Jamshedpur, May 21: Railways is on the fast track when it comes to providing passenger facilities. Passengers at Tatanagar railway station can look forward to purified and chilled drinking water on all the platforms. Chakradharpur railway division, which has commissioned a water purifier on platform # 1, will now install water kiosks in all its platforms.
Though similar facility was available at railway stations few years ago, official sources said that new water vending machines are installed as per a recent policy on providing potable water at affordable prices.
Even as commuters welcome the initiative, some observed that the taste was not matching with leading packaged drinking water. “The rates are comparatively cheaper than the branded bottled water. But, I feel that the taste of water does not match with the branded ones,” Abdul Salam, a businessman.
“The water purifier, equipped with RO (reverse osmosis) system, is being provided by Ion Exchange (India), a Kolkata-based dealer,” said A.K Agarwal, senior divisional commercial manager of the Chakradharpur division, who also acts as railway spokesperson.
Agarwal revealed that passengers who carry their own bottles can get a liter of purified water at Rs 3, while those without their own containers would be charged Rs 5.
Tatanagar, an A1 category station, sees a footfall of around 50,000 passengers daily. It is on the Howrah-Mumbai main line and several long-distance trains, including Rajdhani and Duronto, travel via Tatanagar. The Tatanagar station assumes importance in view because it is located on the Howrah-Mumbai main route.
Several important trains travel via Tatanagar, including the high-profile Rajdhani Express and Duronto Express. The station sees a daily traffic of 90 mail, express and passenger trains, besides a footfall of more than 60,000 passengers.
While passengers have welcomed the initiative, shopkeepers selling packaged drinking water on platforms fear slump in business.
Frequent travelers said the railways had taken a good decision. “Pure and chilled drinking water is what one needs most while travelling, especially during summer,” they said.
The authorities have already called for tenders from private parties interested in setting up kiosk with a water dispenser and reverse osmosis (RO) purification system. Railway officials said they hoped that the nominal charges would encourage commuters to buy clean, safe drinking water from the kiosks, especially in the more affluent areas.