There is a good news for Indian Railways passengers! Now, they can relish home cooked local food during their train journey. The home cooked food will be supplied by self-help groups (SHGs) during their train journey. According to Railways, a pilot project has been launched in the Konkan region of Maharashtra for supply of local cuisine by SHGs to train travellers.
“We have entered into a partnership with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to facilitate SHGs of farmers to supply local meals to train passengers,” Chairman and Managing Director, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), AK Manocha said. As per the arrangement, two stations in the Konkan region – Kudal and Sawantwadi – have been identified for the pilot project. (Railway’s food quality to improve: Now IRCTC cell to monitor catering in running trains) Passengers will have to order the meal online through IRCTC website during their journey. Manocha said a similar initiative has been launched in Kerala also and plans are there to extend it to all over the country.
IRCTC will rope in SHGs for supply of home-cooked local meals on trains in other stations as well, he said. The pilot project is part of the railway budget 2016-17 announcement by Minister Suresh Prabhu to explore the possibility of giving the choice of local cuisine to passengers. Railways has launched the e-catering facility offering passengers options to book their meals online instead of depending on food supplied by contractors or pantry cars. The e-catering service is at present available on 1,350 trains that do not have pantry cars and at 45 stations across the country. (KFC partners IRCTC, to serve meals on trains) Reputed players like KFC, Dominos, Haldiram, Bittoo Tikki Wala, Food Panda etc., have already been empanelled as vendors/aggregators for providing good quality food to passengers. A helpline number at 138 has also been started for passengers to lodge complaints or provide suggestions regarding the food and catering services.