MUMBAI: The Konkan Railway (KR) has installed bio-toilets on platforms at two stations, a first-of-its-kind initiative on Indian Railways. The toilets have come up at Chiplun and Kankavli stations on the KR route.
The railways adopted the bio-digester technology used in the toilets from the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) and plans to use it at other major stations as well.
“Passengers using this facility at Kankavli and Chiplun have been appreciative of the technology, which is eco-friendly, cost-effective and allows faster waste disposal,” KR chief PRO Vaishali Patange said.
Apart from being maintenance-free, the technology allows elimination of pathogens without requiring disposal of night soil through a sewage line and septic tank.
“Since septic tanks and sewage lines are not required, bio-toilets can be installed much faster than a regular RCC toilet,” Patange said. “An RCC toilet takes two months to build, but a bio-toilet is installed in a couple of days. There is also cost saving of 70%.”
The bio-digester is charged with anaerobic bacterial inoculums-no further charging is required if the bio-toilet remains in regular use-and bio-degradation of night soil leads to generation of biogas, which can be utilized for cooking.
“The clean, odourless water that is extracted after bio-degradation can be used for irrigation of gardens,” Patange said.
Such bio-toilets are utilized by the defence forces in remote areas. An MoU was signed by the Indian Railways with the DRDO in 2010 to develop a bio-toilet system for use in railway coaches.