Almost two lakh complaints regarding choking, foul smelling and non-functional bio- toilets in trains were received from the public in 2016-2017, a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) said today. The CAG, in its report on ‘Induction of bio-toilets in passenger coaches in Indian Railways’, has said that out of the 613 trains being handled in 32 coaching depots it audited, 160 trains did not have bio-toilets. “In the remaining 453 trains having 25,080 bio-toilets, 1,99,689 instances of deficiencies or complaints were noticed,” the report stated. With 1,02,792 complaints, choking seemed to be the most common problem for passengers regarding bio-toilets, the report said, followed by complains of foul smell (16,375), non-functional toilets (11,462), non-availability of dustbins (21,181), non-availability of mugs (22,899) and other complaints like ball valve failure and wire ropes (24,980).
The report has said that 1,02,792 cases of choking in 25,080 bio toilets imply “that one bio-toilet got choked four times in a year during 2016-2017.” During 2015-2016, for 24,675 bio toilets, 61,088 cases of choking were seen. “This shows that instances of choking of bio-toilets increased in 2016-2017 and needs to be addressed,” it said. The report said that 33.89 per cent of the choking cases were noticed in Bengaluru coaching depot in South Western Railway alone, which handles only 1.6 per cent of the total bio-toilets, implying that one bio-toilet got choked 83 times in a year. The report which is based on audit for the period 2014- 2015-2016-2017 and was submitted in Parliament today, also provided Railways’ view on the stinking and choking bio- toilets.
The ministry has said that while the matter was being dealt with firmly, the choking problem was due to misuse of bio-toilets by passengers. It also said that stainless steel dustbins were prone to thefts. “All out efforts are being made to fit anti-pilferage devices to minimise cases of theft. Regular passenger awareness drives were being conducted to sensitise passengers and cases of choking were now reduced…,” the ministry told the CAG, the report said. Officials said that the transport behemoth is already considering replacing existing bio-toilets with the bio-vacuum ones, which will be odour free, cut down water usage by one- twentieth and will have much lesser chances of getting blocked.