Pursuing plans of retrofitting coaches of all the 8,984 passenger trains with “green toilets”, the Indian Railways will shortly be floating global tenders.
Mass production of the environment-friendly biological toilets is scheduled to begin next year, a senior ministry official said on conditions of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
After the successful one year long trials with the biological toilets on the long distance Delhi-Rewa Express which ended May this year, the ministry has shown its preference for the technology developed by the Research and Design Organisation (RDSO), which provides for onboard chemical treatment of human excreta.
The technology provides for disintegration of human excreta into small particles, which are eventually converted into inactive and harmless gases and liquids. These are then discharged onto the tracks in the form of trickles.
The RDSO has also developed performance specifications for the vacuum retention toilets — predominantly used in the aviation sector. Such toilets work on vacuum assisted suction of waste.
It is retained in a storage tank and final emptied at terminals through a ground installation provided for the purpose.
“Possibly, the Indian Railways will experiment with both options, but the more important thing is that the plans are finally making headway,” a senior ministry official said on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised to speak to the media.