Here is some good news for the rail passengers. The Railway Ministry has sanctioned ‘Rail Neer bottling plant’ for Vijayawada Division in the Railway Budget.
Union Railway Minister Pavan Kumar Bansal announced this during the presentation of Railway Budget in Parliament on Tuesday. Rail Neer bottling plants were also sanctioned for Nagpur, Lalitpur, Bilsapur, Jaipur and Ahmedabad railway stations along with Vijayawada.
The project, estimated to cost about Rs. 5 crore, is capable of producing about one lakh litres of water a day.
The aim of setting up the project is to provide quality drinking water at an affordable price to passengers on platforms and on moving trains.
Already, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is manning the Rail Neer projects and supplying packaged water to the passengers at railway canteens in a few stations, and in pantry cars.
Shock for other brands
The processed water will be filtered and softened before being packed in bottles, and Rail Neer water will meet the norms set up by Bureau of Indian Standards, say the South Central Railway authorities.
However, the decision by the Railway Ministry to set up bottling unit in Vijayawada Railway Station is a jolt to the private water bottling plants who have been supplying water to the passengers on the platforms and on running trains.
The hotels and refreshment stalls owners are making good business in Vijayawada station by selling purified water in packets and in bottles.
Once the bottling plant is set up, the Railways will impose a ban on sale of other packaged water brands.