Monday, May 20, 2013

Railways plans to install bio-toilets on more trains

AURANGABAD: Buoyed by the successful installation of 48 bio-toilets on tow long-distance trains, the South Central Railway (SCR) has decided to replace the existing excreta disposal systems in trains such as Secunderabad-Manmad Ajantha Express that passes through Nizambad, Nanded, Aurangabad and Manmad.

In January this year, the SCR had installed bio-toilets on two of its trains, Kacheguda-Bangalore Express and HussainSagar Hyderabad-Mumbai Express, at Rs 80,000 each. Satisfied by the results, the SCR authorities have decided to go a step ahead and install the bio-toilets on some more trains.

The SCR is viewing the bio-toilets as a solution to the hazards of the conventional ones fitted in the trains, as the facility, by allowing night soil to fall on the tracks, cause unhygienic conditions and corrosion to the rails and coach fittings. This, in turn, endangers safety. The passengers use the toilets while the trains are on platforms and the tracks get scattered with excreta, creating unpleasant situation for those on the platforms.

A senior railway official said maintaining cleanliness at railway stations, especially the tracks, is a daunting task for the railways in the face of the ban on the manual scavengering and track maintenance staff also has to face difficulties in maintaining the tracks.

The bio-toilets, jointly developed by Railway Research Design and Standard Organisation and Defence Research Development Establishment, have six compartments each and inoculums (bacteria) are used to decompose the night soil.

The night soil from commode enters the bio-tank, where the inoculums are stored, and get decomposed by the bacteria. Following this the decomposed substance enter a chlorine-filled tank, where it further gets treated. The final output is just water and gas. The bio-toilets with provision to replenish inoculum and chlorine are making the facility more preferable and easy to maintain.

Railway officials maintained that the SCR was set to fit 200 more bio-toilets on three more trains, including Ajantha Express that passes through the Marathwada region, in a couple of months.

An official said with simple design, less maintenance and easier fitment procedure, the eco-friendly bio-toilets will ensure zero discharge of night soil on the ground. "The arrangement will ensure clean environment and hygienic conditions of the railway stations and the tracks," the official added.


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