Taking serious note of the growing number of complaints pertaining to the unavailability of potable water at stations, Western Railways (WR) installed a first-of-its-kind water vending machine on a pilot-basis at Khar station on Monday. However, the machine is yet to become operational.

Curious passengers inspect the water ATM at Khar. Pic/Atul Kamble
Curious passengers inspect the water ATM at Khar. Pic/Atul Kamble

According to WR officials, the contractor is working out the final details of providing electricity to the machine following which it would start serving its purpose of providing purified water to the passengers.

“Passengers can get 300 ml of purified water for just Rs 1. The machine should be operational within a week’s time,” said a senior WR officer.

Peaking curiosity
Curious passengers, who are trying their hands at understanding the machine’s functionality, said they are hopeful about the water ATM serving its purpose.

One such passenger was Santosh Singh, who tested the machine by inserting a R1 coin. “This is a good initiative by the railways. The machine is yet to become operational. I inserted a coin, but it came out. Achhe din aa rahe hain (Good days are here),” Singh said.

Official speak
Commenting on the latest joint venture between IRCTC and WR, Pinakin Morawala, IRCTC public relations officers (PRO), said about 400 water vending machines will be installed across stations on Western, Central and Harbour lines.

“While 150 machines will be installed in phase-1, the rest would be installed in phase-2. The contract for phase-1 was awarded at R40 lakh for annual maintenance of all the 150 machines. The contractor was also charged Rs 35,000 as annual licence fee,” he added.