Indian Railways staff from a number of Railway organizations like IRCTC, RPF, Zonal Railways and others have worked tirelessly to keep alive the Railways’ commitment of social service by selflessly and voluntarily providing hot cooked meals to needy people after the lockdown due to COVID-19. Railways has been providing bulk cooked food with paper plates for lunch and food packets for dinner through IRCTC base kitchens, RPF resources and contribution of NGOs since 28th March 2020.
Meal distribution crossed the one million mark today with a total of nearly 10.2 lacs. The food distribution is being done to the poor, children, coolies, migrant labourers, stranded persons and whoever else comes in search of food at and near the railway stations, and even at some distances away from the railway stations. While delivering the food to needy persons, social distancing and hygiene is being observed.
With the active cooperation of IRCTC base kitchens in New Delhi, Bangalore, Hubli, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad, Bhusaval, Howrah, Patna, Gaya, Ranchi, Katihar, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Nagar, Balasore, Vijaywada, Khurda, Katpadi, Tiruchirapalli, Dhanbad, Guwahati, Samastipur, Prayagraj, Itarsi, Vishakhapatnam, Chengalpatu, Pune, Hajipur, Raipur and Tatanagar spread over various zones such as Northern, Western, Eastern, Southern and South Central, nearly 10.2.lacs cooked meals had been distributed till yesterday 10th April 2020. Of these, over 60 percent cooked meals have been provided by IRCTC, about 2.3 lacs meals have been provided by RPF from its own resources and nearly 2 lac meals have been donated by NGOs working with the Railway organizations.
Distribution of food is being done with the help of RPF, GRP, commercial departments of Zones, State Governments and NGOs. GMs/DRMs of concerned Zone and division are also in continuous touch with IRCTC officials to enhance the outreach of these efforts of IRCTC even beyond the station vicinity to cater to the food requirements of needy people in areas surrounding the railway stations with the help of District Administrations and NGOs.
The Railway Protection Force has played a major role in the food distribution to needy people prepared by IRCTC, NGOs and from its own kitchens. Starting with distribution of food to 5419 needy persons over 74 locations on 28.03.2020, the number has grown daily. Approximately 6.5 lacs meals have been distributed by RPF over 313 locations till yesterday. The distribution of meals include a good portion of what is made by IRCTC as well.
It may be recalled that Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry Shri Piyush Goyal had exhorted the Railway personnel to widen the outreach of their efforts in providing food and other assistance to the needy people. Following this, IRCTC staff also deposited Rs 20 Crore in PMCARES fund – Rs 1.5 Crore from CSR fund of 2019-20, Rs 6.5 Crore from CSR fund of 2020-21 and Rs 12 Crore donation. The contribution has also drawn praise from Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi who has tweeted “I laud the @IRCTCofficial family for their contribution to defeat Coronavirus. #IndiaFightsCorona”