DRDO rejects IIT Madras study on its bio-digester toilets

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Friday rejected a study done by IIT Madras which said its bio-digester toilets being used in trains are no better than septic tanks, and said the study was “flawed”.

Reports quoting Ligy Philip, the professor who headed the study at IIT Madras, had said the toilets that were installed on several trains of Indian Railways were no better than septic tanks.


A statement issued on Friday said the DRDO team had interacted with Philip, and found that the study was inaccurate.

“After examining the information available it emerges that the experiment design by IIT Madras was flawed and results of the study are inaccurate,” the statement said.

“The statement by Prof. Ligy that organic matter (human waste) collecting in the bio-digester does not undergo any kind of treatment is factually incorrect.”

The statement also said the investigator “had not undertaken any study on bio-digesters fitted in Indian Railways and the reference to the same in the news articles is false and misleading”.

“The study had been undertaken without interacting with DRDO and it appears that the study has been conducted without understanding how the technology works”.

As many as 93,537 bio-digester toilets have been installed in trains by the Indian Railways at a cost of around Rs 1,305 crore.

“DRDO developed bio-digester technology has been proven over the years and Indian Railways has implemented the same in a very large scale after trying out various options from India and abroad. The application for bio-digester for rural sanitation has the potential to become the single most important factor for the Swachh Bharat initiative,” the statement added.


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