COVID-19: IRCTC food joints to allow takeaways only

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Kochi: Amid coronavirus scare, various food supply facilities and eateries at railway stations like the food plaza, vegetarian refreshment room, and various other catering stalls would be closed from Sunday onwards.

In a revised order, the IRCTC said that it will now allow takeaway food from its plazas, refreshment rooms, Jan Aahars and cell kitchens which it had shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The revised order was issued on Saturday and will be applicable from March 22.

In the latest order, the railway subsidiary said that while takeaways will be allowed from its food outlets, no one will be allowed to sit there and have meals.

On Friday, the IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) had ordered the closure of all onboard catering services in mail or express trains from March 22 until further notice in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

"We have revised that order because we realised that passengers would be really inconvenienced as they would virtually have nowhere to get food," an official said.

Similarly, services in mail and express trains will be restricted to PAD items like chips, cold drinks, biscuits, tea and coffee.

"Such operation should be conducted using minimum number of staff. The licensee should be requested to take care of their catering staff on humanitarian grounds during this period of closure," the order said on Saturday.

However, Rajdhani and Shatabdi like trains will continue to have on onboard services.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has also decided to close all food plazas, refreshment rooms, Jan Aahars and cell kitchens until further notice.

The number of pantry workers would also be lowered. However, pocked-food items like biscuits, tea, and coffee would be supplied as per demand.

All passenger trains are cancelled on Sunday during 'janata curfew.' Most of the intercity and express services that run from 4 am to 10 pm would also be cancelled.