The Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has lent its hand for the people as it has ramped up food production at all of its kitchens across the country since the announcement of 21-day nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of novel coronavirus and provided meals to over 4 lakh people.
The IRCTC has started preparing food for the people across all of its 28 locations in the country including its base kitchens.
On Monday, 6 April, according to the IRCTC officials, the railway kitchens provided over 51,000 meals across the country.
'Food for over 8000 people prepared'
In the national capital, the IRCTC's base kitchen at New Delhi railway station is also ensuring to provide food to the people. Speaking to IANS, IRCTC spokesperson Sidhhartha Singh said, "Everyday, food for over 8,000 people is being prepared at our kitchen here which is then provided to the Railway Protection Force and state government."
"The food is prepared here as per demand. As we have demand for 8,200 meals we are providing that and as the demand increases, the production of food will also go up easily," the IRCTC official said. He said the meals are provided by the IRCTC twice a day.
He said, the kitchen starts functioning at 6 a.m. everyday and prepares the lunch by 11 a.m. while the work of preparing the dinner starts at 1 p.m. after cleaning the kitchen and dinner is made ready by 6 p.m.
Staff in less number for kitchen work
The food is collected from the IRCTC kitchen at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. for delivery by the Railway Peotection Force (RPF), Delhi government officials and Delhi Police.
He said, despite the nationwide lockdown the base kitchen of the IRCTC is capable of providing healthy food to the people with the limited staff. "Usually in normal days, at the IRCTC kitchen, there are over 125 people who work in the kitchen. But following the lockdown we are handling the New Delhi kitchen with 18 staff members," he said.
"But despite less staff we are maintaining the quality of food and preparing meals to over 8000 people on daily basis," he said.
Singh said that on normal days the IRCTC base kitchen is capable of preparing food for over 10,000 to 15,000 people daily.
Sunil Kumar, supervisor at the IRCTC base kitchen in New Delhi said that all the staff who are working at the kitchen have to adhere to strict norms and have to pass through the thermal test before entering inside the campus.
Food preparation considering all hygiene measures
He said, the staff are then made to sanitise their hands and then only they are allowed to enter inside the kitchen after wearing head mask, gloves and face mask.
Inside the IRCTC kitchen, Kumar said, the staff maintain proper cleanliness of the kitchen and the utensils used for preparing the food. "The utensils are cleaned properly and then food is prepared. For preparing rice, the IRCTC has an automatic machine which prepares the rice in 40 minutes," he said.
When asked about the menu for the meals, he said that IRCTC is preparing Veg pulao, Veg poha and khichdi on rotational basis, keeping in mind the nutritional value.
He said, besides the rice pulao, poha and khichdi, the kitchen also provides pickle to the people.
Following the 21-day nationwide lockdown the Indian Railways suspended all the passenger, mail and express train services to cut the chain of transmission of Covid-19. Only the freight and special parcel trains are running to ensure the delivery of essential items.
On Tuesday, the number of Covid-19 cases in India rose to 4,421 with 114 deaths across the country.