Railways issues orders to only stock its proprietary bottled water brand, citing safety of passengers
Ina bid to ensure that passengers receive safe and affordable drinking water, the divisional railway manager’s (DRM) office, Pune, has passed an order stating that only Rail Neer, railway’s proprietary bottled drinking water, should be sold at platforms and in all trains. All other bottled water brands will be banned from July 20.
Rail Neer is a product of the Indian Railways and costs Rs 15 for a bottle, which is cheaper than other brands like Kinley or Bisleri which are sold at Rs 20. The rates are also manipulated by the sellers to loot passengers.
The initiative has been taken up by divisional railway manager Milind Deouskar and senior divisional commercial officer Sunil Mishra, who have instructed the ground staff and ticket-checkers to keep a check on vendors on the railway platform. They have been told to approach seniors if anyone is found selling bottled water apart from Rail Neer.
Talking to Mirror about this decision, Mishra said, “We are making an effort to ensure that passengers at the railway station and on board trains get safe drinking water. We want to weed out fake brands which are selling unfiltered water. Several teams will be deployed to keep a tab on those selling bottled water at the station and in the trains.”
When Mirror approached a vendor who did not wish to be named to comment on the issue, he said, “We do not mind selling Rail Neer and will obey the orders that have been given. The only problem is that there is always a shortage and unavailability of Rail Neer and we do not want the customer to return just because of unavailability of stock. Also, we have always made sure that bottles are purchased from an authorised dealer.”
However, the department seems adamant on implementing this drive and has allowed the brand Oxymore to be sold till July 14, while other brands like Aquafina and Health Plus can sell their bottles till July 20, after which their sale will be banned on the station premises.
A passenger, Vidyut Deshpande, who frequently travels between Mumbai and Pune, said, “I don’t find any difference between Rail Neer and other brands. In fact, it is weird that out of the blue railways have decided that other brands are unsafe. If that was the case, they should have acted upon this earlier and banned the other brands long ago.”