Getting packaged drinking water has been a problem for passengers on trains and at railway stations.
Even the Parliamentary Standing Committee headed by T. R. Baalu in its report — tabled in the Rajya Sabha in May 2010 — had expressed concern that there was a shortage of packaged water on moving trains and that the sale of water bottles was being done without the prescribed manufacturing labels and information about manufacturing and expiry dates. To meet this shortage, the Railway Board will set up six more water treatment plants across the country.
These plants which have recently been approved by the Board, will be in addition to three water treatment plants in Delhi, Danapur (Bihar) and Pallor (Tamil Nadu), which jointly produce 3.8 lakh water bottles per day and another plant in Ambernath (Maharashtra) which will become operational by the end of 2013.
These plants, which produce “Rail Neer” , are run by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC).
The six new plants for production of packaged drinking water will be in Ambala, Amethi, Nashik and Mul, Thiruvananthapuram and Farakka.
IRCTC Public Relations Joint General Manager Pradip Kundu accepted that the three water plants have been unable to fulfil even 20 per cent drinking water needs of the passengers on trains and at railway stations. “The present production of 3.8 lakh bottles per day caters to just less than 20 per cent of the total need. We expect these seven plants to fill the gap. The IRCTC plants follow eight-stage purification technology.”