Hemkund Saheb will be next to Yamunotri and Kedarnath to have a series of bio digester toilets with the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) planning to construct 23 bio digester toilets to replace those destroyed in the flood disaster in 2013.
Bio digester toilets are environment-friendly, pre fabricated structures raised mainly in hilly regions having water availability. “Though setting up of these structures is easy and fast, maintenance is a technical issue as the life of digester bacteria culture in septic tanks needs constant usage of the structure. It becomes difficult during off seasons for tourism, when toilets unused for six months at a stretch make the bacteria inactive. This has forced us to bestow the maintenance responsibility on the construction agency as well,” said Sharma.
With this, GMVN will have set up 40 structures within 18 kilometers between Govindghat and Hemkund Saheb, a Sikh pilgrimage center. GMVN officials say tenders have been completed and work will start soon. The new set of toilets will cost the corporation almost Rs 75 lakhs as each structure will be worth Rs 3 lakh approximately.
“The new structures will be ready within the next two months and the construction agency will also take responsibility for their maintenance in high hill areas, specially in keeping the bacterial culture of septic tank functional,” said Rahul Sharma, general manager (engineering division), GMVN. He informed that 22 bio digester toilets were set up by GMVN on Kedarnath route prior to the June 2013 disaster but all were washed away in the deluge that killed thousands of people in Uttarakhand. Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, the chief agency working for reconstruction of Kedar Valley post the flood, has recently reconstructed around 20 destroyed bio digester toilets between Lincholi and Kedranath shrine.
Apart from this GMVN, has also set up five prefabricated bio digester toilets on Yamunotri as replacement for destroyed structures. “These structures were set up by GMVN in 2014 and are being maintained adequately by the construction agency,” Sharma said.