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Devbrat Patnaik

New Delhi: In what could provide a huge relief to millions of passengers, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is likely to resume its e-catering services from next month, a statement from the Railways' catering arm said on Friday.

Reportedly after availing permission from the Railway Ministry, the IRCTC is ready to resume the e-catering services in a phased manner from February first week, the statement said.

Initially, the services will kick-start in around 30 railway stations catering to approximately 250 trains. "IRCTC is ensuring that all its e-catering partners ensure proper health and hygiene protocols while serving the meals to the passengers. The passengers shall avail the services of e-catering through www.ecatering.irctc.com. e-catering orders through the telephone are also being restored over 1323 shortly. Passengers can also download IRCTC e-catering app 'Food On Track' from the various app stores and avail e-catering services. For the convenience of the passengers, the option of cash on delivery has also been provided," it said.

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, e-catering services were suspended on March 22, 2020. Now, with the gradual resumption of passenger train services and amidst the new normal, wherein IRCTC is serving only 'Ready To Eat' meals to passengers on trains, there has been an increase in demand for resumption of e-catering services.

In view of this, the catering and tourism arm of the Indian Railways is going to restart its e-catering services for passengers travelling in the special trains that are currently operating.

Through this service which started in 2014, the IRCTC had started clocking 20,000 e-catering orders per day in the pre-Covid era.

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