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India launches bio-toilets for rural homes

Bhubaneswar, June 24 (IANS) India Sunday introduced in rural homes bio-toilets which are being currently used by soldiers for safe disposal of human excreta in high altitude regions, an official said.

Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the bio-digester technology uses bacteria that digest the waste and turn it into methane and water and carbon dioxide.

The first such facility for rural homes was inaugurated by Minister of State of Chemicals and Fertilizers Srikant Kumar Jena in Odisha's Bhadrak district, about 170 km from here, in the presence of Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh.

Over 500 bio-toilets would be provided in and around Dhamra. The initial phase will cover six villages of the region.

"This is a new, unique, innovative and eco-friendly technology for human waste management," W. Selvamurthy, chief controller, research and development for life sciences and international cooperation, DRDO, told IANS.

"We are happy that a technology which we developed for the soldiers is now finding applications," he added.

He said about five lakh such bio-toilets would be provided in about 1,000 gram panchayats in the next two years.

The rural development ministry will identify the panchayats and provide about Rs.600 crore for the purpose.

"We will executive this through 49 industries whom we have transferred the technology," he said.

He said the water produced during the disposal of waste through the bio-digester technology was found to be non-toxic during tests conducted on rats and other animals. It was fit for use in irrigation.

The technology has also found application in railways, coastal regions, islands like Lakshadweep and house boats.