Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has said that tea will be sold in eco-friendly 'kulhad' (earthen cups) across all railway stations in India from now instead of plastic cups.
The minister said this initiative will be Railways' contribution towards plastic-free India. The Union Minister was speaking at an event to mark the inauguration of the electrified Dhigawara-Bandikui section under north-western Railways.
Currently, tea is served in 'kulhad' at around 400 railway stations across the country. He also talked about his experience of having tea in a 'kulhad' and said that its taste was really different.
According to Goyal, the use of 'kulhad' will not only be a step towards achieving plastic free India but also provide an impetus to the pottery industry. 'Kulhads' were originally introduced by the Union railways minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in 2004 to keep railway stations clean and provide massive employment to 'kulhad' manufacturers.
Gradually, 'kulhads' were replaced with plastic and paper cups due to the higher cost of 'kulhads' compared to plastic and paper cups. The discussion around 'kulhad chai' at railway stations gathered steam in 2019 when the then Union MSME minister Nitin Gadkari urged Piyush Goyal to make 'kulhads' mandatory at 100 railway stations.
Gadkari had also suggested tea stalls at airports and state transport should make the use of 'kulhads' mandatory. He also said the Narendra Modi government will encourage malls to have 'kulhad' tea stalls.