(If you’re a frequent traveler in/to India, this is music to your ears or perhaps to those other naughty bits that this news speaks to. I’ll also be checking this fall to see if those vending machines will have been installed in the train stations as announced a few months ago…seriously vending machines. [But what about Hechsher-Olin and the dominant factor model? Do vending machines really make sense?])
The Ministry of Rural Development has offered to fit all new railways coaches with DRDO built bio-toilets and to share half the cost of retrofitting all existing 50,000 coaches with green toilets. Minister of Rural Development Shri Jairam Ramesh met the Railway Board Chairman Shri Vinay Mittal here and expressed the hope to complete the project in the next four to five years. Shri Ramesh informed that the whole project will cost about 500 crore rupees and offered to share the burden on a 50-50 basis with the Railways. He said, at present only 9 trains with 436 coaches are fitted with bio-toilets, while 4,000 coaches are produced annually which could be fitted with new bio-toilets. The measure will not only prevent the corrosion of tracks but will 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.