No more filthy tracks and stinking railway stations by the end of 2018. By next year, the entire 1.3 lakh km of the rail route in India will be converted into ‘Green Corridors’ by replacing all conventional toilets in trains with bio toilets.
This will keep railway tracks free from human waste and thus keep the corridors clean, said a senior railway official.
The railway ministry has set the in-house target of installing bio toilets in all trains as part of the Swacchh Bharat Mission. Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani said nearly 55 per cent trains in India have been fitted with bio-toilets, and by the end of next year, all open toilets will be removed from trains.
“Cleanliness, safety and modernisation will be the top priorities of 2018. In the first place we will install bio-toilets in all trains. We will also stop the production of ICFmade coaches by April 2018. April onwards only LHB coaches will be manufactured,” Lohani said.
The officials said over 90, 000 bio toilets have already been installed in trains and railway plans to add another 1.2 lakh bio toilets by next year.
To achieve the target of 100 per cent bio toilets, railway workshops have been instructed to compulsorily install bio-toilets in all existing in-service eligible coaches undergoing mid-life rehabilitation and periodical overhaul.
Retrofitting of biotoilets in existing in-service coaches is also being done to a limited extent in coaching depots. Anaerobic digestion process is applied for the digestion of human excreta in the bio toilets that are being fitted in passenger coaches. No human excreta is thrown out on the railway track from a bio-toilet fitted in trains, officials said.
Lohani said only LHB coaches that have in-built anti-collision devices will be produced in the country after April 2018.
He said the LHB coaches have in-built anti-collision devices which cause fewer fatalities, while more fatalities have been recorded in the ICF coaches.
The railway ministry has decided to produce 5,000 LHB coaches every year. At present, there are around 51,000 Integrated Coach Factory (ICF) coaches and 5,500 LHB coaches made in the Kapurthala factory.
However, this requires increasing the production sharply up from the present annual coach production target of 2,435.
The vendor capacity also needs to be increased accordingly. Notably, the railways has two kinds of coaches – the Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) and Integral Coach Factory (ICF) that are produced in the country.
The LHB coaches are manufactured by the Rail Coach Factory (Kapurthala) under a Transfer of Technology agreement, while the Integral Coach Factory-coaches are produced in railways’ main coach production plants in Perambur near Chennai.
A senior railway ministry official said the third priority for railways in 2018 will be the redevelopment of stations for which the ministry will be spending one lakh crore. While former railway minister Suresh Prabhu had announced redevelopment of 400 stations, work will be taken up at nearly 10 stations in one year.
These include Surat, Baiyappanhalli in Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Anand Vihar, Safdarjung and Bijwasan in Delhi, Shivaji Nagar in Pune, Gandhi Nagar and Habibganj among others.
As per the plan, real estate majors will be roped in as developers. While 20 per cent of the redeveloped area on the station will be used for operational purposes, the remaining 80 per cent would be used for commercial purposes.