In a bid to ensure clean railway tracks, the Indian Railways would install Bio-digesters in all conventional coaches by 2020.
After getting successful results of fitted bio-digesters in 195 coaches since 2007, the Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala is all ready to install bio-digesters in around 300 coaches during the current financial year.
Each coach is fitted with four bio-digesters, which ensures eco-friendly toilet system by treating human excreta with special enzymes produced by a patented bacteria culture.
"The basic idea is to replace all open defecation systems presently operational in all conventional coaches by the year 2020 to give hygienic and pleasant travel experience to the commuters," revealed Varinder Vij, senior public relation officer of Rail Coach Factory adding that, "the system is bit costly right now but the railways and union environment ministry are working on the modalities to share the cost-burden."
Since 2007, the Rail Coach Factory has rolled out 195 conventional coaches to different zones of Indian Railways. For other AC and special coaches, the Controlled Discharge Toilet Systems (CDTS) had been installed by railways which were designed to ensure that waste from the toilets is retained in tanks while the train is waiting at a station or it is passing through city limits.
When the train picks up certain speed (say 30kmph) the waste gets discharged on to the tracks.
"This system had helped to keep the stations and tracks within the city limits clean but at outskirts and at certain points the situation deteiorated. So green toilets using bio-digesters is a better solution," Vij said.
"Earlier, ladies used to throw sanitary napkins and clothes into the toilets, then designers worked on it to add a mechanism using ball-valves which segregate these products from waste material," he added.
The coaches rolled out from RCF since 2007 are effectively working in the New Delhi-Rewa Express, Gwalior-Chhapra Express, Gwalior-Indore Express, Nizamudin-Indore Express, Mumbai-Varanasi Express, Indore-Jammu Malwa Express and Pushpak Express.
"In the current year, out of 300, 22 coaches for Kochivelli-Bangalore express have been sent to Southern Railways and the work for completion of remaining coaches is undergoing at a very fast pace," added Vij.
"The bio-digesters are filled with bacteria which do not require replenishment for a long time, once charged, the system is almost maintenance free. The system is composed of 7 different chambers and the human waste is broken into these chambers where they are treated with bacteria and the leftover liquid is treated with chlorine before disposal," he revealed.
"The use of bio-digesters ensures cost effective indigenous technology and retro fitment is feasible on existing coaches," he added.