With an aim to make train journeys more comfortable and passenger-friendly, Indian Railways today began a service which would allow travellers to prebook meals. From today onwards the service will be available on Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express trains. One can order food online, on call or through SMS, according to Indian Express report. It has been learned that passengers can visit www.ecatering.irctc.co.in to order food online. To book meals online, passengers need to enter the PNR number and choose the station where the delivery would be done. Railways is offering more options to the customers by providing a list of vendors like McDonald’s, KFC, Switz Foods, Only Alibaba, Dominos, Haldiram, Bikanerwala, Nirulas, Sagar Ratna and Pizza Hut, the report says.
While ordering food via IRCTC website, passengers will have the option to pay online. To order food via phone, all you need to do is to call 1323 and place the order. Passengers will receive an OTP number via SMS. Apart from online and phone, one can order food through SMS. To avail food via sms, one is required to text MEAL followed by PNR number to 139. Passengers will have to pay cash at the time of order, the report says.
Notably, Railways had announced a new catering policy to provide quality food at rail premises and reduce the number of complaints. Railways reportedly receives about 25 complaints against food quality in a day which are being addressed, the official said. The new catering policy envisages separation of cooking from distribution of food on trains and encourages e-catering system.
Earlier, the Railways had roped in self-help groups (SHGs) for providing local cuisines in running trains through station-based e-catering service. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC), the catering arm of railways, has empanelled nine SHGs to provide authentic regional food cooked in hygienic conditions at 10 stations including Adra, Secunderabad, Vijayawada, Mysore, Ernakulam and Vishakhapatnam, according to PTI report.
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Passengers of all trains originating/stopping at these stations can avail of the facility of SHG cooked food through e-catering. Currently, 11 lakh meals are served in a day at running trains across the country out of which private caterers provide majority of meals. Railways had launched the station-based e-catering facility last year to widen the scope of catering options for train travellers, it said.
The local cuisine scheme has been launched to encourage self-help groups to participate in the public transporter’s catering system and also to provide multiple options for passengers to avail on the train journey, a senior Railway Ministry official was quoted as saying by PTI. To begin with, nine SHGs have come forward to provide popular local cuisine at 10 stations and it is expected that more and more SHGs would join the scheme, he said.