At present, caterers at two stations namely, Varanasi and Rae Bareli railway stations use terracotta-made 'kulhads', glasses and plates.
Indian Railways’ passengers, soon you can enjoy your favorite drink – tea in ‘kulhads’! Taking an eco-friendly step towards the conservation of the environment, the Narendra Modi government plans to introduce ‘kulhads’ across all major railway stations, airports, stalls at bus depots and malls. According to a PTI report, Union Transport and MSME (Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) Minister Nitin Gadkari has written a letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, asking his ministry to implement the move at all major stations. A similar step is being mulled for airports, bus depots, and malls. At present, caterers at two stations namely, Varanasi and Rae Bareli railway stations use terracotta-made ‘kulhads’, glasses and plates.
Gadkari was quoted in the report saying that he suggested the Railway Ministry make use of kulhad mandatory at a total of 100 railway stations. In addition to stations, he also suggested airports as well as state transport undertakings having tea stalls at bus depots to make the use of eco-friendly kulhads mandatory. Also, malls are encouraged to have kulhad tea stalls, he said. According to Gadkari, the move is expected to provide a huge market for local potters. Also, it will help conserve the environment by removing the system of using paper and plastics to serve beverages.
The minister also said that the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has been instructed to supply equipment for large-scale production of kulhads as the demand for them increases. KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena was quoted in the report saying that a total of 10,000 electric wheels have been distributed to potters for making kulhads last year. This year, a target has been set for distributing as many as 25,000 electric wheels.
In a bid to increase the productivity of potters, the government has been distributing electric wheels under the Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana. In the year 2004, former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav had introduced kulhads to give passengers a taste of eco-friendly cups and also to boost the pottery industry.