The Ministry of Rural Development has offered to fit all new railway coaches with bio-toilets built by the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) and to share half the cost of retrofitting all existing 50,000 coaches with green toilets.
An official press release said Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh met Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal here and expressed the hope that the project could be completed in the next four to five years.
He said the whole project would cost about Rs 500 core and offered to share the burden on a 50:50 basis with the Railways.
Mr Ramesh said that, at present, only nine trains with 436 coaches were fitted with bio-toilets, while 4000 coaches were produced annually, which could be fitted with new bio-toilets.
According to him, the measure will not only prevent the corrosion of tracks but also provide odourless toilets to passengers.
At present waste is dumped directly on to the tracks because of the existing toilet system in trains. Many passengers ignore requests to not use toilets when trains halt. Apart from the unbearable stench it creates, the practice leads to clogging of rail lines at busy stations.
Mr Ramesh has also requsted the Railways to run Nirmal Bharat Express on the model of Red Ribbon Express to spread the message of cleanliness and sanitation.
Mr Mittal has requested the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, also headed by Mr Ramesh, to send a detailed plan in this regard.