In the near future, you will be able to eat anything you want on long-distance trains in India, including meals tailored for people with unique dietary needs like diabetics, infants, or people on a diet who will receive millet-based local products. On Tuesday, the Indian Railways gave the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) permission to alter the train menus to reflect local specialties, seasonal fare, and festival needs. Additionally, food will be served based on passenger preferences.
In an order issued on Tuesday, the railways accorded approvals for the same for all categories of trains. “For trains in which catering charges are included in the passenger fare, the menus shall be decided by IRCTC within the tariff; in addition, sale of a la carte meals and branded food items at MRP will be allowed. For other mail/express trains, menus of budget segment items like standard meals shall be decided within the fixed tariff,” an official said.
Railway officials said that it would be of immense help as many a time, they receive complaints from passengers that people suffering from diabetes do not get food according to their diet. This leads to confrontations with the catering staff. With customised meals, they will now be able to cater to commuters with various options.
Welcoming the decision, A V Shenoy, senior transport expert with Mumbai Mobility Forum & Mumbai Vikas Samiti, said, “One episode of the National Geographic series India’s Megakitchens was entirely on IRCTC kitchens. They have such big and nice kitchens but the documentary mentioned that only two trains are catered by them. The catering for the Tejas trains is handled by Haldiram’s. I once found the breadsticks provided with soup hard as stone. The omelette was tasteless. Also, the lunch was north Indian. I was just wondering yesterday why railways cannot serve south Indian food on trains going to southern India? They can give a choice. And then this news comes as if they were reading my mind. Let us hope for better changes such as these.”