New Delhi: Indian Railways which started provide cooked meals to needy people after the lockdown due to COVID-19, continues to provide bulk cooked food with paper plates for lunch and food packets for dinner through IRCTC base kitchens, RPF resources and contribution of NGOs, in keeping with its social service commitment. The food distribution is being done to the poor, destitutes, beggars, children, coolies, migrant labourers, stranded persons and whoever else comes in search of food at and near the railway stations, and even at some distances away from the railway stations.
This is in keeping with the suggestion of Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry Shri Piyush Goyal who had said that Railways should widen the outreach of their efforts and go beyond the proximities of railways stations to deeper areas in consultation with district authorities and NGOs etc. in providing food and other assistance to the needy people.
Distribution of food is being done with the help of RPF, GRP, commercial departments of Zones, State Governments and NGOs. While delivering the food to needy persons, social distancing and hygiene is being observed. GMs/DRMs of concerned Zone and division are also in continuous touch with IRCTC officials to enhance the outreach of these efforts of IRCTC even beyond the station vicinity to cater to the food requirements of needy people in areas surrounding the railway stations with the help of District Administrations and NGOs.
Indian Railway has so far distributed over 8.5 lacs meals to the poor and the needy since 28th March 2020 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, and help of RPF, other government departments and NGOs.
Over 6 lacs cooked meals have been provided by IRCTC and about 2 lacs meals have been provided by RPF from its own resources. Nearly 1.5 lac 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, 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. Approximately 6 lacs needy persons have been distributed food by RPF over 313 locations till 08.4.2020. Meal distribution by Indian Railways is in progress today also to close to 1 lac persons.
IRCTC has also deposited Rs 20 Crore in PMCARES fund – Rs 1.5 Crore from CSR fund of 2019-20, Rs 6.5 Crore from CSR fund of 2020-21 and Rs 12 Crore donation.
Indian Railways remains fully prepared to provide food to the needy during the lock down, which has been imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Adequate stocks of foodgrains and other raw material are being maintained.