New Delhi: At the request of Union MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari, the Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had directed the Railway Board to issue directions to use kulhads (earthen cups) to serve tea in a ‘kulhad chai‘ pilot experiment. Kulhads are reusable, and considerably more eco-friendly than plastic alternatives. They are more expensive to manufacture, but last longer and are commonly believed to add flavour to tea or whichever beverage occupies it.
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) Chairman, VK Saxena, had also requested Goyal last year to allow Varanasi and Rae Bareli Stations a pilot project for the use of kulhads and other earthen articles in place of plastic articles, and the project was permitted.
The 6 month report of these 2 stations, submitted by the concerned DRMs, was quite encouraging, says a Press release from the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Appreciating the move, Saxena said, “This is a welcome initiative by the North Western Railways to replace plastic products withpottery products. Indian potters are migrating to other menial forms of livelihood due to lack of market for pottery products and the severe labour involved in it. KVIC launched the Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojna last year to empower the Kumhar Community, and distributed 10,000 electric pottery wheels replacing the old, hand spun, labour-intensive stone chaak.”
“This year, KVIC is planning to distribute 30,000 electric pottery wheels across the country to meet the demand of 400 Railway Stations. 30,000 electric pottery wheels will produce around 2 crores kulhads per day. This move will not only instill self-confidence amongst the potter communities in the area but also help in enhancing the health of tourists while adding Indian flavor to the travel and tourism industry,” said Saxena.
KVIC has been conducting several trainings for the empowerment of potters across India. In Rajasthan alone, KVIC has distributed more than 15,000 electric pottery wheels since 2018, and has supported the livelihood of about 6,000 potters so far under the Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojna, said the release.
The 25 Railway stations in Rajasthan that will begin using kulhads include Bikaner, Sirsa, Bhiwani, Hanumangarh, Shri Ganganagar, Hisar, Churu, Suratgarh, Jodhpur, Pali, Barmer, Nagpur, Jaisalmer, Bhagat Ki Kothi, Luni, Jaipur, Jhunjhuna, Dausa, Gandhi Nagar, Durgapura, Sikar, Ajmer, Udaipur, Sirohi Road and Abu Road.
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