Indian Railways to soon restore cooked food services on trains
Currently, only ready-to-eat, packaged food is available on payment basis on Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and on other trains.
Passengers on long-distance train journeys need not worry about packing meals anymore as the Railways on Friday announced that they will be resuming cooked meals on trains, a service that was discontinued due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Railway Board in a letter asked the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to resume serving cooked meals to passengers on trains to restore normal train services as the pandemic-infused lockdown restrictions eased.
"In view of the restoration of normal train services, requirements of travelling passengers and easing of Covid lockdown restrictions in eateries, restaurants, hotels and such other places across the country, it has been decided by the Ministry of Railways to resume the services of cooked food in trains. Service of ready-to-eat meals will also continue," the letter stated.
Currently, only ready-to-eat, packaged food is available on payment basis on Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and on other trains. Recently, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has also allowed airlines to serve meals on all domestic flights.
Cooked food may start to be served from December 1, or even a bit earlier, subject to preparedness by the licensees.
The Railways is gradually returning to the pre-pandemic scale of services after the Covid’s severely disrupted services. The national transporters first restored services of long-distance trains and then short-distance passenger services started operating as special trains with “slightly higher fares” to “discourage people from avoidable travels.”
Earlier this month, the Railways had announced the running of normal trains, withdrawing the special tag which had been in place for the pandemic. In the letter to zonal railways, the Railways said trains will now be operated with their regular numbers and fares will revert to normal pre-Covid prices.
The decision comes at a time when India's coronavirus cases have remained steady at around 10,000-15,000 daily infections over the past few days.