New Delhi: As a component of its ‘Swachh Rail-Swachh Bharat’ initiative, the Indian Railways has introduced bio-toilets across 68,000 coaches.
The Indian Railways in a statement said: “A total of 49,487 bio-toilets have been installed in 14,916 coaches during 2019-20. This takes the cumulative number of bio-toilets to more than 2,45,400 fitted in 68,800 coaches with a coverage of 100 per cent.”
Along with preventing the direct discharge of human waste on tracks, these bio-toilets enable a clean environment on stations and platforms while encouraging improvement in track maintenance.
Also, a total (even more) of 1,100 pairs of trains, including Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto and other noteworthy long-distance mail/express trains, have been outfitted with facilities of onboard housekeeping service (OBHS) for cleaning of the coach toilets, entryways, doors, aisles, and traveler compartments during the run of the trains. This OBHS service is also supported by SMS based on demand “Coach-Mitra” service to cover over 1060 pairs of trains, said the statement.
Additionally, integrated mechanised cleaning is now provided at 953 stations. Mechanised laundries have been set up for improving the quality of washing of linen provided to AC coach passengers. Eight mechanised laundries were installed in 2019-20 (total 68).
Also, as an initiative to reduce, recycle and dispose of plastic waste generated in stations in an ecofriendly manner, comprehensive policy guidelines have been brought out for installation of Plastic Bottle Crushing Machines (PBCMs) by Zonal Railways. At present, around 315 PBCMs have been installed at 229 stations including several district headquarters railway stations over Indian Railways.
The reports of this new initiative come at a time when the entire nation is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the only proven measure against this highly infectious virus is said to be proper hygiene and cleanliness.