The Indian Railways has decided to take significant steps to maintain cleanliness in trains. In a written statement to the Rajya Sabha, the Railway Ministry said that the national transporter has taken many steps, such as Clean My Coach,Coach Mitra, and has got good response so far.
"Maintaining cleanliness in coaches and stations is a continuous process and (we) are making every endeavour to keep the coaches including toilets in properly maintained and in clean condition," the ministry said in the statement.
A look at some major steps that the ministry has taken to maintain cleanliness on trains:
1) The Railway Ministry has ensured that train coaches are cleaned at both ends using the mechanised cleaning.
2) The trains have been equipped with On Board Housekeeping Service (OBHS) which would ensure that the coach toilets, doorways, aisles and passenger compartments are clean during the journey. Around 980 pairs of trains including Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express and other important long distance Mail or Express trains have got this facility.
3) The 'Coach Mitra' facility is there on another 800 trains, which is a single window platform to register all coach related requirements, such as cleaning, disinfection, clean linen, train lighting, air conditioning and watering of coaches.
4) Indian Railways has also rolled out Clean Train Station which will give selective trains the mechanized cleaning attention. The toilets will be cleaned at the scheduled stoppages.
5) To maintain hygiene, the ministry said the bed linen (except blanket) given in AC coaches are washed after every single use. The blankets are washed once a month.
6) It added that 59 mechanised laundries have been set up to improve the quality of washing of bed linen and timely delivery.
The Indian Railways has decided to install bio-toilets in coaches. Bio-toilets ensures that the human waste is not discharged on the tracks.
Around 1,25,000 bio-toilets were fitted by the national carrier till March 2018.
The Railway Ministry claimed that the most number of bio-toilets were installed during 2017-18, 40 per cent higher than the target of 40,000 bio-toilets.
The Indian Railways has 27 sections as Green Corridors and the trains running in these sections are equipped with bio-toilets.
A bio-toilet is fitted underneath the lavatories, when human waste is discharged into them, it chemically converts the waste into water and bio-gases. The Railways estimates that around 4,000 MT of human waste is released from coaches every day. The bio-toilets can cut down the total discharge by 60 per cent, the ministry officials claimed.
The Make-in-India bio-toilet project is a joint venture of Indian Railways and DRDO's scientists.