A huge relief for passengers ahead of the festive season as the Indian Railways has allowed the sale of cooked food at its catering and vending units on railway station platforms for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak. However, it said that the food plazas, Jan Ahars, cell kitchens and refreshment rooms will be open only for takeaways.
These units were earlier allowed to sell only packaged food.
An order on issued on 30 September by the IRCTC says: "Zones are advised that static catering units (food plazas, fast food unit, Jan Ahars, cell kitchens and refreshment rooms) which are operational at 10 percent of license fee with limited saleable items up till September 30 may be allowed to operate till October 31 at pro-rata LF of 20 percent of license fee with the sale of cooked food as takeaway only."
The order further stated that no dine-in is to be allowed.
"Further, zones are also advised that the contracts which have expired after March 23 may also be allowed to operate up to October 31 on payment of license fee of 20 percent," it said.
Officials said that despite an order issued a few months back, not many vendors had opened their units because of low footfall and restrictions on items they could sell.
Vendors associations had written to the Railways stating that they were not ready to begin services on platforms due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and urged officials not to pressure them into opening the stalls
Stalls on platforms have been shut throughout the novel coronavirus-induced lockdown, which was imposed on 25 March.