With the nationwide lockdown extended until 3rd May 2020, it is key that care and food for vulnerable sections of the society is ensured. Indian Railways has played a pivotal role since the start of the lockdown in maintaining the supply chain and logistics of essential goods such as food and medicine to even remote locations of the country. Ministry of Railways has now offered to supply 2.6 lakh meals daily from various Railway kitchens wherever the district administration is willing and able to pick up cooked meals and distribute among the needy. This has been communicated to District authorities all over the country.
Details of zone wise kitchen in-charges have also been communicated to all the States. The offer of 2.6 lacs meals / day is based on the kitchen capacities of the earmarked initial locations. If the need arises, more such locations can be ramped up to boost the supply. These meals will be available at just cost basis at Rs 15/- per meal. Payments settlement can be done by the State Governments at later stage.
IRCTC has also agreed to ramp up the number of cooked meals as per demand. Nearly one lakh free hot cooked meals are already being distributed by Indian Railways daily. Indian Railways staffs from a number of Railway organizations have worked tirelessly since 28thMarch 2020 to provide hot cooked meals to needy people after the lockdown due to COVID-19. Railways has been providing bulk cooked food with paper plates for lunch and food packets for dinner through IRCTC base kitchens, RPF resources, Commercial and other railway departments, and contribution of NGOs.
Distribution of free hot cooked meals by Indian Railways during the national lockdown due to COVID-19 crossed the two million mark day before yesterday with a total of more than 20.5 lacs hot cooked meals distributed to people vulnerable to hunger due to the pandemic and lockdown like stranded persons, daily wage labourers, migrants, children, coolies, homeless, the poor and many who form the floating population.
This is being done with the active cooperation of IRCTC base kitchens spread over various zones such as Northern, Western, Eastern, Southern and South Central. Distribution of food is being done with the help of RPF, GRP, and commercial departments of Zones, State Governments, District administrations and NGOs, even beyond the station vicinity to cater to the food requirements of needy people in areas surrounding the railway stations.
The IRCTC kitchens gearing up to serve the needy persons in case of demand include Gaya, Deen Dayal (Mugalsarai), Rajinder Nagar (Patna), Samastipur, Dhanbad, Hajipur, Katihar, Guwahati, Ranchi, Balasore, Tatanagar and Howrah in East Zone; New Delhi and Prayagraj in North Zone; Vijayawada, Khurda Road, Visakhapatnam and Raipur in South Central Zone; Bangalore, Hubli, Tiruchirappalli, Katpadi, Ch Engalpa Ttu and Madurai in South Zone; and Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Bhusaval in West Zone.