The Indian Railways yesterday on Friday, 19th November 2021, decided to resume cooked meals on trains after the service was stopped last year owing to Covid-19 restrictions. Currently the IRCTC Kitchens are closed due to no-service of cooked food in trains.
The Order from Railway Board has come just days after Indian Railways restored all trains which were put out of service a year ago due to pandemic curbs. As on date the railway passengers can have only packaged ready-to-eat food on payment.
The cooked food service is expected to start as early as December 1, or even earlier, subject to preparedness of licensees. The decision once implemented will effectively restore train services to the pre-pandemic state. Ready-to-eat meals, however, will continue to be served on demand.
According to some of the online news portals, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been preparing to re-issue fresh tenders for food licensees.
An internal assessment by Railway Ministry and zonal railways had revealed that ready-to-eat meals such as poha, paratha, rajma chawal and upma did not find many takers among passengers, who preferred carrying home-made food for train journeys and indicated that they would prefer cooked meals over packaged ready-to-eat food options.
Officials have said that the existing menus may continue for the time being however, the passengers can now expect the platter with rotis, rice, vegetables and curd to be back soon.
“In view of restoration of normal train services, requirements of travelling passengers, and easing of Covid lockdown restrictions in eateries, hotels, restaurants and other such places across the country, it has been decided by Ministry of Railways to resume the service of cooked food in trains,” says the order from the ministry.