Railways is setting up a bacteria generation plant at the Rail Coach Factory here to meet the requirement of bio toilets in trains.
"We are setting up a plant here for generating anaerobic bacteria to be used in bio toilets in coaches. The plant will come up in a 100 cubic metre site at the Rail Coach Factory premises," said a senior RCF official involved with the project.
Railways has set a target of installing bio toilets designed by DRDO in 2,500 coaches in the current fiscal.
Besides Kapurthala, there will be two more anaerobic bacteria generation plants to be set up at Chennai and Nagpur.
While bio toilets are being fitted in all new LHB coaches manufactured in RCF, conventional coaches will also be equipped with these toilets in a phased manner, said the RCF official.
The anaerobic bacteria inside the toilets consumes waste material and converts it into water and gas in the bio-toilet system.
The water passing through chlorine tank is discharged as clean water and the gas generated evaporates into the atmosphere.
The RCF plant will produce about 10,000 litres of bacteria in 10 days. One toilet requires 150 litre of bacteria for 10 days.
"Currently we are procuring bacteria from DRDO but we have to generate on our own to meet the requirement for all coaches," he said, adding "the plant will be operational in the near future."
The bio toilet is estimated to cost about Rs 100,000 per unit. "It is odourless and it will also prevent corossion of rail tracks due to the open discharge of waste on rails," he said.
The problem of environmental degradation and corrosion of tracks due to night soil has caught the attention of railways for a long time.
Rail corrosion costs railways more than Rs 350 crore (Rs 3.5 billion) every year.
Railways have successfully completed field trials using bio toilets in a few trains.
"We will equip 1,200 coaches with bio toilets in the current fiscal," the official said.
Railways have set up a core committee which is working out details to undertake retro-fitment in about 50,000 coaches of the national transporter.