Train passengers in India will soon have the option of ordering fresh, home cooked food to their berths thanks to an initiative by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). The IRCTC has teamed up with women self-help groups (SHGs) across the country, which will prepare food that will be delivered to train passengers using IRCTC’s e-catering system. This is a move towards enhancing its e-catering portfolio.
How it Works?
Two hours before reaching a station, customers can scan through a menu of food on offer on the IRCTC’s e-catering website. After selecting an item, customers provide their PNR and seat number and place the order. On the train’s arrival at the specified station, the food will be delivered to their berths.
Currently, IRCTC provides e-catering facility in all the trains passing through the most important 45 stations of Indian Railways. It also provides food to 1516 trains without pantry cars. The food is directly delivered by the vendor on the berth/seat of the passenger. Besides using their website, train travellers can also call 0120-2383892-99 or 1800-1034-139 (toll free), or use Food On Track, their catering app. They can also choose to SMS to 139 by giving details of their PNR and seat number.
According to data released by the IRCTC, India has over one crore of such groups that work towards empowering women. Most groups work with women from rural to semi urban areas and try to help them develop and use skills to ensure better livelihoods and a place in society. Each woman’s group has about 15-20 members.
Thanks to such initiatives by the IRCTC, train travellers in India no longer need to worry about packing food before a journey or have to eat substandard food sold by vendors. The IRCTC has also tied up with other organisations like FoodPanda, KFC, Dominos, Jan Aahar, Mio Amore, Alibaba and Café Lite. Travellers are given extensive choices about what they can eat thanks to these options, making train journeys a more pleasant experience overall.
At present, the initiative has not yet been launched; the IRCTC is still in talks with various women’s groups and trying to roll out logistic procedures.