Over 2 lakh complaints of train bio-toilets' choking, foul smell: CAG

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New Delhi, Dec 20: Railways received almost two lakh complaints regarding choking, foul smelling and non-functional bio-toilets in passenger trains in 2016-2017, the CAG said in a report.

The revelations were made in the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on 'Induction of bio-toilets in passenger coaches in Indian Railways', tabled in parliament on Tuesday.

"The data is of instances of defects such as choking, foul smell, non-availability of dust-bins, and mugs etc. in selected 30 Coaching Depots of 15 Zonal Railways for 2016-17. 

"Out of 613 trains being handled in these Coaching Depots, 160 trains did not have any bio-toilets fitted. In remaining 453 trains, having 25,080 bio-toilets (either full complement or partial), 1,99,689 instances of deficiencies or complaints were noticed," the report said. 

The CAG also said that with 1,02,792 complaints, choking seemed to be the most common problem for passengers regarding bio-toilets. 

It was followed by complaints of foul smell (16,375), non-functional bio-toilets (11,642), non-availability of dustbins (21,981), non-availability of mugs (22,899) and other complaints like ball valve failure and wire ropes (24,980). 

The report also highlighted 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". 

It said that 33.89 per cent of the choking cases were noticed in Bengaluru coaching depot in South Western Railway division 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.

"During 2015-2016, for 24,675 bio toilets, 61,088 cases of choking were seen," the report said. 

The CAG also pointed out that only 36.62 per cent supervisory and 23.21 per cent non-supervisory staff were trained in maintenance of bio-toilets, since May 2013, when the orders for imparting training were issued. It also slammed the railways for not running awareness campaign to educate the public about the bio-toilets. 

"None of the Zonal Railway except Southern Railway conducted any specific Passenger Awareness Drive to educate the public by distributing pamphlets, making announcements or arranging display on display boards/LED screens," the report said.

Meanwhile, a joint inspection by the team of CAG and railway officials on 33 trains of 16 zones on 1,788 installed bio-toilets in train found that the 94 of them were non-functional.

The CAG also said that as per instructions, stainless steel dust bins were to be provided in lavotaries of coaches fitted with bio-toilets to dissuade people from dumping non-biodegradable waste in the bio-toilets, but, in joint inspection, it was observed that dustbins were not available in in 377 out of 1,788 bio-toilets.

The CAG report also pointed out that 39 bio-toilets did not have dustbins were found in a choked condition due to dumping of non-biodegradable waste into the toilets.

"In the South Western Railways, due to non-availability of water mugs in non-AC coach fitted with bio-toilets, passengers werre forced to carry water bottles as an alternative and this possibly could have resulted in dumping of water bottle in bio-toilets and the resultant choking," the report said.

The CAG further said that foul smell was found emanating from 223 bio-toilets inspected, indicating problem with the flushing system or inadequate water supply in the toilets and deficiency in maintenance of toilets.

"In East Coastal Railways 24 cases, maximum number of foul smell complaints were noticed," the report said.

The CAG also said that spill over faecal matter outside the bio-tanks due to leakage from the connector hose was noticerd in 21 cases.

"Even lack of awareness about bio-toilets provided in the train was observed amongst some passengers," the report said.
 

 

IANS