During his budget speech in February , railway minister Suresh Prabhu had said, “The Railways would explore making local cuisine of choice available to passengers.“
Kudal and Sawantwadi stations in Sindhudurg district have been chosen for the pilot project which will be launched in a few days, a Na bard official said.
The choice of stations means the facility will be launched for people travelling on the picturesque Konkan railway route.
Nabard’s chief general manager U S Saha said, “Based on the success of the project, we will explore other stations on other routes too.“ Its role would include fa cilitating the process from mobilising self-help groups, training and funding the members for promotional activities. “We will identify the SHGs with the help of nongovernmental organizations,“ Saha said.
Nabard has not earmarked funds for the project, but Saha said it will not be a constraint as the initiative will be “demand driven.“ If there is a good demand for the food served by the SHGs and they need more funding, Nabard will step in, Saha added.
The focus, he said, will be employment generation. So cooking and packaging should both be done by SHGs, he added. IRCTC will offer the platform for booking and selling the cuisine.
“We want to make sure we get it right the first time as negative publicity will mean a good initiative could get compromised,“ another senior Nabard official said.
A lot of thinking has already gone into the project, the official said, adding that the most important thing is to make sure this home-cooked fare lives up to customers’ expectation.
“It will take about three months to tie-up all loose ends,“ the official added.