by Elton Gomes
The Indian Railways will try bio-toilets that have been powered by Japanese technology. The bio-toilets are different from those that are currently used across railway stations.
India to run a pilot of the bio-toilets
To gauge the efficacy of the Japanese technology bio-toilets across Indian railway stations, the railways plans to install the toilets at a few selected railway stations, according to an IANS report.
The report stated that one Japanese technology bio-toilet is already functional at Goa’s Madgaon railway station in the Konkan railway route. Two more such bio-toilets will be implemented in railway stations at Varanasi and Delhi. As part of the pilot project, Japan will give India 150 bio-toilets that will be installed at various railway stations but not inside trains.
The railways will decide on the extensive use of the toilets after assessing results from the first few stations, an official was quoted as saying in the IANS report.
How are the bio-toilets different?
Japanese bio-toilet technology is different from the ones used by Indian Railways. The bio-toilets are based on sawdust and a special churning system that decomposes faecal matters in the toilet’s tank, whereas the Indian technology is dependent on a bacteria-driven process.
Why does the Railways wish to use such technology?
Government-funded Indian Railways is addressing the issue of toilets, which comprises the largest complaint that passengers have with trains and stations. The national carrier has faced significant public criticism due to stinking toilets, particularly in long-distance trains.
According to a 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report, foul smell emanated from as many as 223 bio-toilets. Upon inspection, a problem was found with the flushing system and inadequate water supply. As some train journeys last 30 to 40 hours, smooth functioning of toilets has become a pressing concern for the Indian Railways.
The Railways also plans to test hybrid toilets. These toilets are known as bio-vacs and are equipped with the vacuum flush facility. The Railways is currently procuring 2,000 bio-vacuum hybrid toilets for 500 coaches and might scale up depending on the response.
The Railways aims to install bio-toilets in all coaches by March 2019. The bio-toilets were fitted first in new coaches and were then retrofitted in older ones. Indian Railways has also set a target of installing 90,000 bio-toilets in 22,500 coaches in the current fiscal.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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