Rail Neer is cheaper and flows freely on rails

When you ask for water at the PMO, you will most likely be served Rail Neer. Foreign dignitaries are offered the same packaged water at the Ministry of External Affairs.

That is the brand value of Rail Neer, bottled at plants of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC), a Railways subsidiary, to cater exclusively to the needs of train passengers and stations. The next time you travel, it could be your preferred thirst quencher.

The presence of Rail Neer has also helped to check the prices of packaged water. The Railways have made the supply of its branded water mandatory on several trains, particularly on premium trains such as Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto, besides many stations.

The sale of other brands in stations and on trains is subject to IRCTC approval, and those permitted can market their product only on a par with the price of Rail Neer. Several brands which quote higher prices in the market sell at a lower price in stations and on trains.

About 4.1 lakh Rail Neer bottles are sold every day against the requirement of about 30 lakh bottles. The rest of the demand is met by private players.

Aiming to raise the Rail Neer market share from 13 to 50 per cent over the next two years, and to serve customers better, the railways have 14 more bottling plants in the pipeline, including six announced in the Railway budget for 2013-14. Now it has three plants in Nangloi (Delhi), Danapur (Bihar) and Chennai, while its biggest plant with a capacity of 2 lakh one-litre bottles at Ambernath, near Mumbai, is to start operating by year-end.

IRCTC is setting up its fifth plant at Bilaspur in Madhya Pradesh, but the other proposed plants will be set up in the public-private partnership mode.


Published in: on June 9, 2013 at 1:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rail Neer plant to come up at Butibori

It is ‘Advantage Vidarbha’. The Rail Neer water bottling plant announced by railway minister P K Bansal in the budget will come up at Butibori near Nagpur. This will be the first such plant by the railway in Central India.

“The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation ( IRCTC) has finally conveyed to us. The water plant will come up near Krishna river in Butibori,” said Brijesh Dixit, divisional railway manager (DRM), Central Railway. The announcement in the budget said bottling plant will come at Nagpur and both Central Railway and South East Central (SECR) staked claim over it.

On Monday, Dixit confirmed that a survey of the area had been done. “The unit will be set up over 5,000 sq metre railway area which has rail and road connectivity,” Dixit said. The plant will generate two lakh litres drinking water per day, he added. Once commissioned, the plant will cater to water requirement of train passengers in the region.

In absence of Rail Neer, other brands stand to gain. Besides, unrecognized brands also make it to the trains nibbling away railway revenue.

Earlier, SECR officials had said the plant may come up in Bhandara or Kalamna. There was also talk of it coming up near Kanhan or Kamptee, which is logistically well placed and availability of water is also better owing to Kanhan river. However, Dixit cleared the confusion. Even Pradeep Kumar, senior divisional commercial manager (SrDCM) with Nagpur division of SECR, told TOI that the water bottling plant will not come under their division.

On the electronics training institute in Nagpur announced in the budget, Dixit said the institute, one of its kind in the Indian Railways, will come on 15 acre land opposite Ajni loco shed. It will need proper planning followed by preparing estimates and designs.


‘Rail Neer bottling plant’ to come up in Vijayawada

The Railway Ministry has sanctioned ‘Rail Neer bottling plant’ for Vijayawada Division in the Railway Budget.

Union Railway Minister Pavan Kumar Bansal announced this during the presentation of Railway Budget in Parliament on Tuesday. Rail Neer bottling plants were also sanctioned for Nagpur, Lalitpur, Bilsapur, Jaipur and Ahmedabad railway stations along with Vijayawada.

The project, estimated to cost about Rs. 5 crore, is capable of producing about one lakh litres of water a day.

The aim of setting up the project is to provide quality drinking water at an affordable price to passengers on platforms and on moving trains.

Already, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is manning the Rail Neer projects and supplying packaged water to the passengers at railway canteens in a few stations, and in pantry cars.

The processed water will be filtered and softened before being packed in bottles, and Rail Neer water will meet the norms set up by Bureau of Indian Standards, say the South Central Railway authorities.

However, the decision by the Railway Ministry to set up bottling unit in Vijayawada Railway Station is a jolt to the private water bottling plants who have been supplying water to the passengers on the platforms and on running trains.

The hotels and refreshment stalls owners are making good business in Vijayawada station by selling purified water in packets and in bottles.

Once the bottling plant is set up, the Railways will impose a ban on sale of other packaged water brands.


‘Anubhuti’ coaches, executive lounges to up comfort level

Rail passengers can now look forward to some comfort not only while travelling but also during the long wait at stations. Keeping in mind the demand for higher comfort while travelling on trains, the Railway Minister announced the introduction of an ‘Anubhuti’ coach with “modern facilities and excellent ambience” in select Shatabadi and Rajdhani trains at a “commensurate fare structure”.

Rail Tourism

Also, the Railways will extend the concept of ‘executive waiting lounges’ at the New Delhi Railway station to seven more stations — Agra, Nagpur, Jaipur, Bilaspur, Visakhapatnam, Patna, Bengaluru and Jaipur. Passengers in these cities can look forward to some luxury while waiting on stations. If exactly modelled on the lines of the executive lounge at the Delhi station, they will get buffet meals, snacks, soft beverages, recliners for short naps, access to Wi-Fi besides business facilities for a fee.

