Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Monday went on an inspection for the eco-friendly Bio-toilet developed and fitted on passenger coaches.
Bansal held an in-depth discussion on the various issues associated with the fitment and usage of the same with senior railway officials including Member Mechanical, Railway Board Keshav Chandra.
Chandra explained to Bansal that the technology used is the same as that used for making stationary toilets for Indian troops stationed at Siachen.
Chandra also explained that Indian Railways is the pioneer in developing and implementing this bio-digester bacteria technology on trains. In Europe, the trains mainly use vacuum toilets that are very expensive, akin to those on aircrafts.
The Indian Railways bio-toilets uses a technology based on specially developed bacteria by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Chandra asserted, "The bacteria act upon the human waste and convert it into water, methane and carbon dioxide."
He explained that the toilets have to be fitted on the underframe or the "chassis" of the coach using specialized techniques and that the bio-digester tank is made out of stainless steel for rust prevention.
The cutting and welding of stainless steel requires specialized laser cutting and TIG welding process that is not commonly available. Ordinary steel tanks cannot withstand the rigours of the usage.
Chandra also emphasized that the success of this technology depends on proper usage by the passengers since throwing all kinds of waste material into the Bio-toilets, which does have adequate safeguards against malfunction, cannot handle non bio-degradable waste like plastic bottles, "gutkha" pouches, etc. in large quantities.
Bansal instructed the officials that passengers must be educated by pasting suitable, simple but strikingly catchy instructions so that proper usage becomes a habit for them.
Bansal also appreciated the efforts made by the department in developing the Bio-toilets and fitting the same on eight trains.
The fitment of bio-toilets on new coaches is being done on a war footing and retrofitment on currently running coaches will be taken up shortly.
Bansal was also accompanied by Additional Member(PU), Railway Board S.K. Sharma; General Manager Northern Railway V.K. Gupta; Divisional Railway Manager, Delhi Division Anurag Sachan and other senior officials.