Soon, you can sip your tea from a kulhad as the train chugs along

PTI New Delhi | Updated on September 13, 2019

Railways’ no-plastic drive gathers steam ; 400 stations to serve food using earthenware

Rail passengers will soon be served tea, snacks and meals in kulhad and earthenware plates at 400 major stations across the country in deference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s wish to make India free from single-use plastic.

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) will provide 30,000 electric potter wheels and grinding machines to make the cups and to recycle/crush the earthenware, its chairman, Vinai Kumar Saxena, told PTI.

“We are giving 30,000 potter wheels this year that can be used to produce 2 crore kulhads and other terracotta utensils daily,” he said, adding the process should start within 15 days.

The Ministry of Railways has already directed all Principal Chief Commercial Managers of different Zonal Railways and the CMD, IRCTC, “to further proliferate use of locally-produced, environment-savvy, terracotta products like kulhad, glasses and plates for serving catering items at 400 railway stations across Indian Railways”, said Saxena.

KVIC has earned kudos for its ‘Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana’ (Potters’ Empowerment Plan) which, the Commission claims, has brought significant positive change in the lives of potters across the country.

Positive feedback

The Railways is already using pottery products at Varanasi and Rae Bareilly railway stations in Uttar Pradesh.

Consequent to its success at the two stations, MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari had written a letter to his Railways counterpart, Piyush Goyal, for issuing necessary directives to the officials concerned for adoption of locally-produced pottery products for serving tea, lassi and other food items in earthenware, to enhance the income of potters.

Saxena had urged the Railways ministry to conduct an internal survey to get feedback from Varanasi and Rae Bareilly stations, where terracotta products are being used.

The feedback was reportedly very good and plastic menace has been reducing at both the stations, which made the railway minister very happy, he said.

Referring to Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana, he said till end-March 2019, KVIC has already distributed 10,620 electric potter wheels along with adequate blungers, pug-mills and electric kilns, which produce about 75 lakh kulhad and other terracotta items per day.

In his address to the nation from Red Fort on Independence Day, Prime Minister Modi had called to free India from single-use plastic.

He had called upon citizens to give up single-use plastic by October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

According to the Environment Ministry, about 20,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day in the country of which only 13,000-14,000 tonnes are collected.

Meanwhile, the Railways has set a target of installing plastic water bottle crushers in 407 stations in metros and big cities.

Published on September 13, 2019

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