IRCTC on Tuesday decided to restore the menu across railway stations in Kerala, withdrawing an order to remove popular local dishes across refreshment rooms in the southern state. The move had come in for severe criticism.
Earlier, Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden Tuesday said he had got a positive response from IRCTC managing director when he spoke to the latter on phone about the removal of some popular Kerala-based delicacies and snacks from the revised menu of vegetarian refreshment rooms across railway stations in Kerala.
Popular fast-moving items like pazham pori (banana fritters), puttu (steamed rice cake), kadala curry (black chickpea curry), appam (hoppers), egg curry, bajji (fritters) and small sweet snacks like unniyappam and sukhiyan were found removed from the revised food menu. It’s not clear whether these items have been excluded from the menu onboard trains as well. In addition, the IRCTC has nodded off on a steep hike in the price of vegetarian meals from Rs 35 to Rs 70. A standard egg curry meal will now cost Rs 70 and a chicken curry meal Rs 80.
“I spoke to IRCTC MD RP Mall over the phone and he heard our concerns genuinely. He said that he would speak to his officers as well as consult us before taking a decision within a week. I told him that local cuisine include puttu, egg curry have been excluded. He promised that the issue would be resolved within a week,” Eden said.
“They didn’t clarify on why these items were excluded. I think the tenders are given to companies and a standard menu may have been prescribed. There’s an influence of a North Indian lobby in this,” he added. The Congress MP also wrote to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal intimating him about the same.
The revised menu has items like kachori, vegetarian pakoda, mix veg pakoda and rajma chawal, which are not popular in Kerala. In addition to the increase in tariff of meals, the price of vada and other local items had been increased from Rs 8.50 per piece to Rs 15.
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