In surprise checks, senior officials from Western Railway found that food stall owners don’t maintain filters, and many are not working properly; many were unplugged to save money
The Indian Railways’ two-year-old promise of providing clean free drinking water at food stalls on railway stations had come as a boon for lakhs of commuters. The Western Railway (WR) authorities found out recently, however, that several food stalls are not living up to this promise.
If food stall owners don’t take corrective steps, they will lose their licences
This was revealed in a surprise check by senior railway officials from WR recently. They found that the water filters few of them even have reverse osmosis filters whose installation at food stalls was made mandatory in 2013, haven’t been working properly.
“At the time of inspection, we found that the water provided by these food stalls was not from water filters. The filters weren’t working,” said Shailendra Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), WR. He made surprise checks on Thursday at a few stations to inspect the quality of food and water provided to people.
From this week, there will be a major crackdown against all the food stalls on the suburban section of WR. Sources said that if corrective steps aren’t taken, the food stalls will lose their licences. There are 385 food stalls between Churchgate and Dahanu Road stations and, according to sources, the commercial department of WR has already identified four stalls where water filters are not working.
“Until now we inspected and found that these food stalls at Mumbai Central, Andheri, Mira Road and Bhayander stations don’t have functioning water filters,” said a WR official. Officials said that it is mandatory for food stall owners to provide free drinking water, using filters, which need to be cleaned periodically.
But then food stall owners don’t spend on maintaining them, by cleaning or changing candles, as they don’t fetch them money. A couple of years ago, when the water filters were fitted, the food stall owners used them to store bottled water and cold drinks on them. Many of them also unplugged them to save money.