Yes that really is an old coal-burning, steam locomotive that has been converted into some one's home. This curious farmhouse is just a few kilometers from where we live. The photo is an extreme example of India's ability to recycle. Perhaps it is a necessity resulting from having such a huge population, but Indians have developed a knack for conservation and recycling. Nothing goes to waste here.
We first noticed this in our hotel room in the Radisson when Lesa and I came to India in August. The rooms are designed so that you need to slide your room key in a slot just inside the hotel room for the power to be switched on. This is a great way to conserve. Nothing electric will be "on" until you are actually in your room.
Early last year we converted most of our light bulbs to fluorescent in our home in Austin... of course this was somewhat a reaction to high fuel prices, guilt and an honest desire to want to reduce our "carbon footprint." Here in India, this technology is used everywhere. All public buildings and exterior lamps seem to use fluorescent bulbs and most homes I have been in (including our own apartment) use them extensively. Electric brown-outs occur daily here, so again the use of these lower wattage bulbs is partially out of necessity. India is making great use of existing technology to combat the country's ever-growing demand for power.
Here at the ATS Village complex almost everything is collected for recycling. The waste management company purchases cardboard, newspaper, glass and plastic products by the Kilogram. This waste is definitely treated as continuous resource for manufacturers.
Another interesting thing to note is that broken appliances are completed recycled or repaired here is well. When you buy a new iron to replace your old, broken one you can sell it for about 20% of its value and it will be quickly repaired or used for spare parts and resold as a refurbished item. There are extensive markets for used and refurbished items with what seem to be an affordable price-range for nearly every segment of society here.