Professor claims of developing better bio-toilets

Toilets currently used in passenger coaches are of flush types.

New Delhi: Even as Railways are seemingly equipping passenger coaches with DRDO-made bio-toilets, a Pune-based professor has claimed to have developed a much more efficient and cost effective green toilet, which would help the cash-strapped organisation save resources.

Rajeev Saxena, who is the head of the microbiology department at Sinhagad Dental College, said the technology developed by him and his students would work on Indian conditions.

"The technology that Railways have adopted could not function efficiently due to varying weather conditions. But the technology developed by us works in all type of weathers and without any human intervention," claimed the professor who is looking forward to making a presentation before the Railway

The technology entails installing container below the coach which would have thermal plates to heat the faeces and destroy all the bacteria.

The resultant material will get transferred by a pipe to a container attached near the wheels, which would be emptied once the train is in the washing yard.

Saxena said the bi-product could be used as fertilisers or used in biogas plant to generate power, helping Railways generate funds in the process.

Toilets currently used in passenger coaches are of flush types, in which human wastes are discharged directly into the tracks, leading to unhygienic ecosystem and corrosion of rail tracks.

The magnitude of the problems can be measured from the fact that in his budget speech, former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi had said that "track corrosion costs Railways more than Rs 350 crore every year".

As per estimate, Railways operate 1.60 lakh toilets of which 40,000 coaches are used regularly.

Rail Budget for this fiscal has disclosed plans to install 2,500 bio-toilets made by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in train coaches.

Saxena said the other advantage of his technology is that it can be fitted to the existing toilets unlike the DRDO- developed ones, which needs complete replacement of the existing conventional toilets.

He said roughly Rs 25,000 would be required to install a toilet of his make or Rs one lakh to fit all the four toilets in a coach.

While the DRDO-designed toilets would require manpower to culture the bacteria before putting them into the system, he said no such step would be required here as the thermal plates would dissolve the solid wastes.