Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has reiterated that the Railways will install bio-toilets in more trains.

During Rail Budget 2012-13, the Ministry had targeted 2,500 bio-toilets on passenger trains.

Neither did Bansal mention any target for the coming fiscal nor give out the number of such toilets that had been installed successfully.

With the Railways operating about 40,000 passenger coaches, the path to 100 per cent adoption of bio-toilets on all trains appears to be long. Modern toilet facilities on trains are seen as important for the Railways, as the current toilets release human waste directly on to the tracks.

Hygiene concerns

This is a cause for concern — economic, environmental and hygienic — as it pollutes and leads to large-scale erosion of the tracks, which costs the Indian Railways Rs 350 crore a year.

The Railways had earlier announced that it planned to spend about Rs 500 crore to install bio-toilets in all new coaches.

The Environment Ministry is also concerned about pollution of water bodies.

aesha.datta@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 26, 2013)
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