To prevent clogging, Railways to have sensors in bio-toilets

Mamuni Das New Delhi | Updated on October 02, 2019 Published on October 02, 2019

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Indian Railways will start putting sensors to prevent bio-toilets from getting clogged. This will ensure passengers get choke-free, cleaner toilets more often than they presently get.

Railways have been fitting bio-toilets in trains to prevent human waste from dirtying tracks and stations. Bio-toilets also contribute to open defecation free (ODF) mission of the government. However, many of these toilets get clogged with plastic and glass bottles, sanitary napkins and diapers, in effect dirtying the train coaches from within.

These sensors detect a clogged or choked toilet and send a message to the phone of on-board cleaning staff, prompting them to clean the toilets. This technology has been successfully tried in one coach and will now be extended to all bio-toilets fitted in trains, an official told BusinessLine, requesting not to be quoted.

Bio toilets getting choked, in effect making the train toilets unusable, is an issue that has been flagged by consumers who use trains, as well as the government auditor Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

Trains in India generate some 50 lakh kg of night soil every day, said Rajesh Agrawal, Member-Rolling Stock, Indian Railways. Almost 95 per cent of coaches have bio-toilets now, Vinod Kumar Yadav, Chairman, Railway Board, said.

Making Indian Railways ODF will also a lower incidence of diseases as defecation on railway tracks attracted flies, insects, rodents and many of those flies used to come to trains from platform infecting the food, said Rajesh Agrawal, Member-Rolling Stock, Indian Railways.

To attend to railway users’ complaints, Agarwal added that Indian Railways plans to increase the “cyber-supervision” of onboard housing staff. Taking a cue from the hotels, the Railways plan to escalate “unattended-to-complain” of passengers regarding an unclean coach or dirty toilet. A passenger complains will only be closed after that passenger responds to the Railways with an OTP sent to the passengers' phone, said Agrawal. Exact details of the system is not yet precise. At present, about 1000 trains have a system which allows passengers to send a dirty train, dirty linen complaint to a specific number.

Further, Lucknow-based Research Design Standards Organisation is also designing vacuum-based bio-toilets that can be used when the trains are static in stations and these bio-toilets can be used without electricity, said Railway and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, adding that Indian Railways, which rolls out 8000 coaches may end up requiring 25,000-30,000 such vacuum bio-toilets, which may be more than the number of vacuum bio-toilets made in the entire world.


Published on October 02, 2019
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