The SC also questioned the monopoly that the Railways enjoys over the sale of water in trains and at railway stations

How safe is Rail Neer SC questions Railways on quality of bottled waterFile photo:
news Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - 12:23

In and out of court, attention has been drawn recently, to the quality of hygiene maintained by the Indian Railways.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Railways to establish the safety level of its 'Rail Neer' and also questioned the monopoly that the Railways enjoys over the sale of bottled water in trains and at railway stations.

This comes a week after the court allowed the Indian Railway Caterers’ Association to sell bottled water other than ‘Rail Neer’ in its Mumbai division.

The Indian Express reported, “This order, by a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and P C Pant, effectively stays two circulars issued by Indian Railways in 2015, directing contractors and caterers to sell only ‘Rail Neer’, which is manufactured by the IRCTC.”

The report adds that the caterers’ association had moved the apex court against the circulars, citing two laboratory test reports of the water, from a government lab in Gujarat and a lab in Ghaziabad, that raised questions about its purity.

However, the defendant claimed that one of the samples that was tested was past its expiry period and submitted its own lab report which stated that the water was safe.

The court has said that the stay order on the circulars of the Railways would remain effective till July 5, which is the date for the next hearing.

The Railways also came under fire recently after passengers on one train alleged that the facilities they were provided were unhygienic and unsafe.

According to reports, angry passengers halted a Duronto Express travelling from Ernakulam at Kozhikode railway station, after one of the passengers allegedly spotted an employee in the pantry adding water from a toilet tap into the tomato soup.

In February this year, Minister of state for Railways Manoj Sinha, admitted in the Rajya Sabha that the woolen blankets provided to passengers were washed once in two months. However, he added that the bed sheets and pillow covers were washed daily.

Following outrage, the Railways said that they were procuring new blankets designed by National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and were also in the process of adding more mechanized laundries, which would ensure that they could wash the blankets after every use.


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