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Green toilets for Indian Railways

Passengers travelling in long distance will soon get respite from the clogged drains and stench from the toilets. The railway board recently announced र14.20crore for developing eco-friendly toilets for train coaches after the proposal was passed in the railway budget 2011. Railways are carrying out field trials for various types of green toilets, including controlled discharge toilet system, zero discharge toilet system and bio-toilet based on bio-digester technology to be installed in all passenger trains. Trials for bio-toilets based on bio-degradable technology are being carried out in Bundelkhand Express between Gwalior and Varanasi. These bio-toilets are in use in Siachen. At present, Duronto Express has controlled discharge toilet system.

These newly designed lavatories are likely to be manufactured in Motibagh workshop in Nagpur under the South East Central Railway (SECR). The toilets do not allow the refuse to fall on the tracks. Instead, it would be collected in a tank fixed below the coach floor. The tank has a 900lt of capacity, twice the capacity of the overhead water tank. The prototype of this toilet was developed in 2000. The interiors are similar to the current train toilets. The retention tank is provided with a small vent at the top of the coach so that the gases generated in the tank escape into the atmosphere. The system also requires fitting of an underground drainage facility at stations to discharge the wastes.

The railways had signed a MoU with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for development of bio-toilets for rail coaches. Rail tracks get corroded because of the discharge from toilets and the new design green toilets would prevent the damage to the tracks.

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