Don’t like the meals served on trains. Now you will have the option to ask for ready to eat meals with the IRCTC starting the trials to serve pre-cooked food in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains next month. The idea is that passenger should have number of options to choose meals.
The IRCTC, a subsidiary of railways that handles catering, tourism and ticketing, has tied up with Defence Food Research Laboratory, Mysore to provide sample of ready to eat meals.
The IRCTC plans to hold trials for a month and as of now will offer 6-7 menus like rajma-chawal and chole-chawal among others. Based, on the feedback of passengers, it plans to take it up with the Railway Board for making it a regular option.
IRCTC handles pantry in some Durontos, Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and Gatimaan Express and provides e-catering facility in over 1,500 non-pantry car trains. Railways is also exploring possibility of making mandatory catering services optional on trains and trials are going on in two pair of Rajdhani and Shatabdi.
“The ready to eat meal and e-catering will revolutionise catering in railways and we are empowering citizens to select food of their choice rather than eat what is offered onboard,” said IRCTC CMD A K Manocha.
He further said that trials will run for a month as issues related to technology transfer by DFRL, product cost and distribution has to be looked at.
“DFRL only makes food for defence and they don’t provide to others. We will have to look at technology transfer and how to set up a packaging unit. We also have to work out the cost of each of the products and it has to be nominal keeping in mind railways catering to passengers of all categories,” he said.
Railways in March has issued guidelines on ready-to-eat meals to all zones wherein Mail/Express trains that have pantry cars have been asked to serve pre-cooked food as an ‘add-on’ option under the a-la-carte category but it did not take off across all railway zones. IRCTC is now trying it in trains where catering is under its control.