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Now, a sugar-free option on trains

NEW DELHI: The railways may have proved to be uncaring about safety aspects of its operation but it is now planning to go the extra yard to provide suitable food for diabetics on trains and stations.

The menu will be a diabetic's delight -- methi chicken, methi matar malai, pyaj ki roti and sugar-free ice-cream.

The decision came after Railway Board took over the catering business from Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) last week. With the entire catering business under its control, railways plans to introduce the diabetic menu first in Rajdhani and Duranto trains and later extend it to other mail and express trains.

The menu will also include tomato soup, dal hariyali, boiled rice, fish tetul kari and vegetable korma. Along with the main meals, diabetics will also be given the option of choosing tailor-made snacks.

The move will come as a blessing to lakhs of people in the country suffering from diabetes as they had to carry their own food while travelling in trains.

"We are going to start diabetic menu first in two trains -- Howrah Rajdhani and Howrah Duranto," Derek O'Brien, chairman of the railways' passenger services committee, told TOI.

After the proposal becomes operational, passengers booking tickets on Rajdhani and Duronto can give their choice of food in the reservation slip, as the cost of food is included in the fare. Diabetics travelling on other trains can buy special diet during the journey.

The committee, which was set up in July last year after Mamata Banerjee took over as railway minister, looks after catering and hospitality services of railways and recommends measures to upgrade it.

After unveiling the new catering policy, O'Brien, who travelled around 40 railway divisions out of the total 64, also assured cheaper and better quality of food to passengers.

The Janahar outlets -- set up with to provide food at reasonable rates -- will be operationalised at 75 stations this fiscal year from the current 25. An initiative of the PSC, food prices at Janahar outlets will be in the range of Rs 5 to Rs 35.

It was also decided that Janta Khana costing Rs 10, which will be mandatory at all food plazas at stations, will not be only puri-sabji but will be any local food.

To ensure quality food, railways is working on plan to start single-point SMS system and mailing system for passengers' feedback which will be operational by October. It has also been decided to keep quality in mind while tendering if the catering is outsourced.
Source - Times of India

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