After having been dethroned by the more utilitarian plastic and paper cups over the years, Kulhad tea is all set to make a comeback at catering units on Indian Railways.
The move will give passengers a refreshing experience and provide a huge market for local potters who are struggling to make ends meet.
Boosting The Pottery Market
In a circular issued to the chief commercial managers of Northern and the North Eastern Railways through the Railway board, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has instructed the caterers at Varanasi and Rae Bareli stations to use terracotta-made kulhads, glasses and plates.
KVIC expresses its heartily gratitude to Railway Minister @PiyushGoyal ji for instructing Varanasi & Rae Bareli stations to use terracotta-made 'kulhads', glasses/plates.It will not only be a milestone in reviving centuries’ old pottery industries,but also create jobs for them! pic.twitter.com/b5oPhGFZen
— Chairman KVIC (@ChairmanKvic) January 20, 2019
The circular also instructed the zonal railways and the IRCTC to take necessary actions to ensure use of locally produced, environmentally savvy terracotta products like kulhads, glasses and plates.
KVIC Request To Railway Ministry
Last year in December, the chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) V.K. Saxena had written a letter to the Railway Minister suggesting that these two stations be used to generate employment for potters around the area.
V.K. Saxena stated that they have been giving potters electric wheels to increase the productivity from making 100 cups to around 600 cups a day. It is important to give potters, a market to sell their wares and generate income.
With the railways agreeing to our proposal, lakhs of potters have now got a readymade market.
-KVIC Chairman V K Saxena
After the ministry agreed to his proposal, he expects the daily production of pottery to reach 2.5 lakh to meet the demands of these two stations.
The government has been distributing electric wheels to potters to increase their productivity under the ‘Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana’.
Distributed 100 Electric potter wheels, pugmills and Blungers to 130 villagers under "Kumhar Shashaktikaran Mission" at Sevapuri,Varanasi. Empowering people at their doorstep.@PMOIndia ,@girirajsinghbjp,@Oneindia,@CMOfficeUP pic.twitter.com/ekQxRryJyL
— Chairman KVIC (@ChairmanKvic) November 22, 2018
300 such wheels have been distributed with 1,000 more in the pipeline in Varanasi while in Rae Bareli, 100 have been distributed with 700 more to be given out.
Apart from this, the KVIC will distribute around 6,000 electric wheels across the country this year.
Though no specific allocation was made for ‘kulhads’ in the rail budget, it was included in the target of sundry other earnings, placed at Rs 1,072 crore.
But with the present government batting for the green and eco-friendly ‘Made in India’ produce, ‘kulhads’ could have a longer innings this time, officials said.
Introducing Kulhad Tea
Former Railway Minster Lalu Prasad Yadav had introduced the kulhad tea 15 years ago, making clear that hot beverages should be served only in kulhads.
It was done to boost the dying pottery industry and give passengers a taste of eco-friendly cups in 2004.