Catering to the growing demand of safe drinking water, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is setting up six more Rail Neer plants to increase supply of over 18 lakh bottles a day at rail premises across the country.
Rail Neer, a branded packaged drinking water produced by IRCTC, aims to enhance passenger amenities for the rail commuters.
According to the plan, six more plants are being set up under public private partnership (PPP) mode with capital support from IRCTC at Kota, Vijayawada, Bhusawala, Vishakapatnam, Bhubaneswar and Una, taking the total to 20 plants in near future.
While the cumulative production capacity of 14 Rail Neer plants is 1,408,000 litres per day which is slated to increase to 1,840,000 bottles per day in the current fiscal of 2021-22 with six more plants becoming operational shortly.
At present, IRCTC has 14 Rail Neer plants operational at Nangloi, Danapur, Palur, Ambernath, Amethi, Parassala, Bilaspur, Sanand, Hapur, Mandideep, Nagpur, Jagiroad, Sankrail and Maneri out of which, plants at Amethi, Parassala, Sanand, Hapur, Mandideep, Nagpur, Jagiroad, Sankrail and Maneri are under PPP mode.
Rail Neer, IRCTC's signature product is processed, purified and bottled at state-of-art plants with completely automated handling of the product at all stage.
The first plant was set up by IRCTC in 2003 at Nangloi with the purpose to supply safe drinking water to Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains originating from New Delhi and Nizammudin.
However, with the passage of time, Rail Neer is now being made available at many more trains and stations in the country.
The total production of Rail Neer was 6.10 crore bottles upto February 2021 with a capacity utilisation of 17.21 per cent as against 27.50 crore bottles in 2019-20 with a plant capacity utilisation of 79 per cent.
The revenue from Rail Neer segment upto February 2021 is about Rs 50 crore as against Rs 238 crore in FY 2019-20.
According to IRCTC, the reason of decreasing parameters such as low production, capacity utilisation and revenue of Rail Neer in 2020-21 is mainly due to Covid-19 pandemic. As soon as the situation is normal, the rail passenger has made a strong comeback in view of the demand for Rail Neer.
IRCTC maintains a strict protocol as far as manufacturing process is concerned with water drawn from bore wells/dam and stored in an underground reservoir and pumped to the state-of-the-art water treatment plant.
The plant technology employs eight-stage purification process capable of yielding water quality conforming to BIS standard.
IRCTC has also installed water-vending machines at all major stations to provide pure, chilled and clean water to passengers across the country.
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