The Minister for Rural
Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation Shri Jairam Ramesh said
that his Ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with
Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) for implementation
of bio-digester based toilets in Gram Panchayats in a phased manner.
Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha today, he said the MoU has
provision for DRDO to adapt the technology suitably for use in villages.
He, however admitted that there is no data existing regarding dry
latrines in the rural areas of the country.
Earlier, the Minister informed in a function in the Capital last month
that one lakh bio-toilets will be installed in about 300 backward Gram
Pachayats of the country in the next two years to make them open
defecation free. He said, the project will entail a cost of 150 crore
rupees in the first phase. He was speaking after the signing of an MoU
between DRDO and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation for
Bio-Digester based Eco-friendly toilets developed by DRDO. Shri Ramesh
said, his Ministry has also offered to install with DRDO built
bio-toilets in all new railways coaches and to share half the cost of
retrofitting all existing 50,000 coaches in the next four to five years.
He informed that the whole project will cost about 500 crore rupees and
offered to share the burden on a 50-50 basis with the Railways. He said,
the measure will not only prevent the corrosion of tracks but will also
provide odourless toilets to passengers.