2,573 coaches in State to have the facility by June 30!
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A green train corridor from Parassala in the south to Kasaragod in the north is on the anvil with Railways switching over to bio-toilets in 2,573 coaches of passenger, mail, and express trains running through the State.
Only 18 of the 2,000 coaches with the Thriuvananthapuram railway division and nine of the 573 coaches in the adjoining Palakkad division need to be retrofitted with bio-toilets. “This work will be completed next week as the target fixed for switching over to bio-toilets is June 30,” Shirish Kumar Sinha, Divisional Railway Manager, Thiruvananthapuram, said.
By then, 80% to 90% mail and express trains running through the State will have bio-toilets. The remaining rakes of mail and express trains plying in the State are held by the Central Railway and North East Frontier Railway and steps are on to retrofit bio-toilets in them too.
Bio-toilets will eliminate discharge of human waste along the railway tracks and keep railway premises clean. The Railway Ministry has advanced its earlier plan to fit bio-toilets in its entire fleet from 2021-2022 to 2019.
Human waste is collected in a tank fitted beneath the lavatories and converted into methane and water with the help of bacteria, thereby avoiding spillage along the tracks.
Passengers had complained about the bio-toilets introduced initially, and Railways have come up with vacuum bio-toilets with dewatering system, as in aeroplanes. The vacuum toilets, which cost around ₹2.5 lakh per unit, is odour-free, will cut down on water usage by 1/20th, and have much fewer chances of getting blocked. With Railways outsourcing cleaning in key railway stations, the toilets in the trains can also be cleaned en route.
With zero discharge on the railway tracks, the life of the tracks will go up.
“Track renewal will come down drastically and Railways can save money. Corrosion due to spilling of human waste on the railway track was a problem faced by Railways in the State,” Mr. Sinha said.