New Delhi: The e-catering service of Indian Railways, allowing passengers to book their meal in advance and have it delivered on the coach, has been extended to 408 stations from 45 large ones at present. This service will also include home-cooked food.
"Under the extending scheme of e-catering, travelling passengers would be able to order food of their choice from leading private caterers at designated 408 major railway stations," Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said, launching the service here.
"This scheme will also include food prepared by women at home for their empowerment," he said.
Initially, e-catering service was train-specific and made available on 1,350 trains which did not have services of pantry car or train-side vending. In September last year, this was reoriented to make it a station-based e-catering service, in place of it being train-specific.
"Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp. is facilitating the booking of meals via a specified phone number, web site, SMS and mobile app. Passengers with mobile number can book meals under this scheme," a statement said, adding cash-on-delivery option is also available.
The passenger, though, will be charged 12 percent commission.
"Expression of interest has already been floated separately for vendors and food aggregates to ensure participation of experienced professionals, reputed chains and brands for empanelment and shortlisting. Empanelment of some women self-help groups as vendors is also under process."
Chains like FoodPanda, Haldirams, Domino’s and KFC have already started their services.
Prabhu said another long-standing demand of accredited journalists, who have been requesting that their concessional tickets be allowed to be booked electronically, has also been addressed. He said such tickets can be booked for self and family via www.irctc.co.in.
"Using this service, journalist can easily book the ticket over Internet and avoid the problem of standing in long queues at rail counters. To avail the benefits of this feature, the journalist has to use his/her registered ID card number issued by Indian Railways."