Airplane-like vacuum toilets in trains? Indian Railways is ready to upgrade, says Piyush Goyal

The vacuum bio-toilets, which cost around Rs 2.5 lakh per unit, will be odour-free and cut down water usage by 1/20th.

A bio-vacuum toilet installed in Tejas Express. (Source: Express/Avishek Dastidar)

The Indian Railways is mulling to replace all the 2.5 lakh toilets inside train coaches with vacuum bio-toilets, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal told PTI.

In an interview to the news agency, the minister said upgrading the train toilets was part of railways plan to improve its amenities in order to compete with the airline sector.

“We have started experimenting with vacuum bio-toilets like those in an aeroplane. Some 500 vacuum bio-toilets have been ordered and once the experiment is successful, I am willing to spend money to replace all the 2.5 lakh toilets in the trains with vacuum bio-toilets,” Goyal said.

The railways has so far spent around Rs 1 lakh per toilet to install 1,36,965 bio-toilets in 37,411 coaches, officials said. It has earmarked Rs 250 crore to fit all the coaches with bio-toilets by March 2019. “By March 2019, we will be 100 per cent on bio-toilets, which in itself is a big achievement. The tracks will be cleaner, the smell will go away and rail renewal will be reduced,” Goyal said.

The vacuum bio-toilets, which cost around Rs 2.5 lakh per unit, will be odour-free and cut down water usage by 1/20th, he added.

Hailing the Civil Aviation Ministry’s regional connectivity scheme, UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik), as a great achievement for the country, Goyal said competition was good for the railways.

“As the prime minister says, now a person in hawai chappals can also afford to fly. It is a matter of great pride for this government that we are empowering the poorest of the poor. I also believe that it is great for the railways.

“This kind of competition will perk up the railways and improve our levels of service. As responsible public servants, it is our duty to give full satisfaction to the customers,” he said.

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