India’s railway police have arrested 1,371 people and seized tens of thousands of packets of unauthorised packaged drinking water (PDW) as part of a crackdown on it.
The Railway Police Force (RPF) carried out the crackdown — called Operation Thirst — on July 8 across the country.
They managed to collect nearly Rs 7 lakh in fines from the defaulters during this two-day crackdown.
What is Operation Thirst?
Indian Railways has been under constant pressure for quite some time to ensure that the food and drinks provided in trains.
The reasons included several instances of railway vendors being found selling substandard food or drinks, or edibles or beverages being made from substandard ingredients.
This led the Railways to implement policies that would ensure that passengers — both in trains and on railway platforms — get quality food and drinks. One such step was the introduction of Rail Neer: low-cost PDW for public consumption.
However, there have been several instances when vendors sold unauthorised PDW at stations and in trains. The Railways launched Operation Thirst to crack down on them.
The results of the crackdown
According to an official press release from the Union Ministry of Railways, “During the drive, 1,371 persons were arrested for selling of packaged drinking water of unauthorised brands under different sections [of the Railway Act].”
It added: “Total 69,294 bottles of PDW have been seized. Total fine amount of Rs. 6,80,855 has been realised from these offenders.”
The RPF also arrested four managers of pantry cars because they reportedly allowed the sale of unauthorised PDW in trains where they were in charge.
Railways said in the release: “Further enquiry into these cases are being made to reach the origin of this activity and those found involved will be taken up accordingly.”