Rural development ministry offers to fund bio-toilets for railway coaches
New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Tuesday offered to equip all new railways coaches with bio-toilets built by Defence Research and Development Organisation and share half the cost of retrofitting all existing coaches with green toilets.
Ramesh, who met Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal here, hoped that the project to provide bio-toilets in all trains will be completed in the next four to five years.
According to an official press release, the minister said the project will cost about Rs.500 crore and offered to share the cost on a 50:50 basis with the railways.
Ramesh, who also holds charge of the drinking water and sanitation ministry, said at present only nine trains with 436 coaches were fitted with bio-toilets.
The minister added that nearly 4,000 rail coaches are produced annually which could be fitted with bio-toilets. The railways have an estimated 50,000 coaches.
The release said the move to equip all trains with bio-toilets will prevent corrosion of tracks, increase hygiene and help rid toilets of odour.
It said that under the present system, waste is dumped directly on to the tracks and many passengers ignore requests to not use toilets when trains halt. Apart from the unbearable stench, it leads to clogging of rail lines at busy stations.
Ramesh also requested the Railways to run the Nirmal Bharat Express on the model of Red Ribbon Express to spread the message of cleanliness and sanitation.
The release said Mittal has given a positive nod to the proposal and called upon the drinking water and sanitation ministry to submit a detailed plan.
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