In welcome news to train passengers in India, the Railway Board has issued an order to resume serving cooked meals to passengers on trains, a service that was discontinued due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Railway Board, in a letter on Friday, asked the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to resume the service. Ready-to-eat meals will also continue to be served to passengers, the Railway board also said.
"In view of the restoration of normal train services, requirements of travelling passengers and easing of Covid lockdown restrictions in eateries, restaurants, hotels and such other places across the country, it has been decided by the Ministry of Railways to resume the services of cooked food in trains. Service of ready-to-eat meals will also continue," the letter stated.
Earlier this month, the Railways had announced the running of normal trains, withdrawing the special tag which had been in place for the pandemic. The Indian Railways on Friday, November 13, issued an order to discontinue the 'special' tag for mail and express trains and revert to pre-pandemic ticket prices with immediate effect. Since the coronavirus-triggered lockdown was eased, the Railways has been running only special trains. It started with long-distance trains and now, even short-distance passenger services are being run as special trains with slightly higher fares to discourage people from avoidable travels.
Officials, however, said curbs introduced in view of COVID-19, such as temporary restrictions on concessions, and bed rolls, would continue to be in effect. With the operation of special trains and no concessions, the Railways' revenue too has seen substantial growth. The railways registered an increase of 113% in earnings from the passenger segment during the second quarter of 2021-2022 as compared to the first.
With PTI inputs