HC seeks controlled-discharge toilets in trains
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Last Updated: Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 19:36
New Delhi: The Indian Railways was asked on Wednesday by the Delhi High Court to install Controlled-Discharge Toilet System (CDTS) in trains till bio-toilets are fitted to abolish manual scavenging from the railways.

Observing that the Railways needs to work faster in installing bio-toilets, the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Mishra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna also directed it to rehabilitate people who are to be rendered jobless due to abolition of manual scavenging.

The bench also asked railway authorities to provide protective gears to the people engaged in cleaning toilets in railway coaches with water jets.

It also asked its amicus Arjiv Nanda to travel in a train having bio-toilets and file a report on its efficacy by the next date of hearing.

While seeking a detailed affidavit from Railways about its efforts to abolish manual scavenging, the court pointed out installation of CDTS could be a way out of the malady of manual scavenging, pending introduction of bio-toilets in all 43,000 coaches of various trains.

Appearing for Indian Railways, counsel Geetanjali Mohan told the bench that as per Railway Board's instructions, a total of 130 bio-toilets have been fitted in various coaches and 500 more are to be installed by March 2012.

She also pointed out that at a rate of four toilets per coach, the railways requires a total of 1,72,000 bio-toilets and it would take a few years in procuring as many of them for completion of the project.

Pointing out that the workers did not use hands in cleaning the tracks, she said "water jets and big bamboo brooms are being used to clear the tracks of human waste."

The bench was hearing a public interest petition by a civil society group seeking abolition of manual scavenging in railways.

Appearing for the petitioner Safai Karmchari Andolan, advocate Shomna Khanna submitted that the Railway Board has a statutory duty to rehabilitate the people who were rendered jobless due to abolition of manual scavenging in railways.

She also sought the court's direction for provision of protective gears for people engaged in cleaning toilets of various coaches at stations.

The bench sought by September 21 an affidavit from the Railway Ministry on the issue of their rehabilitation.

Earlier, the bench had expressed anguish over delay in introducing bio-toilets to abolish manual scavenging in railways.

It had asked the Railway Board to explain why it had failed to comply with the provisions of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act.


First Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 19:36

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