After missiles, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has turned to developing technology for basic human needs. It has come out with bio-digester-based eco-friendly toilets for the rural poor.
These ‘green toilets’ will be installed in various gram panchayats to check open defecation.
A memorandum of understanding was signed here on Thursday between the DRDO and the Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation in this regard.
As a pilot project, the scheme will be launched in 300 gram panchayats in this year. The Rural Development Minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh, said the plan is to launch the scheme in 1,000 panchayats in the next five years. He said the average cost for one unit is Rs 15,000, which could be reduced to Rs 10,000 in the future. "By 10 years, we would be able to make India open-defecation free," Mr Ramesh added.
The Defence Minister, Mr AK Antony, said the pilot programme would be developed as a national programme with the help of various Government agencies and NGOs.
Mr Srikant Kumar Jena, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Statistics and Programme Implementation said the scheme was a ‘movement’ as it was addressing the basic requirement of weaker sections of the society, especially women.
He said his Ministry will sensitise MPs to use their local area development funds for this project, and added that the MPLADS guidelines would be amended so that funds can be released by MPs for the cause.
Bio-digester toilets degrade and convert human waste into usable water and gases in an eco-friendly manner. The effluent is odourless and harmless and can be used for gardening and irrigation. These are mostly pre-fabricated structures and are easy to install in any terrain.