The Indian Railways is contemplating to remove pantry cars from 300 long-distance trains and replace them with an additional AC-3 tier coach once the normal train services resume post-COVID-19.
The move is expected to garner additional revenues to the tune of Rs 1,400 crore for the railways. It would also help in clearing the waiting list of passengers as more AC-3 tier seats will be available.
Railways planning to supply food through base kitchens
The Indian Railways is of the opinion that passengers can be provided packaged food services through base kitchens. Moreover, the e-catering service will also remain functional for passengers to order their preferred food items. The railway is also looking into the additional revenue that will add to its depleting finances.
Notably, around 350 pairs of trains, that include mails, express, superfast and premium trains, have pantry cars that prepare hot food and beverages for the passengers.
Pantry services discontinued amid corona chaos
The railways had earlier decided to stop providing blankets to passengers in air-conditioned (AC) coaches of long-distance trains and remove all curtains to check the spread of coronavirus.
The railways, which run only special trains these days, is not operating kitchens and also not supplying blankets and bed-sheets to ensure personal safety and hygiene.
It has been reported that the biggest railway employees’ body wrote to the Railway Ministry seeking the removal of pantry car and replacing it with a third AC coach in a bid to help railways find new revenue streams in these uncertain times.
Base kitchens more hygienic
Many industry insiders support the idea of setting up more base kitchens at major stations because the hygiene levels maintained in base kitchens will always be better than those in pantry cars.
“Already IRCTC (Indian Railways Catering Touring Corporation), which is responsible for catering in railways, has set up several base kitchens. In the future too, it will set more kitchens in different places and supply hot cooked packed food to passengers,” a railway official was quoted as saying by a newspaper.
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