Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the food catering arm of the Indian Railways, will now start serving ready-to-eat meals as an option for those travelling on the Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains, along with other trains where it is responsible for catering services.
The range of foods initially would include Girnar tea at Rs.15, served exclusively in Indigo flights at present, and ready to eat rajma-rice, dal-rice, biryani and zeera rice at a nominal price of Rs.40-45 along with other varieties of food in the coming days. The move has come following regular complaints related to food quality by passengers.
Developed by Defence Research Development Organisation’s (DRDO) food laboratory in Mysore—Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL)—these ready-to-eat meals will have a shelf life of six months and passengers would have the option to take them home if they would not like to eat on board. The facility will be introduced by IRCTC in trains from July.
IRCTC chairman and managing director A.K. Manocha said railway minister Suresh Prabhu had been constantly stressing the need to improved catering services in the Indian Railways and this is just one step in that direction.
With this move, IRCTC plans to enter the food processing market in India. The transfer of technology would be done in the coming months. Manocha said, “We have resources in states like Ahmedabad and Mumbai, so those would be preferred areas and the modalities are still being worked out for manufacturing units.”
Apart from it, to improve the catering services in trains, IRCTC has collaborated with the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition to revamp kitchen and catering services in Indian trains.