By Sameer Dixit
After adopting a stern policy "if no bill, your food is free", now, the Indian Railway is planning to implement airline catering model, where the mini-meal facility will be available for the passengers. The model will be adopted to facilitate better food for passengers.
Sources close to the development informed Zee Business, "Railways will be adopting the concept of mini-meals, which is available in airlines. Under the mini-meal concept, packed foods will be served to the passengers."
According to senior railway officials, this catering services will be started in those trains whose catering facilities are under the control of IRCTC, like Shatabdi Express. Initially, the concept will be adopted on those routes, whose journey is 5 to 6 hours. The services will be rolled out in next 2-3 months.
The benefit of this catering facility is that the travellers will be served with high-quality foods and that to in extremely hygienic conditions, as it is served in flights.
To implement the concept of mini-meal at its earliest in the trains, the Railway Board have had its meeting with the leading and famous caterers and companies that are associated with the food business. The companies include TFS, Haldiram, ITC, MTR among others.
To support its plan, the Railways has earlier made it optional by separating the catering money from the tickets. Under the existing service, you are supposed to choose the catering facility option at the time of booking the ticket to avail its facility during your journey.
According to the sources, two basic or standard rates will be fixed for the mini-meal. For instance, the veg mini-meal will be served at around Rs70-80, while the non-veg mini-meal will be priced at around Rs 140-150. Apart from this, if you buy something else during the journey, like cold drinks, then you have to pay for it separately.
With the decision, the Railways is trying to ensure that the passengers are served with better, tasty and clean food while travelling. It also wants to reduce the complaints related to its catering services.
The concept of mini-meals seems to be simple but its implementation is too hard. Caterers or the food industry players want more clarity on govt initiative of rolling out mini meals in trains as it is very price sensitive.