The vision of the Prime Minister of India of a Clean and Green country under the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ campaign saw a step in the right direction with the introduction of the first Green Train Corridor being inaugurated on 24th July, 2016. The Swachh Bharat mission was conceived with the aim of accelerating the efforts towards universal sanitation coverage, and what better way than the introduction of bio-toilets in railway coaches. The Corridor extends over a 114-km long stretch in the Southern Railway extension, between Manamadurai and Rameswaram, and will be free of human waste discharge from trains. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu inaugurated the Green Corridor through a video conference from Chennai.
The Project Green Train Corridor
- The Manamadurai and Rameswaram route will be human waste free.
- 150 coaches in 13 pairs of express and passenger trains have been fitted with bio-toilets.
- Rameswaram railway station, has been testing the efficacy of the bio-toilets through a bio-lab established there.
- 15,500 bio-toilets in 4,000 coaches have already been fitted in 2015-16.
- According to Southern Railways, 563 bio-toilets have been fitted in 150 coaches on the Manamadurai and Rameswaram route and Rameshwaram Railway Station has been handling all of them.
- It has been named the Green Station and will continue to handle the bio-toilets in the coaches.
What is a Green Train Corridor?
Till date human waste is being ejected out through the tracks of the trains, making the entire countryside dirty. The inclusion of bio-toilets in coaches will stop this and there will be zero discharge of human waste on the tracks. The IR-DRDO Bio-Toilet has been developed by the Indian Railways in collaboration with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and has the following features:
- The bio-toilet collects human waste in seven-chambered tanks.
- The tank, known as the bio-digester tank, is filled with inoculums (immune serums) containing 4 kinds of anaerobic bacteria.
- The toilet contains a water trap system which prevents air from getting into the tank.
- The bacteria then process the waste in the different chambers of the tank.
- The human waste is disintegrated into liquid and gas.
- The methane gas thus produced is allowed to escape into the air.
- The liquid produced is chlorinated and discharged into the environment causing no harm.
The Railway Minister said, “In order to contribute to the Prime Minister’s vision of Swachh Bharat, Indian Railways has decided to provide bio-toilets in all coaches by September 19, 2019. The ministry has provided 15,500 bio-toilets in 2015-16 in about 4,000 coaches, while till March 2015, it has fitted around 19,000 bio-toilets.”
The following routes have been marked for conversion into Green Train Corridors in the near future. These routes have been chosen as there are fewer number of trains originating and terminating at these stations, thus making it easier to launch and complete the operation at the earliest.
- Okha-Kanalas Junction (141 Kms)
- Porbandar-Wansjaliya (34 Kms)
- Jammu-Katra (78 Kms)
35 trains with 1110 coaches will be fitted with Bio Toilets for the aforesaid routes. The work is already underway.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day Speech in 2014 had said, “The poor need respect and it begins with cleanliness.” Based on this, he had launched the Clean India Campaign. The Indian Railways has extended a helping hand in fulfilling the commitment of the Prime Minister by providing hygienic environment to passengers and to keep station premises/tracks clean with the introduction of the Bio-Toilets in the trains.