Railways to reimburse Rs 50 per meal to IRCTC for catering service in Shramik Specials

by Arun Kumar Das - May 11, 2020 01:41 AM +05:30 IST
Railways to reimburse Rs 50 per meal to IRCTC for catering service in Shramik SpecialsIRCTC
Snapshot
  • A good meal with clean potable water might go a long way for the travelling workers who would have faced hardship due to the lockdown.

With the aim of ensuring better catering service for stranded passengers, the Indian Railways will now reimburse IRCTC for serving food and packaged drinking water on Shramik Special trains.

Making the provision of catering services in Shramik Special trains a standard practice, the Railway Ministry issued a fresh guideline on 8 May, directing the Railways PSU to "put into place proper planning and monitoring mechanisms to ensure that satisfactory standards of catering are maintained."

As per the directive, IRCTC will be reimbursed Rs 50 per meal including for one litre of bottled water.

The number of meals provided to a passenger on each train shall normally be either one or two, depending upon the journey time. Hence reimbursement per passenger is not expected to exceed Rs 100.

‘It is expected that we have to make at least one lakh meals per day for Shramik Special trains and the number of meals would increase with more and more number of trains allowed to run’, said a senior IRCTC official.

A 24-coach train generally carries about 1,000 passengers on average.

Launched on 1 May, the Shramik Special service has facilitated train journeys for more than 3 lakh stranded migrants, pilgrims, students and other passengers on 302 trains till now.

People from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Delhi, Karnataka and Rajasthan travel to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Bengal in these trains.

IRCTC, the Railways’ catering arm, was distributing free meals till now under corporate social responsibility.

‘Now though we are still continung with free meal distribution at various places, now our focus will be maximum on catering service in Shramik Specials’, the official added.

IRCTC is also expected to restart its Rail Neer plants to cater to the growing needs of packaged water in trains.

Instructing IRCTC to maintain proper hygiene and quality of meals served, Railways has asked IRCTC to decide on the menu which should be wholesome and hygienically packaged, keeping in view food safety and hygiene norms.

Leaving nothing to chance, the Railways has sought a full record of meals in each train including the number of passengers travelled per train, name of stations with number of meals served, to be maintained by IRCTC and the Station Superintendent/Manager of the concerned station where meals are served.

Zonal Railways shall also maintain a record of the number of passengers served train-wise along with details of meal provider, the guideline said.

A good meal with clean potable water might go a long way for the travelling workers who would have faced hardship due to the lockdown.

With passenger service in suspension, Shramik Specials are only trains operational besides goods trains on rail network.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.


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