New Delhi: Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has called the railway the world's biggest open toilet. He was making a pitch for greater funding for bio-toilets.
"We are the world's capital for open defacations. 60 per cent of all open defacations in the world are in India. This is a matter of great shame," Ramesh said.
"The second dimension of the sanitation problems in India is the Railway, which is really the largest open toilet in the world. 11 million passengers every day and we all know the state of sanitation in our railway," he added.
Ramesh, who also holds the portfolio of Drinking Water and Sanitation, said that at present only nine trains with 436 coaches are fitted with bio-toilets, while 4,000 coaches are produced annually which could be fitted with new bio-toilets developed by Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).
"...What I have offered to Railway Board Chairman is that we will bear 50 per cent cost of retrofitting each on the 50000 coaches with the DRDO biodigesters in 4 to 5 years time," he said after meeting Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal and senior board officials at his Ministry.
(With additional information from PTI)