The move will help eliminate discharge of human waste along the railway tracks and bring in cleanliness on the railway premises, said Divisional Railway Manager Pratap Singh Shami. The Ministry of Railways has asked all the zones and divisions to retrofit bio-toilets on all coaches by this year-end, while it has plans to introduce vacuum bio-toilets in the coming days.
Human waste is collected in the tank fitted beneath the lavatories and converted into methane and water with the help of bacteria thereby avoiding spillage of human waste in the open, along the tracks. While the entire Southern Railway has retrofitted bio-toilets on 5,443 out of its 6,603 coaches as of now, the Ministry has plans to retrofit bio-toilets on 80,000 coaches across zones by this year-end.
Maintaining overall hygiene and cleanliness on the railway premises has also been their concern, Mr. Shami said. As many as 102 trains of SR are provided with On Board Housekeeping Service (OBHS) to ensure cleanliness and hygiene of coaches in running trains.
Coach Mitra scheme has also been introduced in all 102 trains covered under OBHS. The Coach Mitra takes care of complaints on linen, water availability, small repairs, pest control/disinfectants, besides coach cleaning requirements. Passengers would have to text their complaints to the Coach Mitra dedicated helpline number 9821736069 quoting their PNR number.
Many sections of SR, including Rameswaram-Manamadurai, Tiruchirapalli-Manamadurai, Shoranur-Nilambur and so on have already been acknowledged as Green Train Corridors with trains plying on these sections fitted with bio-toilets and having zero discharge on tracks.
SR has also outsourced sanitisation contracts, including cleaning of approach roads, circulating areas, and station premises through mechanised cleaning at frequent intervals with heavy duty scrubbers and driers at 73 important stations, including Mangaluru Central and Junction.