PUNE: Indian Railways has instructed all its divisions to provide only ‘Rail Neer’ at stations and on trains following repeated complaints by passengers that they are forced to pay more than the MRP for water bottles manufactured by private companies, which are not on the Indian Railways list.
The direction was issued by the Railway Board on April 4. PP Lathe, Deputy Director (Tourism and Catering), Railway Board, wrote a letter in this regard to all zones/divisions stating, “It has been decided to supply 100 per cent Rail Neer on mail/express trains and static units at stations.”
According to the directives, 37 major stations under Central Railway in Maharashtra have been chosen for the mandatory supply of Rail Neer throughout the year. Twelve more stations will have the packaged drinking water during the non-peak season.
According to the Railway Board instructions, 45,893 litres of Rail Neer is required at the 37 major stations during the peak season while 7,056 litres is needed at the 12 stations during non-peak season.
As per the notification, the Pune railway station requires an average of 7,200 litres per day. However, railway officials claimed that the required number of bottles is much higher than the notified average quoted by the railway board.
“On an average, 1.25 lakh passengers travel via the Pune railway station daily. The number of bottles mentioned by the railway board is not sufficient during the peak season and the actual requirement is of 19,200 litres. The quantity of drinking water supplied to the Pune station, which is 7,200 litres, is less than half of what is required,” said a senior official of the Pune railway division.
“Similarly, the Miraj and Kolhapur stations are one of the busiest stations in the Pune division. The board is providing only 1,200 and 300 litres during non-peak season, which is also less than the actual requirement,” he said. As per the instruction, Rail Neer will be available on Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto, Gatimaan, Tejas, Humsafar, Vistadome and other premium trains, which include Pune-Howrah Duranto, Pune-Jammu Tavi Express, Pune-Patna Express, Azad Hind Express, Pune-Manduadih, Darbhanga Express, Pune-Gorakhpur, Pune-Eranakulam and others.
“During the peak season, these trains are packed with passengers, who need more water than provided by the railway board. Hence, passengers are forced to pay extra for the general branded bottles during the journey. The railway has to think over this and provide more bottles for the Pune division,” said the officer. Water will be provided by the railway board from the Badlapur Rail Neer water plant.