BHUBANESWAR: Though Indian Railways had assured National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to eliminate direct discharge type toilets system from its entire fleet of passenger coaches by the end of 2021-22, it has no year-wise plan to install bio-toilets in the coaches.
In a reply to a Right to information (RTI) query, the Railway Ministry said that there is no information available regarding any target for setting up of bio-toilets in rail coaches in the year 2016 and 2017.
Odisha-based rights activist Akhand had sought information asking the Railways about the number of new rail coaches to be installed with bio-toilets in 2016 and 2017 and the target.
In the reply to the query, the CPIO and Director, ME(Dev.) Binay Kumar Jha has replied to the query as “Information not available”.
In Dec 2013, Akhand had filed a petition stating that the toilets of railway contribute to a major chunk of open defecation as shit is thrown on the tracks.
Acting on the complaint, the commission had directed the railway board chairman to file a report within four cases. Director, Mechanical Engineering (Development) of Railway Board had submitted its report to the Commission.
The report said, “Railways decide to eliminate production of all types of new passenger’s coaches with direct discharge toilets system by 2016-17”. And by 2021-22, the entire fleet of passenger’s coaches will be free from open toilets.
“If railway has no year-wise planning or target to install the bio-toilets in the railways coaches and if it goes very slow as before, then how it will eliminate open toilets by 2021-22”, questioned Akhand.
He is preparing for seeking the intervention of NHRC in the matter again.