Serve chai in kulhads, not plastic: new rule for all railway stations

Nothing beats kulhad wali chai on a crisp winter night. The little cup warms your hands, the aroma wafts over, and you’re instantly transported to a land of kadak nostalgia. The last sip may be sad, but it’s always satisfying. 

If you’d like to continue this love affair on your travels, the Indian Railways is about to give you countless opportunities.

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Piyush Goyal, our Union Minister of Railways, revealed that the government plans to replace the sale of tea in plastic cups on our railway stations with earthen cups, or kulhads. The decision is meant to help reduce pollution. 

“There are nearly 400 railway stations serving tea in kulhad,” said Goyal at an event in Alwar, Rajasthan. “We are making efforts to implement the same across the country as Railways’ contribution in making India plastic-free. It will also generate employment.”

Kulhads are made of terracotta (baked earth), and are 100% biodegradable. Terracotta is a well-known cottage industry in India, and the move can help boost income for potters who have been struggling due to the pandemic. 

Low-grade plastic, on the other hand, can last on the Earth for hundreds of years. It is rarely recycled, and causes immense water and soil pollution. 

This is not the first time the Railways has attempted to make chai-time more eco-friendly. Former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav had also tried to replace plastic and paper tea cups with kulhads over a decade ago. 

Hopefully, round two will be a success!