Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today launched India’s first 114-km long Rameswaram-Manamadurai Green Rail Corridor in Tamil Nadu.
Trains in this section have been equipped with bio-toilets ensuring zero discharge of human waste on the rail tracks.
Inaugurating the corridor through video-conferencing, Prabhu said his ministry was committed to converting all toilets in railways to bio-toilets.
He said till March 2016, a total of 35,104 bio-toilets had been provided and since then till last week 7,000 more new bio -toilets have been made operational.
"During 2016-17, our target is to provide 30,000 new bio-toilets and the benefits are obvious," he said adding the initiative will also bring down maintenance cost significantly.
"Before end of March next year, the line to (from Jammu) Katra will also be human waste free," he said.
He also inaugurated high speed upgraded Wi-Fi facility, set up in association with Google, at Chennai Central Railway Station and a similar facility at Tiruchirappalli through video conferencing. The Wi-Fi amenities were part of the digital India plan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said.
He launched a traditional medicine centre under Ayush at Perambur Railway Hospital here, a broad gauge line between Thiruvallur and Thiruvalangadu stations on the Chennai-Arakkonam line.
On developing rail infrastructure, he said the Tamil Nadu government should go for a Joint Venture with Railways like other southern States.
"I know we want to do more for Tamil Nadu. And for that, I had requested (Chief Minister) Jayalalitha, one of the great leaders of the state and India, madam ji to join hands with us so that we can have a JV for development," he said.
The Minister said he had written to Jayalalithaa only a few days ago on the matter. He said Tamil Nadu's neighbouring states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka, had agreed for JV with the Railways.
"So, we are awaiting a response from your state," he said hailing Jayalalithaa as "dynamic."
Referring to high speed network plans, he cited increasing speed of trains from 110 to 160 kmph in the Chennai-Bengaluru sector, and between New Delhi and Chennai.
"The idea is that we should try to bring in high speed network to all the people of India which will help bring in a complete transformation."
To develop the high speed network, work was on to devise strategies, one of which was using Talgo coaches and a trial with 180 kmph speed run with full load had been completed.
"Completion of trial between Mumbai and Delhi (will happen) in the next few days. If it is successful, it has been successful so far, then we will ask them to manufacture in India under PM's Make in India programme," Prabhu said.
(With inputs from PTI)