Indian Railways is likely to do away with pantry cars from trains and replace them with AC-3 tire coaches once train services normalize post-Covid-19.
The railway is of the view that passengers can be provided with packaged food prepared in the base kitchen. Besides, e-catering will also remain for the supply of food, said an official in the railways.
present, around 350 pairs of trains, including Mail/Express, Superfast and Premier services, have pantry cars, which prepare hot food for passengers.
The railways is expecting that by replacing pantry cars with AC-3 tire, it can earn additional Rs 1,400 crore revenue.
It is also planning to do away with the supplying of blankets, pillows, bedsheets, and hand towels in the post-Covid journey. Instead, it plans to supply disposable linen on payment basis at station premises.
At present the railways, which runs only special trains, is not operating onboard pantry cars service and also not supplying lenin, to prevent the spreading of Covid-19.
Interestingly, the suggestion to replace pantry cars with AC coaches came from two railway unions, the National Federation of Indian Railwaymen and All India Railwaymen's Federation.
Accepting the suggestion, the Railway Ministry top brass were also of the opinion that pantry car catering services can be replaced by e-catering, base kitchens, train-side vending, static catering units at stations en route.
"Already IRCTC (Indian Railways Catering Touring Corporation), which is responsible for catering in railways, already set up several base kitchens. In future also it will set more kitchens in different places and supply hot cooked packed food to passengers," said an official.
Since the pantry cars are operated by private contractors, there was no impact on railways jobs, said the official.
However, private pantry car contractors fear that the removal of pantry cars may hit around 10,000 to 13,000 jobs as each pantry car engages 30 to 40 staff.
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