network, Indian Railways, will get bio-toilets on all trains by 2017.
“Indian Railway is the largest open toilet in the world,” said the country’s Minister for Rural Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation, Jairam Ramesh.
An estimated 11 million passengers travel every day by train and at present, waste is dumped directly on to the tracks, with many passengers ignoring requests not use toilets when trains are stationary.
Apart from the unbearable stench it creates, the practice leads to clogging of rail lines at busy stations.
Jairam Ramesh said that his ministry will now be fitting all new coaches with bio-toilets built by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Over Rs 5 billion, funded evenly between Indian Railways and the Rural Development Ministry, has been set aside for installing 50,000 coaches with the new technology.
At present only nine trains with 436 coaches are fitted with bio-toilets, while 4,000 coaches are produced annually which could be fitted with new bio-toilets.
“Installing bio-toilets will not only prevent the corrosion of tracks, but will also provide odourless toilets to passengers,” said Jairam Ramesh.
Railway Board chairman Vinay Mittal has given a positive nod to the proposal and asked the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to submit a detailed plan in this regard.
Jairam also requested the Railways Ministry to run Nirmal Bharat Express on the model of Red Ribbon Express to spread the message of cleanliness and sanitation.