Caterers at Varanasi and Rae Bareli railway stations in Uttar Pradesh have been instructed by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to use terracotta-made kulhads, glasses, and plates.
Kulhads to make a comeback on Indian Railways! Kulhads, which were introduced on Indian Railways 15 years ago by former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, are all set to return at the national transporter’s catering units. According to a statement issued by the Railway Board to the chief commercial managers of North Eastern Railway and Northern Railway zones, caterers at Varanasi and Rae Bareli railway stations in Uttar Pradesh have been instructed by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to use terracotta-made kulhads, glasses, and plates. According to officials quoted in a PTI report, with the introduction of Kulhads, passengers will get a refreshing experience. Additionally, the move will also provide a huge market for local potters who are struggling to make ends meet, they said.
The proposal was sent by the Chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to Goyal, suggesting that the two railway stations – Varanasi and Rae Bareli – be used to create employment for potters around the area. KVIC Chairman V K Saxena was quoted in the report saying that the potters have been provided with electric wheels which have increased their productivity from manufacturing 100 cups to nearly 600 cups a day. He also said that it is important to provide the local potters with a market to sell their wares and generate income. With the national transporter agreeing to the proposal, lakhs of local potters have now got a readymade market, he said. The Chairman further stated that he is expecting the daily production of pottery to reach 2.5 lakh in order to meet the demands of these two railway stations in Uttar Pradesh. This year, the KVIC will distribute nearly 6,000 electric wheels across the country, Saxena added.
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In the year 2004, Kulhads were introduced to boost the dying pottery industry and also to give Indian Railways passengers a taste of eco-friendly cups. According to officials, even though there was no specific allocation for kulhads in the railway budget, it was included in the target of sundry other earnings, placed at an amount of Rs 1,072 crore. However, the move did not get much traction from vendors and passengers who complained about the poor quality of earthen cups. Meanwhile, the officials added that with Modi government battling for the green and eco-friendly ‘Made in India’ produce earthen cups, this time, kulhads could have longer innings this time.