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The filthy, stinking toilets at railway stations and on trains will soon make way for vacuum toilets. For the first time on the Indian Railway network, the Delhi division of northern railways has decided to install vacuum toilets, like those in aircrafts, at major railway stations in the National Capital.
The pilot project will be undertaken at the New Delhi Railway Station. To make the vacuum toilets last a long time with low maintenance costs, the railways have decided to install pre-fabricated stainless steel toilets instead of the concrete structures.
Railway officials said the steel structure would also prove to be cost-effective.
The idea of vacuum or waterless toilets in the Indian Railways was conceived by Union Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu, who announced the same in the Union Budget for this year.
The Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) was directed by the railways to replace the conventional toilets with vacuum toilets.
With the vacuum toilets in place, issues of cleanliness and hygiene at stations and on trains can be addressed.
Officials said cleanliness on tracks will improve significantly with the railways adopting the new technology. This will also reduce corrosion of tracks and thus improve longevity of railway lines.
During the recently-concluded passenger amenity fortnight conducted by Northern Railways, cleanliness on stations and trains had emerged out to be one of the biggest concerns of passengers.
Stinking toilets in moving trains often deterred travelers, particularly women passengers, from using these facilities.
Divisional Railway Manager Arun Arora confirmed the development.
He said: “A private agency has agreed to install the prototype of stainless steel vacuum toilet at New Delhi station. Depending on success of the pilot project, such toilets will be constructed at other stations and inside the trains."
“As per the new guidelines issued by the Railway Board, there have to be at least four vacuum toilets per train. The plan will be taken forward once the NDLS project is executed successfully,” he added.
The DRM said the first vacuum toilet is likely to be ready by August-end. A private firm namely ‘Swamukt Waste Energy Private Limited’ has been roped in by the railways to execute the project.
As per the initial plan, toilet seats will be brought in from the United States of America and will be installed at railway platforms.
“The vacuum toilets would require nominal water and consume very less amount of power. The stainless steel structure would make cleanliness and maintenance easier and would reduce expenditure,” officials said.
Notably, the railways have already begun replacing the conventional toilets in trains with bio-toilets. So far, the Indian Railways has installed nearly 20,000 bio-toilets.
This article first appeared on www.dailymail.co.uk
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