Human faeces is scattered across India’s 64,400 kilometres of rail lines.

One of the world’s largest surface transport networks, carrying 30 million people and 2.8 tonnes of goods daily, is being downed by those using it.

A government panel report this month said that human waste from open-discharge toilets used by passengers is damaging tracks and associated infrastructure.

The report recommended that toilets with nil or harmless discharge be installed within the next five years in all 43,000 carriages used by the railways.

“Apart from the issue of hygiene, this has several serious safety implications arising out of corrosion of rails and related hardware,” the report said.

Waste is dumped directly on to the tracks through small holes from western-style and squat toilets inside trains.