The open discharge toilets on Indian trains are costing the railways a staggering Rs 350 crore a year because of corrosion of tracks by night soil. Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi has revived a six-year-old plan to install green toilets, promising that 2,500 coaches will have the new system by 2013.
"As pointed out by the Kakodkar and Pitroda committees, there is an urgent need to replace the conventional toilets with "green toilets" with a view to having a cleaner, hygienic and safer ecosystem," Trivedi said in his budget speech on Wednesday. The idea of green toilets has often been discussed in the past, but has not made much headway. Unclean toilets, dirty stations and soiled rail tracks are a common sight at railway stations across the country.
Bio-toilets designed by the Defence Research and Development Organization are under trial, he said. "Trials with retention-evacuation type toilets, such as vacuum toilets, are also planned on a few premium trains. More coaches will be equipped with green toilets," Trivedi said.
The railways also plans to introduce a "green train" - a low-emission diesel locomotive and coaches with bio-toilets - to run through the forests of north Bengal.