Mumbai: With a view to further improve availability of potable and affordable drinking water for passengers, the Central Railway has started installing 76 water vending machines (WVMs) at all its stations.

These machines will be operated by private parties. According to the chief PRO Sunil Udasi, “A total 76 WVMs have been allotted out of which 37 have been commissioned so far at 20 stations. These machines would sell purified Reverse Osmosis (RO) water to passengers at cheaper rates where commuters can purchase 300 ml of purified RO water at the cost of Rs 1 for 300 ml of water, Rs 3 for 500 ml water and Rs 5 for one litre of water.” Giving details of the initiative, Udasi said, “Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has been tasked to install these machines, which uses RO water purification technology that keeps the bacteria away from the water.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Dadar, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus,Thane and Kalyan stations have been installed with four machines each, Panvel has 3 machines and Igatpuri has two machines, while Byculla, Parel, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Kanjurmarg, Vikhroli, Mulund, Kalwa, Mumbra, Dombivali, Mankhurd, King’s Circle and Reay Road stations have been provided with one machine each.

In case, the commuter is not carrying a water bottle, the water vending machines also provide purified bottle to the passengers charging extra money for it. Udasi said, “The quality of the water would be checked periodically and report of the water quality would be displayed near the machine so that commuter’s faith remains intact.”

Presently, railway supplies drinking water at stations through water booths or water coolers after carrying out requisite treatment/disinfection as per requirement. Ministry of Railways has formulated a comprehensive uniform policy for installation of water vending machines (WVMs) at railway stations across the country.