Indian Railways will also tie up with Jammu and Kashmir State officials to launch a multi-modal travel package for tourists to travel from Jammu through Udhampur, Qazigund to Srinagar through a common rail-bus ticket. Also, it is looking at the feasibility of issuing “yatri-parchee” (passenger slips) to pilgrims in co-ordination with the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, as it has commissioned a railway line till Katra.

Cleanliness, Hygiene

The Minister, referring to constant complaints about cleanliness and hygiene in trains and stations, said, “As a frequent rail-traveller, I have experienced this personally. Resource constraint cannot be a reason for subs-standard services.” Among the slew of measures announced for enhancing passenger amenities is identifying 104 stations that serve more than one million persons and upping the cleanliness quotient. Other initiatives will focus on extend mechanised cleaning facilities and on-board housekeeping schemes to more stations and trains. The Railways will also set up eight-10 mechanised laundries for quality washing of linen.

Rail Neer, Food

To increase availability of clean packaged water, the Railways will also invest in setting up six additional “Rail Neer” bottling plants at Vijayawada, Nagpur, Lalitpur, Bilaspur, Jaipur and Ahmedabad. Also, on the cards is upgrading 60 additional stations as “Adarsh Stations”. Efforts will also be made to include more facilities for announcements and electronic display boards on-board trains for information dissemination.

Passengers can also get lodge food-related complaints to the Centralised Catering Services Monitoring Cell on a toll-free number — 1800111321 — for real time solutions. For effective quality control of meals, Railways is also tying up with food testing laboratories and getting third party audits done, besides setting up state-of-the-art base kitchens in railway premises.



IRCTC to sell Rail Neer in open market

Buoyed by the good response, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has decided to sell Rail Neer in open market in Bihar only to generate more revenue for the railways.

This decision was taken recently at the IRCTC headquarters in New Delhi. The IRCTC will sell Rail Neer in open market at the same price of Rs 12 each bottle. It will also explore possibility of its sale at other places after a three-month trial period in Bihar, said Patna-based IRCTC regional manager A K Jha.

According to him, the IRCTC has got orders for supply of Rail Neer in open market areas located in Patna and Danapur. Initially it has got orders for supply of about 24,000 bottles in these areas . However, efforts are on to explore possibilities for its sale at other places in Bihar, he said, adding Rail Neer has further improved its packaging maintaining its brand quality.

Jha told TOI that the railways has introduced its own brand Rail Neer at a reasonable price to fulfill the needs of passengers both on running trains and at railway platforms. The IRCTC has installed its three Rail Neer plants at Nangloi (Delhi), Khagaul (Danapur) and Palur (Chennai). The major production is from Delhi and Khagaul plants. The annual production of Rail Neer has gone up to 3.32 crore bottles from the three centres fulfilling the needs of each zone of the railways, he said.

According to Jha , Rail Neer fully conforms to European Economic Community norms . The branded packaging of Rail Neer is also in conformity to stringent norms of the Bureau of Indian Standards ( BIS).

The Khagaul Rail Neer plant was intalled in 2004. During the past six years it has increased its production up to 5,500 bottles per day. The Khagaul plant has been manufacturing about 1.5 lakh bottles every month.


Published in: on December 2, 2012 at 9:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Railways kitchens to get facelift

The Railways will have more modern kitchens and water purifying plants to cater to the needs of passengers. Modern kitchens are being planned for Chennai and Kolkata, in addition to one currently in operation at Noida near Delhi.

A water purifying plant will also start functioning next year at Ambernath in Mumbai and six more will come up later.

“It has been a challenge for us to provide passengers with hygienic, hot and healthy food.

To meet this challenge, we started a central kitchen at Noida, which has state-of-the-art technology to prepare 25,000 meals a day. The next will come up in Chennai. Another one will come up in Kolkata later,” says Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) spokesperson Pradip Kundu.

The central kitchen at Noida has automated machines, where all statutory compliances are adhered to in producing food items.

Medical tests for the food-handlers and microbiological tests of food samples are done.

The kitchen uses brand raw material and ingredients to ensure high quality products.

The kitchen also maintains to the HACCP/ISO 22000(Hazard Analysis Critical Analysis Critical Control Points) standards and has in-house state-of-the-art and R&D facilities.

“With its hygienic food of stringent standards, it will be in line with the major airline catering units,” says Kundu.

To increase its supply of packaged drinking water, Rail Neer, at stations and in trains, the IRCTC will soon have one more bottling plant at Ambernath near Mumbai with a capacity of two lakh bottles a day.

At the moment, the cumulative production capacity is 3.8 lakh bottles a day with plants at three locations-Nangloi (Delhi), Danapur (Bihar) and Palur( near Chennai).


Published in: on October 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Railways to set up more water plants

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 now 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 & Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC).

The six new plants for production of packaged drinking water will be in Ambala, Amethi, Nashik, Mul, Thiruvananthapuram and Farakka.

IRCTC Public Relations Joint General Manager Pradip Kundu accepted that the three plants have been unable to fulfil 20 per cent drinking water needs of the passengers. “The present production of 3.8 lakh bottles per day caters to just less than 20 per cent of the total need.”