New Delhi: Distribution of free hot cooked meals by Indian Railways crossed the three million mark today during the national lockdown due to COVID-19. On 20th April, 2020, Indian Railways reached 2 million mark in distribution of free meals, in last 10 days, it has accomplished a million mark in distribution of free meals.
The global pandemic has created unprecedented situations leaving a large number of people vulnerable to hunger. Those worst hit by this pandemic and lockdown are stranded persons, daily wage labourers, migrants, children, coolies, homeless, the poor and many who form the floating population.
Indian Railways staff from a number of Railway organizations have worked tirelessly since 28th March 2020 to provide hot cooked meals to needy people after the lockdown due to COVID-19. Railways has been providing bulk cooked food with paper plates for lunch and food packets for dinner through IRCTC base kitchens, RPF resources and contribution of NGOs. While delivering the food to needy persons, social distancing and hygiene is being observed.
Distribution of food is being done with the help of RPF, GRP, commercial departments of Zones, State Governments, District administrations and NGOs, even beyond the station vicinity to cater to the food requirements of needy people in areas surrounding the railway stations.
With the active cooperation of IRCTC base kitchens in New Delhi, Bangalore, Hubli, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad, Bhusaval, Howrah, Patna, Gaya, Ranchi, Katihar, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Nagar, Balasore, Vijaywada, Khurda, Katpadi, Tiruchirapalli, Dhanbad, Guwahati, Samastipur, Prayagraj, Itarsi, Vishakhapatnam, Chengalpatu, Pune, Hajipur, Raipur and Tatanagar spread over various zones such as Northern, Western, Eastern, Southern and South Central, more than 30 lacs cooked meals have been distributed till today 30th April 2020.
Of these, about 17.17 lacs cooked meals have been provided by IRCTC, about 5.18 lacs meals have been provided by RPF from its own resources, about 2.53 lacs meals have been provided by Commercial and other departments of Railways and nearly 5.60 lacs meals have been donated by NGOs working with the Railway organizations.
The Railway Protection Force has played a major role in the food distribution to needy people prepared by IRCTC, other Railway departments, NGOs and from its own kitchens. Starting with distribution of food to 5419 needy persons over 74 locations on 28.03.2020, the number has grown daily. Presently about 50000 persons daily are being provided meals on an average by RPF across approximately 300 locations across the country.