Baby foods to be available at major stations

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Train passengers sceptical of its quality; Food stall owners unhappy.

Visakhapatnam: Mothers travelling by train with their babies need no longer worry about carrying infant formula food with them as this is now going to be available at major stations under the Waltair division of the East Coast Railway (ECoR).

Following a direction from the Railway Board, the Waltair division has made it mandatory for major canteens and Jan Aahaar stalls to stock  baby food, which is now available, with hot milk and hot water, at Vizag, Vizianagaram, Rayagada and Duvvada railway platforms.

“We recently instructed shops to keep baby food: it is expected to be made available at all important stations by the end of July,” said ECoR chief public relations officer J.P. Mishra.

This move comes in the wake of a woman having tweeted about milk not being available on station platforms to Railway minister Suresh Prabhu.

Food stall owners, however, are not happy. “We have invested thousands of rupees more in baby foods after the railway authorities made it mandatory for us to store it. But sales have not been encouraging; and these foods also come with short expiry dates. The railways should give more publicity to this initiative,” said a food stall owner.

Passengers praised the initiative, but were sceptical of its quality. “It is a much needed solution to problems that mothers have always faced when travelling by train. But one does have doubts about whether there could be some adulteration — as there have been issues every now and then to do with bottled water being of dubious origin,” said P. Anusha, mother of a two—year-old girl.

A Railway official from Waltair division admitted that lack of publicity was the reason behind the lacklustre response to the initiative.

“It started only last month, so I am hopeful that sales will pick up in the days to come. We are putting up boards and posters at platforms to advertise baby products. We also need to win the trust of parents,” said the Railway official.

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