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Entrepreneur pitches business proposal at chance meeting with railway minister, gets call in 6 mins

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Kolkata, Feb 8 (PTI) A hurriedly scribbled business proposal on a paper napkin presented to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on a flight was all it took for an entrepreneur dealing in solid waste management to land a meeting with top railway officials, with the call coming within six minutes of touching down in Kolkata.

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Akshay Satnaliwala, who was on the same Delhi-Kolkata flight as Vaishnaw, hastily wrote a proposal on a paper napkin, as it was the only piece of paper he could find at the time.

The young Kolkata-based entrepreneur, director of a solid waste management company, managed to hand over the handwritten note to Vaishnaw during the midnight flight on February 2.

To his surprise, he received a call from the Eastern Railway (ER) general manager's office within six minutes of landing, and a meeting was scheduled on February 6.

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"Sir, if you allow, I would like to present how railways can be an integral part of the supply chain for AFR (alternative fuel and raw material) to cement plants, and also contribute to our Prime Minister's Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan," Satnaliwala had said in the hand-written note.

In his appeal to the minister, he claimed that his company was the first in the country to send plastic waste by a railway rake in July 2022, when 3,500 metric ton was sent in a single consignment from the Chitpur railway siding in Kolkata to a cement plant in Odisha's Rajgangpur.

Eastern Railway General Manager Milind K Deouskar and other senior officers met Satnaliwala and discussed the prospects suggested by his firm, according to an official statement.

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Eastern Railway spokesperson Kausik Mitra said Satnaliwala "explained the schematic flow of solid waste to various industries with prospective buyers in different parts of the country, such as Raipur in Chhattisgarh and Rajgangpur in Odisha, and other clusters through the railways".

In response, the officers offered him flexible terms for carrying solid and other waste through the railways, a cheaper mode of transportation, Mitra said.

"Such bulk quantity transport of solid and plastic waste through the railways will not only benefit the company but also help in recycling waste, thereby reducing pollution," he said.

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The railways has asked Satnaliwala to submit a proposal for a station-to-station rate facility with a commitment to traffic movement, Mitra said.

The entrepreneur expressed his gratitude to the minister and the Eastern Railway for responding to his appeal.

"I am happy that the railway ministry has acknowledged my proposal and given me a chance to present it in the presence of all senior officials of Eastern Railway," Satnaliwala said. PTI AMR BSM MNB SOM

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