IRCTC is also ramping up its packaged drinking water production by establishing more plants
Rail Neer, the packaged drinking water supplied for users of Indian Railways, will soon be brought out in smaller 500-ml bottles targeted at short distance travellers.
At present, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of Railways, is producing and distributing Rail Neer in 1-litre PET bottles in major stations and trains in Southern Railway.
The packaged drinking water for the southern region is produced at a state-of-the-art plant in Palur near Chennai with a production capacity of about 1.8 lakh litres a day.
While Rail Neer is the exclusive packaged drinking water supplied on trains and major stations in the zonal railways, only a handful of private brands are allowed inside smaller stations.
“We have plans to make available a 500 ml variant targeted at short distance travellers,” said an IRCTC official.
The 500 ml bottles, that can also avoid wastage of drinking water, are currently being supplied on Shatabdi trains in Delhi. They are priced at Rs. 10 per bottle.
IRCTC is also ramping up its packaged drinking water production by establishing more plants across the country to meet the projected demand of approximately 30 lakh litres a day in Indian Railways. To add to the existing plants at Nangloi, Danapur and Palur, units are proposed
Parassala near Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Vijayawada, Nashik and Farakka.
“We are hopeful of launching the Parassala unit by year-end,” an official said.
On whether ‘Amma Neer’, a brand of packaged water being marketed by State-run transport corporations, would be allowed at railway stations, both railway and Government officials said such a proposal has not been discussed as yet.
A senior official of the State Express Transport Corporation says that as of now, the mandate is to sell the product to commuters of buses of the Corporation. On an average, two lakh bottles are being sold throughout the State every day.
R Velan, an IT executive who hails from Madurai, says that as a person who frequently travels both by train and bus, says he prefers ‘Amma Neer’ to ‘Rail Neer’ and feels that the public would benefit if an alternative is provided at rail outlets.