NEW DELHI: State-of-the-art water ATMs are now available at more than 100 railway stations across the country, supplying purified water to passengers at low cost, a railway official said on Monday.
The Indian Railway Tourism and Catering Corporation (IRCTC) had tied up with water technology venture, Swajal, last year for the installation of such water ATMs. These ATMs dispense water at 104 railway stations across 14 states in the country. Out of these 104 railway stations, 30 per cent are high-footfall ones and 70 per cent are rural stations.
“The scheme was included in the Union Budget of 2016 and aims at generating around 40,000 jobs across the country. The water ATMs are useful to passengers who can fill up their water bottles at the station premises and avoid buying expensive packaged water. Also because these ATMs promote the use of degradable material, use of plastic will also reduce,” the official said.
The initiative has made a huge leap in reducing the use and careless disposal of plastic water bottles by travellers, as the water dispensed through the ATMs is available in water cups or passengers can bring their own containers.
A litre of water at these ATMs costs Rs 5 with the paper cup costing an additional one rupee. Passengers can use the BHIM application or Paytm for payment, or invest in a Swajal card, to get water across railway stations.
“In 2017, we entered into a partnership with the Indian Railways with a singular vision of making clean drinking water easily available to millions of passengers each day. This year we have already touched the 100 railway stations mark and by 2019, we aim to reach 1,000 railway stations,” Swajal spokesperson Vibha Tripathi said.
The water ATMs have so far been deployed across Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Telangana amongst others.