Indian Railways planning to replace pantry cars with base kitchens

Indian Railways are looking to avoid cooking arrangements in pantry cars and setting up 250 base kitchens across the country to prepare about six lakh meals and snacks per day. The move is in a bid to ensure food is fresh and of high quality. In this regard, the Railways are working out base kitchens at all major stations, including New Delhi, Nizamuddin, Old Delhi, Howrah, Patna, Mumbai, and Bhubaneswar, and other originating stations and junctions where meals will be prepared in hygienic conditions, sources said.

The base kitchens will be set up on railway land near the stations. The Railways will give land at a nominal fee of Re one per sq ft to caterers for setting up base kitchens. The total volume of food business in the Railways is estimated to be around Rs 2,000 crore a year. For now, Railways are finalising a common bidding format across the country for providing branded food items. It will empanel brands for certain items and make it mandatory for caterers to invest in base kitchens. The bidding norms have provisions to prevent only a few catering firms from cornering a large share of business. The bidding in catering service is expected to begin by May this year, according to the source.

On similar lines, “Pantry cars in trains will only store food and completely abandon the concept of cooking meals and snacks. All of these will be prepared from the base kitchens,” the source said. Beverages like tea, coffee and milk will be prepared in trains.

Published in: on January 31, 2013 at 5:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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