While fancy plastic cups and paper cups have strong-armed beautiful “kulhads”, it is all set to reclaim their place at the catering units again.
A terracotta-made vessel, ‘kulhads’ were introduced by former railway minister Lalu Prasad 15 years ago. The best part is these are eco-friendly cups and when the hot beverages are served in this, it gets infused with the earthy smell of the vessel. It was in 2004 when Lalu Prasad had introduced ‘kulhads’ to lift the fading pottery industry.
According to the PTI report, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has directed caterers at Varanasi and Rae Bareli stations to use ‘kulhads’, glasses and plates. The circular was issued by the board to the chief commercial managers of Northern Railway and the North Eastern Railway.
The sustainable move will not only let passengers have a new and refreshing experience but will also ensure a huge market opportunity for potters who struggle to make their ends meet.
The circular stated that “Zonal railways and the IRCTC are advised to take necessary action to ensure use of locally produced, environmentally savvy terracotta products like ‘kulhads’, glasses and plates for serving items to passengers through all static units at Varanasi and Rae Bareli railway stations with immediate effect so that local terracotta product manufacturers could easily market their products.”
Last year in December, the proposal was made by the chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), who in a letter urged Goyel to use these two stations to generate employment opportunities for potters around the area.
The entire potters’ community is elated about the decision and Goyel expects the daily production of pottery is likely to reach 2.5 lakh to meet the demands of these two stations.
“We have been giving potters electric wheels which have increased their productivity from making 100 cups to around 600 cups a day. It was important to give them a market to sell their wares and generate income. With the railways agreeing to our proposal, lakhs of potters have now got a ready-made market,” said KVIC Chairman V K Saxena to PTI.
To increase their productivity, the government has been distributing electric wheels under the Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana.
The prime minister’s parliamentary constituency in Varanasi have been distributed with about 300 such wheels and 1,000 more is in the pipeline. Also in Rae Bareli, the parliamentary constituency of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, 100 have been distributed with 700 more is yet to be given out. In total, about 6,000 electric wheels will be distributed by KVIC across the nation this year.
Officials further mentioned that the present government is batting for the green and eco-friendly ‘Made in India’ produce, which is an indication that ‘kulhads’ have come to stay for long.