Guwahati Railway Station is among the 45 major stations across the country selected for the initial rolling out of the ‘Station-based E-Catering’ service.
Under this scheme, named ‘Food on Track’, rail passengers will be able to order food of their choice from private caterers at an approaching station. Station-based e-catering shall be only for stations and not on moving trains.
Officials said that Guwahati is among the only two stations in the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone selected for the roll-out on a pilot basis of the station-based e-catering service. The other station in NFR which will have station-based e-catering facility is New Jalpaiguri.
“The final section of the service providers in the Guwahati station will be done very soon,” said an official.
Station-based e-catering is an extension of the train-based e-catering service launched earlier by the Indian Railways through its undertaking Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) which is now available in over 1,500 trains.
All trains passing through these 45 selected stations, including Guwahati, will now be covered for services through e-catering.
The Indian Railways is planning to expand the service to more railway stations, based on the outcome of the pilot project.
As per the system devised under it, passengers will now be able to pre-order the meal at the opted stations either online through the e-catering website or through phone call or SMS to the e-catering call centre.
The facility to book orders through a mobile app will also be introduced soon. For payment, passengers can opt for the prepaid system by online payment or as ‘cash on delivery’.
IRCTC is tasked with coordinating with the service providers and vendors for ensuring delivery of meals as ordered by the passengers.
Expressions of Interest have been invited from food chains, including global brands, for participation in the scheme and a minimum of five vendors or brands per station will be shortlisted by IRCTC to ensure availability of a wider variety of choices for passengers at the stations.
Railway authorities will conduct regular inspection of stations to ensure that meals provided to the passengers through the service fulfil the norms of actual orders being placed by the passengers in terms of brands, quality, quantity, rates and hygiene.