The Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has reportedly ramped up food production across its kitchens nationwide in order to provide meals to at least 4 lakh underprivileged people since the announcement of the 21-days lockdown. As per media reports, the railway catering and tourism corporation has started preparing food for people across all 28 locations including the IRCTC base kitchens.
According to reports, the railway kitchens provided over 51,000 meals on April 14, while the authorities ensured that the IRCTC's base kitchen at New Delhi railway station was also cooking extra meals to cater to the population. Speaking to a news agency, IRCTC spokesperson Sidhhartha Singh said that every day, the kitchen at Delhi cooks food for over 8,000 people which is then provided to the Railway Protection Force and state government to distribute among the underprivileged ones. He further said that to avoid wastage, the meals are prepared in accordance with the demands. As of now, Sidhhartha said, the demand was estimated to be for 8,200 meals. However, as the demand increases, the authorities will increase production of food so that everybody is fed during these challenging times, he added.
Sidhhartha further added saying that IRCTC cooks food twice a day, and the kitchen opens at 6 am sharp every day. He said that the routine ensured that the lunch is served by 11 am, and the preparation for dinner starts by 1 pm. Preparation for dinner commences only after the kitchen is thoroughly cleaned, and the food is usually ready by 6 pm, he added. Reportedly, the food is then collected from the IRCTC kitchen for delivery by the Railway Protection Force (RPF), Delhi government officials and Delhi Police.
Sunil Kumar, supervisor at the IRCTC base kitchen in New Delhi was quoted as saying that 125 staff members who worked at the kitchen have to adhere to the health safety protocols. They have to pass thermal screening before entering the campus and had then sanitise their hands. The staff has been instructed to wear masks, gloves, and head protective gear. At the IRCTC kitchen, Sunil added, proper cleanliness is ensured. The utensils are thoroughly cleaned before the preparation of the food. To prepare rice, the IRCTC has installed an automatic machine that cooks rice in 40 minutes.
Speaking about the menu, Sunil told the news agency that veg pulao, poha, and khichdi are served on a rotational basis, keeping in mind its nutritional value. The kitchen also serves pickle along with meals, he added. IRCTC base kitchen is capable of preparing food for over 10,000 to 15,000 people on a daily basis, however, at this time, the staff prepares meals for over 8,000. The New Delhi kitchen has over 18 staff members working during the lockdown, IRCTC spokesperson Sidhhartha added.