Those travelling via trains headed to religious sites might be served only vegetarian food from Monday, November 15. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will promote "vegetarian-friendly travel" by getting some trains "sattvik certified", especially those running on routes connecting religious sites, according to a statement by Sattvik Council of India, a non-governmental organisation which is involved with the certification. However, no one from the IRCTC, the catering and tourism arm of the Indian Railways, was available for comment.
According to a press release issued by the Sattvik Council of India, it has tied up with the IRCTC to introduce services that fit the requirements of vegetarians and promotes vegan travelling to holy destinations. The IRCTC runs the Vande Bharat Express, which travels from Delhi to Katra. It will be certified as 'sattvik', the Sattvik Council of India said.
The Sattvik Council of India said it will launch the 'sattvik' certification scheme along with IRCTC on Monday, November 15. It will also develop a handbook of vegetarian cuisine jointly with the IRCTC, the council said. In the release, it said the IRCTC has an "understanding" with it and has decided to seek "certification" for some of the trains that go to pilgrimage destinations like the Vande Bharat express which goes to in Katra, the end stop for the Vaishno Devi temple. This formula is likely to be replicated in around 18 trains, it said.
"IRCTC base kitchens, executive lounges, budget hotels, food plazas, travel and tour packages, Rail Neer plants will be 'sattvik' certified to ensure vegetarian friendly travel," the statement said.
According to the Sattvik Council of Indiaâ€™s website, the organisation â€śhas designed the standards that standardize claims and defines vegetarianism in the most robust and credible way that it sets out the highest standards to ensure vegetarian consumers have confidence.â€ť However, the announcement has drawn flak from a section of users on social media, who questioned whether non-vegetarians would not be allowed to travel on the trains, and further questioned the logic behind the announcement.