After reducing platform tickets back to Rs 10, Indian Railways has now decided to resume serving freshly cooked food in Vande Bharat, Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Tejas, Duronto and Gatiman Express trains. An order has been issued in this regard to all concerned departments and stakeholders.
As per the order, the matter has been examined and it has been decided to restart cooked meals in trains. As per reports, the zones of Indian Railways will verify the catering charges to be realized based on services being offered as well as the applicable rate list. Also, it will feed the same in the Passenger Reservation System software for allowing booking or opting out of Catering services, from ARP date, at the time of ticket booking.
At present, it will be applicable for only Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, Duronto, Vande Bharat, Tejas Express and Gatiman trains.
For those who have already booked their tickets in advance, the order further says that some directions have been given to the service provider.
As per the order, the catering arm of Indian Railways- Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will intimate the concerned zone about the exact date from which onboard catering services will be resumed in a particular train for the rail journeys falling within the ARP. It also said that on getting such intimation, the zones of Indian Railways will enable the booking meal option or opting out of catering services for the travel dates starting from the commencement of onboard catering service in PRS software.
It also advised IRCTC to inform railway passengers holding e-tickets through e-mail and SMS, who already booked train tickets in advance regarding the supply of cooked food. Similarly, passengers who are booked through PRS will be informed by zonal Railways via Bulk SMS.
For the tickets that are already booked, the corporation will provide a facility on its website to opt for catering services and payment of the charges due in advance. This facility will be available for passengers with e-tickets as well as counter-tickets.
According to the report, cooked food will be made available on-demand in the train for those who already booked and have not opted for the same online. However, this will be available on a payment basis, subject to availability. The ticket checking staff onboard, as per the approved rate list, shall collect the catering charges due, the report added.