The Commercial Department of Central Railway Pune Division has cracked down on retailers and vendors who are selling packaged drinking water brands other than the mandatory ‘Rail Neer’.
On Saturday, railway authorities conducted a drive seizing over 1,300 packaged drinking water bottles and imposed fines on those selling the unauthorised brands.
Railway Board had prescribed that IRCTC shall provide Rail Neer at a rate of Rs 10.50 (approx) per bottle to the private caterers who will be paid Rs 15 (approx) per bottle for supplying these to passengers in premium trains.
However, the private suppliers in order to obtain undue gain, sell cheap packaged water available in the market at a rate of Rs 5.70 to Rs 7.00 (approx) per bottle, thus increasing their profit margin.
“Some of them go to the extent of selling the water bottles for Rs 20. The quality of water supplied by these brands is also questionable. To stop this we have been conducting regular drives at the station premises and aboard the trains. On Saturday, we confiscated 900 bottles aboard the trains and 400 on Pune Station premises,” said Gaurav Jha, senior divisional commercial manager, Pune Division.
Harsha Shah of Railway Pravasi Group congratulated the railway authorities for the crackdown. According to her, implementing the Railway Board directive would increase the revenue of cash-strapped railways.
“These bottles are being brought to Pune from Haryana, Delhi, Faridabad and other areas. It’s proved that these bottle provide substandard water and are sold beyond their expiration date. The railway authorities should strictly follow the rules in future,” said Shah.
In July, railway authorities had sealed two restaurants at Pune Station for flouting the IRCTC norms of mandatory selling of Rail Neer. Officials had found that food is not only priced at a much higher rate.