New Delhi: Indian Railways is the world’s biggest open toilet! This is how Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has described the lifeline of the nation.
Ramesh made the statement while making a case for greater funding for bio-toilets.
"We are the world's capital for open defecations. 60 per cent of all open defecations in the world are in India. This is a matter of great shame," Ramesh was reported as saying.
"The second dimension of the sanitation problems in India is the Railway, which is really the largest open toilet in the world. 11 million passengers every day and we all know the state of sanitation in our railway," said Ramesh, who is also the Drinking Water and Sanitation Minister.
According to Ramesh, only 436 coaches on nine trains are currently fitted with bio-toilets.
He further said the current annual production of coaches stands at 4,000 and these could easily be fitted with new bio-toilets developed by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).
"...What I have offered to Railway Board Chairman is that we will bear 50 per cent cost of retrofitting each on the 50000 coaches with the DRDO biodigesters in 4 to 5 years time," the minister said after parleys with Railway Board chairman Vinay Mittal and senior board officials at his Ministry.
First Published: Friday, July 27, 2012, 11:27